My first adventure ride - the TAT

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

  1. 10ecjed

    10ecjed Been here awhile

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    Great RR. Can't wait for it to continue. Part of that time I'll be at all on Festival but I'll keep checking out your RR.
    Welcome back to rainy MD.
    #81
  2. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    He must have used the word "simple" a couple of dozen times in that video and he looks to be right - it's a simple robust solution if you don't mind being tethered to the bike and you don't already have bluetooth in your hat. We've all got Sena SMH10B helmet kits and I'm looking at the SR10 from Sena to integrate a radio now. The missing component is the radio - which is best for longest distance, robust outdoor weather proof, and can stay charged from a 12V or USB connection on the bike
    #82
  3. Charles

    Charles Formerly known as Dr Whipit Supporter

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    Looking forward to the continuation of this RR. I plan on doing it late Aug next year.
    #83
  4. Tsilatipac

    Tsilatipac Go Adventure

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    I would get a technician HAM radio license, 35 question test. Probably pass after two hrs of studying. Then, buy a cheap hand held radio. http://ham-radios-review.toptenreviews.com as cheap as $22 up to several hundred. The $22 radio will give you 4 watt transmitter, 2 ham bands, MURS and GMRS capability, WX BAND, and FM broadcast. Plenty powerful. You can hit repeaters to summon help in most areas or just get a restaurant recommendation.
    #84
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  5. Kawi-Mike

    Kawi-Mike Been here awhile

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    This has been a great RR. I am leaving next week to live in Santa Fe New Mexico for at least the next year. As I read your report I just can't wait to ride some of the trails you are on. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
    #85
  6. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I realized I never answered this question - there's no single track on the TAT but there are sections that are rocky or bouldered up where some weaving and bobbing and picking a good line is more important that other places. Easy to do in a 4x4, pretty easy to do on a motorcycle, but on a hack rig? Might be tough to get through a water crossing or two that we did and the steeper switchbacks in the Colorado passes could be an orafice puckering experience to be sure. Might be fun to try though!
    #86
  7. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy I aim to misbehave.

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    #87
  8. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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    The report by rtwdoug is a good one for a hack rider to read. I have ridden my KLR from the old start in Jellico, TN to the Pacific twice and I will tell you that from Tennessee to Green River, UT you should have no special hack problems other than one small ledge on Warloop Road about 5 miles east of Interstate 540 or 49 depending on which map you look at. You might drag bottom going down that small ledge. There is an alternate parallel road for that.
    I think Sam Carerro is rerouting some of the trail from Green River to go up through Idaho and down through southeastern Oregon to rejoin the original trail at Denio Junction, NV. Are you planning on going that far? If so, PM me and I will try to give you more information without stepping on this report.
    #88
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  9. drrider75

    drrider75 Been here awhile

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    I'm am seriously considering doing the TAT in 2016 also. I live about 4 hrs from Tellico Plains if that is where your going to start. I'd considered going solo but a partner would be great. If you'd like to discuss doing it feel free to shoot me an email @ drrider75@gmail.com
    Thanks.
    #89
  10. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    If you buy the tracks/maps from Sam, it now begins in Andrews NC at the intersection of 129 and Locust Rd. There's a Quality Inn that's clean, nice, and inexpensive about 100 yards from this intersection and there's a number of nearby choices for food. It's about 80 miles of very scenic and relatively easy trail from there to Tellico Plains. At one point, it crosses the Cherohala Skyway if you'd rather ride a bit of that to TP.
    #90
  11. GoMotor

    GoMotor Been here awhile

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  12. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    This time tomorrow night I'll be back out in Utah reunited with my faithful steed and getting prepped for reengaging the TAT down below Moab. Our plan is to tow the bikes (four of them) back down from SLC to Moab and set off from there out into the LaSals for some riding and camping. By Friday, we'll be on the TAT headed westward. I've been anticipating and looking forward to this moment ever since I walked away from my stored bike in June. The other thing I'm feeling is mad at myself that I didn't take a photo of the gear I left in Utah because now I'm wondering what's out there and what have I misplaced here over the summer. Meh, that's what credit cards are for I guess as long as I discover what it is I'm missing while still near civilization.

