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LLC - TransAmerica Trail Triple Threat Now Double Trouble.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by layers63, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    Well, here we are. A year and a half since my first time riding a motorcycle and now we’ve finished day one of our 30 day TAT trip across America. Picture an average late 30s woman who still has a difficult time typing “woman” hopping on a dirt bike for 20 minutes, being terrified, and then promptly planning an adventure across the country on said terrifying vehicle. That’s me - layers63 (aka LT) writing in this annoyingly bright blue. Soon after the planning began I decided to purchase the “wife” bike - the Yamaha XT250 - at a dealership....*gasp* NEW! Because, in addition to not being comfortable with not being able to touch the ground, I wasn’t comfortable with being forced to know how to fix the bike before I learned how to properly ride it. Therefore new and hopefully glitch-free was the answer for me. Her name is Bangarang (aka Bang). Now she’s decked out with Zeta brush guards, ROX risers, DMO foot pegs, Double-Take adventure mirrors, Moose skid plate, Progrip gel grips, 1 gallon gas Rotopax, Seat Concepts saddle, Pirelli MT21s, and Cyclops 3800 lumen LED headlight bulb. For luggage she’s sporting an IMMIX rear rack, Mosko Moto Reckless 40 + 22 Stinger, Giant Loop Diablo Pro tank bag with Pannier Pockets, and Giant Loop Possibles fender bag. Not to mention scratches, gouges, dirt, duct tape, pee (damn you pStyle), sweat, and maybe even a tear drop or two.
    Spitfire75, Leevil, and I shipped our bikes with Motoshippers to Ocean City, Maryland on Friday, July 13 and they arrived in Maryland at my friend’s house on Saturday, July 21. We were able to send the bikes fully loaded as well as a box each with our helmet, gear, etc. That meant that when we flew out of LAX at 12:27 am on August 3rd, we only had carry-on bags and wore things we’d wear on the trip. We arrived safe and sound at 11 am and our stuff was ready to go.
    Fast forward to August 4th at almost 7 am. Starting day! We got a full 8 hours of sleep, had a good breakfast, and then finished packing the bikes. Aired the tires, filled our hydration packs and set everything up. My friend and host filmed us riding off....just to film us coming back because Spitfire75’s handlebars needed adjusting. It was a fitting beginning to our trip to have a false start. We regrouped and headed out for our second run just before 10:30 am. It was around 83 degrees and super humid but we were ready for the adventure to begin.
    We made it to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel around 1 pm and enjoyed the 18 miles of bridges and tunnels under the water to get into mainland Virginia. It wasn’t as scary as we thought and the view was nice. We stopped every time we came across a gas station if we were under half a tank just to make sure we didn’t run out of gas. It was also usually around 50 miles between these stops and nice to get off the bikes and stretch a bit. We drove for another few hours and stopped at Arby’s for a quick snack around 4 pm. It’s nice to think that we can always eat at local places but we wanted quick, clean, and air conditioned.
    After food was successfully wolfed down, we started looking into a campground to stay in. It took a while to find a place, but we settled on Rudds Creek Campground. We arrived around 7:40 pm. We set up our camp and timed ourselves at around 35 minutes to put up our tent and get our sleeping pads and bags together. Not too bad except that it took another 30 to prep for the trip and put on all our gear again to the drive to the restaurant. The woman who checked us into the campground recommended a place called Lamplighter where we could get some comfort food. Some fried catfish, chicken Alfredo, and hamburger steak later, we’re all full and ready for bed.
    It feels like a success having made it 273 miles on our first day. We don't plan to cover that many miles every day but we're booking it to Sam's Damascus start. It was all pavement and we’re super tired, but all-in-all we feel accomplished. No falls, no drops, and no injuries. It is now 10:30 pm, 79 degrees with 91% humidity, and we’re thinking of showering before bed...but who knows how that will go with such high humidity.
    My companions, Spitfire75 and Leevil, will pipe in with their motivation and information in the coming posts as well but that’s all for today.
    #1
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  2. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,806
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Just what needed, another RR to follow. So, I am here to seen where this goes....

