Rach & Ed ride the TAT on Honda C90's

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WanderOnAHonda, Aug 7, 2015.

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  1. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    TAT Day 105 (Silver Lake, OR to Crescent, OR)

    Thursday 19th November

    We woke to yet another bright day and sunny day, which did wonders for our motivation and enthusiasm.

    Clouds still hung in the sky, and as we took a paved road out of town a beautiful rainbow appeared over the road. I could have taken this as a good omen, but after over three months on the TAT I'd learnt to know better.

    All was going well as we turned off on to a gravel road then on to a sandy trail. It was a little bumpy with the bastard bushes, but not too bad, at least not compared to the next section we had to tackle.

    Continued...

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  2. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We got to an area completely full of rocks, which turned out to be a massive pain in the arse for me. It was really bumpy and hard to navigate, with no good route for me or the trike. It got worse and more condensed as I continued, so I bumped over them at a snails pace; a painstaking task to say the least.

    Part of me just wanted to open the throttle and blast right over them, even if it did throw me around like a rag doll, but I knew that it wouldn't do me or the trike any good. And so I continued; crawl, bump, sway, stop, repeat. Ed on the other hand was just fine nipping in between them, and left me behind to swear at the rocks.

    We finally left the lumpy hell hole behind, climbing up slightly on a sandy trail to give us beautiful views of the surrounding scenery.

    Continued...

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  3. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    It then flattened out before we took a graded gravel road in to the forest, where we wound our way through on dirt and sand, keeping a keen eye on navigation as it was so easy to miss a turn.

    They'd cleared large areas of forest and had a bonfire on the go, and I thought that it was sod's law that it was on the one day that I wasn't cold and didn't need warming up.

    There were stretches of wide graded gravel and other sections of smaller trails, which took us deeper in to the forest. Huge trees towered above us, and as we stopped to have a toilet break I found some really cool brightly coloured moss. I love being in the forest, so really enjoyed this section.

    Continued...

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  4. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    The trail continued to wind through the forest, but we soon came to a stop as a massive tree had come down and was blocking the route. We had a good look but there was no way around it, so Ed found a detour down a different trail which eventually joined up with Sam's route again.

    I'd obviously tempted fate by thinking after our detour that we'd actually managed to escape the snow for a day, as we climbed up to slightly higher elevation and the oh so familiar white stuff appeared.


    Continued...

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  5. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    It was really slushy and slippery and I slid out a few times as the camber took my wheels with it, and poor Ed was really struggling to stay in a straight line.

    The light started falling as we continued, but we eventually got down to lower elevation and the snow disappeared. I was hoping by this point that we didn't have far to go to get to Crescent, but I was left disheartened when Ed checked the route and discovered that we still had about 30 miles to go. I thought that at least being at lower elevation and with the snow gone we could eat up the miles, but little did I know that Ed's rear tube valve was seconds from being torn out. I think by this time Ed was sick of punctures and changing tubes, but with no other option than to replace it, he got on with the task in hand as quickly as he could.

    He had to remove the tube then fix the spare, before putting it in and finally getting on our way again. By this time it was pitch black and cold, and the trail from then on seemed to take forever. At one point my spirit was lifted as we got on to wider gravel road which I hoped would take us all the way to Crescent, but of course there was no such luck. Instead we turned off on to an increasingly narrow trail, which was extremely undulating and wound through the forest, with the trees hanging over us at times making it feel like we were in a tunnel. It would have been quite cool had it been daylight and I'd been able to see properly, but with my failing night vision and lack of glasses, I really struggled to navigate it at a decent speed.

    Ed ended up having to ride to the right and slightly ahead of me so I could use his headlight, but I struggled to keep up and he had to keep dropping back so I could catch up, something that was impossible for me to do once his light was too far away.

    After what seemed like forever we eventually popped out of the forest and arrived in Crescent, with a sigh of relief on my part. We quickly found a cheap motel with another massive comfortable bed, and after a feast in the restaurant over the road, we went back and slumped on the bed, looking and feeling scarily like one of the many stuffed animals they'd had on the shelves.

