1. eNewsletter Sign Up

A Journey Across North America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rudy4pl, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,177
    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    We can see your growth in overcoming the challenges on this trip. What you learned this time will make every other trip from now on that much easier. Be proud of your education, you earned it the hard way!
    #81
  2. davidaid

    davidaid Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    58
    :lurk
    #82
    rudy4pl likes this.
  3. boulet_boulet

    boulet_boulet Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2018
    Oddometer:
    985
    Location:
    Maine
    I am really enjoying your report. Thank you for documenting your trip so well.

    I might have missed it, but are you following Sam's, Kevin's or someone else's tracks?
    #83
    rudy4pl likes this.
  4. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    I was following Kevin's tracks for the most part
    #84
    Golden955 and boulet_boulet like this.
  5. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 11, 2019 Sun (Day 19)

    I didn't feel like cooking dinner yesterday, so I decided to make up for it this morning.

    [​IMG]

    Now it's time to see if I can tackle the route laid out ahead of me.

    Some sections are pretty steep, rocky and narrow at times. I'm using the clutch very often, I guess it would be nice to have something lower rather than the stock gearing.
    At one point I felt like turning around, but then I look at the map and luckily I've downloaded elevations before I left. I see that there is only a couple more miles of climbing and then it's a lot of flat lands. After a while I come across a carcass, poor cow :(. There is a pick-up in here, If he was able to come up here then I guess coming down the other way should be pretty easy.

    I come across a fence, I cross it and and I see a "no trespassing" sign. Hmm would have been nice to have one from where I entered as well, I guess not many people take that way up though.

    A couple more muddy sections and then I hit light gravel. A lot of beautiful mountains start appearing all around.

    I hit Trinidad, Colorado and decide to take care of a couple of items. I take care of my laundry. My pants have gained "character", they no longer look clean after laundry. All kinds of oil, grease, etc. stains became permanent. At least they feel and smell fresh :) I purchased a new charging cable as my old one seemed to be giving out and decided to get some groceries as well.


    2019 Trip (244).JPG
    2019 Trip (258).JPG
    2019 Trip (271).JPG

    I head out and am steadily rising in elevation. It's getting a little bit cooler and the stormy skies are forming all around. I got to say, weather really makes these areas majestic. I can see the stormy clouds wrapping around mountain peaks.

    I ride through the rain and arrive at the camp during twilight. It is the middle of the summer, but it's cold in here, about 40 deg. I cook myself some salmon and hit the sack. I stuff my head inside the sleeping bag, curl up and close off the top. My warm breath heats up the inside. This'll have to do.
    #85
  6. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 12, 2019 Mon (Day 20)

    Today finally cleared up. The scenery is great, but the stormy skies witnessed yesterday around these parts really make these places memorable. I've purchased the most expensive ice to date, $3.29 for a 10lb bag. I'd have figured that around the colder parts the ice would be cheaper, guess not.

    2019 Trip (277).JPG
    I once again wish I was able to go for a swim, but my burn wound has not fully healed yet.

    2019 Trip (280).JPG
    Some fun gravel roads today so far. Soon I decide to take a red detour.

    I come across a fence that limits access to single track vehicles, hikers and horses. Hmm.

    These terrains are too rough for an overloaded 650. It's very tiring going through these single tracks with a bunch of rocks poking out, I can't really go fast as the front would jump all over. I stop at an area where I can still turn the bike around and decide to go for a little walk.

    2019 Trip (291).JPG
    There's a steep drop on the narrow trail with a sudden turn to the left on the bottom. If I don't make the turn or slip off, I would tumble down the steep mountain with the bike which would result in severe injuries. I could see doing this on a bare 250, but not on this beast. I felt like shear momentum wouldn't allow me to make that turn and I would fall off. If I somehow did manage to make that part, there were a bunch of boulders and tree trunks protruding onto the narrow path up ahead. With my wide load I would have clipped one of them and I would have been uncontrollably sent tumbling down to my right as there was not enough room to even get good footing to correct a potential fuck up.

    I may be stupid, but I'm not suicidal. I have given it my best shot, but ultimately decided to turn around and backtrack as it got way too dangerous with my limited skill set.

    After, I rode some light gravel roads, which then turned to tracks and then there was nothing.


    Getting to the camp was really rough as well. A lot of rocky climbs and sketchy flooded roads.

