Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch

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

  1. todd900ss

    todd900ss Been here awhile

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    Thanks Jenny.
  2. Doktor

    Doktor Been here awhile

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    Well prepared or not, it's the unforeseen problems that cause you to get in serious trouble quickly. A fall can cause an injury or bike damage that prevents you from riding "out".

    It's great to be prepared but, traveling alone, the SPOT is a great addition.

    I've really enjoyed your ride report, glad to see you've made it back w/o any major problems.
  3. garfey

    garfey Scruffy Adventurer Supporter

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    Now back to Idaho and Oregon. :clap:clap:clap
  4. garfey

    garfey Scruffy Adventurer Supporter

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    I'll quit interrupting now; back to ID & OR again. PM follows.
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Good idea - another trick that Chris (MotoMinded) suggested is to get a short length of heat-shrink sleeve that just fits over the ball, and shrink it on - it provides just enough 'squish' in the RAM clamp to hold it securely...

    Jx
  6. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    TAT day 21: Jordan Valley to Lakeview OR: 281miles*.

    *(129 miles proving, 77 miles TAT, 75 miles to fuel and hotel).


    With no internet to distract me, I was up and away early the following morning, after a very tasty breakfast sandwich (double sausage, double egg!) and hash browns at what appeared to be the only restaurant in town... and that somewhat bizarrely also offers windscreen repairs, on an adjacent site.

    [​IMG]
    photo. I love these old signs, especially when the establishment is still actually open!

    What with the doubling up of the gas station/motel combo too, it seems there really isn't anything this small town can't do to keep you on the road - a real little oasis in the desert!

    Over the past couple of days proving, I had essentially entered a series of waypoints into the GPS in the general direction I'd wanted to follow, and let the 'shortest route' calculate what I'd hoped would be a through route - it's a procedure I have relied on many times in the past, and on the whole, Garmin doesn't disappoint.

    Today was likely to be yet another 300+ miles (if I were to make it to my intended, if slightly ambitious, stop-over in Lakeview OR), and in anticipation of some slightly more technical riding once I reached northern Nevada (and picked up the original TAT route), had initially been content with a morning shelp down hwy 95 to keep me on some sort of schedule.

    However, zooming into the GPS maps revealed a series of dirt roads almost immediately out of town, that would effectively shadow the main highway south and west, but ought to be far less monotonous... and as it transpired, actually threw up some utter gems en route!

    [​IMG]

    I soon realised that I'd stumbled on the old ION highway (I.O.N being Idaho, Oregon, Nevada) - an historical trade route that clearly was never much of a 'highway' as such - with often the only indication there was still a trail at all being a pile of rocks stacked to one side or a cutting through the scrubland, and punctuated by the odd gate (usually wire) to show it was once a road:

    [​IMG]


    West of Arock (barely a town, but it did have a post office!) the trail essentially disappearing into pasture:

    [​IMG]

    ...thank goodness for GPS to keep you on target for the next random gate:

    [​IMG]
    photo. I see the Oregon farmers use the same hinge supplier as the Welsh do...


    [​IMG]

    Eventually the trail rejoined a series of slightly more established dirt roads, and crossed over hwy 95, before continuing on the old ION highway route that cut through the desert.

    [​IMG]
    photo. honestly, the trail runs just to the left of this water trough!

    I had ridden nearly seventy miles already on all but abandoned trails this morning, before crossing the paved highway once again and picking up the wide and fast gravel Whitehorse Ranch Lane that would essentially take me all the way to Denio Junction where I could possibly* refuel, before rejoining the official TAT route that runs through the remainder of Nevada.

    *It was a slim chance I know based on recent TAT reports, but I wasn't unduly concerned as I had only covered 129 miles since refuelling that morning (and the CB500X has at least a 250 mile range), and was confident I could break for the highway (140) at some point during the afternoon, to splash-n-dash somewhere before rejoining the TAT en route for Lakeview...


    Fire in the disco!

    Pausing at a track junction to plot the final approach to Denio, I noticed a faint burning smell that seemed to have been following me for a while now...

