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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    Being me I was ready to wave the first truck down for assistance, but Ed had other ideas. He really is brilliant when it comes to fixing things and bodging, and after a fair bit of Ed March wizardry I soon had a throttle again, operated by the front brake. Yes that's right, I had to pull the front brake in to go faster and let it out to slow down. Needless to say I went hurtling forward unintentionally on several occasions, much to Ed's amusement, but I soon got used to it and actually quite liked it after a while.

    After that we had more dust, gravel, dust, then gravel again, and the scenery consisted of trees and lots of flat farmland. It was really hot, and we were overjoyed when we found a badly setup irrigation system that soaked the trail. We sat in it for about five minutes literally soaking it up, before eventually managing to tear ourselves away. We very much enjoyed the cooling we got from the water and the wind as we rode, despite it being short lived as the sun baked us back to dry within minutes.

    The trail continued to run between fields of farmland, and I really enjoyed the grass and dirt combo that we got between them, it was really easy to ride on.


    We soon arrived in a town called DeVal Bluff, where we decided to stop for the night. Being Sunday pretty much everything was closed, although most of the buildings looked like they didn't open on the weekdays either. After some food in the only place that was open, we stopped off at the fuel station to get some bug spray. It was there that Ed met the local mayor, who pointed us in the direction of the county run campsite and said that we could camp there for free. He chatted to Ed about the history of the town and the civil war, before giving him 2 commemorative coins. He said that if anyone asked if we'd paid our fees, we were to show the coins and say that the mayor said we could camp for free; random but sounded good to us!

    It was dark by the time we got to the campsite, and as we rode in I spotted a big bird fly overhead. I quickly redirected my headlight up in to the trees, which was already pointing in that vague direction anyway thanks to my tumble, and saw that it was an owl. I'd never seen one in the wild before so it was a particular highlight for me.

    Apart from a random RV we were the only ones in the campground, so after putting up the tent we rigged up our pocket shower and had a rather liberating naked shower under the trees. We're pretty sure that they couldn't see us, but being horrendously clammy and equally as dusty we really didn't care if they could.

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  2. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    Day 12
    Mon 17th Aug

    It was warm when I got up around 7am, and when we finally hit the trail around 10am it was already in to the thirties. Celsius that is.

    It was pretty much all gravel until we stopped for lunch, but there was still the odd bit of pavement in between sections. For riders that haven't ridden the TAT yet it might be disappointing to hear that it's not completely off-road all the time, however when you've been riding on a long straight bit of deep gravel with your bike slithering around beneath you, that bit of paved road is rather welcomed.

    The flat farm land and fields continued, as did the badly set up irrigation systems. Instead of a pleasant showering we had a flooded road to deal with this time, which we carefully navigated while thanking the trucks for keeping their wake down to a minimum. It wouldn't take much of a wave to take down a 90, and despite sweating my tits off I wasn't quite up for a dip in a muddy and goodness knows what else puddle.

    It had been quite flat all morning, but after lunch the trail took us in to the hills.

    It was paved road for the most part, but with beautiful countryside all around us I didn't mind. The scenery took me by surprise if I'm honest, I didn't expect it to be like it was, it was really lovely. Although I don't know what I was expecting, as we tend not to research where we're going so we still have an element of surprise.

    And another thing we weren't expecting was the rain. Neither Ed nor his bike like riding in it, and being rather on the torrential side we snuck in to an old barn and waited it out.

    It only lasted half an hour or so and it managed to take some of the heat away with it which was good, although the sun still beat down on us as soon as we stopped. The rest of the afternoon saw us riding past rolling farmland and fields, with the odd bit of dirt and gravel through some woodland.

    Continued...

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  3. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We were hoping to make it in to the National Forest that night to wild camp, but as the sun started to set and our light started running out we decided to find somewhere else.

    We soon spotted an empty piece of land with some trees, and not really up for a rude awakening in the morning we decided to knock on the house next to it to see if we could camp there. It was then that we met the lovely Mary, who very kindly let us camp in her yard. She was 6th generation on the land, and as her hobby and passion of genealogy had led her to discover that her family was from England, I think she was quite excited to have a couple of Brits on her doorstep. She commented that not everyone around there was as friendly as her, and we thought ourselves lucky that we'd just happened to find one of the good eggs.

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  4. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    Day 13
    Tues 18th Aug

    We had such a great day of riding today, managing to do just over 180 miles! This probably doesn't sound like a lot to most of you, but seeing as we normally only manage a maximum of 150 miles when we're on paved road, to do more than 180 miles on mostly off-road was quite a feat.

