Kentucky Adventure Tour (KAT) June 22-27 2019

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by dstutz, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    If you missed the title, this RR is not being documented along the way and is being done quite a bit after the fact.

    Coming off of last years trip on what's left of the TWVT I figured I'd step things up a bit. I recruited 2 other inmates to join me (on my 701) on this endeavor @StannisBaratheon (Penn on a DR650) and @montanatravels (Mitch on a DRZ400 SM with S wheels) , figuring that having 2 people to help push stuck (or broken down white KTM) bikes would be better.

    If you're not familiar with the route, I highly recommend reading about it here: https://advrider.com/f/threads/the-kentucky-adventure-tour-kat.919224/.

    Jeff, the creator of the KAT, continues to do an amazing job maintaining this route, listening to reports of closures and such and modifying things to keep it going.

    So we've got 939 miles of main route and 162 of optional "hard" and one "extreme" that's primarily in KY, but some WV, VA, and TN along the way. The hards sometimes add mileage and sometimes cut off main loop mileage.

    Here is what was planned:
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    After reality sets in (The alternating colors are each day):
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    In the grand scheme of things I think we did pretty good. We ended up 2 riders mostly finishing, only one set of early wiped out brake pads (701), a bent clutch lever (DRZ), a bent brake pedal (DR), 3 broken blinkers (one each), a new set of tires for the DRZ, and an intermittent headlight (DRZ). Oh, and there was also that time the DRZ almost caught fire.

    We also went into this intending to camp every night once underway and only did that once.
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  2. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    As I said, the intention was to camp each night and we brought along dehydrated meals. Mitch and I brought along camp stoves, he an MSR Whisperlite and I a Fire Maple Fixed Star x2 Chinese Jet-Boil wanna-be. I prepared ahead of time and made my own dehydrated meals. This got Mitch all hotted-up and he did the same. I think Penn brought a few pre-made ones and was planning on sharing our stoves.

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    Cheese powder makes everything taste better...
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    The night before I loaded up my bike with the Mosko R80 and packed er up:
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    Mitch and Penn rode to my place the morning of and we loaded everybody up on the trailer. Here's Mitch and my bikes awaiting the not-so-gentle insertion of Penn's bike backwards into the middle at 7am:
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    If you're looking for a lunch spot near Edinburg, VA:
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    And we arrived at the Hatfield McCoy Inn around 6:30pm:
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    The bikes survived the drive down:
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    We ate dinner on-site and toured the flood wall:
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    And this is 40 mins into trying to get an older Cardo unit to talk to the newer Packtalk Bolds that Mitch and I had:
    [​IMG]
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  3. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    Alright, don't laugh too hard, looking for honest opinions here. I've been wanting to do the KAT for a while now but don't really have a bike for the job. The YZ250 isn't a great mount and I would imagine my GSA is too big. So I've been on the hunt for a DR650 and just as I'm ready to pull the plug, disaster strikes. And it has struck in the form of a KTM 950SM that I can't take my eyes off of. My question; could I realistically do the KAT on the SM with some decent tires (say TKC80's), or is this a ridiculous option. I know there's people who say you can adventure on any motorcycle. But am I being an idiot?
    #3
  4. montanatravels

    montanatravels n00b

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    Ok, So I am not a very experienced rider, and this was my first dual sport trip.

    I would not want to be on anything much heavier than the DRZ400. Although there was plenty of nice paved and gravel roads, all the real work happens on trails and in freaking rivers.

    Because I am an inexperienced idiot I started this trip with some sort of worn down D606's. When I replaced the tires after day 2 I ended up putting on non DOT dirt tires (because they didn't have D606's or comparable). I would have just keep using my 1/2 worn down D606's if my only choice was a new pair of TKC80's.

    If/when I do it again it will be on the DRZ400 with better/lighter luggage, a more tuned suspension and a brand new set of D606's (or the Chinese knockoffs that people seem to be liking).
    #4
  5. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Day 1 - June 22 - Matewan, WV to Slade, KY:

    Side note, we are running counter clockwise!

    A little after 7am just about ready to hit the road.
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    We weren't super impressed with dinner the night before and I don't remember if they were open for breakfast but we decided to get breakfast on the road. We ate at Track's End in Williamson, WV. ATV friendly, good food!

    It was a bit of a fast morning as it took about 100 miles to get to our first unpaved road when we got to the Mine Made ATV park and Hard 10.

