Tat 2012 q&a

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Phreaky Phil, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    I thought I would start a thread here for questions and answers for those doing the TAT this year. There is a facebook thing going on but I dont do Facebook.
    So First question.
    We are going to book our flights soon. Our intention is to start the TAT around the last week in July and run through August. We are planning to give ourselves 5-6 weeks so we dont run ourselves short on time.
    Is late July a good time to start ? It appears that time of year is still damn hot in a lot of places but I guess you cant leave Colorado too late in the season ?
    Is there a school holiday period in September ? School holidays usually make places busy and tax the available accommodation.
    Any thoughts appreciated
    Cheers Phil
    #1
  2. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Late July is okay assuming you are starting from Jellico. You are just going to have to live with the heat and humidity until you get to Colorado.

    Schools here are out during summer and kids go back in late August or early Sept.

    August is a pretty big vacation time for a lot of people with kids. Labor Day, the first weekend of September, is a big travel time for people.

    The TAT is generally pretty remote and crowds aren't normally a problem. It doesn't go thru many really big tourist places that I can remember.

    Some exceptions might be the Ozarks in western Arkansas and the Alpine Loop between Lake City and Silverton. The Alpine Loop and possibly the San Rafael Swell in Utah will be a little crowded with jeeps over Labor Day.

    Once past Richfield UT it is really remote until you get to the Oregon coast.
    #2
  3. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Colorado passes is the only thing which would be of concern and in late July it's a mute issue, unless there is just a unusually amount of snowfall late in the year and that is HIGHLY unlikely. We hit it end of June and didn't have any issues.

    What will bother you most is the heat and humidity East of the Mississippi, hottest time of the year is late July to end of August. Over 90% humidity at 87-93 degrees F will be what you should expect. Hot during the day and hot and sweaty at night. Once crossing the Miss you'll loose the humidity and gain some more heat, could be as bad as 100F. This past year in early July it hit 103F on Oklahoma, which is a little high. Not as bad as East of the Miss due to lack of humidity, but still to be wary of. I suggest you bring extra water bladders!!! Water will be easy to find East of the Miss, but make sure to carry extra in Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada.

    You'll probably have a lot of ATV and truck traffic at the Colorado passes.

    Stealth camping east of the Miss is more difficult than out west. Lots of free camping out west... almost just drop your tent. If you plan on hotels then you'll need to find one before 4PM as after that it becomes more difficult, or call ahead. But calling ahead creates scheduling stops which is kind of a PITA. Camping is more fun, but more weight. Camp more hotel less!
    #3
  4. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

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    I don't do Facebook either! Hope we all stay straight ADV so that we can learn in public how's it done?

    I've currently been following these guys who have the most recent RR on the TAT: wbbnm and one less harley. They've been spot on of what they experienced then. I might AGAIN make an assault on the TAT that remains unfinished and might bump into you....

    Cheers
    #4
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i've never visited facebook, must be one of the lucky ones.

    i went through in late august last year, don't underestimate the heat factor until western oklahoma. it was just plain blazing hot even then, i couldn't make the miles i would have liked. make sure you carry reserve liquid on the bike.
    #5
  6. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    Have been studying some weather history for the places along the TAT. Is it better to go a month later, maybe start end of August and run through September. Looks like it may be a little cooler. Here in NZ we aren't used to temperatures that high. What is the latest you can get through the high passes before snow will block them for the next winter. ?
    #6
  7. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Sorry I can't tell you how late as I'm from the Eastern USA
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  8. CDN_Bacon

    CDN_Bacon Been here awhile

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    I'm also looking at making a run in July but I'll be departing out of Texas
    #8
  9. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    A couple of pics of our 2 up DR650 undergoing "testing" :D
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    i live a few miles from the western side of Ophir pass. Generally the passes are still clear in September. If a snow storm hits, it is usually gone in a day or so. If you see weather building as you approach Colorado, maybe slow the pace a bit until it passes. Also, feel free to PM me as you get closer if you need current conditions, garage to wrench in, possible room or camp space, etc. I might be able to accomodate.
    #10
  11. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    Thanks for your reply. I'll keep you in mind.
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  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I think you would be better off waiting about two weeks til mid August. It is still going to be hot but temps do start to come down in late August.

