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Trans America 2020 on a Yamaha WR250r

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RacingBlue, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Hello everyone. I've been lurking on this forum for a long time reading everyone's RRs hoping that one day that I too could post an epic ride report.

    Well, my time has come, but first a tad bit of backstory.

    Junior year of college my roomie was talking about going to Europe for her big graduation trip. During that conversation, I decided that I needed to do something awesome as well. I had know about Trans America for a long time, since at least senior year of high school, and decided in my apartment that it was the trip I was going to do. I began reading ride reports and diving in to gear research. Summer before senior year I grinded at an internship and earned some good money. Over christmas break senior year, I finally started to oufit the Yamaha WR250r I had for the trip.

    Then COVID-19 happened, and all the campgrounds closed. It seemed like my trip was dead in the water. The economy was in shambles, my other motorcycle (an FZ-09) got stolen out of my parking garage, the job offers I had were rescinded due to hiring freezes, hell I graduated on my couch watching my laptop while my family watched Netflix. Somewhere among all this bad stuff happening, I started to notice campgrounds and state parks opening back up. That's when I decided that it was go time, and I had to do this trip, to reclaim this year. I got all the gear that I didn't have as well as Sam's maps from West Virginia to Port Orford, Oregon. I was ready to go.

    Why the WR250? Why not a bigger bike?

    I might as well just answer this question before anyone asks it.

    Reason #1: I already had the bike. I was farmiliar with it and how it handled in the dirt.

    Reason #2: It is indestrucbile. Seriously, this WR250r got rear ended by a truck while I was going 40, truck was going 50. I swear to God that the truck had more damage and the bike drove home. My dad and I scoured the frame for any sign of a problem...nothing. This bike saved my life, it didn't even fall down from the hit. It deserved the honor of taking me to Port Orford.

    Reason #3: Why not?

    The Route

    I'll be taking Sam Correro's Trans America Trail route from Ripley, West Virginia to Port Orford, Oregon. In Utah I might deviate a bit and ride some of the Utah BDR, but I'll probably finalize that decision once I get closer. I also might change it up a bit in Colorado for which mountain passes I might do, but again, we'll see when we get there. We have a looooong way to go.

    I hope you're ready to dive in with me, because at the time of writing this post, I'm one day into the trip and my goodness it is already eventful.
    #1
  2. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Prologue

    God bless my dad, the man will go the extra mile for me and I'm thankful I have him. He drove me all the way from my east coast hometown to Ripley, WV in his Ford transit van. The bike was strapped up in the back and we hauled the 11 hours to get there. Got some delicious cheesesteaks at a place called the Oak Barrel Cafe in Little Orleans, Maryland. After that, West Virginia rolled out the welcome wagon with a beautiful sunset (please excuse the buggy windshield).

    [​IMG]

    Day 1

    We got a late start, due to me. I didn't sleep great, I had a lot on my mind. I was nervous about the trip to be completely honest. I'm no stranger to long solo car road trips, but on a motorcycle it's just different, especially on a trip of this caliber. That being said, I was excited, and managed to drag myself out of bed and we were in Ripley by 10:30 am.

    As we unloaded the bike, we were almost immediately greeted by a local who was curious as to what was going on. After explaining to him what the TAT was, he had two questions. #1, why did it start in Ripley and #2 is that bike even gonna make it? I answered "I don't know" to both. Real nice guy though, we talked about life and how it throws curveballs for a while, before we exchanged numbers so he could call me every so often to see how I was doing on the trip. I can see why he came to stop by though, the bike sure was an attention getter in the parking lot.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I was ready to go. The plan for Day 1 was to meet my dad in Marlinton WV, the end of Sam's WV maps so he could make sure that I was all good before he went home and I went off. Some might think it is overprotective, but I think it's kind of sweet. He was gonna come on this, but situations changed and we're planning on a father and son trip at some point in the coming years to make up for it.

    So at about 11:00 AM EST, I left Ripley WV and headed into the hills. For all you car folks out there, I saw an gray R32 Skyline sitting in someone's driveway. I won't post the screenshot I have of it off my GoPro to protect that guys identity, but I can assure you it is there.