    [​IMG]

    Closer inspection revealed that my effectively off-piste navigation this morning had resulted in an amount of grass and seeds collecting around the exhaust catalyst, and that after this prolonged high-speed run along the gravel, had started to smoulder rather alarmingly!

    With visions of Paulo Goncalves in Dakar 2014 fresh in my mind (where his HRC Honda Rally bike caught fire in similar circumstances due to combustable debris collecting around the exhaust headers) I swiftly loosened the bash plate fixings, allowing me to pivot it down and clear the offending cinders before any further damage occurred...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Yep, that could have been a close call!

    [​IMG]
    photo. The final approach to the Fields-Denio Road (hwy 205) just north of Denio itself.

    cont.
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  7. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    Denio - denied!


    Rolling into Denio Junction itself (blink and you might miss it), it was about that time that breakfast wore off, so I stopped at the store/restaurant (and small 8 room motel that is part of the complex*) for some sustenance...

    * A somewhat generous term perhaps, but for want of a suitable alternative...

    [​IMG]

    ... and despite the presence of a pair of pumps, sure enough, fuel had not been available for quite a while now.


    For information, the Denio Junction site has recently been taken over by new owners - and they have every intention to get fuel back there as soon as they possibly can, and re-open the restaurant too. For the moment however, there is just the motel and the general store/bar, that really only offers cold drinks and ready meals - still, any port in a storm eh?

    I would also add (as has been mentioned a few pages previously) that if you do require fuel either immediately, or to top-up in regard to the onward and very remote journey (at this point Lakeview is still 115 miles away, and that is by road - the TAT route is appreciably further still), then Fields which is approximately 25 miles to the north of here is currently your only option... therefore my suggestion for any subsequent TATters, would be to take the Whitehorse Ranch Road all the way to where it meets hwy 205, and juice up there before heading south to Denio.



    Anyway, I intended to trust to luck and my optimistic fuel gauge, and crack-on with what is arguably the 'best' section of the current Trans-Am Trail - the remote wilderness crossing west of Denio.

    [​IMG]
    photo. Back on the the most remote section of the TAT with what was barely half a tank of gas... what could possibly go wrong?

    [​IMG]
    photo. A beautiful (and moderately technical, in a downhill direction) pass a short while after leaving the highway behind... this is what we'd come all this way for Piglet!


    [​IMG]
    photo. The afternoon would be filled with a lot of this - lovely little-used two-track across the desert...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Plenty of this - rocky and rough climbs crossing ranges of mountains, and a real sense of travelling across country...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Stunning panoramic views both ahead and behind you... and an overwhelming sense of being, alone.

    The TAT route essentially passes through the huge wilderness that is the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge - over 900 square miles of high desert that is managed habitat for all manner of horny and thorny creatures.

    I was really enjoying the afternoon's ride - climb after climb (some quite technical for a big or loaded bike), winding my way though the mountains, witnessing antelope, burros and even some wild horses. There was potentially show-stopping creek crossing near the historic Virgin Valley Ranch (through the ominously named 'Mud Creek' no less, that had burst it's banks onto the trail itself), followed by some more epic trailage as the route switchbacked over more mountains...

    Then without warning, I was on my arse. And perhaps more disconcertingly, the bike was on my leg:

    [​IMG]

    It was one of those stupid crashes - and I admit that unlike the other times the bike had been down during this trip (precious few, thankfully), this was not 'a drop' or 'laying it down' - this was a full-on proper caught-me-before-I-even-had-a-chance-of-saving-it, crash.

    The rear wheel had caught a protruding rock and it had kicked up and hooked the whole bike sideways - essentially low-siding me down the trail. Fortunately I was only travelling at about 20-25mph at the time, but even though, I imagined I was lucky not to have hurt myself - especially when the whole weight of the bike landed on my left leg and foot.

    Of course my immediate reaction (other than to wiggle my toes and flex my ankle to ensure nothing was broken) was to grab the camera from my jacket pocket and take the above photo, as I know you guys would want to see it ;o)

    It was only then that I became a little concerned that I might not be able to wiggle my leg free as my boot was comprehensively hooked up on the pillion peg bracket, and sandwiched between the bike and the hard rocky trail.

