Big Bike Solo on the Trans-Am Trail (TN-MS-AR-OK-NM)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Eurobiker

    Eurobiker Vintage Cat Herder

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    :lurk :thumb
    #21
  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    There are neat little waterfalls and watercourses along the route. The road frequently has a steep drop off.
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    If you look at little further at these scenic stops, you often find the pile of garbage that people dumped over the edge.
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    Even along the side of the road you will find half burned couches, discarded household junk, and general litter. I came across this in one of the county seats. I wonder if this is the guy that busted Arlo Guthrie.
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    Despite the dumping, most of the area is beautiful. The roads and rivers are quite scenic.
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    Most of the roads have little or no warning signage or markings. This very narrow road did. I think it was a sort of designated tourist route.
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    Nav setup. Just follow the track line. Why the rubber bands? The unit doesn't fit in the cradle properly with the optional battery pack.
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    #22
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    In TN there is a lot of paved stuff that has a similar configuration. Fantastic road ride too!
    #23
  4. leahyz

    leahyz Gigantic Tool

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    Must...... Buy.... Maps.......

    :tb
    #24
  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I headed into the Catoosa Wildlife Area. I had been seeing a lot of deer and turkeys (and continued to do so for much of the route). In Catoosa there were a lot of deer - be careful. I also saw a bobcat there. The cat was more grey colored than what I have seen in WI. It had to cross an open area to get back to cover. Just before it went in the woods it turned and looked at me. Even though these cats are only 4-5 times the size of a housecat, it still gives you a little thrill/chill when you face each other.
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    In Catoosa
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    An entertaining section in Catoosa.
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    Trust no water crossings. This one was ok but carefully pick your line.
    I have not seen rock this slick back home.
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    These roads are just a really nice ride . . .
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    #25
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  6. flyingbeard

    flyingbeard Long timer

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    :lurk Very Nice Start.
    #26
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    There is no need to ride this thing hard. Just find a comfortable pace and enjoy. Believe me, you will get enough thrills - even taking it easy. I mentioned I rode the first two days in a single day's ride. All I did was ride "normally" - I didn't push it. If I was in a group on my DRZ 200 miles a day would have been good. Solo on the DL (comfort) 400 was fine.

    You don't meet many vehicles on most of these roads. Just so you don't get complacent, remember that when you do meet vehicles it can be kind of tight. I shared with logging trucks, a cement truck, a garbage truck (dropping off or picking up I wonder . . .), and (in Oklahoma) even a truck full of explosives coming out of my lane on a 90 degree corner.

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    #27
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  8. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Wow! It's not as rustic as I thought it would be, it looks doable on a bigger D-S bike :thumb
    #28
  9. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    It is hard not to smile when you are cruising along some of these roads.
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    This was part of an old railroad grade. Fantastic ride.
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    The grades were nice and the curves were even.
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    The cuts and fills through the hills were awesome.
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    Of course, anywhere there was a steep drop off, there was garbage.
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    I was cruising along, enjoying the ride, and minding my own business when I came around a corner and found a van parked on the outside of the curve in my path. I had a little off camber and gravel problem to deal with but I tried to turn inside the van to miss it. When I did, I lost traction on the front. Dirt bike tricks for changing direction don't work so good on a big heavy bike - too much mass and velocity. I was still upright and sliding toward the drop off. Seeing I was going to go over the edge I just pulled the bike over, let go, and went for a slide.
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    Damn if one of those boxes didn't dig in and stop the bike.
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    Like I was saying, there are thrills enough . . . even taking it easy.

    (By the way, that ATGATT stuff works good. Not a scratch on me.)
    #29
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  10. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    TVA project.
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    Downstream
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    Near a hydro plant.
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    Even a small crossing like this can get you . . .
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    Nice road ride.
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    There are a lot of dogs that sleep on the roads in these rural areas. They also leave their "toys" like old boots, etc laying on the roads. Most get up and give you an annoyed look as they get out of the way. Some chase you but none are too serious about really catching you.
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    This is a VERY BAD water crossing. I opted to try to go to the right and slowly motor across with my feet down. Feet down is important. Once it starts to go there is no time to get feet off the pegs before you go over.
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    You can see where I came out. Even the small amount of power needed to get up that slight incline to the gravel will break the wheel loose. Once it starts to go it really goes!
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    Now, someone is going to comment that they or someone they knew rode straight across and didn't fall. Probably happened just that way, but it was probably more luck than anything. Better to creep across while trying to keep the bike straight up and with your feet down IMHO.