    This place is riddled with streams and waterfalls.
    2019 Trip (308).JPG

    This is also one of the first places on this trip where I feel like there could be bears around. I make myself some dinner and make sure that no food or smelly items are in or near the tent. Once again, tonight is going to be a chilly night as I have climbed high in elevation to reach this place.

    2019 Trip (306).JPG
    #86
  7. riding2redline

    riding2redline n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    IL
    Really enjoying this report. Sounds like this was an awesome trip. Can't wait for more. :lurk
    #87
    rudy4pl likes this.
  8. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 13, 2019 Tue (Day 21)

    No bear activity last night.
    Had a quick breakfast and filled up my jug with filtered water from the cold waterfall.

    2019 Trip (315).JPG
    Coming down was much easier, I just coasted down in neutral. My clutch must have been grateful.

    I pass by a man on a light dual sport coming up and I think to myself that I would have definitely been able to tackle those tough single tracks on that.

    I told myself I was going to do (or at least attempt) every red detour on this trip. I take a look at my gps and realize that I've rode 30 miles past a red track that started in Cotopaxi, Colorado. It would take me like 1.5 hours to get back there as the roads have been rough. That's too long of a detour, I'll have to skip that one.

    At noon I pull over to treat myself to some beautiful views.
    [​IMG]

    I make sure not to accidentally miss the next red detour. Soon I arrive and am greeted with a sign stating that this trail is for hikers, horses, bikers and motorcyclists. This'll be fun.


    About a mile in, it just became too much. A very steep, narrow and rocky climb. I walk ahead and I see that it doesn't seem to be getting any better, and this is just the beginning of the trail... Turning the bike around on this narrow trail was a mission, but I managed. On the way down I've bottomed out the rear suspension numerous times and came across a group of hikers. Felt bad disturbing their peace with this overloaded mule haha. I know if I was hiking these places, the last thing I'd want to see are motorized vehicles.

    Many gorgeous views around these parts.
    2019 Trip (335).JPG
    I wonder if that's the direction I'm heading, through those mountains.

    At one point I came across a rider on a KTM 690 going the opposite direction. It was Paul. Paul was doing the TAT backwards using only roll charts, no gps. I found that way of travel to be pretty cool. He has been on the road for quite a while riding his bike all over Asia, Europe and then shipping it to the states. Must have been quite a journey for him!

    I kept on moving and later in the day I've come across another red detour. It started raining lightly and the single track got rough and steep really quickly. A lot of these areas are not meant for my me and my pig. I decide to turn around before I hurt myself.

    I've kept on moving through some uneventful gravel roads while to my left there were some trails for motorcyclists. What a missed opportunity for the TAT I think to myself, TAT was taking me through some boring gravel roads instead of this. The motorcycle tracks tough, but tough enough to still be fun, not those rough hardcore single tracks I've been attempting. It's getting late, so I decide to pull over and set up camp.
    2019 Trip (358).JPG
    2019 Trip (362).JPG
    What a beautiful place this is, all around. I see a storm to the west. Based on the current wind direction, I think I'll be fine.

    2019 Trip (363).JPG
    2019 Trip (369).JPG
    2019 Trip (366).JPG

    The moon was exceptionally sizable tonight and the skies were filled with stars. What a great place to spend the night.
    #88
  9. Otroo

    Otroo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    25
    Cant wait to read the rest of this. Thanks for bringing us along.
    #89
    rudy4pl likes this.
  10. Themastermike

    Themastermike Think you caught me in a coma Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,290
    Location:
    So Ill
    ****I make sure not to accidentally miss the next red detour. Soon I arrive and am greeted with a sign stating that this trail is for hikers, horses, bikers and motorcyclists. This'll be fun.*****

    Do you remember which trail this is? Almost looks familiar.
    #90
    rudy4pl likes this.
  11. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    It was Green Creek Trail, just west of Poncha Springs.
    #91
    Themastermike likes this.
  12. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,713
    Location:
    Dixie
    I've just found this report and started reading it. Really good write up and quite the adventure.
    #92
    rudy4pl and glasshousebc like this.
  13. glasshousebc

    glasshousebc Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Oddometer:
    37
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Thoroughly enjoying the read on this Saturday morning with my coffee as I look at the snow outside... not long til the winter season is over up here.
    #93
    rudy4pl likes this.
  14. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,713
    Location:
    Dixie
    Reading about your tire troubles, I want to tell any future travelers that Lake Hill Motors in Corinth, MS usually have a good selection of tires. You'll go close to them.They have several guys who dual sport quite a bit and can help travelers on the TAT and maybe point them to good camping spots. They are good friends with Sam Correrro, the originator of the TAT.
    #94
    scout68, rudy4pl and davide like this.
  15. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,870
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    Sam lives on the trail just outside Corinth.
    #95
    rudy4pl likes this.
  16. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 14, 2019 Wed (Day 22)

