TAT (Partial) Planning Questions from a Neophyte....

Discussion in 'Americas' started by WalterMitty2, Mar 4, 2020.

  1. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    I'm tentatively thinking of doing a Solo Partial TAT in September of this year. For a while I was kidding myself thinking I could do the entire thing, but I think that's really unrealistic for me for several reasons (skill, time off, etc).

    So for a partial, here is what I am kicking around....

    Start: Emerald Isle, NC
    End: Oark, AR
    Miles: 1,800 (roughly)

    For those familiar with Kevin's tracks (which I will probably buy), this would be sections 1-18. I picked Emerald Isle, NC because I hope to get a tires in the ocean shot (without getting arrested) and without spending all the time and money getting all the way out to Cape Hatteras.

    I'm in the southern burbs of Chicago, and the thought would be to rent a one way truck to drive me and bike to the start, and then rent a one way truck to drive me and bike back from AR. I plan to hotel 100% of the trip. Figuring two weeks off work, here's my schedule....

    Chicago to NC: 2 Days
    AR to Chicago: 2 Days

    = 10 days to cover 1,800 miles = 180 per day

    All on a CRF250L = "Fat Guy on a Little Bike" :D

    I plan to stick to the tracks as much as possible, with only a few distractions time permitting (Tail of the Dragon, Jack Daniels Tour) and ending my partial TAT with a burger at the Oark Cafe.

    To date, my longest trip has been 30 miles...a 15 mile out and back. I hope to be able to take some longer "warm up" trips over some weekends when the weather gets a little better.

    So my questions...

    1) Is this way too much for my first major trip? Is this way too little for my first trip?
    2) What else should I be thinking of (in terms of mileage and time, not asking about equipment or nav or that stuff right now)?
    3) Anyone know a good spot near Emerald Isle, NC to get the tires in the ocean without getting arrested?

    Thanks
    #1
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  2. TripleTriples

    TripleTriples Long timer

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    Skip the tail, unless you hit it on a weekday during business hours, or very early on a weekend. It's a festival of morons when it gets busy.
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  3. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    If your only trip on a bike so far has been 30 miles, yes, this would be quite the endeavor. There is plenty of time to get some miles under your belt. Do some weekend trips. Work your distance up. Ride one way, stay in a hotel and ride back the next day. 180/mi a day is fairly easy. During your practice, try to get up to 300mi, so that 180 will feel easy.
    #3
  4. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    It's been a while but the parts of TAT that you are planning is just lot of fire roads other than possibly parts of Tellico Plains. I'd also suggest that you get additional seat time on your bike before you attempt a solo TAT.


    Oark Cafe TAT.JPG
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  5. BigBluKlr

    BigBluKlr Been here awhile

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    Maybe South to North MABDR would be a better alternative. You could one way rental down to start and probably be able to slab it home over 2 days.
    While i am eyeing up the TAT someday, I need a first time adventure ride and I'm think MABDR first to test the experience.
    Also the Tail is something to do but it is not all that. I have done it on several road trips in a 2 seater German sports car. Get behind a big Harley with a passenger and it's a exercise in patients
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  6. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    I'm a big guy on a Honda CRF250L, so I won't be setting any speed records.

    And as mentioned above, if I were to do it, I would do so during the week and during "work" hours.
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  7. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    I think this leg will be perfect for me to get my feet wet....nothing too technical. I'd like to get lots and lots of miles on the bike before tackling harder sections.
    #7
  8. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    I highly suggest getting lots of miles on the before the trip. Just so you know what you are personally capable handling in a day. 180mi a day is fairly obtainable. If you can ride from 8am to 6pm, that is 18mph. You will have to make sure you get on the bike at a reasonable hour in the morning. When I stay in hotels, my daily mileage drops a lot. Camping, I will wake up with the sun and be on the bike by 7. Then just ride till nearly dark. This makes for 350-450mile days. Staying in hotels usually drops it to your 180-200mi number.
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  9. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I agree you will need a lot of practice rides for this, certainly a few overnighters.

    IMHO you are wise in planning to use motels. Getting the camping gear squared away on a small bike can be a big challenge in itself.

    How are your gps skills? The TAT route gets really complicated in places in order to stay off pavement as much as possible.

    Or maybe you are planning to use a roll-chart?
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  10. Rips Millar

    Rips Millar capt. mediocre

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    I gotta say, best screen name ever. Walter Mitty. Big dreams, good luck with your trip, Walter.
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  11. ATadam

    ATadam Been here awhile

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    Yeah I would do a full day's ride and see where you're at mileage wise and equipment wise, I found I could do 170 miles of off roading in a day but realized my KLR sapped me of all the energy I had so doing that two days in a row would be a struggle, I also found I had packed way too much. Going solo is going to be an issue by itself as well, I would make sure to have an emergency beacon and a way to get the bike out of hairy situations at minimum. I discovered last year that getting a bike stuck solo with no way to haul it out meant having to hike out and find help, had I gotten hurt it would've been a disaster as nobody would know where I am. Anyways, good luck on your travels.
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  12. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    My GPS skills are non-existent. I'm trying to get a jump on "training" now. I downloaded MotionX-GPS and have been playing with it a bit. I'd really like to go the phone route, but it seem a lot easier to get a GPS unit and slip in Kevin's card. Just like the hotel vs camping....easy usually = $$$....but at least with the GPS unit it shouldn't involve bed bugs :jack

