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Old 05-26-2009, 04:37 PM   #61
flyingbeard
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Did you cover the whole trail to the west coast in 8 days?
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:48 PM   #62
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Day 4 Continued:

After rounding the bend and seeing the duck blind that had be relocated by flood waters, I expected the worse....

... which is what I found:



Now I imagine this being a really fun water crossing. I waded out further than I should because I knew in the back of my mind I could not attempt this alone. When the water reached my knees, and I was not even out to the bend in the trail yet, I figured I'd just go back.

Again... defeated by the fact I would not take chances with water solo. Had there been more riders, this would have been worth wading out further and investigating a little more.

All I ended up with was wet feet the rest of the day.



I took this pic a short ways before I turned back.



So I rerouted around the flood. Sensible but no fun.

Later on down the trail I rounded a corner and noticed a Toyota Tacoma pulling a trailer with some equipment in my lane. No need for alarm. This is a gravel road with little traffic, surely he will see me and move over. NOPE.

I ride the right edge of my lane as long as I can when I finally give up on him moving. He runs me off into the ditch on the right.

Thankfully, I had ABS disengaged as you will see in the pic which slowed my entry into the ditch somewhat. I had already slowed down considerably...

I kept the bike up and thankfully the ditch was not deep.



The bike never stalled and after I regained my composure I just motored out.



The guy in the truck stopped and began *trying* backup the rig up. I saw this was going to take a while and what was I really going to say? Pick your battle right? I am sure he knew he could have killed me and was pretty rattled himself. I just gave him a thumbs up and he waived back.

I had used my share of Karma escaping the TN woods, so I figure it was time to send some back. Plus, I had a lot of miles to go.

None worse for ware, I rode on my way.

This my friends is the TN/MS state line. No fancy sign. No rest area busy parking lot peddling coffee for donations... just a beautiful valley:



and this house:



My GPS had the state line running right down the middle. I could not help but to wonder what their address would be?

Another pic:



The road was slick, but not muddy. Thankfully. Scott had warned me of the mud when he came through here.



Still looks like TN:







I think this bridge has been out since like the day after Sam created the TAT route:

First you come upon this sign:



The DS'er in you says, I can find a way so you walk around the mound:



This ain't so bad... I might get to use the camp shovel I brought and dig myself a little path around that mound and I'll be good to go.. better look further though... I remember that lesson from earlier!!!

Good thing I did...



No way through there!!!

Time to reroute.

Now I KNOW I am not the only one that has done this... I check the GPS and found a suitable road and pointed the Dak down it. You end up in a circle drive. The road is supposed to continue on to the right but it is gated and posted.

I dismount and meet this fellow:



Let's just say he has had enough of all these dirt bikers using his private drive to turn around. It goes something like this:

HIM: "Why do you and all your friends always come down here and think you can use my driveway to turn around?"

ME: "Hi. Sorry for the intrusion but..."

HIM: "THere ain't nothin' back here. Why come here?"

ME: "First off, I think I know what you are talking about. You see, there is this trail......."

You know the rest. Turns out... he has grown, let's say, worried by all the riders. He was becoming concerned by all the traffic, and well... had enough of it. But after I explained the WHOLE story to him... TAT, Riders from all over the world, cross country, blah... he got the picture and was very nice.

I don't blame him really. I would probably have been the same way. Tons of bikes with no clue as to what was going on. I told him that he was very fortunate to be associated with one of the most famous DS routes/trails in the world.... and that riders from other countries come over here to the US just ride this thing. I said someone from England has probably been right here in his driveway on a 'dirt bike'.

He laughed... and like I said was very cordial once he knew what was going on. A nice guy to speak with...

I promised him I would explain all this on 'our website'. The best go around for that bridge is (Map 2 in Sam's MS Maps) to go SOUTH on BLACKJACK RD to HWY 370 then head WEST to ASHLAND where go north a couple of miles to intercept the trail.

So if you know of anyone planning a TAT trip, pass this info along. It will save them time in the long run... The best 'looking' reroute is NOT AVAILABLE. The gate is locked and the land says it is posted. Who knows. The gentleman I spoke with did not know the people that had the road blocked but he said it has been gated for as long as he can remember.

Matter of fact: If you look at the above pic on the FAR RIGHT... you can see a blurry sign and something yellowish below it. That is the posted sign and to the right of it is a big locked gate. That is the road that looks like the reroute.

Moving on...