    Keep it fun, keep it safe!
    #2
    leevil and layers63 like this.
  3. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    Thanks, Critic. Look forward to having you along with us ! A couple pictures from yesterday showing our gangsta selves...super threatening...
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    #3
    leevil, bobw, nk14zp and 3 others like this.
  4. DiverEd

    DiverEd Does this hat make me look fat?

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    Sorry but your blue text on a black background is unreadable for me. So for those of you who cannot read the blue text with a black background, select the text with your mouse, and you will have a light blue background with white text, which is very readable.
    #4
    layers63 likes this.
  5. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    Sorry, DiverEd. Trying to make it legible on Tapatalk as well and easy to differentiate between myself and my companions when they start writing. I’ve changed it to orange. Let me know if that helps.
    #5
    i4bikes likes this.
  6. Booghotfoot

    Booghotfoot Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    I'll be following with interest. The standard font is best. Tapatalk will render it in my own color preference that way.

    Thanks

    There are 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.
    #6
    leevil and layers63 like this.
  7. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,806
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Nice! This will require after photo's of the same or the clean and dirty of it all! You look to be smartly packed for the journey. Think about how to send back items, you find may not be needed. Think simple, think safe!
    #7
    layers63 likes this.
  8. Bultaco206

    Bultaco206 Back-to-back motos suck

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    20,349
    Location:
    Mineral Point, WI
    Oh boy. In. :lurk
    #8
    leevil, andrewgore and layers63 like this.
  9. DiverEd

    DiverEd Does this hat make me look fat?

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2014
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    Orange is great. Thanks for the change. I was OK just highlighting it with my cursor.

    Have a great trip.

    Again thanks
    #9
    leevil and layers63 like this.
  10. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    2 days in and we meet a fellow advrider on the trail. Now we're having a side adventure at Treestrom's place! 20180805_184820.jpg 20180805_190601.jpg
    20180805_184726.jpg
    #10
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  11. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    Met the riders of TAT 2018 - Honda Grom Edition ride report in Damascus. 20180806_104155.jpg We're ready for the official trail to begin.
    #11
  12. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,806
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Meow! What an adventure (s) with all those cool cats and big toys to play with! I did not have exciding side adventures, when I rode it.
    #12
    leevil and layers63 like this.
  13. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    A new exciting side adventure to the hospital. Turned a sharp curve with gravel and Spitfire 75 went over the edge. Flipped off the bike and hurt his right wrist. We should know in a bit if his part of the trip is over. Keep your fingers crossed that it isn't broken...just dislocated...although not sure how long it will take to get where he can work a throttle.
    20180806_123116.jpg 20180806_123229.jpg 20180806_124406.jpg

    Attached Files:

    #13
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  14. IronButt70

    IronButt70 You don't have to be crazy to do this but it helps

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2018
    Oddometer:
    190
    Location:
    Mickey Town East
    Tractor looks good on you. Hope your co-riders wrist is OK.

    IN!
    #14
  15. leevil

    leevil Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Oddometer:
    63
    Hey all, Leevil here (aka Lee), I guess I'm the second "L" in LLC :) It's been an exciting couple of days. Here's what you missed from Day 2 - August 5th, 2018

    Day 2 Miles 198.3
    Total Miles 496.4

    THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

    This day actually starts back at the end of the night before. As Spitfire75 and I sat patiently at the local Lamplighter as Layers63 was finishing her first post, we were deciding...to shower or not to shower. It was almost 11 pm as we were leaving and we wanted to get an early start on the next day. Our plan was to make it to Damascus and beyond! As the Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade would have said to us, We Chose Wisely! The shower house at our campsite was fantastic. First off, it was late and NO ONE was there but us. The showers looked spotless, they had benches to store your clean clothes and the water was endless. It was really humid, so we all opted for colder showers, but it really was a great ending to a long day...until you walk out of the shower house and the 90something percent humidity smacks you right in the face. I think I started sweating immediatley. It was now sometime after midnight, I'm sweating so badly I don't know how I'm ever going to sleep and it's impossilbe to get up at 6 and get at least 7 hours of sleep, so we decided to sleep in.
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    Okay, now we're at day 2:

