TAT Oct 2019 Countdown

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Robcure4, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. Rickcaccia

    Rickcaccia n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    CT
    Good luck guys, I did the TAT in Aug of 2018. I am not sure if you are following Sam's or the Kevin's tracks but I would stay away from the Red trails on bikes that big. We were on DRs and fully packed they were changeling to say the least.

    Safe travels
    #61
  2. Boyscout1108

    Boyscout1108 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    Western Mass
    Good luck guys. 2021 TAT is the plan for friends and I. Will be looking closely.
    #62
  3. longdude17

    longdude17 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Red Stick, LA
    Day 4 done!!!

    Got a reasonable start to the day, between the noisy neighbors at the camp ground and The snoring from the next tent over, I was up at 5am. Rolled out the campground in Townsend around 8am and headed to towards Deals Gap. Took the Foothills Parkway and rode through the clouds for what seems like hours!

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    The roads going to Deals gap was nearly empty, so we rode the tail THREE times, Each time was more fun than the last. Of course we had to stop in and get a shirt, stickers and pictures at Deals Gap... who knows when we will ever get to come back!

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    In between runs, we stopped to diddle with a drone at the overlook at the reservoir. We ran into Officer James Williams who was cleverly intervening with riders hell bent on killing themselves.

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    After watching Officer Williams hand out three driving awards to fellow riders and Robert was done playing with his drone, we packed up and headed on down the Dragon for the last time. That is when we ran into this thing

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    Is a hand built contraption that is powered by 3/4 of a Honda Valkyrie... thing was cool! I chased it the full length of the dragon, and the driver certainly wasn’t bashful driving it! Thing cornered like it was on rails!!!


    Rolled on to see the hydro structure.... and in an engineering nerdy brain fart, forgot to put the kickstand down and gave to Tiger a nap for a few min.

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    Rolled on from there, through Pine Ridge road, stopped for a quick bite by the creek

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    Then ran all the way to Tellico planes on some amazing roads. At the ONLY gas station we could find (and finally cell coverage) we ran into a few fellow Louisianaians, Charles McKinney and Danny Spencer. We chatted with these two cats like we were old friend for the better part of an hour. Can’t take Robert anywhere, the dude will make friends with virtually anyone despite looking like Sasquatches albino cousin.

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    From the gas station, we rolled into some of the thickest fresh gravel of the trip. Felt like it was poured yesterday... fought the bikes for a bit and ultimately it cleared up, just in time for the four water crossings! Glad to report, no casualties other than each of us getting a wet foot.

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    We rolled on and happened upon Gee Creek campground in the Hiwassee Ocoee State park and grabbed a tent site and made a fire.

    Awesome day of riding, good people, good weather and great sights!!! 155 miles for day
    #63
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  4. Just Cliff

    Just Cliff Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2018
    Oddometer:
    169
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    See post #7 just above. Greenbrier, AR., when the trail passes through Damascus you'll be about 15 miles north of me. Y'all seem to be having a great trip. To bad you didn't ride the Cherohala Skyway, sooooo much better than the dragon.

    When you're in the western 1/2 of Arkansas riding through the national forest, expect to be without cell service also.
    #64
  5. DownGoesFrazier

    DownGoesFrazier Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    M'boro, TN
    :lurkGood luck!
    #65
  6. Robcure4

    Robcure4 HooKeD1

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Day 5 and it did not disappoint. Rolled out of camp at Hiwassee and Ocoee State Park, dense fog and cooler temps made for a nice ride with the sun at our backs (peeking at us through cloud cover at every chance). Narrow 2 lane backroads - up and down, left and right, hairpin turns and switchbacks as tight and I've ever seen....add a 20° to 30° incline, then back down the other side to do it all in mirrored replay. We went from gravel to blacktop, back to dirt and rock then what seemed like solid rock to potholed hell. Loved every inch of these roads.

    As I've stated before, I'm 100% novice at this and I'm not sure how anyone could enjoy it more than I have so far, but I'm also realistic and can understand how that's impossible to say if everyone before us has enjoyed it just half as much. I'm in no hurry at all, this is nice.

    I grew up not too far from this area, Jellico, TN and Williamsburg, KY - we lived along some of the very same type of roads. Making my plans for another ride soon in my old area, but not behind the safety glass of my previous life. Must finish the TAT first, this is my awakening. These Blue Highways have so much to offer and we're taking in as much as we possibly can along our journey. Old abandoned homes and buildings once full of life, held the pioneers of a time lost and all but forgotten by a younger generation. Older folks remain, this is their life.

