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Old 10-28-2012, 12:32 AM   #31
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Day 8

Woke up in Lakeview, WA and took the time to change the oil in our bikes and we did some laundry as we had a laundramat right across from the Motel. Also across from the Motel was a nice little restaurant that we decided to have breakfast at, as we let our clothes wash/dry!



The weather was beautiful and allowed us to enjoy breakfast at an outside table. This was the first and only breakfast that we were able to sit down and eat during our ten day ride! The eggs and sausage, with pancakes, was such a treat after normally downing a few cans of V-8 juice or grabbing some coffee and heading out for the day!

We knew this would technically be our last day on the TAT, as the trail would more or less officially end at/near Crater Lake national Park. From there we would hit the pavement and head home to Tacoma and Port Orchard, WA.

After packing up/putting on some freshly washed clothes, we motored our way out of town.

Pretty much every day of this trip we started our days without sore butts. However, after the first couple hours of riding, we were back to moving around in our seats to find a spot that felt more comfortable. I dont know that there is really a fix for this, as riding 10-12 hours a day on a Dual Sport bike (especially smaller ones like ours) will culminate in this occurring...unless you have transplanted a Harley Davidson seat onto your bike! It is worth mentioning as this discomfort will occurr to a different extent to virtually anyone making this trip. We discovered the advantages to standing up on the pegs when prudent, to take a break from the seat!

We headed west and into the Fremont national Forest where we enjoyed some good old Oregon gravel roads/trails. We rode some nice rolling hills and soon found ourselves riding on the kind of forested roads/trails that we were used to riding in Washington State. We rode past alot of logging operations and enjoyed milder temperatures in the 80's, which felt great in contrast to the 100 degree temperatures of the previous days.







As we gently ascended/descended these rather well groomed forest roads, they eventually yielded to some smaller gravel roads that led us to some trails that took us along and through some large power line towers that crackled with high voltage. This was a fun little diversion as it was definately a trail and it allowed us to screw around a bit like you would on a local trail ride. This section was very short and in a few minutes we were back on the gravel and found ourselves crossing a few bridges as we continued enjoying the meadows and .... a patch of forest that had seen a fire in the past year or two. It was a big patch of burned "sticks" among alot of new growth and flowers.





The riding was pretty relaxed and it wasn't long before we were approaching an old "railroad grade" that Weyerhauser (think lumber industry) had used for many years. The railroad tracks were gone, but the elevated grade, the red rock gravel and the bleached out, old railroad ties lying on either side of the elevated grade, all served as reminders that this was once a thriving rail route providing the region and the Country with lumber. I had looked forward to this stretch of the trail, as it was such a historic part of the Pacific Northwest's past. Lumber was king here for more than a hundred years, and we found ourselves riding that same historic route that the trains and loggers had travelled countless times! The grade was very cool though I found the gravel offered a bit less traction than the regular gravel we had been travelling on. We enjoyed a casual ride along this part of the trail and took a lunch break along the way. We encountered some VERY loud grasshoppers that made a noisy "clicking" sound that could be heard throughout the forest.



We found ourselves stopping for fuel in the small town of Bly (I am pretty sure this was the town...it was really just a gas station!!?) We talked to the owners of the service station for a bit, nice people. In retrospect, we had seen quite a few of these very small towns over the past week and we enjoyed them. We seem to get caught up in our larger cities, malls, stores, chain restaurants and the like, and these tiny towns slow you down/give you a more basic perspective, and the people just seem more down to earth, genuine and "real". At least that is my impression. We really enjoyed the small towns and the people that we met in those same small towns.

We headed back out and went east toward Klamath Marsh. I did not realize until we were looking at it, that Klamath Marsh was a HUGE Marsh...I had assumed it was a town! We took a few photos of this seemingly endless "marshy" terrain before we continued west towards Diamond Lake and ultimately Crater Lake.



We rode some hardball on the last leg to Diamond Lake and arrived just as the sun was setting. We were lucky enough to find a place to stay at Diamond Lake... just a hop/skip from Crater Lake. It was 8:30 pm or so, and we decided we would call it a day and get a bite to eat...saving Crater Lake and the Rim Drive for tomorrow, before heading north and home.





We reflected on the trip we had all but completed and laughed about how difficult it was to properly remember the towns and the experiences in the right order! We reflected on that strange but common experience... of being closer to home and thinking less about the TAT and more about things waiting for us when we arrived home. It is a transition that happens to me everytime I go on vacation or travel some distance away from home...Always wishing the trip would have lasted longer....

