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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    Hi John,

    I was too skeered to walk across! I went with the four points of marginal contact method instead.

    I considered dropping some pressure to improve traction a little, but the bike was doing so well I opted to deal with the load instead. We'll have to see how that tire saga turns out . . .:evil
    #61
  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Another trip for your list Brian.:D
    #62
  3. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul

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    I live kinda close to many of those TN/MS shots - that snake riddled watercrossing is one of my favorites. That road is an SOB when it's rainy and wet.

    Good stuff.

    :lurk
    #63
  4. terra tamer

    terra tamer proud n00b

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    cannon great report and pics on the ride. I did the eastern section of the TAT on an 1150gs and had a blast. got a little hairy a couple of times using the roll charts, though. anyways, a couple of friends and i start the western section at OK the first of june. how do i dump the rollcharts and create a gps route to follow with my garmin quest. any advice! and that water crossing with the moccassin turned us back also, it was frozen solid. good luck and keep it coming.
    #64
  5. GCRad1

    GCRad1 Been here awhile

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    Cannonshot,

    would like to know more about how you loaded the info into your Garmin GPS. I just got the Garmin 60CSx and need to learn more about how to do this!!! If anyone reading this know's where there is more info on this, please chime in! Can't wait to see the rest of your report!!!
    #65
  6. gosling1

    gosling1 Been here awhile

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    GCRad1 -

    Not sure how Cannonshot did it, but what I ended up doing what taking the GPS coords that Sam supplied on the rollcharts (bear in mind that as you head further west, there's fewer coverage with GPS coords on the roolcharts - TN & MS are 100% - AR is <100% and after that it drops off pretty good) and created waypoints in Garmins MapSource program. Then used the autoroute feature of the program to create a route, verifying it with the maps that Sam supplies. If there's not 100% coverage with GPS coords, you've have to cross reference the Garman MapSource program maps, Sam's maps, and the roll-chart directions to create the waypoints. I used the CitySelect mapset that comes with the 60c - as you get out further West, you'd want to switch to the Topo mapset I'd imagine...Of course, YMMV and there's probably an easier way to do this. I know I spent HOURS keying in the waypoints for just TN & MS...[
    quote=GCRad1]Cannonshot,

    would like to know more about how you loaded the info into your Garmin GPS. I just got the Garmin 60CSx and need to learn more about how to do this!!! If anyone reading this know's where there is more info on this, please chime in! Can't wait to see the rest of your report!!!
    [/quote]
    #66
  7. Rustic

    Rustic Star Benchwarmer

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    I, for one, really appreciate your efforts. :bow Like you, I've read a ton of reports on this route. It appears that you were very lucky to have dry weather for your run, at least for what you've posted so far. I hope we're equally lucky in that regard... like Gaspipe mentioned, that MS dirt looks to be very greasy when wet.
    The slimy creekbeds, well... we'll just give it our best shot! :dunno

    If you have more on the TAT, bring it! :clap
    #67
  8. touche

    touche RidAventure maniac

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    Bravo... nice report so far...

    Keep going, I will do TN-MS-AR from may 21 to may 25... youreally made a great job so far.
    #68
  9. Q-dog

    Q-dog Adventurer

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    Much

    Great report, glad to see you and the bike made it one piece.
    #69
  10. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Fine job and thanks for the report. I had done a lot of Arkansas on my R11GSA in the late '90's only to discover lots of the roads I was on were a part of the TAT. Now when it's raining, Eastern Arkansas can be very bad on any bike. I once quit the trail for a better day on my DR350 loaded down with camping equipment due to being alone and very sloppy road conditions. Came back later on my KLR and completed the whole thing. This was when I saw familiar roads.
    I was on some of the TAT yesterday morning (breakfast at Oark) (FM1003) on my DL 1000 and then when I hit US 71 , turned south and burned it home to S. Louisiana
    #70
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The GPS thing is pretty easy. I draw a trackline to follow instead of building a route with waypoints.

    When you get Sam's maps, he has the route traced with a highlighter. You are going to do approximately the same thing in your GPS map software.

    I use Garmin MapSource Topo (3 CDs covers the US). I open MapSource, call up the detailed maps from the CD, and then use the track drawing tool. For a very tight track, set the scale at about .2 mile (the same scale I use to follow the track .2-.3 mi). Then draw the track by clicking trackpoints on the roads/trails highlighted on Sam's maps approximately tracing the shape of the road. It comes out as a connect the dots kind of line that is right on top of the road. Tight turns require more dots, long straight stretches require only a couple of dots. You only have to be really tight when there are choices - like intersections. On a winding road with no intersections, the track can be drawn loose. If you make a mistake, there are tools to make corrections. Sometimes a tight track is hard to see on your GPS because it is right on the road and you have to look more closely to pick it out. In my GPS I can set colors/traits for the track to make it stand out when I want to follow it. If you have a black and white model, you might want a slightly looser track (one that isn't always directly on top of the road) to make it easier to see. You end up with a huge single track of the route that won't load into a GPS without truncating (cutting off what it can't fit in). Depending on your GPS, you may have to cut up the track. On mine, I had to cut it into sections of about 500 points each. My GPS would take up to 20 of these sections which means I had to dump some to load the 2-3 remaining sections at the end. I could have reduced the number of points so that I could get the whole route loaded at one time, but I didn't bother.

