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Discussion in 'Americas' started by Ikeya-Seki, Oct 14, 2020.
I wanna go!
Gaining Some Ground
- sierrastone - I gave hot yoga a run a few years ago, probably too much at once really. I did 30 days in a row and although I think it had something to offer, I had also had enough of formation workouts - it was the rigid atmosphere that didn't click. I'm sure not all instructors are the same and I may try folding a few moves into the mix at some point - I do find it meditative. Glad it's working for you.
- AdamChandler - I'm a YouTube subscriber of yours so I know you've been getting plenty of riding in. Well done out west on the BMW by the way. We should try to get a ride in next spring and I'd be glad to share the trail with a fellow granite stater.
As for me, the Rider, I had found myself somewhat sidetracked and drained from the election vortex, but I've been able to refocus and begin making some strides. It also hasn't hurt that my happy hour buddy has headed south for the winter. The fewer distractions the better - by distractions, I mean beers.
Anyhow I've managed to get an exercise routine going and a big part of that is owed to finding a place to do it. We have an extra room in the basement that I keep gear in and I managed to squeeze in a small mat, a bench and a few dumbbells. It's tight, but it will do and being surrounded by my riding kit helps motivate me. It's also warm.
I've been doing lots of leg stretching, squats and lifting light weights. The bench declines and has a deal for leg lifts. I can get bored quickly, so I try to do a lot of mental planning - lately modifying the bike.
Speaking of The Bike:
I just ordered Rotweiller's new air intake system and although it won't ship until January, it will give me some time to figure out some bar ends, GPS mount and possibly foldable mirrors. Part of me doesn't want to replace mirrors - or any part really - until one breaks, but I pretty much know one will - or both so I will probably do it. I'm also considering an in-tank fuel filter, a taller seat, and a radiator guard and what else?
At some point fairly soon I will roll Katy M into the basement and start going to town with the pile of parts I've collected since October. I got pannier racks, a tail rack, foot pegs, skid plate, aux lights, steering damper and a bunch of other bits, most of which are either necessary or advisable. A bunch more than in the photo below, but this gives you the idea.
With parts piling up, a fitness routine in place and the election mayhem all but behind us, I am finally feeling like the plan is taking shape and I am gaining some ground on the Dirty Dirty.
Sunday, December 6
Got a little sidetracked........ back on track shortly. Final 790R parts should arrive this week & Dirty Dirty build prep begins. Will there be a Covid factor for summer 2021?
An eye the horizon.....
Following your thread! I am currently planning a trip summer 2021 and you've giving some great ideas. Looking forward to reading more!!
ummm .... Is nobody gonna ask about the lost bet??
Looking forward to following this one, Ikeya-Seki. Subscribed.
Friday December 20
Staying Motivated, Especially in Winter.
I’m not a fan of winter. And although it has its bright spots - skiing, ice fishing, fishtailing, even riding the bike, it still comes with two things I’ve grown to despise: bitter cold and prolonged darkness. I just don’t like all the layering & bundling up, the shoveling & scraping, exchanging window screens for hermetically sealed glass and the whole buckling down until spring bullshit. My bones don’t like it either. I used to love winter life, but now I’d just rather visit.
I just prefer the long, lazy days of summer when sleep is an interlude until tomorrow. I like my darkness at the edges of a new day that promises a fresh, and warm sunlit experience.
So how to stay motivated in the dark days of winter? I try to find it from both within and beyond.
I suppose there are lots of ways to motivate oneself from within: remembering past trips, enjoying old photos, actively funneling wandering thoughts into focus or maybe just making a strong, personal commitment. No doubt there are many more.
In the beginning, planning for a distant ride can resemble a bit torrent of sorts where all the unassembled parts are whirling in space and hard to visualize. For me, the action of planning itself can be a help. Establishing a ritual or routine and carrying on with some part of the grand design on a regular basis helps me. I also log much, but not all, of what I do in terms of preparation. I use a date and count down to create a sense of time and approach. So if I install a part, fiddle with the suspension, roam Google Earth or even workout, I keep track of it. It helps the idea become a thing, especially in the early, nebulous stages.