    As we're rolling through on 2 wheels, the farms seem endless and the fields have mostly been harvested of their fruit a few months back. Empty corn stalks being feasted on by the wildlife - plenty of deer, turkey and the suicidal squirrel brigade all on the move. What a ride we had today (I keep saying it, but I hope it doesn't lose its value. What a ride indeed). We followed the Trail of Tears today and ended up at the Davey Crockett campground for the night after covering 285 miles today. Nice state park, plenty of slots and spots, hot showers. I'm ready for daybreak! 20191009_092449.jpg 20191009_094049.jpg 20191009_093339.jpg 20191009_143859.jpg 20191009_143933.jpg jpeg-imag.jpg Screenshot_20191009-211737_GoPro.jpg Screenshot_20191009-211847_GoPro.jpg Screenshot_20191009-212205_GoPro.jpg Screenshot_20191009-212257_GoPro.jpg Screenshot_20191009-211930_GoPro.jpg IMG_9823.jpeg.jpg
    #66
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  7. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Oddometer:
    405
    Location:
    Germantown TN

    “This is my awakening.”

    Well said. I can relate. In 2016, after 20 years of not riding, I went for a ride. The bike and the location aren’t really important....what I remember as really profound was topping a hill, and heading down into a valley, standing up on the pegs, upshifting and upshifting, feeling the rumble and growl of 50/50’s on rough pavement and a single cylinder, and it hit me.....all over again. I need to start riding again. I’m a fool if I miss out on this.

    Thanks for sharing your trip. The weather here in west TN/MS is so right for a ride.....have fun. Ride safe
    #67
    Robcure4 likes this.
  8. longdude17

    longdude17 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Red Stick, LA
    Day 6 done!

    Up early this morning, around 6ish, Must say, the hot showers at the Davey Crockett State Park was AMAZING! Clean, well kept facilities, definitely recommend! Got a bit of a late start, there was a heavy dew during the night and it took till 9ish for it to start burning off our camp gear, ended up packing a few damp items.

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    Just when we were wrapping up loading up, a fellow inmate walked across the ditch to talk. Baust68 and his wife were also riding the TAT on CBX 500’s, and enjoying every mile. Talked for a bit, awesome to see a husband & wife doing things they love together. They were headed the same direction as us, and he mentioned he actually stumbled across this write up and was following along.... good people & small world!

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    We were on the road for 9:45, headed west towards Mississippi. We stopped for lunch In Collinwood TN at a little Mexican joint, spectacular chimichangas! As we were fixing to roll out Baust68 and his wife rolled into town to check out the restaurant we just finished up at.

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    From there we rode and rode, seen some cool sights like the hydro dam in Savannah TN.
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    There is a bridge not far from the dam that others have mentioned is out.... it’s still out, and the workers are hard at building a new one. Quick work around with the trusty Kyocera, and we were back on the trail. Rode some great trails and some rough roads, but getting into Mississippi was a sign that the end is near.

    The squirrels and chipmunks must have a death wish, they keep playing chicken with my front tire! Mississippi isn’t as fun or nice as Tennessee or North Carolina, but still has plenty to offer for a enjoyable ride.

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    For the most part the trails are dry, but there is some pretty good washouts you have to be looking for. They will quickly test your suspension and quickly become a ejecto-seato! We ended up slabbing it to the Wall Doxey State Park in Holly Springs MS. Time for laundry!

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    6 days on the trail so far, been amazing, but starting to take its toll, both mentally and physically. I’m missing the family, and quite sore, but luckily there is cell coverage, Advil, and FaceTime!!!

    Total mileage today 210 miles...shooting for Arkansas tomorrow!
    #68
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  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,695
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Lost track of this one and glad I stumbled back across it!

    Great to see you two making progress on your way west, especially if you're getting lost and enjoying the scenery. Sounds like camp that first night was great, and good pics of what you went through on the way :thumb

    Looking forward to catching up on the last couple days/updates.

    Knobby side down fellas :ricky
    #69
  10. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,695
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Damn man, props for taking something like the TAT on with 1200 miles under your arse - especially highway miles. Imagine you'll learn a bunch as you make your way west. Has the hook been set and are you addicted yet? If so, take a look at something a bit smaller for hitting gnarly stuff. Hell, look at getting a 2-stroke for the woods if you have OHV areas near your neck of the woods :ricky
    #70
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  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,695
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Nice!

