TAT on an XT250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AT Blizzard, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Low power, low speed, low weight...

    2015 XT250
    Double Take mirrors
    Renthal Street Fighter handlebars
    Cycra handguards
    H4 LED headlight
    Garmin 395LM
    Cogent Dynamics suspension front/rear
    Michelin T63 tires
    Bridgestone HD tubes
    Motion Pro rim lock (rear)
    Front Fender Risers
    16T CS
    Yamaha bash plate
    Yamaha rack
    Wolfman saddlebags
    Wolfman Exp Dry Duffel switched out for Renegade Duffel
    Aully Park Poly gas can + mount
    DRC taillight -- rear has been bobbed
    Bike Master rear turn signals
    Maddog seat cover
    DMO Specialties foot pegs
    JNS rear master cylinder guard
    Fumoto valve

    IMG_1044.JPG

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. randypower

    randypower Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Spring Branch, Texas, USA
    As another XT250 owner (2009), I'm in. Strangely, it's the most comfortable bike I've owned. You have a nice setup.

    What's your story / plan / pace / reason for choosing the TAT?

    Randy
    XT250, Super Tenere, NC700X
    #2
    AT Blizzard likes this.
  3. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    IMG_1055.JPG

    TAT Route:

    Start -- Folly Beach "Edge of America", Charleston, SC on 11 June 2017.

    Sam's tracks and maps are used as my Primary Route -- beginning at Andrews, NC.
    gpsKevin tracks used for awareness and backup.

    Both complete tracks are loaded into Garmin 395LM.
    I run both current area tracks on the map -- Sam's tracks in red, gpsKevin in blue.
    #3
    norton73, Hi-De-Ho and Migolito like this.
  4. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,159
    Location:
    S-Cal
    Had an XT250 myself. Great bike.
    #4
    Pedersoli and AT Blizzard like this.
  5. blackseven

    blackseven Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2015
    Oddometer:
    456
    Location:
    Defuniak Springs, FL
    I'm in too! Also have a 2015 XT250, super comfy! Love it. I have it geared REALLY low (55T sprocket, stock front) for my wife to learn how to ride on. It's a hoot. Wheelie city.
    #5
    AT Blizzard and yak50 like this.
  6. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,647
    Location:
    Formerly BR-LA, LR-AR, Houston-Tx, now South MS
    In!
    But sorry I don't have a XT250


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #6
    AT Blizzard and randypower like this.
  7. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 1 / June 11 (Charleston-Asheville)

    Woke up in a Charleston hostel on a Sunday morning, sorta similar to the hostels on the AT that I had become familiar with, but that's another story...

    I chose Charleston after scanning the map and deliberating for days on where I wanted my TAT to commence. I had both Sam's and gpskevin tracks -- then considered my location in north Georgia, and it came down to two historic Southern coastal communities, Savannah or Charleston.

    I gathered up my gear and headed out to Folly Beach to start this adventure at the Atlantic Ocean.

    I went up and down that beach from the natural area at the northern end (lighthouse view), to the residential area, to the tourist center, and then to the Beach park at the southern end. I backtracked and found a spot, got the photo, got it wet, then headed West.

    I made it to Asheville (a very nice Hostel) to close out Day 1. The XT wasn't too loaded down, and I kept it buzzing along at 60 mph. Traffic was flying by...
    #7
  8. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 2 / June 12 (Asheville-Tellico Plains)

    IMG_1056.JPG

    Why? I had my big hiking adventure in 2016. I lived active and lean on the trail traveling from town to town, and after 2,189.1 trail miles I knew my 2017 adventure would involve a throttle, not hiking or bicycling.

    Back to 2017, I woke up in the late morning at the Asheville Hostel, sorted the gear -- still not a streamlined process, but that would improve.

    I climbed on the machine and headed for the hills of North Carolina. On the way to Sam's Tracks in Andrews, NC I stopped at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (a busy outdoor hub with whitewater kayaking, hikers...) which is an AT crossing point, to pick up my Titanium Spork -- now I'm ready!