When I get up in the morning to make coffee, I kick open the flu on the woodstove to help preheat the space I stretch and exercise in. I keep a clipboard on the wall to record progress, a desk lamp pointed at floor and I fire up a candle - I don’t know it just puts me more in the mood to stretch, gets my ritual going.
I acknowledge my set backs along with my progress and try to be forgiving without excusing. It’s important for me to lean positive at all times, but especially in the beginning when things are still very much unclear an unformed. So I give myself credit for just showing up where a little self-pat-on-the-back can go a long way. I try to repeat the same sequece of stretches, adding new ones as I go.
Afternoon sun. Winter’s not all bleak - you can learn to love it and taking advantage of what afternoon sun it has to offer is a good idea. Being retired I can mold my time around the day and here in New Hampshire the best winter sun is between about 2 and 4 p.m. If the wind is calm, I’ll go for a walk to get the blood moving or even suit up and take a ride. In the house, I will often find a southern window, maybe wrench & tinker a little, workout or do some research - or just take a sun soak siesta.
When it comes to external motivators there are also many. Plenty really. Reading about others adventures in past ride reports, talking and chatting with other riders, watching films and videos, or maybe just previewing places and scenery I can expect to see on the internet - all are inspiring, external motivators. I like Google Earth.
And then there are people. Winter is a good time to seek out your heroes - and there are many to choose from - and what the’ve done, rides taken, and what they have to say to motivate. I think of Lyndon Poskitt’s recent article on trip planning ( https://advrider.com/do-you-have-a-plan/ ). Much of his planning philosophy appeals to my way of thinking and inspires me to continue with my efforts. I think of Paul Rodden ( ) and his incredible dedication to “riding the dream.” He helps me put my gripes in check. I was introduced to Bessie Stringfield ( ) during my winter reads and find myself inspired by her courage and sprit of adventure. All of these folks and many others help stoke the motivation of desire.
Maintaining focus and stirring up motivation for a far off trip in the grips of winter may take many forms, but sometimes all it takes is simply looking at my bike.
Just keep saying, "This too shall end". We have to remain hopeful that by Aug. 1, we can roam freely once more. Lord help our sanity if not...
You're doing great to focus on personal and bike preparation. All we have in the winter is reading ride reports, planning rides, and waiting for parts deliveries. Keeps us sane-ish.
Poring over maps and thinking about side trips is another fun time killer. The solo nature of your trip lends itself to a lot of improvisation. Just like packing your gear, come up with 12 things you want to do or see, cut it down to 6, then cut it again. You'll still have fun planning and you'll find out what's really important to you.
Thanks for the sage advice PackinDirt. The COVID factor must be considered.
I especially appreciate your idea of tooling POIs into the planning process. I've always sorta cast my eyes around the intended route to find the kind of side trips that enhance the ride, but I've never gone about the decision process the way you suggest. I'll give it go.
During the Four Corners & a Stinger ride, I only set two advance reservations because as much as I enjoy planning, it is only ever the main idea and everything goes into flux mode the moment I roll away from home. For that ride, I had to book an advance room in Key West & a ticket to the Dry Tortugas National Park. Generally speaking, I don't like the sense of having to be somewhere at a particular time - it just flies in the face of how I like to travel.
However, and maybe some added value to the thread here - I have been burned by not making reservations. Most notably Oregon costal state campgrounds - the are all nearly FULL by the time I'm ready to stop for the day. The shuttle to the Arctic Ocean in Prudhoe Bay for example requires a 24hr reservation for security checks, etc. I enjoyed the extra day up there, but I was hamstringed into it.
So, to make advance reservations or not? Yes and no. I can tell you I will be reserving campground space in Oregon well in advance this year (COVID permitting). I have 10 free days each month and I've never been able to use a single one. I may find something else using your process.
190 days to go.
Thursday, Jan 21
The Rider, The Gear
Back in the Saddle Again
Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park, TX
I’m back. I had to take a big fat Training Time Out to attend to some family business. Things now seem to be realigning and I am free again to focus some on the 2021 US Dirty Dirty.