    Giddy up!
    #92
  13. Marc LaDue

    Marc LaDue Been here awhile

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    Fun reading your thread,

    It reminded me a bit of my ride up Cinnamon on my new to me 950 "S". It was loaded down similarly, except that I hadn't been as smart as you and equipped myself with rigid Gobi's instead. For the first time in my life I was dreading to turn my head in the event I spotted another switchback. And sure enough, there was another, and another, and another.
    We rode the same section the following year on 650's and had a ball. What a difference 100 pounds less can make.
    Another option you might want to consider if you ever find yourself in this area again would be Animas Fork to the lower section of Engineer's Pass, and then on it down to Ouray. It's rough as a cobb, but very rewarding (provided of course your bike doesn't shake itself to pieces).
    Anyway, good luck on your second half,

    LaDue
    #93
  14. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Ok now, here we go. Over the summer we'd been waffling back and forth a bit about when we would go back out and re-engage the TAT on our bikes and gear that were stored in Spanish Fork Utah. Too early and some of the group were concerned that they would die in the desert heat and have their eye balls pecked out by buzzards. Too late and we'll encounter uncomfortable temps and possibly snow at the higher elevations. Given the choice between the prospect of some eye ball pecking and freezing, the group chose the later. We agreed to meet up in SLC on Sept 9 and set out for Moab on the 10th. It should be noted again that this is a group of four, all with their own substantial businesses and responsibilities, and coordinating schedules or heck, doing this at all is a monumental feat. But there we are now arriving on the 9th to begin the second leg of this amazing epic adventure.

    It puzzled us when Sam told me that he considered Moab about half-way on the TAT. I naively looked at a map and clearly there's more of the USA behind us there than ahead of us. I thought maybe the terrain or route could be longer/more difficult but jeez, how much more difficult could it be than the Rockies or Mississippi flood mud? Never the less, we established a schedule that would have us in Port Orford camping on the beach by the evening of September 18th - eight and a half riding days from our Moab re-entry. To do this, we still had it in mind that we were not locked on to the TAT track and would be skipping some sections. Some places we planned to skip ahead of time, and skipping ahead in the story - some we skipped because our ass had been kicked, and some because we'd seen all of that stuff we wanted to see. We came to start calling this mode of riding "The efficient TAT." More on that in the epilog to this adventure.

    With all new tires on the bikes (except for me, I kept my front Pirelli MT21 that looked good), chains cleaned and lubed, and air filters serviced, we loaded onto a trailer to haul back down to Moab where our adventure begins again in the stunning Castle Valley on our way up into the LaSals:

    [​IMG]
    #94
  15. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We had decided, with our schedule constraints, to not back track back in to Colorado for the parts we missed there but had left it open where we'd spend the evening of the 10th. I convinced the rest of the group that the La Sal Mountains were not to be missed and so we set out from Moab in the middle of the afternoon on the 10th with the intention of camping up in the mountains. It was still pretty warm in Moab so we were looking forward to the cooler temps there. The ride from Moab along side the Colorado River out through Castle Valley is a beautiful ride but filled with excitement of being back on the bikes and in some need to find a camp before dark in the mountains, we didn't stop a lot to take photos on the way up figuring we'd get them on the way back into Moab the next day. We wound our way up into the mountains in the general direction of a place called Dons Lake on the east side of the tallest La Sals and camped there for the night:

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    I stupidly put my tent and gear together hastily and didn't worry too much about how cold it might get during the night - flaps open, etc. It was butt freezing cold and I laid there shivering all night long unable to sleep a wink. I don't know why I didn't get up and fix it properly - probably brain damage from the cold and elevation but I had a miserable night here while everyone else slept fine.

