TAT 2019 Couple Trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Thinwater, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Thinwater

    Thinwater Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2018
    Oddometer:
    68
    Location:
    Heart of Dixie
    @Pepperlady and I started from the Heart of Dixie, took a leap frog west out of the weekends zone so as not to "waste" vacation. You know, since you can ride the weekend radius zone anytime. We left after work and rode into the night to the West side of MIssissippi. There we stayed at John Kyle St Pk and picked up the on the last leg of Mississippi the next morning over into Arkansas. I don't recommend trying to find John Kyle St Pk in the dark. Evidently the interior roads have changed over time but the old intersections still exist along with some of the old signs that lead to dead end chain link fence around an electrical substation. We got it done though.
    This following video is the first of a series documenting the 28 or so days we rode the TAT. I intend to edit this same post and add more to the story as I get the footage edited and uploaded. I'm not a professional video maker so keep that in mind.
    Not in Day 1 on the trail footage; after we left Mr. Percy Kayle's TAT stop in Trenton Arkansas, there was a muddy section that got wild shortly but neither of us went down. Also footage that I thought I had just after that we turned at a dirt road intersection and could see a water crossing ahead. Just in front of me at the intersection was a mud puddle about 30" diameter. I didn't bother to avoid it on my Royal Enfield Himalayan assuming it was 2" deep max. IT SWALLOWED my front tire and about took me over the handle bars, the Himalayan did roll out but with just enough momentum left that the engine stalled and again threw me into the handlebars as I was recovering from the first shock. I almost dropped there with a hard heavy catch on the right foot. Then also nowhere to be seen in my footage the immediate water crossing afterward. The Himilayan of mine almost drowned out in it with its low intake position. It did get the filter damp evidently by its bucking and snorting, but didn't die and did dry out and operate fine after a little distance down the road. @Pepperlady on her Honda CRF 250L bored to 304 and lowered 1.5" with the additional short person assistance of a 1" lowered seat had no problem at all crossing the same water. Being really tired of a 8'x8' windowless office with a computer screen in front of me for years straight without two weeks off consecutively, even the straight paved roads between the fields were a welcome relief at the beginning of this trip.


    Day 2
    We left Bebee Arkansas eager to get to the Ozarks. Just being free with no particular daily destination and no worry of where to be tomorrow was a real delight. The Ozarks reminded me of the Smokies without the crowd, which is very welcoming to me not liking crowds. It was hot but we were prepared with summer breathable suits and hydropaks. We met Paul a rider from Belgium that has ridden many fabulous rides like "The Road of Bones". Paul and we shared advice on what lay in front of each of us. On his advice we would later skip Oklahoma Trail for faster Hwy to avoid flat straight grid section roads with no shade that keep your time burnt up without accomplishing distance "the way the crow flies". Paul also warned us of a dangerous wash out just ahead in leg AR-03, he said we should avoid it for safety so we did. We exchanged emails and parted ways. Then we soon arrived at the Oark Cafe for a fantastic lunch, ending the day before reaching AR-03 breaking to Alma Arkasas to room for the night.


    Day 3
    After a church service in Alma AR, we got a later start in the day. We were blessed with great weather on the trip overall, a small shower this day was the only time we got wet until reaching the end of the trail. The overcast day was still hot but cooler than day 2. Once into Oklahoma we navigated Hwy ending the day at Keystone State Park staying at the campground below Keystone Dam. Keystone was very clean and kept for the information of future travelers.


    Day 4
    On Paul's advice whom we met in Arkansas to skip the straight flat grid with no shade in Oklahoma for picking up trail in New Mexico, we skipped trail in Oklahoma for Highway to get to the other side. The morning started from Keystone State Park in Oklahoma headed West. After lunch at Moore's Cafe in Woodward, where the kind waitress told us we were there in their record hottest two days this year, we got really hot. She said if she'd thought of it in time she would have placed out hydropaks in the freezer while we ate. So there is a tip for you if at Moore's Cafe in Woodward, bring it up they would happily oblidge and you'll be much appreciative in August. After lunch the wind was 30mph coming at us from 10:00 O'clock position and I could run faster in 4th gear than 5th, but the engine was screaming. I chose to give it a break running WOT (wide open throttle) in 5th at a lower rpm. I've never experienced this kind of heat. It was reflecting off the pavement. Back home in the Heart of Dixie, wind, even when its 100F will cool you off some. Not in dry Oklahoma, it was just as if someone had a hairdryer on high heat stuck in your face. There were these convenient shade shelters along the side of the Hwy that I've never experienced before. A fellow on what seemed to be a classic Triumph passed us 3 times, then would be laid out on the bench under the provided rest shed on the side as we'd pass him back with preseverence. We ended the day at Longhorn Motel where we used their laundry service, maintained the bikes chains, and refreshed enjoying the A/C for the next day. The cream of the trip was about to begin.