Part of what I had to do took me across country and back on four wheels, notably my wife’s Subaru Crosstrek. I took the opportunity to hit a few old spots and scope out some new ones along the way. A Navy shipmate joined me for the east / west leg and I rode solo for the return. The entire trip took about 8500 miles owing mainly to my aversion to interstate highways and penchant for backroads. I also took the occasion to drop off the EXC forks & shock at Stillwell Performance for a custom upgrade. It it meets my expectations, Katy M’s will follow.
While my mind was mainly focused on the pressing matters at home, the practical demands of a coast to coast trip meant a chance to shakedown some of the new gear I intend to use this summer. I also took in some travel notes, mainly for the ride back after the Dirty Dirty as that is still wide open as far as planning goes.
Here’s a bit of what I was testing out:
The temperature limits of my sleeping bag / liners
Thermarest ultralight air mattress
Helinox cot lite (yes, I like a cot)
Trangia alcohol stove
Firebox Nano stove
OCU utensil set
Iphone 11pro as a primary camera
I use a Western Mountaineering (USA made) down sleeping bag. The rating data has faded off the label, but it’s lightweight and if I had to guess, a 30 degree bag. I use a Therm-a-rest Reactor liner and was comfortable at the Big Bend Rio campground where it got down to around 28 degrees on Jan 6th. I wore only a wool t-shirt, skivvies and a wool beanie and was warm unless pressing firmly against the bag with a knee or shoulder. I would say it was about the limit of the bag/liner combo, but still well within what I expect to encounter next summer and I could always put on some thermals. No need to make changes.
Therm-a-rest ultralight air mattress is decent. I forgot the inflation bag at home so I had to manually inflate. It does not take too much effort, but the bag pump is better. The material is very slick and the mattress tends to slide around on the cot/tent floor. To remedy this, I tucked the mattress into another bag liner I have and that did the trick. I intend to come up with a better solution, but using it a few nights has given me some ideas. It seemed like there was some deflation that occurred overnight, but that could easily be a result of a drop in temps too. I am certain that along with the cot, it aided in keeping me warm. Due to its dimensions (large) it acted like a bit of a hammock in the cot, the edges wrapping up and somewhat cupping my body. While it doesn’t have the crunchy foil internals of other lightweights, it does squeak some when I adjust positions. Packing up is a snap - I just roll it down from foot to head and then trifold it into it’s Bud Kinger sized form. Can’t beat the size and weight & with the cot, it stays.
The Helinox cot lite is new. Okay, this to most would be unnecessary. For me it’s a must. I have a trick back that’s in daily revolt and I cannot survive a hammock for more than an afternoon snooze - same for tent floors. The cot is under 3lbs, packs easily, supports my weight and offers a bunch of extra benefits. It extends tent floor space, negates uneven ground surfaces, protects gear and provides a superior level of comfort. It took a few goes to get assembly down to a snap, but after that e-z as pie. I like it and it will come with me on the Dirty Dirty.
Trangia alcohol stove. Like it. I also brought along a Jetboil for rapid boiling, but used the Trangia in combination with Firebox Nano to sauté vegetables, simmer, reheat leftovers and just as a source of warmth and light. I like the simplicity, the silence and the camp-like feel it lends. I did note that I’ll need a larger reserve bottle of fuel. This will also come with me.
Firebox Nano stove. I opted for the titanium model and an extra grilling plate. The entire kit folds down into its own carrying case about the size of a CD case and weighs practically nothing. It sets up quickly, is stealthy, accommodates the Trangia or can be used with wood or coal & cleans up easily. I used it for cooking, warming and just as campfire ambience. It will definitely come with me.
OCU plastic utensil kit - a stocking stuffer this year, I thought I’d give it a try. As I’ve lost a few meals to floppy plastic/paper plates, I bring a heavy GSI metal plate and was a bit hesitant to use plastic tools. The Jetboil stuff I have, except for the spatula, is kinda crappy. This new kit is pretty good. It’s light, firm, and usable. The knife cut well through onions, meat, and even cut some decent tomato slices. It also combines to make a long handle spoon or fork for container eating. I like it and it will come with me - although I will still bring a metal set if things go wrong. I like going lightweight, but I draw the line at flimsy functionality.
