MAD TATer 2019 - a Trans America Trail journey

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DragonJoe, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    8C9EB56C-739F-4689-A8BB-50FDF7EAA05B.jpeg My DR now has a name. Meet Clever Girl

    At restaurant in Marion, Virginia.
    #21
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  2. fjmartin

    fjmartin Been here awhile

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    #22
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  3. Diddly

    Diddly Bored of Directors

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    #23
  4. flashbang

    flashbang Adventurer

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    Haven't seen anything from you for a couple days.Where are you?
    #24
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  5. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Following the other RR by @fjmartin too, really like having both as it’ll be cool to read the different perspectives :thumb

    Good on you for getting out on this adventure @DragonJoe, that’s proper retirement IMO :nod

    Hope to read more soon!
    #25
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  6. Jedi2Rider

    Jedi2Rider Been here awhile

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    +1

    Really looking forward to following your group.

    Great action shots going over the log...

    Keep up the good work!
    #26
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  7. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    Has been awhile. We have been in the wireless backwaters a lot so....here goes attempt to catch you all up.
    #27
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  8. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    95CA1037-635E-4C57-B1A9-98775BA1FCA1.jpeg After the log crossing on Day2, a mix of graded forest roads and a fair amount of narrow pavement through rural narrow farmland. Guys, stay vigilant, and ride RIGHT. More than once so far, someone has tried to take their share of a narrow road out of the middle. Vehicles were few and far between and that makes everyone get complacent.
    37 miles into Covington, Virginia for gas and a Sandwich. Text communications revealed Bill was on his way with his new seat mounted up on his XR650L. Leaving The Virginia suburbs of DC he had a long way to go but was going to meet us at our remote camp west of Blacksburg, Virginia in the Jefferson NF. (Walnut Flats, pit toilets with hand sanitizer! And water from a hand pump). We rolled in at 7:40pm, camped on grassy site, ate the other half of our Subway sandwiches, built a fire, had a warm beer and wondered when Bill might show. At 10:15, we were ready to hit the sack when were hear the distinct sound of a Thumper coming up the mountain. The Night Rider had arrived.
    Greetings, and handshakes all around (remember, we have never met one another) and we crawled into our bags to the sound of two owls calling to each other. Tom and I had done 150 miles and Bill, twice that.
    #28
  9. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    Wednesday day 3. Looking at my notebook it says, “extreme twisties above Marion, Virginia “. It was that and more. Beautiful Forest Service dirt through blooming Rhododendron bushes. So enchanting I reached up and turned on my helmet cam. :45 seconds later three baby bear cubs and momma scattered from my path. Two cubs went down the mountain side and one tried to follow momma up. As I rolled through the melee he was bawling and sliding back down the bank towards me and the road. I’m thinking two things simultaneously, am I going to be involved in a bear/motorcycle race and are Tom and Bill behind me going to become bear chow! Ahh...Neither.
    Don’t know how good the footage is yet.
    #29
  10. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    Who doesn’t like water crossing pics. Me in front on Clever Girl with Tom catching the action from his KTM.


    E37C3D13-3B61-454E-A322-2000E8750F72.jpeg
    #30
  11. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    D326D23E-4299-4B33-A9E9-0BD6ED604405.jpeg Day 3 continued: Houston, We Got a Problem
    The XR650L is ill. Can’t get above 45 mph and less up hill. Once out of the forest and into Marion,Virginia, we got gas and made bee line (it was a mountain bee ) for our destination. This was a large log home on a mountain top belonging to a very close friend who extended us an invitation to stay overnight. Sleeping on the floor,,, but Showers! We had a hot meal on the deck that his wife prepared and popped a bottle of Malbec Tom had brought to show our appreciation. Then Bill started removing his carburetor...
    #31
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  12. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    Day 4.....Float bowl showed signs of old gas and some crud, that and jets soaked in cleaner.reassembled next morning, we say our good byes. Rain was threatening and some had fallen as we headed to Damascus Virginia to get back on the trail. My oldish Big Agnes air mattress had a slow leak and I planned to replace it there also. Bill says, XR650L is still sick. A Subway sandwich while it pours rain and Bill fiddles some more in the parking lot and searches forums. I throw fiduciary caution to the wind and buy a $200 dollar air mattress. Hey! I like it, so stop giving me s... grief!
    We press on as the rain let’s up and are soon in the Cherokee NF trying to put down some miles after our maintenance delays. Speeds on the forest and mountain roads are well within the Honda’s present capability and arrived in Elizabethton, TN at 7:30pm and decide to get a motel that showed on our TAT map. Travelers Inn. If you’re thinking of staying there......keep on traveling! I’ll just say I kept my socks on, turned the pillow case inside out, and both sinks were unusable. But hey, it had 2.9 stars ⭐️The whole town showed signs of better days. But, there was a Mexican restaurant that was OUTSTANDING. Did I mention we wondered if our bikes would still be there in the morning? We cabled them together and hoped for the best.
    #32
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  13. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    Our host Charles and Mary as we prepare to leave for Damascus and back to the trail.. Big grins cause we think our patient is well again.


