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Old 05-22-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
TJ Willy OP
ADV, this, I crave.
TJ Willy's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Wichita Falls, Tx
Oddometer: 344
7 days, 8 states, 3800 miles - My Solo TAT ADV.

This is my 2009 Trans America Trail report.

Day 1:

In true fashion, I was up late finalizing the bike for the trip Monday night. I got everything ready and could not sleep. I tried but to no avail, so around 4:00 am I set out with plans of making Jellico, TN, 1100 miles, late the next evening. I got about 40 miles down the road and realized I left my cell phone at home. CRAP! I had to go back for it.

The weather started out ok but soon turned very bad. It slowed me down big time. The sun started to rise as I passed through St. Joe, TX. This is what I was riding through:

The rain turned to a fine mist and fog:

I had some serious regrets about now.

But not because of the weather. Every mile I headed east, I realized I was further away from my 19 month old daughter. It was the hardest thing I have every done. I was in pretty low spirits. It was too early to call home, so I tapped out an email to my wife about how I missed them which seemed to help and I pressed on.

A shot of the bike before I rode on.

Daylight and my first gas stop. There was a break in the rain before I made it to East Texas.

As I continued on, I noticed my GPS was switching to battery power from time-to-time. Since I wired the Zumo to bike switched power, this told me that there was a problem somewhere with the splice.

The previous owner wired in a Sho-Me blinking light system that is used with first responders. He was a police officer which is why he used that light system. I spliced into his power behind where he spliced into bike power.

I pulled over in a sprinkle and parked under an old strip mall sidewalk to investigate.

He used one of these:

I considered replacing this before I left b/c I smelled trouble, but time was against me.

It was losing connection causing both the LED light and my Zumo power to go out.

I removed his crappy connector, stripped the wires, and respliced them together using electrical tape. I will be soldering them together later.

Content now that things would hold together for the trip: (which they did)

Next fuel stop, I decided to eat some lunch.

I was getting REAL tired. That 7 hour Redline does NOT work either!

The rain picked back up and really poured on me as I made it to Texarkana. I decided then that I would lay over in Little Rock with my Dad. I was exhausted and was falling asleep on the bike. NOT A GOOD THING!

I stopped to eat an early dinner since I knew I would be staying over in Little Rock.


This was the second and third time I had to explain what the hell I was doing. Those of you who have ridden the TAT know that you get asked all the time what you are doing. We must look really strange on these 'dirt bikes' loaded with gear, muddy, etc... This one guy even followed me out and said how much he admired me for taking out on an adventure like this solo. He was a biker... owned a harley but was down on his luck like many of us these days. I will admit I was a bit taken back by his kind words. But this was to be the beginning of meeting many great people during my trip.

Once I got to my Dad's, we visited a little while and I went to bed... tired and defeated! This is not how I wanted my first day to go. Weather, fatigue, and electrical problems... uggg. But thankfully, I got all that out of the way the very first day! :)

It gets better... much better.

Jellico, TN was my next destination. 640 miles.

More later...
2009 Solo TAT Ride Report
01 F650 Dakar | '99 Triumph Trophy 1200
SmugMug Goodness Coupon Code (GZnn7vYHaHJjg)

TJ Willy screwed with this post 07-20-2012 at 10:27 PM
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