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Old 08-14-2009, 07:26 AM   #61
davidgibson999
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really enjoyed that report you two. thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:28 AM   #62
rgiroux
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excellent RR! I guess this will be next year's trip. I'll thank you afterwards
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:02 AM   #63
BigWan OP
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Originally Posted by joefromsf
Great report .Subscribed.

Hey Matt, I think we've met before: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...&postcount=121
Hi Joe,
Nice to hear from you, that was a fun time at the "Foothill Follies." Looks like you've been doing a lot of riding recently at the Noob Rally and WMRS, good stuff. I'm sure our paths will cross again.
See you then.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:12 AM   #64
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Great RR guys I am planning to ride the whole TAT solo on my 990 in Sept, and I really appreciate the detailed description and photo's. Matt, you must be one hell of a rider, and Kelly - you are tougher than me. There is no way I would get on the back of a bike for a trip like this .

Hope your "crankle gets better", and good luck with the rest of the trip!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:42 AM   #65
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Brilliant ride report and pics.

Very impressive to do it all 2's up. Looking forward to your next bit.






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Old 08-14-2009, 11:54 AM   #66
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Wow! What an intense trip! You had some major challenges to overcome.
I am glad you survived the mud-wipe-outs! Thanks for the great report!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:57 AM   #67
BigWan OP
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8/1/09 Day 9 of the TAT: Battle Mountain, NV to Denio Junction, NV aprox. 255 miles

My knee was still hugely swollen and stiff, but I could stand up and limp around well enough. Lateral movements were a concern; just the tiniest shift to the side made me wince and cry out. Matt, a veteran of an ACL reconstruction and 2 additional knee surgeries, was worried that I may have torn a ligament, but I chose to adhere to the "Denial" step of the R.I.D.E. method and we got ready to go. All I had to do is sit there all day, so it should be fine, right?

Right. My first obstacle was just getting on the bike. I'm practically a midget (5 ft, half an inch) so I can barely get on the bike on a good day. It didn't feel great, but I managed to throw myself on the back with some effort.

The extinguisher looks like I feel.




We started off the day with more lovely desert two track. Of course.


It's the bad, slow kind of two track. Hard sided ruts and sand/silt. The 950 is so heavy, it wants to fall into the ruts, but then the front wheel catches on the hard sides and tries to turn. Without the room to make corrections, it's just a jerky, stressful ride and Matt has to wrestle with the schoolbus the whole time. I'm sure he spends a lot of time wishing he was on a lighter bike where he could just pin it and take off...


On good days, the TAT is like a scavenger hunt. It's fun to scout out the landmarks and signs. This is the old farmhouse near the "hugh cottonwood tree" [sic] at mile 396.15



On a bad day, the TAT is hell. We had a lot of hell today. It was hot, monotonous, and not very scenic. We had lots of back tracking and confusion, wrong turns and odometer numbers that didn't coincide. There were many faint trails and those that faded into nothing. Mostly, it was non-stop desert two track; my favorite kind with lots of foot-grabbing sage brush.



And gates. Did I mention the gates? Today, on the one day when I counted on not having to get off the bike except for emergency pee breaks and maybe lunch, there were no fewer than 13 MF gates. GAH! I'm sure a couple of those were probably due to us being lost, but the majority of them were part of the trail. I still fulfilled my duties as gatemaster, though. After the third or fourth gate, we tried to see if Matt could leave me on the bike while he opened the gate, but it was just too much of a hassle. I got off and wrestled with each one.



Eventually, we got to some prettier stuff.


We were so glad to be out of the desert, we hung out for a while and took photos.







This is just a silly, short (22 second) vid. Sorry it's so jerky and fast (you can kind of see how gimpy I was by the camera movement as I walk in a circle). I think I need to stick to riding videos.

It was just so desolate and empty up there...







We had planned to go easy on my knee and make this a short day by staying in McDermitt but, after refueling, Matt and I just looked at each other and got back on the bike.

We had a tough time getting back on the TAT after McDermitt - lots of back tracking and time studying the "trail." We got to the point where we were following tracks that were so faint, they were barely cow paths. We picked our way down one path and it just felt really wrong so we turned back. Because the TAT goes back and forth between states (NV and OR) at that point, there were times when we couldn't find where we were on any of our maps. On a good GPS with topos, I'm sure it would have been easier to figure things out. But with our piece of sh*t...

So, we did a really stupid thing. We decided to bail on Sam's roll chart and the TAT and find our own way. Off road. Without maps.