    And so I went, winding my way through the hollers of West Virginia. It should be noted, some of these roads are very steep and very narrow. When gravel comes into play, they can be really squirrley both going up and down. Maybe 15 miles into Sam's maps the road conditions put some hair on my chest. If you have dirt experience you should be fine though.

    I did about 30 miles, then stopped in Spencer for some gas before hitting the road again. West Virginia is a lot of things, one of them is drop dead gorgeous.

    [​IMG]
    (Frametown, WV)

    [​IMG]
    (Also Frametown, WV)

    One thing I noticed is that no matter how rural it got, and it got rural, every so often these beautiful houses would just pop up. These houses were older, but looked like once upon time they wouldn't have been out of place in the suburbs of New York or Connecticut. So why are they in the hills of WV?

    At some point near Gassaway, I found myself driving on a pavement road that had some dark tarmac patches. A few miles into it, I realized I could actually smell the tarmac, it was pretty fresh. I used my college education to estimate that it was maybe a week old. Proud of my observation, I kept on going, until I rounded a corner and saw this.

    [​IMG]

    Not pictured was the dump truck dumping all the fresh tar. I sat behind these guys for like 20 minutes before the Steam Roller dude rolled up beside me (I thought he was gonna run over) and told me I could go around if I thought I could fit. I carefully made my way by the crew on the shoulder and continued on.

    84 miles into the trip, I had my first river crossing! Well, I use the term river loosely. By river I mean stream, and by crossing I mean driving in maybe four inches of water.

    [​IMG]

    Still cool though, right? At least I could wash the tar off.

    I got gas just past I-79, and then kept on motoring toward Marlinton. The country roads went from steep and narrow to steep and wide. There was a lot of gravel on the top, causing the bike to fidget a bit. There was a nice clean line on the inside of the road, but driving there would mean that if a truck came by I would get obliterated. Not wanting to die on Day 1, I sucked up and kept on wiggiling. Despite this, I was making great time and entered the Monogahela National Forest by way of Williams River Road. A nice, winding ribbon of tarmac, I was enjoying running next to to the river of the road's namesake.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My peaceful mind was short lived when I came across this.

    [​IMG]

    Marlinton was maybe 30 miles away, and the last thing I wanted to do was go all the way back to Cowen and then go AROUND. So I started doing some looking on my maps and found a public forest road that maybe, just maybe, would connect to another public forest road and lead me towards Webster Springs. At around 5:00, I drove maybe two or three miles into this forest road, until I reached the end and stumbled upon some homestead. I wondered whether or not it was part of the Monongahela National Forest and it was some park ranger thing. There wasn't a soul in sight...except for a lady walking her dog. So I rode my bike up to her and asked her to come here for a second. She got very standoffish, and told me she wouldn't. I realized what a terrible way to ask for help that was, and diffused the situation. It turns out that this wasn't a park ranger station, this actually was her house. But she and her husband were very kind to me once they realized that the dude on the dirt bike was actually just some lost goober trying to get to Marlinton.

    The husband told me some history of the area and and then gave me a shortcut through the Monongahela via Dyer that would spit me out on the Highland Scenic Highway, right near Marlinton. He warned me though, I had to follow his directions pefectly or else I would run into some hillbillies who were "not nearly as nice as I am".

    Armed with some new anxieties, I bid adieu to my new friends and apologized for disturbing them. They waved goodbye as I went back out to Williams River road and back over to Dyer. I made my way onto a National Forest road and began chugging towards, what I hoped, was Marlinton. At some point I came across a fork in the road. I looked on the map and saw I had two ways. I had my friend's way, which was apparently dangerous country, or an easier road to Richwood. Now I've seen Deliverance, which probably cemented my decision that I was gonna go to Richwood. In retrospect, I was being very dramatic, but at that point I seriously just wanted to get to Marlinton and have dinner with my dad. The Richwood way was just easier to navigate. So off I went, but as the sun started to dip a bit, it got dark...and cold.