    The day started off scenic with some fun two tracks, nothing too wild.
    2019 Trip (377).JPG

    A whole lot of primitive fences around here.
    2019 Trip (379).JPG
    They all seem the same from a distance, but it's like they all have a slightly different closing mechanism. Some require brute use of strength, while others are designed to open and close with ease.

    2019 Trip (380).JPG
    2019 Trip (383).JPG
    2019 Trip (385).JPG
    2019 Trip (386).JPG

    Soon after, I arrive at an obstacle.

    I observe for a while and then decide to turn back in order not to interfere with their operation.

    After a while, I come across a turn off from a well maintained gravel road. I see something in the forest to my left, it looks like a damn wolf. I don't think there are wolves around here though...

    This is going to be a little bit more technical and challenging compared to what I rode earlier. Forested, rocky, wet, rutted and steep at times. Although it isn't easy, the two track makes it much easier to manage my bike and pick the right lines, as opposed to riding those darned single tracks in this state.

    At one point I come across an opening in the forest and figured I'd rest a bit.
    [​IMG]

    I continued on to the next town to stock up a bit as it looks like I might have another red detour ahead of me. Hopefully it's not a single track.

    It's another single track, I decide to give it a try even though I do not have a great track record riding these. It's really sketchy on a bike like this. The single track has a groove and you want to keep the bike in it because if you venture out to the outer walls of the groove the front wants to go a different direction. This makes the whole experience very tiring and not so fun.

    A couple of miles in I come across a rough, steep and curvy downhill. I decide to get off the bike at this point and go for a walk because if I come down on the bike I'm probably not making it up again. A short walk down there is a deep river crossing with a sketchy entry and exit. I've seen enough, I am not going to attempt this on my own as there is an extremely high chance of getting stuck.

    I move forward closer towards Engineer's pass.
    2019 Trip (389).JPG
    2019 Trip (396).JPG

    A lot of stunning scenery coming up the engineer's pass.
    2019 Trip (411).JPG

    Climbing to the summit from the eastern side was extremely easy, I thought these passes were much harder from what I've heard, hmmm...
    2019 Trip (418).JPG

    I then realized that the western side of the pass is where the fun begins. Luckily, it's easier coming down this kind of stuff as you can simply coast down rather than having to create momentum by speeding up.

    Shortly into the descent I pull over and set up camp as it's getting late. I'm just off of the summit so it is going to be a cold night.
    #96
  17. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 15, 2019 Thu (Day 23)

    The night was definitely cold, I had to sleep fully clothed and in my jacket with all the liners.



    The descent definitely kept the same level of difficulty as the conclusion of yesterday. I'm doing really well, I have not dropped the bike yesterday nor today.

    2019 Trip (434).JPG

    I suddenly see the million dollar highway, yay I made it! It's so close but the last couple hundred feet have a lot of large loose fallen rocks and it's steep. I'm walking her down slowly and suddenly the front turns wildly on one of the rocks, I try to get some footing with my right foot, but there is a pit and by the time I'm able to plant my foot the bike is beyond saving. I was so close, fuck me :( It has fallen at a bag angle, I have to take off all my luggage. While doing so, a kind soul that was unloading his dirt bike at the bottom comes to help me pick her up.

    "What are you doing here on a bike like this?" he asks.

    :dunno

    At the bottom I see a bunch of light dirt bikes enter, they are struggling making it up this initial section. No way I would have made it up that way on my rig.

    I decide to plan out how I want to approach these passes. Hmm, Black Bear Pass sounds fun. I'll take the Black Bear Pass west, then I'll come back east through the Imogene Pass and I'll finally leave this area through the Ophir Pass.

    I notice that my chain is badly stretched. I have bottomed out the rear countless times coming down, I wonder if it's because of that.

