So I have largely been a lurker here on ADVRider... I love to read, but don't post much. Before last year, I had not ridden a bike since I was 13 years old, that's 25 years. My buddy Todd sends me an email last spring telling me about dual sporting and the TransAmerica Trail. I immediately committed to the trip. But it wasn't until I came across Questor and MotoAdventureGal's trip report that I got truly fired up about making the trip. Their passion, great photography and excellent account of their trip reeled me in. I voraciously read every trip report I could. Again, not having been on a bike in 25 years, I went out and bought a used KLR-250 to make sure I wouldn't kill myself. I took it back 6 days later and bought a new '09 Suzuki DR-Z400S. I immediately started to plan, research and think of very little else besides the TAT. I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to ride the entire TAT at once. At 39, married with two kids and a software engineering job, taking 30 days or more off at once wasn't in the cards. I know some guys do it and I envy you, but frankly, I wouldn't want to not see the fam for that long of a stretch. I never started a TAT planning thread... I read a ton of them, though. I joined the DAMN Riders, a dual sport group here in Maryland full of talented and gracious riders. I've ridden a few times with them and learned a ton. But the fact is, I was a very new rider... In quick succession, I took the MSF Beginner's Rider course, got my license and started riding as much as I could. So my buddy Todd and I left on May 27th from my place in Western Maryland, bound for Jellico. I'll talk too much in this thread... and post too many photos... and focus on all the wrong details. I'll reveal bad planning, some good luck and 12 days that I wouldn't give back for anything. My goal before I left was 1/2 days' ride into Oklahoma. Todd's was the Mississippi... We had no idea how the spring floods would affect our ride. Here is the trusty DRZ: My travel companion, Todd on a '08 KLR-650. Todd has a lot more years of riding experience than me, but mostly on the road. Gearing up and about to head out Close monitoring by Charlie, my chocolate lab And so we set out. We had planned an off-interstate route but horrible traffic in Northern Virginia on the surface roads drove us onto I-81 South for a bit. At a rest stop along I-81: We eventually got off the interstate. The DRZ is an amazing bike, but even with a Corbin seat, it's not the most pleasant bike to ride at 75 mph for extended periods of time. So we cut off the interstate and rode motly US routes down through Virginia and West Virginia. Hinton, VA We made a point of riding over and crossing the mountains on US-33 west of Harrisonburg... A great road to remind you why you love motorcycles. Todd's allergies were killing him by the time we got to the top, on Virginia/West Virginia border. We kept heading interminably southwest. If you've never ridden western Virginia either on a dual sport or otherwise, do so... It's one of this country's truly beautiful places. Falling Spring, VA Just so you know. Virginia Then the skies opened up and we changed to wet suits. No more pictures from riding that day as it was primarily a monsoon the rest of the ride. We had gotten a late start to begin with. Throw in the traffic, the family goodbyes and the traffic and we made "Ok" progress down to Covington, Virginia where we found some meat.... and beer.