TAT on an XT250

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

  1. Hakatan

    Hakatan quality > quantity

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    Perusing my Colorado Benchmark...
    :y0! I've also been trying to glean info about Black Dragon Wash. I'll be passing through Green River from Moab in about 10 days, solo on a KLX250, as I make my way west from Colorado on a TAT/BDR ride. I PMd a TAT rider whose ride report said he passed through there a couple weeks ago, but haven't gotten a reply.

    Online reports seem all over the place -- Triumph Tigers having no problem in some cases....and 250 lbs. dirt bikes struggling in others . Hopefully @AT Blizzard has some good intel to share.
    black top bob likes this.
  2. dcwilcox

    dcwilcox Been here awhile

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    Great ride and report . . . I really appreciate your lean packing and keep it simple approach! Well Done! :super
  3. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

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    Somewhat shocking that you where abel to accomplish this ride with out an orange bike or a bmw. Less some times is more. Well done informative ride report with real world info. Enjoyed very much. Merlin
  4. black top bob

    black top bob gray goat Supporter

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    RIMG0034.JPG During our TAT trip in 2014. We took a side trip to Dodge KS (tourist stuff) on our 250's. My KLX and her XT250 ran like tops.
    randypower likes this.
  5. Jolly Roger 250

    Jolly Roger 250 Adventurer

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    Did you ever have a situation where you didn't have enough gas in the tank to make it to the next gas station and you had to use the fuel in your rotopak?
  6. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Adventurer

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    Love your minimalist set up....you have a bike we a few things on it. Others that I see look like a hoarder's starter kit with maybe a bike underneath, but I"m not even sure.
    Addapost and randypower like this.
  7. CloudSplitter

    CloudSplitter Putterer

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    Jolly, the TAT has changed since I rode it solo on my XT250 in 2014, but I never needed my Rotopax before turning home from Utah. At that time, the Nevada stretch had a reputation of needing gas (and lots of sand), but I didn't complete that part. Since them, Sam has moved the route around Nevada, and I'll bet the longest stretch between fuel stations has been reduced.

    The only time I've needed my Rotopax, in completing quite a few long rides on the east coast, was on the northern loop of the SouthEastern Adventure Trail (SEAT -- formerly the TET south). There, I missed a fuel waypoint, because I had the GPS zoomed in too far. The waypoint was pretty far off the track, and I went by it, without it showing on the GPS. I still made it to within half a mile of the next fuel stop.

    Another time, I should have used it in northern Maine, but decided to divert about 20 miles to a station way off the trail, to save digging out the Rotopax from under my luggage. It took way longer to follow an off-pavement track back to the route I was following, than it would have to dig out the Rotopax.

    IMG_20190515_175253413.jpg
    Why it takes a while to dig out my Rotopax.
  8. Jolly Roger 250

    Jolly Roger 250 Adventurer

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    Thank you CloudSplitter for the response. Sorry for the late response, I am still learning how to navigate the advrider web site. The additional information about the SEAT is a bonus to me. Since I live on the NE side of Atlanta, I am leaning towards it being my first "dual sport adventure", as opposed to the TN section of the TAT. Also, since I still have a lot that I want to learn (information and preparation), I have some questions about GPS, Mapsource/Basecamp, and a few other subjects, I was wondering if you would be willing to spend a little time here and there answering some of those questions? I have done a lot of motorcycle camping with my street bike, and I take my dirt bike to Durhamtown a lot, in addition I ride occasionally with a dual sport group in the N. Georgia mountains, but I am new to (and have a burning desire to do) this.
  9. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    The longest stretch between fuel on Sam's current official tracks is about 185 miles. There are two spots with this distance- the first one is between Boise City Oklahoma and somewhere in Colorado. Might be Trinidad but it but be something before, I forget but it was about 185 miles out of Boise City. The other is between Payette Idaho and John Day Oregon, that's about 185 also. My bike was normally getting about 200-205 per tank and I never ran out. I actually almost ran out on the stretch in Oklahoma/Colorado. I didn't realize it was that far to the next gas and it is so wide open with empty laser straight roads, I had the throttle pinned the entire segment. Three hours at almost 70 miles an hour (hey that's all my little scooter will do). My normal 200-210 miles per tank dropped to about 186. My trip odometer said 186 when I rolled in to the gas station. The gas light had been on for over a half hour and my 3.5 gallon tank took 3.55 gallons. Not sure what's up there but that's what happened. Lesson learned, slow down and conserve gas on the long sections.
    black top bob likes this.
  10. CloudSplitter

