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Old 07-14-2014, 10:53 PM   #1
mtrcycllvr OP
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Trans America Trail - 2014, light weight mode with a chase rig….

A while back my good friend John S. says to me, "Let's ride this Trans America thing from Colorado to the coast this summer!".. I thought for all of a minute and committed right then and there.. That was months ago, and now, well, summer is here, right? But things have changed - what was going to be three or more and a new club cab rig and deluxe support trailer has dwindled down to me with my father running chase in my beat up old open pickup truck. John has had the unfortunate luck in getting laid off from work, conflicting schedules (there's a fall wedding in there, too)… "Shit Happens" as they say..

But my father, with whom I have NOT spend much bonding time with in the last couple of years was still excited about the idea, and honestly, I've been positively ACHING for a big adventure. I've got radios and a S.P.O.T, so he can come get me if I get stuck someplace - seems like a sound foundation.. So here I am, Day -2, burning the midnight oil in a desperate attempt to be driving to Colorado day after tomorrow.. Have absolutely NO PLAN except getting to Trinidad, then charging my father with finding us hotel rooms somewhere about as far as I feel I can get in a day without a load and we take off on our separate routes and meet up again that evening..

Here's an overview, and of course many have been here before me and you can read more about the route here: http://www.transamtrail.com



You'd think I could just take the time to just WASH the dang thing before working on it!



And the recently serviced (my GOD tires are expensive!) truck pulling chase:



And the VERY ENCOURAGING update on the course - love finding this 24 hours before you take off!!



"Due to HEAVY RAINS, FLASH FLOODS, FOREST FIRES, and BRIDGES OUT or IMPASSABLE, the Nevada and Oregon portions of the TransAmTrail have been drastically affected."

Anyway, the very important looking warning on the TAT website make me think I should ask if ANYONE ELSE is out there right now and if they know anything specific that I might put to use.. About the only thing I can't take is a deep river or a ravine.. I am packing LIGHT and will probably be looking to take "upgrade sections", like lockhart basin in Utah, for instance. I'm not scared by rough terrain, but a 1/4 mile deep ravine might be a different story - probably won't find any willing natives to canoe my rig across a river in a dugout, either..

So, anyone out there?

-ET-
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:30 AM   #2
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:44 PM   #3
mtrcycllvr OP
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Bluhduh More packing!! (God, can't we just get on with it already?)

Well, my chase driver, my dad, arrived in good spirits after flying halfway across the country to get here.. I got the oil changed, the muffler repacked, and MOST of the other ancillary gear ready to go.. Tomorrow we start throwing things in the truck and heading out - at least that's the PLAN with out a plan so far.. Haven't had much time to write off to the TAT sponsor and inquire about the conditions quoted on the website, but what the heck - it's an ADVENTURE, right?

My sister is anxious that I'm starting out somewhat blind on a route that the website is using the words "IMPASSIBLE" - but she's anxious about clouds and non-interstate freeway roads, so I'm just letting that wash over me..

Most of today, actually sort of went to getting drunk, with a stop at McMin's Edgefield brew pub in Gresham (Near Gresham KTM for mandatory parts pickup!), then later at Mingo in Beaverton… While I generally LIKE the idea of drinking and vacation, this isn't helping me GET READY..

Lunch at McMin's:


Dinner at Mingo:


My Dad/Chase Driver/Support guy studying the maps:


On the road to Sunny Colorado tomorrow!! Woot Woot!

I only had to field two work related phone calls today… Hopefully that will tail off pretty soon!!

-ET-
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:24 AM   #4
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Wink STILL not actually riding - am I violating ride report rules?

STILL not at the start point, but a lot closer - yesterday was just a push from Portland to Mountain Home, Idaho through smoky skies and hot weather.. We were just "putting" along the freeway when the fan clutch locked in and the truck got noticeably louder while just driving down flat road - Dad and I looked at each other and thought, "What the…?" We'd just been sitting in air conditioned comfort and totally oblivious to what was going on outside.. My console "data center" has gotten so infiltrated with dust over the years that you really can't make it out, and it dims to invisibility with the headlights on in the day time - after turning the lights out is was obvious what was wrong - we're driving in death valley temperatures!! Dang, didn't expect that!



