I stop by EvilOnes shop one afternoon about 6 months ago to see if he wants to get some lunch. Mexican is the choice of the day (Imagine that!!). So EO proceeds to tell me that he had just seen the post announcing WestFest 08 in Lake City, CO. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> <o></o> SB Whats WestFest & where the heck is Lake City, CO?<o></o> <o></o> EO WestFest is an ADVRider rally thingy. Anyway, Im going and I think it will be so cool to tell people we went to WestFest from North Carolina via the TransAm Trail. You wanna go?<o></o> <o></o> SB Sure, why not!! <o></o> <o></o> So this begins the planning! <o></o> <o></o> I had read BigDog and Gaspipes TAT thread from a couple of years ago and thought their trip was so cool and that I could only hope that one day I could have similar adventures. I thought a trip like this would be years in the future, after retirement but this seemed like a good opportunity.<o></o> <o>http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147232</o> <o></o> EvilOne owns a body shop and decides he will close his shop for 2 weeks, but only 2 weeks. I also work for myself so 2 weeks it is. So we start asking fellow inmates who have ridden the TAT what to expect. We were trying to determine how long it would take to make it to Lake City via the trail, allow time for the weekend, plus slab it home. We ended up with a loose plan of 8 days via the trail to Lake City, 3 days @ WestFest, 3 days slabbing it home. 14 days. Were golden.<o></o> <o></o> Over the next few months we start planning this trip. Our planning involved saying, Hey the trip date is getting closer, maybe we should do something. Well, sometimes life gets in the way of a good plan. EvilOne is out but Sneaker is in. <o></o> <o></o> Well Ive known Sneaker for quite a few years. We used to work together and even though hes quite a few years older than me we get along pretty good. Hes been riding sportbikes for years & is one hell of a rider. He does have very limited dirt experience though. In fact, hed only been on dirt 2 times in the previous 30 years of riding. Both times, hes borrowed my dualsport of the hour and proceeded to crash both times. So Sneaker goes out and finds a tagged XR650R. This is a great bike except for one (maybe two) problems. Hes pretty short legged and cant really touch the ground. It makes kick starting this monster while its on the sidestand, well entertaining <o></o> <o></o> Since EO is out were not really bound by a 2 week time frame so we stretch out travel window out to 3 weeks. Because Sneaker has a real job he had to plan is vacation around his fellow employees. We decided on July 11 as our departure day. Sneaker will try to get off early on that Fri and well take back roads to Jellico, TN and get a jump on the trail early Sat. morning. (July 12). Instead of heading to Lake City, CO for WestFest, we decide were just going to do the whole trail. Not really knowing what to expect and with our experience limited to mainly day rides around the house, we go into spending mode. Sneaker (Mike) has to buy dirt riding gear (the TAT in full leathers would really suck), camping gear, spares parts, tubes, new tires, a GPS, etc. The KLR is got was already set up with ammo cans as panniers, engine guards, crash bars, etc & I already had a Givi topcase and GPS so I just needed camping gear and my spares.