    My tire irons fell out of my Mosko tent pole bag because my tent poles are a tiny bit too long to easily get the bag closed securely and thankfully Penn noticed them and I didn't get a ticket for littering! We stopped for Penn because he had been noticing a strange noise from the back end of his bike. We couldn't figure it out exactly but noticed his chain looked either tight or loose (Penn?) and he adjusted. Possibly something with the chain guard that was on the ground. It ended up being the tire rubbing on part of the fender IIRC (would have been better to write this 7 months ago).
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    And we can finally get to the good stuff. This is the "road" we're on:
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    We were about 1/4 through hard 10 and encounterd a locked gate with truck size rocks blocking the sides so there was no go-around. We discussed options and figured out what we were doing when I (aka Magellan) got all mixed up on what line on the GPS I was following and when we were supposed to be heading east were actually heading west for a bit. By the time I noticed we had been slogging through more mud and creek beds and decided to head north out of the mess. We ended up lopping off several miles of the main loop but came back out right by Hard 10A which was a relatively short jaunt through some nice marked ATV trails. We entered hard 10 around noon and met back up with the main loop just after 3pm.

    While heading north out of Hard 10 back to the main loop we hit an area where there some wild horses hanging around

    Unfortunately there's a younger white horse laying on the ground here, I rode over and while I don't think it was dead yet it probably wasn't long for this world:
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    Beautiful day!
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    Hard 10 took about 20 minutes (it's like 3.something miles?) I'm pretty sure I ran over a snake and there a few more wild horses just hanging out back in those hills.

    Moving back to the main loop we hit some nasty puddles that weren't very shallow and got a lil wet, some more than others.

    Penn emptying his boots:
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    Moving along fairly uneventfully at this point. We had discussed where we were going to stay this night earlier in the day and it's kinda hard to plan too far ahead because with this terrain you just don't know what you're going to get. There was a wild campsite right by Hard 10a but it was 3pm and seemed too early to get started so decided to shoot for Slade. We went through Jackson but again, just seemed too early to stop.

    A little after 6pm we got to Hard 11 which is just south of Slade. This one isn't supposed to be too bad, the worst part being "the ledges" which are at the north end and what would be the end of the hard the way we were going.

    Most of Hard 11 is a railway bed so it's pretty flat and straight. Getting down to that is a fairly washed out "road":
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    Penn:


    and Mitch:


    And yes, I should be tarred and feathered for recording in portrait orientation *sigh*.
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  6. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Jeff recommends full knobbies. Honestly, it depends how good of a rider you are. None of us 3 are super-experienced dirt riders. There are people that would embarrass us if they were on GSAs and we were on 125 2Ts. A *lot* of people have done the route on larger bikes like GSs, ATs, etc so it's definitely possible. Biggest thing is I'd just go with other people so you can help each other.
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  7. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    Good answer, I appreciate yours and montanas responses. I know the DR is the smart move but I've seldom used my brain when choosing my bikes, it's always the heart. Your pictures and videos are quite helpful. Now it comes down to me thinking about how good I really am on this type of terrain. It's a long way from my comfort zone of a race track but I've tried to do dirt training whenever I can. Damn black KTM...it's seducing me!
    #7
  8. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Continuing on with Hard 11. This one was pretty fun, it was fairly laid back but had a few challenging sections, namely the drop down to the rail bed, a couple down and ups and the "ledges" at the end. This is one where doing the hard actually shortens the main loop. I believe we also cut out a part that had a deep water waypoint. Jeff puts those in for areas that are almost always deep. Since we were encountering some deep water pretty much everywhere we decided to avoid the explicitly deep ones.

    Here's Penn and Mitch failing to climb a loose rutty hill but to be fair, I also fell right the fuck over (just farther up :muutt):

    I love how I'm saying how Penn should be standing and I start to back up just to give him room and I just trip and fall right over...serves me right:




    This section was great, we're sitting at the top just grabbing a snack and gathering ourselves and we hear a motor in the distance, then see some headlights and we realize a SxS is coming along the same way we are so we hang out and up the hill it comes with 3 pretty young girls (not old enough to drive a car) making it look easy. We chatted a bit and asked about the upcoming ledges section and they didn't really know what we were talking about so we let them go.