    Every now and then you pop out of the sticks and cross a major highway.
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    This might describe some of those water crossings . . .
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    Concrete version of a water crossing. Just as slippery. . .
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    Shadows are starting to get long. . . time to find a place to stay for the night.
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    People in TN-MS-AR were very friendly. Seems like everyone waved. Where I could I made it a point to do the same. I lived in TN for a few years. This trip allowed me to revisit some of the things I enjoyed about the area.
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    I had planned to camp most nights. Tonight I was tired and decided to stay in a recommended motel in Columbia, TN. Camping is a little scarce along the route in TN anyway - at least where you would want it to be according to your timetable. I had two books on "free camping' (that is - less than $12 a night) - one for the eastern US and one for the west. They are good as they cover things that aren't too visible in other sources (like Corps of Engineers, municipal campgrounds, etc). These books are worth having.

    (End of Day 1. Columbia, TN About 400 miles.)
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    #30
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  11. gosling1

    gosling1 Been here awhile

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    :clap
    Many thanks for taking the time to post summary AND photos for the Eastern segment of the TAT! I know it's often overlooked in comparison to the Western segment due to scenery and not being "challenging" enough, but for some of us, that'll be the only part(s) that we ride due to bike selection and/or time resources. It's surreal reading this and knowing that I'll be on it a week from today. The details and photos are most welcome and I wish my riding buddy had broadband so he could preview what's to come. I am admittedly, more than nervous about the water crossings, having heard the stories since I've been researching the TAT. To the point that I'm going to pull the Gobi bags off of the Tiger and use the QRL Ortlieb bags that I purchased just for this situation. Weather permitting, we're going to try to camp as much as possible even though it means a slight detour or riding beyond Sam's designated nightly stops. We're both running TKC80s on our bikes, so it'll be interesting to read how yours performs.
    Like you, I'll be relying on a Garmin GPS with the waypoints already programmed in - figure it'll be much quicker navigation than relying on the roll charts - may let my buddy use them on his holder as a backup.

    Thanks again & keep the report coming!

    :clap
    #31
  12. Tn_Dutch

    Tn_Dutch Hill Country Rider

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    Keep it coming cannon, hoping to do at least the Tn portion soon myself. Just reading this has got me scouring the aftermarket parts dealers for the upgrades I'll need on the KLR. When the wife gets mad, I'm gonna blame you :evil
    #32
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  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Don't get too spooked about the water crossings. The big ones are the most troublesome. Just pull up and look them over. If you find a line you want to try, go for it - but take it real easy. Keep your feet down and hang on to the bars as sometimes the front end bobbles around and will slip out. If you don't see something decent that you are "comfortable" with, just go around. I did all crossings (except one in MS that had other issues that I'll cover later) and didn't fall. That is not to say that I didn't have a couple of close calls . . .
    #33
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Dutch, you'll love it.:D
    #34
  15. paochow

    paochow Bye bye desert

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    So far sounds like a good trip for my Uly.
    #35
  16. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    Cannon, great pics and story, I rode my KTM950 a month ago on many parts of the TAT and found the big bike was a great ride in Arkansas, I can not wait to complete the Eastern Section myself.
    #36
  17. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    great photos Is Warlock Road still on the route? Man I was hoping I was on the right path 7 years ago on my KLR bouncing down those steps.
    I'll be on some of the TAT today playing about/ I love the FM1003 road so that's where I'll be along with playing on the many black top roads out here/ on day 4 of Arkansas today developing a oneness with the DL1000 ;-0
    #37
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Warloop Road is still part of the fun. (I'll cover more on that later.)
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    That part of Arkansas has some great riding! Wish I was riding along!
    #38
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    It was still a little cool in the morning so I was bundled up. The chart on the left thigh is a matrix of miles-fuel-camping that serves as a reference for me to quickly decide whether to stop or go on. Anyway, I climbed on the bike, turned the key, and hit the starter. It didn't crank. I made a common DL mistake the night before. When I locked the fork, I turned the key one click too far and turned on the tail lights. I had enough juice to charge the fuel system but not turn the starter. I bump started on the sloping motel driveway and headed out.
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    Nice route along a riverway, but I had to chase these guys off the road.
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    Tennessee Amish look about the same as Wisconsin Amish.
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    This road was a nice ride.
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    They snuck this one in on a corner.
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    Signs like this were posted throughout the entire route. Some even on more major roads.
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    Another nice road to ride.
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    Typical rural bridge in TN. Some got much more primitive in MS.
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    #39
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Another slippery crossing.
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    Happy to be across another one without taking a fall.
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    Looking back after I crossed. I crossed on the left side of the picture and came up the dry rocks next to the concrete. The front end bobbled and slipped on this one.
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    This small one gave me a good slip on the front wheel.
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    This was a fun road to ride.
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    #40
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