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Old 07-30-2011, 06:36 AM   #61
jglow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RideDualSport.com View Post
Congratulations on your incredible TAT adventure! My wife rides a DRZ400 and I am sure you feel as fortunate as I do to have your soul-mate participating in the adventure. I too, feel a great sense of responsibility for her safety and well-being so I have to monitor our fatigue and our risk levels constantly. Fortunately my wife loves doing it and is able to shake off any spills and keep motoring on!
We did the TAT from Arkansas to Moab, UT where we turned around and rode home to Austin,TX.
Thanks for the great report, I am savoring every photo!

Perhaps you can make it to our Big Ultimate Terlingua Tour (B.U.T.T)?
Cheers!

It is really great to have something in common like this that we can both enjoy and appreciate. That B.U.T.T ride looks tempting . Big Bend is really nice that time of year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RideDualSport.com View Post
Excellent work, getting through the sand and making those tough climbs! We were not able to go any farther than Moab on our TAT ride, and your report is inspiring me to ride the Western portion of it. Perhaps I'll do it as part of our ride from Austin to Seattle....

Sounds like you have a route to Seattle .



------------------------------

Working on writing up day 6....


Jordan
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Old 07-30-2011, 06:51 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by OoPEZoO View Post
Great report

My wife has been eagerly awaiting updates as I have been following your trip. She bailed on the idea of getting her motorcycle license a few years ago because she thought that she would end up slowing me down too much on the street. Seeing this and the possibility of venturing slowly into dual sport land has kind of rekindled the fire for her. She is finally starting to understand there are other types of riding beyond my usual 300-600 mile days at mach 3

Keep it up.......both of you

This is the only way to travel by bike for us. You blow by so much stuff on those 500 mile days. No schedule, vague route, unlimited timeline would be the preferred method, but the reality is that it doesn't always happen that way. We had a time in which we had to be back on this trip (for work and stuff ) and that made it really hard to just get that lost feeling that we had on our trip the previous year. Anyhow, I have gotten off-topic... Go for the MC license and ride whatever speed and terrain you are comfortable with - you'll have a blast .

Jordan
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:17 AM   #63
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Entering the Great Basin...

TAT Day 6



We got up early, feeling refreshed and ready to hit the trail.



Stopped for some gas on the way out of town, and ate some breakfast as well. Still on the road by 7am.



We rode down the highway for about 15 miles to where we re-joined the TAT.




This first section had a ton of those Mormon Crickets.



Weird, kinda nasty looking things. Seemed like they wanted to be run over .



Then we get on some fast gravel...





Passing Sevier Lake (dry)...



"Over there"...



It drives Nikki crazy, the way that my Camelback always sits crooked on by back.



Well, we got about 80 miles of straight gravel roads for her to get used to it.



As we head West, we are constantly getting closer to Crystal Peak, which is looming on the horizon.



Sort of glowing from a distance...



But seems to be nothing more than ordinary Limestone up close.



After we cross past Crystal Peak we have a straight shot across the valley floor til our next junction.





After about the 2nd day on the road, Nikki's ring finger started swelling up. I don't know if she hit her finger on something and kinda pissed it off, or if it was just the altitude/de-hydration/climate that was causing it - either way, her wedding ring was stuck on there, and it was kinda starting to freak her out. Well, while passing through this valley we stopped to look at some random water troughs...



and she noticed she could sorta wiggle the ring a bit, so she whipped of her glove and pulled that sucker off .


One less thing to have to worry about now.

A brief discussion about our riding gear ... Although we may look a bit silly...





I think we stumbled upon the perfect setup of a trip like this where you encounter such huge temperature swings. We both had very similar setups. We always wore our Klim pants (mine were Revolt and Nikki's were Moab) with shin/knee guards. I have the Gaerne Oiled Balance Boots and Nikki has the Alpine Star Scout Boots. We wore a long sleeve synthetic shirt (under armor type) beneath our pressure suits (turtle shell thing). I opted for the Thor rig after reading about how well it performed during Chitown's gravel slide. For Nikki, it was a bit more difficult because, well.. she has bewbies . Alpinestars makes one, but it is really expensive and has mixed reviews. Rockgardn has a women's Flak jacket for a reasonable price, so we took a chance on it. It took a little further manipulating of the chest plate with a heat gun for a custom fit, but over all Nikki was very happy with it, and it worked well. And for the helmets, we got the new AFX-39 DS. We chose these mainly for the option of wearing goggles when necessary to keep the dust out of our eyes, while having the option to still close the face shield for colder weather. These helmets are awesome! They really help to complete the space trooper - weirdo look too. This gear setup would perform really well even in the hottest of conditions, while keeping us fully protected from the sun, and during the occasional "Get-off". For cold weather Nikki had a heated vest, and we both have Kilimanjaro Jackets that we took the pads out of that will fit over our pressure suits and keep us warm and dry. We could always add a fleece layer as well if needed. And for a bit more warmth on our legs, we had thermals, and would wear the rain pants if needed. Now, back to the RR...