    Then the rain. I got to Andrews, headed for the NAPA and bought my oil for the first oil change. NAPA crew were very helpful (I used their garage to get out of the rain). My Yamaha Dealer (and others) advised on changing the oil that often for running that air cooled little engine that hard for a month. The mileage I accumulated in just two days to get to Charleston and then to Andrews was 700 miles, with a few hundred miles traveled before that.

    Fuel topped off, oil changed, belly full -- I waited for the lightning and rain to subside. The lightning stopped, but the rain kept coming -- so I pushed out following Sam's tracks into the wet woods of North Carolina.

    Because of my late start in Asheville, I went late into the night. After getting fuel in Tellico Plains I somehow stumbled on this awesome "Moyorcycle Campground" self-service, hot showers, groomed tiered landscaping for tents, cabins, coffee -- but it was very late so I pitched my tent, woke up the next morning and one of the other campers bought me breakfast. Trail magic...

    IMG_1061.JPG
    (Picture taken the morning after I arrived. But that sign glowing from the light of my bike looked real good the previous night.)
    #8
    td63, FJ Fun, Jollyrogers and 5 others like this.
  9. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 3: June 13 (Tellico Plains-Ocoee vic.)

    I woke up late and packed up my gear. Another camper in one of the cabins struck up a conversation and then offered to buy breakfast. He was a retired shop teacher who rebuilt his Goldwing and hand built his trailer.

    So, another late start, but for a good reason as I'm not racing across America.

    Back on the trail I started getting into a rhthym of following the GPS tracks while avoiding obstacles and keeping the bike from crashing. But just like the previous night, I found myself staring at trail with my LED headlight illuminating the way. The trail people had put down a lot of "fluffy" gravel (also, mounds of it on the side). My wheels would sort of float on it, then sink in and wander. I'm sure it helps stabilize thr logging trucks, but it took s lot to get used to as I went up and down the winding path.

    Late into the evening I didn't see any good camping opportunities on the trail so I headed for fuel and rest -- Ocoee still had gas that late, and they gave me directions to a rafting outfit and campground about a mile away (where the staff let me camp for free).
    #9
    Singlespeed92 likes this.
  10. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 4 / June 14 (Ocoee vic-Chatsworth)

    I woke up groggy, and made it to the Ocoee McDonald's to sort out my day. The coffee worked.

    Retracing my route back into the hills and onto the TAT, I found myself fully immersed and enjoying the trail.

    IMG_1063.JPG

    This rustic station was next to an intersection of trails -- little did I know that I would see it again...

    IMG_1065.JPG

    I pressed further up and down the mountain until I came across a sign and gate. My curiosity drove me forward until I met the road crew and mound of dirt. This was just one end of the project. The other end with the bulldozer was still actively being worked.

    This was my first of what would be many work-arounds for the TAT. I read many ride reports and knew I would have to make adjustments. So, after studying the maps, looking at the GPS, and following several dead end trails (one to a lake resort) -- I found myself rolling past that station to get back on the trail on the other side.

    I would add that Sam's Maps have just enough detail to give you a good orientation for these work-arounds. At a later point in this journey I actually used them as my Primary nav tool when I somehow deleted my GPS Sam's Tracks in Utah.

    The TAT now looks more like a controlled scramble across America, than a simple and clear path. I met Bill who was riding a Triumph XC and he was also dealing with these work-arounds -- so speaking to him trailside was my sanity check. When I first hit these trip interruptions my first response was to groan -- but now I look forward to exploring my way around them. Play On!
    #10
    td63, Pete S, FJ Fun and 4 others like this.
  11. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 5 / June 15 (Chatsworth-Winchester)

    The TAT was running me in and out of towns on street and dirt. The XT is easy to operate in this environment.