    Day 5
    We left Boise City Oklahoma after eating at Blue Bonnet Cafe, and got a pretty good start. It didn't take long to get to the beginning of NM-01 trail leg. This was a much better day full of scenery suprises for a Southeasterner. The day was long, I don't know about for you that weren't there, but seeing it all again while editing the video for the day almost took me back. This was enjoyable to go through even though it took longer. We didn't get rained on even though it was threatening around us. La Veta looked like yuppie investors rolled in with visions of investing and turning the town into a tourist trap, lost their butt, and nearly closed up the town. The RV park there looked nice, but wasn't interested in moto scum tent camping there. After finding out the confisticatory ways of CO state park system we thought we'd stay at a motel for nearly the same price. The motel near Lathop state Park wasn't up to par, so back to the Park we went. If in a 4 wheeled vehicle it wouldn't be as bad, but since they charge per vehicle it was rough for a non electric site and two "vehicles". The total was $58 for no electric sites, and no shower rooms. With the day late and the options low thats where we stayed. We had all the electricity we needed on the bikes to charge things, and all the food we needed also.
    Early in the day there are two pictures climing out of the canyon of NM, my left hand is in them. Sadly I failed to take video and accidently only took two pictures. That climb was one of my favorite things of the entire trip, and I didn't get it. It was basically the first thing resembling technical that had been seen in a while.


    Day 6
    At this point, we've reached a plateau of enjoyment. I wouldn't say the peak, but I've been free long enough that I'm totally relaxed, have enough time left that I'm not thinking about the end at all. I'm just in the moment, I don't know about @Pepperlady 's mindset at this point. This video may be too long for attention but I didn't want to cut anything else out of it for my own memory sake after the work of going through it. We left Lathrop St Pk in Colorado, went back near La Veta on trail, then headed out. The day was as good as you could ask for weather wise. The scenery was surreal in places. Saw new to me wildlife; prarie dogs, antelope (maybe pronghorn) I'm not sure the difference if any, and magpies. If I knew what I was going to find out the next day, I would have stayed in Westcliff this night. The weather turned on us at high elevation late in the day. Although we didn't get rained on. We retreated to Pueblo down off the mountain. In need of a spare chain for the Honda CRF 250L we stopped in on a motorcycle mechanic shop that mainly dealt with Harleys. He didn't have a chain for us but called and located us one in town and gave us directions there. Also he gave us advice that if we wanted over and to the other side of the mountain range we needed to do it before 3:30 because a storm would blow up most every day after that time. We appreciated the advice and went onto the next shop where we were graciously sold a chain and they cut it and riveted it to the correct number of links for us before we left. We ate nearby on the suggestion of the second shop owner and then back tracked a bit to stay at Pueblo St Pk campground. FYI for future travelers, Pueblo is probably the best shot you got at parts and support in CO-01, 02. We never installed the chain during the trip, but the chains were growing faster than I thought they would and I was glad we had it. I did put it on when back home immediately. This was still a great day even with the ending.


    Day 7
    If I'd only known sitting at that paved Tee intersection to take a double left, I would have loved to have stayed at Westcliff, Co that night and that move would've skirted us around the hail storm. O well, after a good nights sleep tent camping we left out with the air a little brisk. We were wearing our winter suits with liners and totally comfortable. We had a little Hwy miles to get back on track from Pueblo that was scenic in and of itself. Westcliff the next town and gas stop we came to was the best looking town and community I've ever seen. Surprisingly while pumping gas a fellow says, "Is that a Himalayan?". Then he asks "Are those Alabama plates?, Did you ride them from there/". "I'm from Alabama, my parents still live in Birmingham!". Such amazing coincedences on this trip. Anyway he runs a lavender farm there and also does lodging. Eden West Ranch is the name of it, he has a website and was an extremely nice fellow. We weren't in need of lodging at the time or I would have loved to have stayed there and walked the down town shops. We ended the day in Salida with some very scenic and fun hill climbs with one slightly technical rough decent. We, as always, asked the gas station attendant where to get good sit down food. We were directed to The Boathouse and it didn't dissapoint. There the waitress who also cleaned on the side told us where not to stay and where we should stay and that advice was also taken and much appreciated. It was a great day finishing up Colorado leg 02.



