Ox and Pig - TAT 2019

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PackinDirt, Jul 29, 2019.

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  1. PackinDirt

    PackinDirt Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Not much to report other than I-90 east of Rapid City is wholly unremarkable. We did see a bit of Badlands on our way out this morning. Made it to Madison after dark as a serious headwind in the open prarie kept our highway speed to around 60. That's 700 miles if you're keeping track.

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  2. PackinDirt

    PackinDirt Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Made Toledo. Niagara Falls tomorrow.
  3. hawkboy647

    hawkboy647 Adventurer

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    Thanks for leaving your calling card on my Stelvio at Yellowstone. Hope you enjoyed your ride and have safe travels back to VT.
    We ended up at Yellowstone after doing the CO and UT BDR’s. Headed home to NH and are in Erie now. (Though we did trailer to Fort Collins). Enjoy!
  4. PackinDirt

    PackinDirt Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Ha! That's a great ride. I really liked riding in the west. Just so different from home. Every turn was a new and amazing vista.

    Short driving day got us to Niagara on the early side so there was plenty of time to hang out at the falls. Lots of water in the system from recent rain made for a big show. Final push tomorrow will get us home with enough daylight to empty the car. KIMG1160.JPG KIMG1165.JPG KIMG1167.JPG KIMG1171.JPG
    sperduton, Ridersma, MrMac and 4 others like this.
  5. Ridersma

    Ridersma n00b Supporter

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    Amazing journey-speaks to your passionate planning;)
  6. PackinDirt

    PackinDirt Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Made it home. Ox and Pig are resting in the barn.

    Final RR summary coming in the next few days.
    sperduton, moriyama, MrMac and 4 others like this.
  7. Dualsport Chic

    Dualsport Chic Long timer

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    Welcome back to New England!
  8. PackinDirt

    PackinDirt Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Summary:

    Although the planning for this trip started almost 2.5 years ago, the scope changed several times based on rider commitment. With the amazing amount of information available, this could be thought out and planned in 6 months or so. Everything worked out pretty well with the only real change being that we finished 2-3 days ahead of schedule. It's easy to ride the TAT out if you live in the East; the big issue is how do you get home? There are no cheap answers. It's still gonna cost you plenty to get you and the bike back. Flights are $4-600 and shipping the bike can cost almost $1k. And renting trucks is astronomical! For us, this was eased somewhat by my son coming along with the car, meeting us on the west coast, and enjoying a laid-back, 7-day trip home with the bikes on a rented trailer.

    We followed Kevin's tracks from Maggie Valley, NC, all the way to Port Orford, OR, and only bypassed at closed gates. We made a commitment early on to follow all posted, no trespassing, and private property signs (except for that one closed bridge...) as we are always ambassadors for our sport. None of the bypasses were more than 10 minutes out of our way to rejoin the blue line. Being loaded on bigger bikes, we didn't attempt any of the red sections and elected to jump on green sections for expediency several times.

    We lucked out in the rain department having to don our rain gear only a handful of times: the first day out of NC, heading over Engineer Pass into Ouray, and out of Nevada into Oregon. Three days, really. No rotten feet, no crotch rot, no stinky camping gear. I did rinse the dust out of my mesh gear in the tub in Moab. Dried quickly in the desert sun.

    I was happy with my choice of gear: mesh pants and jacket with thin, waterproof shells top and bottom for warmth and rain gear. Easy to put on and take off and packed small when not in use. Our helmet communications were fun on the trail and useful on the road to tune out. We went to music where it was dusty and had to put some distance between us. I opted for a 2-person tent (EMS Refugio 2) because it wasn't much more material than the 1-person and still had 16" folded poles (fit perfectly in my tail bag). All my camping gear lived in the tail bag with everything else distributed in the trusty and waterproof Wolfman saddle bags. "Command Central" was the Wolfman tank bag holding charging cables, batteries, camera, jump pack, stickers, air pressure gauge, etc. My Zac Speed Recon S-3 backpack held a 3-liter hydration pack and little things we needed access to frequently (zip ties, electrical tape, Motion Pro multi-purpose tool, multi-tool, etc.). At times I felt over packed and probably could have survived with less but that's not how I roll. When I do it again, I will reassess my gear choices.

    We got used to "gas station cuisine" after a couple days. That's not to say that we didn't eat well on many occasions. When opportunity presented, we took advantage of local intel for good eats. We were seldom disappointed. There are little gems everywhere. A local hangout with local beer by a river in Colorado. A food truck court in Moab. A carne asada burrito for $9 at a small place in Idaho Falls, ID, was a revelation. As big as my arm and stuffed with meat and salsa verde.