More to come.

Ken

Rx4Pain screwed with this post 10-28-2012 at 01:09 AM
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:17 AM   #32
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:06 PM   #33
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Day 9

We awake to a beautiful morning and are quick to head out to Crater Lake National Park. It is pavement all the way there, and it takes us perhaps 30 minutes to get there. It is cool in the morning, but sure to be hot in a few hours so we enjoy the cold wind on our faces as we arrive at the Park.



We stop for a few photos at the first opportunity and Jim is quite impressed with the lake and it's views. It is a special place, well deserving of a detour. It is the Nation's 5th oldest National Park and at 1,943 ft, it is the deepest lake in the United States, and the 7th deepest lake in the world! It is literally surrounded by a continous ridge that forms a crater around the lake. The sheer ridge reaches as high as 2,000 feet. It is also the "bluest" lake water I have ever seen!



We decide to do the "Rim Drive", which takes you completely around Crater Lake. This is the third time I have been to Crater Lake, but it is the first time that the "Rim Drive" has been open while I was there! It is a rather small window in which there is no snow keeping the drive closed.

We make our way around the Lake and while we are not in a hurry, we waste little time taking a few photos from the touristy parking lots/view area and moving on. The photographer side of me yearned for more time during this entire trip. We had such great opportunities to take creative photos, different vantage points etc...but we simply felt compelled to make decent time as we rode. Besides, morning and evening light are generally considered the best, and it would have proved difficult to perfectly time being in a beautiful spot during those hours....but I digress.



One photo we were able to take while touring Crater Lake, showed an old Field Camera (think 8 x 10 film plates...like Ansel Admas might have used) setup for an east to west shot of the Lake. It was interesting taking a picture of a camera set up to take a picture...but it was a great shot!



We posed for one last shot near the end of our trip around the lake. It would signify the end of our TAT ride, as from here on out we would ride asphalt to get back home in a timely manner. The shot simply shows Jim and I (with me pointing at the TAT Sticker) and my trusty mule...the Super Sherpa. A nice German gentleman was kind enough to take the photo.



We said goodbye to Crater Lake and headed west towards Interstate 5.

We took a bit of a detour onto a primary road that would lead us north/northwest vs a straight shot west to I-5. It was a nice, winding primary road that was quite enjoyable. A few deer her and there, nice pace, very little traffic. We took this out to I-5 where we crossed over to the west of the Interstate and picked up old Highway 99. (used before I-5 was completed)

We rode Highway 99 north for the remainder of the day, until we found ourselves having to get onto I-5 to cross over from Portland, Or...to the state of Washington. We made it into Vancouver, WA before deciding that we had better stop for the night (9pm) vs riding tired...on I-5 North...at night. Hwy 99 stops here and we would be forced to complete the remaining 120 miles or so on I-5. This is a fast and heavily travelled portion of I-5 and being as light as we were, we would need to be fully awake/aware to safely ride it with two, 280 lb bikes!

We found a motel and got a late dinner...as we listened to some of the worst karaoke I have ever heard...and it was loud...who the hell picked this restaurant....I am gonna blame Jim...even if its not true!

We turned in for the night, fat and happy...our TAT trip pretty much complete. I sent the daily "text update" to those that had given us their number.

More to come.

Ken

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Old 11-13-2012, 11:03 PM   #34
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Day 10 (Final Day)

We sleep in a bit this morning, enjoying the comfortable Motel room that cost us mmore than we really wanted to pay! (Most expensive one of the trip, as it was in an urban area) We head out for Tacoma and Port Orchard (some 40 miles west of Tacoma) on Interstate 5. We are prepared for the Interstate traffic but we stick to the right lane and do about 55-60 mph...pissing off plenty of drivers that have to go around us. We take the dirty looks in stride as we make our way north.

We had plenty of time to reflect on the trip and I am sure Jim was going over the trip in his head, as I was. We couldnt get too lazy though, as the Interstate was no place to daydream when you are on such small dual sports!

It is only a couple of hours and one fuel fill up, before we are riding into the familiar outskirts of Fort Lewis...then Lakewood, then Tacoma. Jim and I had agreed to simply part ways unceremoniously when I hit the exit that would take me back to my home...and it wasnt long before we were approaching that exit.

