The Western Tattenback 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Jun 24, 2020.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
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    June 2020: It's been far too long since I embarked on a long distance trip... and something I plan to address comprehensively over the next few weeks - with what ought to be a pretty epic off-road adventure from the west coast of Oregon to Wichita Kansas, and back again...

    [​IMG]
    photo. obligatory title photo knocked up using clip-art and a cliche font in Apple Pages...


    Another rambling introduction...

    Those of you have followed my past exploits - on both the CB500X: Trans-Am 500 (2015), CBXpo ride (2016), Northern eXposure (2017), and most recently Beemer Beemer Chicken Deener on the G310GS in 2018 - will know I tend to travel solo, other than a raggy stuffed pig tucked into my jacket or luggage - with a loose destination (or series of destinations) in mind and no exact time frame... It makes for a very freeing experience and plenty of time to have a lazy motel waffle breakfast and update you all here in roughly real time typically; and it's encouraging to log on and see your support (and in turn answer any questions) as a trip unfolds, so a heartfelt thank you all for that of course - it really does make all the effort worthwhile!

    Unfortunately, after my optimistic move to the USA full time early last year (2019), with a season of potentially wild adventuring ahead, I only went and broke my bloody foot didn't I?! - putting me off the bike for a good few months in the summer, and fundamentally having to cancel a proposed trip north to explore more of those epic wilderness states with which I've become particularly au fait over the past few years...

    It was a double blow as the plan had always been for my good friend and YouTube channel host Blancolirio (@visualizerent here on ADVrider of course) Juan Browne to join me on this particular trip, as he had never ridden in Montana for example, and was also keen to explore more of Oregon and Idaho in between.

    Once I was fit again we did at least managed to get a few rides in together towards the end of last year - I finally got my XR400R street registered here in the US, so we celebrated with a couple of days awesome single track riding in the Sierra Nevada mountains; soon followed by another epic ride of the Rubicon Trail on our XT225 Serows (don't laugh, they are the perfect bike for the job, especially if you're aged rock'n'rollers like we are these days) - but this was still essentially snacking, not a full feast...

    Then what with the Covid restrictions imposed earlier this year, it seems we were never going to catch a break... However, with those limitations increasingly being removed all across the country now, coupled with the fact that we will, by the very nature of our trip through the wilderness (and primarily wild camping) be self-isolating anyway, I think the time is right for a journey a little further afield.

    So at the time of writing at least (that is one week today until we are due to leave - 1st July) I am in one piece, and so is my bike - having just this week installed a brand new headlight rally tower design I've been working on over the past couple of months:

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    photo. my Mk 2 rally tower design - reduces weight and bulk from the front end, improves air-flow and includes over 6000 lumens of LED light!

    And coupled with Juan's invitation to attend the annual YouTube Aviators Awards event in Wichita KS (why there you ask? - well, actually it is the middle of the country and the perfect place for light aircraft owners to fly into and attend so it make sense really, although is likely to be hellishly hot), rather than hop his way across the country in his Mighty Luscombe, he proposed we both ride there together, and I could show him some of the places with which he is not so familiar - not least the metaphorical and literal highlight of riding all the Colorado high passes at what will be the height of summer. Like I need any more convincing eh?!

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    photo. Juan at the controls - of both his plane and his GoPro! This was just prior to my Northern eXposure trip in 2017, and he even let me have a little go myself on the way back to the airfield!

    Juan is the Man

    Many of you [CB500X owners at least] will already be familiar with The Blancolirio YouTube channel as Juan was the first person in the US to purchase the then newly released Rally-Raid CB500X Adventure kit in 2015, and subsequently put together a series of informative 'how to' build videos with his bike - along with charismatic workshop mate little Pete (who was just four at the time!) - and subsequently a whole host of travel and overland adventure videos; along with his comprehensive reporting on both Civil Aviation and Civil Engineering - perhaps most famously his 'from the air' and ''on the ground' coverage of the Oroville Dam [potential] disaster when the spillway collapsed and put a huge part of the central valley of California in flood jeopardy.