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  6. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    TAT Day 106-111 (Crescent, OR to Klamath Falls, OR)

    Friday 20th November to Wednesday 25th November

    Similar to me tempting fate with my words and thoughts, booking any accommodation is a sure fire way to guaranteeing something going wrong. There was only one place to stay on the next section of the route, so planning ahead I dropped them an email and booked a room for the night. After breakfast we went to load up the bikes, but looking at his chain that had been making some strange noises of late, Ed noticed that his rear sprocket was, well, fucked. (Yes that's the technical term).

    We were suddenly left with a problem, and quickly had to work out a solution. There was no way we could continue, as riding off in to the middle of nowhere knowing that the bike could break at any moment would be stupid and reckless, something that we're not, even if other people think otherwise.

    Continued...

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  7. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    Once continuing was quickly discounted, and we'd called around all the bike shops within 150 mile radius, we put our thinking caps on. Our first option was to order a sprocket to be delivered to Crescent, but as it was a Friday we'd have to wait at least 4-5 days for it to arrive, which would be a lot of time and money. The second option was to ride 90 miles south on a proper road down to Ed's friend's house in Klamath Falls, where we could stay for free, wait for the sprocket, and enjoy a home away from home. Needless to say it wasn't hard to decide which option to take. So after the fourth day waiting in Crescent, only joking, of course we rode to Ed's friend's house ;)

    On paper riding down a basically straight paved road for 90 miles should have been easy, but being on a trike that only wants to go right made it much more difficult than it should have been. I rode for quite a long time until my arms were exhausted, and Ed kindly took over for me. Although I don't much like riding Ed's bike, it was a damn sight easier than the trike, and I revelled in being able to go effortlessly in a straight line, something of a novelty for me.

    As we got nearer to Klamath Falls we ended up with a small tail back behind us, so we pulled over in to a lay by to let the cars past. It was then that something rather strange happened. As I went to pull away on Ed's bike, the contents of his rear wheel was spat out on to the ground, something that really shouldn't happen. By luck, chance or fate, it had happened while stationary, and thankfully not while moving at 40+mph. We bent down to investigate it and discovered that his axle thread was stripped, which had caused the nut to come off, axle to move, and the brake cushions to fall out of place. It really shouldn't have happened, but one thing was for sure that the bike wasn't going anywhere.

    Not averse to putting our motorcycles in the back of pick-ups, we ended waving down a lift to get to me and the bike to Ken's. A really lovely lady pulled over and we loaded the bike up, before setting off with Ed following behind on the trike. I unfortunately can't remember her name and didn't get a photo, but she was really sweet and rather excited about helping out a stranded traveller. Ed's friend Ken came out to lift the bike off, and after waving farewell to my friendly helper, Ed finally arrived on the trike.

    It had been over two years since Ed and Ken had seen each other, after first meeting on Ed's Mongolia tour back in 2013. He was the cool guy in his 60's, the one that Ed respected so much that he could have made him cry with his words. It was great to finally meet the legend in person, and he and his wonderful wife Marolyn made us feel instantly at home. We located and ordered the new sprocket for Ed's bike, and then all there was to do was wait and enjoy their company and warm home and hospitality, safe in the knowledge that we'd definitely chosen the right option.

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  8. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Another great update! You two put a Capitol P in Perseverance!

    Good people always seem to find each other!
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  9. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    TAT Day 112 (Klamath Falls, OR to Port Orford, OR)

    Thursday 26th November

    A week after arriving at Ken and Marolyn's it was time to finish what we'd started, and complete the TAT. Ed's new sprocket was on, his stripped axle was replaced with my old axle which had been sent to Ken's back when we were in Moab, and we replaced his sorry looking rear inner tube with a new one.