    Still on fence, but want to decide this month on my direction. Looking at the Garmin Zumo 396.
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  13. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    Remember to use tracks and not routes or if you miss one turn, it will recalculate the quickest method to your destination meaning your TAT will now be slabbing on the interstate. There are ways to use POI's to overcome the recalculation of the route or turn off the recalculation but why? Just use tracks and follow the red line all day.

    When you come off the trail to gas up or whatever, zoom out and get back to your red track and start riding again.
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  14. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Yinzer nailed it. Your longest day is 30 miles and you want to be able to average 180 mile days for 10 days straight? Get in at least a few 2 day 200 mile out and back trips while tossing in some big miles days on top of that.

    I'd also take that bike out and ride local dirt roads and trails as much as possible between now and then.
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  15. hamish99

    hamish99 Adventurer

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    We did this part of the TAT 2 years ago. Easy dirt roads and country road pavement. I did it on my KTM 350 easily. One could do it on a sport bike unless it’s wet. We too 5 days of easy riding.
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  16. txmxrider

    txmxrider Been here awhile

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    My suggestion is to get a decent GPS as your primary device and use the phone app as a backup. It'll mean spending a little time and money beforehand to add a Powerlet power port to your bike and a power cradle for the GPS but in the end I think you'll be glad you did. I've used both a Garmin Montana 600 and MotionX-GPS and I've found the Garmin to be more stable and reliable than the phone app but having both is nice. If you watch the Flea Market forum you can probably pick up a used GPS for a reasonable price. As for being GPS-challenged, you can use Garmin Basecamp or one of several other gpx file readers and then spend a huge chunk of your life dicking around with files and software, all of which is fine if you like doing that kind of stuff, but you don't have to. If you just want to go ride get GPSKevin's SD card and and you'll be following the route like a seasoned pro within a few miles. He has a tutorial video on his website that I found useful.

    Good luck to you and enjoy the ride!
    #16
  17. Bill Dirt

    Bill Dirt Trooper

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    More miles per day are easily done in the East. I would rent a I haul or pickup truck to the start...on a 250 you will be hurting from the ride on pavement to the start, save your ass and enjoy the trail.
    #17
  18. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Been here awhile

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    I'm pretty much sold on this approach (GPS unit with phone as backup). Planning on using the built in accessory plug the CRF250L already has for the GPS cradle, this way the cradle is powered by "switched power". Then for the phone, I will wire in a 12v/USB combo charger that has an on/off switch of it's own, directly to the battery. All of that is probably next month's purchases/to dos.

    This month is a getting and installing rear rack.

    I have a lot to acquire for both bike and rider, so I'm eating that elephant one bite at a time.
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  19. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    I just did the MABDR and TAT together last summer. On the MABDR I was with a buddy but he had to go home at the end of that so I was solo on the TAT. I was on a 2017 crf250L. Bike was fantastic, the ride was fantastic. There is nothing at all difficult until New Mexico. Getting some miles in before the trip is a good idea but IMO not necessary. If it was summer you could leave tomorrow. You'll figure it out on the trail. Or not, then you'll go home. The phone works just fine as a gps, in fact it works fantastic. I ran Gaia on my iPhone 6s in a Lifeproof case. I had both Sam's and Kevin's tracks. I mixed and matched between the two depending on however I felt at the time. If there is an issue buying Kevin's card and getting that installed on the phone just get Sam's tracks emailed directly to your phone. There is no real difference between Sam's and Kevin's tracks until you get to Utah. Pack as light as humanly possible then toss 25% of that off the bike. You upgraded the rear shock and dropped the gearing right? I hope so. Have a great trip!
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  20. tarhoo

    tarhoo Adventurer

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    For emerald isle shot, I suggest going all the way south to the old coast guard station. The place where the island runs out is called "the point". I grew up there when it was virtually the wilderness. It is now pretty crowded, but the point frequently has easier access because they have to adjust all the time for the sand building up, then being washed away. This is not a guarantee of a clear shot (and certainly not strictly legal), but I bet if you explained to a few people, they would get into it and actually help you. It is also a very long way for a police response if someone does call you in. I would do the shot late in the pm so the sun sets on them when they are looking for you. Just sayin.... Alternate is somewhere in the middle of the island (pine knoll shores - ish) where the whole island is like 400 yards wide and you can shoot in/take pic/shoot out.

    In terms of ability, we did NC to the mississippi last year and it is fun but not really challenging on a skill level. Stay within your comfort zone, take pics and have a good time. If you don't get all the way, come back next year.
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