After a long push, we put in for the night in Mountain Home, ID and IMEDIATLY beat feet for the nearest bar, thankfully right next door to the hotel.. There we met "Feyla" (that's Portarican, by the way..) who chatted us up in such a nice manner and made the BEST drinks all the while apologizing for how "expensive" they were.. Hint - the liquor prices in Idaho are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than the PDX area, that's for sure.. It was a GREAT nightcap and made the crappy hotel a little more bearable..



Next stop, Colorado - are dang close to it!!

-ET-
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:54 PM   #5
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:49 PM   #6
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:52 PM   #7
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Talking My god, can we GET THERE already?

Well, STILL not RIDING, but the progress towards the goal is working great.. THREE STATE day today, started off in Mountain Home, ID, ended up in Rawlins, WY.. Which is a GREAT "little" town - it's been VERY interesting to drive through the Great Energy Boom towns and see it directly - MAN, are the towns out here FULL..

We struggled with deciding on the many chain hotels and then the locally owned "lo-po", but ultimate settled on a bed and breakfast - can't aford to do this EVERY night, but after last nights "Yes we have internet!" fiasco (*&^% liars!!!), this just seemed like LUXURY, and it *&^%%& IS… OMG, so very nice!!




I get the "Rose Room" - *&%$ LUXURY.. The shower just would NOT run out of hot water.. Gotta love that..



Finding dinner ended up being it's own adventure within an adventure, so to speak.. All the recommended restaurants we suffering from a recent power hit, which apparently was a common thing. Progress, right?. We had few drinks at the one bar that had power:



Then beat feet to the one restaurant that everyone said we SHOULD eat at, and my god, were they right..



Got my serious jones for hot vegetables fixed right up - not to mention ANOTHER round of powerful good drinks..

Thanks, Ying, that was AWESOME - in case you're ever in Rawlings, WY, the "aspen house", a must do!!

Tomorrow, we hope to traverse all of Colorado, and finally make the START of this thing!!

Yahoo!!
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:08 PM   #8
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:01 PM   #9
mtrcycllvr OP
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Cool2 FINALLY - at the start!

My God, we've been driving "Big Country" for Days on end, and we FINALLY made it to my starting point, Trinidad, CO this afternoon..

Adding to the state border photos - here we are in Colorado at last, but the TOP - still have to make it two within 15 miles of New Mexico to "get there"...


HOURS, endless HOURS of high density "Denver/CO Springs" traffic and freeway construction.. I'm sort of wishing we'd taken the longer route sideways through Utah now.. I don't deal with traffic jams well.. But that's all behind us now - WE'RE HERE!!! Yahoo!!


We're settled into a fun but crappy motel near downtown and I just got all my tracks loaded into the main and spare GPS.. "Spare?" you say? Let's just say I've had electronics failures before, and I did not spring for paper maps - that's just too slow and tedious for me to deal with, so multiple GPS's it is, "just in case!"..

Still have to take a short trip to Wallmart - I lost the lid to one of my storage tubs SOMEPLACE.. Feel compelled to find a new one with a lid..

First thing it did here? RAIN - HARD.. Okay, I DID bring that sort of gear, but wasn't looking to use it Day One, dang it.. Thankfully it was just a typical mountain thundershower and passed quickly..


I bought a brand new camera for this trip, sort of rubbed the old one to death over the last few years.. I was in a hurry, so didn't really pay much attention to what I was doing - "Just give me that waterproof model - water proof is LIKELY to be DUST proof, right?" I think it's a good theory!

Anyway, what I didn't know is it has a very nice GPS built into it - you can't navigate, but you can tag your photos AND use it as a track log as well.. Been having fun figuring out how to put it to best use..

Here's Pop last night transliterating the TAT track logs onto paper maps - good excuse to buy a few more benchmark map books for states I didn't already have..


The last thing I need to do is freshen up the batteries in my SPOT and update the messages and such.. Haven't changed the batteries in it since the day I bought it - I'll feel a little better freshing those up a bit.. Just in case Pop has to come get me, right? That's about the LEAST desirable thing I could think of happening on this trip..

So - that's today's entry - tomorrow, I EXPECT to be spending the night in Salida, CO - roughly 218 miles of dirt road North and East of Trinidad.. The mountains I was looking at on the way down were very exciting looking - I'm REALLY starting to feel the anticipation now!

More tomorrow!!

