Westward bound NH 2 CA through MA BDR and TAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by biles430, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Livermore, CA
    Having just completed a trip that I have been dreaming about for over a year I decided I needed to actually write up the experience and share some of the pictures. Having already completed the trip I will now proceed to trust in my memory and share some of my experiences from the trail and road. I started from Dover, NH at the end of May 2019 and ended in Livermore, CA at the end of July, I took the mid Atlantic back country discovery route (MA BDR) down the east coast, linked into the blue ridge parkway and then connected to the trans American trail. I broke down twice, had the bike towed once, got stuck in the mud, but never ran out of gas or smiles.
    Sorry for the late timing but better late than never, hopefully it can help other in planning.

    Below is the final map and mileage totals for the trip.
    More to come.
    Cheers

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    #1
    Aces 6, Ginger Beard and motorchi like this.
  2. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2019
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    Location:
    Livermore, CA
    NH to PA
    June 10th, 2019 -> June 11th, 2019
    Have to start the trip with a good wash.
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    Ahh the open road!
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    And then of course the rain.. and more rain.. this spring was a vary wet one in New England and boy did it rain a lot. Sure did give me some early testing of all the gear I had put together for the trip across. Happy to say I and the hopefully useful things I dragged along all stayed dry!
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    Then connecting on to the top of the MABDR I was lead through beautiful rolling farmland. Of all the states I think PA and UT surprised me the most. Did you know there is a PA Grand Canyon!?! I did not and boy was I surprised. The landscape of PA is less of a texture of mountains and more thin steep ridge lines cutting across the state.
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    Who doesn’t love a good old overgrown carriage road too!

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    #2
  3. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

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    Somewhere deep in the PA woods..
    June 12th, 2019
    In about it the middle of PA on a backroad I started to feel the rear end of the bike become loose. At first I wondered if it was just a sandy section and then I felt the tail end at back and forth as if it had no grip, which is a feeling I know well from riding a bicycle.... flat tire. I had never changed a motorcycle tube before but had known I would need to prepare for this so I actually became excited! The feeling of facing a problem and knowing you have all the tools available and lined up is great. I pulled over to the side in a forest road offshoot and got to work. Luckily before I left I had stumbled across some tool advice and had cut a piece of wood to right length so I could prop up my swing arm and elevate the rear tire as the KLR does not have a center stand. This was one of the most useful things I brought on my trip, light, effective as a great piece for backyard engineering.

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    Nice sunny day to change a tube! Below is the little bastard that brought me to a halt, any idea what it is? Just trying to be a nice riders and pick up the trash of others...

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    Back on the road!
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    With the steep and dramatic ridge lines that cut across PA you were related to many beautiful views such as this.
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    Then when you have a steep ridge line and an open expanse below you get some great wind climbing up the ridge and I came across a group taking full advantage of what Mother Nature had created.

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    #3
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  4. Canyon Man

    Canyon Man "60% of the time, it works all of the time"

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    Did you do the TAT solo? Sounds like you had a blast. The TAT is my next trip. A buddy of mine from the service is rolling with me. We are planning on taking a month off to do it. Hear about a detour through Engineers Pass in Colorado that is supposed to be epic.
    #4
  5. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

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    I did. Having a friend along with you will make it a great time.
    For the routes in CO timing is key. I unfortunately had to come through CO to early in the summer and only got to do one of the high mountain passes but they are epic! Just be prepared for some big rock gardens. Let me know if you have any questions!
    #5
  6. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2019
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    Location:
    Livermore, CA
    PA to Blue Ridge Parkway
    June 15th, 2019 -> June 18th, 2019
    Heading south after catching another rainstorm in northern Maryland I cam puttering to a stop on the side of the road. Bike dead. All power lost. I had made a detour to visit some family and currently sat 5 miles away from my brothers house on the side of a busy road... I lucky found and empty construction site to wheel the bike into and get to work.


    Blown main fuse... then after blowing the spare fuse and all the 20 amp fuses I could buy from a local auto shop I called it a day and found a shop which would come tow the bike to take a look at it. Two days later and no clues I decided to give finding the electrical demons another shot. I loaded up and bought all the fuses from a local advanced auto shop and went about the trial and error process of finding the electrical fault.