    CloudSplitter Putterer

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    Jolly, I recommend you start with the TN section of the TAT. It's great, and not as much of a commitment as the SEAT. The SEAT is also great, and very well laid out, with services at the end of each leg, but the sand in Florida and eastern Georgia is a challenge. Maybe I'd have had a better time if I'd realized that letting air out of the front tire would help keep it from being jerked sideways. See recent discussion on the XT250 thread.

    By the way, if you wan to keep track of a certain thread, such as this one, just click the Options button in the lower right, then check the boxes for Watch This Thread, and for "and receive email notifications".
    black top bob likes this.
  11. Jolly Roger 250

    Jolly Roger 250 Adventurer

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    Thanks CloudSplitter for the tip on the email notifications. When I choose to watch a thread, it asks me if I want email notification. I choose "no", until I decide that I want them. Then I can't find the option again, as I am always looking at the top right and not even thinking to look at the bottom. I try not to over complicate things, but sometimes I do. This may be the case I have with Base Camp. I am fairly computer savvy, but Base Camp makes me feel like an idiot. Mapsource is much better for me at this point.

    I appreciate the advice on the TN TAT vs the SEAT. However, in addition to the demographics related to being closer to home at most points of the trip, there are a couple of other reasons I think I would rather tackle the SEAT first. One of those reasons is the temperature (I am a little short guy with thinner blood). I feel that I would be able to start out on the SEAT sooner in the year (next spring) with it being warmer, as opposed to the cold mountains in TN. The other reason (and this is my wimpy reason) is that the thought of an angry (or not angry) bear approaching me, quite frankly scares the shit out of me. If I am on the side of the road taking a water break or a piss, and an angry bear approaches me, I don't think it will matter how many black belts I have, as a bear trumps them, and the bear would not appreciate all the years I have spent acquiring them. Again, maybe I am over complicating this.

    I am also curious what GPS units you and Addapost use. My plan (because I already have them) is to run a Garmin 78s and a Garmin Nuvi (with a 3.5 inch screen) at the same time. The 78s loaded with the track and the Nuvi displaying current location. Once again, I find the 78s challenging as the directions in the manual are very vague and the unit itself (I think) has a tremendous amount of capabilities. I will have to search for advice and tips on how to use it the most effectively.

    Finally, thanks to you all replying on the posts that this rookie boy is making. I do appreciate it. Someday I will have the experience to pass it along to others.
    black top bob likes this.
  12. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Jolly Roger

    you are so close to many riding areas, you may just want to go up into the north Georgia mountains or up to tellico plains for a weekend and ride some of the FS roads. For routes, there is the Smoky Mountain 500 and others.
  13. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    I used my daily phone. It's an iPhone 6s in a Lifeproof case running the $20 version of Gaia. While prepping for my MABDR/TAT trip I bought a Garmin Montana a year before the trip. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure it out- reading the manual, watching instructional videos- and to be honest I was totally unsuccessful. I am really really really stupid when it comes to technology and I couldn't figure out how to use it. I finally gave up and sold it. On the other hand, for some reason Gaia was simple to figure out and the iPhone has worked flawlessly for me for 12,000 miles of back country dual sport riding including the big trip. If you have two devices that you like then go with that. I definitely like the idea of running two devices at the same time- one zoomed in close and the other zoomed out for big picture. I am actually going to get another cheap phone to use just for gps nav then I'll have two one the bars. The SEAT is definitely on my bucket list. Have fun.
    Jolly Roger 250 likes this.
  14. CloudSplitter

    CloudSplitter Putterer

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    Jolly, that combination of nuvi and GPSmap 78s may be better than you think. A few years ago, while doing the Trans Eastern Trail, I met a young man in a gas station who was doing the GPSKevin northern extension of the TAT, and noticed how much larger the screen on his Montana was, than my GPSmap 78. I got GPS-envy and about a year later I finally sprang for a Montana. I used it as my main, close-up, unit, and my old 78 for the zoomed-out view.

