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Old 06-16-2013, 07:58 PM   #1
Kirkster OP
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TAT 2013, the "I’m Just Sayin…" tour

Well just a quick introduction. We started out as 3 middle aged slightly to mostly overweight guys planning a long trip, that turned into a TAT trip. Well, one of us decided that at the ripe old age of 46 he wanted to become a Daddy , so suddenly there were Two…

We spent the first of the last three years deciding on what kind of motorcycles we wanted to get. You all know the story that follows. This one’s too big, this one’s too heavy, this one has too little horse power, this one is just right. So after nearly a year of debating we finally decided on bikes.

This one’s too Big. As much as we looked longingly at the GS1200s, the 580 pounds of big machine was just too much in the end, especially after we started looking at what people were bringing on the TAT. The F800 GS looked kind of good for a couple of months but the price tag and the 450 pound wet weight kept rearing its head in our decision. Thus out went the KTM 9XX bikes also too big too heavy.

This one’s too Small. As much as we wanted to like the WR250F we are looking at 270~290 pounds of guy and gear. So we kept looking at the HP number and sighing alot. But it was a step in the right direction which was more dirt less street.

This one’s is UGH… Yes we looked at the used KLR market, heavy bikes with no power. The only plus side of that was we could just hand the title and keys to the homeless guy on the way to the airport and not feel bad about the financial loss. That being said...

This one's just Right. What we finally decided on were Husqvarna TE 610/630. The power was up there, the weight was right around 300 pounds and it was way more dirt orientated, basically just right for us. So then began the search for the TE bikes. ESP41 ran out and bought the first one he could find, which turned out to be a TE610 that he promptly spread across his garage. I was being a bit more picky and was looking for a Fuel Injection bike, as my WR450F has sworn me off of ever jetting or touching a carbureted bike again.

Unfortunately I had my little pile of cash ready just in time for Husky to kill the TE630. I looked for a new one for quite a while but gave up as they all seemed to be on the Left coast in SM form. I found an inmate in Virginia who had one for sale at a fair price, but at last minute he changed his mind.

So I started my search over again. I then decided that the KTM 690 would be just the ticket, even though ESP41 is betting I will be the first one to break down as the early 690s seem to be prone to drifting to a quiet halt (I am hoping that they cured it by the 2012 model year). I ordered a new one from my local purveyor of things for the dirt that let you do crazy stuff you would get killed doing not ordinarily do. I eventually got the bike and proceeded to put every farkel that Rally Raid made for the 690, quickly pushing the bike up in price past an F800GS…

So basically we spent the last year and a half tearing the bikes up, apart, and putting them back together stronger and faster than before. Doing test rides and basically dreaming of the day we would throw a leg over the bike and leave. In the meantime Life was doing what it does when you are busy making other plans. But we have overcome and will be leaving on Wednesday come hell or high water.

So without further ado here are the first rounds of pics.

Here are the bikes all loaded up and ready to roll



We both decided to go with the Lynx fairing for the HID and dashboard space, you will notice the KTM is missing its wind screen. It was a victim of soft ground, a kick stand, and a shed , but then I rode it without the screen and liked it better .



I decided on the Kriega Overlander 30 bags as I wanted to keep the weight down and the 690 does not have subframe to support those nice shiny Aluminum cases. I also felt I did not need the kind of room that the Giant Loop would have given me.



ESP41 had the Manual Holders which fit the MSR 30 ounce bottle almost perfectly. I was not going to use the holder but I was kind of worried about the oil leaking inside the bags if anything happened, and I am a Magnet for anything happening. Usually that anything could be prefaced with "Watch This".

The thing is those manual holders fit on the Kriega overlander like they were made to be there. So I zip tied them on.



ESP41 just had to put three of them on his bike. Show off.



So as I stated earlier we will be kicking off the adventure on Wednesday we want to hit the road at zero dark thirty to beat the DC traffic and hopefully make it down to Tellico Plains in time to check out both the Dragon (which I have been on many times with my Z) and Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters.

So here at last are the the bike pilots.



Hopefully we can provide you all with a bit of entertainment and plenty of "I'm Just Sayin..." moments while you are chained to your desks.

Here is the Spot Track which will start showing activity starting Wednesday morning bright and early. Kirkster's Spot Tracker

ESP41 will be throwing one up also but I will give him some time to tell his own story...

