A Miner, A Cowboy, & 2 Bikers Walk into a Bar…..

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaBoy, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. SalsaBoy

    SalsaBoy Been here awhile

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    I stop by EvilOne’s 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.
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    SB “What’s WestFest & where the heck is Lake City, CO?”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    EO “WestFest is an ADVRider rally thingy. Anyway, I’m 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:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    SB “Sure, why not!!”
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    So this begins the planning!
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I had read BigDog and Gaspipe’s 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:p></o:p>

    <o:p>http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147232</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    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. We’re golden.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    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:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Well I’ve known Sneaker for quite a few years. We used to work together and even though he’s quite a few years older than me we get along pretty good. He’s been riding sportbikes for years & is one hell of a rider. He does have very limited dirt experience though. In fact, he’d only been on dirt 2 times in the previous 30 years of riding. Both times, he’s 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. He’s pretty short legged and can’t really touch the ground. It makes kick starting this monster while it’s on the sidestand, well “entertaining” :evil :rofl <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Since EO is out we’re 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 we’ll 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 we’re 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.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    and then what happens?

    :lurk
    #2
  3. sandmar

    sandmar llama llama..rabbit

    Joined:
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    +1 :ear
    #3
  4. SalsaBoy

    SalsaBoy Been here awhile

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    [​IMG]

    For the sake of introductions: Here are the inmates in question. Sneaker on left, Salsaboy on right.

    Anyway

    T-6 weeks<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    So there is a lot of talk about the 08 KLR and how the early production run of bikes had oil consumption issues. Well to this point I had about 9,000 miles on the killer and I only noticed very slight oil loss when I would ride at interstate speeds for extended periods of time. But hey, it’s a big thumper, what do you expect! I set out on an extended highway trip of about 350 miles and noticed when I got home that oil level in the sight glass had gone from the top line to the bottom line. Hum, that’s not good but I’ve got about 2 months left on the warranty so off to the Kawi shop we go.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    So after 5 weeks and 2 phone calls to Kawasaki North America, the Killa’ is finally ready with a new top end and cylinder. Only 3 days until departure. I’ve got to get this baby broke in.<o:p></o:p>

    6 days before scheduled departure

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    #4
  5. Nichelob

    Nichelob Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #5
  6. SalsaBoy

    SalsaBoy Been here awhile

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    Kevin @ Wicked Thunder hooked me up with some bits to get me started.
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    I have about 4500 miles on this Dunlop 606 rear. I was hoping to get the same mileage on our TAT trip so that was my choice of tires starting out. I thought I may have to change rears in Colorado but maybe I could stretch to Utah. I was thinking that the front would last the whole way.

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    Departure Day (July 11)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    I took the day off to pack up the bike and get ready. I’m spooning on my new 606s. The rear gives me a little trouble getting that last little bit of bead on so I just grab a bigger bar. “Pop” I thought I cracked the rim. Oh no!!! Rim looks ok but the tire goes on really easy. Hum, Broken bead on the tire. I scramble around and find a Cheng Shin MX tire about 20 miles away. It will have to do since its Friday afternoon and we’re supposed to be leaving in about 3 hrs.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    So Mike calls me up after lunch.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    SB “So you’re getting off work early? I had a tire problem but give me an hour or so and I’ll be ready.”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    S “NO, I’m not getting off work early. My GPS froze up last night, I’ve been on the phone with Garmin all day and they want me to send it in for repair.”<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Mike searches around and finds another GPS about and hour away. He has to have this one particular model to fit the mount on the XR. No problem. Go get the GPS load the maps and we’ll just leave on Sat morning. We’ve only lost half a day, no big deal. Mike ends up being up all night with Garmin getting unlock codes switched to the new unit, maps loaded, blah blah blah.

    New Departure Day (July 12)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Rise & Shine<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Bike is all loaded up, got my gear on, ready to hit the road. “Ring, Ring” <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    S “I’ve got a problem. Bike isn’t running right. It has no power and acts like its flooding out when I twist the throttle. Let me see what I can figure out and I’ll call you back.”

