Planning the Trans America Trail for 2 Honda Trail CT125s Summer 2021

Discussion in 'Americas' started by anelog272, May 16, 2021.

  1. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    My buddy John and I are planning on attempting the TAT with 2 Honda Trail CT125’s. We’ve done some shakedown rides with them and feel that they’re up to the task as is. We don’t plan on doing any modifications and are starting out with the stock tires. We’ve been in some rough terrain with full packs and think they’ll do well. As well as a 125 can do anyway. Are there going to be some miserable times on the 55mph roads? Yes. Indeed there will. We took hwy 19 back from the end of the SM500 to Asheville - and it was not fun. But we feel pretty sorted with the machine and the gear - give or take.

    I have plenty road riding experience and have dabbled with plenty of fire roads over the years. But ten days is my longest trip - and I stayed in motels every night. I have backpacking and camping experience, but I’m new to the tougher off-road riding and motorcycle camping.

    I’m sitting down with Sam’s tracks to try to get a handle on a plan. At first I was thinking that I’d just set off and figure it out as I go as far as campgrounds or the occasional motel go. But then I realized that this could mean pulling Into a gas station in the evening and wasting a bunch of time googling for nearby motels or campgrounds because I have no plan and no destination. And I’d much rather spend the time riding.

    I know another choice would be to just pull into the woods wherever I end up at the end of the day and set up camp. Here’s the thing with that. Unless I can convince John to quit his job (I’m trying) - then he won’t be joining me until I hit Colorado. Which means I’m on my own for a good bit of the trip. Solo camping at a campground? No problem. Solo camping in the middle of nowhere? Um. I have some trepidation. (Especially after someone just posted on one of our videos to bring a gun because they found a naked guy who'd been shot five times on the side of the trail...) It’s just something I haven’t done before. I know if I just force myself to do it for a few nights that I’ll get used to it, probably start enjoying it, and all will be cool. But I also know I’ll get into the sleeping bag and start thinking about the damned Blair Witch Project.

    If I had the budget - I’d happily dump all the bulky camping gear and just stay in motels every night. Unfortunately, I think a motel every 4 nights or so for a hot shower and real bed is probably about the best I can get away with.

    I’m also a bit new to this forum and I’ve done some searches, but haven’t found any threads with details about how folks plan their day to day on the TAT. Any suggestions or links to posts appreciated! I’ve found these so far…

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/tat-packing-and-logistics.1329237/
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/going-for-broke-tat-2011.698330/

    Anyway - my first task is to try to figure out how to plan my nightly stops. I started going through Sam’s tracks one by one - noting the mileage and how long I think each section will take me until I get to about 200 miles. I’m adding this all to a spreadsheet. Is this as overboard and insane as it seems? I'm overthinking - right?


    Once I see where I'm gong to end up after 200ish miles for a day - I’ve been searching the area for campgrounds. This method is pretty tedious and more times then not there’s nothing at all at the spot I think I’ll end at. And planning for longer than 5 days in advance or so seems crazy - because I know stuff will happen to throw me off schedule. I might be getting more miles - or much less.

    I’d thought there would be waypoints within Sam’s tracks with plenty of campgrounds listed -but that doesn’t seem to be the case (on the East section at least).

    Am I being too anal about this? Should I just get out there and wing it and see what happens? I’d love to hear how others who have don’t the TAT have gone about it. I'll be relieved to have a real plan - even if that plan is to not have a real plan...
    #1
  2. heirhead

    heirhead worlds worst mechanic

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    Hello,
    Overthinking it!
    Plan nightly stops? Ride till don't want to ride anymore.
    You probably won't be solo camping, meet up with peeps on the way if so no biggie.
    Blair will not show up!

    1966 Trail 90, in 1971, 60 miles south of LA. to Yellowstone, Bozeman Montana, solo.
    $3.08 in gas to West Yellowstone, 1080 miles. No weapon then or now.
    Have a great journey!

    hh
    wwm
    #2
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  3. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    yeah - I'm over thinking. Ha - $3.08 from Bozemen to Yellowstone - that's what I'm talking about!
    #3
  4. heirhead

    heirhead worlds worst mechanic

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    Garden Grove Ca, 60 miles south of Los Angeles to Yellowstone.
    1080 miles. $3.08 in gas!

    You will have a great time on those bikes, wish they would of put the 2 speed tranny in though.

    hh
    wwm
    #4
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  5. AwDang

    AwDang Enabler

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    Yes,
    Your quickly turning your adventure into a trip.

    Personally, I’d plan 150mi days. That little bike is going to beat you up and wear you out. Mornings will get longer until kick stands up. Evenings will come earlier as the days click by.
    #5
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  6. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    I did the TAT solo on a small Honda (250L) in 2019. You simply cannot plan out where you will stop. It isn't possible. And it isn't necessary. The thing you need to remember is that you are in the USA. You might be in the woods on a dirt road but you will virtually NEVER be more than 20 miles from civilization. You will almost always have a good cell signal. You will have no trouble at all doing a google search for a motel or campground every day. What I did was take a look on the Google machine when I was eating lunch. Typically you will see a couple camp grounds that are 4 or 5 hours down the trail. Call them if you want (I never did) or just roll in around diner time. You will always be able to find a motel.

