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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    At the end of the first phase of this adventure, we all stored our bikes in Utah and flew home. On the flight home, one of our group had met this guy sitting next to him on the plane that was a cowhand from Eureka Nevada. They got to talking about the TAT and next thing we know, we're invited to stop in when we're passing though - which conveniently, the TAT goes right through the center of Eureka, a quaint town way past its glory days. We rolled in to Eureka on a Sunday morning:

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    Everyone was in church so we had some time to kill before we met up with our new friend. We pulled up the gas station on main street and I happened to roll up under an American Flag hanging on the building:

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    The next thing I know, I see a mob of Chinese people tumbling out of a 15 passenger van parked at the pumps and they all come running over snapping my photo. They spend the next 15 minutes taking turns getting their photo taken with each of their cameras with this buckaroo American adventure rider parked under our nation's flag. It was pretty hilarious really watching them all very politely step forward, each in turn and shake my hand and ask if they could also take their photo. None of them spoke very good english but there was one lady who said they were on a tour of the Western US from China. We asked them if we could take a photo of them with us and they started an animated conversation between themselves that sounds like an argument. Finally, one guy ran back to the van and retrieved a banner and very humbly and politely asked in broken english if it would be OK to hold this while we take the photo? Sure - having no idea what it says it could have been anything from "Check out the stupid American" to "This is our co-conspirators in our spy ring."

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    I figured I was safer with my helmet on flashing them a shaka. My wife managed to translate the banner to something like Epic Journey USA West. So who knows, my ugly helmeted mug is probably being circulated in someone's travel brochures in China about their authentic tours featuring true American adventurers. In a half hour of all this, I still hadn't managed to get off my bike or take off my helmet until they were piling back in their van and rolling out.
  2. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    When church let out we were invited to their Sunday pot luck dinner where we met some of the nicest and finest people we'd encountered on our entire journey. They fed us a wonderful home cooked meal and we got to spend an hour or so talking about life so far off the beaten path. Most of them were ranchers or cow hands on ranches and all great, hard working folk.

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    This is a church plant from a home church in Pennsylvania of all places. The pastor and his wife were both from PA and here they are after 9 years of building a Christian community smack in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The closest Coscto is a 4 hour drive each way so when anyone goes, they take a truck and everyone in town's grocery list. But like many places we visited meandering across America, these people were very happy here with the honest, hard working, and simple life they were building together. There was a real and genuine feeling that lingered long afterward in me that again, I'm reminded that there are so many different paths to freedom and happiness and there's a very authentic universally true value to how these people live and raise their families that America should be very proud of. This really is one part of America's finest right here that we found in what turned out to be one of the most beautiful parts of our entire TAT ride - Northern Nevada.
  3. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Having done a lot of homework here for the trip, I'd pretty well settled how I'd approach closed gates, even the one's that said "Keep Out" on them. But my friends on the trip weren't nearly as comfortable with passing a closed gate and commented more than once about having a lead deficiency that they would rather not resolve at the business end of a scatter gun. I made sure we took the opportunity to talk with many of the ranch hands there about how they felt about motorcycles romping across the northern Nevada hills. They quickly confirmed for my buddies what the prevailing wisdom is here on ADVrider - leave the gate like you found it and keep on rolling. Don't hassle the livestock and don't kick up dust around where people live and work and it'll be all good. We weren't 15 minutes out of town when we encountered our first gate we had to open and close behind us. We plodded along initially through a vast open plain between the mountains:

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    And I decided that the only way to really capture the vastness of where we were was to shoot a 360 short movie (click on image to play):

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  4. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    We ended up running in to a dead end at a copper mining operation late in the day. We were on Kevin's TAT at this point because it looked like a more direct route to Battle Mountain but alas, foiled again by Kevin's route which seemed to be frequently plagued by dead ends and poor/obsolete routing.

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    We initially thought we were going to have to backtrack about 20 miles to where Sam's route diverged but once we got back on the other side of the mining operation I managed to pick a well groomed set of roads that led us up to a short highway ride into town. It turns out, we arrived just as all the Human Powered teams were unloading and prepping their bikes at the hotel. There was a conference room at the hotel full of sleek looking shells and very light bikes and teams of people including riders, doctors, and support people from universities and private efforts from all over the world.

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    Pretty cool stuff talking to these guys. The current record being chased was 83 mph and they told us that of all the places in the world, Battle Mountain Nevada was the most perfect place to chase this record. It was a combination of the altitude, humidity, and flat, straight smooth road leading out of town that drew them all here year after year to chase the goal of being the fastest human powered person alive. As it turns out, someone did break the record in the few days after we left them to the task:

    http://www.theverge.com/tldr/2015/9/18/9351763/worlds-fastest-bike-human-powered

    The next part of the trip from Battle Mountain up into Oregon was spectacular for scenery but the bit epic views were somewhat spoiled by the smoke from the wild fires still raging in California hundreds of miles away.
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  5. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Here's some video of the an area that I would never get tired of riding. Stunning views and some surprises along the way:



    I left this video relatively unedited as I rode through the ranch that was nestled in between these high ridges. This was the only "No Trespassing" sign we saw going through Utah and Nevada but when we encountered it we really didn't have much choice but to push ahead. A re-route around this would have lost at least half a day or more.
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  6. TigerTanker

    TigerTanker Husqurducycle

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    Ok, 3 pages in, need to come back... this is some good stuff!
  7. 105suz

