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Old 05-22-2013, 09:00 AM   #16
mpgmr OP
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Old Glamis Crew

Hey! Welcome aboard.

Good to hear from you guys. I still have the TRX 250R quads from our dunning days. I haven't been to the dunes (CA, UT or OR) in years. Maybe we should do a reunion?!

How about a Continental Divide, an Alaskan Artic Circle, or Four Corners ride? Chuck and I will likely finish the TAT (TN-OK) next year, any takers? I would also like to do a mostly camping, no time constraints CO-OR TAT ride in a couple of years. Lots of beautiful scenary along the TAT, need to take the time to enjoy it.

Keep well my friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyr View Post
subscribed. Looking forward to the story by Gary "The Lone Dune Rider" and his side kick Chuck. A shout out from the old Glamis crew in Hemet, Sam, Todd, Mike and Kevin.
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'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:07 AM   #17
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Bdr

The BDR that Rally_West is referring to can be found at http://www.backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com/
Butler maps can be obtained at http://www.butlermaps.com/
I have yet to ride any BDR routes or use their files or Butler maps but thank you for the heads-up, Rally_West.

Back to the TAT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rally_West View Post
The BDR crew has the GPX files for you to DL from their webpage. You can still donate and participate in the program in other ways. Always smart to have a backup (not a second GPS) and know how to use it. Butler maps are recommended for the BDR rides.

I know not TAT, but still epic offroad, cross-state rides.
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'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:04 PM   #18
CactusChuck
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Day 2 of the "Seven More Days" TAT ride

Howdy...Cactus Chuck here...Gary's youngest brother and TAT Ride #2 partner. Day 2 had us riding from the Border Inn (Hwy 6 & 159), through Preston, NV (126 miles...first sign of civilization and gas/food), to Eureka, NV. Since this was a 215 mile day, we got up early and were on the road by about 7:00am. For those who haven't done a ride like this, give yourselves at least an hour to get ready in the AM (that assumes you showered the night before and don't eat breakfast), but more likely 1.5 hours to get suited-up, the bikes loaded, roll charts populated, checked out of the motel, grab a snack, and move-out.

Since we are fairly experienced TAT riders now...having completed 2/3 of the adventure, Gary and I like to post tips here an there. One tip I can offer is to invest in a good bike-to-bike intercom system. Gary and I were always "connected" via our ScalaRider Q2 Multiset intercom system, and it is very nice to warn, discuss, recommend, or otherwise just chat during the ride. I can say that I can't offer glowing recommendations for the ScalaRider since it was hard to synch the two units at times, and the range is somewhat limited (line-of-sight...1/4 mile), but the rechargeable batteries did last all day (10-12 hours), and the clarity was good at close range.

Day 2 started out fairly uneventful. We made good progress in the beginning, but as it turned out to be a recurring theme each day, if you like (or don't like) the condition of the road/path you are on, ride on for 5 minutes and it will be completely different. That's one of the exciting things about a ride like this...ever changing road/path condition. In some cases, as we found early on day 2, and then late that afternoon, that "path" can be a bit hard to find and/or follow if you are the first TAT riders of the season. That certainly seemed to be the case for us...we didn't see any M/C tracks the entire trip, and there were obstacles that hindered or halted our progress that may be cleared up by the time the next TAT riders venture through (particularly in Oregon where we hit snow and downed-trees across the road). An example of how faint the TAT trail can become over the "off season" is shown in the picture below.




Note that riding through NV can be a very lonely, yet reflective adventure at times with many miles of high desert riding, but it is also interspersed with some exceptional beauty as the elevation rises to meet scrub oaks, junipers, and some very interesting geologic formations. Again, what you will see on the TAT ride through NV is something that relatively few people have/will ever see. Like Gary said, over 1,400 miles and we only saw two other vehicles (other than when we hit the towns for gas/sleep). Through NV, I don't think we saw anyone, and we could "see" for many 10's of miles at times, except for this one TAT rider who apparently had bike trouble last year, and decided to lay around for a while!



Again, if you don't like the terrain you are riding through at the moment, just travel a few miles, and you get to see something quite different. That was certainly the case in NV. The highest part of our ride over the 7 days was on this day at Lone Pine Summit (NV TAT Mile 113.39) at 8,512' (still snow on the ground in shaded areas). Note the elevation on the "car" gps that I also attached to my handle bars (don't laugh...it came in handy several times)!




After traveling through some very pretty mountainous terrain, we finally made it to Preston, NV, where we had to get gas several miles north of town at Lanes Travel facility (one gas pump...coffee shop has been closed for years), then had a bite at Whipples Country Store (essentially the only place to eat in Preston).



After lunch, we had about 88 TAT miles to go to Eureka, NV, and a cushy Best Western suite. However, even though this day was proceeding nicely, some interesting experiences were to come. At one point late in the afternoon, about 30 miles from Eureka, we essentially "lost" the trail. It was already sketchy to begin with, and it just "died out". Well, since the sun was getting a bit low on the horizon, we felt impelled to "actively" search for the track. At one point, I stopped to survey the area, and Gary pulled up behind me. I then proceeded forward to continue our search for the trail when Gary "bellowed" in my ear "Holy $#!%"...you almost stepped on a rattlesnake! Sure enough, a pretty little western diamondback was only a few feet from where I put my left foot down when I stopped!! That would have been a really bad situation...a snake bite...can't find the trail...and many miles from anywhere. Another tip...watch where you put your feet when you stop! We saw several other snakes along the road in NV as well, but they were harmless garder snakes (we moved them off the road so they wouldn't get hurt...Gary and I both love snakes).

One other interesting thing we saw before the end of this Day 2 was an old homestead replete with a dilapidated rock home, a few out-buildings, and a very cool corral made from local timber (see below).



Well, that's it for Day 2...didn't get into Eureka until nearly 7:00pm...that's cutting it too close to running out of light. Tomorrow promised to be even tougher with the longest day at 266 miles!! Gary get's to describe that ride in his next post!

Until Day 4...Ciao!

Cactus Chuck
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #19
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Seven More Days on the TAT (Day 2)

I view our TAT ride, and this write-up Charles and I offer on ADV Rider, akin to a tag team wrestling match. When a problem was presented to one or the other of us on the ride the other guy would most often step up without being asked and offer assistance to help resolve the issue. Since Chuck and I approach life from different perspectives, so too do we approach this write-up of our ride. I think both of us sharing our experiences on this ride adds value and depth to the thread. Thus I am going to jump in and give my perspective of Day 2 as well (see also the previous post by Charles regarding Day 2).

Before retiring for the night at the Border Inn, we had agreed to meet outside and start packing the bikes at 6:15 AM and be on the road by seven or before. We had agreed to a continental type breakfast to save time. As it happened I was awake by 3:30 AM and so spent time going over the ride map and repacking equipment. I checked the hole made in the right pannier yesterday and the stick had gone through the outer, heavy fabric of the bag, the heavy plastic inner lining, and ripped a small hole in the sleeping bag cover. It did not appear that the sleeping bag was itself damaged but I did not take it out to verify. I was not about to replace the bag while on the ride so why re-stuff it. All I can say is that I am glad it was the pannier that was punctured by the stick and not my leg. I mentally note that I will have to give such obstacles wider clearance in the future.

After getting the bikes packed up and room keys turned in, we ate our abbreviated breakfast outside while enjoying the early morning. In short order we were back on our bikes and headed to meet the scheduled, third longest (in miles) riding day of 215 miles. The route for today is shown below with the general plan to get around the Great Basin National Park by riding South, heading West and then North to Preston/Lund for lunch and continue Northwest to Eureka for the night.



Riding the first few miles of Day 2, we retrace a small portion of our Day 1 route. We shortly turn South/Southwest and head out to the Snake Range of the Great Basin National Heritage Area. Late in the first hour of our ride we are going 50 mph down a dirt road when I spot a gopher snake in the road. Chuck, taking a different line, had missed it so I broke radio silence and informed him of my find. He comes back and moves Eve’s antagonist off the road. It is a nice, healthy specimen. Here is a pic of us shortly after finding the snake about 28 miles into the day’s ride with the Great Basin Nation Park peaks in the background.



On we ride with a constantly changing ride. As Chuck opined, “If you don’t like the ride, just wait a few miles and it will change.” We ride barely visible trails, rocky roads, fast graded roads, sandy washes, and about everything in between. We see antelope off in the distance and came across a couple of sheep and cattle ranches. Here we are due South of the Park about 51 miles into the day’s ride.



And looking South



As we headed around the West side of the Great Basin National Park



the TAT had us circumnavigate an old TAT route which apparently consists of deep sand and single track. Chuck’s KLR does not do sand well and I didn’t want to struggle through it so we take Sam’s advise and head North to Highline Road. On the back (West) side of the Great Basin National Park I snap this pic of Wheeler Peak (12,992’) before we head West on Highline Road.



Now here’s a heads-up on this section of the TAT. If you go around the old route you will need to go up to Highline Road then over to highway 93 and pick up the TAT route again at odometer reading 91.17. You then reset your odometer to 77.77 to keep the NV state TAT mileage consistent with the old route. When I calculated the number of miles for the day (and distance between the Border Inn and Preston/Lund, the next gas) I did not factor in the lost, but ridden, 13.4 miles. This go around made the ride to the next gas at Preston a 140.07 mile ride rather than a 126.67 mile ride. You better be aware of this if you are cutting it close with your gas supply. Our longest between gas stations segment was supposed to be 147.26 (Day 3: Battle Mountain to McDermitt) and my DRZ has a range of 250 miles (with auxiliary gas container) so I was not concerned but I would advise taking a bike with at least a range of 175 miles for the NV and OR portion of the TAT.