    Together with his comprehensive reporting regarding the necessary changes required to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft over the past 18 months, the Blancolirio channel has now reached over two hundred thousand subscribers - quite the feat for a channel that has never featured a fat person falling down the stairs* - and a testament to his concise, informative and entertaining presenting style.

    *'yet', I'm going to visit him next week and they have a slippery deck - so you never know ;o)

    As another proponent of packing light and keeping things simple, Juan is very keen to experiment with a 'minimalist' video blogging set-up during this trip, just some simple software on his phone, supplemented with some additional action-cam footage as and when required.


    The route

    So where exactly are we going, and what is the plan?

    As I've mentioned above, we are conscious that the 'unlimited' freedom to go wherever we want and see whomever we choose (to paraphrase Sinead O'Connor) we have enjoyed up until the beginning of this year when travelling all over the country, will now need to be considered a little more carefully - and generally speaking we won't be visiting any tourist attractions or even spending much time with people we know along the way - save for a few exceptions, where we will of course respect any necessary precautions put in place...

    However, my favourite coffee shop in the whole world (in Glendale OR) has continued trading throughout, and I can think of nothing nicer that to sit outside their cafe in the sun with a giant smoothie and 5-shot Krakatoa espresso chaser, so that is certainly one of our first port of calls on the list!

    And Oregon is a big hint as to our proposed route - the idea being to loosely follow the Trans-America Trail in reverse this time - from Port Orford on the Pacific coast (the 'official' end point when riding from east to west of course), and work our way back inland using a mix of the official TAT route, together with my own options and also streamline some sections as appropriate, to keep things moving eastward, and us entertained... And indeed that will be the ethos of the whole proposed route east, and again using some alternatives on our way back home again - creating a 'best of the west' style overland route based on my myriad of recorded tracks, plus some choice new ones which I've always had to forfeit in the past for one reason or another.

    However, at the same time, this will not be some indefinite wandering - Juan has to be in Benton KS (just north east of Wichita) for the weekend of 17-19th July, so there is an overall time constraint.

    [​IMG]
    photo. note this is public event, so anyone within reasonable distance is welcome to attend - either by plane or on wheels are you prefer. Obviously in the current climate some people may prefer not to attend a group gathering in public, and rest assured that there will be live streaming of the event on the respective content creators channels for the duration of the event.

    So this essentially gives us a little over two weeks to get from Port Orford to the middle of Kansas - not impossible by any means (essentially half the time it typically takes to ride the TAT if you don't suffer any serious mishaps - and the distance to Kansas is approximately half the TAT of course), and in that regard we will primarily follow the current TAT route through Oregon and southern Idaho, before picking up the Utah BDR (Backcountry Discovery Route) south via Green River to Moab, where we will then use my own knowledge of the San Juan Mountains and the Uncompahgre and San Isabel National Forest which, as you may already be aware, hosts some of the best trails and high altitude mountain passes in the country world!

    Once we reach the east side of the Rockies, we'll b-line for Benton; and once the event is over, our plan is to pick up the official TAT route again just a little way south where it shadows the KS/OK boarder near Ponca City.

    Once we get back into Colorado, again I've already pencilled in a route which takes in some of the best of the current (and previous) TAT route together with some alternative (and less popular) high altitude trails - including a section of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), as we continue to work our way back west. Once we get back into Utah, we will continue on the current TAT (with the odd 'special' detour ;o) through the middle of the state - again, aiming to chase the higher elevations at this time of year since the official TAT now passes though the Manti-La Sal National Forest at over 10,000ft.

    Finally, once we reach the Nevada boarder, instead of heading north for Wendover and then Bonneville Salt Flats as the current TAT suggests, we'll follow the original route [which I still have] diagonally across north eastern Nevada, before ultimately breaking for home after a suitable celebratory feed at the epic Griddle Diner - 'Good Cookin' - in Winnemucca!

    Well, that's the plan anyway...

    So for now I'll sign off, as I have to drag my camping kit out of the basement and check the mice haven't got at it... I've already decided to buy some new riding gear for this year/trip - some proper mesh vented jacket and pants, as even with all the vents and the main zipper undone, I know what it was like in my all-weather jacket in the mid west (100°F+ during the day this time of year) on previous trips east.

