My first adventure ride - the TAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PittsDriver, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I posted our track file here:

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/appalachia-frankenstein-track.1244118/

    I cleaned it up for a couple of dead ends we hit and rerouted around. This is about 60-70% off the pavement with a 10 mile section here and there that gets quite gnarly but nothing that can't be done/fun on a big bike if you have some skill.

    Now, on the subject of sand. I've ridden some serious sand when we did the old Nevada section of the TAT and it was slow going with more than a couple of dirt naps in our group. Since that ride I went off to the BMW Off Road school in Greer SC for a couple of days and came to terms with deep soft sand there. We actually came to enjoy those sections on the SEAT as fun challenges.

    Rules for the soft sand:

    - Forget what you read about going fast and keeping the front light. Not something that anyone can do on a larger ADV bike for miles at a time.

    - Stand on the pegs and keep a very light grip on the bars - if you can flap your elbows like wings, your grip is probably light enough. Steer the bike with peg weighting.

    - Keep your eyes way out in front of you. If you look down at the sand, that's where you will end up - napping in the sand.

    - Go no faster than you want to be going when you take that inevitable dirt nap. Just keep it moving without roosting up the sand - just churning the rear tire through it.

    Even with all that, you'll end up like this from time to time:

    [​IMG]

    That was a non-event and felt like falling into a feather bed. Most of the sandy sections of the SEAT are not as bad as shown in this photo. It became pretty easy to keep up a good pace through the sandy sections.
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  2. Innovator525

    Innovator525 Adventurer

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    Funny you describing the KLR and your evolving feelings of it. Having the exact same experience as I initially planned on doing the TAT with my KTM. Most of the time I was glad to have taken the KLR, it never let me down. We also did pretty much the same as you running 2 gps's with both routes to see how they both worked out. Came in handy several times as you stated.
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  3. teamkabob

    teamkabob Adventurer

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    Great TAT report! This ride and going to Alaska on two wheels are on my short list!

    Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  4. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Well, if it's a slow day at the office and you have some more time, we just ferried some bikes for Motoquest from Los Angeles to Anchorage in April and the ride report for that trip is here:

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/los-angeles-to-anchorage-in-april.1294512/

    We've done a big epic trip every year for the last 8 years and nothing tops the TAT but the ride to Alaska in April was pretty close in terms of wow-factor.

    And, thanks for the kind words about the RR.
  5. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    If I did the full TAT again, and I might in the next year or two, I think I'd probably take my 1200GS. I've pretty much ridden it in all kinds of gnarly, rocky steep terrain and I'm pretty comfortable that I could get through the tough sections on the TAT - well, as long as I had a friend or two along on the ride to help me pick it up when I drop it :)
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  6. jwc

    jwc Ready to go Supporter

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    Just found this RR. A very enjoyable read, made better by the attitude you and your friends shared in your approach to the TAT.
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  7. teamkabob

    teamkabob Adventurer

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    That was your first report I read! Then searched the TAT and another of you RR came up here! The GS ride would be cool because I would love to ride up to Alaksa, then fly the wife and kids up to fish and explore. Then we all fly back.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  8. wadethewanderer

    wadethewanderer To infinity and beyond. Supporter

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    Great RR. I also share some of the TAT gratuitous gravel logic as you guys. My first "section" was from the coast of NC to Mississippi River. Will continue west next spring. Thanks for all the insight.
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  9. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Wade,
    I’m planning TaT for 2021 summer. In two parts. With my oldest son after college. My bike is ready I think. His in progress. Remainder of time between then and now is for me to become decent shadetree fixer of bike maladies and to improve riding skills. I live West Tennessee but know NC very well as it’s my brides state of birth and we have vacationed there much.

    How much time did You take for your east half ? Leisurely days or busting ass ? Rough daily schedule ?

    Thanks for any info your willing to share.

    Best regards.
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  10. wadethewanderer

    wadethewanderer To infinity and beyond. Supporter

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    If I had stayed on the TAT and not ventured off on some side trips, at my leisurely pace, would've made it to the Mississippi River in 4 or 5 days. It also rained everyday and the temps were mid to high 90's. Take the time to enjoy it.
    Hope this helps.
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  11. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I think there's a happy medium between lazy days bird watching and feeling like you're busting your ass on a grind for miles. We camped a lot so it was easy to start early at sun up and we'd generally ride until it was almost dark (or after on many days). We stopped often during the day for gas, water/snack breaks, and meals but we didn't go hunting anything too far off the track either. We generally ate when food was available and started looking for where we might stop sometime late in the afternoon. If you're not a slave to your stomach or a warm bed w/air conditioning then you can pile up some big miles and enjoy them as it rolls by.