    The final oddity of the day came on the road to Richwood, where I came across two Beagle looking dogs just sitting in the road. I hadn't seen a house in miles, so this was a bit freaky. They both had collars on, and what looked like radio antenna coming out of the collars. I zipped passed, the dogs, not before catching them on camera though. Anyone care to tell me what the collars actually are? I'm assuming they are used for tracking, but I just don't know. I know the picture isn't great but this is the best frame I had from the GoPro.

    [​IMG]

    I finally exited the Monongahela at six, and made my way towards Marlinton. However, thanks to my Garmin InReach my dad actually came and met me on Highway 39 out of Richwood. We had a roadside conference, and decided to load the bike in the van and just haul it to a hotel and call it a day. I know it's cheating, but I was tired, hungry, and it was starting to get really cold. We decided on a hotel near New Castle, and that is where I finished the day. Now I know I missed a decent chunk of the VA TAT, but I was planning on skipping most of it anyway as I have done that whole area not even a year ago with the family on vacation.

    So tomorrow I say goodbye to my dad and head out through the rest of Virginia, into North Carolina, and beyond. I'll do my best to try and update each day in real time, but sometimes wifi can be hard to come by. Until next time.
    #2
  3. msteward

    msteward Long timer

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    Nice, I have seen collars like that before, hunting dogs.
    #3
  4. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams Supporter

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    Location:
    Charlotte, Vt
    It's likely a remote collar. Gives a sensation from a barely there tickle, dialing up to a shock. My dogs are fully off leash trained on them. They're amazing tools that only require dialing up a couple times in training. They understand what it means. When I pull the collars out of the closet they're pumped cos they know freedom awaits.
    #4
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  5. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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  6. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Great start!! Definitely following along!

    And yes, that's a tracking collar for hunting.
    #6
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  7. flashbang

    flashbang Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Va. mts.
    You don't need any public campgrounds.Stealth camping is way more fun,unless you need a shower, then if you have a stream it's just as good.
    #7
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  8. caribryder

    caribryder n00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2014
    Oddometer:
    6
    Hi the one dog in the pic is a redtick hound and yes that is a tracking collar,. with both on the road, I believe they're waiting for a ride home.
    #8
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  9. advantagecp

    advantagecp Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    62
    Location:
    Cape Carteret, NC
    I am all about wild camping. All I need is two properly spaced trees. But a stream isn't a shower...

    And to add one tiny detail to the dog situation, those dogs have been hunting deer. Owners will let them loose even out of season so they can get a workout.

    I am looking forward to following this thread.
    #9
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  10. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Hey y'all! Glad to see some people are latching onto the RR. I'd have fun making it just for myself, I love to write and would love to publish a book one day, but writing this for an audience makes it so much more fun! Thank you all for clearing up the collar thing. That's kind of what I assumed, but I've never seen it before. I'm finally at my hotel enjoying some Bojangles, so it's time for an update!

    Day 2

    Before we get started, I need to clarify something. I said yesterday that I stayed near New Castle, that was wrong. I was actually closer to Bland, so that is where I started. Despite another shoddy night of sleep, I got an decent start and decided that I was going to go all the way to Mars Hill which was something like 300 miles away. I booked a hotel and said goodbye to my Dad, then made my way to Bland to get gas, at what was apparently Virginia's busiest gas station. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it was like 9:30 AM and there were lines for each pump.

    [​IMG]

    After Bland I hit the road, making the executive decision that if I was going to get to Mars Hill, I had to skip the Tazewell route. It literally was 25 miles, and the exit of it came four miles down the road from the entrance. It sucks to skip bits, but if I'm gonna get to the classic TAT soon I gotta sacrifice something. I know I missed Back of the Dragon, but I made up for it via Nebo Mountain Road. This thing had turns that would make Nurburgring blush, and while the speeds were only like 30 mph, I was having a blast.


    [​IMG]

    On the downhill section, "Seek and Destroy" by Metallica started playing. Studies show that particular song gives vehicles +10 horsepower, which helped aid my descent.

    The road mellowed out, and the Virginia countryside finally began to show itself. It was a far cry from the extreme hills that were West Virginia, but was still scenic.