At odometer reading 91.17 (now 77.77) we head into the Schell Creek and Egan Range of mountains. This is a pretty ride, in fact we have been pleasantly surprised at how green the flora has been today, so it has all been visually appealing with scenic snow capped mountains and broad plains. As Chuck mentioned in his post, we hit our highest point of the TAT 2013 ride at Lone Pine Summit with an elevation of 8,512 feet. Here are before and after views while at Lone Pine Summit.





From Lone Pine Summit it is a quick downhill to gas on highway 318 by Preston, NV and a short ride to Lund where we snag lunch. If you are ready, here is some additional advice. If you are pressed for time, as we certainly are on this segment of the TAT, do not waste time with a 'sit down' lunch. We wasted about an hour in Lund getting something to eat when we should have grabbed something off the shelf/cooler and been out of the store/restaurant. We will pay for this later in the day.

After lunch we wheel out of Lund and back through Preston to get on the TAT. I am not feeling that well after a lunch that was more oil and grease than substance. After about 15 miles I have to get off the bike and walk around a bit to settle my stomach. Eventually my digestive system calls a truce and we are on the move again. The approximately 40 miles of the TAT which meanders through the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest is, in my opinion, some of the prettiest and most fauna populated portion of the TAT I have ridden. I could happily go back and spend a week in the area, at least at this time of year. We saw elk, deer, and wild horses and our second highest elevation of 8,440 feet. A very neat area.

The ride after Humbolt-Toiyabe to highway 50 was nice but the adventure was about to begin. I am pretty sure that the area Chuck spoke about in his post was the area off highway 50 at the TAT NV 192.95. Strangely the TAT route was also evident on Chuck’s auto GPS unit but we repeatedly lost and found the trail. At one of the head scratching stops Chuck puts his left foot down while we discuss the situation over the intercom. He then motors off 50 yards or so in search of the route. As usual I am the tail gunner so I wait to see if he finds the trail in the direction he rides when for some reason I look down and there is a 2-2.5 foot Western Diamondback Rattlesnake about 10 feet in front of me and about 4 feet from where Charles put his foot down. The snake had its head under a coil of its body so maybe Chuck even rode across it before coming to a stop. I yell into the intercom for him to get over here and see what he almost had attached to his boot. After surveying the situation Chuck rides back to where he found the trail and I ride forward just when the rattler slithers across my path. I go lightly on the throttle not needing to throw the snake up into the bike with the rear wheel. Fun stuff.

So we make it to highway 893 and the TAT calls for us to travel about 16 miles past Newark Summit in Newark Canyon to get into Eureka. With the sun near the horizon and the lost trail just behind us we decide not to get stuck traveling the TAT at night. So we head South on the 893, get on the 50 and ride the 16 asphalt miles to Eureka. Our bail off the TAT was because we were trying to do too many miles in too little time with too many slow/difficult and scenic sections and too many stops, particularly for lunch. That said, due to the remoteness of the TAT in sections and the fact we had not seen a moving vehicle on the dirt portion of the TAT all day long we vowed that there was no way we wanted to traverse the TAT in the dark and thus set a curfew for ourselves of 5ish PM. This would give us time to fix a flat, find our way and still get in to our motel for the evening.

Of course, simply arriving at the Eureka Inn is only the start. There is check in, luggage and equipment to drag up to the room, preventative wrenching on the bikes, securing the bikes, get showered up, getting dinner, getting back to the motel, and checking in with the wives. Seems that there is a car show in town and there are some nostalgic rides in the parking lot. So of course we had to chat with the owners but by about 9:00 the town, except for some enjoying ethanol in excess, was pretty well buttoned up. After getting back to the room we pour over the maps for Day 3. Charles was able to get our laundry done for a $10 gratuity, hmm, which reminds me, I probably still owe him the $5. I am shortly out like a light. Another great day on the TAT with some 231 miles ridden.
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'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

mpgmr screwed with this post 05-23-2013 at 09:32 PM
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:35 PM   #20
Bob
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Thanks for posting your trip.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:27 PM   #21
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Seven More Days on the TAT (Day 3)

My iPhone alarm goes off at 5:45 AM and even though I am beat, due to yesterday’s long ride, I get up and head for the shower without pushing the snooze button. I feel a bit guilty that Chuck had to sleep on the roll away in the ‘living room’ of the suite but I offered to flip him for it (he declined, mumbling something about my age, physical condition, socioeconomic status, looks, etc.) and he was in charge of the accommodations so, there it is. Now watch, Chuck will insist I reserve accommodations for TAT-3 next year.

Last night we had decided that particularly today, a proposed 266 mile ride, we would need bailout points and routes. Charles had stayed up long after I was sawing logs and poured over the maps and came up with some suggestions. I would have preferred to ride the TAT route religiously but based on our seven-day schedule, the long distances between accommodations/gas, and yesterday’s experience, a 266 miles dirt ride involving miles of technical or medium to advanced riding skills during daylight hours at a sane rate of speed and an hour or so leeway to fix a flat would be very difficult for us. Now if that 266 mile ride were over maintained gravel roads then no problem, but Sam would never allow 266 miles of gravel roads and frankly it would likely be very boring. Sam would be honor bound to throw in miles of soft dirt, deep sand, rocky single track, mountains and valleys, disappearing roads, and rattlesnakes. Our primary goal is to finish the ride without getting injured while stopping to smell the flowers, as desired. Riding from 5:30 in the morning to after 7:00 at night is not in the cards for us, thus we have to be ready to bail from a ride depending on how the ride is progressing time-wise. As it turns out there are not a lot of bailout options due to the remoteness of the TAT route. So it does take some planning, which is where the AAA maps, TAT maps, GPS maps, and Road and Recreational Atlas maps we brought, particularly the latter, were very helpful.

We eat the hotel’s limited breakfast fare downstairs, get our bags packed, don our off-road warrior outfits, and start loading up the bikes. The guys from the car show are loading up as well and several of them have their rides idling in the parking lot. One mental midget drives his vintage Vette under the overhead connecting structure to the hotel’s main entrance and it sits there fast idling for at least 10 minutes while this idiot goes back and forth into the hotel. Unfortunately we are packing near the connector at the Vette’s south end. It is not so much the fumes but the nearly open exhaust noise, which must be really loud in the hotel lobby that becomes really aggravating while fighting panniers and bungee cords. Some people are just inconsiderate ‘asshats’. Finally he learns how to put the Vette in gear and we are able to finish packing and chat amiably with some of the other car club members.

Finally we’re off. We had filled the bikes up with gas when we arrived in town last night so we are immediately back on the TAT. Here is our Day 3 ride map:



We ride out of Eureka on highway 50 for 7.08 miles then turn off onto a dirt road which heads generally West Northwest. We ride over the sandy, powdery dirt road of the large Kobeh Valley, through the Three Bar Ranch, across the Simpson Park Mountains on a rockier up and downhill gravel road (which has just been bulldozed), skirt Grass Valley with sand, lose dirt and scrub brush, over the rockier Toiyabe Range, split the Carico Lake and Crescent valleys, and pass the impressive amount of trailings generated from the Utah Mine as we get into the Shoshone Range. We are probably averaging 20-25 mph, maybe today won’t be so difficult. This is some 75 miles of good high desert riding with weather a rider just can’t complain about. Here are a couple of pics from our ‘numb butt’ stop in a nice little valley watered, in part, by the Ferris Creek.





After picture taking, walking around and eating some trail mix we saddle up and ride the rocky Hilltop Road to Maysville Summit (7,127 feet) and back down the Shoshone Range via Crum Canyon. We are surprised at how many little (an acre or so?) homesteads have been carved out alongside Hilltop Road. To me the area seems pretty barren except for Indian and Rock creeks flowing along the road. It is certainly not someplace I would want to develop a little get-away place. To top it off the Hilltop Road in Crum Canyon is not maintained in the winter. I realize it gets hot in Battle Mountain and the Shoshone Range would be a good respite but other than that, no thanks. But I suspect some would consider riding the TAT out in the middle of ‘no where’ to not be their cup of tea/joe. As they say, to each their own.

Chuck is wanting to stretch the KLR’s legs so when the straight, downhill dirt Hilltop Road leaving Crum Canyon presents itself he opens ‘er up and I am left far in the dust puttering along at 50 mph. It is not that the Slozuki won’t go a sustained 60+ mph it is just my thinking of why wind it out, out here? Visualizing valves opening and closing, piston ramming up and down the cylinder and crank spinning at 8,000 rpm (the DRZ-400S redline is some 10,000 rpm) would grind on my nerves. Thus I am fine at a more pedestrian 50 mph (yes, I do like the way my Harley sounds and putts down the road at 80). When Brian (one of my brothers) and I rode the Mex2Can we both rode DRZs (he on a slower yellow colored one). We were never the first ones on the road and nearly always the last ones arriving at the day’s end stop. This was due, in part, to our constrained top end. The KTMs and bigger bikes just blew past us. Oh well, it’s not a race, though at times I do feel like it’s turtle vs. the hare. But as they say, the DRZ does not do anything outstandingly but it does most things well enough and it is reliable. I have no problem recommending the consideration of a farkled (properly prepared) DRZ, particularly with the 440 kit and carb, for use on the TAT. I now have Brian’s bike, which he rode all over creation after the Mex2Can putting some 13,000 miles on a new bike without a problem before a top end freshened his ride. I probably have some 6,000 miles on my 440 (my OEM odometer broke at 2,384) with about 1,200 of those compiled before I owned it. My 440 is still running strong and will take a stock KLR from a slow rolling start until she tops out in fifth gear, and I am no feather weight. Of course this is not to say that I do not lust after a 2009+ KTM 530 EXC; the 525 I have is a great ride but it is not street legal and not prepped for ‘epic rides’. Can you say ‘ka-ching’?