    Curious, what would you estimate the percentages for asphalt vs dirt/gravel/off-road sections you've done? I haven't done any looking into the TAT yet, but would lean toward as much off-road as possible given what I ride (WR250). Imagine you're on a track that has more asphalt given the bikes being ridden?

    Enjoying the updates, going to catch up on day 6 as soon as I hit reply :D
    #71
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  12. Robcure4

    Robcure4 HooKeD1

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Yes indeed, loving the weather so far! Even the rain, lol.
    #72
  13. Robcure4

    Robcure4 HooKeD1

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I'd say that it may be only 30% offroad up until you hit Beebe, AR - staying mostly on the Blues. A Red track here and there will get you another 5%. I'm happy with the larger bike, maybe less stuff for the rest of the trip and Dutch the hard cases for soft ones.
    #73
  14. Robcure4

    Robcure4 HooKeD1

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Louisiana
    DAY 7 - This time last week we were unloading our bikes from the back of a uhaul 1675 or so miles in Cedar Creek, NC. 7 days of living. Actually living it - hour by hour, mile by mile. As I've said before, what an enjoyable bother. Up and rolling early. Radar shows rain, and here it is....we're ready for it. Narrow farm and levee roads, gravel mixed with red dirt (mud) all morning. Hard riding early, but we crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas around 10am. Seemed like forever on this messy trail, but the TAT shack was up ahead, 3/4 of a mile...a much anticipated milestone along the TAT, and here it is. Rain pouring down as we visit with Mr Percy Kale and his son, Glenn. He was surprised anyone would attempt to ride through this mess. Glad we did though. He shared stories from one of Sam's first stops, also told us of a "nice fellow" who broke down there 6 or 7 years ago at his shack and told him of the TAT, the rest is history. We now know the Redneckistan, AR story - thank you, Around The World Doug, for your service. A lot of history in that small building. There's just as much to be learned from the friendly old gentleman who makes it his passion to meet and greet those who endeavor to find adventure on two wheels. Love to see that his family is a part of it as well. We hope to see him again next year. Don't forget to pet the dog. Rolled into Clarendon, AR around 12:30. Chilled and soaked from the rainy onslaught, two orders of chicken fried steak and two homemade pies from Bendi's did the trick. Ms Bendi was gracious enough to take a picture with us. A "must do" if you're on the TAT. Took 30 mins drying out then rolled west around for Beebe, AR - Eastern Arkansas is the loose gravel capital of the world. Can go 55 mph in some spots, but barely 20 - 30 mph in others. Still, a very defining ride for any adventurous soul. Made it to Beebe, temps dropped into to 50's so we decided to hotel it tonight to dry out. BBQ joint across the street was a hit, almost took a nap crossing the road. Nonetheless, 261 miles today in the rain and slop was no easy task, but it's a day that I'll not soon forget. Neither of us will. Also one that'll get printed, framed and hung on a wall soon enough. If I may - "Man, what a ride" 20191011_091819.jpg Screenshot_20191011-203736_Video Player.jpg Screenshot_20191011-204453_Video Player.jpg Screenshot_20191011-204321_Video Player.jpg GOPR0747_ALTA-894714942777950528_high.jpg jpeg-imag.jpg 20191011_104425.jpg 20191011_110455.jpg 20191011_111216.jpg 20191011_111528.jpg 20191011_132009.jpg 20191011_165656.jpg 20191011_184746.jpg View attachment 1937880 Screenshot_20191011-203832_Video Player.jpg
    #74
  15. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,182
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    [​IMG]


    Them is some sticky tires!
    #75
    Robcure4 likes this.
  16. Robcure4

    Robcure4 HooKeD1

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Day 5 and it did not disappoint. Rolled out of camp at Hiwassee and Ocoee State Park, dense fog and cooler temps made for a nice ride with the sun at our backs (peeking at us through cloud cover at every chance). Narrow 2 lane backroads - up and down, left and right, hairpin turns and switchbacks as tight and I've ever seen....add a 20° to 30° incline, then back down the other side to do it all in mirrored replay. We went from gravel to blacktop, back to dirt and rock then what seemed like solid rock to potholed hell. Loved every inch of these roads.