    Juan will be regularly updating his Youtube channel [link above] with a series of short episodes, filmed and edited almost in real time - so the 'running' ride report is going to happen that way for a change, with me suppling some additional photos and b-roll video as required. We'll kick off the series next week with an introduction to the ride and our gear etc. - before heading north for our official start point on the Oregon coast a couple of days later. Throughout the series, along with some epic scenery and some interesting facts, you can expect plenty of 'campfire chat' on all sorts of subjects related to adventure riding and overland travel - it's going to be fun!

    However, since we'll have very limited access to wifi (other than cell service as and when) and we'll be camping more often than not, I don't feel it's going to be possible to update this thread with the written word while en route quite as regularly in the past... but rest assured I'll have my trusty note book and camera with me, and will put together a more detailed daily diary and expand on any video content here in a comprehensive ride report once we've returned towards the end of July.

    So ultimately there should also be plenty to read and entertain you here while sipping cocktails in the garden over the summer perhaps... in the meantime, if you have any questions, and or might like to meet up at any stage along our route during the next few weeks, we'd be delighted to accommodate you of course!

    More soon!

    Jenny x
    #1
  2. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Yay, another JMo RR :clap

    In like an In thing on an In day.

    Have fun, stay safe, and lots of photos please

    Oh yes, and: first!
    #2
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  3. borderlinebob

    borderlinebob Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    CANADA-1/4 mile N of International Falls, MN
    As a fellow CB-Xer I really have to follow this journey.
    Have a blast eh....
    #3
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  4. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    "Brilliant!"
    Juan
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  5. kvango

    kvango Been here awhile

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    All the ride reports I follow have been completed, or have fallen off my first page of saved threads. JMo, Juan and Piglet arrive just in time! Will subscribe to Juan on YouTube. Safe riding!!

    Also, want to say I admire your GPS/ route finding ability, a skill I need to work on. Also in awe of some of the desserts you find along the way :dukegirl

    Kevin.
    #5
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  6. BLucare

    BLucare What could possibly go wrong?

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    I am IN! :clap
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  7. 0p2_ADV

    0p2_ADV Mother Earth is a source of life, not a resource

    Joined:
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    Silver Lake, Ca
    I want it to be next month already. Woot ! Woot !
    #7
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  8. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
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    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    I like your new front end. We have been needing a good RR! Looking forward too it!
    #8
  9. squadraquota

    squadraquota mostly harmless

    Joined:
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    Lowlands
    Happy trails Jenny (and Piglet of course)!

    I’ll be following along!
    #9
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  10. thomasdennis

    thomasdennis n00b

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    that's a great plan! Most importantly - stay safe :wave
    and more photos
    #10
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  11. BornAgain

    BornAgain Been here awhile

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    Rosenberg, TX
    JMo & Piglet ride again looking forward to the RR always an enjoyable read not sure about the aged Rock'n'Rollers jab. I'll have you know I can see for miles and miles with my bifocals on :lol3
    #11
  12. GeezerLarryP

    GeezerLarryP Adventurer

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    Pine Grove, CA
    Following for sure.
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  13. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    Here's a test of this Micro Vlogging concept. All done today on the cell phone!
    Juan.
    #13
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  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
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    Hee hee - I LOVE that new mini drone - I can't wait to get you to some places that will really do it justice!

    You will need some wheels on that bike though... ;o)

    "See you here soon!"

    Jenny x
    #14
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  15. svo_jon

    svo_jon Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Bend OR
    When will you be passing through Oregon? I would love to meet up with you and tag along for a bit, if I can arrange it with work.

    Jonathan
    #15
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  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
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    Hi Jonathan - I just saw your message on the Rally-Raid thread too - it would be great to meet up and have you join us for a bit - Neil (Wind-Rider on here) is also planning on coming over from Boise, and Simeon (who also has a CB with the Rally-Raid kit) is planning on dovetailing in along our route too, so we should have quite the posse!