As Charles and I have opined before, if you don’t like the TAT you are riding, wait a few miles and it will all change. After bombing down Hilltop Road at TAT NV mile marker 322.17 Sam has us take a sharp left on to a deep sandy area in which we struggle through for 3.5 miles at a top speed of 5 mph and engines revving. An unloaded bike prepped for the sand could probably bomb through this area but the loaded KLR and DRZ are struggling. Not only do we have to contend with the sand but from the 60s in the mountains to the upper 80s in the valley, navigating the sand is doubly troublesome. To clear my conscience I wish to state publicly that I apologize to you, Sam, for anything I said that was not complimentary while traversing this section.

We finally hit Jenkins Road and solid terra firma. It is an easy ride from there into Battle Mountain where we get gas for the bikes and break our ‘no sit down’ lunch rule to cool off in a McDonalds. While in McDonalds it becomes clear we have a problem. It is approaching 1:00 and we have only gone 118 miles of the 266 miles we are supposed to ride today. Either we stay in Battle Mountain for the night, which we cannot do because of our 7-day must get it done schedule, or we bail off part of the TAT and try a route with similar scenery to make up time. We break out the maps and decide the TAT ride on Izzenhood Road along the large basin North of Battle Mountain looks pretty mundane and that we can make up time by riding the I-80 West (yes, an interstate, the horror) to Golconda/Crocker and take the Eden Valley Road between the Osgood Mountains and the Hot Springs Range and meet up with the TAT on Shelton Road near Chimney Dam Reservoir. The distance between the TAT ride and the bailout is not a lot different but the I-80 is 55 mph (yes, I will have to wind ‘er out a bit more than I like) and Eden Valley Road looks a little more interesting (and straight) then skirting a large plain. After we meet the TAT on Shelton we will go over to highway 290, up to Paradise and maybe gas (isn’t it everyone’s desire to get to Paradise? – sorry, that was cheap) and up and over the Santa Rosa Range and into McDermitt. The TAT initially circumnavigates Paradise and the Range but then heads West and crosses it through Humboldt National Park, North of Hinkey Summit (8,554 feet). We will meet up with the TAT just West of Siard Cabin and follow it for awhile before we bail off a little early onto highway 95 North into McDermitt.

The problem with bailing off the TAT is that we will no longer have use of Sam’s great roll chart and the tracks we have programmed into our GPS units. Our new route is a gamble but needing to make up time, we will have to take it. So having made the decision we get back on the bikes and head West down the Interstate for just over 35 miles. We take the off ramp into Golconda and stop before getting on Eden Road to reconnoiter. A resident of Golconda, a man in overalls in his 60s I’m guessing, comes over and asks if we need help. We chat for a bit, get on the subject of gas and he offers us some but we decline as we have only burned about .8 gallons each on the freeway (my DRZ-440 gets nearly identical gas mileage as the stock KLR). Now this breaks one of the cardinal rules of ‘epic off-road rides’, never pass up gas, but there is also the possibility of bad gas in this case and it was not really needed, hopefully. Anyway, he gives us instructions on the road ahead and mentions he has a Goldwing but hasn’t been riding it much. I suggest, since he basically lives across the street from a freeway on-ramp, that he should ride more. He states he is battling cancer. I think to myself, all the more reason to ride, but to each their own. We thank him for his friendly help and get on our way.

The ride up the graded, gravel Eden Valley Road was unremarkable and thankfully fast.



We meet up with the TAT on the graded, gravel Shelton Road as planned and follow it out to the 290. Heading North on 290 we are impressed as to the quantity of water apparently available in the area. Standing water was plentiful and everything was green. We get in to Paradise and look for the promised, by the guy in Golconda, gas station. Nada. Chuck talks to one truck load of locals and they said we had better check with the guys in the tavern to see if the dirt road up and over Hinkey Summit was passable, as it hadn’t been the previous weekend. If it is not open that would make our gas and/or time situation tenuous. Fortunately one of the tavern locals had been over the summit this morning so this was apparently the first weekend it was passable. Phew, dumb luck.

So we ride up to Hinkey Summit and it was quite a ride. It was a relatively steep grade and the Slozuki’s cooling fan was moving air, even though the weather was cool. There were a number of other vehicles which were enjoying the drive/ride as well, though they were all coming down at this late hour. We stopped about half-way up to take a few pics.





About three quarters the way up we found another gopher snake in the road. We shooed it down over the side into the brush. While riding we noted the great vistas of the Paradise valley below. We had lucked into a great little ride. Making the summit we stopped and again took out the cameras.





Riding over the summit Chuck snapped a pic of some of the snow that would have been a problem if we had tried this the previous week.



With the shadows lengthening we keep to business and ride North to Buckskin Canyon, then West to highway 95 and North to McDermitt. We arrive in McDermitt at about 6:15, more than an hour after our self imposed curfew but we still have plenty of light.




We check in, unload the bikes, and walk across the street to the casino and eat dinner. The McDermitt Motel was pretty basic. It is somewhat better than the Border Inn, has two queen beds (and no roll away), warm running water and fast wi-fi, so all was good. We chatted about the day’s ride and once again poured over the maps in order to find bailout routes for the slated 243 mile ride on Day 4. Eventually I fall asleep without even getting ready for bed.

Day 3 had been a good day. No one got hurt, we made our destination before dark, the equipment functioned well, and we rode over two thirds of the ride (178 miles) via the TAT route. Interestingly, the total miles of our ride with bailouts was 262 miles while the TAT route was 266 miles. The questions then become, did we save time since we did not save miles? what did we miss on the 88 miles of the TAT we did not ride? and what did we see that we would not have on the TAT route? I think it is clear that we were able to make the McDermitt Motel before dark because of our bailouts. I estimate we saved at least an hour and a half over all, with the primary gain being the quick ride up the freeway, the quick ride on Eden Valley Road, and the Paradise to over Hinkey Summit ride. From the maps, it appears that the ride from Battle Mountain to Shelton Road/Eden Valley Road on the TAT is relatively fast but marginally interesting (but of course I do not know for sure since we did not travel it). Of course our ride up the I-80 and Eden Valley Road was also marginally interesting. The biggest time savings was doing the Paradise to Hinkey Summit ride, which in my opinion, is a great little ride. The TAT does not quite make it to Paradise as it turns East about five miles from town, heads out to Secret Spring Summit (5,525 feet), over the Goat Corral Flats, then heads North in the foothills of the Homboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and finally turns West at Forks Ranch meeting up with our route just West of Siard Cabin which is North of Hinkey Summit. I believe the TAT ride in the foothills of the National Forest would have been a good ride and I am sorry to have missed that but I enjoyed the Hinkey Summit ride. I have my doubts that we could have made the McDermitt Motel before dark doing 100 percent of the TAT and it certainly would not have given us any leeway for mechanical problems. I would posit that riding the TAT around the National Forest and getting a flat would have us riding in the dark or bivouacking for the night. The bailout gamble paid off this time with the Hinkey Summit ride and an added margin of error for potential mechanical problems. We were able to ride the 262 miles because there were not miles and miles of technical sections and some 60 miles of the ride was on asphalt with a good portion of the remainder on maintained, gravel roads. Looking forward to Day 4 on the TAT.
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'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

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Old 05-29-2013, 04:33 PM   #22
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Seven More Days on the TAT (Day 4)

I assume Day 4 dawned fine on its own as my alarm had to go off twice before I got up at 6:15 AM. I remind myself that today is hump day. If we get through today then we will be out of Nevada and our seven day journey over this part of the TAT will be more than half-way completed. The down side is, at 243 miles, this is our second longest mileage day.
Here is a map of today’s TAT ride:




I start getting things packed up. I had previously considered leaving the panniers on the bike at night since I have nothing in them I need overnight. Leaving them on the bike means I would not have to lug the darn things to and from the room (they are heavy, particularly in aggregate), and I would save probably 20 minutes a day. But I always come to the same conclusion, they would be relatively easy to remove from the bike and some $900 in potentially critical supplies and equipment could walk away. So I lug the darn things out to the bike again and get them fastened.

I note that there are only two other vehicles at the motel, at least in our section. It seems that many of the towns we have been through thus far are struggling to survive in the current economy. We eat a quick carb and sugar breakfast which we obtained last night from the hotel/gas station’s quick mart. We thus eschew a prolonged sit down breakfast at the casino across the street.

After we get loaded up we walk the bikes out to the road, start them up, and are the road by 7:30 AM, heading West out of McDermitt and Northwest into Oregon. We cross a couple of creeks while riding the relatively well maintained Disaster Peak Road. Getting into the Zimmerman Ranch area things are looking very green. I can just imagine the small game that could be available for the taking, given permission were obtained.

We cross the deepest creek thus far just before getting to the Zimmerman Ranch homestead. We have been passing homesteads at a sedate 15-20 mph to keep dust down and minimize disturbing our hosts. Several of the ranches we have passed have the road going right through the middle of their homestead so it is all the more important to be good guests. The Zimmerman homestead is just off the road to the North but it did not look like there was anyone up and about this morning.

The next some forty miles is a good sample of the terrain that can be thrown at you in high desert riding. We cross one partially damned up stream that was a prolonged ride in some 12 inch deep water. The problem of course being that we do not know how deep it is going to get until one of us actually rides through it. Fortunately it’s not a large rock strewn crossing like some streams, but we don’t know that either until we are across. On the other side of the crossing are some long abandoned buildings. Someone tried to make a go of it out here in the middle of ‘no where’. They had water from a decent sized stream, at least in the spring, so I wonder what happened to them? Did the isolation get to them?