The iPhone 11 Pro as a stand alone camera. As most know, the iPhone takes a great photo and can capture impressive video. There is still a ton for me to learn about, but I have determined that controlling the exposure times, choosing my point of focus and a few other techniques that go beyond point, zoom and shoot will be better served by a dedicated camera. I will though, find a way to tripod or stabilize the iPhone for better control. I will still bring a Sony RX1 for dedicated photography.
Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN
Someplace in Texas....
Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area, CA
San Diego, CA
Big Bend National Park, TX
Agua Dulce, CA
As for The Rider, I’m okay. The TTO didn’t help my fitness prep any and I should be further along than I am. However, I’m invigorated by the recent run and ready to roll. Things are coming together. 166 days out and counting.
~ A note on traveling during Covid. While I probably skirted a few technical protocols, I also was a conscientious traveler, wearing a mask where required, maintaining social distancing, minimizing encounters and avoiding groups. I obviously did stop for fuel, use rest areas, order take out, and dine in when establishments practiced responsible seating. I also brought a cooler full of food and prepared more than half of the meals. Traveling by car on mainly backroads & practicing solid Covid protocols was probably a lot safer than flying in my opinion. This was a trip that really could not be avoided.
Of course, I don’t want to experience Covid myself or unknowingly pass it on to others and I take the prescribed measures to mitigate seriously, but I also realize it’s entirely possible to navigate the interstitial spaces and travel responsibly. It’s not too difficult to route around a crowd, wear a mask & wash ya hands. And without a doubt, the off-road nature of the Dirty Dirty will be a good way of doing just that next summer/fall. I welcome any thoughts on the subject.
Finally, while I was traveling the rest of the kit I intend to install on the 790R has been delivered. I intend to begin installs this week. I will post accordingly.
really good write-up so far, i'm enjoying the meandering pace of your updates, and your approach the various facets of this undertaking. looking forward to seeing the bike mods/farkles, too.
if you're interested, this guy has good pilates/core exercises for all fitness levels (no affiliation, just a resource my wife recommends to her pilates/yoga clients): https://www.youtube.com/user/motleyfitness. hope you can find something useful to add to your routine.
i'll be following this trip with interest.
Update coming soon......
Tuesday, February 16
After a bit of a time warp and much needed ‘focus on the family’, I am back on the Big Fat TAT Sandwich on a BRR Roll a.k.a 2021 Dirty Dirty Ride wagon.
I’ve been planning and budgeting for over a year to invest some dosh into Katy M and bring her up to trail speed. We had a wicked cold snap up here in New Hampshire for the past few weeks and it’s been a good time to crank the wood stove and twist a few wrenches.
Here’s a list from front to back of modifications I’ve completed so far:
Volt Meter / USB power supply
GoPro mount for charging
Headlight tower brace
Adjustable GPS mount
GPS - hard wire
Damper mount w/ slight rise
Hand guard protectors
Adjustable clutch & brake levers
Upgraded air intake
Larger foot pegs
Larger side stand foot
Catalytic heat shield
Elongated clutch cable arm
Rear cargo rack
in-tank fuel filter (to be installed)
I also purchased some smaller & lighter side bags, and a smaller, (but marginally lighter) tail duffel and some camping kit that I will preview another time.
Approach: I started with the two more complicated tasks - upgrading the air intake & electrical wiring and then generally moved front to back, top to bottom. I followed the repair manual, product instructions, YouTube videos and some old fashioned innovation to complete the work. Locktite and torque specs where appropriate. I also took time to “dry fit” most parts before locking them down.