Getting close to Nevada now.



The trail takes you through a small 2-track sampling of what you will encounter for the vast majority of your time in Nevada.



And whenever I am in this position:



It means we have lost the trail. I am driving around looking at my gps tracks, "It should be right here!" -- There will be plenty of this over the next couple of days.

We junction with a highway here that brings us into Border, NV for gas/food/lodging.



We stop for fuel and take a break. It is still pretty early in the day, so we head back out onto the trail, crossing back into Utah, and then back into Nevada.



The trail brings you very near to Baker, NV, so we head over to check it out. Turns out that Baker has gas/food/lodging as well. A very neat little town with an eclectic vibe, sitting right at the base of Great Basin National Park. We decide that we will go knock of some more miles of the TAT, then double back on pavement to Baker for the evening. This way we have a fresh, full day to tackle the Baker to Eureka section, which is pretty long.

We run along the border fence here for a while, dipping back into Utah briefly.



Lots of flooded out sections of road through here due to the high snowfall this winter which equals lots of snow melt .



Some areas we were able to run through,



But others, we didn't feel so confident about:



But there were easy options for re-routes through this area.

Anybody gotta go?



I bet I know why it's greener around the base - wanna guess?




Carrying on...



Hooking a tumble weed.



And what day wouldn't be complete without a little of this?



We split off the TAT when it turned West, and headed back to Baker for the evening. We will return to this point in the morning and head over to Eureka.

Back in Baker, we stayed at the Silver Jack Inn/Electrolux Cafe.



This place was really fun. A lot of travelers staying as well as passing through. We had an enjoyable evening of chatting with folks and eating excellent food. I would highly recommend staying here over the Border Inn in Border, NV. Like I said, they have gas, food, and lodging here in Baker anyhow, and you only need to come off the trail a couple of miles to get to it. You also have access to view some caves in the Great Basin National Park - just FYI. Our room was made out of a funky old trailer thing - funky in a good way of course!



And it was probably the most comfortable bed I have slept in ever!


Jordan


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Old 07-31-2011, 02:16 PM   #64
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Great report..and atta girl....gret picture taking. It's amazing that you take the time to show us the landsacpe and routes. Thanks you.. hope to do it someday too before i get too old.

Cheers...
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:29 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jglow View Post
This is the only way to travel by bike for us. You blow by so much stuff on those 500 mile days. No schedule, vague route, unlimited timeline would be the preferred method, but the reality is that it doesn't always happen that way. We had a time in which we had to be back on this trip (for work and stuff ) and that made it really hard to just get that lost feeling that we had on our trip the previous year. Anyhow, I have gotten off-topic... Go for the MC license and ride whatever speed and terrain you are comfortable with - you'll have a blast .

Jordan
I agree about missing too much stuff on those 500 mile days. It gets old, but its the only way to pull off trips to other areas of the country over a long weekend. Necessary evil I guess. I started riding dirt when I was about 8 years old, but haven't had a dirt bike or duel sport since I was about 15. Once I got my license it turned into all crotch rockets, and then accidently got into sport touring (damn beemer). This new GS has lit the fire to get dirty again, but I'm quickly realizing that I am WAY out of practice. Anyway.....enough of that [/hijack]

After having a carburated and fuel injected version of the same bike, is there any way you would go back to a carburator? I know you mentioned a way back that you noticed a big difference when you were at altitude, but how about general day to day stuff? Are they about the same, or does the fuel injection still impress?
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:40 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OoPEZoO View Post
After having a carburated and fuel injected version of the same bike, is there any way you would go back to a carburator? I know you mentioned a way back that you noticed a big difference when you were at altitude, but how about general day to day stuff? Are they about the same, or does the fuel injection still impress?

This trip was a great side by side comparison of these two bikes - which tend to get a lot of "which bike is better" questions anyhow. I think now would be a good time to compare the bikes as I saw...