I assume it snows here ‘abouts’ with local peaks like Little Peak (6,634 feet), Disaster Peak (7,781 feet), Holloway Mountain (7,636 feet), Trident Peak (8,393 feet) and House Creek Butte (8,226 feet). We ride Basco Canyon and China Creek between the Granites (a mountain range) and Bull Basin and the Bilk Creek Mountains. Though the roads/trails are limited in this area it would certainly be worth spending some more time soaking up the solitude and vistas of this remote area.

Much of the area we ride through had been recently burned. Yet the vegetation was coming back making the area a mix of blackened remnants of fire and the green rebirth. There are numerous little creeks but other than a few antelope and a herd of deer, we did not see much wildlife.

There is a lot of relatively soft, powdery dirt, particularly in one section where a bulldozer appears to have been going up and down a relatively steep hill of the stuff. The area was so chewed up that it would have been darn difficult to make it back up the hill should we have to turn around. There were few tracks on our route and nothing very recent. So far this area certainly felt like one of the most isolated areas of the ride.

We missed one turn but went forward as my older GPS maps showed a connecting track up ahead. After a half-mile we gave up on that and went back to the turn onto what looked like a relatively new trail/road. We ride through numerous tight little canyons and were treated to vast vistas. We ride to the tops of hills and down into the valleys. We pass one area where it looked like someone was trying to stake a new homestead. There is a shanty and up canyon there is a solar powered pump at their water tank. But other than that shanty and the tracks of the bulldozer (which may have been used to contain the fire) there is little evidence of anyone being out here in the recent past. Yes, it is relatively early in the season so maybe come summer it would see greater utilization but for now, we are the only vehicles we see from McDermitt until almost Denio Junction.

Here are a number of pics of the area. This is the kind of riding from which memories are made. Note how the terrain changes as we progress from the Zimmerman Ranch area to Denio Junction.

































In contrast, the ride from Wilder Creek Ranch into Denio Junction is relatively sedate over a maintained gravel road and asphalt. Hitting highway 140 we ride North about half a mile in to Denio Junction and our mid-day’s ride gas up. The Denio Jct web site says they have a seven room motel, an airstrip, RV spaces, a restaurant/café, bar, gas and mini store. Brian and I stayed here one night in 2008 when we rode the Mex2Can. The accommodations back then were a step up from McDermitt, well, maybe half a step, but the food was good and it was a welcome stop after a day’s ride.

We ride up to the gas pumps and there is a sign saying ‘NO GAS’ and telling us not to be jerks to the employees. Wow! The lack of gas at Denio Junction is a serious issue for me. After going some 94+ miles, likely getting around 45 mpg, the DRZ is down at least two gallons. There is no way I can make Fort Bidwell without topping off my gas tank. Chuck’s KLR, on the other hand, has a six gallon tank so he’s sitting pretty.

We go into the restaurant and inquire as to our options. Seems that they are replacing the underground gas tanks with above ground tanks and they estimate that it will take at least six weeks until that is done. Until then, gas is not available. This is going to be a problem for other TAT riders and others riding through the area (it doesn’t appear that the Mex2Can is being run in 2013).

Decision time, do we bail the TAT here and try to get back on down the road or do we ride to Fields (26 miles), return, and pick up the TAT again or what? As coincidence or providence would have it, there is a man with his 8-10 year old son sitting in a booth in the restaurant/bar/store and he seeing our riding garb, and I suspect hearing our dilemma, struck up a conversation with Chuck.

I am in a sour mood for congenial conversation, so after buying a few things to snack on and a drink I go outside to the wood tables and eat while looking over the maps. Charles soon follows as does the man and his son. Charles and the father keep chatting and finally Chuck turns his attention to our situation. We discuss our options and the need of fuel for the DRZ.

The father and son are sitting at the table next to ours and obviously have been listening to our debate when he interjects with an offer of gas. He goes on to say he has a five gallon container of gas and would be willing to share some. Whoa! He has my attention. Now this may ‘be our solution’. After we discuss the situation with the guy I tell him I can use a gallon of his five gallons (given the premium on gas and his desire to do more riding with his son I did not want to take more gas than I estimated I absolutely needed). Yes, I know I should go ahead and fill up the DRZ with about half the guy’s gas container as it is better to hedge on the side of caution when out in the middle of ‘no where’. But I do not want to be too greedy and possibly jeopardize their ride.
I give the guy a $10 bill and pour what I estimate to be a gallon or so into the DRZ. He wants to give me change but I tell him I appreciate his offer and to just keep the $10. I am feeling very fortunate to just get the gas. Using his gas saves us another 45 minutes in going to Fields and back, in addition to the 30 minutes we have already lost.

To TAT readers, I reiterate, there is no gas at Denio Junction until likely mid-July and the closet gas is 26 miles away in Fields. Unfortunately the Denio Junction website does not state this, but obviously it should, see http://deniojunctionmotel.com/home.html.

Due to the time and the fact that it might be touch and go regarding the gas (since I did not fill up completely) we agree to a possible bailout at the intersection of 34 and 34A. We finish consuming what we purchased in the mini-mart and once again thank our fuel benefactor and ride South out of Denio Junction.

About two miles South of Denio Junction we jump off highway 140 and head Southwest into the Pueblo Valley, cross the Northern extent of the Pine Forest Range, through a large valley bisected by Knott Creek Road and up into the higher elevation terrain of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. We head generally West through The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge which consumes some 58 miles of the 94 mile ride from Denio Junction to the gravel road 34.

The topography of the ride has been changing from the soft, powdery dirt but greener vegetation of the ride out of Zimmerman Ranch to a more rocky and barren scrub landscape. If the area from Zimmerman Ranch has the beckoning feeling of remoteness the Denio Junction West ride has the feeling of remoteness but the added dimension of foreboding and just difficult, rocky riding. It seems more of just a slog through the latter whereas the former had the streams and greenery. We did not see anyone from McDermitt to just East of Denio Junction and we see no one from Denio Junction to 34. Maybe the gas situation and the day slipping away from us is an added concern but I do not enjoy the afternoon ride like I had the morning ride. Both had difficult sections but until we hit the maintained gravel road near the Western extent of the Refuge it just seemed that the terrain keeps hammering at us.

There is one hill climb which will be remembered as one of the most consuming I have ridden. It was steep but far from the steepest I have ridden. It is a combination of an extended climb with unrelenting larger rocks and elevated temperatures. We bounce from one rock to another and I perform at least four good saves to keep from crashing and Chuck does likewise. The hill climb beats the bikes, it beats the riders, it consumes all our attention and seems to go on far too long. Frankly, I cannot believe we both make it up the climb in one piece without going down, which with the rocks, would have definitely hurt. When we had bounce and jolt to the top we stop to catch our breath and survey what we had just ridden. We both agreed that we had quite enough of that, thank you.

The following pics do not do the rocky portions justice, that is Chuck didn’t take any pics while we were battling the rocks, but they give you an idea of the area.












I note that while riding through the wildlife refuge that we sure haven’t seen much wildlife. As the afternoon wears on, it becomes warmer, and the ride is slow, rocky, rutted, mind numbing, and I was pretty tired, due in part, to a lack of sleep. Riding down a rutted section too fast, my front wheel gets sideways in a deep rut and my efforts to extract it are futile. I go down on the left side of my bike in a cloud of dust. Being the tail gunner and some ways back to avoid Chuck’s dust I yell into the intercom that I just went down. It takes a little time to get the bike shut off, back up and survey the damage to it and myself. Chuck rides up while I am examining the bike. I am a bit surprised that the bike and I do not suffer any permanent damage. The left pannier mount is bent in, the clutch lever protector is bent up and the left mirror has collapsed inward (which fortunately, with its ball joint, is what it is supposed to do) but that was about it, well, other than my pride. Charles helps me get things dusted off and the clutch lever protector bent back into place. I opt not to bend the pannier frame back into place out here in ‘no where’ (which begs the question if it’s ‘no where’ how can we be there) since the tire will not hit it. I do not want to chance breaking the pannier frame by pulling it back into place (we later pull it back into place without breaking anything). Well, at least the crash wakes me up and again focuses my attention on riding. I drink some water, thank Chuck and providence that I will not end up buzzard bait and we are back at it.

Down the trail a bit I notice that my right hand is starting to hurt. As has happened on the Mex2Can (which also went through the Sheldon Refuge but the other way) my hands had been swelling up due to the jolting and pounding they are taking but the fall must have compounded the problem. If tomorrow turns out to be like today, I am really going to be hurting.

We finally make it to the graded gravel road section of the Refuge and we uneventfully make the 34 where we take a break while deciding what to do. I am tired and beat up enough that I am not looking forward to more of the same if we continue on the TAT, the afternoon is slipping away again, and my gas situation is somewhat tenuous. I have been getting pretty cocky about my range with that extra gallon of gas I am carrying. But using that, except in an emergency, defeats the purpose of carrying it, since one never knows when an emergency can occur. With my luck (still licking my emotional wounds from the crash) the emergency would occur after I had allocated the gas simply to make our destination. Sam, via roll charts and map, had found the ride from Denio Junction (DJ) to Fort Bidwell to be 137 miles. Using Sam’s calculations we figure we have gone 94 miles since DJ so it is only 41 more miles to Fort Bidwell and it’s 31 miles up the 34 to gas in Adel.

Supposedly there is gas in Fort Bidwell but doing a pre-ride Internet search and Google Maps reconnaissance, I was not able to find any. And then you have DJ which also was supposed to have gas and usually does, but doesn’t. If it had taken us nearly five hours to go 94 miles, it is possible that 41 more miles on the TAT will take us an additional two to two and a half hours with an additional ride to Lakeview through the Fremon-Winema National Forest. If we weren’t so beat up with our day’s ride, and if we knew I had enough fuel to make Fort Bidwell without breaking out the emergency gas, and if we knew for sure there was gas at Fort Bidwell, and if the afternoon was not so advanced, and if, well, too many ifs for us; time to bail.