    My bike also hasn't been running too well the past couple of days, and has been using more and more oil and fuel. It's now using half a litre of oil for every 30 miles, and with my range going from 120 miles to 60 miles for some reason, that's a 2 to 1 ratio of fuel to oil. Let's be honest, that really isn't very good. With fuel stops and towns becoming few and far between, I decided to stock up on oil as soon as we saw a store. Unfortunately they didn't have the correct rating that I needed, but after stopping at a local auto garage we managed to get 3 litres of top quality oil for the grand total of $2! We couldn't believe it, and I was very thankful for it knowing that my bike was getting through it at a rate of knots. I was starting to get rather embarrassed about the thick white smoke bellowing out from behind me, but with a new piston on it's way to a town further along the trail, it was just a case of keeping the bike topped up and my head hung in shame.

    The day saw us riding up in to the mountains and Ozark national park, which really was beautiful. We got some fantastic views over the countryside, and the dirt and gravel roads were perfect.

    Having not had any breakfast we stopped in a town for a snack and a drink, and as my bike had appeared to get even thirstier, I also stocked up on oil too. What I'd bought in the morning should have done me for the day, but with my bike now using half a litre for every 15-20 miles, I thought best not to risk getting caught out.

    We were in the shade for most of the day, which was brilliant seeing as it was another scorcher. The trail wound through the forest, and I loved how the trees met at the top, giving the feeling that we were riding through a tunnel.


    Continued...

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  5. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    There was a fair bit of hill climbing to do, which was performed VERY slowly. And not out of choice I would like to add, as we now had two rather sick and under performing 90's. It was a long steep hill that finally finished my bike off, with a cough and a splutter and a good puff of smoke. I was busy trying to work out how we were going to get rescued, but Ed decided to check the valve clearances instead. They weren't far off but he adjusted them anyway, and with a fair bit of kicking my bike finally burst in to life, and we were happily off on our way again.

    The trail took us up high and along a hillside, and I have to say that there was something really cool about being high up on a dirt road looking out over a beautiful view.

    We also discovered that what goes up must come down, and taking the lead I had great fun whizzing down the trail, sliding round the corners and generally having a blast. I love it when I feel on form with my riding, and seeing as it doesn't happen every day I tend to make the most of it when it does.

    Running low on fuel and supplies we decided to stop in a cafe in Oark, and it was there that we had a drink, a rest, and a very kind employee called Dawna gave us some free homemade bread! I tucked in to it straight away, as you have to eat it when it's fresh, and it was absolutely delicious. I tend to find that free food often tastes better too, but this really was damn good bread.

    We'd had the perfect terrain up until our fuel stop, however I think that that thought crossed my mind too soon, as we soon found ourselves on quite the opposite. After a fairly long paved section we got back off-road, and it was particularly rocky. It was fun when there was a clear way through, providing a good technical challenge that you could actually complete, but when there was a not so good way or a worse way it wasn't quite as much fun, with us and the poor little bikes taking quite the battering.

    Continued...

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  6. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    And it wasn't just rock on the ground, as we rode past some really cool rocks along the trail.

    We also got some relief on some gravel and dirt, but it wasn't long before we were smashing over more rocky stuff. I think I've mentioned before that I always manage to hit every pothole going, well the same goes for massive rocks too. On several occasions I was surprised that I didn't blow a tyre or buckle a wheel.

    Happily flying along we were surprised when we came to a gate across the road and a road closed sign, but being our usual selves we decided to completely ignore the sign and go round it.

    We couldn't quite work out why the road was closed, but we suspect that there had been a landslide or something which had recently been cleared. There was also a gate at the other end, and a big hump of mud that we had to get over. Ed's advice was to 'stay committed', and I certainly did that. I stayed committed throughout the entire process of riding over and crashing on the other side. The bike did a wheelie and for some reason I turned the handlebars at exactly the same time, and I say I stayed committed as the throttle was still open as I lay on my side complaining that I'd hurt my vagina; ah the perils of a female adventure rider.

    Due to the unscheduled stop we decided to refuel and top of my oil, and it was then that I finally found something that resembled Mississippi mud pie, in the form of my oil filter. It was a sticky, muddy mess, but all I could do was wipe it off with a tissue and hope for the best.

    While I'd had a brilliant days riding, inclusive of my rather amusing crash, it was the last part of the ride that was the most challenging. It was a section that took me by surprise, as it suddenly got very steep, very rocky, and very technical, for me at least. (As always photos never show how steep things are!)

