"Ramble out yonder and explore the forest, climb the mountains, bag of the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that sweet yet lucid air" Edward Abbey, from my daughter's JI birthday card to this writer dated May 5, 2013.
Transplanted Florida Crackers and Louisiana Cajuns make their way to Alaska over a couple of three, four, five or more years exploring as much single track, ATV and jeep roads as possible. So much to ride…so little time…
Plan for ejtv and tbang is to ride from Baton Rouge to Denver via Louisiana and Mississippi dirt roads to the TAT. Bikes would be stored in Denver over the winter. jakbrand, dwip and A-rider aka jb would trailer their bikes from Florida and would store their bikes in Denver too. Both groups had independent plans to play in Colorado for a while, but over the course of a year exchanging reports, pictures and emails, the plans began to merge into one: starting now as one group from Moab, to explore in more detail areas we find interesting as we ride further and further west and north, minimizing pavement and gravel roads to the essential connectors only, using instead challenging jeep, ATV trails and as much single-track as possible, camping along the way.
Inspired by the "Mobius Trip" we also decided to store the bikes in mini-storage depots near major airports and fly back to our respective homes to continue our adult lives (after all, we do have wives, jobs, college, families, etc.,). Keeping the bikes in each of these hubs would allow us to have a mobile center of operations for as long as we feel it is worth our while. Once we feel the urge to move on, we will ride to the next hub via challenging and interesting terrain and repeat the cycle all over again…until we make it to Alaska, perhaps...
The completed legs and future planned legs are as follows (click hyperlink for RR, pics, etc.) along with those who came along:
1) Baton Rouge to Denver, May 2011 (scroll to third post below in this page for RR) tbang & ejtv
2) Colorado Spur South, Jul 2011 (down to Rainbow Trail and Great Sand Dunes NP) tbang & ejtv
3) Colorado Spur North, Sep 2011 (up to Red Feathers) jakbrand & ejtv
4) Denver to Moab, Jun 2012 tbang & ejtv
5) Grand Utah Roulette, Jun 2012 (tour of Southern Utah) jakbrand, dwip, tbang, ejtv & guests
6) MoToSalt 2012, Aug 2012 (Moab to Salt Lake City) jakbrand, dwip, tbang, jb, ejtv
7) Salt Lake City Spur East--Bike & Hike Sep 2012 (High Uintas/American Fork/Bountiful & Francis Peak) jakbrand & ejtv
8) SLC Spur West/South, May 2013 (The Long Way Around the Great Salt Lake, inc. Nevada + Stansbury Mnts-Little Sahara) ejtv, jakbrand, A-rider
9) Salt Lake City Spur North, July 2013 (SLC-Logan-Soda Springs-Tetons-SLC) jakbrand, ejtv, dwip and guest eh
10) SaltWash 2013, August 2013 (Salt Lake City-Spokane) jakbrand, A-rider, ejtv
11) Spokane to somewhere on the west coast, Seattle, Portland? Then back to SLC? Who knows? Summer 2014
Bottom line, we want to create our own personal rougher, muddier, sandier, rockier and steeper "TAT."
How much rougher?
How much muddier?
(All right, you can't beat TAT's northern Oklahoma mud!)
How much rockier?
How much sandier?
how much steeper?
And how good will the singletrack be?
tbang on WR 250R:
jakbrand on KTM 530EXC:
dwip on KTM 450 EXC:
A-rider on Husaberg:
ejtv on WR 250R and KTM 500 EXC:
(photos by ejtv and jakbrand)
The dirt we have ridden so far…more less, since leaving Louisiana in 2011:
(few gaps here and there...GPS not functioning for that leg)
1) Baton Rouge to Denver May 2011
May 2011 with record Mississippi River Basin flooding Monitored river flooding and crazy tornado weather in the days leading to the trip... :hmmmmm seems flooding would not affect home or work in Baton Rouge, the Morganza Spillway was to open the day we would leave...weather models showed a lingering high pressure system over the middle of the US which seemed to quiet down supercell activity in tornado alley... so we went for it!
Plan is to connect via as much dirt as possible from Baton Rouge up to the Natchez Trace, then hook up with Sam Correro's Mississippi Hill Country Trail and portions of the TAT up to Trinidad, Colorado, then head north to Denver, park the bikes in a mini-storage (inspired by The Mobious Trip), fly back home, work for a while and then fly back to denver to explore Colorado some more, maybe ride the bikes to SLC or maybe keep going on the TAT, don't know.
Here's the track we took from Baton Rouge to Denver:
And here's a picture on Rampart Range before descending into Denver with, I think, Pikes Peak in the background:
DAY 1 Louisiana & Mississippi:
Homochitto National Forest, Southern Mississippi
Lodging near Durant, central MS
One of the many ammenities in the hotel
Video summary of Day 1, about 4.5 min., once you hit play, you can click on the HD version.
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Day 2 Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas
Day 2 took us through most of Correro's Mississippi Hill Country Trail... unfortunately the helmet-cam ate :bluduh those video clips and we never stopped for pics, but believe me, it is beautiful, worth the side trip from the TAT if you have time. A little dirty, like most of Louisiana and Mississippi, unfortunately. :(:
This is already close to the TAT in western Mississippi
Lunch was usually at a gas stop. Didn't realize now a days most have these pretty good turkey sandwiches, relatively fresh...