So once again we opt, though reluctantly, to bail off the TAT and take what we calculated to be the more expedient path to gas and our evening reservations. The well maintained gravel road and then asphalt up 34 is a breeze.





As the shadows are lengthening we make Adel at about 5:30 PM where we fill the bikes with gas. Frankly, even as I write this I do not know how I managed to get 4.0 gallons into my DRZ’s 3.9 gallon Clark aftermarket tank. But there it is. I did not go on reserve but I am able to put 4 gallons into a 3.9 gallon tank. Which of course means, assuming the pump is correct and the tank is indeed 3.9 gallons, that I have used 4 gallons plus what I added in DJ from McDermitt to get to Adel. But McDermitt to here should only be 191 miles.

Typically our bikes get about 50 mpg on the road and something like 45 or so in the dirt. So that must mean that I really did not put all that much gas in the tank in DJ. I should have indeed filled the tank up in DJ, if nothing else but so that I knew exactly what I had. I was darned close to breaking out the emergency gas and didn’t know it. Now given that Fort Bidwell was 41 miles in the dirt vs 31 miles on the road to Adel, I no doubt would have had to break out the emergency gas to make Fort Bidwell. If we could not subsequently find gas in Fort Bidwell then I would have been close to being toast. Sometimes providence smiles on the ignorant and foolish. Thank you.

With the old off-road rider adage, never pass up fuel, even further engrained into me, we don’t dally in Adel, even though burgers had just been put on the grill (so said the obligatory Oregon gasoline pump attendant). We hang a quick left onto highway 140 for the 27 mile ride to highway 395 and then South five miles to Lakeview, Oregon.

The ride into Lakeview was through pines, particularly when we bisected the Fremont-Winema National Forest. A nice change from scrub, I think. We get into Lakeview, load up with gas, and get our room at the Interstate 8 Motel. The neighborhood around the motel does not look that great to me but as the night would prove, it was quiet and the bikes remain untouched (we always lock them together at night).

The room is relatively large (by desert TAT standards) and has a large pink tiled bathroom (if you’re into pink tiled bathrooms) but it is reasonably clean and has good wi-fi connections. Who can complain?



We unload the bikes and walk across and down the street to the family owned Snack Shack, a small, locally owned sit-down/ fast food place. The food is reasonably good, I have the shrimp, and the locals seem to like it as well. Going back to our room we check in with our better halves (who had been following our progress via my SPOT messenger which gives them a location update every fifteen minutes or so). I highly recommend taking and using a SPOT or similar. It is reportedly great in an emergency and gives those back home a sense of involvement in the ride and peace of mind by being able to follow us.

Based on the last two days, we look over the maps for possible bailouts but are hoping that the 192 mile ride tomorrow from Lakeview to Crescent will be on faster logging or national forest roads and thus entirely doable on the TAT. We are beat. It is an all you could want, off-road riding day. Thanks, Sam.
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

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Old 06-01-2013, 03:08 AM   #23
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Another Seven Days on the TAT (Day 5)

The iPhone alarm goes off (I have not trusted wake-up calls from motel front desks ever since they did not call me for an early morning flight out of Orlando years ago – fortunately I did not trust them even then as my own alarm did go off and I didn’t miss the flight). I eventually struggle out of bed and we get working on our 191 mile riding goal. We are thinking today should not be too bad with predominantly logging, national forest, power line, and old railroad bed roads.

Going over to the DRZ, I vow to more faithfully conduct a morning GONAD check, i.e., Gas, Oil, chaiN, Air, and Drips. Because of the lack of problems with the bike I had become too lax. An ounce of cure here would cost me far more on the trail. I suspect if I were truly serious about it I should conduct a full fifteen minute ORGASTIC work up, i.e., Oil, Radiator, Gas, Air, Signals, Tires, Instruments, and Chain. The spirit is willing but this early in the morning, the body is weak.

We are running late but finally get the bikes loaded when this guy comes down the street on a pair of jumping stilts, Skyrunners, or whatever brand name is your favorite. Frankly, being a UTard living out where the air is clean, I had never seen these before. The guy lives in the house with the washer and stuff in front of it (see pic below) and calls himself the tall man. He has to demo them for us by running up the road and coming back out of breath. Due to balancing on two small pads at the end of the stilts he had to keep moving back and forth while talking to us. Seems like a good way to break something.

Looking on youtube.com there are a number of videos of guys doing some pretty neat tricks with them. If I were 30 years younger, maybe I would get a pair, of Skyrunners. Of course some would say we are nuts to ride dirt bikes out into the middle of ‘no where’, so I guess it is once again, each to their own.





With the diversions, it is close to 8:15 AM, rather than the usual 7:15-7:30 AM, until we are riding down the road. Over the next three hours Chuck takes the pics below as we traverse generally open pine terrain on relatively fast forest service and logging roads and travel up a slower, rocky powerline ‘road’ to a sub-station out in the middle of seemingly ‘no where’.
























The weather started out pretty cold but by 11ish I had shed my coat and only had three layers of clothing on. We cannot complain about the weather thus far. It has really been fantastic. Yes, it definitely got warm in the afternoons in Nevada but we have been fortunate to not have to ride through rain and mud out in the middle of ‘no where’. This is apparently a good time of year to ride the NV and SE OR portion of the TAT, at least it is this year.

We continue following our GPS units and Sam’s roll charts. During the OK to UT portion of the TAT I was kept too busy trying to keep the roll chart in synch with the GPS unit, now it is more hit and miss until we come to an important waypoint. One can become too busy with the mechanics of the ride and not enjoy the ride, or worse, miss that rock in the road with undesirable consequences.

Riding along we note that Sam has a warning of an impending washout ahead on the roll chart. Well advised, we slow down but do not find anything worth worrying about. Apparently the washout has been repaired. We continue riding the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company’s old railroad cinder bed. Most of it has been well maintained, not yet weathered and not heavily used. We are about 93 miles into the Day 5 ride when we come to a section which still has railroad ties scattered to the side of the railroad bed. I don’t think anything of it until my rear tire starts feeling really mushy. Now riding on an abandoned railroad cinder bed is not like riding asphalt but this mushy feeling is too pronounced so I ride ahead of Chuck and ask him if I have a flat rear tire. I get what I don’t want to hear from Chuck, an affirmative response. Crap!

When Brian and I rode the Mex2Can in 2008, on one of our riding days he got a flat front tire in the morning, which we fixed, and then a flat rear tire late in the afternoon. Due to the lateness of the hour we elected to have him ride his DRZ into our night’s stop but most of that was on the side of the road (out in the middle of ‘not much’). It was slow riding but he made it without incident and then spent the next two hours fixing it. The thought of riding the flat out goes through my mind but we are only at 93 miles of a 191 mile day, too far to go to reach ‘civilization’ in a timely manner, and we have plenty of time to fix it before we have to worry about light. I have two rim locks on the rear so I am not too concerned about the tire coming off the rim but continuing to ride the flat would be ridiculous. So I stop.

We get the bike up on railroad ties and spin the rear tire to see what caused the flat. Judas Priest!! There is an honest to goodness railroad spike imbedded in the rear tire. This is hard to believe. Did the spike get kicked up by the front tire and positioned at just the right angle to go into the rear or had it been sitting there, for who knows how many years, just waiting for someone to ride or drive over it? I’m incredulous.

We are so focused on getting the tire fixed and back on the trail that we forget to snap a few photos. But I did take the pic below after I got back home. The hole in the inner tube and tire are obvious but a number of holes were also made by the spike on the other side of the tube making the patching of the tube more problematic. Yet I did keep the rear tube for the remainder of the ride, just in case. I will be taking the rear tire off the bike and cutting that section out and mount the spike, tube and tire as a memento of this ride.





So there we are, the DRZ is up on railroad ties and a railroad spike is in the tire up to the head of the thing. So I start yanking and wiggling it and eventually it comes out of the tire. We can’t believe how long the damn thing is. The 18 inch tube I have in the tire is one thick, heavy tube but I was getting short on space so I did not put my spare 18 inch tube in my bags but rather I brought two, less robust 21 inch tubes. I had heard from numerous sources that in a pinch you can always use a 21 inch tube in an 18 inch tire, if you don’t pinch it. Chuck had a 17 inch tube for the KLR’s rear tire but I thought that might be more problematic and I did not want to use his 17 inch tube when there was only one when I had two 21s. So we proceeded to remove the wheel from the bike, got the holed tube out of the tire, inserted the 21 inch tube, carefully buttoned things up, tire inflated, and put the wheel back on the bike.

Here are several findings on the mundane topic of changing a tire in the tulles, 1. we used Chuck’s 16 inch tire iron to great affect (I subsequently purchased one from Amazon for next time), 2. I had a little bottle of tire bead goo which expedited removing and replacing the tire (I will continue to carry this item), and 3. test out your pumps and CO2 cartridges before hand and bring plenty of extra cartridges, you do not want to be trying to seat the bead of the tire with a pump the size of a rolled up dollar bill.

It took nearly an hour and a half before we were back motoring down the road (most of the time was consumed unpacking and repacking tools and getting the CO2 pump to work properly). I am not particularly interested in changing a lot of tires so I can get faster at it, what a pain in the neck, err, back. If you are interested in maybe collecting some spikes for yourself, here are the coordinates of the location (in decimal format): 42.88732,-121.10223, there may actually be more so beware.
With the flat tire problem we do not make our lunch break stop of Silver Lake until 3:50. After gassing up at the only station in the little town we get some food and drink off the shelves of the local store. As our self imposed curfew is 5ish it is clear we will not be able to ride the entire TAT to Crescent before the evening shadows make riding difficult and more hazardous, let alone nightfall.