    A couple hours go by and still nothing. I get tired of waiting so I head over to Sneaker's house. Maybe I can be of some help. Or at least get some pics :evil
    <o:p></o:p>
    Sneaker had changed the jetting from the lean 5000’ elevation of the bikes previous home to the stock jetting. The bike had run perfectly before but now it’s fouling the plug. After spending all afternoon working on the XR, he went back with the lean jetting. It’s not running good but it’s running. Off we go. One day behind schedule.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    We finally get on the road about 5:00pm. I had mapped out a route to Jellico, TN avoiding the interstate and keeping on 2 lane country roads as much as possible. With such a late start we didn’t stop for many pictures plus from home until Johnson City, TN the roads were quite familiar anyway. We ended up going through the tunnel on Hwy 25e into Kentucky. Hwy 70 from Middlesboro, KY over to Jellico, TN was pretty treacherous, especially at night. We finally came rolling into the Days Inn about 11:00pm and 250 miles. We haven’t even gotten to the trail yet and already a rough start.<o:p></o:p>

    All packed up and ready to go!!
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    Pulling up to Sneaker's. Only 24hrs behind schedule
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    But the KLR is nice, clean, and ready to go!!
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    Finally!!
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    #6
  7. little foot

    little foot seriously not serious

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    need more on the rode trip.
    #7
  8. Sneaker

    Sneaker Been here awhile

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    Well Salsaboy (SB) has done a pretty good job of bringing everyone up to speed. Before we began, my suggestion for the thread was going to be something like '3 days dirt experience (me) and 3 days to departure and no engine (SB)' - A TAT Adventure, but as you will eventually see, SB's title is better.

    I've been riding motorcycles since I can remember but my dirt experience was all in my childhood on a Honda 50 and later an SL70. After that, it has been all street. Started riding my dad's '76 CB550 on the street when I was 15 and from there went to '84 Honda 500 Intercepter, '87 Honda 600 Hurricane, '98 Yamaha R1, 2000 Honda RC51, '06 Yamaha R6 and '76 CB 750.

    SB let me borrow is Honda XL250 one weekend to ride with Evilone and a few others and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't in love with riding dual sport.

    I've always wanted to ride a motorcycle x-country, but I always had a streetbike in mind, then Evilone tells me about his plan to ride off road to Westfest on the TAT.

    TAT, what's that I ask and he educates me and I immediately take an interest. It wasn't the street, but it was an adventure, so I was stoked and ready to leave right that minute.

    I remember reading in Nichelob's thread about the various emotions he experienced before he left for his TAT adventure and mine were similar. Intially I was so excited and gung ho, but then later began thinking what have I gotten myself into as I began preparing and buying everything I needed.... which included a bike, bike prep, dirt riding gear, modern lightweight camping gear, etc. etc. As the date got closer, I got excited again, but then became apprehensive again, thinking 'can we really pull this off'.

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    Finally the day came and I took my GPS to work to review a truncated map and the GPS quits working. Luckily my boss let me leave work a few hours early so I could go try to get it sorted. Ended up having to buy another unit and staying up until 1:30AM getting it all sorted (long story).

    Next morning, I finally get packed.

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    I lock up the house and I'm off. Get to the top of my street and traffic is coming, but I'm on a motorcycle, so I pull out and gas it!!! :D The bike bogs and spits and sputters. I about get run over, but luckily I don't and it takes me about 3 minutes just to get around the block and back to my house. I had upgraded to a uni-filter the week before, so I'm thinking that's the problem and yank the old filter out of the trash can covered in dirt and dog hair, quickly clean it, dry and and re-oil and throw it back in the bike. No joy! :waysad Barry shows up and after much experimenting, I eventually throw the jets it came with back in and it runs. She's lean, but she runs.

    Here's Barry trying to be patient and not cook in the mid-day Southern heat.

    [​IMG]

    We finally get away and go a mile to grab some late lunch/early dinner at Backyard Burger. 24 hours past our scheduled departure time and we have 1 mile under our belts. :clap
    #8
  9. kevlar930

    kevlar930 Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #9
  10. Sneaker

    Sneaker Been here awhile

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    The ride over to Jellico was fun. Lots of good twisty pavement which I love.

    On the entrance to one corner, there was horse poop in the road. I didn't think much of it, but then going into another corner, I see horse poop again. Hmmm... I better slow down. We finally go around another corner and there's a horse only about 5 ft off the road just eating some grass. I didn't see a rider, but I thought I remember seeing reins.