    105suz Been here awhile

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    Hey pittsdriver I'm pretty sure i was right behind you guys, I ran into Bob just outside of Trinadad. I was solo on a DRZ400 but I spent 5 days in Trinadad waiting on my friend to show up.
  8. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Bob seemed like a pretty happy guy that was comfortable keeping his own self company. He would have been fun to hang out but alas, we were both on the move. Everything after Trinidad was just awesome and I'll be back there in Colorado someday soon to ride some of those routes again.
  9. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Northern Nevada is an amazingly diverse place:

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    We ran up on this abandoned place with TAT rider graffiti all over the inside of it:

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    Cottonwood, a ghost town as far as we could tell:

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    And then there was Hinkley Summit and the amazing road up and down through those hills:

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    It was very smokey from the fires in California and Oregon when we passed through:

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  10. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    After a night of camping in the desert west of McDermitt:

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    We rode on through through some beautiful terrain and on in to Fields Station for gas and the world's best burger and milkshake. Actually, when I ordered my chocolate milkshake with banana in it she crinkled her nose at me and said "Yuck" and I'm convinced I didn't get her best effort. But it was still tasty. We rode from there back down through Denio where there was still no gas as of mid-September. We did stop at the boiling hot springs in the fields west of Denio:

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  11. SteelCityADV

    SteelCityADV Anti-Chrome

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    Great reports and pics
  12. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Okie dokie. I guess I got a bit burned out on writing the trip port last fall and stopped posting short of our arrival back home. By now, no one's likely reading this aside from my me but hey, writing about it is a way a reliving it so I'm going to finish this up as a way of getting my motivation up for planning this year's adventure ride. Enough prelude.

    The obligatory photos of Fields Station:

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  13. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Unfortunately the proprietors were away on a family emergency when we went through but their lovely daughter was there making milk shakes while a seasoned older woman flipped the burgers for us. Tasty and definitely worth the trip up for fuel in us and the bikes. After taking care of our business here, we thought briefly about running out to Propeller Flats but decided to hit the highway down to Denio and move on to try to make Lakeview Oregon by early evening to catch up on some laundry and bike maintenance.

    By the time we made Lake view, it was getting pretty dang cold in mid-September with drizzling rain in the 40'sF and snow predicted up at elevation near Crater Lake. We left early the following morning and spent most of the morning rambling around through the Fremont and Winema National Forests in near freezing temps, fog, and drizzle and finally decided to hit the road for Crater Lake. Seeing this natural wonder had been on my bucket list for a long time and dang it, we were going there even if we had to ride through sleet to do it. Well, we had to ride through sleet and snow to do it and when we go there, whatever patron saint of the TAT must have been smiling on it because we scored the last two rooms in the entire park:

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    That warm, dry heat in the cabin felt incredible but even that wouldn't make up for the disappointment - there was absolutely no view anywhere in the entire park. When we rode out the following morning after breakfast, we literally had to look down and follow the line on the road because the viz was about 50 feet until we came down out of the park to get back on the TAT. So after a miserable ride up and back, the bucket list was left unchecked - for now.
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  14. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I won't lie, I was pretty disappointed that I'd ridden the TAT over 4,000 miles from home to Crater Lake and did not get so much as a glimpse of it. I'd flown around over it about 10 years ago in my light aircraft but seeing it up close was going to have to wait for another day. I had no clue that day would come so soon. More later on that.

    It's amazing the diversity of country that you see on the TAT riding from the Appalachians to the Oregon coast and roaming through up country Oregon was as much a highlight of the trip as any place we'd been. Before we started this leg of the TAT, we had been worried that we wouldn't see it at all because of the extensive forest fires and fire fighting efforts underway all through this area. The TAT route went right through the areas we had been watching for days getting updates on the fires. Our timing was perfect to get there with all the fires extinguished but the devastation was apparent. There were vast swatches of lush green forests that were burned or clear cut for fire breaks all along this route. And because of that, a fair amount of logging activity was also happening. Some of the route was pretty beaten up by the logging trucks and on a couple of occasions, we were turned around by the loggers who were blocking the route. Fortunately, there is an extensive maze of forest roads all through this area and you really couldn't go wrong if you just generally followed your compass instead of the GPS tracks.

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    We popped out of the woods after routing around a logging crew to find the Dry Creek Store, a fine meal and gas stop in the middle of nowhere Oregon.

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  15. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    After lunch, we continued off back into the forest roads on a narrow, winding two track that was a blast to ride until we came upon this minor obstruction in our path:

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    You can get a good idea in this photo what the burned out areas looked like as well. There was no getting around this (or over it without a trials bike). Fortunately, we managed to reconnect with the TAT after only several miles of backtracking and reroute. The best of the Oregon hills was yet to come.
  16. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Still with you..... thanks for the update.
  17. nameuhpete

    nameuhpete Adventurer

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    Just found this and am thoroughly enjoying it!
  18. Molonlabemike

    Molonlabemike Been here awhile

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    Great RR, enjoyed your journey
  19. Tommyturtle

    Tommyturtle Been here awhile

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    "I left this video relatively unedited as I rode through the ranch that was nestled in between these high ridges. This was the only "No Trespassing" sign we saw going through Utah and Nevada but when we encountered it we really didn't have much choice but to push ahead. A re-route around this would have lost at least half a day or more."

    Pittsdriver/anyone....Is that ranch with the red 'No Trespassing' sign on Sam's TAT route? Thanks, T
  20. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    For the route from Battle Mountain up to McDermitt they are the same for the most part. It's my recollection that they were the same when we got to his spot. It's an amazing ride up across that high desert and dropping down through the cut in the rocks into this ranch valley was a highlight of the trip. We saw no one and no livestock and only a couple of out buildings on the entire traverse of the ranch. Interestingly, the entrance from the side we exited I don't remember having anything that said to keep out.
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