We got on a gravel road going towards Trout Creek Mountains and followed it for a while. The road started to deteriorate so we turned off onto another road that was headed in the direction of Denio Junction (roughly). And then another. And another. We just traveled like that for a while, choosing roads that looked recently traveled and that were going in the right direction (we hoped).

It was wonderful. We went through beautiful meadows and hills covered in wildflowers... We saw antelope, deer, marmots, sage grouse and about a million chipmunks. After the horrible trails that Sam sent us through all morning, these roads were a true joy.







even this one wasn't bad.




It was pleasant riding, but was still stressful because we were lost. We had a vague idea of where we were (near the NV and OR border), but all we knew was that the highway was over there. Somewhere.
Then it started to get late. And we saw some dark clouds coming.




We got to the highway just in time. Our creaky old GPS verified that this was the right place and we headed down to Denio Junction, NV.
We pulled up and Matt went inside to get a room. While I was outside with the bike, listening to a guy play an acoustic version of that classic favorite, "Achy, Breaky Fart" ( WTF? ), Matt was inside getting hit on by two women. The bartender and a customer were mesmerized by the size of his extremities ("Look at those hands!" "Forget that, look at his feet!"). Yeah, whatever. It happens all the time. Yawn.






We got there just in time - last call for supper was 7:30 and Matt had walked through the door at 7:28.
We had tasty burgers and a few beers before heading to our room and going to bed. There was no cable tv tonight, but we were exhausted anyway.


Tomorrow - a visit to the dismal swamp



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BigWan screwed with this post 08-14-2009 at 01:39 PM
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:56 PM   #68
BigWan OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideDualSport.com
Wow! What an intense trip! You had some major challenges to overcome.
I am glad you survived the mud-wipe-outs! Thanks for the great report!
Thanks! Hey, we read your ride report before we left - that toilet photo almost cancelled our trip!

Seriously, we enjoyed your photos and sense of humor...
"you're not listening - I didn't just like it..." (klaus)

Here's a bonus picture, just for you...
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:10 PM   #69
Twohondas
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So how is your marriage going? Did you call ahead for Counseling? I just checked it out the direct route to home is less than 500 miles

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:12 PM   #70
husqvarna
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I am really enjoying this report - good pictures and very descriptive crisp honest text. Plus I admire you guys for tackling this ride two up but alone.

Actually it makes me very, very restless and irritated that I'm sitting at my desk with paper heaped on both sides of me and not riding somewhere far.

Keep it up.
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:53 AM   #71
BigWan OP
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Thanks again for all the nice comments! We're glad that the RR is inspiring some trips - hopefully you will won't make the same mistakes


8/2/09 Day 10 of the TAT: Denio Junction, NV to Lakeview, OR aprox. 240 miles


We went to bed so early last night (9:30pm), we were up by 5:30am and waiting for the Junction to serve breakfast. We had heard that breakfast is good here, so we were looking forward to it. Also, it's the only thing around for 100 miles, so there's no alternative unless you have packed in your own food. Be advised that the early shift consists of one lone woman acting as waitress, cook, gas station attendant, and bar keep; so if it gets busy, breakfast might take a while (at least that's how it was this Sunday). Side note for those of you who are thinking about staying here - unless you are prepared with camping gear, call ahead and reserve a room for your peace of mind (100 miles is a long detour if they're closed or booked). Our room was basic, but plenty comfortable and everyone who works here is really nice. Denio Junction (775) 941-0171 (there's another number, 941-0175, but no one seems to answer that one)

The restaurant and service station


Motel next door



By the time we finished breakfast (it was tasty as promised but we were in there at least an hour and a half) and fueled up, we weren't getting the early start we had hoped for. As much as we had enjoyed our alternate route to Denio Jct yesterday, we were both upset that we had missed so much of the official TAT and we were determined to get on the trail this morning.

Easier said than done. Because we hadn't come in on the TAT, we didn't know where to go to pick it up. We had been so exhausted last night, we weren't even clear about which way we had come into town. From looking at the map, we thought we knew where we were headed, but just to be sure we asked a local. She was the sweetest woman, and had been living in the area forever. She and her husband used to ranch near Denio and she assured us that she knew the whole area, especially the back country, really, really well. She looked at our TAT map and told us how to find the intersection where we could pick up the trail. She wished us well, said that we'd be seeing some beautiful country and that she wished she was going with us. We thanked her and took off.

We headed down the highway, found the turn off and started the roll chart. Everything worked out at first. The turns pretty much coincided with the roll chart directions...some things were a little off, but not bad. The previous 9 days of the TAT had taught us that sometimes the odometer number didn't match, but it would work out in the end. Sometimes the landmarks would be missing, but it would work out in the end. Sometimes the signs would be missing, but it would work out in the end. There had been so many times when we were convinced that we were lost, only to go a little further and find that we were actually on the trail. It was that potential payoff, that little beacon of hope, that screwed us time and time again.