    Our plan to blast the eastern sections to get out west was a good one. I feel that we enjoyed this part of the ride through ticking off all the TAT-related checkpoints: Witt Road water crossing, TAT shack, Oark Cafe, etc. All those things we'd seen in previous ride reports and YouTube videos for years. Even when we got to Oklahoma and planned to slab across (two-lane, not interstate) instead of sucking dust on endless, straight, flat gravel roads, the locals admitted that we weren't missing much. Although the Osage Hills were pretty. And we met up with Joe and Shane in Alva! What are the chances?

    The fun really begins once you're beyond OK and enter New Mexico. This is where you start to feel like you're somewhere new (at least if you're from the leafy and green eastern US). Spending a couple days in both Ouray, CO, and Moab, UT, were highlights of our trip. Like I said in previous posts, it felt like the exclamation point of the journey. It's all down hill from here...

    Crossing the empty, northern half of Nevada was getting old after three days but was amazing in it's own way. Finally getting into tall trees in Oregon meant that we were closing in on the coast and the end of our trip.

    In the end, we used almost all of the tools and supplies that we (I) brought. I should have asked Scotty to carry more of the load of shared tools since my load was a bit heavier. The one thing we never used, thankfully, was my full first aid kit. I probably could have gotten away with fewer clothes: one riding shirt not two, two pairs of socks not three, etc. We used just about all of the tools and supplies we had at some point on the ride. Not that it would have been a deal-breaker not having it, just made life easier. I will always pack a spare clutch cable from now on (it was new when we left NC and snapped in CO).

    Stats:
    With the extra riding in Colorado and Moab, we covered right around 5000 miles in 25 days. Didn't keep track of costs as I don't want to know. Spent a bit more on lodging than anticipated by not taking advantage of wilderness camping.

    Pig: new tires, sprockets, chain, air filter, and oil change in Colorado (thank you, Mule!), one rear flat early in the ride (Mississippi, maybe?) on a freshly graded back road with nasty, flint-like, sharp rocks, busted clutch cable, broken fuel tank strut, failed turn signals somewhere in Nevada, missing muffler mount bolt.

    Ox: new rear tire at the Bunkhouse in OK (told ya you'd like that D606), oil change and air filter in Colorado, my used MT21 front mounted in Moab (with the exception of 2 riding days, this tire went all the way across), frayed throttle cable, failed battery, several fuses due to headlight switch issues, front flat in eastern Oregon before the big trees, body panels, turn signal stalks, and seat are held on with zip-ties (aka KLR fasteners) and electrical tape.

    All in all, these proved to be fully capable machines for this endeavor. As stated just a few posts ago, I think that when I do this again, I will do it on my XR650L.

    Someone asked me what the best part of the trip was. I easily stated that it was the people we met along the way. When we needed help, it was there. When we needed advice, it was provided. Every gas stop turned into a "You boys are a long way from home" discussion. Find out what you have in common with someone and talk to them. Greet everyone like they're your friend. "How are you doin' today?", as Scotty would say. You'd be amazed how much other folks want to share their own story as well as hear yours. This has been a soul-affirming confirmation that there good people everywhere.

    Travel well, my friends.
  9. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    Great summation, well put.
  10. dualscotty

    dualscotty premix

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    Great summary, heres my take. although I mentioned A drz 400 a few posts ago I would take my Klr 650 again and again. Yes under powered yes a bit to heavy but It proved to be a capable bike even over the toughest terrain.I to would pack less clothing next time 2 shirts not 3 2 socks not 3 for example plenty of opportunity to do laundry or simply rinse items in river and dry on the bike while riding.I had a One man tent witch worked fine. Total of 38 lbs of gear . I could have carried a little more of the shared tools we had to even things out a little bit. The Sena communicaters were awesome especially on the tough sections we could alert each other on upcoming opticals.The people we met on this trip was the best part. Special thanks to Simon for driving the support vehicle and being there to tow the bikes home oh yeah and also for the sour dough bread from San Francisco and the cheese .One of the main ingredients to a fun and successful trip of this type is a darn good friend and riding buddy,one that you can laugh with , yell at, and yells at you and can tolerate you when your just plain worn out from the trail.......,thanks Jesse it was a trip of. Lifetime. Oh and by the way. STAY TO THE LEFT. !!!!
  11. PackinDirt

    PackinDirt Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    Ha! That's a Witt Road water crossing reference. Told him to go left. I thought I had it on camera but my battery had died. Just imagine Scotty attempting that crossing we've seen so many times before, hitting the same big, submerged rock, and putting his bike over in the same spot as everyone else. Then me wading in to help him get it out of that mess. That really is a tough crossing. Told you technology hates me.

    I stayed way left but stalled the XR half-way through the really deep water just left of that massive rock in the middle. Didn't drop it but I soaked both feet. It looked so easy...

    The rest of the trip when we came to the smallest puddles, "STAY LEFT!!!".