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Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - Northeast, Southeast & Florida' started by Abenteuerfahrer, Jan 22, 2010.
You can find it here. post #8.
For a couple of reasons.
1. To make note that any particular individual section of the TAT is not a special section. They are not places that a crowd will gather to see some superhuman feat performed on a motorcycle. Some of it is just plain easy.
2. Your user title.
TN is mostly paved now..I would say 80%. But, it is some nice riding and like someone else said-good shakedown. You will still be close enough to civilization to get something or in our case send shit home. You will find things you thought you needed that are much less important when you have to pack/carry them!
When I did the TAT I entered the day's start/finish, gas stops, and food into my gps (Garmin Legend HCX). I enjoyed using the roll charts and the waypoints gave me a direction to head if I got completely lost. I would say the roll charts are spot on for 98% of the TAT. But you will find some roads closed, washed outs and mud slides and you just have to get the maps out and find a way around.
Oregon had some sections that were just fu*ked! Fire trails that were not on the gps and the map wasn't much help. We finally just found our own way.
I looked at the TAT as an adventure...so having a GPS giving me every turn didn't seem like much fun. But it does help when you have no idea where you are!
EDT: Sam has gone and rerouted alot of the TN stuff to be nonpaved where possible.
Sweet! Any idea when that map will be available?
I wonder if all the crazy slick water crossings are still there!
I stayed with Sam a couple of days ago and we went over the changes in OR and CO in particular.
He has previously said he has reworked TN to increase the amount of dirt.
The new OREGON routes are what he is shipping.... way cool looking (even has sat photo's on most of the mileage points plus fully GPS'ed), come in long strips the right width for roll charts, and the mileage has been completely reworked to account for the multiple reroutes.
He and I are still not happy with the ending... he may get out there this year to work some more on that. He is now officially retired and has more time to work on it - when he went last year he wasn't retired and ran out of time.
If you have the old Oregon route sheets, use my rerouting direction on the TAT index thread.... these are most of the changes that Sam has made.
The biggest change that he made that is not in my notes is the section from mile 473.17 - 505.02.... he completely eliminated that north of the paved road. Big Bummer. Maybe in the future we can talk him into including a fixed section in this area... it's just too cool to loose.
He has also reworked Colorado in places... he eliminated Hancock/Tomichi passes and instead the route now takes the old big bike bypass over old Monarch pass. Personally, I liked Hancock/Tomichi but Sam said he had received lots of flack from the big bike riders about them so he just rerouted it to a much easier way.
He and I then discussed some areas in Nevada that need work... so he is planning on going out there to address them. Places like west of Eureka, the fence line north of Battle Mountain, the sage single track north of Battle Mountain, the ATV trail at around mile 50, etc. These are also documented in the TAT Index.
He asked that I post up on here that the new Oregon routes are shipping.... so here it is.
TAT Index Thread
There have been many changes since the original post on this thread, as mentioned above. Sam moved the start to Tellico Plains TN, and I found all of the new TN track (2014 files) interesting pretty much all the way (as opposed to MS and OK). The early creek crossings are shallower and less challenging, but there are still later crossings that were too deep and dangerous to try, when I soloed it in the spring. Also, any stream over cement is VERY slippery, so consider walking your bike, or sliding your feet along the cement bed (means wet feet, darn it).
Speaking of starting in the spring, I learned in Colorado, that they always try to open all the passes by the Fourth of July, so only plan to get there before July 1 if you're willing to try some snow.
Do not get Sam's tracks without also getting either his maps (very expensive) or GPSkevin's free tracks with waypoints (recommended). Sam's tracks have discouraging errors which I believe are intentional to either make you sorry you didn't get his maps (even though most adventurers with the tracks ignore the maps most of the time), or to catch out anyone who publishes his tracks, because he can show it's impossible to go where his tracks go.
Cloudsplitter, I think your information may be a bit dated and some of it incorrect. Sam updated his route last year to include starting his tracks in Andrews NC, not Tellico Plains TN. He added 81 miles to the beginning and it's a great first segment across some fine mountain trail to get to TP.
You characterized Sam's maps as very expensive. I bought everything Sam could sell me: his tracks, maps, and roll charts. I ended up not using the roll charts and just going with maps and GPS tracks. Considering the value of this adventure for anyone taking it, and the cost of taking the adventure all the way across the county, to get these products from Sam are great at just about any price. I called Sam on several occasions and he always answered the phone and seemed genuinely interested in making sure we had a great experience. He was always ready to provide guidance on some judgement calls we had to make regarding our schedule and skipping certain sections and was very helpful in hints on "don't miss" sections.