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    After pulling the front wiring harness apart there was a small amount of water in the harness and after er 10 more blown fuses and a role of electrical tape I called the problem solved. I was back on the road and looking to make up some time so I turned to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not an off-roaders paradise but it was a great way to switch up the roads I was on and see some amazing sights. Great camping, great road, and beautiful sights. I would highly recommend.

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    Attached Files:

    #6
  7. sanders446

    sanders446 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I'm planning on doing almost the exact same trip next summer, on a KLR even. I hope you keep updating this! Very interested to hear more!
    #7
    Retired 18Z likes this.
  8. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    Massachusetts
    Fantastic! I did the same thing this summer. Looking forward to your report.
    #8
  9. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Across the Mississippi.
    June 19th, 2019 -> June 21st, 2019
    One of the goal of my trip was to not touch a stretch of highway. I also knew that along my way across I wanted to put in a few offshoots to explore areas I had wanted to see. After following a routes for a few weeks the realization that you can meander off the line is a funny one but also intimidating to leave the comfort a route that has already been sorted. I highly suggest including a few offshoots to make the TAT more of your own ride. One offshoot I wanted to add was exploring the Ozarks and therefore being in Tennessee I had to find a way across the Mississippi on my own without a highway. This sounds trivial yet this is the scene I encoutered as I tried to make my way to a ferry crossing.

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    This would come to be the first of may road-now-river experiences I had on my way across. By then travelling north I finally found a way across where the Mississippi met the Ohio and to call these rivers is misleading. I had thought I knew big rivers... wrong. These might of well of both been massive lakes for all I knew but experiencing the engineering to build a smaller bridge across both of these was a sight not to be missed, especially when the rivers had both swelled from spring rains.
    Next stop: Ozarks and the bluest spring water I have ever seen.

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    After a rest day in the Ozarks and exploring the Ozark national river-ways park I headed west to pick up the TAT again in OK. Great roads in this country and for this side offshoot I used a Butler map to piece together a route which worked beautifully. True feelings of adventure set in as you lay out a map next to your campfire and piece together gold and ride highlighted roads.

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    #9
    Aces 6, Ginger Beard, scout68 and 3 others like this.
  10. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

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    Across OK.

    June 22nd, 2019 -> June 23rd, 2019
    Before heading out across the country I knew it had been a strong winter with deep snowpack throughout the Rocky mountains. What I did not anticipate was seeing how this type of weather had changed landscape as far south as OK. Going across OK I encountered countless times where the TAT lead to a river or lake, which at one point had been a road.

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    Beautiful road until you come around a corner and find this.... time to find another route as it looks a little deep... Road-Now-River.

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    There are homes just up the road behind me, luckily they did not look damaged as this flood has obliviously been a lot higher than it is now. Road-now-Lake.

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    This image looks back towards the flood that can be seen in the above image.


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    The advantages of standing up on the bike... You can see what is coming. This straight fast rolling road gave way to this gap, had to turn around with no way down/up and not enough raw materials to build a jump...
    OK from google maps may seem straight and flat but it had plenty of surprises. Including.... mud... I woke up after a night of rain to find that the red dirt roads had turned into a skating rink.

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    After a full morning of mud I made it down about 4 miles of the road pictured above before coming to a washout and having to turn around. It was just as fun on the way out....

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    Beautiful country.. and if you can find a calm night away from the storms you get a great landscape for camping in.
    #10
  11. ssevy

    ssevy retired and riding the backroads

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    I believe the cause of your flat tire was a spike from a snowmobile track? Here in the Adirondacks, wherever there is a snowmobile route in the winter, you can always find these when the snow melts. Unfortunately, our winters have changed to freeze/thaw cycles in recent years, and many sleds have these spikes added for traction on the icy conditions which are a result. Great to see such a self-sufficient rider solving problems on the go!
    #11
  12. SRTie4k

    SRTie4k Northeast Explorer

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    Yup, snowmobile that threw a stud and backing plate.
    #12
  13. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

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    Interesting, I had wondered about that. Tire/traction studs had crossed my mind but I couldn't come up with a vehicle that would use that big of a stud. Those studs sure are a big fan of motorcycle tires....
    #13
  14. ssevy

    ssevy retired and riding the backroads

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    Location:
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    They share many of the same backroads, at least here in the Adirondacks.
    #14
  15. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    Location:
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    Looking forward to more of this report. I'd be interested in the date(s) covered by each post.