As I mentioned earlier, because we had missed so much of the TAT yesterday, we were determined to ride the trail today. Really determined. And so began the Tyranny of the Trail. Even when we figured out that the very nice and well intentioned woman had given us bad advice, we still wanted to make it work. We back tracked to the restaurant and tried again. In following the woman's directions, we had passed another dirt road that was possibly the start of the TAT (the odometer was slightly off, but very close). We tried again. It's amazing how well the roll charts can work on random roads - the odometer numbers were matching up with the instructions on the roll chart, the turns were working out, and we were pretty sure that we were on the trail. A couple of times we had to back track and reroute, but it seemed okay. Until we looked at the GPS and saw that we were getting closer to the Oregon border (Our GPS doesn't show much, but it does show state borders, thank goodness). We were going the wrong freaking direction, back the way we came.


My heart sank. We had just wasted hours of our day. And, it's not like these had been pleasant farm roads, either. We had just ridden some of the worst roads of the trip - two track roads with huge ruts and overgrown vegetation, crumbly roads that disintegrated into nothing, two track roads with some of the worst gates yet... We didn't go through any locked gates and we didn't see any "no trespassing" signs, but that doesn't mean we hadn't been on private property. Matt was livid. He was enraged that we had wasted so much time and, that after so much work, we weren't even on the MF trail. To make matters worse, we had burned up so much gas, we had to go back to Denio Junction to top off. It was a bad morning. A low point in the trip.

When we got to Denio Junction, we discovered that we had gone almost 60 miles out of our way and had wasted nearly 3 hours. It was infuriating, frustrating and discouraging. It's hard not to feel stupid after a morning like that. A GPS with topos would probably have saved us a lot of heartache that day.

Matt was especially pissed because now it was too late to spend more any more time trying to find the TAT and still finish the day. He had wanted to do the entire TAT, but we were slowly missing more and more of the actual trail. I was willing to spend another night at Denio Junction so we could try again tomorrow with a fresh start, but Matt would have none of that. Instead, we decided to get on 140 towards the Sheldon Antelope Refuge, and we would try and pick up the trail on Virgin Valley Rd. It sucked to be missing another section of the TAT, but I certainly didn't mind missing more of the desert two track we had had all morning.


The Sheldon Antelope Preserve was wonderful. One of the first things we saw was a fox at Dufurrena Ponds (sorry, no pic). We also saw bunnies, sage grouse, burros, and of course, antelope.

Here's a sweet little burro family.


pond.



I saw a sign for the Royal Peacock Opal Mine and the offer of "cold pop" caught my eye. We stopped at the office to pick up some bottled water and learn about fire opals. It's a tiny place, but they have an amazing arrowhead collection displayed on the walls. The owner's grandfather used to train horses for the cavalry and she said he spent a lot of time riding in the back country, collecting arrowheads.



Back on the trail.



Same ol' same ol'



We see some white butts up ahead...



Antelope, a.k.a. Pronghorn.



Saw some huge clouds...





It was a pretty warm day. We stopped for a water break and a granola bar. Or, as we call it, "lunch."




The roads in the preserve were so much better than what we had been on all morning. More dirt and rock, less silt and sand.




I was sorry to leave.



It didn't take long before it was crappy again... hey, it's our old friend, the desert two track!





Finally, we were headed out of Nevada! But not before it gave us one last FF salute:


Gumball-sized hail! Cool. Hail that size hurts! We managed to get under a tree before the stuff really came down.


We hoped things would improve as we rode to Fort Bidwell.
California, here we come!



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BigWan screwed with this post 08-15-2009 at 04:24 PM
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:36 PM   #72
larryboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigWan
- hopefully you will won't make the same mistakes

Note to self: Avoid big mudhole.


Most excellent tale you're telling!!!


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Old 08-15-2009, 05:04 PM   #73
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I feel bad now for accepting your pain killer gift in Monticello...I think you needed them more than I did!

How about East Fork Quinn coming into Mcdermitt? I've never seen silt like that. You could ride with your mouth closed and still get it in your teeth.
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:36 PM   #74
Lion BR
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You guys are great. Really nice to read your report.
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:37 PM   #75
gwbuild
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Kelly & Matt,

Jack Molan, a good friend of mine sent me the link for your ride. Nice job!

We need to get Jack out on the dirt more!!! Enough of that big BMer with the fairing.

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