    I am with you 100% I have zero desire to sleep in the middle of nowhere. None at all. With the exception of the last two nights in Oregon I never had any problem finding a campground or a motel. The last two nights I sucked it up and slept in the woods on the trail. No choice.

    I don't know what you are planning on carrying for camping gear but I strongly recommend paring it down to the sleep essentials. I spent a couple hundred bucks on a stove, mess kit, etc and stopped using it after the 3rd morning and mailed it all home after a week. There is nothing worse than cooking shit ass camp food in the woods and there is nothing better than french toast, eggs, coffee, and waffles at a local diner served by a cute girl named Sue. You will always be able to find that. I took a lightweight hammock sleep system that worked great.

    My day to day plan was- wake up, pack the bike, ride, eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, sleep repeat. Also in there that is 100% unpredictable but 99% guaranteed is "fix whatever problem arises. Because you will have problems.

    Again- YES you are overthinking. You cannot plan your days, nights, stops, gas, food, laundry, etc. Can't be done. Trip would suck if you could.
    Your first task should be to make sure the bike is as rock-solid reliable as possible. The second task is to make sure you can do basic maintenance and tire changes on it trail side in the rain. The third task should be to become expert with your GPS system. After that it's just "follow the colored line". It is such a fantastic trip. Can't wait to hear about it.





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  7. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    yeah - 200 miles per day might be optimistic for sure. and you're 100% right - adventure v. trip. excellent way to look at it. thx!
    #7
  8. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    Thanks! This is the sort of stuff I need to hear. I'm an ex-production manager and sometimes I try to apply the way I did that job (juggling ten thousand details) to everything else. Sounds like this is a time to let it go. Always 20 miles from civilization is a key way to think about this - and I definitely wasn't. The lunch time planning sounds like the way to go. I've done a good bit of backpacking and have some decent UL camp gear - so hopefully I'm fine there. Tested it out on the SM 500 and I think I had everything I need. I can ditch a saw and a knife and a few other odds and ends I'm sure I won't need. Okay - this was great advice. I really appreciate it. Changed my whole outlook on how to go about this...

    One question about your lunch time planning. Did you sort of look at your gps and try to figure out where you'd be in 4 or 5 hours- and then just search google maps for campgrounds or motels in that area? I use Gaia and I can't really figure out a way to figure out how far from a town I'll be or whatever. Just wondering how you went about it.
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  9. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Have you seen Ed March and his C90 adventure channel? He has done the TAT with Rachel Lasham on C90’s. Could give you some insight.
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  10. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    Yup - Ed is a major reason why I grabbed a ct125... He's a sick and twisted individual and a hero... Checked out the kiwi grom folks too... good stuff..
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  11. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    Yep that's it. If I was planning a motel I wouldn't even bother looking for one. I'd just look for the city or town I'd be in or near at the end of the day and pick one when I got there. There's always an $80 motel around. Usually 4 or 5 all across the street from one another. Campgrounds take a little more work to find. Usually Google. Sometimes I'd go get dinner and ask the waitress for a recommendation, that usually works. I never made a reservation, you just never know what is going to happen. The ONLY time in 24 nights that I got shut out of everything was in Ouray Colorado where the hotels were like $300 and the campground was full. I slept in the woods with some other ADV dudes.
    Yep, that is a feature Gaia could use. I always hit "RECORD" when I start a new section so I can know how far along a section I am. Other than that you get used to estimating. Nothing is perfect, it isn't supposed to be. I usually used a stopping window rather than a time. In July and August the sun sets so late you could ride til well past 8 still with sunlight. Who the hell wants that? haha Usually my "stop" window was between 4 and 8. If I've been going since 9am that's plenty. 4 and 8 is a big window. You'll hit something in four hours. Remember it's America.
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  12. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    Man - this is super helpful. I'm totally ripping off your strategy! Thanks a ton...
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  13. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    I learned a LOT on that crazy-ass trip.
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  14. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    Once a trip gets over a few days long, it is really difficult to tell where you will be, I usually make a loose plan at lunch or during an afternoon stop. We usually stop in the evening in a town for dinner and gas, then head out of that town to camp. There is a thread called stealth camping. With a little practice, you can camp just about anywhere. There are always the people who have a story about a bad experience with stealth camping, those people are the type that will tell you about all the people they know who have passed away on a motorcycle too.
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  15. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    I wonder if it would be possible to lay the seats down and put the CT125 in the back of a SUV such as Ford Edge.... trying to figure out some options on getting myself and my bike out midway to meet up. Shipping my bike and flying seems the most expensive, and I don't know where I'd ship the bike and my stuff to. Seems like keeping it with me would help insure I start when I want to. My top idea is renting a pickup one-way from SC to TX and putting the bike in the back. That's probably what I will do unless some other bright idea like a minivan might work.
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  16. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Well my CT125 is in the back of an 18 wheeler trailer on the way out west. I'm flying out on July 8th to start my trek, will connect with Ang either the 9th or 10th, if the plan works.
    #16