    With all the incentive of Piglet about to go all 127 hours on me (he's a hungry little fella sometimes), I eventually managed to lift the bike by kicking the seat with my free foot, and then by dragging my trapped foot back and forth until I could pull free - grateful that the Giant Loop bag had actually taken some of the brunt of the initial fall, rather than my leg being potentially crushed by the full weight of the bike, and provided a valuable gap to help wiggle free. Phew.

    [​IMG]

    I was also thankful that I had not been able to fuel up at Denio, as this bike with a full tank would not only have potentially caused more serious damage to my leg/foot, but it would be an even bigger bastard to lift back upright - as it was, adrenalin soon had the CB righted. A quick inspection and I was amazed how well the bike had crashed - sure the left hand-guard had rotated slightly, and the tip of the gear lever also bent back a few degrees - but fundamentally there was no damage to the bodywork, nor turn signals, and the [OEM] handlebars remained as straight as ever. Good job Honda!

    I have to admit, the tubular wings of the Rally-Raid engine guard had taken a beating in this particular instance, but then that is what they are there for, and fundamentally there was no damage to the engine cases - which is the primary importance of course. Had this little episode not been enough to prove the strength of the engine guard, as I was using my tyre iron to lever the bent gear shifter back into line, I heaved a little too heavy, and since the bike was standing almost vertically upright on the uneven trail, it promptly fell over onto the other side. Bugger... that is both hand-guards scratched now. During all this reinstatement and realignment, I also noticed that there was a tiny weep from the lower radiator hose near the gear lever, so in true MacGyver fashion, effected a repair using my air-mattress puncture patches and some duct tape. It worked!


    The great escape...

    Of course now it was getting late in the afternoon, and once the fuel light started flashing at around 220 miles (experience had taught me this still means there is around a gallon left in the tank, but whether all of that finds it's way into the fuel pump is another matter of course), I realised that there was no way I would make it to Lakeview this evening - not off-road at least, since there was still at least 85 miles of TAT route to ride.

    I took the decision to break for the highway at a suitable point once the TAT route got close (about 7 miles away) from hwy 140 - figuring I could return and continue once I'd refuelled.

    [​IMG]
    photo. My 'escape trail' while not part of the official TAT, was more of the same, and would have been immensely satisfying had I not be so concerned about my remaining fuel now!

    Rather than the wide gravel road I'd been expecting, my route out was another narrow and little-used two-track trail, which I rode at barely tick-over in an effort to save fuel. Once I hit the highway, I realised there was still 35 miles to go to the nearest town that purportedly had fuel - Adel - and rather than enjoy the magnificent highway that wound it's way down a sheer bluff cliff face at speed, I rode like a lemon at 50mph hunkered down over the tank in an effort to reduce wind-resistance (and boy, it was windy), all the while wondering if a) I would actually have enough range in these conditions, and b) if the gas station would actually be open when and if I managed to get there.

    It was a painfully long journey - the road seemed endless and I was sure my odometer was on some kind of go-slow... I eventually rolled into a haphazard collection of tumbledown buildings, which you wouldn't even consider was a town were it not for a sign announcing your entry, and thankfully, there on the far edge of town was a ramshackle store with a brace of pumps outside.


    Once I'd refuelled (4.1 gallons, so technically I still had almost half a gallon left) and guzzled my own gallon of Pepsi, I figured that 7pm was too late to head back to the trail this evening, particularly as I didn't really relish the prospect of wild camping after such a long and arduous day.

    [​IMG]
    photo. I'd busted my arse enough already today, so elected to find a comfy bed, and continue the TAT in the morning. note. RRP power bracket also doubles as an excellent cup holder!

    I wimped out with another 35 miles of highway (but boy, what a great highway 140 is to ride!) all the way to Lakeview, where I knew there was plenty of accommodation options, food, and as it transpired - a super duper coffee stand - just what I needed! The TAT could wait until tomorrow...

    ...to be continued.

    Jenny xx
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  8. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    TAT day 22: Lakeview and back to Lakeview OR: 174 miles*.

