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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Am.E, Aug 8, 2021.
Phew just caught up on this epic ride. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the story!
On a meta level, I really enjoy all the short video clips you post amid your photos and text. Great use of the format.
As one scared of heights person to another how bad was the Schaffer Trail to ride? I’d really like to do it, then I look at the pics.
Well all you need to remember: target fixation. If you don't look down at it it doesn't exist.
Ive tried that, it doesn’t work with cliffs of death.
Close one eye...
Worked for me but it was a genuine surprise when front hit a rock and I found myself 20' down steep slope on Alpine loop. Took a while to climb back it was slippery as hell.
I rode the Shafer Trail in July. Can't say I'm terribly afraid of heights, but I will offer this suggestion: ride it in the uphill direction; that is, from Potash to the Canyonlands Visitor Center and then come back on the paved road. My thinking is that on an uphill you really have to make an effort to look down and see the scary drop-off--because the road is climbing, the view straight ahead is mostly the road and the sky. Going downhill, you're looking down at the big drop and the scary hairpin turns.
Inside the national park boundary, Shafer Trail is a pretty easy road, even suitable for high clearance 2WD passenger vehicles (at least one concessionaire runs passenger vans down from the visitor center to the base of the switchbacks, where they turn around and go back up again). The portion outside the park boundary (from the end of the pavement at Potash) is a lot rougher (though still pretty easy-to-moderate by ADV standards), but it doesn't require you to ride along the top of any big cliffs. There are a couple overlooks atop sheer cliffs, but the road runs a good hundred feet away from them. You don't have to ride your bike to the edge of the "Thelma & Louise" launch point (though many people do, just to get a good picture).
We are running out of time and need to get back home. I wish we could just ride back (on pavement), but we're shipping the bikes and flying home.
That sounds so much easier
Thanks. Let's call it a deliberate style choice, and not a result of real video production being entirely too much work (Its hard to find time to put up this ride report, forget longer videos).
Schaffer Trail was only mildly anxiety inducing for me. The road at that point is plenty wide and easy to ride, so I could stay on the uphill side and go slowly if I needed to. Where I have trouble is on the roads like the ones that came on the back half of the white rim trail loop, where its much steeper, narrower, much rougher to ride, and you are right next to the steep drop offs. I would say if you go into the white rim loop on shaffer trail, ride down and along the white rim road for awhile before it gets hard, and then turn around and come back out, that would be worth it, and make for a nice scenic ride.
Good to know, thanks. I thought the Schaffer Trail was the only skeery part.
2021 TAT – OR
It feels strange to be riding into Oregon after so many weeks. In addition to experiencing this unique way of riding across the country, there’s always been a goal for this trip: to complete the TAT on the Zero. Oregon is the last state. We’re almost there. The “end of trip blues” are starting to creep in; we’re simultaneously ready to finish, claim success, and move on to the next thing, and also not ready for it to stop. We could both live as moto nomads for much, much longer.
Unity Lake State Park in eastern Oregon is about 14 miles north of the TAT, and a necessary charge stop. It’s also one of the nicest camp spots on the trip. This small park is beautiful.
There were pine trees again much sooner in eastern Oregon than we expected. I loved it. We found ourselves on this unexpected curvy little single lane paved road in the national forest that was very pretty and lots of fun.
After a brief diversion from the main forest road through an overgrown 2 track that was somehow both sandy and rocky, the track stuck to mostly fast class 1 roads through the forest. I seem to be happiest anywhere where there are pine trees, and we had good weather, so I remember being very content.
I loved the second diversion from the paved road that went by the fire tower. It was a smooth, rolling, curvy 2 track through the open forest. This was probably one of my favorite roads on the entire trip.
We called it an early day in John Day so we could take care of some chores, and work on some planning for the rest of the trip. The 1188 Restaurant across from our motel had unexpectedly good food for such a small town.
The TAT winds its way through the forest from John Day OR, to Prineville, a distance that is too far for the Zero. We had to divert to Mitchell, about 16 mi north of the track, in order to charge. This turned out to be another great experience. I booked a night at the Spoke’n Hostel, partly to save a bit on money on inside lodging to escape overnight lows in the 20s, but mostly because we desperately needed to do laundry, and it was the only place in town I could easily confirm had machines.
The Spoke’n Hostel is fantastic, and thankfully not the “youth hostel” environment I was dreading. A lot of their customers are people doing the bicycle version of the Trans America Trail, and earlier in the season they see waves of cyclists coming though. Meeting the owners turned into a highlight. The place is just such a lovely sanctuary from the road.
Today was also the day the Zero crossed 10,000 mi on the odometer. We’re well over 6000 miles into this TAT trip at this point, so most of the miles on this bike are from this one project.
10,000 miles on the Zero. And yes, it only has 5% battery and we’re not at our destination. I’m not nervous, are you?
Since we were so close, we ended up spontaneously going a bit up the road to see the painted hills. I think you have to hike to see the really spectacular stuff, so this one went on my list to return to someday.
Prineville provided lunch, charging, groceries, and gas, and then the track took a gorgeous paved road south out of town through a dramatic canyon. We passed quite a few fantastic campsites along the river.
The landscape changed to some fast, dusty, desert scrub again for a while, before entering the forest headed into La Pine, and another surprise.
We found ourselves on what looked like sandy two track that could have been in Florida or South Carolina. Except it wasn’t deep, and traction was surprisingly good. It was smooth, rolling, curvy, and had had these really fun lumpy little mini g-outs as we wound our way through the trees on the narrow track.