We want to ride as much of the TAT as possible but we are unsure of how passable the Paulina Marsh North of Silver Lake is. Yes, after we ride through it we laugh about it but coming into Silver Lake Sam had us turn off a perfectly good Silver Creek Road to take a 4.5 mile sandy and multiple barb wired gates detour which just looped back on Silver Creek Road about 3 miles down the road. Remember those two cattle watering holes on day one? Same thing. So who knows what Sam has us doing crossing the Paulina March. I am envisioning the Darién Gap between Panama and Columbia.

So Chuck goes into the store to ask them and comes back to report that he was laughed at (like he was a moron for asking) by a local red neck and was told it was passable. We debate on going back into the store and tell the chump that if we looked as inbred as he did we wouldn’t have needed to ask about the marsh. But wanting to make time, any excuse works, we finish our ‘meal’ and ride East and then North out of Silver Lake.

We cross the ‘marsh’ over a good gravel road (thus the miscreant’s laughter). We are a little disappointed in Sam’s routing (no, not really). This dealing with a web footed Oregonian was not untypical of our (least my) experience in Oregon. Many of those we met in Oregon were great people but the state seems to have more than its share of village idiots or downright rude rubes. Nice state, but it would take some persuading to get me to move there.

At the store, due to the late hour, we had decided that we would follow the TAT until it crossed highway 31 then bailout. So after crossing the marsh we bomb off a good gravel road onto a loose dirt and rock trail which we follow for 11.43 miles. Sam redeems himself and comes through again.

We eventually make it to the 31 and head Northwest. Somewhere along the way we run into road maintenance and are held up at a construction stop for about 15 minutes (one of the benefits of riding the TAT instead). I experiment with trying to doze on a motorcycle while using my legs as stanchions.












We make highway 97, turn Southwest and ride into Crescent some 16 miles later. Our motel is on the 97 so the Crescent Motel (original name, I think) is easy to find. At 6:40 PM we check-in and find our room to be small but recently refurbished in wood which belies the somewhat seedy exterior of the building.

.







We unload, get back on the bikes, get gas across the street, and ride across a side street to the Mohawk Lounge and Restaurant where we have a nice dinner complete with fresh pie. We eat in what appears to be an animal trophy room, OK, dead, stuffed animals staring at you room. The room would be a turn off to some but I am impressed. After dinner we check-in with our wives and settle in for the night, going over maps, using our tablets courtesy of the motel’s wi-fi, and generally getting ready for the morrow before crashing for the night. This is one of the few nights that Chuck is sawing logs before I am. I guess our 189 mile ride was just too tough for my little brother.
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

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Old 06-03-2013, 03:24 PM   #24
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about those tablets...

You took tablets with you. Are you using them for GPS? If not, why not? I continue to be tablet and GPS free, and would prefer to combine the two functions if possible.

Great ride report, until it's been experienced, it's hard to believe just how empty the Great Basin actually is...
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:00 PM   #25
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Nevada,

I took a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Chuck took an Apple iPad. I had just purchased the Sansung so even though it does have GPS I did not use that feature during the actual ride as I had the the TAT on two Garmin 76GSx units. I kept one of the Garmins on and afixed to the handlebars at all times during the ride. Chuck had two different GPS units but I do not remember the model numbers (maybe he can address that). Both of his GPS units were afixed to his handlebars as well and on during the ride.

We both rode with tank bags with 'clear' plastic covers. As he had more tank real estate than I, his tank bag was bigger and we considered inserting his iPad into the clear sleeve but elected not to (Chuck had also purchased a Delorme unit and software to get fixes which could be displayed on the iPad). Chuck and I both used our tablets in the evenings when we had wi-fi.

Chuck elected not to use the iPad while riding due to having to look down at the top of the tank bag while navigating rocks, ruts, mud, sand and other such nasty stuff and the cost of the iPad should it be damaged during an off-bike experience. The GPS units and roll charts sufficed. Would a tablet be great to view? Absolutely. If one could mount it to near the handle bars or have a heads up display, then that would be the E-ticket. I would still be concerned with crashes and vibration/pounding, but I suspect the vibration/pounding could be ameliorated.

Thank you for asking. Good question.

Gary AKA mpgmr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada View Post
You took tablets with you. Are you using them for GPS? If not, why not? I continue to be tablet and GPS free, and would prefer to combine the two functions if possible.

Great ride report, until it's been experienced, it's hard to believe just how empty the Great Basin actually is...
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:23 PM   #26
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iPad Idea...

Nevada,

As Gary mentioned, I had my iPad with me primarily for Internet connection at the motels for info, e-mail, messaging, FaceTime, etc. However, with the DeLorme In-Reach Satellite Communicator with GPS, and an app for the iPad, I could, at any time, see where we were if my other GPS units failed, or to use the larger screen to get a better picture of potential detour/bail-out routes. If the iPad could be effectively mounted above the instrument cluster, it would be possible to have a moving map of your progress, but the problem with the app is that your position moves, but the map doesn't. In other words, your moving position as denoted by the cursor arrow scrolls off the map, and you have to re-center/move the map to find yourself again. Aggravating nuance of the software tool...would otherwise be tempting to try the concept.

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Old 06-04-2013, 10:04 PM   #27
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Seven More Days on the TAT (Day 6)

Day 6 of our UT-OR TAT journey starts with a whimper. I am not sure if it was Chuck or me or both of us but it is sure tough to get up and get going, but we do. We do the usual repacking and reloading. I kept the holed 18 inch tube from yesterday, just in case, so I put it under the bungee on top of the rack bag. It could be patched in a dire emergency. Checking the air pressure of the DRZ’s tires, the rear is down about 5 pounds to 12 psi so I sweeten it a bit with 50 pumps from my little air pump. We ride across the street to the gas station we visited last night and get carbs and sugar from off the shelf. We down ‘breakfast’ outside by the bikes. Having the lowest mileage (169) to traverse of any full day of our ride we do not get out of the gas station until a way late 8:50 AM. We are going to have to get an earlier start tomorrow.

Here is the Day 6 map.



We ride out of Crescent from Crescent Motel on Crescent Road which soon turns into a logging road. We pull over to the side as a logging truck comes steaming by. I definitely do not want to mix it up with those guys.

The TAT meanders uphill and we thankfully get off the logging road onto a forest service road. We go around several fallen trees. The road does not look like it has been cleared yet this year. This should have been a clue. We start seeing snow along side of the road and then hit a patch of it which covers the entire road. I plow through it and Chuck goes around it. In short order we hit another patch. This patch is a ‘plow through’ only option but then we see that the next patch is even deeper and longer in extent with snow extending out into the forest. We walk up the road a bit and it becomes clear that without a great struggle we are not going to get past this patch and another one 100 feet up the road. We are crossing the Deschutes National Forest and the Forest Service frowns on tearing up the area by going off road. We do want to be good stewards of the roads and areas that the TAT traverses. It becomes obvious why there are no tire tracks at all past the first snow patch. No one has been this way this year, least on a wheeled vehicle. We are 16.4 miles into the Day 6 ride and we are stopped.

One of the fallen trees that breaks as we move it and the start of snow.




Snow and it gets worse.



As a reference, Chuck tells me that we have about a mile to go until we get to Windigo Pass. The problem we have is that we could spend the time and energy and make a path through the snow patches but we do not know how many more patches there are and how deep they will be further up the road and we would burn precious daylight in the effort. We also do not have any implement to shovel snow or clear a path (note to self, bring a folding shovel on the next ride) so even if somehow we were to get through to Windigo Pass then we would still have the road to clear as it starts to descend. The reason the snow is still on the ground in this area is in part due to the elevation (about 5,680 feet where we are stopped, with Windigo Pass at 5,840 feet and Windigo Butte at 6,385 feet) but also because this area is on the North side of the Butte and the sun just can’t get to it. Well, crap!

I don’t know why but I did not figure on snow in Oregon. But the fact remains that we are not going to get through on this road, so when your path is effectively blocked, backtracking seems the wise (only?) course of action. Chuck and I had looked at the maps last night and noting the close proximity of Crater Lake, I mentioned that it is a shame that he was not going to see the lake. As getting back on to the TAT means some significant ride around and we do not know if we are going to encounter further snow we decide to cut our losses and go see the lake. We figure we can get in at the north entrance and then make a decision what to do after snapping some pictures.

So we backtrack to highway 58, head southeast, south on the 97 and then west on 138. Near the intersection of highway 138 and 97 we read a sign which states that the north entrance to Crater Lake is closed. Great, we just can’t catch a break. We pull off the road and break out the maps. Looking at the AAA road map it actually says that the north entrance is closed during winter. Apparently it is still winter at these elevations, at least this year.

Three possible options settle out, 1. we could go West on the 138 and follow it North where the TAT intersects it and get back on the TAT, 2. the sign is wrong regarding the North entrance being closed so we should go on chancing it, or 3. we go around on 230 to the 62 and use the south entrance to Crater Lake. There are no obvious routes with which we can jump on the TAT from the south, other than the 138, until we get about 7 miles this side of Tiller on the 227. The issue with option one is getting gas and getting back on the TAT in a timely manner and we do not know if we will be blocked by snow elsewhere. We could easily go back to the 97 and pick up gas which would enable us to jump on the TAT from the 138. But then Chuck would not see Crater Lake, which we had resigned ourselves to do until we learned of the North gate closure. The problem with option two is that it is not likely the signs are wrong. Frankly, it was a tough decision. We burn a good 25 minutes ruminating on all the ifs, ands and wherefores (Chuck is an electrical engineer and I am computer programmer so we can sure bury ourselves in minutia). We both were getting exasperated and it boils down to, “let’s just do something, damn it”.