    The next day we went the long way around the south end of the peaks to rejoin the official TAT route through the pass. The riding here is incredible. Great roads with good gravel or hard pack surfaces and stunning views of the mountains:

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    The aspens where everywhere here:
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    And the trail wound around all morning in places like this as we made our way back down into Moab for lunch:

    [​IMG]

    We stopped in for lunch at a place called the Blu Pig based upon a previous ride report read on here about a TAT rider that was stranded in Moab and was working there as a bartender. No TAT rider but an excellent BBQ lunch there. This was a new college grad who road the TAT and blew up his engine in Moab and was working there to get enough money to continue. They told us at the BLU Pig that he'd dumped his long board, broken his arm, and lost his job there. I wonder what happened to him?
    #95
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  16. OnTheWay

    OnTheWay Rock Liu

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    Incredibly awesome!You seem to be a good planer.Good luck, and happy journeys ahead.
    #96
  17. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I had been up in the La Sals about 15 years ago in a Jeep with my wife - we had done some hiking to one of the summits - so I knew what they were all about and knew we'd enjoy that ride and we did. Coming up next was the real new adventure for all of us as we routed across Utah north of Canyonlands back up to Green River and onward. Leaving Moab, you run north on the highway several miles with tall mesas on both sides of the road. The TAT turns west across a short flat and immediately starts a steep climb up on a one lane, narrow, rocky road cut into the cliffs. Here's some video that begins when we leave the highway and follows up onto the top of the mesa. I'm on the bike in the front followed by Coach using his dash cam to capture the video.



    There are four of us on a Sena intercom channel so you'll see in this video and others I'll post that we would pace ourselves to stay together and I would stop often if we started losing the link so we could form back up. I mentioned earlier in the thread that we were going to look in to a better solution and we were carrying radios as a back up but we really enjoyed the open mic quality of the Sena intercom and for the more challenging stretches of trail, it made sense to stay close together anyway.
    #97
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  18. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We spent the rest of the afternoon roaming across some incredible terrain and views between Moab and Green River. A lot of it initially looked like this as we skirted the north end of Canyonlands:

    [​IMG]

    A lot of rock, dry washes, and A LOT of deep sandy trail in between. There were places where for hundreds of yards we were stepping the bikes along through deep sand on the path. After an hour or so of riding, and after turning out across some flat between the mesas, we found a lone shady spot for an afternoon break:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We rode on the rest of the afternoon and ended up in Green River and after the famous burger at Ray's, we sprawled out at the Green River State Park camping for the night. Overall, it was a pretty great day of riding. We'd come down out of the La Sals, lunched in Moab, climbed a crazy steep and narrow ascent to top a mesa, and rode 60+ miles of really interesting desert. The next day brought our first route decision:

    [​IMG]

    The TAT makes a southward loop for about 100 miles back down through the desert, soft sand, and looked to be some slower going to see a lot of what we'd already seen on the ride up to Green River. Or, we could run about 20 miles down I-70 and jump back on the TAT and pick up at least a half day or more in the schedule. I'd actually really love to hear someone that's ridden that section we skipped describe it but it skipping it put us rolling up into Black Dragon Canyon early enough in the day to have something in our tank to handle it and enjoy it.
    #98
  19. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    So the second full day of our TAT part deux had us hook on to I-70 and run down to where the TAT intersected it again. In about 20 minutes we'd crossed off about 100 TAT miles and queued up Black Dragon Canyon:

    [​IMG]

    This is a narrow cut in the rocks that winds like a snake for a few miles and presented some interesting challenges. It's a combination of really soft sandy bottom littered with big rocks and narrow crawls, and some steep steps here and there for good measure. On a 250 lightly loaded it would have been a mad romp. On a KLR loaded with 80 lbs of gear, it was work but geez it was fun.

    Yours truly:
    [​IMG]

    In the shade for a short break:
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    [​IMG]

    Finally, here's a rather longish video that stitches together my GoPro video first and then Coach's dash cam video to show some of the route through the canyon. I have to say that place was cool as hell. I'd never ridden more than a couple of "adventure bike" miles when this epic journey began in North Carolina and being able to ride through this deep cut in the stone that is also a significant archeological site was an experience I'll never forget. Here's the video:

    #99
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  20. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Great video! Thanks for sharing!
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