    We needed to ride a long paved road to pick up the trail again, but after a recent heavy dumping of snow it was just too dangerous to ride. Had we both had motorcycles with studded tyres then we would have been fine and done it without hesitation, but with a home-made trike and a motorcycle with rapidly balding tyres, it really wasn't a good idea. Thankfully for us though it wasn't game over, as Ken stepped up to the plate and kindly lent us an old ambulance, with the plan to ride to a town around 120 miles away. This way we could avoid the dangerous road riding, pick up the trail from there, and not miss out on too much of it. In fact with our detour to Klamath Falls and our drive to Glendale, we would only miss a day and a bit of the trail, something that we weren't too upset about.

    Having loaded the bike and trike on to the truck the night before, it was just a case of get up early, clear the ice off the windscreen, drive 120 miles to Glendale, then unload the bikes and ride the rest of the way to Port Orford.

    Shortly after setting off I was pleased we'd chosen to take the truck, as the road was incredibly icy and slippery in places. It was freezing cold too, so I was also particularly thankful for the unlimited heat out of the vents.

    Continued...

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  10. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We arrived in Glendale around 11am, but as it was a public holiday the gas station was closed. This meant that we had to drive back five miles in the truck to get some on the main road, which wasn't that far but a setback that we could have done without, seeing as time was ticking on. We then discovered that we'd forgotten to get a travel socket to keep the iPhone charged for our navigation, having left ours at Ken's, but after finding that they didn't have any in the store the owner kindly gave us his and also let us leave the truck in the car park. So with power in the phone and fuel in the tanks, we headed off on what was to be our last day on the trail, kind of.

    It was 12pm when we finally left Glendale, with a warm sun and bright blue sky. We couldn't have asked for better weather really, especially as it was winter, and it provided us with a positive feeling that we might actually get to Port Orford in one piece.

    As time was getting on we decided to take an easier option out of town, which consisted of smooth paved roads. This wasn't necessarily easier for me however, as it was quite twisty and the trike wasn't much liking bends these days, left or right. We stopped shortly after setting off as Ed thought he had yet another flat tyre, but thankfully it just needed some more air put in it and we were quickly on our way again.

    Continued...

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  11. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We eventually turned off the main road, rejoined the TAT, and wound down in to the forest where the sun was replaced by shade.

    Snow appeared on the trees like they'd been dusted with icing sugar, and worked its way down until there was a thin layer over the road.

    Continued...

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  12. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    Surrounded by forest we continued on the trail, gently climbing higher with every mile and turn. Time drifted by as we continued, our progress only shown by the dot on the iPhone map, and the occasional exciting words written on the odd paved section in white paint saying 'Oregon Coast'.

    As we climbed higher, beautiful views were presented in between the trees, with the snow getting a little thicker, and the trail getting narrower and winding.

    Continued...

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  13. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    The trail then made its way down again, leaving the snow behind. The forest was really beautiful, especially as sunlight streamed in between the trees.

    At one point I got excited as we got to a sign that said 'Oregon Coast', but the excitement was short-lived as I knew that we still had a way to go.

    Despite wishful thinking that we'd left the snow behind for good, it soon appeared again as we climbed up in elevation. We went past quite a lot of logging operations but there wasn't a worker in sight being a public holiday, so we continued to have the place to ourselves.

    Continued...

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  14. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    The trail headed down once again, and the white snow was replaced with welcome green vegetation. I made sure that I enjoyed it while it lasted, as I had a sneaking suspicion that there was more snow to come.

    As the light started dropping we started climbing, just in time to see a beautiful view as the sun set. It was such a perfectly clear sky, with those lovely dark pastel colours that you get at that time of day.

    It started getting quite cold once the sun set, and I was surprised as we started climbing up even higher. I'd stupidly negated the fact that there were mountains in between where we'd started and where we wanted to get to, so it shouldn't have really come as a surprise that we had another mountain pass to do. The snow got deeper and the sky got darker, and my feet were freezing as they'd got wet from the snow. Fortunately my hands were OK as we'd fixed my heated grips in Klamath, although I was left wondering why the hell we hadn't fixed them sooner! I think on long trips, broken things that don't actually stop you moving just become part of the furniture and you forget about them. You only remember to fix them when you need them, and instantly forget the second you don't.

