TavisB's (unsolo) 2010 TAT Ride Report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TavisB, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    I did blog this ride from the road (as did Exile), so if you followed there you will see most of the same pictures. I'm going to try to make this ride report neater and more organized, plus I'll be adding the video I shot with my GoPro HD helmet cam. I'm going to do one post per day of the trip, and I'll have to space out my posting a bit as it takes me a while to edit the video.

    Background:

    In a way, I started planning this trip about four years ago. I was originally intending to drive my Mustang out west and back. Then I got back into motorcycles, and started planning a fun route to take my sport bike on. About two years ago, I stumbled on to a Trans-America Trail ride report on advrider.com, and I knew that this would be the perfect trip for me. I started planning, bought maps and charts, and spent about 6 months plugging away at my computer to get everything into the GPS receiver. I got my TAT bike, a 2002 DR-Z400S, in September and began working on getting it and myself ready for some long off-road miles. In the months before departure, I started talking to a few other advriders and decided to ride with them instead of going solo. I am glad I did.

    I have a fairly extensive thread in the Americas section of Trip Planning, if anyone wants details on the preparations.

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    My overall route from my SPOT
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    http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=6238
    #1
  2. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    On July 4th I loaded all of my stuff into my pickup and drove from Pittsburgh, Pa to my parents house in Morgan County, Ohio. I visited my family for the rest of the day and tried to get some sleep. The next day I transferred everything over to my Dad's pickup, and we headed for Jellico.

    It took a little longer than we thought it would to get down there so I missed dinner with my new riding partners (Mike, Ryan and Paul), who I hadn't met yet. As I was starting to unload in the parking lot of the motel Ryan came by and told me where everyone else was. I finished unloading, said goodbye to my Dad, and headed over to the Mexican restaurant to meet Mike and Paul.

    We chatted for a bit and made some plans for the next morning and then headed back for the motel. I tried to stop for some fast food at the Hardees and was accosted by some wacked out, half naked, meth head. I think he wanted me to give him money, but I couldn't understand a damn thing the dude was saying, so I took off on the bike and went to Wendy's.

    I got back to the motel and was settling in for the night, when (I believe it was) Ben rolled up on his DR. He told me that Chris and himself were at a campground nearby and were also running the TAT. Maybe we'd see each other on the trail tomorrow.

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    #2
  3. MotoBoss

    MotoBoss Old Dog

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,348
    Location:
    46151 USA
    :lurk
    #3
  4. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    We loaded up and got moving around 7 am. I had slept about an hour the night before, I was so excited to start. At the gas station we met the two other riders, Ben and Chris. We ended up riding with them most of the day. The roads we were on today were a mix of pavement and gravel. There was some freshly laid gravel that was very challenging to ride. It was like a deep talcum powder with rocks mixed in. The dust was so bad I would have to wipe the screen of my GPS about every 30 seconds or I couldnÂ’t see where we were (I was doing this subconsciously by the middle of the trip). We had our first reroute of the trip, due to a closed/gated bridge. We tried to get through, but this one required a reroute. We had two riders go down in the gravel today. One sustained an injury, Paul. He seemed ok at first, but his leg started swelling up pretty good. He decided to leave the group to go have it checked out. We hoped he would be able to rejoin us, but it didn't heal up fast enough for him to continue. We reached our campground at 6:30 pm, 220 miles from Jellico. I went to bed hot, tired, dusty and smelly, but excited to do it again the next morning.

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    Even though the bridge was closed at the other end, it was fun to try to get across.
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    Riding an old railroad.
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    Day 1 Video:
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    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0Bi5wmwYncQ&hl=en_US&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>

    I'm going to ask for some constructive criticism on this video :). I'm going to wait for some feedback before I do the video(s) for day 2. Not all the footage is super exciting (this is a marathon ride not a sprint :p) but I want them to represent a sampling of the conditions and terrain that is encountered on the TAT. So, after watching this first video, should I include music or leave the audio as is? I used the waterproof cover on the GoPro the whole trip so the audio is kinda crappy, if I hadn't the camera would have surely been ruined. Any other suggestions?
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,190
    The video looks very good.. more installments would be appreciated :thumb
    #5
  6. intothenew

    intothenew Briar Patch Navigator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,141
    Location:
    Almost Heaven
    Tell it, and edit it, your way. I'm along for the ride. :thumb
    #6
  7. Sourjon

    Sourjon TAT'erd

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,051
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Travis the video is fine. I just got home yesterday from the TAT myself. I only went as far as Buena Vista CO but had a blast. I've been following Exile's thread as one of the guys I met up with in CO is a friend of their parents. Small world.

