Keith and I completed our tour of the western half of the TAT last week. We used gpsKevin's tracks and went from just outside Walsenburg CO to Port Orford OR in 12 days. I thought I'd pass along some things I learned so maybe it can help someone else. How long does it take? First off, we had no idea if 12 days was going to be too much or not enough. Considering the driving involved for the two of us and the amount of vacation time we had allotted it was 12 days max and we'd either make it or we wouldn't. I'd read a lot of accounts about how long it could take but nothing about how short it could be if say you put your head down and moto'd from start to finish. If you have no bad luck and are a good rider and stick to the blue trail you can do Trinidad CO to P.O. in 10 days but I would advise allowing 12 days for sure and 13 would be even better, especially if you want to make any side trips. We killed two days doing single track in CO, spent a morning replacing the battery in Keith's WR in Salida, and lost the equivalent of a day replacing Keith's rear tire in NV. In spite of all that we finished in 12 days but in order to get that time back we did several 13 hour days with almost no breaks (a donut for breakfast and a pack of M&Ms for lunch) and rode at close to a race pace wherever the terrain allowed. What to pack? If you saw my TAT Packing and Logistics post a few weeks ago you'll know that I reduced my load considerably, and when I met up with Keith we pared that down some more by distributing items between us. A solo rider would probably have a heavier load than either of two riders. Here's my final list: 30-degree down sleeping bag (not warm enough btw) Exped inflatable pad 1-man tent and footprint rain jacket REI Flexlite camp chair camp towel a packable camp pillow spare air filter, 3 filter skins, and 4 pair of latex gloves I-phone and DC charger (connects to a Powerlet port) 1 spare riding shorts 1 light weight civilian shorts 1 spare T-shirt, moisture wicking type 1 spare pair of riding socks 1 pair of lightweight, el-cheapo flip flops (I wore the same Klim Dakar pants, a moisture wicking T-shirt, a MX-style jersey, and Klim Dakar gloves the whole trip.) A ditty bag with toiletries A MSR fender pack with a spare clutch lever (Keith carried a spare front brake lever), 2 tire irons (Keith carried one tire iron), a tubeless and tube type patch kit (glue, tire plugs, patches, and plug reamer and insert tool), a 21" tube, and a tow strap. I carried the fender pack in the bottom of my Wolfman pannier, not on the fender. A plastic bag with food (tea bags, instant coca, instant oatmeal, Bumblebee tuna packets, and soft tortilla shells) A plastic bag with hard copies of section maps to go in a tank bag and to write notes on each day. 1 pair of cold weather / wet weather gloves 1 pair of vented MX-style gloves MSR enduro jacket A silicone foldable bowl and a spork (Keith carried a Jetboil camp stove and a small fuel canister). A backpack with a 2L water bladder A spare 2L water bladder Two 1L MSR fuel bottles with fuel carried in holsters attached to the Wolfman panniers. Fanny pack with basic tools. Keith carried a compact bicycle pump and a high pressure and a low pressure tire gauges Chapstick and aspirin What would I have packed differently? I could have done without the civilian shorts because I ended up wearing my riding gear everywhere. I also could have done without the wet weather / cold weather gloves because I have grip warmers and everything dries out really fast since there is no humidity. I also could have done without the MX gloves because I wore the Klim gloves pretty much the whole time. I could have done without the flip flops and the camp chair but they were handy every now and then. Everything else worked out pretty much as planned. My only regret was not packing something warmer to sleep in as I was uncomfortably cold many nights. Logistics: Left my pickup truck at Northside Storage in Pueblo CO (which is also the Penske truck drop-off point). A one month RV parking slot is $40. We rode backroads and I-25 from Pueblo to Walsenburg then hopped onto the TAT just south of town. When we finished the ride in P.O. we rode the next day to Grants Pass Equipment Rental where we rented a 12' Penske box truck for $835 then hauled the bikes back to Pueblo. Gear: The Garmin Montana 600 worked great. Keith's Garmin eTrex was sufficient but had too small of a screen imo. The Tubliss tubeless tire system worked perfectly. I read some grumbling about it beforehand but it worked great for us and we both used it. We checked our tire pressures every few days just as we would if we ran tubes and we never had to add any air. We ran 15 psi on the low pressure side front and rear. Keith managed to hit a rock wrong and cut a 3/4" gash in his rear tire that we couldn't plug but that wasn't the fault of the Tubliss system. It also allowed him to ride 20 miles with a flat tire to the next town. I recommend