    As I've stated before, I'm 100% novice at this and I'm not sure how anyone could enjoy more than I have so far, but I'm also realistic and can understand how that's impossible if everyone before us has enjoyed it half as much. I'm in no hurry at all, this is nice.



    I grew up not too far from this area, Jellico, TN and Williamsburg, KY - we lived along some of the very same type if roads. Making my plans for another ride soon in my old area, but not behind the safety glass of my previous life. Must finish the TAT first, this is my awakening. These Blue Highways have so much to offer and we're taking in as much as we possibly can along our journey. Old abandoned homes and buildings once full of life, held the pioneers of a time lost and all but forgotten by a younger generation. Older folks remain, this is their life.

    As we're rolling through on 2 wheels, the farms seem endless and the fields have mostly been harvested of their fruit a few months back. Empty corn stalks being feasted on by the wildlife - plenty of deer, turkey and the suicidal squirrel brigade all on the move. What a ride we had today (I keep saying it, but I hope it doesn't lose its value. What a ride indeed). We followed the Trail of Tears today and ended up at the Davey Crockett campground for the night. Nice state park, plenty of slots and spots, hot showers. I'm ready for daybreak!
    Using tapatalk for posts, it sucks
    #76
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  17. longdude17

    longdude17 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Red Stick, LA
    Day 8-the end is near

    Over BBQ the eve before, we discussed the harsh reality that the ride was coming to an end, soon we would have to find a stopping point and turn south for the winter. 45 minutes of scouring the maps and we settle on Quitman AR. It’s symbolic and truthful in its meaning, it was time to quit...man! From the ElCheapo hotel, it was roughly 100 miles up the road following the TAT... the last leg for us. It has been quite the journey thus far....

    Rest came easy for me, after 260+ miles in rain and gravel, I was done. First time in a bed and first time turning on a TV in a week, makes you think of all the things in life that are lavish luxuries that we take for granted, even if you are in a $50/ night POS hotel.

    I awoke to noises outside, turns out it was Robert putting all his gear back on his bike, clanking things around going to and from his room. The morning was a brisk clear 38 degrees, frost on the bikes!!!!

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    Crap! No worries, brought my cold gear just in case this would happen!

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    Robert had been struggling with a weak battery most of the trip, wasn’t really an issue till this morning... the cold weather made us break out the tools for the first time the whole trip.

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    After getting the Tenere (aka the Cow) started, we were on our way. Absolutely beautiful crisp clear morning! Perfect for deer, wildlife and riding the hills of Arkansas....did I mention my favorite accessory on the Tiger was the heated grips!!!

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    The roads were superb, the gravel roads were amazing... smooth dirt/gravel where you could easily cruise at 45 mph+.

    We rolled into Quitman around 9:45, this was the end of the road for this segment of the epic journey. 8 days of riding overweight “large” bikes and doing what most family & friends called “crazy”. Bittersweet is prob the best way to describe it... loved the challenge and freedom of this journey, but I was ready to see my family.

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    After a few high fives and head butts at the finish line, we plotted a course south to Little Rock for lunch. We rolled into town right at 11am In search of pizza. After a quick trip through some sketchy ass parts of town we ended up at The Pizza Cafe.

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    Fantastic handmade pizza, in an old school retro cafe style place. The owner Jen is a hoot to talk with, and makes a decent cup of coffee! Strongly recommend stopping in for a pizza pie!

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    The original plan was to head south to Ruston to visit with some of Roberts relatives, but when we realized we were only 6.5 hours from home, we agreed we’d make a run for the boot!

    7 hours, 3 fill ups, a sore ass and a Red Bull later, I pulled up to the house to a very happy wife! Total miles for the day 490 miles, total miles for the trip 2091.

    It has been an amazing journey, an amazing challenge, absolutely loved traveling the road less traveled....time to start planning for next year!!
    #77
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  18. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    Great report! Really enjoyed it! Now, after the dust settles, how about a little “looking back” and “looking ahead”. What surprised you, and what could you have improved on in the first part and what will you definitely do different on the second part. Looking forward to the continuation! Thanks!
    #78
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  19. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,641
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    :clap:clap:clap
    #79
  20. Robcure4

    Robcure4 HooKeD1

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Well said, my friend. I was sitting in church this morning with the family and I keep feeling the twists and turns of the Tail of the Dragon.....yep, in church. Going to be a long winter.
    ****Robert Frost - Road Not Taken****
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
    ********************************
    #80
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