    I think Bend is going to be the perfect rendezvous spot - although Juan and I will be riding my own version of the TAT route in from Port Orford on the the coast, and if you're up for a bit more adventure, you'd be welcome to join us a bit further west too (for info the TAT essentially heads inland from Port Orford and crosses I5 near Glendale - as I mentioned in my introduction above, I can certainly recommend the Morning Star Coffee House there! - before winding it's way short way north of Crater Lake from Tiller to Crescent. I plan to deviate from the main TAT route in places here, as there is an alternative trail I'd like to explore, but it should all be 'CB doable' as they say.

    So yes, do drop me a PM and we can exchange phone numbers and keep in touch! All being well Juan and I plan to leave Port Orford on Friday 3rd, with the aim of stopping overnight in or around Bend on the Saturday night... looking forward to meeting you!

    Jenny x
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  17. James59

    James59 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
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    Beijing China
    Good luck on your trip, I like how your journeys have evolved to take less stuff every time, very wise and sensible. Great bike.
    #17
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  18. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Massachusetts
    In!
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  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Thanks James! - yes, I always consider my packing list a bit of an evolution each time... some times I've tried out a new product and incorporated it, other times reverted to a tried and tested combination - particularly with tools and bodge-it/keep-you-going spares and repairs for example.

    For those who have not had the pleasure of reading my various ride reports in the past (and the links are above in the introduction post if you've some time on your hands), my ethos - specifically as a solo traveller who tends to be moving on each day - is to only pack what is necessery to be comfortable while riding and sleeping, and to have the tools and spares to keep you moving should something get damaged, to somewhere you can effect a more permanent repair as needs be.

    In that regard it is a similar the the mindset required for rally-raid racing, and based on my experience in the discipline too... being able to maintain a comfortable riding climate helps to maintain your concentration and reduce fatigue, while making sure a temporarily disabled bike can be made to move again is key - punctures being the obvious thing with all-terrain riding especially (whereas on a rally/race bike you'd most often be using mousses of course), but things like zip-ties, duct-tape and quick-steel are always recommended, because they cover a multitude of uses and are small and easy to stash on your bike or on your person/luggage.

    If you've not seen it already, I did put together a recent slide show for presentation (unfortunately all the overland events I was scheduled to present at this year have been postponed or cancelled of course), and hopefully without me standing there and waving my arms around in a show-and-tell stylee, it gives you an idea of what I feel is essential, while not having anything superfluous - well, other than Piglet* of course!

    *And even then I pretty much consider him essential - if only as my conscience ;o)



    As I say, my current packing list is based very much on the fact I tend to move on each day after an overnight stop - be that a wild camp, campground or motel - and that fundamentally the weight I carry and the way it is carried (using a rack-less horseshoe shaped Giant Loop Coyote bag) forces you to be disciplined in what and how you pack so as not to hamper progress during the high[er] proportion of off-road and rough terrain riding I like to do. Because I am also typically photographing and require online access for blogging I have also tried to minimise the amount of tech I carry too, other than where I feel a degree of redundancy is prudent of course.

    However, in a slight departure this year - rather than wear an 'all weather' waterproof jacket with vents, and typically supplement either MX style pants or even regular jeans together with some pull-on waterproof over-pants if required (which roll up into the rear pocked of my jacket) - I've found that travelling through the middle of the US at this time of year, and especially off-road when you might need to further exert yourself - can be excruciatingly hot, so much so that I've either unzipped or even completely removed my jacket on occasions... Therefore I've taken the decision to forfeit my trust Icon Raiden jacket this time, and taken a punt on some dedicated mesh riding gear (both jacket and pants), and am confident that should we happen on any wet weather, an easy to pack pull-over rain-smock will suffice; while differing thermal requirements ought to be covered by my existing base layer (which can double as pajamas when camping at altitude for example) and mid-layer clothes I carry.

    Once I meet up with Juan next week we're aiming to put together a show-and-tell style episode of what we've packed and why we've packed it this time, which I trust will offer some handy hints to anyone else planning a similar sort of trip in future!

    More soon!

    Jenny x
    #19
  20. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Best of luck. This should be epic
    #20
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