Cows :raabia motorcycles
Then it really flattened
Crossing the Mississippi near Helena, AR. Casino underwater...built too close to the river...We only had to do two minor reroutes due to flooding today. We were concerned about the condition of the dirt roads and reroutes, but not bad at all.
First mechanical, :pissed, punctured coolant hose, luckly within a couple of miles from gas station for the other bike to go buy coolant.
Here's the culprit, the exposed black rubber hose in the WR250R's.
Here we are doing the repairs with duct tape and zipties and filling the system with coolant and water from our camelbacks.
Accommodations in Clarendon, AR, and probably the best burgers we ate the whole trip just down main street:
By this point we had done about 60-40 dirt vs pavement and were starting to get concerned about Pirelli MT21 wear.
Video Summary of Day 2, click on HD after you click play for better quality:
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Nice vids, love the music. Nothing better than the sound of the bike and the wind. I really don't like music in riding videos.
Who is the guy that keeps passing you?:D
Man, I think I recognize some of those mudholes you were going through!
Keep it coming, really enjoying your RR.
You got that right. BTW, I was born right there in BR. Still have folks living in Denham Springs.
I love the father son idea! Theres no better way to build a good relationship and teach good values than to spend time with him. Keep the vid's coming.. great stuff!
Day 3: Eastern AR to The Ozarks
Day 3 took us from Clarendon AR, in SE Arkansas, to the eastern sections of the Ozarks.
We had to do the second re-route of the trip, around the Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area just north of I-40, due to flooding of Hurricane Creek, but we got a chance at least explore inside the park.
Eventually we got to the first few hills of the Ozarks and after a couple of interesting crossings like this one,
we got to our first mountain views of the trip:
Unfortunately, the 2nd mechanical, my GPS had deleted all of the planned tracks in the Ozarks (and the rest of Arkansas). I tried a few things in the Zumo that didn't work and also called home to attempt to upload the GPX file from my home computer into my Dropbox and from there email it to MotionX to import it into my iPhone's MotionX but for some reason, my Dropbox wasn't synching from my home computer either. :dog
So after riding into the evening trying to avoid pavement as we made our way into Russellville for dinner and lodging we eventually gave up and took SR 7 south into town.
Here's the video summary of Day 3. You can adjust the quality, including up to HD, depending on your internet connection speed:
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What a relaxing ride.. no traffic to deal with.. just the enjoyment of the great outdoors and the bike :thumb
Gotta love it, 'specially the billboard preachin'! What are you using to edit your videos?
The Countour helmet cam's software and interface with the Mac is proving very unstable.
Day 4: More playing around the Ozarks
Day 4 took us from Russellville back into the Ozarks.
Obligatory stop at Oark Cafe for the best buttermilk pie ever anywhere
i-ate-too-much-stop an hour later...
White Rock, classic shots:
and this one...
I realized back home we had missed a cool section of the TAT due to the problems with the missing western Arkansas GPX file in the Zumo. And I noticed another operator error in the GPS in Alma...I failed to load a 150 mile wide swath of Oklahoma's topo map...most of the roads didn't appear on my CityNavigator...so I was hoping my tracing job on the tracks was close enough....Day ended exiting the Ozarks and spending the night in Alma, AR.
Doesn't count as a mechanical but operator error... I misaligned the helmet-cam lens so the pic recorded was sideways...so, I had to rotate it in post-production...and it looks awful, but you will at least get the sense of the place. I rode three days with this problem before I figured it out...Click on the HD version (720P) which looks a little better.
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Subscribed, and best of luck and good travels from a WRR neighbor in Lafayette ! :wave
I want to do part of the TAT next year, so I am sure I am going to enjoy your RR. :clap:clap:clap Have a wonderful adventure. I will be looking forward to your updates.
DAY 5: Alma, AR - Batersville OK
It is Bartlesville, OK...
Day 5 takes us from western Arkansas into eastern Oklahoma.
Preparing to leave motel in Alma, AR, relatively late:
Last shot in Arkansas:
We did not expect the eastern section of Oklahoma's TAT to be so beautiful. Here's the Illinois River:
As soon as we hit wet pavement, my rear slid from under me on a tight turn...our first flat tire of the trip, a nail:
Here's the video summary for Day 5. Apologies for the format again...it will be fixed for Day 7 for western Oklahoma. Video 5 takes you from western Arkansas and Devil's Den Park into eastern Oklahoma as the terrain flattens out. Lots of cows.
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By the end of the day today, between reroutes due to flooding, GPX file of Arkansas deleted, no GPS topo map of eastern Oklahoma, less than ideal navigation, tire and tire pressure choices and just lack of dirt roads, the 500 to 700 miles of pavement we hit ate away our tire tread. Not knowing the conditions for the rest of the trip, inability to find another motorcycle dealer close to our route until hitting Colorado, we ordered new set of Pirelli MT21 tires this morning from an MX repair shop in Bartlesville, OK Shep's Motorcycle to be delivered tomorrow morning...If you're wondering, Shep's seems to be the only MX repair shop in the Arkansas/Oklahoma/NM sections of the TAT. Good to know if you're planning to ride them.
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