Didn’t capture the curvy parts. Up and and down and around and whee!
Honestly, this section kind of broke my brain, and I found myself giggling out loud in my helmet. We’ve just never ridden a surface like this, which we think must be volcanic ash, and just expected it to be different than it was. It looks so much like a sandy dirt bike trail in the south east US, but it’s not at all like riding a sandy dirt bike trail. Instead, it was a fun easy trail ride for your adv bike. I was smiling all the way into La Pine, despite having to slow down near the end as we stretched the range on the Zero to get into town.
La Pine, OR, apparently lobbied pretty hard to have the Vietnam veteran memorial traveling wall exhibit come to their town, which is the only stop in Oregon this year, so we made a quick visit to pay our respects on the way out. This exhibit is very well done, and an impressive display to take on the road.
The TAT doesn’t go to Crater Lake National Park, but we did. No regrets. When we came through in 2012, it was cold and a bit rainy, and we didn’t stop to see much. This time we rode the whole loop road, and went for a hike up Garfield Peak.
Reprising the stupid Dr. Evil pic from 2012 at Crater Lake, made even dumber by wearing triple digits gloves.
While the weather was perfect for hiking, there is snow on the ground in places, which is a good reminder that our riding and camping season is coming to a close in this part of the country. I’m layering up and using my heated vest every morning now, despite the mostly sunny weather and afternoon highs in the 60s and 70s. We’re slowing down and dragging this thing out, but the weather and work are telling us that it’s time to finish and go home.
As we rode into Glendale in the afternoon, we knew we didn’t want to try and finish the TAT that day. Plus, we needed to charge the Zero one last time.
The Wolf Creek Tavern and Inn just south of Glendale in Wolf Creek is a neat historic place to stay. It was built in 1883, and can claim to have hosted Jack London. The normal way to travel between Glendale and Wolf Creek is on the interstate. Naturally, we decided to find out if that dotted line in our GPS maps that looked like a shortcut and avoided the highway really went through. Tunnel Rd does, in fact, go through, but as suspected is a stupid way to go that requires high clearance and a 4×4 (or an adventure bike willing to get muddy).
The TAT sometimes feels a bit like this. Except for the complaining part. I definitely do that with words.
Jack London’s room in the museum part of the Inn. Our room was more modern.
Our final day on the TAT was beautiful and sunny, and basically a perfect ending to our trip. The route eases you out without any interesting surprises, just nice scenery and a mellow cruise. The whole day felt like a victory lap. The landscape changed for the final time through temperate rain forest, as we rode single lane paved road, and finally some gravel through dense forest. It was notable to feel the moisture in the air again. I watched as our elevation reached a high of 3600 ft, and descended towards zero as we reached the coast.
We’d seen several grouse wing collection points in Oregon, finally on the last day one of them had a sign explaining why
Riding down onto the beach in Port Orford, OR definitely felt like a celebration. Two other riders had finished just ahead of us today, and were there waiting for us. We had met one of the solo riders earlier in the day, and the other we met on the beach. The four of us had been on three separate journeys, and had all finished at the same time. It was fantastic to share the experience, and share one final campsite.
Not our bike, but a good picture
traditional TAT celebration meal of fish and chips
Celebratory snacks rode the entire TAT in the swingarm cross tube
Somewhere in Utah, a rider had described the TAT experience as an American safari, and I like that characterization. At the risk of being overdramatic, it also felt at times like something akin to a religious pilgrimage. Despite having traveled on motorcycles for years, including adventure riding and multi-month travel, this trip is unlike any we have ever taken. There aren’t too many overlanding routes in the world quite like the TAT, it has its own unique character. It’s certainly a challenging endurance event to ride the entire route in one trip, not to mention the additional challenge of getting the electric bike across. We, but especially Kevin, have put a lot of time and effort into making this journey happen. It would have been far simpler and required much less preparation to have taken two gas bikes, and the journey would have been easier (but still challenging and amazing). Our adventure has been everything we hoped it would be. The reward has been entirely worth it.
7610 miles. 57 days. Coast to coast across the US on the Trans America Trail. The first electric motorcycle to complete the TAT.
Cross posted from here.
This was amazing! Thanks so much for sharing it. What an epic adventure! Hopefully Zero will take note and make some modifications based on your experiences and feedback.
Would be interested in a "stats" post when you get a chance. Stuff like # of charges, average time spent charging per day, # nights spent sleeping in tent, # nights total. Stuff like that.
Safe travels back to NC.
Some of us at Zero Motorcycles discovered your thread last week and have been following your progress. Great Job! This is really inspiring for the rest of us.
It's great that you were able to solve all the charging and bike problems without any factory support. A true adventure!
-Jim Robertson, ME
Congratulations on completing the TAT with the electric bike. Wonderful pictures and prose along the way. I really enjoyed following you two along on the adventure.
Congratulations on finishing the TAT, and being the first to do it on an electric motorcycle, and taking the time to post your ride !
That was a fantastic journey plus not many people can say they were the first to do something. Thanks for taking us along!
Congratulations! I’m sure you are overwhelmed with feelings of accomplishment and joy and grief for having it behind you. Thank you for sharing your experience!
What a great thread! In case I missed it, if you have all the stop points and data along the TAT where electric motorcycle owners can charge, that would be invaluable to the community as more people embrace electric. I mean, since you've already done the research....
This is an amazing journey and a wonderfully told story! Well done!