    *(103 miles TAT, 71 miles to return to where I'd left off... ;o)

    Lakeview Oregon is one of those 'full service' towns (that is one offering an range of food, fuel, accommodation and mechanical/workshop/bike shop facilities if required) that happens to be right on the TAT route. It also happens to have an outstanding coffee (and fruit smoothie) hut on an otherwise abandoned lot opposite the Chevron gas station - something I was unfortunately not aware of until tomorrow's ride report...

    So having woken early (and I mean bloody early, like before 5am thanks to not switching my phone ringer off and a text coming in from the UK), I grabbed a modestly sized but exquisitely prepared portion of French toast, washed down with a rather lacklustre brew coffee, and set about my business of the day.

    Since my intention has been to ride the TAT in its entirety wherever possible, the plan was to retrace my extended road-ride from yesterday, and pick up the trail where I'd left off in the middle of the Sheldon Wildlife Preserve - to complete the official route into Lakeview, even though it would mean I would find myself back in this same spot at some point later that day.

    In fact in order to set the scene a little I ought to add that prior to breakfast, I'd checked out of the hotel, and immediately embarked on the journey back east via what looked like a tasty trail out of town - and due to my still groggy state, almost came a cropper in some deep tractor ruts that had hardened in the muddy surface. To compound my agitation, right at the end of this trail was a locked gate onto private property. I therefore felt on balance, the day would probably be much better after a decent breakfast, rather than grabbing something at the gas station/diner in Adel which had been my original intention...

    On returning to Adel* I topped off with fuel (having already covered more than 70 miles since I was here the evening before), and ducked into the store to stock up on trail snacks. A couple at the bar overheard my accent and it turns out that he [Allan] had moved here from Yorkshire (UK) a few years ago, and with his wife Barbara set up a cabin and camping facility: hartmountaincabin.com just a few miles north from here. I mention this specifically as useful information for anyone else intending to ride the TAT through here and would prefer not to wild camp (although I would add that there are dedicated primitive camping sites in the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge should you have enough fuel with you to stay on the trail) - as it ought to be feasible to stay on the TAT until the signposted turn-off north for Adel; and to ultimately fuel, feed and slumber without taking quite as long a detour as I had done.

    *please note I have purposely avoided making such obvious Adel[e] jokes as: "Chasing pavements" back to Adel, or "Adel was '21' miles away, or, "Rumour has it" that there was fuel in Adel... or that the CB was so fast that despite the damp roads I "Set fire to the rain" etc. etc. and apologise now for not being able to resist adding them after all.

    So, back on the TAT (via a slightly different trail south of hwy 140, that was perhaps even more impressive than my escape route the evening before), and after riding just a few miles from where I'd exited yesterday, realised I was now riding the exact same sector I had (albeit in reverse) back in 2008.

    Sure enough, these sights were instantly familiar (I will resist posting the original photos from 2008, but believe me they are almost exactly the same ;o)

    [​IMG]
    photo. I am almost embarrassed to post this one, as I'm sure everyone takes the same photo who passes by here...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Similarly, the switchback decent as you exit the Sheldon Refuge is instantly memorable - what a view!

    [​IMG]
    photo. I also have exactly the same photo of Piglet hanging over this sign, although since it was November last time, he was in slightly warmer clothes back then... same pattern Buff mind you! ;o)

    Indeed, riding this sector of the TAT towards Fort Bidwell (where it dips, momentarily, into California for a few miles) felt eerily familiar, despite the years...

    [​IMG]
    photo. This dry lake crossing is just after you pass through an abandoned (or not?) farmstead...

    Before climbing out of the valley and into the forest south of Lakeview:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Whether it was the familiarity, or simply the amassed tiredness (compounded by the lack of sleep the night before), I increasingly felt detached from the whole procedure - like it was some strange dream sequence - and worse, almost as if I was going through the motions for the first time on this trip. Hell, I even recognised a clearing in the trees that had been filled with snow the very first time I'd ridden in Oregon (on my XR650R in 2007, when I'd also passed through this way, not knowing it was actually the TAT back then...) - and on reaching Lakeview mid-afternoon, scoffed down a burger and shake at the local drive-in, and thought the best course of action was to probably book back into the motel again, and get a proper night's sleep.