    I don't know when the snow starts in Oregon, but historically you would be pretty safe riding Colorado up thru Sep 20.

    We tried to ride the CO portion of the TAT on about Oct 7 two years ago and missed being able to ride the high passes by about 3 days. But this varies significantly from year to year.
    #12
  13. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    2 up on a DR?????? OOOOOH that's gonna make those Colorado passes mighty interesting!!!! High elevation and good inclines!!!
    #13
  14. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    No worries, you two! You have the experience, you have the bike...

    Make sure you do Hancock and Tomichi Passes, even though they aren't on the "official" TAT any more.
    They're so worth it! Marshall pass is a total snooze fest. It would be a shame to travel halfway around the world for that.

    In fact, if you can swing it - plan an extra day in Colorado so you can hit more passes. As an alternative to Hancock, Tin cup was really nice. The whole alpine loop is amazing (you'll be doing most of it on the TAT - more info LINKY ), but there is just so much more. For us, Colorado is the highlight of the TAT. It's such FUN riding - and, at the very end of july/beginning of august, it's green, lush, and absolutely gorgeous.
    Although, maybe for kiwis, beautiful mountains are humdrum...:lol3

    edit: a few things that might screw you out of a motel room on the TAT - rodeos (richfield, UT), jeep jamborees (lake city, CO) and fishing tournaments (salida, CO). Also, denio junction only has 6 rooms - if they're full, you're really f'd without camping gear. Once you have a better idea of when you're going to be doing the route, you might want to email (I'd say call, but that's pretty pricey from NZ) potential motels and ask about upcoming events.
    In case you lost it, my list of motels for the TAT west is here.
    (man, there were a lot of dead motel links. I think I fixed most of them)
    #14
  15. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    Beautiful mountains never get humdrum !! We've just spent 10 days blasting around in the mountains in the South Island. :D Here's a couple of pics.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We had planned on riding the bikes from LA to Tenneesee, but were thinking of freighting them across and that will give us another week on the TAT. I'm really looking forward to Colorado. It'll be awesome.
    Thanks for the advice on motels. We dont want to camp, just to much extra gear to carry, so we will have to plan our days carefully. Thats a good idea to email them. I guess some places will have an Information center that will have dates of upcoming events.
    I've still got your motel list somewhere here. I saw on another TAT ride report using a smart phone and motels.com to book ahead. Seemed to work well for them.
    We have another couple who are coming along. They have that Orange Disease :evil
    It seems that most motel rooms in the US have 2 double beds so we only need 1 room in a pinch.
    Cheers Phil and Dawn
    #15
  16. LittleWan

    LittleWan You can do it!

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    Niiice pics! Bet you two are having fun with the test rides. :D

    Yeah, the one I PM'd you is full of dead links now - hit the link in my last post and copy that one. I tried to fix most of the links last night, hopefully it will still be helpful.

    Don't book too far in advance - just a day ahead, maybe?
    It's tough when you can't camp, but you never know what the TAT is going to hand you and you don't want to get stuck with a paid room that you can't get to.
    I just thought those random events I mentioned earlier (rodeo, jeep jamboree, fishing tournament) were things to ask about when looking into a motel. To help you decide when to hit certain places.

    We never had reservations, but I had a list of phone numbers for some potential overnight stops (compiled at home, using Sam's maps) and we'd try and call ahead if we were hitting a place on a weekend.
    Most of the time, we only had cell reception at lunch/gas stops (but our phone is far from smart).