    I decide to head to town to do a little bit of maintenance and stock up on food. The views off of the million dollar highway are stunning.
    2019 Trip (449).JPG

    I find a parking spot in some shade to do my maintenance. Along with adjusting the chain, I decide to take off the rear wheel and check out all the bearings, especially the hub bearing.
    2019 Trip (437).JPG
    All the bearings are fine. I put the wheel back on and manage to wedge the chain between the sprocket and the swingarm... After about 15 minutes I manage to get the chain unstuck. The chain has stretched out quite considerably, I had to turn the adjuster by 5 notches before it was the right tension, crap :(.

    I've decided to head north 30 miles to a walmart to get what I need. I've purchased a lot of food and a usb cable for my phone as I keep having issues charging it. I'm ready to head to the Black Bear Pass now. A couple of miles in I come across a rider on a dirt bike coming down. He mentioned that the pass is not open as it is still snowed in at one section.

    Earlier today when I googled it, I read that it's a pretty difficult and a scary pass. I feel like this is a blessing in disguise that it's closed. I was fully committed this morning to complete this pass at all cost, if it was open, I could have gotten myself into some trouble.

    Knowing now that it's closed, I decided to take it lightly and check it out a little bit. After about a mile I come across a very steep and narrow track, with a very steep drop off on the right.

    "This pig needs a lot of space to wiggle and there is not a lot of room" I think to myself.

    I get some momentum and try to tackle this climb while staying as close to the left side as possible. I'm slowly losing momentum and about 3/4 way up, the rear spins out and I come to an unwanted stop. No way am I going to be able to pick up from a stationary position now and get it up.

    It's a steep climb so turning the bike around would be very hard and I would probably drop it. I decide to ride backwards inch by inch until it's not as steep and I'm able to turn her around.

    After about 10 sketchy minutes of moving backwards, I get to a point where I can swing her around and decide take an overly choreographed photo to cement my unsuccessful Black Bear Pass in time :D.
    2019 Trip (446).JPG

    On my way down I came across a snowy turn off. I was hesitant about moving forward, but a faint voice in my head said "do it".

    "I wonder how well this bike performs in the snow" I think to myself.

    I must have picked the wrong line and entered some deep stuff. The rear made it in about a foot before it started spinning out :D. There was a little "ledge" that I've come down from into the snow. Getting this bike out will be fun...
    I take off all my luggage and decide to drop the bike onto the side, pull on one wheel, then the other multiple times, until I'm in the clear. After about 15 minutes of fighting with it, I'm able to ride out. I'm an idiot haha.

    Since there has been a change of plan, I decide to do Imogene Pass east to west. I went into it thinking like it was going to be light, just like the eastern portion of Engineer's Pass, boy was I wrong.

    2019 Trip (454).JPG
    It was a very tough and dangerous climb. It's hard to get footing at times as the surface can be extremely uneven. Momentum and picking the right line are definitely your best friends. I had to take off the luggage multiple times as the drops left the bike at some unfavorable angles.

    After about 20 more minutes or climbing, I spotted a fire pit. Hmm, very early into the pass I saw a sign "no camping beyond this point". Whatever the case may be, it's late and I'm definitely not going to attempt the summit and descent during the night.



    2019 Trip (456).JPG
    #97
    juno, lanztek, td63 and 6 others like this.
  18. Themastermike

    Themastermike Think you caught me in a coma Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,290
    Location:
    So Ill
    You are a stud. I have a DR650 and it would have no business on those passes.

    That clutch pack is another hero in this adventure.
    #98
  19. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    2,553
    Location:
    Tacoma Wa
    Man bro you had some serious balls!! That video had my pucker factor dialed right up there. And your bike...what a trusty mule! I am so impressed and CANNOT wait for more. Your the man!! Cheers!
    #99
    td63, rudy4pl and CavReconSGT like this.
  20. skishades

    skishades n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2020
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Dixon
    I learned by doing as well. Took a cruiser cross country from California to NewFoundland. Literally stood in a Viking Village on my birthday. Now I am doing an Africa Twin to Alaska. Never thought to take so many dirt roads though... Mine will be just Route 101 along the west coast then up the Alaska Highway to Prudhoe Bay... with a sidecar for my dog. Next year, I am planning some dirt roads though... just not so many weeks of them back to back. Your choices are inspiring, thank you for posting them.

    Thinking the Rubicon in 2021... since I have no training on actual off road trips with my bike I figure the most difficult trail in California is the place to cut my teeth.
    rudy4pl and CavReconSGT like this.