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. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Off across the mighty Tennessee River.
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    Quite a few nice places down in the river bottoms. Of course, they are built on stilts.
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    Tennesse River
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    When you get to Saltillo, the gas station in town is out of business. Go down to the river - there is a place there. I really enjoyed my stop there. People were very friendly and asked a lot of questions about my trip. I had to stand in line for a few minutes inside and it was pleasant listening to the soft southern accents and the conversations that varied from turkey hunting to church.
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    Roads along the TN River bottoms.
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    Heading toward hill country.
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    #41
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  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Not 50 yards across the border I came to a hand scrawled sign directing me to some "mudding". I rode down a narrow rough road to see what was up.
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    They invited me to join in on my DL . . . but I had to take a pass on it.
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    Time to move on. Catch you folks later.
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    #42
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  3. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

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    Fantastic Bryan!! :thumb

    Those back roads look great. You really decked out that DL since the last time I saw it. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
    #43
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Location:
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    Mississippi hill country.
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    The sand was good to ride on.
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    I rolled up to this water crossing at Tubby Creek. I got off and did my usual recon. It didn't look too bad - maybe knee to thigh deep with a sand bottom. If I was on my DRZ I would have ridden across - even solo. But on the DL, I thought differently. I didn't know how much water the DL could take. If I killed it out in the middle, I might not be able to haul the heavy bike out by myself. Since the kickstand would be useless out there, I could put myself in a real fix - standing around holding up a dead bike I couldn't move or park. Oh well, I guess I'll take a quick pee and turn around. You can see the tire tracks in the foreground where a car or truck turned around as well.
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    When I looked back out at the crossing, damn if there wasn't a water moccasin swimming along from right to left. When I first saw the snake (head up, gliding along) it was in the water over the roadway. It moved into some emergent vegetation on the left side and then continued on to the far shore. It was mesmerizing to watch this thing move. When I regained my wits I went for my camera and tried to zoom in and get a snapshot. I missed twice. My camera doesn't have a viewfinder. All I was seeing was the reflected glare from the sun on my face on the LCD screen. Glad I had decided against crossing. If I had not stopped to pee, we might have met each other out in the middle. You may want to cut yourself a stout walking stick before you mess around at this crossing (or carry a shotgun:D ) and have your buddy keep an eye on your back. Water moccasins will approach you. (No irrational fear here, just recognizing that this is their habitat and you may run into each other.)
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    As I was getting ready to leave, this gentleman showed up. He was checking to see if the town had done anything about the crossing. He said a beaver used to have a dam on the left side of the road. About two years ago, old castor decided to build on the right side which flooded the road. This gentleman was more that disappointed that the town had done nothing about it yet despite complaints. I told him about the cottonmouth and how even though I had already decided not to cross, once I saw the snake moving around any remaining mental debate about crossing was over. Notice the pistol on his seat - there is a reason for that . . .
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    #44
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  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I did the go-around on Tubby Creek, although I had to backtrack quite a ways to get around it.

    Other sights.
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    The gravel in TN was nice with good traction. I noticed that control was a little squirrelly on roads in this region. It was like riding on marbles. Instead of the nice sharp gravel in TN, this was more like some kind of rounded river stone or other till.
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    This gravel does more rolling or sliding than it does compacting. This is also the first region in which my tires started to pick up stones and throw them against the bike.
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    Speaking of traction, lets check in on that rear TKC 80 to see how it is holding up. It has about 1400 miles on it (mostly pavement) and still has most of the tread. I am running 36/41 on air pressure (load on back). I am trying to make the rear tire last 4000 miles to get me home.
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    Sam ran the route along a brushy fenceline trail for a short distance. I started to take it but then my better judgement meter indicated I needed to go around this short stretch. Too big of a bike to be busting brush alone.
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    I went back out to the road and pulled the brush off the bike. Good thing I went around. When I got to the other end - to where I thought the trail came out - all I could see was downed trees.
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    I was getting weary and hungry. I went and got a tank of gas, something to eat, and a campsite at Wall Doxey State Park. It cost me $11 with the vehicle pass. Turns out my neighbor was from Antioch, IL and Kenosha, WI. Small world. Kids were screaming as they played well past dark. I did my usual trick - playing a small portable radio through headphones all night to eliminate other distracting/waking noises. Slept very well.
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    (End of Day 2 Columbia, TN to Waterford, MS About 360 miles)
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    #45
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  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Those boxes are nice. Once you load up the bike though, it is hard to deal with it unless you are on the move. I am a big guy and even for me picking up the bike is a challenge sometimes.
    #46
  7. Brian y

    Brian y Been here awhile

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    Another Great Report from Cannon.:clap

    Keep it coming.:freaky
    #47
  8. ThumperDRZ

    ThumperDRZ Bouncing off Rocks!

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    Great Report - we're heading down to Arkansas next weekend....
    Hope the weather is like what you had or even what we are experiencing this weekend.
    #48
  9. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

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    Just found your report Bryan. Good job writing and picture taking as usual. Look forward to the rest. I too am suprised a big bike can handle the route. I thought it was a little more offroad? Maybe that's just the western half?
    #49
  10. Rustic

    Rustic Star Benchwarmer

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    Extra thanks for your timing, Cannonshot! :clap I'll be doing the TN and MS sections in a couple weeks. I appreciate the pics and all the details... no doubt they'll be invaluable to me and my partners. :thumb
    #50
  11. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    :clap
    #51
  12. YZman

    YZman Bouncing off Trees

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    Just stumbled apon your report Brian. Great...Now I have 3 ride reports on here I have to follow....Thanks :lol3

    Looks like you had a great time.
    #52
  13. blackbirdzach

    blackbirdzach Daily Adventurer

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    Like I said on page 1, GOLD! :bow :bow :bow

    Can't wait for more! :lurk
    #53
  14. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    Cannon, man you got stones to take that big of machine alone all the way. I wish I could have caught up with you and rode part of OK with you and showed you some great places close to the TAT around here.
    #54
  15. JohnTM

    JohnTM Who's my daddy? Supporter

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    Howdy, Cannonshot!

    I've crossed (or failed to cross) most of those you have pictured. Yep, you seem to understand creek snot now. Best you try to walk across first.

    Welcome to the south, and enjoy your ride!


    PS: Id recommend dumping some air out of that rear TKC. It ain't gonna get you home anyway.
    #55
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I really enjoy Arkansas and I'm sure I'll be back there on my DRZ or something like it. Perhaps we'll get a chance to hook up down there.
    #56
  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Mike,

    This part of the trail seems more weather dependent than limited by bike size. I had a little grief further down the trail. Come to think of it, I would have had the same grief on my DRZ but it might have been easier to handle with a lighter bike that is easier to horse around. In some areas, when there is mud, it appears as if there is no travel on anything with two wheels. I had some problems along that line later on.
    #57
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    If it seems like I am posting a lot of pictures and commentary, I am doing it on purpose. I looked at a lot of information when I was trying to determine what it would be like to ride the DL on the route. There was a lot of great information around, but I still had a lot of gaps/uncertainty about certain areas/things in my mind. From some of the comments, it seems others do too. I am trying to help take care of the next guy by adding some more detail to the excellent material that is already out there. I hope it helps those that already have plans and encourages a lot more folks to consider riding some of the route - especially on a big comfortable bike.
    #58
  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Hi Don,

    A trip like this would be nice on your new DL 1000 . . .

    I liked the TKC 80s. If I could get a few more miles out of them, I'd consider running them all the time.
    #59
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  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks Zach.
    #60