We decide to do what would most likely give us success in reaching a goal. We decide to see Crater Lake. I had been there several times before but never this early in the year and Chuck had never been. When one is this close to the lake, it would be a shame not to see it. We could have gotten on the TAT again off the 138 but in all likelihood we would not have made Tiller via the TAT due to the lateness of the hour and the process of getting gas and getting to the jump-on crossing. That would mean another bailout onto the 28 then a ride into Tiller on highway. It was disappointing for me to not continue on the TAT but we would likely see more miles of Oregon from the highways and given it appears that we are among the first TAT riders in 2013, who knows if the route is open from the 138 to Tiller. If we had an extra day, I would have liked to have spent two nights in Crescent, one day to see Crater Lake and the other day to work the TAT, including ‘go arounds’ as necessary. But as they say, hind-sight is 20-20. True enough.

Making a decision we get on the bikes again and get going down 138 to the 230, hang a left on the 62 and another left to the south entrance. As we climb in elevation it gets colder and colder and we see more snow building up along the side of the road. Great!

Highway stop for logging/roadside maintenance.



Snow starting to accumulate again as we gain elevation toward Crater Lake.



Snow continues to increase in depth.



More snow in the middle of May.



We get to the gate entrance and it is $5 a head to get in, but we get a great four panel pamphlet! We get to the visitor center/restaurant which is at some 7,100 feet and is surrounded by snow. Chuck goes into the restaurant to get some burgers, I decline in order to not incriminate myself. I head over to the edge of the caldera and take some pictures. Chuck shows up with a tray with two bread bowls of chili and drinks. Holly cow, way too much effort to bring that all the way out here but he was expecting me to be by the bikes. I was thinking just a bag of burgers and fries. I mean what touristy restaurant does not have burgers and fries? Thank you, Chuck! I told him I owed him dinner for that. We are not disappointed by the views of the lake.

Crater Lake









Then of course it starts lightly snowing and the sky turns increasingly
ominous. Why not? Figuring our time was up at the Lake and not wanting to ride on/off-road tires on ice, we beat a hasty retreat down from the caldera rim. I was cold riding up to the lake, I was cold while at the lake (snow and wind), and I am cold riding down the mountain. I do not start to warm up until we stop to remove the rain gear near the junction of the 62 and 230.

It is now just after 3:30 and there is no possibility of getting back on the TAT today so we hang a left on the 230, ride to Trail, and then north on the 227 to Tiller. We pass numerous pretty little valleys with idyllic looking homesteads to which we exclaim, “I could do that”. We ride past the turn off to the Threehorn Campground on the 227. This five campsite campground is at 2,600 feet and about 14 miles South of Tiller and 10 miles South of where the TAT crosses the 227. When deciding on the nightly stops we considered staying here because of its proximity to the TAT, but we opted for hot showers and warm food in Canyonville. Also there are only five campsites, reservations were not possible and I did not want to chance not getting a campsite. We ride into Tiller at about 5:30 and stop at the Tiller Store and Gas Station.

Ride to Tiller.





When putting this ride together I had called the Southfork Café and Mart owned by the Adams family. Sam lists them as contacts on the Oregon map #5. Apparently the café has since gone out of business but I did get in touch with the owners of the Tiller Store (27590 Tiller Trail Highway, 541-825-3727). I wanted to be sure there was gas available in Tiller. We fill up with gas and then go into the store to get a bite to eat and pay for the gas. We end up chatting with the store owners, for a good half-hour. What a great couple. They seem to have a great relationship. They also inform us that the clean and well maintained store was for sale. It could be an opportunity for the right person/couple who have the time and energy (see http://sacramento.craigslist.org/bfs/3843403873.html).

In our chatting we of course get around to the TAT and that we are riding it (at least doing what we can). They take our picture and say that as far as they know we are the first TAT riders through this year. The lack of tracks on the trials we have traversed would certainly give credence to that assertion. We finally pull away from the store at about 6:15. Good people.

Important note to other TAT riders. As it stands now, as of our ride, there is no gas in Tiller on Mondays. Be sure to call the store and verify your ability to get petrol.

As the closest motels to Tiller are located in Canyonville, we ride west on the Tiller Trail Highway to the Holiday Inn Express in Canyonville. We get our bikes unloaded and head over to the El Paraiso restaurant on NW Johnson Street. We eat our fill and then some of good Mexican food. They are efficient, professional, quick and have good food. Recommended.
We ride back to the motel, I call the boss and do some preventive wrenching on my bike. Chuck and I then discuss the plans for our last day on the TAT. One of our constraints is that we have to pick up the U-Haul truck in Port Orford before 5 PM tomorrow or we cannot get an early start on our drive home. The plan is to leave Port Orford at 6 AM Friday and drive all day and into the night and get back to Kamas, UT by around 1 AM on Saturday. That gives Chuck time to get some sleep before heading home to Tucson late Saturday morning. If we cannot get the truck until after 8 AM on Friday then we will be over two hours late and be driving most of the night.

Our original plan for Thursday (Day 7) is for us to ride back to Tiller and hop on the TAT where it crosses the 227. That would make a 198 mile day. So much for plans. As we have seen it is a real struggle for us to do more than about 170 miles on the TAT (throwing in some pavement/gravel) and that is getting into our destination sometime after 5ish PM. That is not going to work tomorrow. We have to cut somewhere. Since we are in Canyonville we could just go south on the 5 and catch the TAT at Quines Creek. We can fill up with gas around there and would hopefully have plenty of time and gas to make Port Orford. That plan cuts off the re-riding of the Tiller Trail Highway and part of 227. Unfortunately it also cuts off some 46 miles of the TAT but that still gives us 123 miles of the TAT to ride. That becomes the plan for Day 7. After riding some 243 miles today, it does not take long for us to start sawing those pesky logs.
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'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:53 PM   #28
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Seven More Days on the TAT (Day 7)

I like this Holiday Inn Express (HIE). This is the newest and nicest hotel we have stayed in thus far. This is really roughing it, particularly partaking of the breakfast just down the hall. With the Eureka Inn being our first sit down real breakfast of the ride, this is our second and best. The HIE even has a hot cake cooking machine which drops batter on a moving conveyer belt and about a minute later, a rubbery hot cake out comes the other end. Personally, I will stick with the waffle batter/cooker that one usually finds in hotel breakfast rooms. As usual it seems to take forever to get repacked and everything loaded on the bikes. As is my habit, to signal our departure from the motel, I move out from under the covered hotel lobby entry area and send a “Trip progressing normally. All is OK” message via the SPOT at 8:10.

But I spoke too soon. Chuck does a sharp left out of the covered hotel lobby entry area whereas I go straight ahead and plan on making two left turns out of the parking lot to meet up with Chuck. It had been raining last night but I am not concerned as I take the left turn at a very controllable speed. Controllable that is until my rear tire goes sliding out and I am down on the left side just sliding along with the bike. I cannot believe how far I slide and how long it takes to stop. I think this is the first motorcycle dump that I have had time to contemplate upon while it is actually occurring, well, except for a high speed wobble get off about 13 years ago on a Goldwing due to a flat tire. When we stop sliding my first thought is to get the bike shut off and upright. Damn this thing is heavy! I give it a couple of tries and then give it all I have and the bike is upright again. I put the kickstand down and survey the damage. There is none except for my pride as a lady comes up and repeatedly asks if I am OK. I assure her that all is well and that this is not the first time I have been down and likely not the last. Then I move my feet back and forth on the asphalt and it feels like someone has covered the parking lot in oil. The damn asphalt is slicker than goose shit. The slickness is not just because of the rain. There is a Seven Feathers Casino, Resort, and gas station just uphill of the HIE. They have two tanker trucks parked along the parking lot just uphill of where I went down. Damn bastards, I think, there has been a recent oil/gasoline spill or seepage and the rain brought it to the surface of the parking lot road. Chuck rides up and asks if I am OK. I tell him yes but it is very slick here. He moves his booted feet along the asphalt AKA ‘river of oil’ and agrees with my assessment. In short order I have things sorted out, the bike running and we are off, again. We have about 123 TAT miles to ride today along with our current 16 mile ride down the I-5 to Quines Creek .


Map of the Day 7 ride





To meet up with the TAT we take the ramp off I-5, top off our gas tanks, find the TAT and head west. In short order it starts raining. We have our wet gear on so for now we are OK. The ride is a mix of asphalt and dirt roads as we head north then east through predominantly thick conifers and stands of deciduous trees. Our elevation is between 1,500 feet and 2,500 feet. There are no grand vistas to speak of, just riding through lush, green tree lined roads.












We ride for the next fifty miles or so over a somewhat sketchy route. There are three or four areas which neither trail nor road shows up on my Garmin maps nor even Chuck’s new maps. We follow the roll charts and GPS tracks for the most part. Down one 4x4 trail we come across a couple of guys unloading a three-wheeler out of the back of their pickup. They make movements which would lead one to believe that they had something to hide. We just nod and ride by, leaving them to their own agenda.