    Hot humid night, going to bed close to 1 am, we didn't get all packed up and wheels out until 10:30ish and our first stop of the day was only 8 miles away for gas and our Breakfast of Champions.
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    After we woofed down some grub and filled our hydration packs with ice and water we continued our journey from MD to Damascus. It was all pavement all day for us again. There were some nice sections on the 58 West and everytime we stopped for gas, there was at least one, but sometimes a few people, that would come up to us and ask about our CA plates and how we got there and where we were going. It's nice that so many people take an interest in it and us. We came to a section of the 58 that was a twisty canyon, I don't remember what the top elevation was, but my Tortuga (2017 Honda CRF250L Rally) had a hard time keeping speed and making those climbs. I spotted a KTM behind Spitfire75 and I wondered if we were slowing him down. We came to a scenic overlook photo spot called the Lovers Leap and we pulled over to snap a pic.
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    As we pulled in, so did the KTM. He asked if we were on the Trans America Trail and if we had plans for lodging for the night. He offered us a place to camp or stay at hs house and said it was about 30 miles East of Damascus. I was pretty certain we wanted to at least make it to Damascus that day and either stay in the motel that Sam recommends or the local campsite a few miles past the official starting point. We exchanged our inmate names (big shout out to Treestrom) and said our goodlucks and goodbyes and off he went. An hour or two later, we stopped for gas and had lunch at a little Italian place called Bella Italian in Hillsville. (the food was really good). While we were there we made contact with Treestrom and he sent us his address and again invited us over and said we could stay there and his wife would make us dinner. His house was literally about 1 mile off our planned route, so we decided to go and take a chance. We were here for an adventure and everything that comes with that and not just to ride our bikes from coast to coast.
    Ricky and his wife Freda are the sweetest and kindest people you can meet.
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    They invited three strangers into their home and fed us, let us do laundry, gave us the spare room for the night, let us use their shower and made us feel like we were family. It was truly amazing. I also got to cross off one item from my bucket list, it involves a tracer bullet. I have a feeling we'll be seeing and hearing more from them in our future.

    Side note: I was also going to discuss all of the fun toys they have at their place, but I see Layers63 already posted some pics and spoke on that topic a bit. Oh, did I mention the 10,000 Christmas Tree seedlings. Always something fun to see or do.
    [​IMG]
    That's it for now, I'll be back soon with more updates and ooh bike and gear info...

    Attached Files:

    #15
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  16. rokon140

    rokon140 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    macon
    In.
    #16
    leevil and layers63 like this.
  17. Baja_Bound

    Baja_Bound Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Texas
    Absolutely in! :-)
    #17
    leevil and layers63 like this.
  18. layers63

    layers63 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    78
    Days 3&4 - NOW WE’RE DOUBLE TROUBLE