    I don't know why but I lost my composure and got the fear, making my arms really stiff. The last thing you want is stiff arms when off-road riding, and really I should have stopped for a few minutes and tried to go down in one go, instead of stopping and starting which saw me lose my momentum. Despite not being on form I still got down in one piece without falling, even if it wasn't the most graceful descent. With hindsight I really should have asked Ed for advice BEFORE I went down, but with him off round the corner and a crap intercom range I was left on my own. After having ridden so well all day I was quite disappointed with how I'd done on that last section, but seeing as I'd never been down anything like it before, it was late, and I was tired and hungry (is that enough excuses?!) I shouldn't beat myself up too much about it. One definite schoolboy error was not taking my hand off the throttle, or front brake lever in my case. A couple of times I pulled on it accidentally and went hurtling forward and had to stop to regain my composure. It's difficult as out of habit you have your hand on the brake when doing downhill sections, but that's not something you want to do when your front brake lever is actually your throttle. At least I know what I need to work on next time (head working as fast as my hands would be a good start), and I'm actually looking forward to the next section that's like it so I can see how I perform!

    Continued...

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  7. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

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    Sorry to hear about that little getoff while Ed was filming.....when do we get to see it? Heh he.

    Congrats on the throttle cable fix. Those are one of the hardest things on a motorcycle to jury rig. I'd never thought of that. You can bet I will catalog it in my memory bank.
  8. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    There was a beautiful sky as we rolled in to Mountainburg, which despite the name wasn't an idillic mountain resort town full of cafes and restaurants. In fact all it had was a few churches and a fuel station, so we decided to ride another 10 miles on to the town of Alma, that had everything that we desired. Unfortunately for us though the only motel we could afford was unmanned, so we had to settle with a KOA campground. We didn't mind though, all we needed was a place to pitch our tent and a good shower, the latter of which became apparent under the lights of the local Cracker Barrel restaurant. Filthy? Check. Happy? Check. Loving the Trans-Am trail so far? Check!

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  9. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    Haha if you go on to my facebook page Wander On A Honda the video is on there! :D

    And yes I was equally impressed with Ed's throttle cable fix. He'd never thought of it before either, but being an engineer and having no spare cable he just looked at what was available! Good job I reckon
  10. sophijo

    sophijo Been here awhile

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    Great ride!
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  11. RageAgainstTheFence

    RageAgainstTheFence Been here awhile

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    Loving this RR. Great stuff! Are you heading down through central and then south america? Maybe I'll see you on the way down (I'm coming the opposite way) :)

    PS

    Do Honda90's have gears?
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  12. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Hi Rach and Ed!
    Loving your ride report!
    I saw Ed at the Edmonton bike show last winter. I wish I had stopped and talked! I ride a LOT of gravel and have a question/suggestion for you. Have You tried lowering the tire pressures? I run about 20psi front and 25psi rear on gravel. It really stabilizes the bike. On pavement I run 30psi front and 35psi rear. On gravel over 25psi on the front and the bike really skates around. The lower pressure gives a bigger softer footprint and allows the tire to conform to the rocks rather than pushing through them like a motorboat. You can experiment to find what works best for your bike. You can go lower on dirt or sand but don't go below 15 psi to prevent the tire from slipping on the rim and pulling the valvestem out of the tube.
    For a replacement throttle cable you can get a universal brake or gear cable from stores that sell bicycle parts in a pinch.
    Ride Safe!.... just jeff
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  13. jglow

    jglow Two wheeled traveler

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    This is great stuff! :lurk
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  14. rboett

    rboett posser noob 205

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    nice,, hope your enjoying your ride through arkansas.!
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  15. johnnybgood8

    johnnybgood8 Been here awhile

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    Im so god damn in! When I saw that snow brrrrrr !
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  16. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

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    Looks like forest service added dirt on both ends of the road closed gates. I saw other posts from riders who didn't see why it should be closed but when we went through in early July there was a section with lots of cracks in the road bed. Looked to me that the bed is unstable and is going to slide down the hill.
    I am enjoying your RR. Keep it going and good luck.
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  17. Luna Tique

    Luna Tique dreamer of adventure

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    I look forward to reading every one of your posts. I remember being young enough to bounce when I hit the ground and laughing at myself these days I tend to cringe at the idea of falling down since I now I seem to break things.

    Talk about being at the right place at the right time I love this photo.
    Owls are so cool!

    [​IMG]
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  18. Alpineandy

    Alpineandy Adventurer

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    I really liked the 'stay committed' bit..... Lets face it you should both have been committed some time back..... or do I mean certified... :D
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  19. JMforPres

    JMforPres Long timer

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    Just found this tread, very Awesome!
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  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hee hee - you guys are rocking it in fine style!

    But I'm concerned Rach doesn't appear to have a front brake at the moment?!

    Jx
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