I've been reading and enjoying ride reports for a few years now, and I thought it was finally time to contribute. There seems to be an abundance of TAT ride reports now, but since that's the ride we just did - here ya go...
My wife (kelly) and I talked about doing a ride this summer. The conversation went something like this:
Kelly: How about going to oregon, washington, and BC; stopping in portland, seattle and victoria? I'll bet with the economy the way it is, we can get some great deals on nice hotels.
a few days later:
Matt: How about doing oregon, washington, wyoming, montana, and colorado - a mix of camping and hotels?
a week later:
Matt: How about doing the TransAmerica Trail - all off-road, all camping?
Matt: (pause) Did I mention that I already bought the roll charts?
So, with less than 2 weeks of planning, we headed out to do the western part of the TAT (CO, UT, NV, OR). We have driven out to TN several times so we decided to start the TAT in colorado, where the riding starts to get challenging (sorry TN, AR, OK!). We were going to camp along the way, but we also wanted to attempt the TAT without doing the big bike by-passes. We knew that camping gear (for 2 people) makes the bike harder to manage so that morning, as we were getting dressed, we made the last minute decision to leave the camping gear behind. It was a tough call, but we hoped things would work out. We're on a KTM - what could possibly go wrong??
7/17/09 SF bay area to Beatty, NV aprox. 450 miles
We headed out via yosemite
we took a break somewhere in nevada and met a local
Beatty, NV. We stayed at the phoenix inn, soon to be the atomic inn. Nice place, nice people.
7/18/09 Death Valley aprox. 240 miles
This was our "fun" day - riding around death valley. It had been over 6 months since we had been riding, so we just wanted to get a feel for the dirt again. It would also be a chance for me to show kelly some of what she had missed at DVdaze.
We went to Rhyolite
Saw some weird art. Looks like the carpet matches the drapes!
Went through Titus Canyon
Teakettle junction. In the afternoon, things really started to heat up. The ground was smokin' hot and we were all feeling it. Climbing out of the racetrack, the bike was one bar from overheating, where it stayed most of the day.
the grandstand at the racetrack
thinking about a trade-in
We finished off the grand tour by riding through the saline valley to Panamint Springs. At lunch, we drank several pitchers of water and then started the slab back to Beatty. The air was so hot, we actually had to slow down to keep it from burning our legs. It was the weirdest thing - it was like having a hot hair dryer blowing on us at close range. Our pocket thermometer topped out at 120F, which seemed pretty hot. Later, we found out that there had been a heat wave and it had actually been 128F.
Lesson learned? Death Valley in July = bad