For the intake, I went with Rottweiler’s new design which dramatically changes the stock set up - well, eliminates it completely. Owing to an excellent instructional video, installation was straight forward. There is a medium amount of disassembly to remove the old air box, but nothing crazy. It offered a good opportunity to get a deeper look into the belly & lungs of the 790. I cannot speak yet on performance improvements, but according to Rottweiler it should improve power delivery across the low and mid range especially. Initially I had ordered a grey, plastic version of the piece (before black plastic was an option) but in a moment of passion, I sprung for the carbon fiber version. I usually don’t invest in pure esthetics, but since I am running my bike with exposed frame (no aft side panels), I justified it somehow in my mind. It does look super sexy.
Half removed sub frame.
Rottweiler air box w/ unoiled filter
Auxiliary lighting: Here I went with a pair of Cyclops Auroras. I mounted them on the head light brace arm using the composite clamps instead of on a flat bar. I was inspired largely by inmate Windblown’s approach here and chose to wire in a similar fashion, with the exception of the additional amber DLR ring on my set. Following Windblown, I chose to affix the relay & fuse harness in the battery compartment and to extend the power lead under the tank to tap into the blue headlight wire in the headlight mask. I took power for the amber DLRs from ACC2 in the headlight mask using Cyclops’s wiring jumper to keep the heated grips in the power line. I soldered & shrink-wrapped all splices, greased all connectors, wrapped and anchored all looms. It was a good opportunity to tidy up the wiring in the event I ever need to get into the headlight mask again. - over the summer I’d experienced an “Key Failure / Immobilizer” issue and was determined to sort that out in this effort. More on that to come.
Cyclops Aux lights w/ amber DLR rings.
View attachment 2812659
Cyclops wiring in battery box
Volt meter/ USB - here I removed the stock 12v barrel charger and wired in a dedicated USB/volt meter. I drew power from ACC1, put a H2O proof toggle switch inline and mounted it where the speed warning sticker comes stock. It has a fairly intense blue LED indicator light so I partially filled in the bulb hole with hot glue and dube ash to nullify the glare some. It seems to have done the trick.
USB/volt meter w/ toggle
Headlight mask brace - I went with Triple Clamp Moto design here. Straight forward installation with the major focus on fitment and not trapping any wires. Easy.
Triple Clamp Moto headlight mask support.
Steering dampener / bar mount. Scott’s off road and Triple Clamp Moto got the call here. Installation was pretty easy. The only fly in the ointments here were that I need to change anchor bar on the Scott’s from the stepped bar, to the flat bar. Not having the press tool, I had to improvise some to make the change. The tolerances were fairly tight and dialing in the final position with proper clearance took some fiddling, but not too bad.
Hand guards / levers / mirrors: Cycra Probend Ultra, KTM powerpart levers, CNG quick flip w/Rottweiler mounts. Traditionally I would go with Bark Busters, but I thought I’d try something different and so I opted for the Cycras. Installing was easy, but for sure the sock KTM levers are too long and the handlebar sweep means putting some tension on the mounting bolts.
Originally, I intended to go with the Wild@Heart two-finger levers, but the KTM power parts were readily available & would do the job, so I went that way. I’m also building up my 500EXCF so the Wild@Hearts are likely to find their way to my garage. I’m a big fan of Double Take mirrors, but wanting to try something different and possibly reduce turbulence, I chose CNG quick flips. I like the effect, but I’ll know better when I’ve used them some.
GPS mount / wiring. I used a Motopump adjustable mount and hard wired the GPS to ACC2 in the tail section. I used 3M double sided tape to anchor the wires through the air box. See photo. There was nothing really tricky about this step aside from judging and routing the cable through the headlight mask and up to the GPS. I put on a Garmin XT.
GPS wire transversing air box
Footpegs - KTM power parts - Baja design. Simple swap. Used needle nose vice grips as a spring clamp to aid install. Done.
Luggage racks/rails - I went with Rade Garage pannier racks, Perun Moto tail rack & side rails. The panniers were a snap to mount and I do like how the carrying weight is forward of the rear axle. The Kreiger bags are an easy mount. I also used Perun’s side rail kit - the are sending a couple extra “L” brackets, which I will use to secure a tool bag, h2o, and tent poles. They are solidly mounted and look great.