    About an hour after entering we made the turn to the right and I knew up around the corner a little bit were the ledges. Jeff had posted video of this section of him on his DR350 with NO luggage and he was having issues. Needless to say we expected to have issues. So I was going along and it wasn't easy but I was just chugging along. It seemed softish with some big rocks poking out here and there and I just kept moving and I think I lost comms at one point with the guys. Some issues were had but everyone made it up around the corner and I realized we were past the waypoint for the ledges. None of us was going back down to investigate but it seems like someone had been back there with a dozer or something and plowed that whole section flatter. It was kinda just a blur as we were all in survival mode expecting to hit a shitshow that just never happened. We were making jokes about camping back in the woods at this point as well so it was nice to make it up and out.

    We continued on and stopped at Li'l Abner's Motel.
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    We got the Kitchen suite which was nice for Penn and Mitch because they put me in the back room by myself. I had been losing weight and my wife hadn't been complaining about my snoring anymore so I thought it wasn't happening. Mitch and Penn informed me that wasn't the case. This is also a rider-friendly place and if you stay the night they'll let you leave a truck/trailer for the week so a lot of people start/end the trip here. They let us use the hose around back to wash mud off our gear as well.

    I saw Mitch taking a picture from the road:
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    So I put on a show for him:
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    Here's Mitch demonstrating why you either don't pack cooking gear in saddlebags or don't be a shit rider:
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    Mitch sampling some local beverages:
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    Rehydrating my dinner (Chili Mac and cheese):
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    A little earlier in the day we realized an impediment to our "hey let's just camp every night, it's cheap!" idea and that was mud + water. Our boots were all soaking wet and our gear was just covered in mud so we couldn't exactly bring it in. We said F it and we'd split the room to dry boots and clean up (this was the beginning of a trend, BTW).

    Ridin' Dirty:
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    My poor blinker didn't even make it one day. To be fair, the luggage is what knocked it off but I just let it dangle the rest of the trip until it actually fell off. I had knocked it off in that spot before and it was a bitch to put back together and I just didn't feel like it. After I got back I put the front left blinker that I had replaced with some EDS tuff-lites in it's place.
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  9. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    And that's Day 1. 191 miles according to the GPS, 12h 21m elapsed, 7.5 moving. 25.3 mph moving AVG, max speed 77. 562 ft min, 1615 ft max elevation.
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  10. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Before I get too far ahead of myself...here's some videos from Mitch of day 1

    You'll see the blue straps feature prominently in some of these vids. They were given to me by @BuiltnotBought at the conclusion of the WV trip last year and they are perfect pull straps (2x about 6' long with loops on both ends). Somehow though, I've lost them since this trip :(.

    This is a bit representative of some of the shittier stuff back in the woods, it's clearly not insurmountable but it's just muddy holes all over the place and you need to be careful where you put your wheels. I think a lot of this is Hard 10 but don't hold me to that:









    This one I'm pretty sure is when we were heading up out of Hard 10 towards Hard 10a which was off-route...this is where the horses were:


    These videos remind me. I was leading the ride so was basically picking lines and for the most part the other guys would follow along. Unless I got stuck, then they'd power around and give me a "why didn't you just go this way" look. So after a while as I'm sitting in some mud, I kept offering the lead and they're like "Nah, we're good, you stay up there".
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  11. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Day 2 - June 23 - Slade, KY to Beattyville, KY (x2)

    We hit the road a little after 8am and stopped for "breakfast" just up the street by the interstate at a gas station convenience store. I think Penn's stomach had issues with this "food". I've been known to eat canned dog food and stuff off the floor so I didn't have any issues. We chatted with a younger couple that was gassing up about rock climbing. Apparently this area is extremely popular for that. I learned that the rope they use is so strong it could probably handle a car falling which makes me feel better about it handling a person. Up at the very north end of the route is Pumpkin Hollow Rd...this is pretty washed out at this point and had some fun spots. Here's a couple videos of a relatively tame section because of course you just want to get through the hard shit and don't think to stop and record it. These are around 10:30am.

    Penn:


    and Mitch:


    Panoram...this was just right next to the road.
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    Same stuff:
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    And some cool sandstone (?) ledges on Chop Chestnut Rd, this is just after the pictures above, so same type of rock/soil.


    There were some cool sections with that type of rock and it's super grippy and easy to ride on.

    We did hard 1 and hard 1A this morning.

    We ended up getting to Beattyville around 2:40pm. This is us figuring out what we're doing (and yeah, there's totally no mud on this trip is there?):
    [​IMG]

    It was early so we decided to press on and we did hard 2 as well heading to hard 3 which we were kind of excited about since that's actual groomed multi-use single-track.
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  12. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    More of Mitch's videos...