I hit my exit ramp and waved to Jim as he headed another 40 miles or so home.
I rolled up into my driveway a few minutes later, glad to be home, but a bit sad that the trip had ended. I made that transition from "aloof and adventerous" to "family guy and responsible" as I came through the front door. It was good to be home.

My family seemed less excited about my having completed the trip, than I was. They are a bit more grounded and "homesteadish" than I am I suppose. I had stories to tell and pictures to show, but I tempered my desire to do so immediately, waiting to ease into it a bit later. They were glad to see me home safe though. I wondered if Jim had the same experience. (He later told me that it was similar at his place!)

Some afterthoughts about the trail:

What a great trail and route! Thanks Sam for inspiring many of us to get out and see the Country in this way! And thanks to those who posted their adventures, to further inspire people like me to get out and do it vs. just reading about it!

Colorado? In a word...ELEVATION! The trail in Colorado was simply fantastic, the terrain and mountains and woods, were beautiful. I will not even try to describe the incredibly high, and breathtaking passes we climbed and stood atop of. You simply have to ride Colorado!

Utah? In a word...COLOR! Completely different, yet beautiful in its own way. The contrast that one experiences riding from completely different climates and terrains...one to another, were incredible, especially from Colorado into Utah. Utah's reddish views and vistas were a photographers dream. The colors, the canyons, the riding in Moab...again, incredible...and a "must do".

Nevada? In a word....HOT! I got tired of Nevada quicker than the other states, but...to be fair...(and in hindsight) it was likely more due to our having to make "good time" on the trip than the continous and sometimes boring terrain that seemed to rarely change. Had we allowed ourselves more time to look around, stop and re-route to some places we did not have time to do, it might have been more enjoyable. But we would have spent even more time eating and plowing thru "bug dust"!

Oregon? In a word...TREES! Back to the woods and trails that I am familiar with here in the Northwest. This is beautiful country with some old growth woods and rolling hills. Crater Lake is a must see for anyone that has not been there, and is a worthy "side-trip" for sure. Not having done the ride to the ocean, I cant comment on it other than to say I am sure it is a wonderful and scenic ride. Certainly the ocean coming into view and the making it to the beautiful Oregon Coast (with which I am very familiar) is awe-inspiring if you have not been there.


Some afterthoughts about ride preparation:

Other than not checking Jim's rear tube, (because it was new...lesson??? check it anyway!!) we went thru the bikes really well. We really missed nothing, other than the weight and leverage we should have noticed when loading the rear rack on Jims KLX. I think this was a result of getting the bike so close to our deadline, and not using it/riding it for its intended purpose, prior to making the long trip.

New tires....I recommend new tires and we both really liked the Pirelli MT-21's.

Tools? We basically went by the "Rugged Rider" tool list (Do a Google Search) and were quite over-prepared. When we had a major issue (broken frame) it was tent poles that saved the day, not so much the tools. Certainly there is a peace of mind gained by bringing a comprehensive set of tools etc and I would take the same tools on a similar trip. It was interesting though, that ingenuity and imagination is as helpful in emergencies as hardware. It reminded me of some of the stories of Pioneers and their imaginative methods of surviving breakdowns and the like. Everything you take with you can be a tool. Below is a photo of the tools i took, laid out prior to packing.




Some afterthoughts about gear:

Gear? Well we did not get a chance to use our tents sleeping bags etc., as we shipped it all back and Motel'ed it after the frame breaking on Jim's bike. We certainly would have liked tenting it in some of the beautiful and out of the way areas we found ourselves in. We had good, light camping gear...we just did not get a chance to use it.
Jim rode with a helmet and gloves....period. I rode with zip up chest/shoulder/elbow/spine protection, knee pads and a helmet and gloves. I am not as skilled a rider as Jim, and I am ten years older. I took it on good advice to wear it. I was told even if I fell only once...as it might pay dividends...vs a shoulder, elbow injury etc. The one time I fell...on a steep downhill with a deep rut...I landed square on my left shoulder. I was glad I had the protection.

Jim wore black BDU'ish pants and a coolmax shirt each day. I wore a long sleeve, coolmax shirt and black "Bilt" convertible riding pants. Both worked great...and I recommend long sleeves in Utah and Nevada in August!

Boots? Jim wore black, leather mid height boots and I wore leather "logging" style boots. (14")
Neither of us like the MX style riding boots as we feel they are not as flexible as we would like, and we could walk around in these boots as well. We both brought a pair of cheap sandals.

We both had one spare set of under clothes and socks, and a pair of shorts. No need for more.