    My head hit the pillow at 4pm, and it was the best night's rest I'd had in a long time.

    More soon!

    Jenny x
  9. Dave1899

    Dave1899 Been here awhile

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    Awesome ride report Jenny. You are my Hero!!!
  10. Wisco

    Wisco Been here awhile

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    Yeah! Yeah! Good stuff. I've been enjoying it for weeks now. Keeps me stoked as I wade through the monotony of everyday life.:clap
    todd900ss likes this.
  11. Baba Al

    Baba Al The Decider

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    Hugely entertaining ride report Jenny.
    So glad you didn't get seriously injured in your fall.
    I did about 1200 miles on and off road last week without incident and then managed to drop my KLR on myself in my garage!
    Just goes to show that bikes don't necessarily have to be moving to be dangerous.
  12. John E Davies

    John E Davies Runs at Mouth Adventurer

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    Hi Jenny, Great, no STELLAR ride report!

    I just wanted to ask about your SPOT comments .... A few pages earlier you commented that you really didn't feel that it was a necessary piece of equipment. It seems to me that your crash shows exactly why a solo rider must carry some sort of rescue device, on his person at all times. If you had been unable to free yourself, you could have spent days there.

    I have been completely trapped by a fallen bike, but fortunately I was not alone and my buddy lifted it free.

    If you can reach your SPOT while lying the ground and send out a 911 call, the chances are high that you will be rescued. Just remember that the device needs to see the sky and must be fairly horizontal. Having it mounted on your handlebar means that it may be useless if you fall and cannot reach it!

    The tracking feature would hopefully show your crash location but the ability to send an immediate call for assistance can be a life saver.

    The SPOT (GEOS) worldwide rescue insurance is a bargain at $18 per year and will pay most or all of the costs incurred during a SAR and helicopter evacuation.

    Thanks for a wonderful report. You are a true asset to the adventure community.

    John Davies
    Spokane WA USA
  13. Dave1899

    Dave1899 Been here awhile

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    Awesome ride Jenny. San Jose is where I started riding as a teenager. I would ride through Los Gatos up and over the Santa Cruz Mtns over to the beach. Those were the days.
  14. OlafofOregon

    OlafofOregon Long timer Super Supporter

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    Busted! JMo, the Golden Gate Bridge Toll authorities have photographic evidence of you trying to dodge the toll booth on the TransAm 500 Tour. :lol3

    [​IMG]
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  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi John!

    I don't want to get into a debate regarding the pros and cons of using a SPOT (and particularly the appropriate use of a SPOT, which was the subject of a rather heated discussion on another ride report recently... ;o)

    However, I would say that personally speaking, while I certainly don't consider it an essential piece of equipment, these days the technology is there [and pretty affordable] - so it is certainly something to consider along with the rest of your trip preparations.

    With regard to my crash (and any other instance during the trip) - not once did I even consider activating the SPOT - other than to send an OK message to my nominated cell-phone number - Harold at Giant Loop ;o) - to reassure him that my extended stop to repair the bike was neither serious nor indeed life-threatening.

    You make a good point with regard to the location of the SPOT device - and certainly I had it secured to my Camel-bak strap so that it was actually on my person at all times, rather than the bike itself (a worse case scenario might be if the bike went over a cliff and you'd ejected, but couldn't climb down and reach the SPOT of course...) and therefore it always had a good view of the sky, and I could reach it with one hand in an emergency.

    However, with regard to the particular circumstances I described - I think even if I had seriously hurt my foot, I would have done what I could to extricate myself from under the bike, and even try and right it (and ride out - fortunately it has an electric-starter of course), before I ever hit the SOS button? I certainly don't believe a device like a SPOT ought to be the 'easy option' at the expense of your own resolve... You'd be surprised what you can achieve if you just keep calm and take a little time to assess your options - although I admit cutting your own arm off is a little drastic!

    As I say, I would never discourage anyone from incorporating one into their arsenal of trip equipment - as it could, as you suggest, truly be a life saver in certain circumstances... However, I would never use it as an excuse to either ride beyond my capabilities, or to shore-up some shoddy bike preparation for example?