    [​IMG]
    (Ceres)

    I had a quick snack near Atkins, and then headed over to Pugh Mountain road. About halfway up it, I spotted something sitting in the road. It looked like a turtle, and I thought that I could get a nice GoPro vid of me saving a turtle so I can get validation from strangers on the internet. As I got closer, I realized that this was a very specific kind of turtle, one that I really do not want to put my fingers anywhere near.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah it's a baby, but still. He scampered off the road when I drove by which was good. Don't want to see it get squished. I was happy to see that Pugh Mountain road turned to dirt, as I had pretty much been slabbing it all day. As I was going up the dirt road, I realized that I was following a motorcycle track. I wondered if whoever left that was close by, and if they were on the TAT or just a local having some fun. I got my answer when I got to the top of the road and saw a Honda Africa Twin parked on the side of the road. The owner was chilling in a chair on the apex of the turn eating some food. He waved and I stopped, pulled out a snack and joined him for maybe twenty minutes to half an hour. He too was on the TAT, and had started in Ripley a day before me. We traded stories about how we got by Williams River Road in the Monongahela, and talked about our bikes and the destinations. He was impressed that the WR250 was doing as well as it was, and was excited that I was going to try and take it across the country. He was just doing the Tennessee portion so he was taking his time, he was gonna finish that day in Damascus, VA.

    While we were chilling, Virginia's version of Boomhauer rolled up and asked us a question. I didn't really hear what he said, but he essentially asked if we were cool with him chilling here as well. I thought he was going to join our little chat session, but he just stayed in his truck. I finished my snack and said goodbye. He said he hoped to never see me again, clarifying that he wanted me to not have any issues and keep making good time. Real cool guy though, and I'm glad to see someone else on the TAT. I left Pugh Mountain, and made my way to the Mount Rodgers area before Damascus. The farmlands between opened up, and it was there that I fell in love with the Virginia countryside.

    [​IMG]
    (Sugar Grove)
    [​IMG]
    (Sugar Grove)

    This area was my favorite portion of the Virginia TAT. I quickly made my way through the Mount Rodgers area. I've been getting into flat track racing recently, and going through those windy dirt roads made me want to kick the back out and slide. I controlled, settling on a spirited but controlled pace. I also had to watch out for people on horseback. I only saw one group, but the thought of running into a horse was enough to keep my childish desires inline. On top of that, it had recently rained, and there was a decent amount of water on the roads.

    [​IMG]
    (Mt. Rodgers)

    Once I got back on tarmac, I found myself heading towards Damascus. I almost ate it in a corner due to some sand sitting right on the apex, but thankfully I save it. I finished up the VA portion of the TAT and got gas in downtown Damscus. I had a cliff bar and some beef jerky and called it lunch, as I realized it was a little after 2:00 and I had a long way to go to get to Mars Hill. The bike had a nice dusting of mud after her time in the woods.

    [​IMG]


    So I hit the road again and after a five minute foray into Tennesee, I began to climb into the hills of North Carolina. As I started to climb, I realized that the sky was getting darker and darker. Clouds were rolling in and for the first time on the trip I was threatened by rain. Thankfully the sky opened back up for a bit, and I was able to take some nice pictures. There were a ton of christmas tree farms up there, including one that covered what seemed like an entire mountain.

    [​IMG]
    (Damascus, VA)
    [​IMG]
    (Lansing, NC)

    You can see the contrast in the sky between these two pictures. The second one was taken either near or on Big Spring Mountain, and when I started to descend towards Creston it started to drizzle. I pulled over get my jacket out, but then it stopped. I had a quick snack break and continued on my way. I got back on the pavement and between Fig and Creston, it started to pour. Myself and a husband and wife on a cruiser took shelter at this gas station. I asked one of the locals there how long they thought it would last, and they said about five minutes. Sure enough, in about five minutes it was sunny again, and I got back on the bike and headed towards Blowing Rock.

    [​IMG]

    I had an interesting traffic holdup on the way. If you look to the right in the picture, you'll see a creek flowing through a field. These were all over the route today, and I thought they were so picturesque as they ran through farms and pastures full of livestock.