Both bikes got us to our destination without fail. The only mechanical issue we had was the side stand switch on Nikki's bike, but that is something that is prone to failure on any bike really. When I was initially planning this trip I too had a KLX250S, but started to worry about having to re-jet the carb at high alt. The plan at one point was to actually get rid of both KLX's and get to WRR's, but Nikki hated the additional weight of the WRR and the jerky off-idle stumble thing that is a characteristic of a single cylinder Fuel Injected bike (or so I hear), so we kept her klx and I got a wr. I decided not to mess with the jetting on Nikki's bike and leave it stock - we would just take off the air box lid and crawl up the mountains if we needed to (which we never did). At upper elevations, Nikki's bike would only have about 1/3 to 1/2 throttle available before it started choking itself out. The WR had a certainly lost some hp up in high elevations, but it never effected the way it ran (if that makes sense). The most significant difference I noticed between the bikes was the fuel economy. At a lower elevation (say around or below 5K) the bikes had nearly identical fuel economy, but as the elevation gained, the fuel economy of the KLX dropped significantly (again, due to the stock jetting I am sure). The WR's fuel economy was only effected by how hard I was on the gas. Sometimes the KLX would be in the 40's mpg and the WR would be near 70mpg. It was also nice not to have to worry about the WR flooding out when it tipped over. That was always a pain with the KLX (probably due to the fact that we left it on it's side for so long to take a picture ) and I constantly worried about draining the battery while cranking on the flooded engine.

In a nutshell (both bikes in stock form)...

WR Pros:
F.I. = lower trail side maintenance associated with typical jetting issues
Consistent power band (although slightly reduced) through the throttle at upper elevation.
More wattage to run electrics (heated grips, etc...) - I had to instal a headlight kill switch on the KLX to free up some additional power to run heated grips and heated vest at the same time.

KLX Pros:
Proven, reliable technology.
A bit cheaper that a WR250r.
Better low speed tractor-ing over stuff (WR likes to be wrung out a little more).
Lower seat height.
Green .

Overall I would say the bikes a very evenly matched. Keep in mind that we don't really go fast, or ask that the bikes do anything other than get us to our destination. Both are liquid cooled, 6 speed trans, and have fairly long service intervals. I thought the WRR would be hands down better than the KLX when I switched, but the truth is that it wasn't. I do prefer my WR, but still like the KLX.

Jordan

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Old 08-01-2011, 08:36 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jglow View Post


Back in Baker, we stayed at the Silver Jack Inn/Electrolux Cafe.



This place was really fun. A lot of travelers staying as well as passing through. We had an enjoyable evening of chatting with folks and eating excellent food. I would highly recommend staying here over the Border Inn in Border, NV. Like I said, they have gas, food, and lodging here in Baker anyhow, and you only need to come off the trail a couple of miles to get to it. You also have access to view some caves in the Great Basin National Park - just FYI. Our room was made out of a funky old trailer thing - funky in a good way of course!




Congratulations on discovering one of the great gems of the TAT and the Great Basin. It is a real shame that TAT riders stay at Border instead of Baker. From the roll charts, it seems like that is the recommendation. Don't know why.

Nothing wrong with Border, but it sure doesn't have the character or charm that Baker and the SilverJack do and it seems to be farther from the TAT.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:54 AM   #68
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Congratulations on discovering one of the great gems of the TAT and the Great Basin. It is a real shame that TAT riders stay at Border instead of Baker. From the roll charts, it seems like that is the recommendation. Don't know why.

Nothing wrong with Border, but it sure doesn't have the character or charm that Baker and the SilverJack do and it seems to be farther from the TAT.

Baker is the natural place for me to stay too, slept on the sidewalk at the visitor center.
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:53 PM   #69
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Crossing the emptiness...

TAT Day 7


We had a really enjoyable evening last night, sitting out in front of the cafe and watching the world crawl by very slowly -- It was quite refreshing. We got up this morning and loaded the bikes while we waited for the cafe to open up for breakfast. We snagged ourselves some wonderful food...



Then filled up the bikes too.



Heading out of Baker, NV on pavement to pickup where we left off from yesterday.



Back on the trail now.



We spot our first rattle snake eww....



Made me think of this song:



Which continued to loop endlessly in my head .

A few minutes after we spotted the first snake I almost ran over a second one. I guess it was pretty pissed off cause it was standing up for Nikki as she passed by it. I think Nikki rode with her knees up by her ears for the next couple of miles - just in case .

Stopping to check out some stuff along the way.



We missed a lot of turns today, and had to double back and search for the road. It is just so difficult to see the road that you are looking for unless you are exactly perpendicular to it. During one of our U-turns Nikki got hooked by some sage brush.



Pinned her foot here under her soft luggage. I made sure she wasn't hurt or in any pain, then I take my time getting my camera out and take a pic - she isn't going anywhere .


We find the road we missed and continue on.