    Jx
  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Ha!

    You know I did wonder about that... when I approached the toll booths, there was a sign saying 'continue on, don't stop', so I presumed they had a 'free on Sunday' deal or something going on?

    I bet they caught a lot of other people that day too.

    I owe you seven bucks ;o)

    Jx
  17. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    TAT day 23: Lakeview to Crater Lake OR: 239 miles*

    *(325 miles total to hotel - including lap of Crater Lake)

    Today marked my 50th day on the road since leaving the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday 10th May - the official start of the Trans-Am 500 ride (even though I'd actually ridden over 500 miles from the Giant Loop HQ in Bend OR to get to that point the day before of course).

    I have to say, 14 hours sleep had really reset my body clock, and I was all packed, checked out and raring to go before 8am. It was at this point that I stumbled on the oasis that was the Fastbreak coffee hut, and spent a delightfully extended pause for breakfast on this sunny Sunday morning, sitting on a picnic bench on their lot, and plotting the final few days' schedule...

    [​IMG]
    photo. I can certainly recommend their wildberry and protein smoothie, oh yes!

    Looking at the overview route in my GPS, the current TAT appeared to be very similar to the route I'd ridden (albeit in reverse as I'd started on the coast) back in 2008 - so it would be interesting to see if there had been any [minor] changes, or that like yesterday, things would appear instantly familiar...

    One thing was certain however, while it might only have been three hundred and fifty or so miles (by road) to the coast now, it would be totally unrealistic to expect I would finish the TAT by this evening (having already overshot my original target of yesterday, the 28th June).

    Therefore with the pressure essentially off now, it was time to recalibrate my expectations for the final few day/s, and simply enjoy the rest of the ride... Indeed, there was a nagging sense of sadness in that this trip was almost over, and that the routine in which Piglet and I had become ensconced, would be rudely returned to the real world.

    The ride out of Lakeview takes in such delights as the Warner Creek Correctional Facility (a very 'open' prison by the look of it), before heading into some delightful forest trails that were a joy to ride:

    [​IMG]
    photo. once again I marked a particularly enjoyable trail as a recommendation to others...

    ...and on reaching Silverlake (I'm sure this place used to have fuel?) crossing hwy 31, knew I wasn't far from the impressive Fort Rock (yes, it's a rock, shaped like a fort... and a bloody big one!)

    [​IMG]
    photo. indeed!

    However, while I can vividly remember riding past here on a previous trip, I couldn't recall passing the rock when I'd ridden the older TAT route in 2008 - and sure enough, the current route actually turns due west a few miles short of this impressive vista - so I've included a photo from 2007 to show you what you're missing ;o)

    [​IMG]

    Again, I will come to Sam's defence here and suggest that you can't possibly incorporate everything into a single cross-country journey, and that arguably the trail that heads west is far more 'interesting' than an otherwise endlessly straight gravel road that takes you past Fort Rock.

    Furthermore, in this instance particularly, you really aren't that far from the site - so you could always detour and rejoin the TAT a little further on... and this very much illustrates the primary purpose of the TAT, which is not to insisit that you follow it exactly inch by inch (something that this trip, or at least the weather this trip, has proved is all but impossible); rather you ought to view it as guide - that not only incorporates some excellent and often little-visited points of interest, but also sets you up nicely for your own additions should you desire.

    Certainly the ride through the heart of the Deschutes National Forest towards Gilchrist was hugely enjoyable - albeit often sandy - and I was looking forward to some lunch before refuelling and pressing on towards my own intended side-show from the main TAT route, the epic Crater Lake.


    Missing in action...

    A trio of chicken tenders, a bucket of coke, and a huge ice-cream may not be the food of champions, but it certainly sorted out my grumbling tummy. However, on returning to my bike (that had been parked outside the restaurant just out of view) I was dismayed to see my tail-pack was now missing...

    My immediate reaction (being British) was that some bastard had stolen my tail-pack, which, as you are probably aware from earlier reports contained ALL my tools - yes, every single one - I didn't even have my Leatherman or 5mm allen key on me should I need to make any minor adjustments, never mind a major repair.