Down the trail a ways there is a fork in the 4x4 trail so we guess and take the less technical trail which meanders generally downhill. A quarter mile along we find our waypoints are north of us so we ride back to the fork. As the initial portion of the uphill trail looks sketchy, we get off our bikes and walk up the trail some 40 yards. The trail is an uphill which then sharply crests, drops into a 10 foot wash out and then immediately continues going back uphill. The obstacle would make a great motocross jump but realistically for us, if one is not going fast enough to make the crest then the bike will be dropped as there is very little terra firma on which to dabble. Topping the crest one is confronted with an immediate drop into the 10 foot V, which if you are going too fast would bottom out the forks and send the rider flying. Finally, there is an immediate uphill which has a small washout running in it with a steep uphill on the right. The obstacle has to be approached from the left going down into the V toward the side of the hill, then get the bike straightened out and pointed back up the road rather than the steep hill on the right side of the trail. It is going to be a holly mess it a loaded bike is dropped either on the crest, in the bottom, or the scamper back up the trail. Chuck was in the lead, as is typical, so I ‘let’ (don’t discourage) him go first. I am on the trail on the other side of the V to help him if need be. He gets the KLR moving uphill, tops the crest, plummets to the bottom and with a little help and throttle gets the bike going back up the trail. My turn. I tell Chuck, who is standing in the V, to get the hell out of the way of the bike if I get all discombobulated. I give the bike enough juice to top the crest and then immediately feel weightlessness as the DRZ’s front end descends into the V, I slide back, get the front tire pointed at the small washout, goose it a bit and damn if I am not out of the obstacle in short order. Not bad, I think. I am glad I am riding the DRZ but I do not want to do it again. We continue up the trail to a more substantial road and take a short break.

As we move into the second half of today’s ride, the weather gets colder, a light drizzle starts, my gloves become soaked, and I become wet (no bottom rain gear and the rain seeps in around my face and the back of my helmet). In short, I am damn cold. This area peaks at about 3,800 feet but also descends to 1,000 feet and in short order ascends to over 3,000 feet. Not Rocky Mountain standards but with the mud, rocks, rain, cold and remoteness, I am sufficiently impressed.

We ride up a TAT detour off the main dirt road and find our way blocked by a large tree. This is not an uncommon occurrence but we have usually been able to move the tree or go around. With this tree we cannot do either, so we back track to the road, continue westward, and eventually the TAT detour meets again with the road. After what seems like hours, because it was, we come to a nice open area with a view. I am more than ready to get off the bike, warm up a bit, stretch the legs, eat some trail mix and take some pictures.



















We are still several hours from our destination but the view, cessation (even if temporary) of the drizzle, and the trail mix all rally my enthusiasm for the ride. Note to self, get some waterproof, warmer gloves for days like this. I had brought two pair but not a wet, cold weather pair. I definitely will need such a pair for the Arctic Circle ride I am planning with my KLR. Note addendum, heated grips would help as well.

We get back on the bikes and get moving again. We eventually follow the Elk River into highway 101, turn south, and in relatively short order see the Port Orford city limits sign! We ride through the northern part of town, past the U-Haul dealership and ride straight on to the Port Orford ocean overlook. We have made it!!






















After taking photos at the overlook we note the time is just 3:20. Having nothing substantial to eat since breakfast and having just ridden 123, mostly wet and cold, miles we stumble upon the Crazy Norwegians seafood café just off the 101 (259 6th St.). We both order substantial seafood lunches. Good service, good food, good grief we actually made it, Chuck!

After lunch we ride back to the U-Haul dealership which is also an auto parts dealership (Kar Kare Auto Parts). We talk to the counter personnel …






… and he verifies that there is a truck waiting for us. He barks and states that for a dog biscuit he would do the paperwork and get us on our way.

After securing the truck and parking it across the street from Kar Kare we ride to get our hotel room secured. Chuck has us staying at the Castaway Motel which has the second nicest rooms of the trip and the best views. Every room has a view of the ocean. Good going, Chuck!

We unload our bikes and shed some of our riding gear, check in with the wives, and taking the tie downs we ride back to the truck. Chuck opts to ride his KLR up the ramp and into the truck (7 foot 3 inch tall door) and not to be outdone, I follow suit. We drive the truck to the motel and spend some time getting the lay of the land and taking numerous pics of the area.






















We ask around regarding where we might purchase some fresh fish to put on ice to take home with us. We eventually secure some fresh frozen salmon, cod, and halibut. We pay for the fish and arrange to pick up our purchase at 6:30 AM Friday morning (so the fish can stay frozen overnight in their freezer). We then head down to Griff’s on the Dock and have another seafood meal. Eh, Griff’s is OK but I prefer the Crazy Norwegians.







Getting back to our room, Chuck goes out and talks to the owner of the place. I get better organized and ready for an early morning departure. Chuck returns and I eventually go talk to the owner myself. After getting onto politics and having differing views, he bids me a goodnight and that’s the end of that. By the time I get back into the room Chuck is about passed out. With the realization that we have over 16 hours of driving ahead of us, I too give into Morpheus.
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'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:58 PM   #29
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Seven More Days on the TAT (UT-OR Epilogue)

Friday dawns early for us as we must be on the road by 6:30. We load the truck, procure the frozen fish, hook my GPS unit up to the DC power receptacle and we are off down the road by 6:35. About 30 minutes into the drive home it becomes clear that the truck’s DC power receptacle is not functioning. Arggghhh! In the mean time, Charles has been calling around to supermarkets which are supposed to have dry ice (according to those who sold us the frozen fish), but they don’t. Chuck finally finds a place in Eugene that sells dry ice. We stop in Coos Bay for a McDonald’s breakfast and drive across the street to the U-Haul dealership. We inform them of the DC power receptacle problem and they basically state they don’t know squat and recommend we stop in Eugene to get it resolved. Thanks a lot.

We get to Eugene and surprisingly find the U-Haul dealership right away. The quick version is that they have to tear apart the dash and route another wire up from a hot source in the fuse box to the power receptacle. I would bet big money that the thing never worked but no one had fixed it, even with over 90,000 miles on the truck’s odometer. Ah, well, now we’re good to go. We drive across Eugene, procure the dry ice and then get the heck out of town. We burn over two hours in Eugene. Reality has a way of making plans obsolete. You just have to be flexible, patient and persevere in getting the flow moving with you again.

We take turns driving the U-Haul or napping. It is one long day and late into the night. We hit a heavy storm in Southern Idaho which makes driving perilous (can’t see the center line!), but we keep moving on. It was not until about 3:45 AM on Saturday morning that we drive up into my Kamas driveway. After a brief snooze, Chuck and Deb are packing to leave. I get up and help Chuck load the KLR into his truck and they are on their way back to Tucson, which they make safely and without incident late Saturday night. I return the U-Haul truck on Sunday, thus marking the end of our UT-OR TAT ride.

We had a great time on our UT-OR segment TAT ride. I enjoyed the NV portion of the ride the best, though it was the more difficult and we were always time challenged. There are some amazing open spaces in Northern Nevada and Southern Oregon! Next year we finish the TAT by starting on the East coast, catch the TAT in TN and ride it to Boise City, OK. I plan on taking my KLR and hopefully avoid the rains.

Here are some suggestions/findings for other UT-OR segment TAT riders:

All the motels we stayed in were OK, some obviously better than others, but none had bed bugs or were filthy. That said, don’t take your blushing bride (unless she’s a good dual-sport rider) to any of them except maybe the Castaway and then only for the ambiance, not the quality of the hotel.

Unless you really want to just zip along and are able do that, do not try to ride longer than say 225 miles in a day. I think, for us on this section of the TAT, an average of 175 mile days would have been just about right. But again, given those parameters, finding gas and nightly accommodations would be difficult. Always a trade off.

As apparently most of the UT-OR TAT riders ride NV in the Summer heat, all I can say is Spring is a better time if you can deal with the snow, cold, and rain in OR (or be lucky enough to miss it). I would feel cheated if I had missed the green of Spring in Northern Nevada.

We took the detour up through Paradise Valley, NV to Hinkey Summit rather than follow the TAT around to the east. It is a toss-up as to a recommendation. I loved the views from Hinkey Summit but would have liked to have ridden the Santa Rosa Range foothills. Both ways meet at around Windy Gap. What one could do is ride the TAT around the Santa Rosa Range and then up to Windy Gap. At Windy Gap take the 13 mile (one way) side excursion south to Hinkey Summit. If you have the time, that gives you most of the best of both routes.

Be aware that there is no gas in Denio Junction, NV, at least for the next 4+ weeks. Call them and verify availability. Also be aware that it is my understanding that there is no gas on Mondays in Tiller, OR. It would be best to call ahead and verify availability of petro at all gas stops.

Speaking of gas, I would recommend a bike with a range of at least 250 miles. Under normal circumstances you will not need a range of more than 160 miles but Murphy is alive and well so plan accordingly.

I consider a 400cc to 650cc sized dual-sport to be a good size for the UT-OR or OK-UT portions of the TAT. Sure, you can ride the larger bikes but for me a 440cc to 530cc bike would be optimal. Oh, and do prepare the bike for some rough riding. I cannot tell you how often I was thankful for the bike’s bash plate. Those kicked up stones would tear up an unprotected case in no time.

Take an extra day and spend the time viewing Crater Lake and environs. It is worth the time, IMHO.

In mid-May there is snow in Oregon on the TAT and there are a number of tree blow-downs which have to be moved, gone around, or ride retraced. If you go early in the year, do not expect these blow-downs to have been resolved.

Bring warm, water proof gloves in addition to your desert riding gloves. Optimally, I would suggest three pairs of gloves, one for early morning cold riding, a later in the day warm/hot ride pair, and the warmer still, water proof gloves.

Bring back ups for critical equipment/supplies, e.g., GPS, tire tubes, tire inflation CO2, water, etc. If you and your buddy carry the same stuff, there are your duplicates. If it can break down, be able to live without it or break out the spare as there is a lot of empty space out there in Northern Nevada and Southern Oregon.

Lastly, get out there and ride the TAT. For most of us the TAT is definitely one of the rides of our life time. It all starts with a single step. Take it and persevere. Best wishes!



__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

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Old 06-09-2013, 11:20 PM   #30
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
Oddometer: 541
Excellent! Glad to see your spill wasn't damaging and that you were able to carry on. Thanks for sharing.
Trane Francks is offline   Reply With Quote
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