You really get the sense that you are in the middle of nowhere out here - so much more so than anywhere else prior on the trail.



I think it is just the clear, unobstructed views from range to range.

And now a question:

What is the shortest distance between two points?











Answer :



After we clear the valley we take a short break. Riding is easy, weather is awesome, life is good!



From here we enter a small "Special" section through Cottonwood Canyon, which includes a bit of Nikki's least favorite things:

Rocky and rutty:



A pinch of over reaching tree branches:



And a touch more sand:



All leading to a bit of single track...



Where we opt to go "over" rather than "around"an obstacle.





And like a true Gentleman, I extend the courtesy to my lady friend, "Shall I ride your bike over the tree Madam?



More in a bit...



Jordan

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Old 08-01-2011, 05:50 PM   #70
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Jordan,
Great report and pictures, your wit is funny too. Great job.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:31 AM   #71
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Nice job Nikki, that section is far from easy!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:24 AM   #72
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Day 7 continued...




The technical section through Cottonwood Canyon was fairly short, and compared to the canyons in Utah, it was a piece of cake. Soon we were back on some two-track heading back into a valley.



Finding random stuff in the desert is fun .





Then we headed across the valley on some Nevada Quad Rut (that would mean 4 ruts):



That takes us to a nice gravel road that brings us up and over Patterson Pass.





A bit further on we pick up a smaller road that takes us over the range.



We really enjoyed the riding through here .





Oops ...



We exit out of the mountains through here...



And soon are overlooking the next valley...



Where we will find our next fuel stop: Preston/Lund, NV.



Gassing up...



Then we head into the General Store for some lunch. We grab a couple of Hot Dogs and some Gatorade. The lady was very nice and let us sit and eat in the closed down cafe that is attached to the store.





After lunch, we head back out and after a bit more travel through the valley, we head into some National Forest land.



I remember crossing this section, and both of us being soooo sleepy after having lunch. We were getting that 2:30 feeling. The weather was warm and the riding through the valley was kinda boring and redundant. I think we both were ready to fall over and take a nap - good thing we had the scala intercoms so that we could keep each other awake .

But we shook off the sleepy-ness when we were presented with some more interesting scenery and riding.







You can put a girl on a motorcycle, but that doesn't mean she still won't like flowers
.



Heading out of the forest, progress was momentarily halted...



But once the appropriate amount of momentum necessary was calculated,



And the best of the bad route options was chosen...



We proceeded through and continued on.

And soon we were riding an original section of the Lincoln Highway:





Which was only found after a bit of searching in this old mining site...



For this faint 2-track:



Coming off this section, I nearly shut myself in on the wrong side of the gate.



Nikki was quick to point that out .



From here it was a bit more two-track over to Hwy 50, which we took into Eureka, NV for the night.





In Eureka, I was in the motel office getting our room, and come back outside to find Nikki chatting up a local.



A very long day today, and both us and the bikes get a well deserved rest.



We walked the town a bit, and had some Mexican food from the local joint in town. Then we crashed out to bed super early.

From here in Eureka, NV the TAT heads North then NW into Oregon. Since we are headed to San Francisco we need to be heading due West from this point forward. So this was our last day to follow the TAT. Tomorrow we will head out of town and continue West on our own route that we will basically make up on the fly, while trying to avoid as much pavement as possible. I was very proud that Nikki and I rode this section of the Trans-America Trail. The Colorado, Utah, Nevada portion is noted to be the most difficult section of the entire trail, and I couldn't have been more impressed with Nikki's riding in the difficult terrain. Nikki certainly got lucky on getting through some of the tougher areas, but in the end she was the one who possessed the desire to even put herself in that situation. Great Riding .


Jordan
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:51 AM   #73
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AFX helmets: I am a big fan of those helmets. I had the FX 37, which was a little wonky because you had to order one size larger than normal. After a pretty hard crash that rang my bell, I decided to retire that helmet and get the FX-39. I am pretty happy with it and would easily buy another.

I know the other other "DS" helmets are pretty nice, but not worth the cost to me personally. The way I am constantly getting my helmet hit with roost, and rocks and trees and bushes....I'll stick with the $100 AFX helmets.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:22 PM   #74
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I'm all in!!!!!

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Old 08-02-2011, 12:35 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jglow View Post
It is really great to have something in common like this that we can both enjoy and appreciate. That B.U.T.T ride looks tempting . Big Bend is really nice that time of year.



Sounds like you have a route to Seattle .



------------------------------

Working on writing up day 6....


Jordan
Could you please tell me which model of Scala Intercom you are using and how do you like it and any regrets you may have. thanks
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