the Tubliss and you don't have to worry about pinched tubes any more. Just keep the air pressure up so you don't damage your rims on the rocks. We ran a Pirelli MT21 front and Dunlop D606 rear and while they did okay I think a desert racing tire would be best. There were very few places where you could say that traction was great so you're not giving up much and having a tire that can take endless high speed pounding over sharp rocks would be a definite plus. For the record both tires were trashed by the end. The bike: First off, no matter what bike you choose it will work fine for about 25% of the trail and not so well on the other 75%, it's just which 25% do you want it to work in. We jokingly said a Harley XR 750 flat tracker would be the best bike for the most trail but seriously, we debated this endlessly and I think it all depends upon what type of rider you are: aggressive, stand-up, attack mode versus sit-down, leisurely pace. If you're in the first category and money is no object a KTM 350 would be my recommendation. Since I fall into that first category but money IS an object the WR250 proved to be a good choice, primarily due to its good (but not great) suspension and excellent ergonomics. It soaked up the rocks and ruts as well as any bike I've ever owned and it climbs like a tractor. And you can stand up and ride all day long and it won't beat you up. We rode single track in CO that was equivalent to an A/AA enduro section and the little Whizzleberry plowed through and over everything...fully loaded too. The downside to the WR is that it's heavy and underpowered. It's hard to get more than 60 mph out of it because it simply doesn't have enough HP to punch through the air. Consequently we rode a lot of high speed desert sections sitting down and tucked in behind the handlebars when I would have preferred to have been standing up. On the other hand if I had a KTM 350 I probably would have died at least 5 times from riding too fast for the conditions! But no way would I recommend anything larger than a 450 or maybe 500 if you plan on staying on the blue and red trails. Even a very good rider on a big bike I think would struggle in a number of places on the blue trails. If you're riding a big adventure bike or even a 650 I suggest taking the green bypasses unless you're into pain and punishment or simply don't mind beating the crap out of your bike. We ran 14/48 sprockets on the WRs which is essentially one tooth bigger in the rear over stock and it proved just about ideal for these bikes. Camping vs motels: Again it depends on your timeframe and objectives. If you don't care how long the trip takes then staying 100% in motels makes sense. By far the most bulk and weight of our load was camping gear so removing that should improve your ride. On the other hand you give up a lot of daylight because you have to call it a day at the last town in the section if there isn't enough daylight left to get to the next town in the next section. Camping allows you to keep riding right up until dusk if you want. Also there's just something special about camping in the desert. We were in the Perseid meteor shower window and the night sky was unbelievable. Misc stuff: One big surprise was that it was cold where I expected it to be hot. The trail is pretty much all at higher elevations so the desert sections were very tolerable during the day and downright cold at night. And Oregon, which I expected to be cool and rainy was scorching hot. I'm from the south so anything less than triple digits is comfortable to me but it was 104 at Dry Creek Store...much hotter than Dallas or Atlanta...and it was a HOT 104, not that 'dry heat' stuff. UT and NV proved to be much prettier than I expected. When I think of NV all I think of is Las Vegas and flat desert but there was a lot of elevation and even some alpine sections that were very scenic. Conversely OR was much uglier than I expected. Between the scorching heat, environmental degradation, poverty, and fires and smoke, everything east of the Cascades had a hellish, apocalyptic feel. Another surprise was how far we could go between doing laundry. Here in the south I have to change T-shirts just walking to the mailbox but since there was so little humidity your clothes never gets all that skanky. Dirty yes, but smelly no. And if you wash things in a creek or a motel sink at night everything will be dry by morning and you're good to go. Most gas stations these days have a good selection of food and just about every town on the trail has a mom and pop type place to eat so it's easy to have at least one good meal a day. There were a few places on the trail where it would be helpful to have some hints so over the next few days I'll update the section comments on gpsKevin's website. You might want to read those over and make some notes before you start out. No reason for everyone to learn things the hard way. And maybe I'll post a ride report after that. Thanks for reading!