Once I got on the right path... or wrong path for a little while... I started to see more of what I recognize as MS land.




Pine mixed with hardwood... gravel roads that are ACTUALLY USED... so be careful. I don't think I saw more than 2 or 3 cars on the TN gravel, but the MS gravel is used - much like the AR gravel. So wake up from your blind corner, fast gravel riding style you might have slipped into while in TN.

A black Toyota might be in your path!

As much as my camera sucks, I like the slightly out of focus/in focus way this pic turned out.



Your not doing MS TAT if your not getting an Able's store pic:



It was getting late and I began to hunt for suitable camping.

The GPS routes me to: Wall Doxey (I think it was... things are starting to run together now.) State Park. I am really not sure if that was the park or not. I can't find any others on the map right now and since I did not plan many things, I can't be certain... but oh well...

This was to be the most intersting night of camping I have ever experienced.



I cruise the campground looking for a suitable spot and the place is PACKED! Wow... I stop and ask a fellow and his son what the deal was and says his there was a big church function going on there. I finally find a, you guessed it, RV spot. I pull in and start making camp. I decide to walk down to the bathroom and check out the facilities while I have some light.

Right next to me a group of young men camping. 9 black guys, college aged and obviously newcomers to camping. They brought SO MUCH STUFF WITH THEM. It was crazy. They were cutting up and having a good time. A few steps down, I hear a men's church group singing. Another site or three over, old folks playing cards or something.

Imagine all of these sounds mixed together. It was the most facinating thing I had ever heard. When you are alone for so long with only your bike as your partner and the sounds that go along with that, you will, at least I did, become very atune to your senses. Things become particularly sharp. I guess your awareness is in hyper mode. Normal day-to-day life strips us of these primal instincts I think. But we are ferral, humans that is... I think we could go back to cave dwelling if we had to... as a race. Probably us ADV'ers would be the leaders of that world and the stuff shirt beaurocrats would do our laundry.

Anyway... I get to the bathrooms... damn... what a sorry mess. Shower worthy... BARELY. But it beats washing down in Lake DeGray in Arkansas... wait a second... no it doesn't. This is bad.

The sun sets FAST around here. By the time I am getting back to camp it is nearly dark. I setup everything and mosey over to the guys camping next to me.

Turns out they are founding members of Kappa Kappa Psi - a black band fraternity. I walk up and scare the crap out of them.

This was their camp:



Too bad I did not get a better pic of all the shit they brought with them.



This could be a very long story.... what unfolded that evening... but let me sum it all up for your with this list and a quick video.

1. GREAT DUDES

2. I am an honary member (and the first white member) of KKP Fraternal Organization.

3. Judging a book by it's cover is a GROSS and idiotic mistake.

4. MRE's taste better when you are laughing so hard a noodle finds it's way out your nose.

5. Sleep is way over rated. (not really)

6. Black guys are reallly afraid of the dark and when someone shakes their tent in the night... (It was not me, it was somone else that had joined us and left), but OMG, it was so funny the way they were screaming like girls. You just had to be there. Something about hearing grown men screaming "They're gonna kill us!!!-They're gonna kill us!!" is surprising funny.

7. I really wish the best in life for these guys... ALL THE BEST. Getting to know these guys actually put some faith in the next generation for me. They had their heads screwed on straight. Plans for the future. And seemed way more dedicated and in tune with life in general than I was in college. Good luck guys.


Sorry, it was way late in the night so you don't get video but the guys were singing the KKP anthem or something. I caught the tail end.






That video sums up the evening well. Brotherhood. Bonding. Beliefs. and most of all Respect for Fellow Man.

I was up an at 'em with my morning routine kinda early (for me) the next day. After sipping my morning coffee, I hit the trail.

Another quick pic.



Later down the TAT.

What is a MS TAT ride without a Kudzu pic??? Worthless I say!



This is stuff the plant equivalent to fire ants.



Looks like we have ourselves another bridge out of commision. Let's check it out.





Looks like one of you guys riding the TAT setup a make-shift bridge of your own!



I decided after looking for nails and placing a few key boards across the width of the bridge that I did not need the long make shift bridge... I just rode across it.

All that was left was crossing this little dirt pile. Use the ruts that are there already. The other stuff is pretty soft.





I did get video.

But you have to deal with me starting the damn thing, walking to my bike and then walking back to the camera. Sorry... I am no good at video editing. I wish I were.

But here goes: (It is actually not a bad video this time. Quality seems better and the birds sound nice. Just ignore me.






