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Old 10-03-2009, 05:20 AM   #31
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Day 5: June 28th, 2009

Sunday was a day of relaxing, and bike maintenance.
I had lost the two o-rings on my chain the last time I installed the master link, so I wrestled with the chain again and put in two o-rings I has bought the day before. I also noticed that one of my straps had melted to the rear brake disk and made a mess of the pads, so I cleaned that up as best I could.
It's amazing how important it is to continuously check ones equipment...

For example, months earlier I had done some work on the timing chain tensioner.
I had also routed the wire to the starter the wrong way. With some vibration, the wire had shifted and come in contact with the exhaust pipe and almost melted through the insulation. A few more hours of riding and my starter would have stopped working.

It's good to inspect ones bike regularly.

Q~

Questor screwed with this post 10-04-2009 at 07:28 AM
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Old 10-03-2009, 05:39 AM   #32
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Day 6: Monday June 29th, 2009

We got a late start leaving Cashiers NC, and I was eager to hit the road; for this was the day we were going to meet up with the TAT.

Fortunately, the roads were excellent, and the weather was nice.


We passed scenic waterfalls.



On our way to the TAT, we were to pass though Deals Gap and the Dragon, section of Rt 128. Bt first I found some steep and interesting dirt roads in the Tennessee valleys.


These were some of the maintenance roads used to inspect some of the high tension power lines. They were steep and had many switch backs. At the time I found them to be quite challenging.




Later we passed some of the hydroelectric stations and their dams.


We rode the Dragon and passed a few haevy cruisers even though we were on fully loaded dirt bikes and knobby tires.

Stopping at the "Tree of Shame".


Later we stopped and got our picture taken at a scenic pull off.
(Look how clean our gear is. )


While stopping at a gas station, I had my first Corn Dog.
What a culinary experience.


Several hot hours later we made it to our ADV Tent Space for the night.
Our host "Flyinfuzz" was delightful. Not only are he and his wife nice folks, but they were ready to help in any way they could.
Motoadventuregal had been having some carburator problems, and we were given a can of Sea Foam in an attempt to clear things up.


We had a great BB-Q dinner, and were told great stories about life on a farm in Tennessee.


I should also mention that Flyinfuzz had one of the funniest looking dogs I had ever seen. Its a mix of Boston Terrier and Pug. What a face!


After a long day of riding, a big meal, and the kindness of great ADV folk, we slept very well.
Thanks again Flyinfuzz.

Stats for the day:
219 miles
Moving time 5:59 Moving Average 36.6
Stopped 4:11 Total 10:11

More to come.
Q~

Questor screwed with this post 10-04-2009 at 03:33 AM
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:38 AM   #33
MotoAdventureGal
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MotoAdventureGal's Day 4 pics

Following Questor on up to the Dragon...




Roadside lunch. (No one can accuse me of being high maintenance!)


More Scenic roads NC to TN


Fontana Dam


There were some real nice folks from a nearby Christian youth camp in the parking lot at the end of the Dragon, where Questor and I pulled over for a view. They were giving away free drinks (thanks!) They also gave me a handful of (clean!) ear plugs which I was most grateful for.

This picture illustrates I think what it's like for ALL TAT riders...everywhere we went people would stop us and ask where we were from, what we were doing, and were we nuts riding those littlle bikes so far...




Ok, Questor has traveled extensively...so it was incomprehensible to me that he'd never eaten a corn dog! Evidently the people in the store were eually amazed, and they were tleling all the local customers coming through that this man was eating his very first corn dog!



My hilarious travel partner...this is what you get, Questor, when you leave funny little pictures on my camera when I am not looking...
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My Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B (Solo to South America)

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Old 10-03-2009, 04:01 PM   #34
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Day 4 lasted... 2 months?
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:16 PM   #35
alcontrast
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great to see the trip went well! looking forward to the rest of this ride report!
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Old 10-04-2009, 03:34 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody
Day 4 lasted... 2 months?
My brain is sticking. I'll have to reset it.
Posts fixed...
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:03 AM   #37
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Day 7: Tuesday June 30th, 2009.

I awoke early, and we had a nice breakfast of home made biscuits.
So far we had traveled almost 1300 miles and it was time for an oil change.
Flyinfuzz had a nice garage and let me do it there.


Later, after we got all packed, we headed to the TAT.

We were real excited to finally get on the trail.
Flyinfuzz decided to ride with us for the day.
In Tennessee the TAT was primarily a collection of small paved roads and the occasional dirt one. It did take us past some interesting and scenic places.
A nice little lake.


Small dirt roads in the backcountry forests.


The local swimming holes.


Flyinfuzz informed us that these swimming holes were really popular, especially with the 4th of July comming up.
I can see how the mix of water, slippery rocks, 4X4's. quads, loud music, alcohol, guns and fireworks could make for an interesting holiday.

A few hours later the trail brought us to Sparta.


Many of the restauraunts were closed, so we had to settle for a Sonic.
This was the first time I had been to a Sonic drive in. It was not to be the last.


Food pic. TAT-er tots anyone?