    Day 8
    After a good nights rest we got a good early start on Colorado Leg 03. The video's are getting longer because it is harder to cut stuff out. The scenery is so beautiful. We make Cinnamon Pass, @Pepperlady at this point still isn't use to drop offs on the side of the road. She is riding fine, just nervous about it. Looking back through the footage she says she wishes she could do it again now that she is use to that situation so she could relax and enjoy it more. She was exstatic at the peak of the pass, a deer visited us there also. I was surprised to see one that high. Before Cinnamon Pass there was a valley that was the peak of beauty of the entire trip to my wife, so I couldn't cut much of that out either. It as a long fun day. I had trouble with CO-04 gpx file on my TomTom Rider 550, but the file was still good in the InReach Explorer. I didn't take the time to switch between the two because we knew we wanted to stay in Silverton this night. There was a sign for Silverton pointing left so at that point we didn't figure we needed the track. We were denied some of the fun in that area due to the loss of track 04 but we had a fun filled day no doubt. We met a couple of inmates there in town that afternoon.


    Day 9
    We started out in Silverton, the TomTom 550 Rider wouldn't power up after being on charge all night in the room. We pack the bikes and swap some gear around so as to sync my wifes cell phone to the Garmine Inreach for a larger viewing screen. This wasn't ideal navigation as has been debated in other threads but if we hadn't loaded the tracks in both units, our T.A.T. trip would have probably ended right here. I did have to manually pan the screen as we drove off of it but hey thats why it was backup navigation and primary no cell signal communication back home and emergency Bat Signal.
    We didn't know Ophir Pass was coming up and though the most difficult was behind us being Cinnamon pass which was rather enjoyable. Due to a rock slide sometime previous to our arrival there were dinner plate size, inch thick, flat on both sides rocks piled up to 4 deep across the road with a drop off left of a one lane rd. The worst in the dark brown area of the West side of the peak of Ophir pass was so bad that when I got into it I couldn't record it. I didn't have my camera on before hand, didn't want to loose my momentum, and couldn't free a hand to turn on the camera. This was exactly what Paul from Belgium warned us about that we met in the Ozarks with no doubt, even though he couldn't remember the name of it to tell us. I'd instructed my wife not to try and drive out of a squirrely situation because of the drop off. If your front tire gets pitched bad one way rather than drive it out and recover just drop it so you don't go over the edge. She did just that, no harm to her or the bike and we proceeded on.
    It was a long day with an early start, a long time to lunch which was excellent. Then rode all the way to dusk for lack of locating a place to stay. Very sadly we had never heard of 3 step hideaway, so we didn't know to look for it. It was marked as a waypoint on the backup, but due to me learning that day to operate the backup setup I wasn't getting the information out of the waypoints except for coordinates and of course I could see where they were. There were two marks for 3 Step Hideaway, the first one was incorreclty located on the road just before the correct one. This led us to a private property turn around and a give up and roll on. We tent camped and slept on the mats we picked up at Groundhog Lake Campstore for the first time.....man what a diference! That is the way to go. Packs small and tight and self inflates without extra gear. The camera doesn't do justice to the steep side trail that I rode the bikes up to our chosen camp spot. It got us off of the main trail where the side by sides running around would never know we were there as they passed below nearby on one of the main pass roads. We ate well, slept good, but packing up I left a green three leg chair leaned against a pine only sat in it twice. I hope a fellow inmate finds it and gets good use out of it. I may try to get coordinates on it from GEarth and add back in here after a search.