Cool valley:





I was really working hard to catch up with Scott and crew this day so when I could I was pushing the ole Dak pretty hard. 70-80mph was common.



A mining operation:



I came upon this fantastic view of a MS valley:



I tried REAL HARD to get a good shot of my bike and this valley and failed. I really wish that I could have had someone who knew how to photograph and had THEIR camera with them take this picture. It really was a fantastic site. My camera does negative justice to the scene.

Here are my attempts:







This one is hardly worth the bandwidth:



I gave up knowing it was a big FAIL. Time to move on.

Little MS pavement:



I noticed back at the last set of bike pics that my front tire was low(er). Hmmm... next town, I better investigate this.

Well soon, I roll into Crenshaw, MS.

I was trying to get a picture of this crazy piece of farm equipment. Looked like a crazy Cessna/Tractor hybrid gig...



I stop at the little station you see up there with the red looking sign.

I find this:



Crap. Time to get to work.

I go inside to buy some windex (I really need to bring along some ru-glide next time) and ask for the smallest bottle. The store owner just lends me his. Perfect. (this is what I was secretly hoping for honestly Tee-Hee, snicker snicker)

Just like the movie Christmas Story, I was like the Dad on a mission... I barely even thought to take a pic.



I borrowed the front door mat to work on as you can see above.

I also scrounged up some bricks around back and propped up the front... ripped the wheel off, yanked out the tube, slapped baby powder on the new tube, inserted it, aired it up more, released the air, aired it up some more (all CO2 by the way) and VOILA DONE! Less than 20 mins!!! After that, I called the wife and sipped a tall boy...

That is when this guy shows up:



He asked me to tell y'all...

"If you or any of your bike friends ever need any help, you ask for me. I'll help out any way I can. I enjoy seeing y'all come through here and wondered what y'all were up to."

Sorry, I forgot his name. I should really write this stuff down.

But he was genuine. And actually was sorry he showed up too late to help me. He is a logger. And sees us from time-to-time come through on the TAT.

I took the time to explain it all to him and I could see it in his eyes man... I could see the need for what it is we crave. The same stuff I have seen in my fellow freak's eyes. I knew he really wanted to be on a bike doing what it is we do. So I spoke up.

"Man... you will get your chance. Just make some plans. Find you a bike and do it."

He was quite surprised by my comment... and I just explained to him that I know the face of an adventurer and he had it.

We laughed and I took his pic. You can even see it in his face in the pic. Gotta love it man... gotta love it.

So - here's to the adventurer in all of us.


I called my Mom after checking on my girls and was off.

There soon was a LOUD boom of thunder over head and the south westerly sky was looking bad.

Varroooom... I was off.

The TAT has you run towards the MS river and then jump on 49 to cross it. I think Scott (who built the route for the GPS) worked in some levee riding as I did not see this on my MS maps Sam sent me... oh well... let's check it out.

The route had me turning a mile or so down the road and then coming back up on a levee to my right. I saw this trail across the field and decided to gamble on it being dry enough all the way across.



It was. And I was greeting by a steep levee to climb. Yippee!

This bad boy was indeed steep. I am getting anxious typing this even...



I gained up a head of steam and went for it balls on the tank.

I nearly over did it because on the other side was this:



What it is hard to see in that above pic is that beyond that tall grass on the edge is the other side of the levee meaning it was a drop off. I got stopped in time though. I actually rode down it and did it again it was so much fun.

This pic kinda shows how steep it was:



Some fun riding!!



Really hoping to beat that storm





Some good gravel up here:



I love old country stores:



The crossroads - I think I saw this on Supernatural:



More fun gravel:



Welcome to the Arkansas Delta!:



Playing with the camera... It came out kinda cool:



SAND? No... I was not expecting this till West Oklahoma!



It was all good. I was able to keep my speed up enough to get across this with little problem.

Then I see this:



Again I wade out to what I think is the deepest part:





Not bad... the sand had turned into sand/gravel/rock mix. Not really muddy and not really too soft. Just kinda there. Only one snake did I see and it was fleeing the scene so you know what... TO HELL WITH TURNING AROUND. I had grown so tired of turning around that I went for it. The deepest part I saw was just over my boots. My damn feet were wet again already... so why not just do it.

And I did.

And all went just fine. My gamble was wrong though... it was a not the only flooded area but the rest were only as bad as the first... nothing really life threatening.