Neither of us took rain gear. I brought mine and left it with Randy in Colorado Springs...thinking I could brave it. Well, we did brave it at/near Cinnamon Pass, where we got drenched. We were a bit cold...but the temps in August were mild enough that we dried out and suffered no ill effects. If I did it again, rain gear comes along...if for no other reason than emergencies sake.

Rear Racks? The "Kristen's Rack" that I was able to get before the trip worked flawlessly. It never loosened, it was strong and it mounted in a way that takes advantage of the rather beefy frame of the Super Sherpa.

GPS? You need to take at least one GPS unit. It was invaluable to us in confirming routes and positions when the roads were re-named etc. Jim brought along a Garmin 60-CSx. It worked most of the time. I think any GPS with mapping will do fine, if you are using it to simply confirm navigation using the TAT roll maps etc. If you are using GPS as a "point to point" tool where you have laid in all the turns and coordinates...you might need something else.

Seats arent really "equipment"...but lets talk seats. I am unsure if you can get a seat for a 250cc dual sport that will be heavenly comfortable for 2100 miles....if you find one, let me know! Having said that, I will likely be giving Seat Concepts a try. I had modified my seat, and it served me well...would have served me better if I had stood up more. My suggestion? Take a ride of 150 miles over the course of 10 hours and make adjustments, cut down places where it rubs...is too wide...or too soft. Seats are so subjective...just make certain you are reasonably comfortable with yours and try to stand say...20 percent of the time to give your butt a break!

Cell phones? Take one each. I got service virtually everywhere with my "pay as you go" T-Mobile phone...Jim not so much with his Nextel. It is nice to let folks know you are ok...you can send text updates each night to keep people in the loop...even if they dont send till the next day as you ride thru a sevice area...and might help in an emergency.

Cameras? Hmm..I wanted soooo bad to take my DSLR, so that I could be more creative and take advantage of it's broader settings and exposures, higher quality and depth of field especially. But, I did not want to have the bulk...did not want it ruined by dust..did not want to have to pack it up/unpack it each time a photo oportunity presented itself. I also knew I may never pass this way again, so I wanted the best shots I could get. I decided to take an older, Canon A-630 compact camera. Jim took a Canon A-720 compact. These were competent point and shoot cameras, and other than shallow depth of field, could pull off similar photos to the DSLR...while being very compact. A half a day's ride in...we both realized that simply keeping these in our pocket would significantly reduce the time it took to stop, grap a photo or two, and get back on the trail. We travelled with the cameras in this manner the rest of the trip. We captured video of wild horses running along the trail in front of us by reaching into our pockets as we rode and shooting video on the fly! (I dont recommend this officially!) The convenience outweighed the quality in my opinion. The photos you have seen posted here were all un-edited and from these two cameras. All were hand held and some even taken on the fly.

Hydration? I used a newer "Geigerrig 700" pressurized hydration system, and Jim used the trusty "Camel Back". As hot and dry as it was throughout the trip these were considered ESSENTIAL. Ours were both 2 litre water capacity setups, and there were a couple times I wish I had 3 litres. The Geigerrig is a fairly new system that incorporates the ability to use air pressure to "pressurize" the bladder, so that when you chomp down on the bite valve, the water comes out under pressure, so you dont need to "suck" it out. The backpack itself is high quality and I REALLY enjoyed using mine. If you havent seen one, they are worth checking out. We both stowed a spare water bottle or two even after filling up our hydration packs. We also had iodine for purification, should we need to gather our own water...turns out we never had to purify our own, but its good to be prepared. I was out of water once or twice for a couple of hours during the trip. I would recommend a 3 litre bladder in hindsight.

That about sums up the "Gear" comments!

Some afterthought about our bikes:

Motorcycles? We had a blast on our little 250cc/300cc bikes! We loved that we were light and manueverable. They were fine on pavement at50-60 mph even for long stretches. Other than Jim reconfiguring his gear, to avoid the overloaded rack/frame...these bikes were more than up to the task of this Western TAT. The Super Sherpa proved a dependable and very capable little mule. DO NOT be afraid to go with a well prepared, smaller bike....thats my opinion.

Spare Fuel Cans? I took a 30 oz fuel can. Jim had brought a 1 gallon with him, but sent it back home after the frame incident. We never used spare fuel. We came within 10 miles or so of needing it...but never had to use it. I feel like these small displacement bikes gave us a bit more distance per gallon than many of the larger adventure bikes would. I would still take mine...just in case. I averaged around 60-70 mpg on the Super Sherpa. Sometimes 75 mpg.