We found no errors in Sam's tracks - I'm not sure what you're referring to as an "error." We had no trouble following the route and the only real show stoppers where when we elected to run on some of Kevin's tracks where they diverged from Sams. We did have to route around some really deep water from Hurricane Ben flooding in Mississippi and a washed out section of the Ozarks and some logging that turned us around in Oregon but all of those were as a result of forces of nature and not poor guidance.
I don't really have any dog in this fight but based upon our recent experience I just thought your characterization was a bit harsh and misleading on Sam's tracks. I'm very happy we got his support and track files and maps - they all made our journey better and were a good value.
I'm just SAYing:
Problem 1: Fayetteville TN, Bridge Out
Sam assured me, about a week before starting out, that his tracks were up-to-date, but while still in Tennessee, this bridge was out, and had surely been out for months. With a good map on this computer, it's easy to see that there was a better way around than I found, but zooming out on the GPS makes the smaller roads disappear. This, and two flooded streams, each killed about half a day. Not a serious setback, but it would be nice to have suggested bypasses, such as GPSKevin provides in the Rocky Mountains, for snow closures. A few other flooded streams were easy to get around.
Problem 2: Ballentine MS, Track Runs up against a Cliff
The only road, near where Sam's track goes, runs up against a cliff. A good way to catch plagiarists who use his tracks as their own, but not helpful for us, who paid for the tracks.
Problem 3: Lincoln AR, Routing around Necessary Fuel.
A long way after Oark AR, when you're getting worried about finding fuel, Sam's track carefully routes you AROUND downtown Lincoln, so you can't even see the village. GPSKevin's track goes right to the fuel station, and he provides a fuel waypoint, as well.
Problem 4: Colorado, another non-existent road.
Yes, a road is shown here, on the topo map, but notice I rode back and forth looking for it, and it '"wasn't even there." Again, this looks like a trap for the plagiarist, but isn't helpful to the user.
If you also bought, and were using, Sam's maps, these last three would be no problem, but I'll just use GPSKevin's tracks, when I finish the TAT. I was off-track so much doing the first part, that I couldn't really feel I was meeting my goal of "doing the official TAT".
Better download Kevin's tracks while you can, he's in some pretty hot water with the BLM!
What do you expect? It would be a monumental task to keep a track across the US accurate and up to date, one person could not do it. So even "The Great Sam" can't do it! No one could! Your complaints are the same as others. When will you people realize that "The Great Sam" should never be belittled? Shame on you, your bad, "Sam' is great. (Taking people's money and sleeping well at night while you wander around lost in places he has never been.)
There were lots of places where Sams and Kevin's tracks made routing choices that caused us to temporarily stray off the track. Because we had Sam's maps and GPS tracks from both, we could make decisions on the fly on where we wanted food or fuel. We'd just get off and then route back, not necessarily to the exact spot we jumped off - for efficiency. As I said in my ride report, we started noticing places on both track sources where we'd pop out of the woods on a nice dirt/gravel road at a highway. The official TAT would cross the highway, meander around for several miles, and then come back and cross that very same highway just a mile or two up the road. We got to calling those loops "gratuitous gravel' and in eastern states where the riding was a lot of the same-same, we skipped a lot of them to make better time.
We were on a limited time budget. There was lots of excellent riding in every state but we rightly figured Colorado westward was going to be the heart of the ride - the good stuff. It didn't make sense to us to add gratuitous gravel miles to the eastern TAT leaving us less time to hit as much of the TAT in those states as possible. We ended up calling it "the efficient TAT." Sure, it would have been great to have unlimited time to ride every inch of it but that wasn't an option for us. The efficient TAT approach was made possible by having Sam's maps and his phone support when we had questions about what was worthy or "skippable." He answered the phone every time I called him and was great and genuinely helpful in making sure we enjoyed our ride the way we wanted to ride it.
Lastly, it is an adventure so finding an impassable spot several times on the journey (more often on Kevin's track than Sam's) was all just part of the adventure. There were also places that probably turned around some riders that we chose as a challenge and worked our way over, through, or around it to continue. Sam had a "bridge out" annotation in Nevada but we rode to it anyway and found the stream dry, rode through it and continued onward.
But like I mentioned in the previous post, I really don't have a "side" to take in this discussion other than to say that it's an adventure and no track guidance is perfect and having rode a lot of miles of both, don't see any reason to sling mud at either option - but for one thing. Sam never routes over private land where motorcycles are unwelcome. Kevin seems to push that envelope from time to time and it was only following Kevin's tracks that we ran in to ranchers very determined that we were not going "that way."
Here's an exchange I had with Kevin where I was pointing out just one such location where the rancher was very determined to not let us through. It put us in a fuel situation that required leaving the TAT for quite a few miles and riding in to Trinidad on the expressway rather than go back and reconnect with the TAT after finding fuel.
So, if you're riding Kevin's tracks just know that on a red segment, the extra challenge might be that it might be a known dead-end with a lot of back-tracking!