My first adventure ride - the TAT

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

  1. Tommyturtle

    Tommyturtle Been here awhile

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    Decisions Decisions.... I am starting the TAT in 3 weeks and I'm really thinking of skipping Ok too.

    Great report - keep it coming!
    #41
  2. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    I enjoyed Oklahoma but don't mind you guys skipping it. It's probably not for everyone but some my like it.
    When we went through there a few years ago,the grass was Green, the Cattle were fat and happy, and it was a great place to practice your High Speed Gravel Riding technique. :rofl

    Make up your own mind about Oklahoma. Don't do it if you don't want to, but I have thought about riding it again ,just for shits and giggles.
    #42
  3. ex250mike

    ex250mike Long timer

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    I dub thee the "KLR Kartel"

    I wonder if that rancher has a couple of KTMs in his barn now...
    #43
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  4. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy I aim to misbehave.

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    And a big batch of fresh chili!










    :hide
    #44
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    On the right bike you can rip through Oklahoma on the dirt, and there are a couple of lovely sections both initially (out of Arkansas) and about half way through towards the Panhandle too...

    However, there has been a lot of flooding in the north east part of where the TAT passes through - paved roads as well as the dirt/gravel roads which you most likely will need to bypass anyway... and similarly, the western end along the panhandle can be a nightmare of sticky mud if it's been raining recently.

    Personally I would suggest riding the TAT route as far as Ponca City (with any detour for flooding of course), then slab it to Alva and ride the scenic section west to where it crosses hwy 64 again, then make up some time on the pavement again, either via Liberal (Kanasas) if you need an overnight, and pick up the TAT again at Boise City before New Mexico.

    But it's all good ;o)

    Jx
    #45
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  6. NSA

    NSA Silently Listening

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    I live in Tulsa and don't blame you a bit for skipping OK. Around here, I head back over to the ozarks for good riding. It is fun, however, to blast down the dirt roads at 80+ on a klr. It can also be kinda painful when it goes south.
    #46
  7. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I was hoping to hear from the UK guys on here to find out if they really made it through or what happened to them. Until then, I'm inclined to believe that "the bears got 'em" and that the rancher has a couple of KTM 690s in one of his barns.
    #47
  8. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We rode the section leaving the Ozarks until we got to the expressway and rode that into Tulsa. We jumped back on the TAT at Boise City before and after our detour up to Black Mesa. Lot's of wildlife through that last bit of Oklahoma and New Mexico - most of it scampering back and forth across the road. Some of it bigger than us.

    EDIT: that was a 394 mile day across OK. Had lunch at Big Dan's Steakhouse in Woodward OK - pretty good buffet for the hearty appetite that included sirloins and t-bones and all the fixin's.
    #48
  9. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We started to run out of day light and energy about the time we got to La Veta Colorado but alas, there was no room for us anywhere there. We got a recommendation for the Rio Cucharas hotel in Walsenburg. Two interesting factoids: La Veta Colorado folk are claiming that they're about to be the largest marijuana production place in on the planet; and, the Rio Cucharas has a very funky Hotel California vibe to it with a very friendly owner to motorcyclists. We spent the night there and rode back in to La Veta to Paradise Coffee for the best cup of extra shot carmel latte I had on the whole trip and a damn fine breakfast sandwich.

    [​IMG]

    After Oklahoma and the semi-false start in NM, anything that looked like a mountain was a great view in Colorado and the riding was quite fun:

    [​IMG]

    We came upon the old abandoned church that was noted on Sam's printed maps:

    [​IMG]

    The scenery is starting to look like it might be Colorado (we're between La Veta and Salida):

    [​IMG]

    And by this time, we thought this was about the coolest view we'd ever seen on an adventure bike (with a week of experience):

    [​IMG]

    We'd stopped in the shade for a break with long views off the side of the hills:

    [​IMG]

    Up in the hills on a TAT loop that comes back down into Salida:

    [​IMG]

    And we made Salida for lunch (the obligatory food porn) at a whole foods type organic market:

    [​IMG]

    One funny moment - as we're riding into Salida, we're passing through a residential neighborhood and I see this large woman and her boy walking down the street. So I pull up near her to ask her were I can find a good lunch. She freaks, tells her kid to run for it, and starts trotting herself (I imagine as fast as she can run). I shout out that I'm just looking for a lunch recommendation and she stops to tell us that she thinks all the good places except for Hardees are closed. Yikes. I imagine four nasty looking dudes on KLRs don't stop every day to ask you where to eat but jeez, it made me wonder what kind of experiences these folks have had around here with scooter gangs or whatnot. Or, wonder maybe what she was up to that made her want to run...
    #49
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  10. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    I like seeing places I remember from the TAT....show me a pict of the Pitts!!!
    #50
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  11. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I'd done a fair bit of research on the TAT, especially the Colorado mountains sections before we left and as you may or may not know, the tracks you get from Kevin and Sam no longer leave Salida and go up toward St. Elmo and Hancock and Tomichi passes. I'd looked at the maps and plotted the route to get out of Salida on Rt 50 and turn off up to the Angel of Shavano camp and on up to the high passes. I could tell me three friends were skeptical when they asked "Uh, why would they be left off the TAT now?" and my reply was all the TAT riders that had died up there :lol3 While we were gassing up before leaving Salida, we made two phone calls. The first was to Sam who answered and was happy to hear that we'd made it all the way up into Colorado. I put him on the speaker phone and said that my buddies were interested in knowing why you'd re-routed the TAT down over Marshall Pass instead of Hancock and Tomichi. Sam gave us a very balanced reply saying that there are some guys that have ridden those passes many times without a problem but that there are rocks strewn in the paths that are bigger than 3 basketballs to climb over and around and, his words, "there are some steep rocky climbs and if you get up there and get tired of busting your ass, you've lost a half day." To my friends credit, they were still game for it and asked me to make the second call - to the St. Elmo General Store for a report on the passes. What we heard from them was the clincher - that that all of the routes and passes we'd need to ride to get over were still buried and not passable. We had thought that because they had so little snow this year in Colorado that the passes would be open by now up on Hancock and Tomichi but alas, not so.