    The XR went on reserve and I noted the mileage (150 miles), but something was a miss because this number would come back and haunt me later. :wink: We stopped for gas at some little store/restaurant. The elderly lady behind the counter asked us where we were going and we told her Oregon. She was dumbfounded. She said she used to live in Colorado and we told her we would be going through there. She let us use their 'out of order' toliet. It seems the 'out of order' sign is just for the undesireables, so we were happy we qualified as desireables. As we were remounting, she came to the window and stared out at us. The look on her face made me think that she wished she was going with us.... even at her age and I felt privilidged to be able to do what we were setting out to do and at the same time a little sad that she was stuck there and couldn't come.

    [​IMG]

    We got stopped by a roadblock in some small town. Barry had the nice cop and I had the bad cop. Mine immediately told me to take off my helmet. I asked do you want me to pull over (meaning out of the road since it was going to take some time to disrobe). He immediately shoots back, 'Why do you want to pull over?!?' I didn't ask you to pull over?!?!' Luckily, Serpico gets a cell phone call, probably from Mrs. Serpico, so another officer comes over without the attitude. He asks where we are going and I can hear Barry shouting at the other officer. You better take those earplugs out Barry before we end up in the county lock-up and I didn't sign on for that adventure.:viking

    The ride over the mountain to Jellico was an experience as it was pitch black and misting. I watched Barry go across the double yellow line several times, once almost to the guardrail on the other side of the road and I'm thinking, I hope this ends soon, but we rolled into the Day's Inn parking lot around 11PM.

    We didn't expect to have much trouble w/ the neighbors since someone had recently driven a car/truck into the room next to ours. I took a quick shower and came out to a stinky room. Evidentally Barry had already broken into his ration supply - a can of sardines. :dg

    There was another dual sport bike in the parking lot, so we immediately assume we are going to have some company in the morning on our start of the TAT.
    #10
  11. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    Been waiting on this, Been waiting beeeeen waitinggggggg:clap :clap :clap :clap



    :ear
    #11
  12. EVILONE

    EVILONE Long timer

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    see......without EVIL ther can be no good!:evil

    I have heard the tall tails,and had a few previews of the pics,but I cant wait for the thread!:clap

    Im glad you guys took this adventure and ran with it.Sorry I bailed on ya:cry

    EVIL:evil
    #12
  13. Sneaker

    Sneaker Been here awhile

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    Sunday July 13, 2008

    So, day 2 arrives and thus the true beginning of our trip and the start of the TAT.

    We partake of the continental breakfast, fuel our steeds and off we go. The skys were threatening and the weather channel showed lots of green stuff in the area, so we had donned our rain gear.

    Almost immediately my brand new GPS goes on the blink and powers down. After 3-4 attempts of trying to get it to work and after SB's first turn of the TAT leads us up a dead end road, :augie I decide it is best to pull over and try to fix it. It appears the memory card is coming loose and when it does, the unit powers down. Rather than mess with it, I remove the card and the GPS runs, although only w/ the route (internal memory) and not my maps. Oh well, I was more comfortable following SB anyway until I get more accustomed to this dirt thing. :D

    I did remember programming in the first turn, so I led us to that point and then let SB take over.

    SB had deliberatley by-passed some of the trail that has you going out of the way in order to stay on the dirt, but I don't think we missed much. A lot of Eastern TN looks a lot like Western NC, so in the interest of time, which we were in short supply of, this was probably a smart move. For this same reason, I didn't take many pictures on this day.

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    For most of Tenn. and even pretty much through most of the SouthEast the biggest threat to our well being appeared to be domestic wildlife (a.k.a. dogs). We Southerners really like our dawgs! Today was the first time I've ever seen a dog chasing a motorcycle from the front and SB had one get in front of him and was almost running backwards trying to sample the Dunlop chewtoy.

    Later, I had a HUGE German Shepard with a nice lead pursuit on me barrelling down a hill. When I first saw him, I do believe his hind legs and front legs had changed position. He was fast, but the XR was faster. You have to love the torque of a big single.

    We had a quick lunch at Subway and Barry decides to jinx us by taking off his raingear. It wasn't 15-20 minutes later and it starts to sprinkle right around here...