    The TAT makes sense if it is seen as "Getaway" routes. You rally around trails and farmers fields then cruise through neighborhoods before you are running the side streets of towns, and find yourself on the Main Street as you roll past the banks and store fronts then back into the fields on your way to crossing a stream or on a bridge, then over a hill and on to the next town...

    IMG_1080.JPG

    Camping on a lake in Winchester.

    IMG_1086.JPG
    #11
    td63, Repoman87, norton73 and 2 others like this.
  12. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 6 / June 16 (Winchester-Pickwick Landing)

    The Southeast has been warm and humid, rolling terrain, very green, quaint towns in various stages of life, and a lot of bad roads to enjoy.

    IMG_1090.JPG

    There have been no raging river crossings -- although I did come across a Toyota truck in a river on its side (I forget the day) -- as the owner looked on from the steep bank he did not properly negotiate.Two other bubbas with pick up trucks were figuring out how to use a steel cable and a tow rope to slide and upright the wet Toyota. As I rolled up I asked if anyone was hurt and in need of assistance -- they replied "no". So I dismounted, and did my "boots in the water" survey of the water crossing (Thanks Trogdor Ride Report!) and I rode through the fairly deep water obstacle without incident.

    No, I did not take a photo. It would've been entertaining -- but poor form...:-)

    IMG_1096.JPG

    This was a pleasant scene in the late afternoon coming in to Waterloo, with a barge in the background. What came next was odd -- leaving town there are a series of very steep up and downs -- I didn't take a photo as I was in a hurry, but it is something to experience. The XT performed great in first gear, like a tractor.
    #12
    _trogdor_, Thomasrh, td63 and 6 others like this.
  13. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 7 / 17 June (Pickwick-Corinth)

    Wake up - remind yourself what town you're in - pack up - find coffee - check your route - depart hoping you left nothing valuable behind. Trail life...

    I just kept hanging on to the handlebars and occasionally standing up on the pegs when I couldn't avoid a bump or pothole as I made my way to Mississippi.

    As I approached Corinth I passed by a house which would become my campground that night. Once in town I fueled up and headed for the motorcycle shop. In that massive shop I purchased oil and they could tell I was on the TAT. I met "Homer" who works there, and he told me that I just missed Sam Correro earlier that day, as he is frequently around. This shop also organizes TAT rides.

    Anyway, Homer invites me to camp in his yard as many other riders have in the past. which he wants to make the next great TAT Campground. The yard is level, grassy, and very comfortable. Homer also let me use his garage shop. Thanks go out to Homer and his wife for their hospitality!

    IMG_1104.JPG

    More signs to deal with, like the early 70s song. One on each end of the bridge. Needless to say I assessed my circumstances and maneuvered to the other side. I asked Homer, and he said they do the same thing using common sense.

    IMG_1099.JPG
    #13
    td63, Kd70qc, phreakingeek and 6 others like this.
  14. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,273
    Location:
    Ft Likkertail , USA
    IN! :lurk
    #14
  15. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 8 / 18 June (Corinth-Enid Campground)

    Sam put me on the long trail through Mississippi it was a long day of country road riding.

    IMG_1106.JPG

    Herd of TAT goats (more in the bushes) roaming the countryside.

    IMG_1109.JPG

    Wrong turn led me to the Chicken Ranch compound (also, plenty of roosters making noise). This was just part of their larger operation with even more birds on barrels.

    IMG_1112.JPG

    Friendly natives. Everyone out for a Father's Day ride...

    IMG_1117.JPG

    I hit plenty of Mississippi mud, but they also had nice trail roads like these.

    I made it to Paris for gas and coffee -- and left just in time for the lady to tell me about the Thunderstorm Warning that just came in as I was stepping back out into the rain. About 12 miles later I was surrounded by lightning and thunder, and took a break. With my bike parked off to the side and turned off, I listened to the continuous sound of rolling thunder for the next 45 minutes. Afterward a couple in a pickup truck came by and told me they hunkered down inside their home.