    Penn slipping around:


    Let's yank my bike out of yet another mud-hole:


    Here's a longer un-cut section of the morning...just mud...everywhere:


    Penn does a tuck and roll and ends up happy that Mitch has it on video:


    This is the first of 2 times today that Penn fell and ended up hurting both his legs.

    Here's #2 This was hard 1A. it was a steep washout and the rear end just broke loose and the bike ended up laying on his right leg right over the large loose rocks you see.


    Here's a longer, un-cut section showing the big ledges at the south end of Hard 1A the end of this is the above clip:


    The above section is another one of those "are you for real?" sections that we encountered but after a little planning turned out to not be that bad. I think we're still happy to be going down that stuff on 350-400lb dual-sports loaded up with luggage/gear instead of up.

    Mitch coming down the last section to meet up with us.
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  13. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Back to the ride...so as I said we went past B-ville and headed towards Turkey Foot campground and the start of Hard 3. We got on that around 5pm and it had some touchy spots and it was fairly slow going. It was about 40 minutes and 2 miles later we encountered a large tree down across the trail. It just wasn't passable and there was 1 or 2 smaller ones down with it just making a big ole mess and blocking off the creek bed we were right next to as well so taking a detour was out of the picture. At this point Penn's legs were bothering him a bit more so we just turned around and headed back out. There was a place just south of us that may/may not have been open (Cozy Cottage I think?) but turkey foot road was closed just past the campground and we didn't know what all was in front of us we decided to head back to B-ville and get a place there. We were also absolutely covered in mud. We had seen a car wash on the way through so we decided to head there first and it was great. We did the bikes and ourselves.

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    We stayed at the Travelwise Motor Inn and it was awesome. There was an old guy there running the place and we chatted with him a lot. He had some great stories about running a trucking business and catering for the local county jail. He gave us 2 hair dryers so we doubled our boot drying efficiency as well as letting us use the hose out back to finish getting the muck off our luggage/gear before bringing stuff in. There's a Rite Aid and DQ right there as well so super convenient.

    We settled in for dinner and had a nice night:
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    I got a blizzard from DQ later that night, it was glorious.

    Day 2 stats: 117 miles, 11h 32m elapsed, 6h 5m moving, 19.1 moving AVG, max speed 78. Elevation 576 ft min, 1385 ft max.
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  14. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Day 3 - June 24 - Beattyville, KY to Renfro Valley, KY

    The next morning Penn's legs were bruised up and sore and he didn't want to continue on the route in that condition. He knew someone that was a couple hours away so he had made arrangements to go that person's house to chill for a bit. The bikes were a bit banged up and Mitch and I made plans to head to a dealer in Hazard, KY.

    The Motel the next day. We had breakfast at DQ.
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    Penn's brake pedal and not blinker:
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    My blinker looking even sorry-er:
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    Mitch's clutch lever:
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    And his sneakily broken blinker:
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    In addition, my rear pads were just about toast. I had another pair with me but at this rate (barely 1.5 days into the unpaved stuff) I was worried I was going to need more.

    So Mitch and I bid safe travels to Penn and I put in "fastest time" for the GPS and we headed to Ride Center USA (passing through Jackson which we did on day 1). We hit the road about 10am and arrived there about 11:00. Upon getting off the bike I turn around and look at Mitch and his bike is smoking. We're like WTF? Turns out a combination of his homemade luggage rack and close proximity to exhaust and a DRZ with dirt gearing riding at 65 mph for a while yielded some toasted luggage. He pulled some stuff out of the way and one of the employees came out asking if we needed an extinguisher which I thought was pretty funny after we realized his shit wasn't going to just burn to the ground. The staff there where extremely helpful to us and got to work torching and bending back Mitch's clutch lever since they didn't have anything in stock and put some new tires on since Mitch thought it would be a good idea to do this trip with 3/4 worn D606s. He also got some exhaust wrap to act as a heat-shield and give the bike a sweet Mad Max look. Meanwhile the guys worked with me to find some brake pads that fit my bike since they are a dirt only shop and didn't specifically have stuff that fit our bikes but I guess some dirt bike shares my rear caliper and they had a bunch of KTM stuff. At this point I also took apart my blinker/headlight/horn switchgear housing since my blinker was stuck on for most of the previous day as it just got jammed full of clay/mud and I couldn't cancel it anymore. This isn't really that big of a deal riding around on the back roads where there's no other vehicles but state/county roads that we took today was a little annoying. I would have pulled the fuse had I not been able to deal with that. We chatted with the guys there and at least one of them knows Jeff (creator of the KAT) and they were just overall super friendly and accommodating as we just rolled in with no notice.