    It wasn't till this spring that I finally noticed that, even though the screen on the 78 is only about half the size of that on the Montana, its larger pixels make it easier to see the track lines than the smaller pixels on the Montana. Now I use the GPSmap 78 for the close-in view, to know whether this intersection is the one to turn on. The Montana is great for the wide-angle view, so it works out good. However, I think your nuvi will be just fine for that. Its only challenges are that it isn't waterproof, has only the small USB connection to provide power, and won't take tracks or routes. Some clear silicon around the screen edges helps with waterproofing, but shortly after I got back from the TAT, the USB connector on the little nuvi, I was using for backup at the time, failed, which gave me the excuse to get my GPSmap 78.

    As to not taking tracks or routes, you can get around that by turning your tracks to maps, using the free download, IMGfromGPX. It isn't too hard to learn, though a little tricky (after dragging your .gpx file to it, you need to change poi style to {Skip}, change the Map ID number and the Name on computer and device. Then change the name of the created gmapsupp.img file, so it won't be overwritten when you create another one). Also, you need to know that when you create the .img file, it appears to hang up when done. Just click the OK button, and go to your gmapsupp.img file.

    Also, don't leave routes in the files being exported to the .gpx file, as they will be straight lines from waypoint to waypoint, in the .img file.

    Well, hope that didn't confuse the issues, even more. Anyway, I also suggest you give Basecamp another try. It's a bit frustrating, because it forces you to keep your sub-directories within its system, but MapSource is no longer being supported, and it can't use the map files from your GPS the way BaseCamp does.
  15. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Adventurer

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    I've heard good things about the Motion X GPS app (iPhone app).
  16. Jolly Roger 250

    Jolly Roger 250 Adventurer

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    Thank you very much CloudSplitter for the very detailed and informative reply. I have no doubt that what I don't understand is important, I just have to learn how to use them. All of my 78 and NUVI information came from GPSKevin. Although I had already been using several NUVI's in my vehicles and boat. During the Winter I will become as familiar with the 78 GPS and how to use Base Camp. I had already imported Sam's TN TAT in the 78, but it lists all of the tracks separately. I need to figure out how to merge them all into one track, as I currently believe that being separate tracks, at the end of one track, I would have to open the next track. I will play with it to see (which this is probably done in Base Camp and then uploaded to the 78.

    I am curious why do we want to convert a track into a map? What are the advantages to that? I will certainly try it, but curious why we do it.
  17. CloudSplitter

    CloudSplitter Putterer

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    Jolly, you don't need to combine tracks to see them all on your GPSmap 78s. Just press Menu twice, select Track Manager, select the first track you want to show on the map, and select Show on Map, rinse and repeat. Note that you can change the color or name, while you're there.

    As to creating .img files from tracks, one reason is that older GPSs can't display enough track points for some of the tracks you will download, and most nuvis can't display any tracks. Your GPSmap 78s won't have a problem with this, since it can use 10,000 track points, but my next-older GPSmap 76C was much more limited, and would only show the first parts of many tracks. One reason GPSkevin splits his tracks into sections, is so an older GPS can use them.

    I still create .img files, before leaving on an adventure, because they can be thicker, and more visible on the screen. Very often glare, or alternating sun and shade, make it difficult to see the tracks, and when coming to an intersection, you want to be able to tell, immediately, if you should turn. Then again, I still carry a little old nuvi in my tank bag, in case the Montana and GPSmap 78 on the handlebars get stolen, or something.

    To clarify, the .img files created by IMGfromGPX are transparent maps, showing only the "roads" created from the track files, and can use any number of track points. I find the most visible colors are magenta and blue, and it often helps to alternate between them if the end points are significant. For instance GPSkevin ends most tracks at a gas station, and other .gpx files often have reasons to change tracks where they do.

    For maximum visibility, I now create two .img files, one using Thick.typ, and the other using DashedBorder.typ. On an older GPS that must have its extra map files named gmapsupp.img, you may not have an extra spot to store the second file. You can have one in the Garmin subdirectory of the GPS, and one in the Garmin subdirectory of the SD card, but might have an actual map in one of them.
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