    I got into Blowing Rock around 4:00, and I realized that if I kept on the TAT route I wouldn't get to Mars Hill until very late. I looked over the route and decided my best bet would be to slab it on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Man, was it gorgeous. The sun sort of came out and I got to take some nice pictures at the various overlooks.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    My last stop before I did the final push to Mars Hill was Mount Mitchell. By the time I got to the base of the road, the clouds had rolled back over and the temperature was dropping. When I got to the summit of the mountain, it had to be in the low fifties, maybe even the forties. I held off on checking the weather app so I could live in blissful ignorance. I did get a bunch of pictures of me and the bike at the elevation sign in the parking lot. I have some with and without the helmet on. Without the helmet, I'm all smiles and it looks like a grand ole time. That's fake news, because I was compeltely miserable as all I could think of was how much I didn't want to be there. At the start of the day I wanted to be the highest motorcycle east of the Mississippi. By the end I realized why all the other motorcycles aren't as high as me. I think my facial expression in this one kind of captured that feeling.

    [​IMG]

    I quickly made my way back down the mountain. It was still cold, but skies kind of parted one last time to give me a show before I left the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    [​IMG]

    To get off the parkway and towards Mars Hill, Sam has you going down this forest road that basically cuts the time in half it would take a car. It goes straight down the mountain, but man did I have to work for it. First of all, bits of it were dark, especially when the trees were thick and there was cloud cover. Second off, there was a top layer of loose gravel, I fought the bike the whole way down.

    [​IMG]

    This picture was taken near the bottom, when the light finally started to show back up. I left the woods and got on a road, finally making it to my hotel at 8pm. After nearly 12 hours on the road, I was beat. I'm making pretty good distance though, and might take it easy tomorrow. I'm debating whether to push for Andrews and end the NC TAT, or kind of just meander and maybe end up in somewhere like Maggie Valley. Maybe do a combo of both and end up in Whittier.

    Today was fun, but honestly I'm just itching to get on the classic TAT. The other thing I need to do is to start logging my mileage for each day. I have a general idea of what I did the past two days, but I really have to hammer down the specifics.

    I'd love for any recommendations you guys may have for things to see on the route. I have a lot of stuff marked down but am always looking for more. Until next time!
    #10
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  11. KYwoodsrider

    KYwoodsrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    571
    Location:
    central KY
    #11
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  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,123
    bear chase hounds with tracking collars. bear season is not open, but bear hunters can train their dogs. the men running the dogs can't carry a firearm. more than once i've come across the bear chase boys with a hound riding on a piece of old carpet attached to the hood of their truck. every single time they will ask if you've seen any bears in the area.
    #12
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  13. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
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    2,754
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Looks like a fun trip!
    #13
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  14. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    663
    We saw bear hunters with dogs in a lot of areas on the MABDR route. In fact they accounted for most of the traffic in the back country.
    #14
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  15. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

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    Jul 10, 2019
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    131
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    That sounds pretty neat actually. Kind of wish I had seen them in action. I was on the lookout for bears as well, didn't see any.
    #15
  16. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    681
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    I made a run on the TAT 2 years ago. My son was on a KLR 250, me on a 650. We had an absolute blast riding and camping. Although we didn't get to finish, halfway through Colorado he took a good spill and we called it good enough. Someday I'll get out and finish, but for now I'll just follow along and enjoy.
    #16
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  17. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Today was a disaster, and thanks to the day of the week it ocurred on I'm at a multi-day setback.

    Day 3

    It poured last night in Mars Hill. I got out to the bike and it was soaked. The cover for my electircal hookup had blown off in the night and my plugs were drenched. I used a napkin to dry each one out, and thankfully they worked and I wasn't electrocuted. I loaded my stuff out of the hotel and gave it a once over at the gas station. Everything looked good and I set out for the day, although it was very humid. My goal was Whittier, and then I was looking at camping/moteling it near or around there.

    A quick note about camping: I am going to do as much as possible. These first few days I kind of wanted to ease myself in, which is why I have been staying at hotels/motels. I have tons of sites mapped out once I get to the Lynchburg area, and have pretty much divided my days for Arkansas, Oklahoma, all the way to Port Orford based on campsite locations. Plus the weather here doesn't look very promising, and I'd rather my first night of camping not be miserable. Wishing for no rain is a tall order in this part of the country, and at some point I'll just bite the bullet, comfort level achieved or not.

