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

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    Day 12 / 22 June (Tahlequah-Alva)

    First full day in Oklahoma -- no rain, no mud!

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    I arrive at Checkpoint Camel. Things you don't see every day in America -- camels and a TAT touring XT250...

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    Rustic bridge.

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    I've wrangled these critters before -- but taking a selfie with one just didn't seem wise. So I opted for this photo.

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    More TAT hospitality.
    #21
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  2. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Louisville, KY
    Love it.

    Maybe when I grow up....
    #22
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  3. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 13 / 23 June (Alva-GP Bunk House)

    Wind, rain, mud, and sand...

    Cruising through Oklahoma, there are a lot of farm fields and pastures. Many are fast roads of multiple dirt composition that turn to mud quickly. At speed you could be lured into false-comfort until suddenly your front washes out, your rear drifts, etc.

    I fought the trail all day. I got lucky and ducked into a little town for fuel and coffee as I could see the rain on the horizon closing in. It was a quick blast of wind and rain that kept moving East.

    I was warned of Oklahoma mud, and had to deal with it just Southeast of Elkhart, KS. The OK farmer fields in that area had mud, not everywhere, just in certain areas. You end up getting past one mud obstacle, then race to the next one. I got to one that I couldn't get through, so I had to get up past the ditch on the side of the road and go 10 feet into the farmer field to go around the mud. The Scramble across America continues.

    After that mud adventure I went into Elkhart for fuel, food, and the car wash to remove the packed on mud.

    Now, where will I camp?

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    #23
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  4. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 14 / 24 June (Bunk House - Trinidad)

    I slept on a Loveseat, woke up early, put money in the box and headed for Trinidad and two new tires!

    Short ride out of Oklahoma and into New Mexico. Pronghorn highway as I rode in the early morning -- some of them joined me on the road before running back into the wild.

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    There was one dastardly hill climb but once I got on top it was a smooth ride.

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    The TAT runs through this nice rustic Compound.

    =======

    Trinidad, CO

    Post Office rejected my tire shipment, but I did get my General Delivery box (maps and new air filter).

    Out in the Post Office parking lot is Tampa Bill (Triumph XC) that I met earlier on the TAT. We update each other on our adventures, then he departs.

    I work the phones with RMA and other suppliers. Then the picture became clear -- I'm going to Pueblo, because my rear tire is not taking me over the Rocky Mountains.

    I run the XT up I-25 and get to RMCP -- and they mount a D606 rear tire to replace my T63 (4,200 miles). I keep the T63 front on because Moab is holding a MT21.

    I make it back down I-25 as far as a Walsenburg campground and tent for the night.

    The scramble across America continues...
    #24
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  5. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 15 / 25 June (Trinidad-Cotopaxi)

    Wake up - pack up - head back down I-25 to Trinidad and rejoin the TAT.

    Once I rejoin the trail, I pull over and check my tire pressures. I've got my Moto-Pumps kit out and I see two riders approaching on super clean KTM Adventures looking like a KTM advertisement. They check to see if I need any assistance, then off they go.

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    Colorado countryside.

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    My new rear tire in its proper habitat.
    #25
  6. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 16 / 26 June (Cotopaxi-Lake City)

    Early morning run into Salida Post Office to pick up my Darn Tough boot socks.

    Tomorrow is the big climbing day for Sam's Tracks -- so today I'm doing Old Monarch Pass and then scout the approach to Tomichi Pass (locals are telling me it's not open yet).

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    Old Monarch Pass -- nice trail. It continues on to join the TAT. But first I turn to go to White Pines where I meet a local who tells me Tomichi Pass is closed. He gives me a quick brief on the area and I continue on thru the little trail community of White Pines; there I meet two more locals speaking with friends on ATVs, and they say it is closed. I do a little more scouting past the houses then come back down. Homer (I tented in his yard) briefed me on his trip to bag tough peaks -- his bike tells the story.

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    Resort, with lots of curb appeal; and a big friendly dog comes out to meet you.

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    TS3 trail stand in action. My chain adjuster shifted on one side. The rear had an unbalanced floaty feel, so I stopped and discovered the problem. It probably occurred when I was "hopping" rocks on the Tomichi Pass approach trail.

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    Base Camp (RV Campground -- tenting for me) before the XT250's big climbing day. This was on the TAT, just outside the bustling 4x4 town of Lake City.
    #26
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  7. Bors

    Bors Adventurer

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    What is the TAT?
    #27
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  8. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    Nice RR! :clap I remember the turtles from my TAT ride in '08. I see more locals got in on this ride by offering services to the riders and that is awesome. Ride on!
    #28
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  9. Belkar

    Belkar Adventurer

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    The Trans-America Trail
    #29
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  10. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 17 / 27 June Part 1 (Lake City - Monticello)

    I headed out early in a futile attempt to beat the diverse 4 wheel traffic that swarm the trails and Passes.

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    Sunrise on the lake.

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    No traffic (yet), clear and peaceful.