People? This trip was great with two of us and would be even more fun with 3 or 4. It is like camping...the more the merrier. Jim and i never had a cross word...or a significant disagreement. I think being compatible with the people you travel with is important. A structured set of daily interests, stops, goals etc helps keep things on track...and most importantly...an open mind as to routes, detours and riding etc...being able to change things up...being flexible is very important with these trips.

I wrote most of this so that people could benefit from my personal experience and opinion, as I learned from reading other posts. I hope some of you have enjoyed and gained some insights from this ride report.

I look forward to doing it all over again...in another place, another time!

Ken

Rx4Pain screwed with this post 12-15-2012 at 02:55 PM
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:38 AM   #35
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Thanks for the additional information, Ken. Really enjoyed reading this one.

Cheers, Rob.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:34 AM   #36
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What a fantastic, eye-opening report. Thank you so much for coming back to finish it and for sharing it with all of us!
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:49 PM   #37
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Thanks guys, doing these ride reports after coming home and getting busy with life was not as easy as I thought! I wanted the report to have some thoughtful perspective as well as give a descriptive accounting of the trip. What I found was that I had to be "in the mood" to write...lest I not present the ride report in an enthusiatic way.

This took alotttt longer than it should have...but...it got done!

The first three weeks I was back, I was consumed with putting together a Video showing our TAT Adventure. We set our photos in chronological order, included some video clips and set it to the Bon Jovi tune...."Its My Life". It was completed before I was able to finish this ride report. I will try to get it uploaded/linked here, as it is a fun way to see our trip.

Ken
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:02 PM   #38
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Man you boys were boogieing along ! Battle Mnt to Lakeview in 1 day

Nice report fellas, enjoyed it!
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:34 PM   #39
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nice rr

I just kind of browsed through your ride report right now but am definitely going to go back and read it in more detail later. I just did the CDT for a month this summer with my dad, brother, and family friend and we got a few of the same pictures you did (in particular that I saw were Marshall pass and the Gods Ride bike.) Our family friend wants to go do the CDT again in 2014, I've been contemplating pushing a trip to just Moab, but this convinced me otherwise that we should leave from SF again, go to NM, shoot up to where you started, and then do the TAT. Too bad we were a month off or we might have run into you guys at the spots our trips intersected. But between you and me, you probably picked a better month to travel (we got rained on/ saw water fall from the sky every day form June 30th to about July 27th ).
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:43 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rx4Pain View Post

Some afterthoughts about the trail:


Ken

Very cool of you to take the time to write that up. Add it to the list of reasons that I really enjoyed this RR.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:37 PM   #41
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Docking Pilot....I looked back at my texts I sent daily...Battle Mountain to Lakeview was our longest day...299 miles, about 130-140 on pavement/reroute. That WAS a long day!!

Ken
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:39 PM   #42
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Thanks for the feedback to those of you that enjoyed the report!

Ken
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:39 PM   #43
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I really enjoyed your report!
I did the eastern section of the TAT a couple years ago with two other friends and had a blast. We took a different approach to the ride as most, we set out with no time limit whatsoever. One day I think we only rode 40 miles
We took 2 weeks to make it to CO from TN, and although it's considered the "boring" half of the trail, we really had a great time and some good adventure. Your ride report makes me want to finish the trail even more than I did before!

Thanks for taking the time to write it up, it's a very well written and descriptive ride report.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:29 PM   #44
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Great ride !! Good report too, w forthright comments about your experiences. All who have ridden the western TAT relate to it in their own way, often in the context of what kind of country they are used to riding

The link to this report was forwarded to me by a fellow in Conn. who rode the TAT w me in 2009 - on his super sherpa. I've ridden from Colorado to Oregon on the TAT a few times and, being from New Mexico, I have to say I found the Nevada section of the TAT the biggest hoot of the ride. I've always ridden this route in July, which produces daily temps of around 100 degrees in Utah & Nevada. Staying hydrated is as important as having fuel for the bike.

I prefer smaller bikes as well for these rides - along w packing extra light. I've always have ridden a DRZ400 out and back.

Good show ! Glad you decided to ride the TAT.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:53 PM   #45
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Really enjoyed reading your R/R and as others have already said, the photos as well. I was also happy to see your comments on your gear and your bike. Hope someday to ride the TAT on my XT225. Thanks... Steve
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