    The first big portion of the day was Grapevine road. This was a paved road, and was super steep, windy, and slick from the rain. While the views were nice, I honestly felt the road was a little too windy. The turns were so sharp and steep that I had to go real slow in them and crawl at low gears to go up the hill. Even on the way down I didn't feel as comfy going faster like I did on Nebo Mountain Road. The one thing I did like about it was side of the road was covered in Kudzu. I know it is a terrible invasive species, but it looked cool driving through a canyon of green.

    [​IMG]

    Last night's rain had left all the creeks rather swollen as well. A lot of them were very dirty on the inside, and I thought that if it had been a really bad storm a lot of these roads could potentially be flooded. On the flipside, I also knew there was a lot of white water rafting in the area, so I figured they would be thrilled about the conditions.

    [​IMG]
    (outside Marshall)

    [​IMG]

    And I love you, random rock. The good news was that skys had kind of opened up, and the humidity was gone. I hoped that they would stay that way all day.

    Now around Barnard I heard this knocking noise coming from down below. I pulled over to listen to the engine, it wasn't that. So I figured maybe it was gravel or rocks hitting the skidplate. So I kept going, and nope it was still there. Then it stopped, then it started back up again. It was loud, loud enough that I have it caught on my GoPro footage. I'll try and get a clip on youtube in the next day or two so y'all can hear it, but I don't have any editing software on this laptop. I stopped again after the second duration and looked at the chain. It was loose, and the sound I heard was it knocking against the swing-arm's dirt shield.

    Now, I had the tools to tighten it, but what I didn't have was anything I could put the bike up on, nor was I in a spot on the road where I felt comfortable working on my bike. A car could come around a corner and knock me off the mountian, and what good is my InReach when I'm halfway down the hill stuck in a tree. I looked at my map, searching for a town of some sort where I could be able to find a stand. I saw that in a few miles I would join 209 and could take it to Waynesville. So I kept on trucking, fingers crossed that the chain would hold.

    [​IMG]

    It didn't.

    I was stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, next to a pig sty of all places. I love pigs, I think they're weirdly adorable, not to they are very smart creatures. But man do they STINK. My grandfather raised cattle, and every summer I'd go up to the farm and stay with him for a few days. Cows smell, but manure isn't nearly as revolting as pigs. It didn't help that the farmer's dog was barking up a storm, making me think that I was disturbing the peace.

    I tried to get the bike off the road, and almost dropped it down a small ditch. I made my way to the other side to push it back on the road and was successful, but if I let go of the brake the bike would roll back into the ditch. I grabbed a stick and began trying to put the kickstand down from the other side of the bike. This scene was obviously pathetic, as an old couple stopped to see if I needed any help. The man got out and helped me level the bike, then asked what the problem was. I told him what I needed to do and he thought for a minute, then told me that he knew a guy and his son up the road who were good with bikes. They tried to call them, but to no avail. So the couple got in their car and drove up there to see if they were home.

    I was alone again.

    I disrobed from most of my gear and sat on the side of the road, texting my friends and family about my situation and drinking some water. All of the sudden I heard what sounds like a GSXR absolutely SCREAMING its way down the road. The bike rounds the corner and slows down to stop at me. He dismounts and I give him a once over. He's wearing a helmet, a tshirt, shorts, and some rubber boots. I figured he is the help. We exchange greetings and I show him the situation. He takes one look at it and confirms my worst fears, I need a new sprocket and a new chain. I asked him how long does he think it has left in life. He said enough to get me to Waynesville, where there was actually a Yamaha dealer, and that he would help me fix it. He told me to wait there, that he was going to go get his car, and he would pull me to his place.

    He gets on the bike and flies away, leaving me alone. Five more minutes pass before the oldest tow truck I've ever seen moving rumbles down the road with my new friend at the wheel. He spins it around and positions it so the tow arm is facing me.

    [​IMG]

    He gets out of the truck and grabs some J hooks, placing them around my front forks. He told me to get on and be careful, as I wouldn't have much ability to stear the thing. He was right, but I was able to keep the bike right behind him, only really straying from the center of the lane in the corners. Man was this fun.