My gas light was on anyway... I had to press on. This was the first of THREE - count them THREE times I nearly ran out of fuel...

The remaining terrain through here was pretty muddy. Those clouds you see over me had dumped some water on the trail. At one point, I saw where bikes had left the trail and entered the field as the trail was so badly rutted and dug out. I did not notice those tracks till I got up on the high ground and saw them... I chuckled that at least two other riders had avoided that muddy mess as well.

It must have been that the farm land had soaked in the water and it was LESS muddy than the red clay road that just held all the water.

Anyway, it was a gamble that worked out.

The trail was really fun actually... If I just ignored the fact I was in reserve. After the red clay, I got just normal mud/dirt.





It was quite common to see deer tracks trotting along the trail.

Ohh animal report:

Thus far, I had seen, Deer, snakes, squirrels, birds, two bobcats (really cool), a fox, and of course dogs and cats, a few turkeys, and something that I believe to be a feral hog. And Raccoons. I had to shoo them right out of my camp!! Brave suckers.

Cool bridge:



Again with the rain clouds.... It was a battle for territory and was touch and go there for a while.



Again, I was spared the worst of it:





Approaching Des Arc, AR.



It was a little ways before here, I had learned about Scott's mishap. I had gotten a voice mail after a couple days of not hearing from him. I had begun to worry. Just as he had a few days earlier when I had failed to check it.

It was upon hearing his message, calling him, and getting the full report that I decided what I was going to do next.

While I was stopped there, I picked up some gas station fried food and a cold one with plans to stop on the trail and enjoy a quite one man picnic.



Caribou's are perfect for this you know.

A little fish, chicken, and tater babies:



Table and chair.



As I ate my VERY peaceful lunch... I put the final thoughts into my remaining TAT plan.

Last year a buddy and I had our first run at the TAT. We booked it to Des Arc, AR and ran to Copan, OK then headed home. Holy Shit... I just realized I did not finish that ride report. My gosh... I need to do that...

Anyway... because of that, I decided to ride to Des Arc to the exact place we started the TAT to complete the East to West route and then Super Slab it to Tulsa, OK for a visit with a buddy late that evening and then get back on the TAT the next morning in Copan, OK.

It was to be a LONG day of riding. I started somewhere in central MS and would end the day with lots of trail and tarmac miles.

Before I got to Des Arc, I took a pic. Another cool in/out of focus shot:



And here I am. I took this just for my buddy stating I am number one right now with the most TAT miles! heehee





I stop at this little station right off of I-40 and fill up, get some snacks and prepare for my long ride to Tulsa, OK. If you are doing the TAT... you must stop here for their home made cookies! They were as good as they were the last time I was through there.... BANK ON IT!



I have a pic of those cookies on my cell phone... let me see if I can grab it.

Mmmm - cookies:



Gotta make some time!



I arrive in Tulsa around 11:00 pm. I had called ahead to the Farfield Inn and used some Mariott points to secure a free room. I called an old college buddy who I had not seen in years and he came over with a 12 pack.

We hung out for a couple of hours, caught up, and I hit the sack.

End of Day 4!

more later....
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:51 PM   #63
TJ Willy OP
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Originally Posted by flyingbeard
Did you cover the whole trail to the west coast in 8 days?
No. I made it to Trinidad, CO. My wife and I have a 19 month old and we are 5 months pregnant as well. My Mom came in to stay with my family for a few days and I scavenged a couple days where I could. But I could not leave my wife alone for too long. So I did what I could.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:38 PM   #64
flyingbeard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ Willy
No. I made it to Trinidad, CO. My wife and I have a 19 month old and we are 5 months pregnant as well. My Mom came in to stay with my family for a few days and I scavenged a couple days where I could. But I could not leave my wife alone for too long. So I did what I could.
I understand, thanks for all the info. I'm still in the planning stages and trying the see how much time I need to complete the full route. It will most likely be a solo trip with stays in motels to keep the gear to a minimum.
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:26 PM   #65
TJ Willy OP
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Originally Posted by flyingbeard
I understand, thanks for all the info. I'm still in the planning stages and trying the see how much time I need to complete the full route. It will most likely be a solo trip with stays in motels to keep the gear to a minimum.
I think, solo, three weeks is very doable. Some say four weeks. Whatever you do, build some time to relax during your trip. I pressed pretty hard and it was starting to wear on me towards the end.

