Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Apr 29, 2015.

  1. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

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    Yeah, why do they even sell bikes out here...they should just close all those shops and dealers since there's nothing but traffic

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    #21
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  2. Clem Kevin

    Clem Kevin Nude With Boots

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    At what point do you think you'll be hitting Moab in June? I'll be starting from there probably around June 5th.
    #22
  3. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    This is going to be great! Really looking forward to your up and coming adventure! Can’t wait to see the bike. Thanks for posting.
    #23
  4. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    Without getting in the way of a possibly hectic departure, what's your logistics for picking the bike up at Giant Loop in Bend Ore?
    Ride to SF? Truck to SF? I'd like to stop by the GL shop briefly, shake yer hand, see the bike, and give GL a deposit for a Stage III kit.
    Or- catch you and the bike in the Bay Area... (Alices?)

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    MY $4500 DONOR BIKE BEAR VALLEY RANCH, N. CA. 2013 CB500X 6500 MILES

    I've really enjoyed researching the pages of data you've published on this exciting new product.
    Looking forward to converting the CB500X Adventure, to compliment my '09 KTM 690 Rally Raid bike, and do some YouTube vids of the process.

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    2009 KTM690 RALLY RAID- HUMBUG CALIFORNIA, GOLD COUNTRY

    Juan Browne
    Nevada City, CA.
    Subscribed!
    #24
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Here's the thing Mike... the Trans-Am Trail starts in North Carolina, and the clue is kind of in the name...

    As I have explained, a key element of this whole endeavour is to ride the TAT in it's entirety, and since I am starting on the west coast, I have to get it there first, via the Overland Expo.

    I would have thought from my route description that there will be plenty of variety right from the get-go on the journey east - Death Valley, the Nevada and Arizona desert, slick-rock in Moab, the high passes in the Rockies...

    Of course you could spend months and indeed years riding all over the west of the United States and still barely scratch the surface, and even then you still couldn't hope to encompass 'everything 'unless you were to travel indefinitely... which is why this particular trip needs a defined set of goals.

    I also trust you have read enough of my introduction to this thread to realise (as the section you quoted perfectly illustrates) that this bike and this trip is not just about dirt, but about riding some of the great highways, byways, dirt-roads and trails all over the United States... and certainly if you have ever ridden in the Appalachian and Ozark mountains, you would know that neither 'suck' as you put it.

    I would of course be delighted if you would follow this journey, as I have a feeling you'll be surprised just what east of the Rockies can offer the adventure rider?

    But please, if you have any direct criticisms - or even genuinely useful suggestions - consider dropping me a line via PM rather than suggest publicly that this particular route 'sucks', as it does nothing other than to illustrate a lack of knowledge...

    Thanks ;o)

    Jenny xx
    #25
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  6. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Madscientist!

    I'm hoping to meet up with Sam Currero in Corinth Mississippi around the weekend of the 6th June... so will be passing near you very soon after... keep in touch!

    Jx
    #26
  7. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Clem - I ought to be back in Moab around the week commencing the 15th June - possibly earlier, depending on the passes in Colorado - if there is still snow at the end of May, I might take a couple more days on my way back through and ride the alternative passes if they are finally open in June?

    Jx
    #27
  8. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Juan!

    Yes, the first few days are going to be pretty tight - currently the plan is that I'll be leaving Giant Loop early on Saturday morning (9th May), and heading south... riding of course ;o)

    It is over 500 miles, so I'm planning on taking a slightly more scenic route and taking a day and half - via Crater Lake and the scenic route west of Mt. Shasta (3 and 299) for example, and therefore most likely stopping at Redding CA on the Saturday night... that ought to be a nice scenic shake-down prior to the 'official' start of the trip on the coast at San Francisco.

    I'm sure you'd be very welcome at Giant Loop on the Saturday morning - although I'm not likely to be there all that long... so perhaps it might be better to head down to the Bay Area for the start of the 1st leg from Alice's via Santa Cruz etc. - and you'd be welcome to ride a few miles south with Dave and I, that would be kinda fun perhaps?

    I know that Sparky over on the Vendor thread is also hoping to see us off from Alice's - so maybe we could get a little CB500X cavalcade together (shit, I'm starting to sound like Charley Boorman... ;o)

    Jx
    #28
  9. dickosaurus

    dickosaurus Geezer Coalition Supporter

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    Good luck, Jenny- Looking forward to following your report. I rode the TAT in '08 so I'm anxious to see what the 'new' one looks like.
    #29
  10. OHjim

    OHjim Been here awhile

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    Will you be posting your entire route soon? Like to see how close to KC and when you will be near.
    #30
  11. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi OHjim!

    Your question has prompted me to write far too much as usual, but hopefully it will be helpful to those of you planning on following this escapade!


    Route planning...

    Traditionally I've never been too hard-and-fast when it comes to route planning a [extended] trip like this, as inevitably you need to make adjustments along the way... so factoring in a degree of flexibility makes things far less stressful than trying to maintain a rigid schedule - that in a worst-case scenario can soon override your actual enjoyment if you start to fall behind.