After lunch we continued to ride.



Another Dam.


I thought this was funny.


The TAT was doing it's best to take us along dirt roads and past scenic places.






But a lot of the riding we were doing was crossing the same paved road in an attempt to stay on dirt.
Eventually we got fed up and road the last 20 miles of the paved road to Stone Fort State Park.
We had ridden for almost six hours, and covered almost 200 miles.

Flyinfuzz decided it was time for him to ride back home. He looked at the map and informed us that he could be home in a little over two hours.
That's how indirect the TAT is in Tennessee...

Anyway, we set up camp Snuggly, took long hot showers and made another pot of Glorp.

and went to sleep listening to the loud insects and frogs.

Stats for the day:
188 miles
Moving average 32.6 Moving time 5:46
Stopped 3:21 Total 9:07.

Q~
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:07 AM   #38
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This was a great day for me...we'd already been on the road for a week, and highly anticipating getting on the TAT. Flyinfuzz was familiar with the TAT, and a well-traveled rider, and he piqued our curiosity . He and Mrs. Flyinfuzz were so great to us--and when Flyinfuzz took a day off to start the trail with us, it was too cool. Now it was a TEAM of us doin' the TAT.

My 1996 DR350SE had been running a little poopy...you'll learn more about that as this tale unfolds... and we thought we had a simple fix when Flyinfuzz offered a can of Sea Foam...it seemed to do the trick (for about 3 days and 0 elevation...)

Flyinfuzz starts the day with us...


Easy TN dirt roads



Fluinfuzz pillin' up the rear (and eating 2 bikes' worth of dust--poor guy!)




Questor loves cows!





So we come across this sign:


And Questor asks this fellow does he know how to get where we are going:


And the guys asks where we came from. Flyinfuzz says from there:


The dam we had to reroute around (yeup, a little deep for fording)



We break out the ADV patriotic flag (Questor's idea, btw, and you should buy one to support this wonderful forum!)



Flyinfuzz gives us door to door service--right to our campsite. Now at this point I was worried about him--it was after 7 pm, and I didn't see him having any camping equipment...so I asked if he wanted my sleeping bag and I'd try to share Questor's... and this is when he informs us that after riding 200+ miles this day, he's well, only about an hour from home if he takes the highway. WHAT?!?!? Yes my friends, welcome to the TAT in Tennessee. Squiggle squiggle, ride all day, cover 60 linear miles. I thik we should all pitch in and get Sam a secretary.

Oh I digressed...

Anyway, he's Questor in top form, constantly improving glorp recipes worldwide. Note our staple: canned chicken. Highly portable, good protein, and, well, it tastes like chicken.







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My Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B (Solo to South America)

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Old 10-04-2009, 04:45 AM   #39
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Day 8: Wednesday July 1st, 2009

We woke up when the sun hit the tent.


We had breakfast at a Waffle House and got back on the TAT.
The roads were empty and slowly took us westward.

We went through small towns...


We crossed rivers and saw old abandoned bridges...


and started to see our first endless straight roads. We knew we were headed to the mid-western farm lands.



Some roads followed small creeks that were nearly dry due to a drought.




In the town of Columbia TN. we stopped at a Suzuki dealership and bought new brake pads for both bikes. Motoadventuregal's were getting very close to the metal. We would have to find a place to change out the pads soon.
In Columbia, we also stopped to get food. Subway was always an option.


It was getting hot and humid outside so the air conditioning was a treat.
After lunch we rode on.


It was along thse roads that we met TATer.
TATer was lying on the side of the road, desparate to be part of an ADVenture. So I propped him up behind the windscreen near the GPS and there he stayed for the rest of the journey.


It turns out that TATer was great at stabilizing the vibration of the GPS, so he was in fact a functional element and guarded the bike when we were away, so he served dual purposes.
We continued riding the TAT west...


and soon entered an Amish community.



It was great to see the horses and the young men running them. A simple but hard life. I can respect that.


A few miles later we came to our first "River crossing". We had heard all the stories, and seen all the video about how slippery that can be so we approached carefully.


But there was nothing to them. We crossed without incedent.

Looking at the maps, I could not find a place to camp anywher near us, so we had to detour about 50 miles to Mousetail Landing State Park.


Where we set up Camp Snuggly.


Ate dinner.


and watched the sunset.



Stats for the Day:
215 Miles
Moving average 35.6 Moving time 6:01
Stopped 3:59 Total 10:01

Q~

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Old 10-04-2009, 04:55 AM   #40
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MAG's Day 8 pics






















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My Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B (Solo to South America)

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Old 10-04-2009, 06:19 AM   #41
bpeterson
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really enjoying this - well done report. more, more!
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:52 AM   #42
rockjohn
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Great Report, prepping my TAT ride and need to learn all I can.
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Old 10-04-2009, 06:05 PM   #43
MotoAdventureGal
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Subway vs. Sonic

I'm now sick of both.

I'll start the count:

Subway |
Sonic |

I'm on the road back to Connecticut now, so I'll post my pics where Q left spaces, so be sure to check back above.