    Thanks.
    #15
  16. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2019
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    Location:
    Livermore, CA
    Colorado Bound!
    June 24th, 2019 -> June 25th, 2019
    Exchanging the flat red dirt roads for dessert, canyons, and hills that hinted at the front range of the Rockies was a welcome bargain.

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    Yet as this adventure had taught me you always have to pay for the good time. Pulling into a gas station in Trinidad, CO a person behind me asked me what I was leaking..... I looked down and a steady stream of coolant was coming from the bottom of the plastic cowling. Oye.... I pulled into the shade and tried to come up with a plan. A quick google search turned up a shop called Topar Racing (http://www.toparracing.com/) where one of their pictures in google showed a sign saying TAT parts and service. What luck! I limped the bike over there and was met with the friendly reception of a good friend. They opened their shop to me and allowed me space to do whatever I needed. After some inspection I determined the core was cracked and the radiator needed to be replaced. Topar then helped me rush order the parts and gave me recommendations of where to camp for the night.

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    It is always rough to be de-railed from the plan that you have but I was beginning to get better at the art of re-assessing and make the best of it, suhc that you can simply enjoy where you are.

    Next day I spent the morning on a hike into the mountains without my phone so that I could just enjoy the space and not check the part tracking number every five minutes. That afternoon the part came in and back to Topar I went. Again they offered space, tools, and advice to help get me back on the road. I can not thanks them enough and HIGHLY encourage all to stop by and say hi even if you dont need any parts. The crew there are riders helping riders and were a lot fo fun to swap stories with.

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    A few hours later I was back on the road, nice and cool with a bigger radiator! My goal was to simply get up into national forest land so I could make some forward progress and find a good spot to camp.

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    CO was turning into the biggest part of the adventure yet and I had just started into the mountains! I was really looking forward to what lay in front of me.

    Attached Files:

    #16
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  17. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    A chair? Oh, sorry, your not in Utah...
    #17
  18. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

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    Grinnin,
    I have a bunch of travel notes I have been meaning to sort through. I will try to compile a map with a list of dates and stop/start locations. Keep after me for this as I have the data just have not put it together yet.
    Cheers
    #18
  19. biles430

    biles430 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Livermore, CA
    Mountains Ho!
    June 26th -> June 27th
    Colorado resulted in some of the most epic riding of the whole trip. It most certainly pushed my limits as a rider but as a reward you got amazing trails and stunning backdrops. Through the front range the TAT wound along on back dirt roads through open fields and aspen forests.

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    Then... Bam! The Rockies shoot right up and see the road heading right off into the distance directly into the towering monsters. Made me think that if I only had a wagon and no roads existed yet it makes a lot of sense why a lot of people stopped here and resulted in all the towns/cities in the front range. The first up was the trip up and over Marshall pass which would take me over the continental divide. The trail up to this point it epic. Wide double track with only a few challenging rock garden sections. Towards the top you could really start to feel the impact of elevation on a carbureted motorcycle... don't die... don't die... don't die.

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    The west side down from this point was an easy forest road to my relief as down vs up are two very different games on a loaded down bike and I could then get a chance to enjoy the scenery. I also highly recommend a stop off at Tomichi Creek Trading Post in Sargents once you get down the other side. They had nice little cabins for rent, hot showers and a full kitchen. This stop over served as a nice change up from the camping and with nothing else around the Trading post acted as a meeting point for adventures of all types, everyone with a fun story to share. Heading deeper into CO I found that my way was still blocked by snow and all of the next rounds of mountain passes where closed. I therefore had to go up and around using the million dollar highway as my route back down and between the mountains. I look forward to tackeling those mountains passes someday but know whatever route you get redirected on will serve up some amazing riding.

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    This area in the middle of the Rockies was one of my favorites, every part of adv riding was at it's best. Twisty paved roads, trails galore, dirt roads, and some amazing camping. Trevaling through this area you could also see the natural hazards that had resulted of a heavy winter.

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    Look at that slide path! Serious destructive power.

    Not a bad valley I think I will camp here....

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    #19
    chudzikb and Aces 6 like this.