    [​IMG]

    And before anyone says that what we did could have damaged the forks, I know and he knew. We went slow enough that that wouldn't be an issue, and thankfully the bike survived the ordeal. Sometimes you just gotta risk it for the biscuit.

    Interesting tidbit, this is the second time, at least during my ownership, that this bike has been in a weird towing situation. The first was in 2017 when I used it to tow my friend's YZ125 two stroke back to our trailer after it broke. I got two ratch straps, attatched the hooks to the tail frame, and then the other hooks to his frames. Worked like a charm. Anyway, back to the present day.

    We went to this guys house and begin to work on it. I took all the gear off and we used a log to prop up the bike and we, well mostly him, fixed it in about 15 minutes. His dad was there too, but he was working on something else so just talked to us. They were two really nice people, and I thank them so much for their help. They had heard about Trans America and thought it was neat that I was trying to do it. I gave the guy $20 for his troubles, said goodbye, and went on my way.

    [​IMG]

    Here comes the next problem. It was sunday, no shops were open. The one in Waynesville wasn't even open until Tuesday. In fact, most shops weren't open on Mondays. The closest big shop that would probably have the parts for me on a Monday? Greenville, South Carolina. So I made a difficult, but right decision. I called my dad and asked for his help. I knew he was in the Knoxville area visiting an old army buddy, and wasn't too far away to come help. I told him to meet me in Marshall NC, and slabbed it back there, where I got Bojangles for the 2nd time in 24 hours. I'm in pretty good shape so I pushed away all thoughts of how I hadn't eaten a vegetable since that Cheesesteak in Maryland (it had lettuce). To top it off the crap sandwich that was today, it started to rain on the way back.

    I camped out in Marshall for a bit until my Dad showed, and then we loaded the bike and headed to Asheville, where I am now writing this.

    I feel kind of lame for calling my dad and asking for help, but whatever gets me quickest back on the TAT is best. Plus it is nice to see him, I'm guess I'm really lucky he was relatively close by. I went over the rest of the bike with him pretty meticulously to make sure nothing else was going to break, and it all checked out. I had changed all fluids and cleaned the air filter the day before I left, so that was all in order. The tires pressure was good, and the engine sounded healthy. I really should have done a better job of noticing the chain at home. But, you learn the most through experience, and I learned a lot today about what warning signs to look for.

    Today was awful. I'm achey, an old shoulder injury is especially being a pain. My butt hurt and all I really want to do is soak in a hot tub and stretch. But I knew there were going to be these bad days going into this trip. It's a learning experience, and I'm glad this happened to me in North Carolina where there was cell service, not the deserts of Utah were there are no living things for thirty miles. I'll bounce back from this, I always do.

    Gonna head into downtown Asheville tonight and hit Wicked Weed brewing company for dinner. I've been before years ago when I was visiting colleges and it was fantastic. Now that I'm old enough to drink it should be even cooler, and I get to enjoy it with my dad instead of being alone. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the parts in Greenville. Tomorrow's update will likely be lots of pictures of me working on my bike in a hotel parking lot. I'm praying I'll be back on the road by Tuesday.
    #17
    ejm4, ilten, JasonFL and 10 others like this.
  18. RacingBlue

    RacingBlue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Real sorry to hear about the spill, it happens to the best of us. I've almost fallen a few times already, and I'm sure I'll take a dive in the next coming days. I hope your son was ok, though.

    How much power did the KLR 250 lose in the mountains? This is one of the biggest concerns for me, as I have read conflicting things.
    #18
  19. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    681
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    I was surprised, he was able to clear all the passes. Granted he's a skinny guy, but the bike was loaded. He would loose power but it kept climbing, sometimes down to 2nd gear. You should be fine with the FI bike.
    As for the spill, I think his pride took the biggest hit! He was sore for a few days.
    #19
    td63 and RacingBlue like this.
  20. 75bronco

    75bronco Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,098
    Location:
    East TN
    Pop that chain on that sprocket and ride on. Lordy
    #20
    ktjim, andso77, From Scratch and 10 others like this.