    In general I tend to use a 'join-the-dots' method of planning... that is to pick a few key locations/destinations that I fancy visiting, and then see what interesting ways there are to connect them. Typically I'll use a paper map initially (as I like to carry them with me for back-up and reference), then punch a few waypoints into a GPS and let it calculate a route between them - before adding any via-points as required to ensure it includes any specific roads/trails I want to incorporate.

    Usually this is done on a daily basis, allowing the trip to unfold, and often based on the circumstances of the previous day/s - typically if there is any need for unscheduled maintenance perhaps, to dry out after a soaking, or based on a local 'must-see' recommendation gleaned over breakfast for example.

    Of course in an effort to keep to some sort of overall schedule, I do try and have a daily target destination - not just for food, fuel and a comfortable bed if possible, but also to avoid wondering aimlessly... after all, it would be impossible to try and include every possible permutation on a trip like this. I recall using an analogy when I wrote about my 2009 trip to describe all the inviting side-trails off the main TAT route through Akansas: "It's like walking into a bar full of beautiful people, and forgetting about the honey on your arm!" Therefore, I always try and follow the somewhat trite dictate that "Anywhere is an adventure if you've not been there before" - and simply enjoy the road ahead, the path you've chosen, and not worry about what might have been.


    Initial leg: West Coast to Flagstaff (Overland Expo).

    At the same time, during this particular trip, I do have certain commitments both at the Overland Expo in Flagstaff (15-17th May) and again the following week in Moab UT that need to be met - and certainly the intention is to give the bike a really good shake-down and photograph it in action in a variety of dual-sport environments prior to it's attendance at the show.

    In that regard I will be travelling the first couple of days (From San Francisco as far as Las Vegas NV) with Dave Lin from ADVaddicts, and have correspondingly mapped out the initial route quite closely, based on my familiarity with the region - which in turn ought to allow us sufficient time to get some great location and action photographs, particularly as for the remainder of the trip I will be riding solo of course.

    I don't intend to describe my overall route inch by inch, as I do want there to be some nice surprises for you all of course ;o) - but to give you an indication of the initial leg: after the ubiquitous west coast shot of the Golden Gate Bridge, the official start point will be breakfast at Alice's Restaurant on Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35) that runs down the peninsular towards Santa Cruz.

    From there we will head inland on some great biking roads in the South Bay area around Hollister - before heading over towards Lake Isabella where we'll pick up our first dirt section to Jawbone Canyon.

    After Overnighting in Ridgecrest, we will then cross though Death Valley on dirt - via the Escape Trail (Fish Canyon) and Golar Wash/Mengal Pass, and pausing briefly at the lowest point of the United States (Badwater Basin: -252ft below sea level), we'll ultimately head for Vegas via Pahrump - via either Wheeler Pass or Red Rock Canyon (Rocky Gap Road).

    I will then continue solo towards Flagstaff for the Expo - there is a nice trial network around Bulhead City and out to Oatman on old Route 66 - where I'll make up some ground on the old Mother Road via Kingman, Seligman and Williams... full of tourist tat, but fun none the less.


    The onward journey east:

    After the three-day Overland Expo, I'll be spending the following week in and around Moab with friends, riding the CB500X Adventure on the appropriate trails, and again hopefully getting plenty of action photographs to share with you all.

    From there the eastward journey continues unabated... my route through the Rockies will be very much dictated by the weather*, and my intention is to try and ride an alternative series of passes to those that I'll traverse on the return leg on the Trans-Am Trail route.

    *note. it is entirely possibly that at this time of year (late May) due to snow I'll be forced to remain on the mountain highways (no bad thing in themselves of course!) to Pikes Peak (the highest road in the USA), and if that is the case, then during my return leg around a month later I intend to spend a couple more days in Colorado and ride the alternative passes if they are open by then.

    According to Google, the shortest route between Colorado Springs and the east coast at Virginia Beach is still nearly 1800 miles, so in an effort to make up a little time, and also to prove the mile-munching capability of the CB500X, I will embark on a 1000 mile in 24 hours Iron-Butt Association ride, which ought to see me comfortably through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and into Indiana - indeed according to my calculations, it is 1006 miles miles from Colorado Springs to Evansville IN, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses... hit it.

    So to answer OHjim directly, from there I intend to head straight through the middle of Kentucky for Roanoke VA - quite possibly visiting the museum/visitor centre at Fort Knox on the way - as it's something I find the US does particularly well.


    The return of the Jedi(pig)...

    Once I hit the east coast, it will almost certainly be time for some tyres! I'll then start the Blue Ridge Parkway at Charlottesville, and pending any closures, ride the entire length into North Carolina to finish at Cherokee, just south of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Those of you familiar with the region will know this is but a stone's throw from the Tail of the Dragon (Hwy 129, Deals Gap) and a myriad of other awesome riding roads - I spent a few days here back in March 2009, and it ought to be a joy to ride the area again in the warm and dry of early June ;o)

    Rather fortunately, the new Trans-Am Trail route now officially starts at Andrews NC - so closer to the southern end of Hwy 129 than before (although conversely it does mean you miss out on the awesome Cherohala Skyway (Hwy 143/165) - unless you want to ride it both ways of course ;o)

    From here I will endeavour to follow the new TAT route as closely as possible and indeed for it's entirety - all the way back to Port Orford on the Oregon coast.