One more thing. We may have spent 3 years planning this adventure but besides the maps and GPS tracks from Sam, we have no clue what we are doing.
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TAT 2013 the "I'm Just Sayin" tour
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:12 PM   #2
flying.moto
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Superb!
I am so in! And really wishing to do that ride sometime soon. I am also curious about how the Lynx will fair on the ride, etc. as here is a picture from my garage as of tonight..
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:39 PM   #3
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:00 PM   #4
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In, if I could only see the pictures.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:33 AM   #5
SR1
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In!
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:37 AM   #6
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IN!!!!

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Old 06-17-2013, 06:57 AM   #7
Kirkster OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas B. View Post
In, if I could only see the pictures.
Anyone else having problems with the pictures??? My site got hacked a few years ago and was on Googles No Fly list, but that has not been a problem for a long time.

I will poke ESP41 and get him to post up...
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TAT 2013 the "I'm Just Sayin" tour
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:35 PM   #8
Kirkster OP
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Originally Posted by flying.moto View Post
Superb!
I am so in! And really wishing to do that ride sometime soon. I am also curious about how the Lynx will fair on the ride, etc. as here is a picture from my garage as of tonight..

Well after 5187 miles I can say that the lynx fairing kind of holds up well. ESP41 had the dash portion of his break due to vibration which we fixed with an aluminum backing plate and epoxy.

Mine kind of held up a bit better in the dash portion but it has stress fractures in the fiberglass fairing portion. I also have a few cracks but those can be chalked up to the crash. The crash also knocked one side of the headlight subframe out of the fiberglass and is now held in with zip ties.

I liked mine, but in the end I will change it out for the Rally Raid stuff as the dashboard subframe in the Rally Raid is made for more abuse than the lynx fairing is. It seems I dish out more abuse...
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2012 KTM 690 R
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Kirkster screwed with this post 07-29-2013 at 01:55 PM
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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Fantastic RR.......Thanks for sharing

The TAT is AWESOME!!!!!!

Scott
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:17 PM   #10
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The promised Gear post:

First our TAT trip thoughts.

1. We did not do this on a budget, we did not really camp even though we planned to do a bit more than one night. We don’t have any regrets about how we did things. We enjoyed a bed and AC after a long hard day. Kirkster managed to lose 20 pounds on the trip, even though we did not skip too many meals.

2. We were not in any sort of hurry. It took as long as it took to do the ride. We built in extra time for the potential of being sick and mechanical breakdowns. We really had another week left in the time frame but things worked out as planned.

3. Early on we decided that we would do a Ride Report. We spent a lot of time looking at other ride reports and incorporated the things we liked about other peoples ride reports. The big one being readability of the text, and lots of photography that was well captioned.

4. The other thing we decided that we would do is a live trip report as it felt right and gave people the opportunity to point things out that we should go see. If we just followed the purple GPS line day in and day out we would have missed some really memorable sights.

5. The ride report will also give us something to look back on and keep our thoughts/trip organized.

6. The inmate feedback on the ride report was always great and kept us motivated on the more challenging days (Thank You!). Not only did we not want to let each other down, we did not want to let our readers down. We have sat in our office chairs and read many a ride report, so we know how much readers look forward to each day's adventure.


Gear :

What to take

1. License, registration, bike insurance card and your health insurance card
2. Optional (Highly Recommended)- Spot locator with Search and Rescue insurance, we both had them.
3. Cash- some places out west only take cash.


The Bike:

Know your bike!! Practice changing your own tires. Give the bike a tune up. Google it’s weaknesses and try to compensate for them. Set the bike up for your weight and riding style. You will be doing roadside repairs. If you are buying an old bike, take it apart and put it back together with blue locktite.

1. Tape a spare key to the bike somewhere. Give another spare key to your riding partner.
2. Skid plate- get one. We banged ours all the time in Utah and Nevada
3. Hand guards- yes. You will be rubbing sagebrush. Get something sturdy like Highway Dirt Bikes, It will take a beating so your levers don’t have to when you drop the bike..

4. Adjust the suspension for your weight, including gear. You can get away with improper suspension till about Salida, CO, after that is gets rough.

5. Heavy duty inner tubes
6. Tires- new ones. Personal preference here. We used Dunlop 606’s. I wish they lasted longer, otherwise great off road DOT tire. Don’t underinflate your tires. You are carrying a heavy load. We ran our tires at 23psi rear, 25 psi front. Interesting enough, we found that the decrease in traction from the higher inflation made riding in gravel and sand easier. The bike floated around more but did not “stick” in the ruts as much.