    Layers63 here again!
    Day 3: 50ish miles
    We said our goodbyes to Treestrom around 10 am and made our way into Damascus. We were really excited to meet the Kiwi Grom peeps that I mentioned in a previous post. We were also especially excited about hitting part of the new “real” TransAmerica Trail that Sam mapped. We were only about 15 minutes into the switchbacks when Spitfire75 made a small mistake. He got distracted for a fraction of a second while turning through a sharper-than-he-realized switchback. He went a little wide in the turn, got his front tire stuck between a rock and a tree, and then flipped over the handlebar. We’ve ridden on dirt a lot in the past and are pretty accustomed to the occasional bike toss, so it didn’t seem like that big of a deal except that the first words out of Spitfire75’s mouth were, “my wrist is broken!” Not to speak badly of my husband but he tends to embellish a little, so I figured it was his usual. Nope. As you can see from previous pictures, his wrist was wrecked. Here is further proof.
    20180806_153912.jpg
    However, he wasn’t in any pain, so we thought perhaps it was just dislocated and we could get a good laugh out of the silly mistake and head on our way. That was not to be the case. One fraction of a second and one very broken bone ended Spitfire75’s TAT adventure. He is doing well but has to stay in Winston-Salem for surgery before heading home to Los Angeles.
    We can say, though, that the volunteer emergency crew were on the scene ridiculously quick and treated Spitfire75 well and took everything very seriously. The ambulance drivers were super nice. They even took this picture on the ride
    FB_IMG_1533781019297.jpg
    And helped get everything sorted out with the equally nice State Trooper (sorry, no picture) .The nurses and doctor were great and the nice man who volunteered to drive us to our hotel (Leevil can tell his tow truck and hotel part of the story) were all really amazing. Treestrom and his wife came by to meet us for dinner where we saw Spitfire75's twin.
    20180806_185945.jpg
    Treestrom's offered to help with Spitfrie75’s bike shipment back to L.A. and with getting him to his doctor’s appointments, etc. if we decided to continue on. But would we?
    Day 4: 0 miles
    A tough night’s sleep and many tears later (for me), we decided to leave Spitfire75 and head back out to the trail. It wasn’t an easy decision, especially since he’s my husband but after planning the trip for so long and investing so much time and money into it, it seemed like a huge waste to end it so quickly. We spent the day prepping everything for Spitfire75’s extended stay and time under the knife and picking over his stuff like vultures trying to figure out how we could get everything essential that used to be on 3 bikes onto 2. It took some sacrifices (there goes my heated gear) but we were able to work it out pretty well. Treestrom took the wounded bike and gear to his house to await another first class trip provided by Motoshippers. Or at least we hope...we haven’t quite gotten that far yet. The biggest fear about carrying on with only 2 has to do with Leevil’s ridiculously heavy bike. With 3 people, we could pick it up when it would fall over and wedge itself into all the different things it seems to wedge itself into. We aren’t sure how that will work with 2 of us, but again, how could we not at least try? So try we shall do. Now, this triple threat is down to two. From now on you can call us Double Trouble.
    20180808_140945.jpg
    #18
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  19. victay

    victay Enthusiastic Noob

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    226
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Good luck guys, hope to cross paths with you on the trail again.
    #19
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  20. Spitfire75

    Spitfire75 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2018
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hello everyone, Spitfire75 here with my first ride report. It'll be short because I'm not riding anymore and everything has already been fairly well documented. It's 8:10am on Thursday, August 9th and I'm in a hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Sometime this afternoon I'll find out what time my surgery is scheduled on Friday, so I'm just hanging around the hotel waiting for a call from both the anesthesiologist and the hospital OR.

    As layers63 mentioned previously, all of the medical staff involved with my accident have been great. I've been receiving excellent care and there haven't been any problems or issues.
    DSC_0067.JPG

    So today will consist of hanging out in my hotel room, making and taking a few phone calls and watching TV. I am fortunate enough to have some family somewhat nearby in Virginia, so my uncle will be arriving later this afternoon to assist me with tomorrow's surgical festivities. After the surgery I'll go with him to Virginia and begin looking for flights back to LA.

    I'm really disappointed in my piss-poor riding abilities and I hate to leave my wife and friend short of a rider, but it is what it is and I've got no other choice. I've been speaking with them regularly and I'm still very excited for them to continue on the TAT, but I can only imagine how much they're going to miss my constant bitching and complaining over the Sena. I would like to give A HUGE shout out to Treestrom and his wife Freda for the amazing amount of help and support they've provided us. They truly went above and beyond with not only feeding us and offering us a place to stay for the night, but also with everything they've done for us after my crash. "Southern Hospitality" is still a real thing.

    Layers63 and Leevil, keep in truckin' and I'll see you in LA in a few weeks!
    #20
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