    Day 10
    We got a good early start, hit some real trail quickly. It was just technical enough and steep with hard rocks to get hurt on that we turned around for safety. We were really far out and had to ride the bikes home, that was the Wife's greatest regret of the trip. I think she really felt accomplished riding that portion without going down. Its on the list if we get back towards 3 Step Hideaway and or Moab to retake. The red rock landscape was beautiful and barron. Zax was a great suggestion as always by the gas station attendant of our first stop into town. I changed the oil in the Himalayan at Oreilleys, we got groceries, and called into to our home church being that it was Sunday and listened to the evening sermon "via Satellite" as they use to say in the 80's. In the mid afternoon it got really hot again. We headed out of Moab on Hwy skipping UT-02 leg for a relief and rest from the heat at Green River Flagged on the GPS in a Super 8. We met another hwy Harley rider there and had some good advice and fellowship. He said we'd rise in elevation the next day before it got really hot and shouldn't experience the heat again as long as we were in the elevation. It was a really good day, beautiful scenery, great riding and a memorable experience. Enjoy


    Continued in Post #24
    #1
  2. Platypus-3in1

    Platypus-3in1 Looksee's

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    Nice ... Those videos are a lot of work and are appreciated ... Looking forward to your next installment
    #2
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  3. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Very nice----those Himilayan's seem to be a really great and dependable bike for those that are not so much bent on spinning their tires and just enjoying the ride.
    My life regret ---------is all those years doing just that.
    Thanks for this.
    BigDog
    #3
  4. Pepperlady

    Pepperlady Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2019
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    Heart of Dixie USA
    We left out on August 16th 2019. @Thinwater has spent his spare time lately trying to get all of our footage & pics loaded in chronological order to start this post. Hopefully the editiing and write ups will come steadily for a bit. It was a great trip & so very beautiful, too. Can't wait to share it all with you.
    #4
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  5. Fat Chance

    Fat Chance Been here awhile

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    Nov 15, 2016
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    Great a TAT RR in November, I’m in.
    #5
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  6. jrm927

    jrm927 Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2019
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    Location:
    Madison, AL
    Awesome trip report so far! I'm really looking forward to the rest of the posts.
    #6
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  7. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Been here awhile

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    Northern Colorado
    Nice ride report. If you thought Oklahoma was bad, try riding across Kansas in the wind. Fortunately I live in Colorado, and will never ride east of I-25 again...

    Keep it coming.

    Ride safe,

    TaZ9
    #7
  8. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

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    Watching all the way! 28 days with some leap frogging isn't a bad pace and it sounds like you took time to enjoy the trip. On the "original" TAT three of us took 36 days from TN to OR, taking time at interesting places and never rushing. Nice that you are doing it on Royal Enfields!
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  9. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    Been years since I rode the entire TAT--------now that so much has changed I'm hankerin' to do it again-----------should have a used Himilayan tomorrow (if the deal goes thru) to do it on.
    Thanks for your vids and story.
    And hey-------Blaise and Taz
    BigDog
    #9
  10. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Looks like you folks had a great ride! Nice videos. I too have a Himalayan that I picked up when they first became available here. I enjoy riding it around my home region but as of yet haven't taken it on any long trips - only day rides. As you know, they are fun to ride. I'd really love to hear some more of your impressions or advice about riding the Himmy on a long trip. Mine gets up to around 70 on flat ground but it is really wound out. Anything you can share would be helpful I'm sure. :D
    #10
  11. Thinwater