    As I mentioned in the introduction, the originator Sam Correro has always endeavoured to update and revise the original Trans-Am Trail route to take into account changes in local surface conditions, not least in an effort to maintain the highest proportion of unsurfaced roads and dirt trails in a continuous journey.

    More recently, he has also expanded the number of recommended accommodation and rest-stops along the route to allow participants as much flexibility as possible, although he still strongly recommends taking camping equipment to take advantage of some of the best wild-camping locations on offer.


    Ch-ch-ch changes...

    Certainly comparing my original 2009 track-logs with the new route/s, there are some fundamental changes to the eastern end of the TAT, together with new sections in Colorado that I understand are perhaps now more appropriate for bigger bikes, and offer a wider weather-window than before too.

    However, the real changes start once you leave Moab and Green River, with a new route north of I70, that still heads west to the traditional UT/NV crossing at the Boarder Inn on hwy 50. From there the new TAT now heads due north passing Wendover and Bonneville, before curving around the great Salt Lake to Golden Spike, then north into Idaho.

    Much of the Idaho route has been finalised, however, there is still a section of 'no-mans-land' that at the time of writing has yet to be proved - so I'm delighted to be offered the opportunity to explore the possibilities in that region, in an effort to connect with the original TAT route along the Nevada/Oregon boarder to Lakeview, and ultimately the Pacific coast a few days later.

    So that's the plan... and since I'm flying out in less than two day's time now, I guess I really ought to start packing!

    Photos to follow!

    Jenny x
    #31
  12. piedevant

    piedevant Adventurer

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    Best of luck Jenny. Will be following your adventures with great interest!
    PNB
    Q to Anyone: how do I ensure that I get notifications about this thread?
    #32
  13. hillbillyhonda

    hillbillyhonda I'd Rather be Riding

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    Andrews, NC: now that's pretty close to home

    And the Cherohala Skyway, now that's really close to home- well, at least one end of it is.

    If you're in Andrews, you can come across the TN line on Hwy 64 into Ducktown then across Hwy 68 to Tellico and ride the Skyway up to Robinsville, NC and come out pretty close to Hwy 129 (the Dragon).

    Hwy 64 runs right along the Ocoee river (Home of the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater course) and connects to lots of gravel forest service roads, as does Hwy 68. Hwy 68 also has a couple of single track motorcycle trails (81 and 82.) Sorry to derail, just excited about the CB500X and riding in general.
    #33
  14. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams Supporter

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    In for this. I've been wondering about this conversion. Is there a bike build site somewhere on the how's and whys other than just a parts list on the rr site?
    #34
  15. RCR4V3N

    RCR4V3N n00bist

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    Hey levain,

    There is a link in Jenny's sig line to the RRP vender build thread, but I'll post it here for your convenience as well:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1012021

    Grab some fresh coffee and stay awhile:D
    #35
  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Many thanks piedevant - great to have you along for the ride!

    I think the default on this forum is if you post a reply, then it automatically adds it to your subscriptions (default notification is daily I believe)...

    However, you can double-check by clicking on your control panel button in the top menu bar and it will list the threads you're currently subscribed to (you can also change between daily and instant notification for example), and ultimately, if it turns out you're not already automatically subscribed - just go to 'Thread Tools' at the top of this page and click 'subscribe to this thread' from the drop-down menu.

    Jx
    #36
  17. XXMe

    XXMe Not my picture

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    Hey Jenny!

    Looking to the future I think a nice Iron Butt UCC Key West to Deadhorse should be on your agenda also! I started a few hundred short then got rained out of my Dalton ride but quite feasible on the little CB! :lol3

    Can't wait to follow along on this ride with you! Shiny side up! :thumb
    #37
  18. OHjim

    OHjim Been here awhile

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    So when you pass through Kansas City, I gather you will be pressed for time as you will be in the midst of your SS1000? Maybe I can just wave as you pass by . . . :rofl

    Will you have a SPOT tracker link to share so we can follow your progress?
    #38
  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi OHjim!

    Yes, I'll be picking up a SPOT when I collect the bike this weekend, and it ought to be active straight away...

    Both Rally-Raid and Giant Loop will publish the link to the 'follow me' tracking page on their respective Facebook pages and blogs etc. - plus we'll post the link here too of course!

    If you time it right (via the SPOT) perhaps you can shoot up an on-ramp onto I70 and join me for a section? - and hell, you know, I've always got time for a coffee ;o)

    Jx
    #39
  20. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    You've got shop space, bed space, food and drink and whatever space you need in NE OK at Pryor Creek a few miles off the TAT on your way back West, a good place to resole the Honda and drop the oil if you need it. Just let me know. Would love to see that converted Honda up close to compare it to the new AT when it finally arrives. Go Big Red:clap:clap:clap
    #40
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