7. New sprockets, chain, battery, wheel bearings before a long trip.
8. ROK straps to hold your luggage to the bike. They really work and they are a small package. Just buy them and be happy later… We put ours through some stupid abuse and they came out just fine.

9. Do a major maintenance interval to the bike before you leave (adjust valves, change oil, etc)
10. We brought along Filter Skin’s for air filters. They are like a condom for your air filter. I think used about 8 for each bike. They are easy to change. I put spare Skins in a bag of filter oil (under my seat) and toss the used ones in the trash. They are a very small package- so you do not need extra filters or filter cleaner. Out west where the dust is heavy you can count on changing them every couple days of riding.

11. Luggage- that is a personal preference. Waterproof is a good thing. Dry bag everything important if the luggage is not waterproof. Soft side luggage is highly recommended. Soft “gives” in a crash. Hard bends and breaks. We used Kreiga 15l side bags (AKA the Kreiga Overlander) and Watershed top bags. Get a tank bag for small items (Leatherman, snacks, camera, phone charger, quarters, neatly fold a couple of ZipLock bags in there for when it rains and you want to keep your camera dry. I put my Spot locator in the tank bag map pocket.

12. Comfy seat. Your behind will thank you.

13. Choose a bike that can be modified to get at least a 200 mile gas range (250 is better). Get a big gas tank to increase your bike's riding range. Carry enough extra fuel for a 250 mile range.

14. Carry a little extra motor oil for topping off (especially if you crack a case and have to repair it in the field).

15. The big bikes (KTM 990, BMW 800, etc) can do this trip if you have the skills to ride a heavy bike off road. We choose the KTM 690 and the Husky 610 because they have the power and weigh in at around 310 pounds before you throw on the gear. They are both much lighter than the alternatives. 150 lbs is a huge difference in the more challenging sections.

Clothes: For our 30+ day TAT trip
1. Nothing cotton!
2. (4) moisture wicking shirts, (4) moisture wicking underwear, and (4) pairs of moisture wicking socks. Moisture wicking clothes can be washed in a motel sink and will dry overnight. Mostly...
3. One pair convertible pants that zip into shorts. One camp shirt
4. One pair long underwear. (optional/seasonal)
5. Camp shoes (flip flops, sandals, Docksiders)
6. Shaving kit (we did not shave on the trip). Nail clippers, comb, tooth brush. Bring some aspirin- you will have aches and pains. Bring some better drugs if you can get them...

Tools:
1. Tools to patch an inner tube
2. A small electric air pump is very, very handy- worth the weight
3. A spare front tube (will work in the back in a pinch)
4. Enough tools to take most of your bike apart. No more. When you are working on your bike at home, use your travel tool kit. That way you are sure you have what you need on the road.

5. Electric and duct tape, JB Weld, epoxy glue, spare screws, many zipties (all sizes). Spare ROK straps for holding things together.
6. Leatherman multi tool came in handy on many occasions.

First aid kit:
1. Yes, get one that you know how to use
2. Hopefully you will not need it

Bike clothes:
1. Layering ability is the way to go
2. I use Klim Latitude with a ballistic jersey. When I am hot, I take off the jacket and just wear the jersey with a moisture wicking T-shirt underneath

3. Kirkster liked his all in one Klim Badlands. It is very well vented, and the protection was excellent. Kirkster says it was only hot maybe twice on the whole trip, once when it was 114° in Oklahoma and when we were stuck in the deep sand in Utah. I was damn hot in both those places as well.

4. Make sure that the outerwear you choose is water proof and vented.
5. Very well vented dual sport helmet (Arai XD4, Shoei Hornet). Sunglasses.
6. Get dual sport boots (Kirkster- Sidi Gortex Adventure; ESP41- Gaerne G Adventure). Motocross boots will provide the ultimate in protection, but they will not be good if you must walk any distance in them.

Electronics
1. Scala G9 communication system (highly recommended)
2. Garmin Montana GPS (Biiiig learning curve, but highly customizable)
3. Point and shoot cameras (We took a Canon AS2500, G1X, and a Panasonic that got replaced by another Canon AS2500 when the sand killed it.)
4. Netbook (We are using a MacBook Air)
5. Cellphone
6. GoPro or equivalent HD video camera. We found that we really should have had 2 as always watching one person gets a bit old.