    Incredulous that they had not bothered to take my $400 helmet (that was sitting on the tank between the handlebars) nor indeed the Garmin VIRB camera that was attached to a RAM mount next to my left mirror - either of which would have been far easier to lift in an instant - I soon realised that not only was the tail-pack missing, but also half the rack that had supported it over the last 11,500 miles or so...

    I took back those initial curses when I realised that the rack itself had seemingly sheared where it mounted to the subframe brackets (well, unless some oaf had simply wrenched the whole thing off of course), and figured that actually I'd not noticed it was already missing when I'd dismounted and gone inside - a hungry belly and the lure of fried chicken and ice-cream my excuse for this lack of rudimentary observation of course - and that should I retrace my steps, that somewhere, back down the trail, I would find the remains at least, of my chattels...

    Having made a minor adjustment earlier while out on the trail, I knew the last time I was certain I'd had the tail-pack attached... so retraced the GPS track-log back into the forest, hoping that some 'helpful' passer-by had not actually moved it* to the side of the trial (where it would be more difficult to spot of course), or worse, taken it upon themselves to move the bag completely - into town for example.

    *I mention this specifically as a reminder for anyone else who trail-rides regularly - by all means move an item out of harms way (for example, in the past I've found a camera in a pouch in the middle of a trail - that would almost certainly be destroyed should another vehicle run over it), but please leave it in a really obvious position, as almost certainly the owner is likely to come back to look for it, especially if it is an expensive or essential item - of which my tool kit was certainly both!


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    photo. Fortunately this little-used trail meant my pack was exactly where it had fallen.

    The sense of relief was immense I can tell you, everything was intact (well, apart from the broken tail-rack of course), and I was doubly grateful that I had not cut short the straps on my Giant Loop Coyote bag, and that I could effect a satisfactory solution that would allow me to continue without fear that I'd lose the bag again:

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    cont.
  18. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,841
    Location:
    California
    cont.

    Crater Lake

    The TAT route actually skirts north and west of Crater Lake by about 15 miles. However, it is well worth the detour, especially in late afternoon as the scenery is simply spectacular in the early evening light.

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    photo. You really think this need not be said, but when you stand on the rim (which is anything from 500 to nearly 2000ft above the water), you kind of see what they mean...

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    photo. I have a similar photo of Piglet on the XR650R from 2007 here - taken a little earlier on a perfectly calm day - when the lake is like a mirror and reflects the surrounding peaks perfectly - it is a surreal optical illusion to effectively see the sky below the mountains!

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    photo. The little fella loves this lake, as do I... Here you can just see Wizard island, which is a volcanic cone protruding from the depths of the lake (the lake is nearly 2000 ft deep, and is the crater left by a collapsed volcano), and there is another smaller cone under the water, that is actually 1500 ft below the lake surface!

    My original plan was to ride the rim road, then head down to the campground in the valley below, as there are very few affordable options for accommodation close by.

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    photo. Piglet got to ride in the front of the jacket like old times, for the lap of the lake...

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    photo. Although I have been here twice before, this was the first time I'd ridden completely around the lake - and the alternative views can be breathtaking...

    [​IMG]

    And as the evening drew on, I figured there might be an opportunity to get one last photo at the rim edge as the sun went down:

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    photo. Perfect timing! - as the photographer who was sitting close by confirmed by giving me a thumbs-up when he saw me scoot into position for this photo ;o)

    It was such a perfect evening, that I decided to forfeit the campsite, make the most of the fading light, and take a few more photos before ultimately heading down the highway to find a motel...

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    More soon!

    Jenny xx
    Phipsd likes this.
  19. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    15,355
    Location:
    over yonder on the north coast of ca
    Aw, man! Are we going to have to wait until Monday for the exciting conclusion?! Great report, are you going to do a separate comprehensive review of the performance of the cb500xrr?
  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,841
    Location:
    California
    Hi Wizz!

    Don't worry, I'll do my best to get the last two days of the ride up before the deadline this evening... then yes, next week I'll be putting together a more detailed review of the bike, and an end of trip/12,000+ mile update of all the gear I was using... and will welcome specific questions too of course.

    Stay tuned!

    Jenny xx