    A little before 2:30 with a good bit of the day gone we headed back towards the route and we aimed for the northeastern most point of the route where Hard 3 breaks off from US 421 to pick up the main loop. We actually starting putting route miles on about 4:30pm. This is also where the route enters the Daniel Boone National Forest which, if you thought was muddy and wet before, well...it doesn't get any better. We just wanted to get some route miles in and there were some sections of Hard 3 we just didn't want to do. We started heading south from there and got near the Renfro Loop section of Hard 3 which was snaking in and among the main loop all through this area. I convinced Mitch to give it a shot so we did. We did that counter clockwise as again that seemed the easiest on loaded dual-sports. This was a pretty cool trail with Y shaped concrete blocks interlocking in a lot of areas providing traction. Unfortunately through either a lack of maintenance or just the super wet springs we've been having things weren't in the best shape but it wasn't too bad. As usual, muddy and wet. The loops is about 4 miles and took us an hour.

    Video from Mitch, sorta broke the camera mount here:


    We dropped down into the valley off the ridge and encountered another hill that in retrospect/video looks like nothing but we were a little worried about getting stuck down here cause we certainly weren't going back up all the stuff we just came down. Momentum really is your friend on a lot of terrain. We didn't have a ton of run-up and it was so soft so had to take it easy starting up but Mitch makes it look like nothing and even does a little wheelie off the top. It was also 6:20 pm, we had a few hours of daylight left but again, starting to be concerned a little about the time/location.


    One of the big puddles we went through down in the valley we were sharing with a turtle :)

    There was camping right there by this loop trail but there were tons of signs about bear country and since we didn't have containers/rope or anything we just decided to move on for safety.

    A little further on an we reached Livingston, KY where we decided to basically call it for the day since Hard 4 was just in front of us but there wasn't much services ahead of us so we headed north a bit to Renfro Valley KOA and actually camped for the first (and what would be only) time of the trip. KOAs are nice but man they are not cheap. It was $40 for the spot and until we convinced them we had pretty small tents and could share they were looking to charge for two. It seems they're basically just RV resorts these days.

    We had our tents set up by 8pm and had dinner:
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    This one wasn't very good. Too sweet and too many herbs:
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    Always nice to take a hot shower. The bathroom here was super nice and clean:
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    Sweet outdoor kitchen area (now you know why it's $40 a night for a tent spot):
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    Day 3 stats: 182 miles total, 10h elapsed, 5h moving, 37mph moving Avg due to a lot of highway, still 78 max. Elevation min 553 ft and max 1484 ft.

    Only about 40 miles and 2 hours moving time was the route today.

    We had been chatting with Penn intermittently about re-joining us since we really hadn't gotten that much further away but he had decided to officially call it quits and rode up to Morgantown, WV where he met up with his fiance and a trailer to take him back to NJ.
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  15. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Oh man, almost forgot what was almost my favorite part of the day. This was Mitch unpacking the saddlebag that had almost caught fire:



    I don't think that drybag is gonna keep out much water anymore:
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    Kinda looks tie-dyed...still works!
    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Ken Hooligan

    Ken Hooligan aka Hooligan LT

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    Great report so far. Cool idea on making your own dehydrated meal packs, kicked around this idea before instead of the Mountain House crap. Would love to hear more about it. Can you dehydrate or freeze dry the meat too?
    #16
  17. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    :lurk
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  18. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Thanks! Everything I learned about dehydrated meals is from https://trailcooking.com/. I even had my wife make a thermal coozie for my freezer bag to sit in after pouring the water into the bag to keep it warm. The beef and pasta rehydrated pretty well and I definitely didn't mind eating those. The chicken breast was a bit cheweyer but still edible. Fruit leathers (Basically homemade fruit roll-up) are really good too without a ton of added sugar. Just puree fruit and dehydrate until it's the right texture. We never stopped for lunch, just ate jerky and cliff bars throughout the day for energy. I already had the dehydrator so it ended up pretty cheap.
    #18
  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Great stuff! :clap
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  20. BuiltnotBought

    BuiltnotBought Perpetual Project

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    Adding the KAT to my ride list now.... Done.:beer

    We'll have to see about getting you some more of those straps!

    Looking forward to reading the rest of the report.
    #20