Navigation:
1. Get the GPS tracks. They will make your life much easier.
2. Get the roll charts and other TAT maps for even more precise navigation and some very helpful tips about the trail and gas/food/hotel stops. Not all the info is up to date- so read some recent ride reports to get detailed info.

Camping gear:
1. Take some for safety. You never know when you will be stuck on the trail and need shelter.
2. Camping greatly increases the chances of having someplace to sleep at night. Many of the motels out west fill up very fast after 3:00pm.
3. Camping will save you money and enable you to cover more ground during the day. Especially out west, you will not longer be stuck trying to make it from hotel to hotel. You can just ride until your tired and then camp off the trail a bit. Much of the time you will be a National forest or very remote areas.

4. Get lightweight compact camping gear. It won’t be cheap, but the high resale on the good stuff will help cut the cost in the end. Get a tent with a large vestibule so you don’t have to sleep with your gear when it rains.

Miscellaneous items:
1. Extra water bladder for the desert sections (Utah into Oregon)
2. I liked the cooling vest in the desert. I wetted it in the morning and wrapped it around my ice filled extra water bladder. Then around noon, I put it on. Chilly and refreshing for 3-4 hours.


Overall costs:

5. Not counting airfare and bike transport home our lodging, meals, and fuel came in at right around $3200 ~ $3500 dollars for the both of us for 30+ days. It might have been a bit more but not much less. There were a few places that were more than a hundred a night (Moab and Salida; due to 4th of July holidays) and most places were less than one hundred dollars a night.


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Old 07-29-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
oldtrucks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esp41 View Post
The promised Gear post:

First 0ur TAT trip thoughts.
Great Ride report and Wrap Up
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:43 PM   #12
Ilbikes
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Guys, Thank You! This has been a real treat for many of us. Dirty Lloyd and I talked almost daily about your adventures and how serious we both about doing this trip. In fact, we've both bought new 2013 model 650's to make the trip - his a Honda XR650 and mine a DR650. We did a 16 day trip last year from the Carolinas to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Mesa Verde, Pike's Peak on our road bikes and spent almost that much on food and hotels, so your trip was a lot more bang for the buck.

One question I have to ask - did you carry firearms or pepper spray for wildlife or just bad folks encounters? I assumed you had to be carrying cash because you just have to. My bank shut my debit card down on a Sunday morning 1 week into the trip because of what they said was "unusual spending away from home" - yea.......I was out West having the time of my life and buying gas 3 times a day. I needed that debit card.

Regarding the bikes and fuel availability, since both bikes have a fairly high compression ratio, did selection of fuel or lack of premium (92/93) ever become a problem? Just going off memory, the Husky never experienced a flat, but Kirkster's KTM had 3 - one of those from a patch that later failed. Was that just luck or differences in tire pressure, weight?

I saw your Camelbaks, but in places you carried 6 liters each, what and where did you carry the extra?

Again, Thanks for taking us along.

Gordon
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:28 PM   #13
Philb772
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esp41 View Post
[COLOR=Lime]The promised Gear post:

First 0ur TAT trip thoughts.

[endif]-->
Not sure I will ever have an opportunity to complete a full TAT, but I have really enjoyed your ride reports and found your gear recommendations and dos and don'ts very interesting and informative.

Thanks for taking the time to post during your ride and share your travels with us, and also for the gear post and summary.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:14 AM   #14
SCflyer
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One more thing. We may have spent 3 years planning this adventure but besides the maps and GPS tracks from Sam, we have no clue what we are doing. [/QUOTE]


Don't worry. Can't say about west of OK but take your time, check out water crossings and enjoy. I did this TN through most of OK on a 990, with little dirt exp. and made it fine. I did drop it on a creek crossing but didn't look it over before crossing. Otherwise usual mud and gravel road stuff, rocky in AR but your bikes are more than capable. I used Sams tracks and they were pretty much spot on. Just be cautious...

- Some turns are actually stops but no signs or sharper than they appear
- Look ahead and or watch the speed as roads come up fast sometimes (meaning not obvious until your right on them)
- Careful through AR/OK. There are 4way dirt roads intersections without stop signs in places.
- Also, be aware of AR/OK with the gas and oil drilling. Big equipment use some of the same dirt roads.



Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:59 AM   #15
bigdon
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Bring it on!
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