    D68DB99E-0102-4F2C-B986-D23F964DCECA.jpeg
    #33
  14. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    Day 5.... Breakfast at Waffle House. Nice Tennessee hospitality and short order cooking. Bill has discover several pounds he doesn’t need to carry and heads to the Post Off ice to unload. He had already unloaded some at the Marion Post Office two days earlier. Remember, the TAT is a teacher, Grasshopper!
    Wound around on paved mountain backroads past poor farms and homes. Past some grinning young men in a dilapidated pickup, couch crossways in the back, a huge exhaust pipe rising vertically behind the cab, no shirts on staring like we were space aliens so we waved beeped and added a loud BRRaaappp they seemed to appreciate immensely.
    #34
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  15. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    E414607D-1444-4A92-B69A-FB59CA64C207.jpeg 3F6DE075-ACA1-4BF8-A4D7-FAE7A3CDF610.jpeg Soon we hit a groveled road climbing into the NF. Up and switch backed it went. We were told ther were some great views near the top but blowing fog engulfed us and obscured it. GPS said we were around 4,300 feet. Air smelled clean and fresh and wild flowers bloomed.
    Of course, cell phones started pinging so we took a break and had a snack.
    We are getting some updates and know @fjmartin team are making rainy progress. So, far we have dodged rain except for brief sprinkles.
    #35
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  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is all about how you handle plan B Supporter

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    Frickin great updates! Glad you found service and had time to post, cool pics from the rides and I hope the 650 is able to get sorted.

    Looking forward to more :thumb
    #36
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  17. flashbang

    flashbang Adventurer

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    Glad to hear you are back on the trail.
    #37
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  18. Paebr332

    Paebr332 Good news everyone!

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    I nearly got taken out a few weeks ago by a guy on a big adventure bike who was riding on my side as I came around a curve on one of the state forest roads near me on the MABDR. I barely managed to miss his massive pannier and keep it out of the deep drainage ditch on the right edge.
    #38
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  19. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    0701EC44-E77F-4E7C-BAF9-BC8E89F9D03E.jpeg 6B6A1643-7A8F-438A-B4D8-034251F76392.jpeg E87E6944-826F-405C-B8D5-BBE4F2A3A38C.jpeg Day 5.... Breakfast at Wafflep House. Nice Tennessee hospitality and short order cooking. Bill has discovered several pounds he doesn’t need to carry and heads to the Post Office. The TAT is a teacher and you’re always learning new tricks. My advice thus far? be ready to learn. Be capable of adapting.
    Not many notes here and there is so much sensory action all the time you can’t remember very far back. We rode lots of twisty Forest service through Cherokee NF. Rich greenery with steep, I mean steep drops down through the trees. Wet blind corners. Don’t loose concentration. One of us went a bit wide, got into the soft edge and both wheels dropped over the edge. Skill, the newish Dunlop 606, and some luck brought the bike back up. We all agreed It was truly a “oh s%%t” wake up as to how fast things can go south
    #39
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  20. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know

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    35D6A9D1-BA30-4542-9E94-089354B533F6.jpeg We made the NY/MAIN TAT (section 5) intersection at 1:40 pm. The XLR is burning more fuel than it should so Bill is fuel critical. The KTM needs some soon too. I knew this was a long dry section and we would have to divert off the tracks for fuel. I also knew we intersected I-26 about 12 miles away and there should be some thing there. We made wrong turn and corrected very quickly. Now Bill is on fumes. Tom rides to scout a certain gas source and will return. We wait. Then decide we will ride his direction and intercept. 1/4 mile later Bill’s motor dies. I drain a liter of gas from my tank for him. My regular Garmin Nuvi search (why didn’t I think of this 12 miles back?) says straight ahead 7 miles...Erwin TN, ...Gas. Mark it in your notes cause it is not a POI near the tracks. We gas up and head back to the trail stopping for late Lunch here. Bill bought one of their T shirts. (There’s a story coming!)
    #40