    Thinwater Adventurer

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    The rear rack is cosmetic, really cosmetic. The chain has an odd size (pin diameter) master link that stretched quickly, once the right size was found and replaced, it wasn't long before the chain stretched (not evenly). I did put 11,000 on the original chain, but should have changed it sooner. The replacement (not OEM) clip on masterlink chain has not grown at the rate of the original, suggesting that the original chain source may have had a heat treating problem at least at one time. My original sprockets however are still fine, running with the replaced chain. Knowing what I know after 15,000 miles in 14 months, never rely on the OEM rear rack, and go ahead and put an aftermarket chain on before a big trip for insurance. At 13,000 miles I noticed my steering head bearings were loose, this is also due to source heat treat in my opinion, so don't replace with OEM even though it would be covered labor and all under warranty, you stand a chance of getting the same bearings again. The rollers of the bearings had mashed into the outter bearing race. It made the steering feel like spring loaded ball detent default to stay straight. All of the small problems I've came across on the Himilayan have been vendor source problems in my opinion not design problems excluding the rear top rack. VERY GENTLY hand tight check all the engine "screws/bolts" at oil changes to avoid leaks. I'm sure they torque them to spec at assembly but after running in the engine and the heat cycling the gaskets take to compression. Some not all of the "screws" will be pretty loose the first time you check them, like 1/2 to 3/4 turn before snugging up. The screws are small and in aluminum, don't go gorilla on them, just snug with the smallest leverage you can fit to it. Some wont need any tightening at all.
    My Himlayan isn't putting hot air back into the intake stream thanks to a kit at Hichcock's. I did this early for engine longevity, it avoids a potential (not experienced) leak right near the exhaust valve that could prematurely burn the exhaust valve if let to happen un-noticed, and the cylinder should be running cooler with a less hot fresh intake charge, with a more power efficient mixture. I'm not running any ignition or injection add on controller. Packed out I got 92 mpg on trail at the best I've checked it, but on the Hwy its how you ride it. Packed out running 60mph I'm getting as low as 58mpg in a 20-25mph head wind WOT, but running 60-65mph not packed out I get 68mpg consistently under pleasant wind conditions. Normaly my entire fuel tank consumption average speed is 27mph very consistently, and also just as consistently I get 81mpg. That is a mix of commuting to work Hwy, trail, and paved backroads. I've though about gearing it up for a lower rpm highway cruise, but after the TAT I realized its in its sweet spot already for keeping the option to pack it out and go anytime. It needs the gearing it has for packed trip, empty it could be geared up a little for Hwy cruise. Its the wind resistance of the pack out really, not the weight, unless you consider the steep hill climbs.
    Hope that helps, the Himalayan is not a product to be afraid of. I consider it a do-all bike. Not the best bike at Interstate, but will do it continually.
    #11
  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thank you! That is some great info. Very helpful.
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  13. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Been here awhile

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    Hi Mark,
    Keep me in mind if you decide to do the TAT again. Maybe I could hook up with you when you get out this way. Happy Holidays my friend!

    TaZ9
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  14. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Would you mind elaborating on that "kit" from hitchcocks that redirects heat. I've had my hima for a couple months and am currently doing the mods to make it mine. I'm interested in anything that increases reliability and longevity. I hope to take my first trip on the hima next summer, the MABDR.
    #14
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  15. Thinwater

    Thinwater Adventurer

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    Sep 23, 2018
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    http://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/39248
    #15
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  16. DragonJoe

    DragonJoe Don’t know whatcha don’t know Supporter

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    Page County, VA
    Sympathy felt for your 8x8 windowless office. I had a similar size one for years but it had windows looking out from 30,000+ ft! Retired now and rode the TAT from Virginia on DR650 this July/Aug. (RR here:
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/mad-tater-2019-a-trans-america-trail-journey.1393198/ )
    Very cool that @Pepperlady accompanied you. The DR was a real workhorse and the Himalayan is In the same vein. I left it out west and intend to ride there (back?) in 2020. Oklahoma was a hairdryer experience for sure but no rain or mud. NM things get interesting so looking forward to more reports, especially like the videos.
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  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I was watching the video from day 2 and realized what a small world it is.

    On August 23rd, @2372ighost and I were on a gravel road outside of Maggie Valley when a rider on a KTM790 came by.

    [​IMG]

    He stopped briefly but apparently didn't want to chat with 2 scooter riders who didn't have enough sense to stay on the pavement.

    Recognize him now?

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Thinwater

    Thinwater Adventurer

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    A MAZ ING! Yes thats Paul from Belgium that I met in the Ozarks on Day2. 6 DAYS later you are at a spot he passes through for the brief moment he passes that spot and he is only in the country for a short time. You could be like the 6 degrees of the moto world....Within 6 mentionings of riders thats been in the same place at one time, you can get from @klaviator to ANYBODY!
    #18
  19. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

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    633
    I found Oklahoma hot in July. It was over 100 with a head wind out of the south west. I don't know wind speed that day but my buddy on a DR 350 could only pull about 45 mph wide open. We bypassed most of the route there do to high water from recent storms. We saw FB posts of riders 5 days in Ok and only 1/2 way across. The front desk help at our hotel said the flooding was so bad his family's farm had catfish swimming in the yard. That's all the info I needed to route around the TAT.
    Great RR, keep it up.
    #19
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  20. Thinwater

    Thinwater Adventurer

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    Merry Christmas, I have uploaded through to Day 8. Sorry the videos are getting longer because its harder to cut some of this out and we were recording more because of the better scenery at this point.
    #20
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