The ride home was a ball buster...
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:09 PM   #66
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I am thoroughly enjoying your report. And like the logger from Mississippi I don't even own a motorcycle. But I do own a sawmill about 15 miles from the Helena, AR bridge. It is on the side of a gravel road that is part of the TAT. It is about a mile before you get to Guthrie Gro., which is on your pic captioned "I love old country stores". I watched riders come by my mill for several years and finally flagged down a couple of guys from Sacremento and asked them what they were doing and they told me about the TAT. I was leaving work about 3:00 this afternoon and saw the largest group I have ever seen on the TAT. There was an even dozen of them. I noticed one of them had a ADV sticker on the front of his bike. I gave him the finger as he drove by and he gave me a funny kind of grin. Don't believe I have ever seen over 5 or 6 in a group before that. Anyway, keep up the good work.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:26 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Tompound
Great report, myself and a couple of buddies just did the TN and MS section last week when (what day) did you start the trail? where are you right now? watch out for those creek crossings they are slippery watched all my friends go down i luckly made it
tom, how many days for tn & ms tat ride for you ??
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:38 PM   #68
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Just found your report and thanks for all the pictures of the TN sections. Looks like that's on the cards for later this summer.

I grew up about 6 miles west of Crab Orchard, TN. The TAT runs through Catoosa Wildlife Management Area and I think I recognized the wooden bridge below the Devil's Breakfast Table (HUGE flippin' rock on the bluff overlooking the swimming hole). However, I had no clue that the TAT routed you over to Crab Orchard. The only way I can think of that's not paved is if you came over "Big Rock", that mountain on the other side of the Exxon station in your picture. If indeed you did come over that way you've found some of the roughest crap around Crossville. Good on 'ya.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:52 PM   #69
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Cooooooool!

Yeah, great trip. It's pretty country. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:13 PM   #70
John Joel Glanton
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Originally Posted by TJ Willy
This one is hardly worth the bandwidth:
I respectfully disagree. That was a nice pic and the back end of the bike complete with stickers was kinda cool with the background. This is a SWEET ride report. The pics are great and the videos really add to it. Keep it coming!
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:17 PM   #71
Tompound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brown Dog
tom, how many days for tn & ms tat ride for you ??
Left my house in watertown tn just before 7:00 a.m. monday the 18th made it to Obed river campground about 260 miles we( I met two of my buddies at carthage over look ) did go to jellico to eat and then hit the trail this is the second time this year I have done the TN section it was so fun the first time had to do it again anyway the second night made it to Old Stone Fort State Park witch is a little ways off the trail. The third night Big Hill Pond State Park, it is only like 15 20 miles from the ms border made it to the miss. river by 3:30 p.m. up and out by 7:30 a.m. If you want time to site see I would give your self extra time. East TN is worth a couple days for sure. I am about 20 miles from the trail witch goes near WoodburyTN there is a good little trail riding spot near here just off the trail can not miss it. let me know when you are going maybe I will be around and ride with you. I think three weeks is not quite enough time. maybe it is we did 1550 miles in 5 days. keep me posted.
Phil Great RR is there more? Just did the TN-MS trail and still can not get enough.

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:55 PM   #72
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Great report its making me jealous. Keep it coming.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:00 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by cypert2
I am thoroughly enjoying your report. And like the logger from Mississippi I don't even own a motorcycle. But I do own a sawmill about 15 miles from the Helena, AR bridge. It is on the side of a gravel road that is part of the TAT. It is about a mile before you get to Guthrie Gro., which is on your pic captioned "I love old country stores". I watched riders come by my mill for several years and finally flagged down a couple of guys from Sacremento and asked them what they were doing and they told me about the TAT. I was leaving work about 3:00 this afternoon and saw the largest group I have ever seen on the TAT. There was an even dozen of them. I noticed one of them had a ADV sticker on the front of his bike. I gave him the finger as he drove by and he gave me a funny kind of grin. Don't believe I have ever seen over 5 or 6 in a group before that. Anyway, keep up the good work.
cypert2,

Get you a bike an join us!
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:23 PM   #74
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cypert2,

Get you a bike an join us!
You know what? I just might do that.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:55 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by cypert2
. I was leaving work about 3:00 this afternoon and saw the largest group I have ever seen on the TAT. There was an even dozen of them. I noticed one of them had a ADV sticker on the front of his bike..
That was Bluelightning and the Georgia Boys doin tthe TAT..one of their guys got run over this moring by a hit and run..he is in bad shape, broken pelvis and arm I think..y'all be ALERT!!
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