I want flyinfuzz to check in ... I think he was only about 60 miles from his house we'd been cris-crossing the same damn road all day...
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My Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B (Solo to South America)
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:04 AM   #44
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Day 9: Thursday July 2nd, 2009

We had a great nights sleep.
I remember that there were two big owls nearby calling to each other all night long. There were also the loud insects. (I love sleeping outdoors.)
Skipping breakfast, we packed up camp, and headed back to the TAT.
An hour of pavement got us back on trail, and we followed the GPS to the town of Saltillo Landing. Apparently this is where the big steamboats on the Tennessee river used to stop. The steamboats and ferry no longer stop here, but the town still exists.
We reach the Tennessee river.


It's a big one - even with the drought.


We stop and have breakfast at the only place in town.
Hmm, what to have?

I think I'll have the "Brains and scrambled eggs".

No, not really...


I must have been hungry because I almost forgot to take the "Food Pic".

Here's a picture of a picture of one of the old steam paddle boats that used to cruise up and down the river.





After breakfast, we returned to the trail, and were delighted to see dirt!
We had ridden over 2,500 miles so far, mostly pavement. We had been dreaming of endless dirt roads, and now it seemed like it was starting to happen.

Miles and miles of graded dirt roads awaited us. We were getting cocky and starting to lay on the throttle when we could. It was nice to feel the tires slide as we powered out of corners.


We stopped in a town and bought gas, food, and a sandwich for lunch, and kept riding.
Later when we found a State Park, we stopped and ate the lunch.
Lunch Pic. (Yes, amazing. I know.)


Then back on the bikes. The Maps said we should take a road through the State Park where we had lunch. But a sign in the Park said that the road was closed. We ignored the signs.




Crossed the railroad tracks.


The road got smaller...


And stopped when we came to this gate.


It was marked as Private Property or I would have taken the go around, but somehow, tresspassing in the deep woods of Tennessee did not seem like a good idea to me. So we turned back. I dislike backtracking, and rode a bit more agressively out of the park. This frustration was nothing compated to what we were going to encounter "Out West".

In hindsight, I need to be much more relaxed. Questor can do stupid things when he gets frustrated. If you follow this report long enough you will see several example of this - like when I was riding out of the National Forest near Lake View... The road bed was there, but the road had not been completed. The grass was taller than the front wheel and I was frustrated and riding too fast. I never saw the five foot deep eight foot wide drainage ditch that had been dug across the road for the drainage pipes to be placed in... But that's another story

So anyway, we rerouted, and were soon back on track.


This was a momentus place.
This is where we crossed the state line into Mississippi.


From here on, the TAT became mostly dirt, and a bit more challenging.
You can also tell from the color of the dirt that we are in a different state. Mississippi dirt tended to be more orange than other states.


We rode on. Happily sliding around the corners and leaving a long trail of dust behind us. I was quite content...




But eventually we came to this...








I had read enough TAT Ride Reports to know of this, and knew that we had to go around.

So with a quick GPS re-route, we hooked back up with the TAT about 15 miles later.


We rode on till we were getting tired and set Wall Doxey Sate Park as our new destination for the day.
On the way we went through a few small towns like this one.


I was concerned that with the Fourth of July holiday weekend comming up that we might not be able to find a campsite so we went directly to the campground, found a site, and set up the tent.
Then Motoadventuregal found us a place to have dinner. We were too late for the BB-Q Buffet, but we still had a good dinner.


Later that night, we rode back to camp, took showeres, and had another great nights sleep. I remember the insects singing very loudly that night.

I might also add that we were informed that another TAT rider had stayed that this exact same campsite a week before us. I wonder who it was?

Stats for the Day:
225 miles
Moving average 34.2 Moving time 6:43
Stopped 5:23 Total 11:57

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Old 10-05-2009, 05:28 AM   #45
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Day #9 pics (July 2nd)

In the morning we set about packing up camp...a couple sites over was a family camping, and their young son got up before everyone else. They must have taught him not to wake them up, so he came over and visited with us. He was a really cute kid, with a thick southern accent, and a mouthful of the worst teeth I've ever seen on a kid of 7 or 8 years. I felt sorry for him. But he was entertaining.

We tried to gently shake him, but he seemed rather lonely and followed us around while we packed up. Finally the moment of truth, and I had to put my skivvies on...so I said "gentlemen, go admire the view of the lake" so I could finish gearing up. He talked Q's ear off the entire time--full of questions!




Back on the trail



Don't ever be fooled by RR tracks in the middle of nowhere...the first time we crossed these tracks the train came screaming by.



(we crossed the tracks again when we encountered the private property gate.)

We rode by cypress swamps









In some places the soil was so very red. The super red roads seems to have more "grip" and less "slip" than some of the less-orange roads (your mileage may vary)

Delightful stream crossings



We closed up the restaurant that night...and as we were leaving the waitress gave me a piece of the pink cake that was their dessert special because it matched my hair. You can never have too much kindness from strangers (or pink cake).
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My Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B (Solo to South America)

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