    We set out south of Salida and wound our way up to O'Haver Lake to camp for the night at 9,100' elevation. This lake has a campground at the foot of the road up to Marshall Pass and was one of the best places we've camped on any trip. We went for a dip in the freezing lake:

    [​IMG]

    and then built a fire to stay warm and made some supper on the JetBoil stove:

    [​IMG]

    The next morning we rode out up to the top of Marshall Pass passing a bicyclist on the way up to the top. Here we are feeling like we'd accomplished something when the guy on the bicycle rides up to watch our antics:

    [​IMG]

    It was a very beautiful ride up and over Marshall Pass but we couldn't help but feel humbled by having a guy on a mountain bike race us down the other side of the mountain and get to the bottom first. We stopped at the store in Sargents before they were fully open and met the cyclist there. Turns out he's on a solo race from Banff to Mexico down the spine of the Rockies and will end up doing as many miles pedaling as we'll have done to get from Andrews to Moab on the KLRs. Now THAT's an adventure rider!
    #51
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  12. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy I aim to misbehave.

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    Maybe you guys need a shower? :lol3
    #52
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  13. R_Rick

    R_Rick Been here awhile

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    I had the same feelings when riding the TLH last year. Felt like I was on a bad ass adventure until I came across a guy on a bicycle (clouded in a mass of blackflies) between Goosebay and PHS. :rofl
    #53
  14. TwoTiredRiders

    TwoTiredRiders Been here awhile

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    One funny moment - as we're riding into Salida, we're passing through a residential neighborhood and I see this large woman and her boy walking down the street. So I pull up near her to ask her were I can find a good lunch. She freaks, tells her kid to run for it, and starts trotting herself (I imagine as fast as she can run). I shout out that I'm just looking for a lunch recommendation and she stops to tell us that she things all the good places except for Hardees are closed. Yikes. I imagine four nasty looking dudes on KLRs don't stop every day to ask you where to eat but jeez, it made me wonder what kind of experiences these folks have had around here with scooter gangs or whatnot. Or, wonder maybe what she was up to that made her want to run...[/QUOTE]

    LMFAO. Funniest shit I've read in a long time. "Run for it!" Lol. I thought you were going to say she was pissed that you assumed she would know where the good food was! :norton
    In reality she apparently thought you guys were going to kill them....
    #54
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  15. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    My buddy and I road bigdogs CDR version of the great divide mountain bike route a few years back on a 2 week trip, which is basically a route developed by pedal riders, and passed a couple dozen of these folks over the trip. I was just amazed to come upon them on an ultra steep pass and in the middle of nowhere. Lots of very interesting stories...

    great RR keep it coming. Getting to the good stuff
    #55
  16. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Here's a photo of the Pitts with my other bike photobombing it:

    [​IMG]
    #56
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  17. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Here's a little video of us riding down the west side of Marshall Pass with the cyclist making us feel very humble:

    #57
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  18. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Most excellent! Do you think you could post a summary of how far you got each day for future planning purposes?
    #58
  19. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    You bet Juno. One of the guys recorded the miles every day. We'd heard from Sam and Kevin that planning for about 200 miles a day was about right. We had hoped before we started that we'd be able to do more than that to make our schedule work to get to Utah before we had to pause our adventure. We had the flexibility of camping and I truly think that was an advantage on several days. We could go farther into the day riding and we didn't dally much in the morning when camping and got on the trail usually a bit before 7am. Our days ranged from 12 to 14 hour days and we didn't do a lot of sight seeing. We took breaks when we needed them; ate when food presented itself and didn't go looking for it much; and generally kept moving most of the day. I'll post up a log when I can locate it but we averaged about 275 miles a day in Tennessee and would have in Mississippi if we hadn't played so long in the deep water and mud. We had a few days over 330 miles when the riding was easy; did a 394 mile day when we declared Oklahoma "gratuitous gravel" and skipped it.
    #59
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  20. interceptor1972

    interceptor1972 Been here awhile

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    Great RR :clap. Plan on doing parts of the TAT next year starting in Salida. But probably take Tincup Pass if it's passable at the time. Subscribed!
    #60
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