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    Sightseeing between mountain passes.
    #30
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  11. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 17 / 27 June Part 2

    The approaches were mostly dry rutty scree with patches of embedded rocks (large and small) and many wet locations from the snow runoff -- everything I expected from the Rocky Mountains.

    The panoramic scenery was amazing, and photographs do not do it justice.

    When the going got really tough, I was up on the pegs riding first gear in the powerband. Uphills, downhills, rock hopping, wet, dry, scree, turns, etc. A great morning workout.

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    This was The TAT Test for the XT250 -- patience was rewarded.

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    Many Jeeps, "4x4s", ATVs, tourist transporters... and a few motorcycles. Most everyone waves to each other on the trails.

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    A little surprise awaits just West of Ophir Pass. There is a rock bed that dominates the trail. As I studied it, a local rider on a Husqvarna 501 demonstrated his coasting line. I was less graceful, but it worked. I joined him and friends in Ophir and they gave me the rundown on other Mountain Passes -- which has me planning a day trip (after this adventure) of several tough Passes in the area -- sans my hobo gear. Ouray seems to be a common staging area.

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    These snow walls were common as I journeyed through the approach trails for these mountain passes. Summer in the Rockies!
    #31
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  12. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Time for me to depart the cool Border Inn Casino. I'm currently in Nevada, while my motorcycle is parked in Utah.

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    #32
  13. DooSki

    DooSki Adventurer

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    New Brunswick, CAN
    Great report! It's been hard to find a good report these days with people crashing, breaking, or just bailing. I also like the fact that you left the kitchen sink at home. I cringe when I see these overloaded pack mules waddling around. That can't be much fun. Back packers always know how to travel lite. Keep up the good work.
    #33
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  14. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    Great trip and story.

    And what he said, never lose the back packers mentality, keep it light.
    #34
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  15. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 18 / 28 June (Monticello-Moab)

    This is the first day I felt the fatigue of my journey. But look at that beautiful riding day as I approach La Sal Mountain!

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    Hidden in that picture is another short rock-hop technical climb -- so, back up on the pegs as I charged up the hill. Some days you just want to sit on your a$$ and enjoy the scenery...

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    Another road sign almost kept me from this picturesque road descent into Moab. The road crew was out a few miles back, and the sign girl told me of the detour -- but the detour was Sam's Tracks into Moab.

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    My new Pirelli MT-21 tire has been mounted. Thanks to this awesome shop in Moab. I also changed oil and filter, and cleaned the air filter in their shade. They are absolutely biker friendly!

    Now it's time to join my slacker family at the Lazy Lizard Hostel for a night of tenting...
    #35
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  16. Blumtnman

    Blumtnman Rider

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    Blue Mountains Australia
    Great RR, stunning photography. Well done.
    #36
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  17. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice report!
    #37
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  18. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 19 / 29 June (Moab - Castle Dale)
    Heading out on the TAT through the local sand and rocks, I came upon a group of bicyclists getting ready to launch on some event. It reminded me of how great it is to have a throttle...

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    Hmmm, there must be a story behind this...

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    There was a lot of open desert wilderness, a dry lake, rock formations, etc. Traveling alone can feel like you're on another planet.

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    Shortly before this (in the vicinity of the Horseshoe Canyon turn), my Sam's Tracks became unavailable (more later). So I navigated the rest of the day using only Sam's maps. I had already deleted gpsKevin's routes in this area because they had split from Sam's route (save memory).

    ===

    Later, I crossed a main highway and like changing a channel, totally different scenery appeared.

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    This was just the beginning of an incredible canyon drive over and past the San Rafael River. The towering scenery was amazing.
    #38
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  19. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    Gotta say, I'm jealous. I'm in the midst of Farkeling my KTM500 into a 'lite' adv bike and here you go and show us how its done. Great report.
    #39
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  20. AT Blizzard

    AT Blizzard Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 20 / 30 June (Castle Dale - Ephraim)

    Late start. I had to recover Sam's Tracks on my GPS. I was no longer running dual tracks b/c gpsKevin and Sam have different routes to Port Orford. Thanks to the Castle Dale Public Library (and computer) and Garmin for clearing the memory and resetting the Tracks. I was not looking forward to navigating the rest of Utah by map...

    So you want to ride the TAT -- here are a few scenes:

    Climb to a scenic high altitude valley.

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    You can see the notch where it drops deeply into a big valley and the distant mountain range.

    Continue to the other side of this peaceful valley and see (and hear) hundreds of sheep moving into the woods, with a shepherd on a horse (like a cowboy) calling out to them almost as in song.

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    That's the tail end of the herd. The "cowboy" was somewhere off to the right side. I turned off the engine, and was fumbling trying to get my camera out as the herd kept disappearing into the woods.

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    Curious visitors wander the campground.

    Sam's Tracks also wander around. I've discovered that this is not a Point A to Point B adventure. It has become an interesting journey on roads less traveled (for a reason :-)).
    #40