    With cold feet and a chilled body, the trail and miles seemed to be going on forever, and I couldn't wait to get to Port Orford. Daydreaming about warm motels had become a common fixture of my last month or so on the TAT, and today was certainly no exception. Just as I was thinking how lovely a warm bed would be, and how we should probably be going down in elevation soon, I went to change gear as we got to a slippery snowy hill and heard a sudden loud crunching noise. My heart sank. I tried to use my gears but they wouldn't engage, instantly leading me to think that my gear box had broken. I tried a few more times then realised that it could be something else, so got off and looked under the bike, where I discovered that my chain had snapped.

    I honestly couldn't believe it at first, then laughed at myself for not expecting it. Looking at our track record on the TAT of course I should have believed it, it wouldn't be right to have our last day on the trail mechanical failure or obstacle free, would it? Why break the habit of a lifetime?! I'd already decided by this point that our bikes were self aware, perfectly reflecting our mental exhaustion, but not holding it together quite as well as we were, literally.

    Having been riding in front of me, Ed rode back round the corner to find me standing there with the broken chain in my hands. For me it couldn't have been worse timing, as my lovely daydream of being in a warm motel within half an hour was replaced with the real life nightmare of standing looking at a patch of wet snow to see if we could fit the tent on it for the night.

    Thankfully though I had the realistic and resourceful Ed with me, who had much better ideas. If he couldn't fix my chain then he could certainly tow me, which might take ages but it was a hell of a lot more appealing than cold wet camping in the snow.

    We didn't think we had the parts, but luckily Ed had a spare split link from another chain and managed to repair it by driving out the broken riveted link using rocks and screwdrivers. I was so relieved once he'd done it, and after marching up and down to try to warm my feet up which had started to resemble blocks of ice, we finally got moving again.

    If Ed fixing my chain hadn't been enough of a joyous occasion, I was even more delighted to discover that we were nearly at the top of the pass, and that it was downhill from there; thankfully only in the literal sense.

    It was quite narrow and winding through the forest, but as we dropped elevation the snow disappeared, unveiling numerous potholes and lumps and bumps that sent me flying. I ended up riding quite slow in the end, but was just pleased to be making any progress at all. Apart from us we only saw one other vehicle on the trail, the occupants of which gave us a slightly confused wave as we wobbled on by.

    We eventually got to the end of the trail and on to a paved road, which took us in to Port Orford. Under normal circumstances it should have been an exciting occasion, but after travelling for so long and being late and dark, you couldn't actually tell that we were next to the ocean, so we decided to mark our arrival properly in the morning. For now all we felt was tired and hungry, and as all the restaurants were closed we had to settle for gas station food. We inhaled a microwave ready meal, rewarded ourselves with a snickers, then passed out on the motel bed, mentally and physically exhausted. I have to be honest that it wasn't quite what I'd envisaged the last day to be when we'd set off on that first day in Tennessee, over three months ago, but the main thing was we'd made it, and that's all that mattered.

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  15. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

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    Gratulation.
    Epic Adventure...
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  16. yachabibi

    yachabibi Long timer

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    .... And then what happened?

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  17. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

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    wow, working in the snow is very difficult. you were lucky to have Ed to bodge things back together, indispensable.

    will your next ride be on a proper motorcycle? that would make for a much more enjoyable adventure.
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  18. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

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    Damn, you kids are tougher than shoe leather !!!!!! :lift
    My hat's off to you .................. congratulations on making it to the coast! :beer :bow :ricky :wings

    And THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH Rachel for completing your story and taking all of us along with you and Ed on your interesting adventure!

    It has been a real treat! :wave

    RD
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  19. hyrumfoink

    hyrumfoink real gone~

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    i agree with "road damage", you two are tough! and yes thanks for taking us to the end of the tat odyssey! great story.......chris
  20. Idahohigh

    Idahohigh Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thank you Rachel for doing this ride report. Good luck !!!!
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