    But something's got to give, right? If you like to amble along stopping to leave the track for things often; and you are particular about your hotel stay; and you like to start after normal breakfast time and end before dinner; well, that's how people take 4 - 5 weeks or more to ride the TAT. We weren't willing to give up our TAT dream ride to wait for a month or more free so we did it in an efficient and multi-stage manner and enjoyed the ride along the way with it never feeling like a grind. Well, maybe that day riding across Oklahoma felt like a grind but that was just one day the way we did it. We felt like an equal measure of camping and hoteling was a key bit of flexibility to that plan - and we just really enjoy camping.
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  12. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Pitts,
    I have read with great enjoyment all your RR’s. Learned a lot and you cemented my desire to do the TAT , even if broken into two parts. I work an insane amount and my son is similarly afflicted. The pace you guys kept was impressive. Your RR are on my saved list and I’ve reread many of the posts.

    i Have dual obsessions with dual sport motos and fly fishing. So I’m thinking my son and I might doddle a little. But I feel the tension you mention. AC and a good bed are nice, sometimes really nice. But they cost, perhaps not only in dollars.

    Best regards and safe riding
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  13. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Thank you for your very kind words. Encouraging people to get out and do this ride any way they can is why I spent so much time on my ride report. I hope it didn't come off as disrespectful to riders who do like to take their time and make an even greater adventure of it. There were times on our ride that I would have preferred to have spent a day here or there exploring a bit more (I also love flyfishing!) but with our group, it's hard enough to get 3 other guys to do it much less agree on the same bits of "doddle" time as you say. I think that sounds pretty amazing that your son and you enjoy fly fishing and there are certainly some spots along the way. One of my favorite places from years past is near Durango at a place called the Wits End. I think the guest ranch there is closed but if you go out there, anywhere below the dam, there was amazing fishing and we caught our measure of cutthroat trout there. This place is about 50 miles south of Silverton CO.
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  14. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Sounds great. Thanks for the help on Wits End. I screenshot your reply and filed it in the “2021 TAT “ album on my phone. Gold brother, pure gold for a noob like me.

    I’ve been saving screenshots as I read these RRs so that I can quickly review the best wisdom from all the great stories. E.g. , tool bag assembly, camping list, good restaurants, noteworthy cold beer sightings, etc. Amazing what you can learn from others’ stories.

    I think no one should take offense from your “speed trip” RR. To me it was written with a clean focus upon the riding and daily grind of the trip, never detected anything more. Just a really fun read. And it made me want to get out there.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

    Best regards and good riding
  15. blakemuhhfukn

    blakemuhhfukn n00b

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    Made an account so I could post on this RR. Thank you very much for so much detail and wonderful pictures, this coupled with RidingWithTom's WR adventures, I think I have found my new hobby. I'm not quite ready to sell my YZF-R6 or my MT-07 but I will definitely be on the look-out for a WR250R in the next couple months. Always loved camping and trails and I think Motocamping/Adventuring is the perfect marriage of the two. Once I get set up and a little experience under my belt I would like to do the Shadow of the Rockies from El Paso to Baggs.

    Thanks again and I have your LA to Anchorage post next to read!
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  16. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Thanks for the kind words! I still catch myself going back and re-reading this about once a year to relive the epic experience of it. Since this ride, I've put some pretty serious ADV and enduro type rides on the 1200GS (posted photos earlier in this thread) but after a few years of that, I kept hearing the siren call of the single tracks. I did a fair bit of that on my KLR & GS and truthfully, I found it hard to part with the bike that took me across America on the TAT. The realities of garage space ultimately sent my trusty KLR on to another inmate and I replaced it with a WR250R. I spent last winter with the UPS guy showing up several times a week as I outfitted it for ADV travel.

    [​IMG]

    So far this spring and summer has been shake down trail rides and this bike continues to impress me every time out with what it's capable of handling. It definitely makes me look like a better rider than I am (or maybe its just that I'm used to taking bikeapotomus ADV bikes into gnarly places so this seems so easy now.)

    Our next big epic adventure is coming up in September. We're all flying in to Durango and renting KTM 690R Enduros. The plan is to ride the COBDR going north to Steamboat where we'll turn around and ride the CDR back south into New Mexico before returning the bikes back in Durango. I'm hoping that the passes are mostly all open by then. I really wish I was taking my WR250R but the logistics of getting it there and back just didn't work this time. There will definitely be future ride reports coming from adventures on this bike.
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  17. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Pitts,
    Is there a build thread on your wr250r?
  18. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    PM sent.
  19. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I wrote this over a year ago before I started riding a WR250R set up for ADV rides. Now I'm not so sure which bike I'd take: the 1200GS or the WRR. The GS would be the perfect bike for about 98% of the TAT but that other 2% would be a challenge, maybe a fun challenge, but real work to accomplish. The WRR would romp through the more difficult stuff and be fine for most of the TAT but a bit tedious and tiring on the longer paved stretches. I guess that's why I considered the KLR the goldilocks bike for the TAT.
  20. scanda

    scanda Trooper

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    WR was a fun TAT bike for me. I would have a more road friendly tire in the east until Trinidad next time...maybe in a year or two. Well maybe a Tenere 700 by then.