    I mounted up and was happy to be riding in the rain without the lightning...
    #15
    td63, GAS GUY, norton73 and 9 others like this.
  16. KLRalph

    KLRalph Because KTMalph sounds funny

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    215
    Location:
    California, USA
    Run what 'cha brung!
    #16
    Final Drive and AT Blizzard like this.
  17. Singlespeed92

    Singlespeed92 Full time rider

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    256
    Location:
    Eastern Tennessee
    Awesome,can't wait to read more!
    #17
    AT Blizzard likes this.
  18. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 9 / 19 June (Corinth-Clarendon)

    I'm pressure washing the XT often. Mud gets caked on all over the lower 2/3 of the bike. I'm concerned most for the engine and the chain. When I see that air cooled engine that I run for hours at a time, encased in mud -- it reminds me of an ancient clay oven just building and retaining heat. The chain gets a lot of attention as well.

    Thankfully, not a lot of wet or mud today. It dried out nicely. You can see just a light coating of dried mud, along with a turtle doing his daily commute.

    IMG_1119.JPG

    I see lots of these little TAT turtles. I can't remember anyone mentioning the turtle obstacles.

    IMG_1122.JPG Beautiful afternoon -- I had to put the brakes on for this stop. A few friendly faces came out to greet me.

    The elderly couple running the J&M Motel were very friendly as well, and very familiar with TAT riders. Staying in Clarendon was like taking a step back in time. I had another Gas Station meal, showered and hit the rack.

    Not pictured is me riding thru a bug spray mist (vehicle with a tank on a lower road) while coming into Clarendon on some kind of levee route (that Sam seems to like). I put my face shield down and held my breath, For the record, over a week later and I'm still OK...
    #18
    Pete S, FJ Fun, Kd70qc and 4 others like this.
  19. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 10 / 20 June (Clarendon-TAT Shak)

    To stay on dirt you ride on a lot of agricultural dirt roads. I like the pastures, but the farmer fields -- not so much. The farmer fields have various obstacles, all kinds of traffic, mud (irrigation and rain), detours (yes, detours with signs and crews looking at you) -- all within a good stones throw of a paved road. There is no wilderness effect at all, especially when something like a Walmart truck rolls parallel with you as you are playing in the dirt. It both amuses and frustrates me.

    IMG_1130.JPG

    Luckily today there was a good amount of wilderness effect in the Ozarks. But first a visit to Scotland for a quick break at the local gas station fast-food meeting place.

    Departing Scotland puts you in beautiful country -- a nice green tunnel in the hills.

    IMG_1132.JPG

    A big TAT logo sign on the road leads you to this gift. It is clean, air conditioning blows cold, plumbing works (hot and cold), shower, flushing toilet, kitchen, refrigerator works, maps are on the wall, cots in the bedroom with another operable a/c unit, electricity, lights... Yes, I did sign the book and leave a tip. The guy who set this up is a trail angel -- Thank you for the hospitality!
    #19
    td63, FJ Fun, GAS GUY and 8 others like this.
  20. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2016
    Oddometer:
    412
    Location:
    Georgia
    Day 11 / 21 June (TAT Shak-Tahlequah)


    IMG_1133.JPG
    Early morning start put me on top the mountain looking at a genuine Ozark sunrise over the lower elevations.

    IMG_1148.JPG
    Time for breakfast at an historic restaurant/meeting place.

    IMG_1149.JPG
    Then, I kept pushing forward -- ended up in motorcycle jail.

    IMG_1152.JPG

    Except, someone left the side door open...

    Then, finishing up Sam's Tracks through Western Arkansas in a run for the OK border -- as I had my new Wolfman bag to pick up at the Westville, OK Post Office.

    Weary, with no place to go for the second night in a row -- and again I get handed a gift when I happen upon a nice available campground on a big river the TAT crosses.
    #20
    td63, Pete S, FJ Fun and 5 others like this.