    Bring it on. I am subscribed.

    John
    #7
  8. MotoBoss

    MotoBoss Old Dog

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    Apr 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,348
    Location:
    46151 USA
    Leave the music and editing for when you get home. Then you can add what applies to create a full length epic journey movie! Enjoy the ride but keep the report and pics coming.
    Ride Safe............
    #8
  9. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    I'm back home, but I may do that eventually :)
    #9
  10. larry0071

    larry0071 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Beaver County, PA (Ambridge/Rochester, RT-65)
    Trav,

    glad your back and in one piece! Can you Pm me your Youtube account name so I can see your vids, I have to watch via my phone with m.Youtube.com, can't see video in a web page.
    #10
  11. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    TavisB,

    So far so great.

    The TAT is on my list. I figure I need to rent a U-Haul to get the bike to TN and then ride back west. A riding buddy or two would be good, too.

    Teach
    #11
  12. adventurecycle

    adventurecycle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    307
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Looking forward for the pics. One thing I am trying with my helmet cam is different positions for the shot. Maybe looking backward at the bike behind you, or something of that nature...
    #12
  13. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    That would be awesome. I couldn't pull that off on this trip. We were pretty much always on the move, I would fall behind the group sometimes just trying to make sure I turned the power on or hit the record button. I bought another small camera and made a velcro mount for it on the back of my topbox for recording behind me, and also had another RAM mount so that I could shoot different angles with my Canon, but I never had time to play around with that stuff. Maybe on my next solo ride :).
    #13
  14. adventurecycle

    adventurecycle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    307
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Yea, I have a Contour HD and actually never tried it either. I always want to, but always think about it after I start moving.... You need to talk your riding buddies into getting a cam also!:D
    #14
  15. ADVWannabee

    ADVWannabee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    212
    Location:
    Virginia
    Wow, someone from Morgan County. :clap I was born in Marietta but my dad and his family are from Morgan County. My grandparents and uncle lived their until they passed about 10 years ago. I love visiting the area because it is like going back in time. :D
    #15
  16. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    Cool, I've spent lots of time in Marietta. I love SE Ohio, I will probably return there someday.
    #16
  17. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    We were back on the road again around 7 am. We saw a lot more pavement than dirt today. At this time I was wishing Paul would have stuck it out as the riding was way easier than it had been on the first day. I didn't realize how bad he was hurting though. We made a stop in Bell Buckle so that Mike could fix the speedo on Ryans DR and so Ben could get a cracked weld repaired (the first of many quests for a welder). While all that was going on, I had some ice-cream and got some BBQ and sweet tea. We came across what I think should be the first of the infamous super slick TN water crossings, but they were bone dry. We rolled into Davy Crockett State Park around 6:30 pm and covered about another 220 miles.

    Ice cream break:
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    The dry crossing:
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    Mike fighting with the roll charts:
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    No gas at this stop:
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    Day 2 Video:
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    I figured out how to get my 4:3 920p video files to upload to YouTube in HD. They aren't too exciting yet, but they get better as we move west (as does the TAT!).
    #17
  18. AZ_ADV_RIDER

    AZ_ADV_RIDER Demons In My Helmet

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    959
    Location:
    Land of Sun, Sand and Thorns
    Looking forward to more TAT!
    #18
  19. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    Another 200+ mile day brings us to the Tn Ms border. We hit the slippery water crossings finally and I was the lucky one who got to take a swim. Its been said many times, and I knew their reputation, but those crossings are something you need to experience to understand.

    We heard from Paul . He said his X-rays checked out ok and he would try to rejoin us down the road.


    The stream:
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    Tennessee river:
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    We watched a guy almost lose his truck down this ramp:
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    Hobbit house:
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    My nutritious dinner:
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    Day 3 video (includes my first crash of the trip):
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    #19
  20. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    PGH
    Today we left Tennessee, rode through Mississippi and just into Arkansas. We covered 235 miles of the trail. We worked our way around a few missing bridges and another stream crossing.

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    Near the end of the day we could see storms rolling in so we decided to stay in a motel.



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    As we pulled in to the motel, I saw a big fence staple in my rear tire. We decided to go get some Mexican food and tackle the tire later. The tire ended up being a pain. Mike and I got the tube out and patched, but the valve stem pulled out when we tried to reinstall it. Mike grabbed his spare, but we managed to somehow pinch that tube. So I pulled out the patches again and the third time did the trick.



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    Day 4 Video:

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    #20