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Old 12-25-2012, 11:05 AM   #60
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: High-Atop-Illinois
Oddometer: 77
Tat 101

Came upon YAHBO near the last day:

Took a truck and finally a large bicycle pump to set the front bead but got going again.

I will provide a short rundown on what I did but first Merry Christmas to all.

My plan was to do the complete TAT but met up with a couple ADV Riders at Tellico Plains. Their plan was for one to get to Trinidad and the other to ride to someplace in Arkansas. These are the guys and it worked out great sharing the lead and tag teaming the riding in the dust. Also getting across some of the deeper river crossings.

A few travel shots--Is this the right way???:

Everyone stops here---

and here

Sand in Oklahoma????

That can get you

And lovely flower lined endless gravel:

Until you look ahead and see this:

And get into a lot of this:

Just like the TransLab--a little help with a grader berm:

Leaves are at prime color:

Replenish the scooter:

A few weeks ahead I sent a couple tires(Dunlop 908's--I know they are expensive but very heavy construction along with HD tubes for this trip), two tubes, 4 oil filters, new air filter, front and rear sprockets, "O" ring chain, and a couple headlight bulbs to this Yamaha dealer in Buena Vista, Colorado. I consider this half way. Had an appointment at 8:00 in the morning and was out by about 9:30. Good guy and highly recommended.
I ran 20 psi front and 20 psi rear and didn't have a problem. I also carried a spare front and rear tube, shifter, brake lever, fuel filter for in the tank and one in-line external to the tank. Tire pump--now pay attention--you can get the compact bicycle type pump that has the end connect directly to the valve stem. I prefer the pump that has the piece of air tube that is between the pump and valve stem. This way you can put it onto the ground and put a lot of pressure on it.
Now with new rubber ready to throw some dirt. I think the first half of the TAT eats tires more than the second half due to the amount of pure gravel riding.

Passes went easy due to the low end of the KTM and the bike being real light--kinda like cheating.

But, I was more concerned about the downhills as there is no way to go but over the edge if you are going to fast. Not a place for my R1200 GSA or a bike heavier than 325 lbs.

Bring a lot of water the desert & two tracks if any will make a tough few days:

A real cattle drive with cattle & cowboy:

Looks like Elk season--300 Weatherby Mag & has to get the hide off quick because it is 102 degrees

They got this right:

More of this:

And this:

Another TAT Hot Spot--Denio Junction

A lot of fires, smoke, dust and high winds day after day with no photos as it was too tough on keeping the camera stuff protected.

Looks like the way--gee not another gate to go through:

Time for another oil change:

Highly recommended by ADV Rider Phreaky Phil so I spent the night--note the thermometer at around 95 degrees.

Problem here--my grips on the KTM took all the moisture out through my hands so I was dehydrated. Needed a 24 oz to get back to normal.

Been turned around a few times during the trip but all easy to get back oriented--until Oregon. Triple turned around, back tracked, compass, laptop, Zumo 660. Note: I already went through my Zumo 550 as it had been on some trips up the Dempster, Denali, to Prudoe Bay, Trans Lab, Newfoundland, Gaspe Penisula, etc. but went out on day two. Got a Zumo 350 sent ahead a couple days so used my backup which was a Colorado 400t. The 350 lasted two days and was a real POS and due to what Garmin said it would do wasn't even close. They sent me a 660 which I finished with. Anyway was lost in Oregon about three times. If you load you route in Basecamp and take a close look you will see the maze of logging rods to get through.
Looks like this:

The following looks easy but is really about a 4 inch layer of fine silt with rocks underneath. Better not get going too fast as some are just poking out the top. Again, I wouldn't want a big bike through here for about twenty five miles of this.

Get off the trail and go to Crater Lake

yup that is snow under the fender

OK OK I guess I will stop and help this ADV Rider

So we got it fixed and hauled ass (I mean had to keep it under 55 as the DRZ 400E is not a modern day fuel injected, six speed, lightweight, curvy road pavement pounder like the KTM 500 EXC) to Port Orford beach. I had to run in fifth myself to keep the speed down.

YAHBO headed to ship his bike home and I headed to Portland.
Couple beach shots:

Strip the bike and riding gear to send home via FEDEX

Took the bike to the terminal

Pallets look like this

Hey, a train headed east--not going to fast--I think I can run fast enough to hop on

Shit--way too fast just have to go get a ticket on the AMTRAK Empire Builder Portland to Chicago.

Train took forty hours. Had a sleeper which was great. The KTM left the terminal on a Friday and was near Chicago the next Wednesday and I picked it up on Thursday. Really happy with the terminal-terminal way of shipping. Bike was happy too as it got to ride with a few Harleys.

The weather was good as I only had a few days of rain. Could have been a game changer in some spots. Some of the passes had mist and rain which made the downhills kinda hairy.
Start with new tires, chain, sprockets, cables, brake pads, air filter etc.

Have a laptop or something with internet access--you will need it

Be able to layer your clothes as it may be 30 in the morning and 100 by afternoon.

Bring spare front and rear tubes, patch kit, pump, brake pads, shifter, brake lever, set of 2 bulbs each

Bring a set of tools to access all fasteners. I mean good tools not cheap shit. Sockets should be six point to keep from rounding off hex heads. Screw driver lengths to reach those long ones and short ones if a long don't fit.

Good textile riding gear--I used REVIT Cayenne Pro Jacket and pants with upgraded armor.

Good boots--I used Aerostich Combat Lights

If you want to go the distance of the complete TAT send out your refurb stuff (tires-filters etc) ahead so you don't have to go shopping.

Have enough range for about 200 miles. I had 250 miles and it worked out but wouldn't have wanted less.

Be in shape for a long day. With going west my body clock had me up by 4:30 am and packed and on the trail no later than 7:00am. Usually rode until about 5:30 in the afternoon.

I rode steady and at a pace I thought was safe. I ran Enduros, Hare Scrambles, and some Six Day Qualifiers for about 15 years--about 26 events per year so had ridden in a lot worse terrain than the TAT.
But the TAT can take you out easily. It is not a piece of cake.

Now the bike--I raced an Open Class (390-430-500) Husqvarna for most of the years but also had a few Penton/KTM Open bikes. On a 175/250 or smaller bike I would have been twisting the grips right off the throttle as I use the power to loft the front wheel when needed. The KTM 500 EXC was the bike for me but can also put someone in the hspital pretty quick.
One of the guys had a Suzuki DR200 that did an amazing job but was a light bike. Would be trouble in the passes. I recommend a bike no more than 350 pounds to lift off the ground when tipped or dropped in the creek. I used steering damper but that is my preference.

Again--Have a Merry Christmas
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