-ET-
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-18-2014, 07:10 PM   #10
mtrcycllvr OP
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Laugh Safe? Perhaps.. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by flatwoods View Post
in, have fun stay safe
Always some risk or you're not having "fun" in my book, but yes, I'm going to take care.. Got my SPOT, got a chase driver and no load, bike is PRETTY carefully checked out - I'm getting more excited by the second - wonder if I'll sleep at all tonight?

-ET-
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:11 PM   #11
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Nice start I'd say. Wish I was along for this one. Your mostly unplanned rides are always the best! Especially when they involve extremely poor or impassable trails
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:44 PM   #12
mtrcycllvr OP
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First FULL day.. WOW - did I dress wrong!!

Wow - okay, ON THE ROUTE.. What a day. Overheating to hypothermia within HOURS of each other - hiding from lighting in a porta-potty, THREE HUNDRED MILES of gravel, MOST of it really good.. (the Hypothermia section, not so much..)

The day started out in Trinidad, CO, where I hopped on the TAT route and started winding sort of North East, with the goal of meeting my father in Salida, CO.. We just picked that town because it seemed like a doable millage and a likely spot to find a hotel.. The first part, "doable milage", fine - the second part "likely hotel?" - Salida turns out to be a DESTINATION, and it's SATURDAY NIGHT.. Pop came through like a champ, but it took some actual work on his part..

The route was great fun and there were multiple opportunities to gas up, but I passed on all of them - wanting to know what sort of milage I could do on my 6.9 gallon tank - turns out over 300 is the answer, which is what I THOUGHT, but had never really had a chance to confirm before..

Saw lots of fun stuff that I MAY or may not be able to get into this ride report tonight… Tomorrow is another big day - early start and all..

Here I am at the start of the day… Oh, wait - the camera miss fired.. We don't get that photo.. But here's Pop wishing me well as I take off:


I passed lots of fun stuff.. The roads were GREAT.. I mean well graded and smooth, my gosh, you NEVER see roads this nice in Oregon any more.. I passed the reason why early on:

..That "wheel thing" on the back - man, talk about fun power slides!!

Okay, more in a bit...
__________________
1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:59 PM   #13
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Hiding in the Porta-Potty….

You may or may not have heard about the multiple people being killed by lighting in the Rockies over the last month. I've heard about it - and that really colored my perceptions as I rode the last 40 miles to Salida - I was traversing a large ridge, rather open, and I could see I was gonna get rained on, what I DID NOT count on was the rather striking difference in temperatures and the COPIOUS LIGHTENING!! I found my self soaked in a hail storm of no insignificance, staring at rather amazing lightening bolts right in front of me, and all I could think about is the recent deaths from lightening in the Rockies. I tried to shelter under a tree DEEP in a canyon grove, but that just turned out to be sitting under the waterfall in terms of "shelter".. Grrr.. Okay, it's let up a LITTLE bit - lets go a little further down the road.. That's when the HAIL started.. Oh, I'm sorry - HAIL with HUGE LIGHTENING intermingled..

Shitte, now what, Batman?

Short diversion - one of the things I noticed about the San Isabel National Forest was a very regular and closely paced placing of porta-potties.. I didn't think too much about it expect, "hey, that's sort of cool.."

So, here I am, it's hailing SO HARD my nose is bleeding from riding through it, and I'm terrified of the lightening - next thing I know, there's my shelter!!



It's highly insulated plastic, a roof over my head.. What the heck? I sit out flash bulb like lightening, deafening thunder, and 1/4" hail in the comfort of a clean porta-potty..

My first choice, perhaps not, but beggars can't be choosers, right?



From the outside with the storm cell receding in the distance…



The hail on the ground...


My gear is good, but OLD, and the goretex has failed - I'm fucking wet and cold. But I make it Salida okay..

Tomorrow? The heavy KLIM gear I SHOULD have been wearing today, no matter the heat!! :loll

Fun times!!

-ET-
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1987 Yamaha Venture XVZ-13 (A project...) Wanted, one wrecked VMAX.. PM me!
2001 KTM-300EXC (Sold for cheap, and SO regretting it!!!)
1999 Honda VTR-1000 (the pavement weapon and ass beater..)
2002 KTM-LC4 640 (Eats gravel roads for breakfast..)
2008 KTM-530 EXC-R (The 'sexy beast')
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:37 AM   #14
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:24 AM   #15
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Have a great trip I plan on doing that ride in the near future so will watch your progress. Stay safe!
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