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    ...before deciding to really open up in order to watch SB's rain dance while putting his raingear back on. The rain gods were laughing... so was I. :lol3

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    Another interesting sight, that I didn't get a picture of, was the Baptist Church w/ the huge jumbo-tron out front. I guess that's for instant replays. 'Let's look at that again as Billy Joe takes another swig from his flask. The call on the field stands... Sinner!!!'

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    We stopped at one point before heading into the woods and the man who lived beside the trail came over and told us it was just an old 'pig path' but that it did come out on the other side. We started down it and it got steep and rocky and I began to hope it came out because I don't know if I could have ridden back out the way we came, but it did.

    New definition of water sports...
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    I guess we did NOT read up enough to know about this bridge being out...
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    Below, SB contemplates it.... (click the below to hear a recording of our discussion) :wink:
    http://www.moviewavs.com/php/sounds/?id=gog&media=WAVS&type=Movies&movie=Road_Trip&quote=makeit75.txt&file=makeit75.wav

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    I liked this scene...
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    Finally, we had to slab it a little to find a motel. We settled on one in Manchester, TN and actually had to ride about 5 miles of interstate to get there. :cry
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    Approx. 300 miles for the day.
    #13
  14. rthuey

    rthuey twist your wrist!!!

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    insanity is not as easy as i make it look
    WTF ... i came in here for a joke and a RR broke out :dunno
    #14
  15. EVILONE

    EVILONE Long timer

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    Well if Sneaker and SalsaBoy do ride reports like I do,you will only have to wait 2 or 3 months to hear the joke:rofl

    EVIL:evil
    #15
  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Great stuff so far, keep it coming!:clap:clap
    #16
  17. NewHampWoodsRider

    NewHampWoodsRider Tag Captor

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Way Down North, New Hampshire
    Manchester TN, Went to Bonnaroo there. Hot and very humid!

    I thought I had rednecks in New Hampshire, boy was I wrong!

    Sounds like a great trip, have fun, be safe!!!!!!!!
    Keep us posted!!

    How you like the KLR?
    I'm thinking about ordering a 2009 model this fall!

    The XR is quite a beast as well!
    #17
  18. SalsaBoy

    SalsaBoy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
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    And a TAT ride report at that!!! :clap
    #18
  19. SalsaBoy

    SalsaBoy Been here awhile

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    Nov 8, 2004
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    RTP, NC
    Slept good at the Days Inn-Jellico. It helped that we didn’t have any neighbors. Seems like someone got the gas and brake pedal confused. Maybe TN finest had to bust a meth lab. Hum.
    [​IMG]

    The day started out dreary & overcast. Looks like it could rain any minute so I go ahead and start out the day with my Frogg Toggs on. After breakfast and gas we’re finally ready to hit the trail. First turn out of town, Dead End. Hum, is someone trying to tell us something about this trip?

    Finally on the trail
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    East TN is very reminiscent of western North Carolina with mountains, trees, and nice fast hardpacked gravel. Making good time. The sky stays cloudy all morning but somehow we manage to miss all of the rain. We stop for lunch in Wartburg, TN and the sun is coming out. So I tell Sneaker, “I’m gonna go ahead and take off my rain gear so it can start raining.” Dang, I was just kidding!!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Saw a lot of ATVs on the road today. At least a dozen. From teens to older adults. Heck, I even so one guy with a helmet. I’m pretty sure its against the law but whose policing these parts?<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    As we motored east there was a noticeable change in topography. The mountains and hardwood forests made way for rolling hills and pastureland. Or only plan is to be in Portland on Aug, 2 so we just ride until we get tired then look for a place to stay. We decide on Manchester, TN with hopes of making it to MS tomorrow.<o:p></o:p>

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    I wasn't sure if this was some sort of deep south integration scheme or an exclusive club. Either way, I found interesting. It was too early in the day for us to stop though.
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    The skies looked like this just about all day but we only got rained on for about 20 minutes.
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    #19
  20. SalsaBoy

    SalsaBoy Been here awhile

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    RTP, NC
    I calculated that we'd have to hit the ramp at 102 mph. Unfortunately, the stock gearing on the KLR would only allow a top speed of 99mph so we went around. :evil


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    We found this place in Sparta, TN and had some dinner. Yummy :freaky
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    Manchester, TN
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    #20