Side stand foot - I like Altrider’s, but my wife like’s Perun’s Bear Paw so I am giving it a try. The only thing I don’t like is the lock nuts do protrude on top and I would hate to get a calf smack on them. I’m a bit on the fence for this mod. I may switch it back to Altrider.
Perun Bear Paw top view
Skidplate - AXP in black. Simple install. No issues. The breather tube does not have a home, so I will probably drill it a hole to live in. This is my first non metal skid plate. Time will tell.
Fuel filter - I purchased a Guglatec in-tank fuel filter. I have yet to instal it - It’s not really necessary where I live, but I’ve run into shitty fuel before and with what I’ve read about KTM and dirty fueling issues, I thought it would be a good idea. I will probably wait to install it until I pick up a 20 micron inline filter.
Heat Shield and One Finger Clutch - Camel products here. Easy install, minor adjustments to set free play on clutch, but no biggie.
What’s left? Suspension. For sure, I’ve added some weight to the bike, but I’ve also removed some so in balance it’s not gotten too fat, if at all. During the NEBDR, I did bottom out the forks, but it had to be the 35 foot jump I took over that bridge in Vermont - (cleared it by 10 feet easy), so I wanted to see how it performs with all my new kit and gear on before I decide what if anything to improve.
My 500EXCF suspension arrives from Stillwell Performance today and I want to see what kind of magic they were able to perform before I send the 790 stuff out - if I do at all.
Wheels? - maybe. Budget depending. Flirting with the idea. Woody’s all the way if I do.
So that’s about it for now. The “key / immobilizer failure” is a warranty issue and I will pursue it in that direction. From what I’ve read, it is likely to be wire binding in the key column, not wiring in the headlight mask - which is perfect, btw. It only happens with a full left lock, and centering the bars makes it go away. Clearly, there is a connection issue.
Katy M has never looked sharper in my opinion and with road temps above freezing next week, I’ll get her out for a little test ride.
- didn't seem to get this pic into the last post. Here you can see a bit of the Cyclops aux wiring in the battery box. The DLR wires "y" off to the headlight mask to ACC2. Fuse & relay stay aft.
that airbag looks OEM. they did a nice job.
Yes, I agree Adam. The part fit like a glove really and if the extra 9-10 hp with down low and mid range improvements are legit, it should prove worthwhile.
Hope to see you on the trail this spring. Take it easy and congrats on your 2021 wedding plans. Yes, I'm a subscriber.
I'm enjoying your RR (Ride Readiness ) thread and will be following along. I'm on a similar path prepping a T7 for a cross country wander in 2021 and find our philosophy and approach to ride planning very similar. I hope to be leaving sometime in June and maybe our paths will cross out there on the trail. Vaya con dios!
The T7 was high on my list and would have been a coin toss had any been available when I was ready to shoot the lock. Great choice. You'll have a pretty good head start on me leaving in June but you never know. Enjoy the experience and roll on. Cheers.
Thanks for this thread, Ikeya-Seki. I am planning something similar, and after last year's NEBDR adventure kicked my 50-year-old ass, I am starting to actually get curious about how people get fit. I too like to ride solo, and that always brings with it some added concerns about being in shape physically and mentally. You've inspired me to start my own workout and flexibility routine, so am paying attention as your countdown continues.
Thanks man. It's good to hear you're getting motivated. It's the hardest part. I've had to make a number of changes and adaptations to my routine to find a fit since COVID effectively negated my swimming gig. I'll be posting about it before too long, but in a nutshell I've found indoor rowing something I can get into. Slow and steady and something every day usually does it. Cheers & ride on.
Sunday, February 28
Focusing on the Route
Katy M is pretty close to dressed. She needs fuel filters, a couple RAM mounts, a heat shield for the exhaust, custom seat, maybe a rear disc guard, and possibly spring upgrades, but not much more.
I have work to to do on route planning. As I’ve written before, body and bike failure not withstanding, weather & fire will be the most impactful variables to consider.
The North East Backcountry Discovery Route will be first in line. Having lived in the New England most of my life, I know the three main factors for this trail will be snow, mud, and bugs.