    I don't know - it's a fine line. You want to be prepared, but again, the TAT can really mess with your schedule.
    Bike troubles, fatigue, injuries...
    There were also times where we blew through our "planned" overnight stops (at lunch time!) and we were happy to be able to keep riding...:dunno

    Anyhow, that's just what worked for us. We like very loose plans and lots of freedom.

    You can plan and plan and the TAT can still kick your ass (if you're doing it right! :deal)!
    #16
  17. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

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    I did the TAT in August last year. Temperatures weren't too bad in Tennessee and Mississippi, mid to high 90s but very humid. When I hit Arkansas and the eastern side of Oklahoma I had the fortune of riding right through the heat wave that was moving across the plains. One day in particular it hit 115 degrees at around 12:30PM and stayed at or above that until I finally caved after a few hours of riding in the blast furnace and found a place to stay for the night (with the A/C on MAX). Fortunately once you hit about 1/3 of the way through Oklahoma it dries up, so even if it's hot you can get some cooling from sweating.

    August seemed like a nice time because it's end of the rainy season (at least here in the eastern US) which means it's usually less humid as well. Once you get to Colorado you'll be wondering where the warmth went when you wake up to find frost on your seat in the mountains. :lol3
    #17
  18. CDN_Bacon

    CDN_Bacon Been here awhile

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    I'm also looking at making a run this summer around mid July. I've been posting a few odd and end questions all over the place but this seems like the right thread to post em all! No seriously... if anyone cares to contribute and spill some knowledge and/or opinions I'd be grateful!


    1. Temperatures: What is the range of temperatures to expect along the route? Specifically I'm going from AR to OR.
    2. Riding Gear: What do y'all recommend for riding gear? I was personally planning to take a set of ventilated Klim pants, Offroad MX boots, knee pads, pressure suit and helmet of course. Does it get cold enough that time of year to warrant non vented gear and/or a dual sport type coat that can be worn over a pressure suit? I was thinking just a pressure suit with a thermal shirt if it cooled off and a rain shell to pack along.
    3. Accommodations: I still haven't decided on camping vs moteling it. I'd love to camp it but I can see the advantages to moteling it especially if I can find someone to tag along and split the cost of a room every night. Shedding the gear off the bike would be nice too! not to mention a shower and laundry!
    4. Water / Food: How much food do y'all take with you? I was thinking of packing a few rations just in case I get stuck out on the trail.
    5. Time: How many days do y'all figure to ride from AR/OK border to the end in OR?
    6. Return: I know some super slab it back but I don't have the vacation to spend a week super slabing my bike back to Houston. Who do y'all recommend for shipping and can someone throw out an estimate for mybudget? (time required to get the bike back isn't important)
    7. Emergency Situations: Ok.. this is what scares me the most and is part of my reasoning for wanting to take a buddy on the trip. I'm not a mechanical idiot and can do basic trail maintenance but if something wonky goes with the engine then I'm stuck for field repairs.
    8. Servicing: I'm planning on taking a DRZ (still undecided) ... how often should I plan on finding a place to do maintenance and possibly changing tires? Recommendation of a town and/or shop?
    I think those are the basic questions (I'm sure I'll come up with more later) and I'm sure some of them are kinda stupid but I'm a firm believer in the saying "there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers". Appreciate the help...
    #18
  19. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    You're gonna need cold weather gear due to the elevations in CO and Oregon. Night temps around freezing. day temps you'll want a jacket, and if it rains on you then you'll want warmth of a few layers.

    riding jacket, long underwear, fleece should do it. Scrap the vented pants unless water proof zips, as you want to carry your dayling riding gear which is water proof, and extra rain gear is just something else to carry i.e. more weight.

    Bad thing is you'll need to carry winter gear for CO then have to carry it all the way to OR before needing it again. I thought about shipping it home after CO, but thank goodness I didn't as it was needed in OR. Plus potentially a few cool camping nights at elevation.
    #19
  20. Pomo

    Pomo gonzo

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    .
    #20