    Once you have a trackline, you can see it on your computer screen which allows you to only load the detailed topo background maps that the route crosses over. I had plenty of storage space for background maps for the section I rode.

    A trackline doesn't enable instructions to turn. It is just a line to follow. I like it because it is a moving map that allows me to see the shape of the road/trail ahead of me. With the orientation on your GPS set so that up is the direction you are going, it is incredibly easy to follow the route. You can also zoom in/out if you are looking for towns/gas etc. If you do a go-around, it is easy to find the route again. You just ride back to the trackline.

    No road signs to look for, no odometer to keep track of, no roll chart to load, read, and turn. . .

    There are other more sophisticated ways to build routes, but this is so quick and easy I use it a lot. Sometimes I don't even load the background maps, I just follow the line.
    #71
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Pulled out of Wall Doxey State Park campground and hit the road.

    I think I mentioned earlier that some of the rural bridges in MS were marginal. This one was otherwise wide open for travel but bore this sign.
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    More Mississippi roads.
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    Still a litter problem.
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    Sorry about the focus. . . this is how it really looked to me anyway as I hadn't had coffee yet.
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    Another reason I like following the trackline . . . this turn was not visible until you were nearly on top of it.
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    #72
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  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Ran across some kudzu patches. I saw a kudzu eradication demonstration plot as well. This stuff was dead but had already done a lot of damage. Don't know if this was killed by eradication or not. A park ranger told me that some of it got knocked back with a significant frost they had. In areas where kudzu was prevalent it seems like it killed everything else. Trees were stripped bare of their limbs. The ranger told me that kudzu takes over everything. He said if I stood still for 15 minutes it would take me over too. He said it was brought in for erosion control at the Worlds Fair earlier in the century. Then as a bitter afterthought he added "And it doesn't control erosion either."
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    This bridge out is not an issue. There is a road that goes into town. Must be an old sign.
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    Many of the small towns were really depressed.
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    A little levee riding.
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    Essentially a gravel road with steep sides.
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    Isle of Capri Casino. This is a recommended lodging stop just before you cross the Mississippi River.
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    #73
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  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Crossed the Mississippi River at Helena, AR.
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    The river was a little high but not too bad.
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    Someone wanted to know what was on the bike.
    Touratech tank bag with integrated saddle bags. Saddle bags are nice for distributing some weight forward. Tank bag looks big as the neck is unzipped right now allowing it to be expanded. Crash bars (a must on a DL). A must-have bash plate that saved me an oil cooler, pipe, oil filter, and case later in the trip. Radiator guard. A front fender extender that keeps mud off the oil cooler (we'll have to see how that works out later on . . . :evil ). Happy trails boxes that had good seals and turned out to be quite durable. An Alaska Leathers sheepskin. OEM grip heaters that served me well on many days of this ride. A handy dashboard shelf. An oversized windshield that I can look over or through - really like it. A roll chart holder, 12v plug, drink holder, and GPS mount. (Man that is a lot of stuff!)
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    I carry a waterproof Pentax Optio camera in a belt holster that has a magentic flap. The camera is tethered to a key ring that is looped through a zipper tag. The retractable lanyard allows for one handed use on the move. You can let go of the camera and not worry about it.
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    #74
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  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Enough administrative announcements already, lets get back on the road . . .
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    More of that marble riding gravel.
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    Don't think for a moment that you can ride this if it is wet. Go around!
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    I say again, go around. There is nothing but misery on something like this if it is wet.
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    Rice fields. They plow up these contoured berms so they can flood the field.
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    This culvert was dug out forcing a go around. When I was up there nosing around a water snake swam toward me but ducked off into the weeds before getting to shore. This one was black with brown splotches and looked like a more common water snake - no worries. I chased one of these off a culvert crossing earlier that morning.
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    A soft sand road. The DL handled it ok.
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    More levee riding near the White River.
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    #75
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  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Crossing the White River - a sportsman's paradise (with apologies to Louisiana).
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    More rice fields. I had duck hunted some flooded rice (and timber) with some buddies down here before.
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    Riding some field roads.
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    Ran up on a snake in my lane on one of these grassy two tracks. Shifted over to the other lane and didn't stop to chat.
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    Tornado damage?
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    Nice ride through this area.
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    A little rougher, but still ok.
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    #76
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  17. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    A screw came out of the chain guard. Eventually the guard caught on the wheel and folded forward making a noise like a playing card on bike spokes.
    Pulled it out and zip tied it out of the way. That is the only thing that shook loose.
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    Getting to the eastern edge of Ozark country.
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    Wile E. and his buddy. (hope that fence wasn't ACME brand)
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    Coyote problem.
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    Bad accident.
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    It ain't the Cycle Conservation Club (of MI) . . .
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    #77
  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    I keep coming across what looked like orange industrial electrical cords strung all over. I wonder what was up so I checked further.
    Seismic sensors.
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    This seismic stuff was spread out for miles.
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    Cords were strung across roads.
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    They were looking for natural gas. I guess they drilled seven wells and hit oil each time instead. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
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    I was wondering how many truckloads of cable they had out. Later (in OK) I came across one of the trucks that hauls this stuff around.
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    #78
  19. m0x

    m0x the VooDoo Child

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    fun never did end, WOW
    #79
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Gimme a break . . . which one isn't?
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    Nice curves.
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    Civilization. I know there is fuel down there somewhere.
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    #80