While it can be done in late spring, starting out in the first week or so of July brings a lot of benefit to my mind. One, with the possible exception of Mt. Washington, there will be no snow. Two, barring an exceptionally wet June, the trails will be pretty much dry except for the darkest, most shaded forest areas And third, the bugs won’t be gone, but they will be significantly reduced, making for a more comfortable camping experience.
I live about 4 hours away from the Finish of the NEBDR and have a friend who lives in that area near Sugarloaf Mountain and not far from Rangeley Lake. I’ll go up early and spend the day with him before setting out for the top of New Hampshire and the BDR the following morning. I’ll ride the spurs of Rangeley on the east side and then cross the border and up to the terminus point. I like riding on the old, broken Route 16. There are only a few traces of double yellow lines not yet swallowed by scrub, but still enough to show the regenerative power of nature. It’s pretty cool and a place where you expect to see a moose any minute.
From there I’ll just backtrack and see how far I make it south in day one. Having just completed it in September, I’m only giving myself 8 days to ride the NEBDR. It may take 10, weather and opportunities considered. You never know what kind of invite might surface.
I plan to camp as much as I can. Usually, around lunchtime each day I scout ahead on my phone or GPS to look for possible landing spots for the night. If I see something that looks promising, I will call ahead and try to reserve a spot. When that’s not looking good but the weather is fine, I will typically just ride on until daylight or fatigue dictates a stop. Then, I often take a second look online - Google Earth, etc. - and see if something looks doable. If I’ve got food supplies and I can find a spot along the route, I will just stop and drop right there, often not far at all from the trail. I’m quiet, get up early, and leave no trace. Easy.
From what I can tell, the Mid Atlantic BDR and GPS Kevin’s TAT routes do share some of the same pathway down to North Carolina, notably around Tub Run Road and further south. I’ll have both sets of tracks with me so I can pick and choose as needed, but my aim is to stick to the BDR. I’ve given myself 10 days to complete it. This may be quicker. I love this area and there is so much more to see, but I’ve also ridden through here nearly every time I go on a trip. My GPS Garmin tracks resemble a freeway in this section of the country. Rain may be a factor.
A few things will send me clamoring for the cover of a hotel room. Prolonged rain, injury and trail fatigue above all. A comfortable bed and a hot shower are always a pleasure and the promise of an early morning start always a justifying nudge. Most of my hotel stays are late evening arrivals and early morning departures so I feel okay stocking up on trail supplies like peanut butter, hot sauce, cereal bars, cup-o-noodles and the perennial Delicious Apple. I once had a boiled egg stay nested in the folds of my soft panniers for half a day. The best though was at the Oilfield Hotel in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Included in the room fee is all you can eat - I took a shopping bag of sandwiches, cakes, salads, soups and goodies. I could barely pack it.
If all goes to plan, I’ll start the Trans America Trail around the 25th of July, give or take a day or two depending on how many nights I stay at the Iron Horse motorcycle lodge in Stecoah, N.C., a must in my opinion.
As of today’s planning, I expect to finish the TAT about 40 days, arriving in Port Orford on the 2nd or 3rd of September. Oregon is the only place along my summer trip where I will 100% reserve camping well in advance. As a matter of fact, I’ll place my reservation in March for 5 nights in September. I receive free camping in Oregon for 10 nights each month and I’ve never been able to take advantage of it - not once. Every campground is always full, especially after 1 p.m. and this time I’m determined to pitch camp on the beach for a major relax.
There is much to see and much to do along the TAT. I will be for sure tracking down friends and folks I’ve met along the previous TAT ride including stops by the Pickwick Dam, Arkansas and also a run up to Paducah, Kentucky to go Jeeping with a Navy buddy. I also hope to take a little extra time in Colorado to tour as many passes as I can. Added all up, things will have to go smoothly for me to match my plans. I’ll need a tire swap and maybe more somewhere in the mix as well and that can go well or not.
Okay, that’s bunch to read so I’ll take a break here and share more about the remaining trip in a following post. Right now, I’m dreaming of camping on the beach after the TAT, doing nothing much more than breathing it in.