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Old 02-01-2013, 05:13 AM   #1
xathor OP
Not actually Gnarly
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
Xathor goes West (TAT) (800xc)

Greetings.

I don't guess I have ever introduced myself on ADVrider. My name is Nick, I am soon to be 27 years old and I am probably the nerdiest person on the planet... but I keep it in hiding.



ADV motorcycle riding is about the only thing that gets me outside, other than going to go shoot rifles and handguns. I spent some time in the Air Force as a SATCOM/Radio specialist... even deployed to Iraq for 8 months and enjoyed myself most of the time. Now a days I work for a defense contractor as an engineer maintaining a system that constantly reminds me of an overgrown, super-complex video game with real life consequences. Unfortunately this job (that I love dearly) has me traveling outside of the country all the time and away from my beloved motorcycles. When I was in Afghanistan I would day dream of riding my motorcycle over some of the mountains that I could see in the distance in every direction.

Below is your intrepid author/adventurer...



I've been on this website for many years, mostly on a KLR650 up until I purchased a WR250R and promptly stopped riding the KLR. I've done a lot of tagging on the Alabama Tag-o-Rama and general exploring in Bankhead National Forest on both the KLR and the WR250R. I've ridden both of the ORV trails in Bankhead on both bikes and had little issue, although I've had my share of spills. I wouldn't say I am a very good rider and I wouldn't say that I am a terrible rider either. I guess I am about average and I error on the side of caution when riding.




So far my longest trips have been on a KLR650...
Huntsville, Alabama to St. Louis, Missouri
Huntsville, Alabama to Savannah, Georgia
Huntsville, Alabama to Biloxi, Mississippi and then on down to New Orleans.





I haven't taken my WR250R on any long trips as I don't really enjoy it on the interstate. The farthest I have ridden it is from Huntsville, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama and that was when it was cold, rainy and I set out at nearly midnight. Needless to say I didn't enjoy the ride at all and within the first 30 minutes I considered stopping and going home to get my car.




All that being said. I am due for an adventure.



I got to thinking when I was in Afghanistan about the similarities between the sand and the mountains and the pictures from the ride reports that I have seen from people in the Arizona/Colorado/Utah/Nevada area. You know what the biggest shame is? That something so close, so beautiful and easily accessible hasn't been seen and experienced by yours truly.



Right now I am in Abu Dhabi and wont be home until early April. That gives me plenty of time to plan an adventure with your help. Right now, according to my time sheet I have 120 hours of Vacation and 56 hours of Sick leave. I'm sure we can do something with that. I'm a fairly decent photographer, so expect some decent photos of this journey.



Before I left on this work trip I kind of spur of the moment traded in the KLR for a 2013 Triumph 800XC. I had a wad of cash burning a hole in my pocket and it was pretty.



Unfortunately I was a bit discouraged on my ride home when I had my first in many many many years of riding crash on the street. I had a low speed low side on brand new tires on super cold pavement. No real damage done to the bike other than some scratches and a sacrificed turn signal that was quickly replaced. When I stored it it had just over 600 miles on it.




Back when I was in Iraq I started buying things to do the Trans-America trail. I even started purchasing parts for a WR250R that I didn't own yet. Ha. Unfortunately one thing happened and then another and I never go to go on my trip. While I was in Iraq though, I read many ride reports and eventually compiled together enough peoples reports that I made a KML of the trip. The KML is missing some sections and I had planned on starting near Corinth, Mississippi since I have ridden a good part of Tennessee anyways. This was back when I had all the time in the world and I just planned to lazily go along the route checking out whatever I wanted to in the path and had no real plans.



Fast forward a few years and things have changed. I still have the KML but I need a plan. I only have a limited amount of time (that has yet to be determined at this moment) and I no longer plan on taking the WR250R, instead I would rather take the 800xc. I can cover a lot more ground quicker on the 800xc and more comfortably in case plans change. I'd like to ideally start my trip further west. I have an idea to roughly follow the TAT starting at about Oklahoma City. I'd like to bypass any overly rough sections of the TAT and spend more time taking in the scenery and having fun. I don't want to worry about dropping the bike in some gnarly rocky section when I could have taken an easier route and had just as much fun.

This is where you guys step in. I'm going to freely allow you to see my KML and help me update it. If there is annnythhhiiinggg along the path that is worth checking out, I want to hear about it and possibly add it to my KML. I also need help choosing gear/tires/whatever as well as getting back in shape physically. I want to be able to heft the Tiger back on her feet in case of an unexpected nap.

I've been doing a lot of research on gear and the must-have's... this thread will also help me keep it all in order.

I do ask of one favor from you guys, if you upload any pictures to this thread to show me... please put them on imgur.com so that I can see them. I use a government network and imgur is one of the only image sharing sites that is unblocked. Also, please point out things on Google Maps as it is also unblocked.



Here is my KML of my proposed path.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gn0qmeawikft041/TATpath.kml


-Nick aka Xathor
__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)

xathor screwed with this post 02-07-2013 at 10:16 AM
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:52 AM   #2
xathor OP
Not actually Gnarly
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
Thanks to this picture...



I have pretty much secured my choice on getting the Giant Loop Fandango tank bag. It looks perfect on the 800xc. Triumph has a pretty neat attachment point for tank bags, but their tank bags for the Tigers look like shit. The only thing I would have to think about is the possibility of water getting in the bag, since it would hold my documents, cameras, cell phone and what not. I know you can seam seal them yourself, how hard is that?

I say "pretty much" since I am still considering the Wolfman gear, although I have never seen a Wolfman tank bag on a 800xc. I'm a huge fan of RevZilla so I will most likely order from them.

I've tried to do some research but I have come up a little empty on crossing the Rocky mountains in late April and early May. I might have to postpone my trip a little if it's too cold. I don't mind hot... I hate the cold.

Edit: I found this picture...



Yeah, definitely ordering the Giant Loop!
__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)

xathor screwed with this post 02-01-2013 at 08:00 AM
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:12 AM   #3
buls4evr
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
Oddometer: 2,318
That is pretty far North in the Rockies for an April ride. You will see snow and might ride in snow/ice. Want to see how to do a ride report? See Ride Reports, "What Next Wander Tour" by EVOMX971. You did not say if you want to ride dirt. I will suppose you will run the Triumph. He is on an 800XC Tiger and will show you in his report what one can do. Enjoy your planning and your adventure..... Oh ,and thanks for your service to our country too.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:59 PM   #4
xathor OP
Not actually Gnarly
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
I've been thinking more and more and I figure the ride will start around the beginning of May. I get home on the 11th... then that gives me two weeks to get packed and ready. Might push it back just a hair more, so I'm not 100% certain on the start.

I've got to thinking and I will probably end up slabbing to Oklahoma City as my first stop. It's right at 10 hours. I think that pushes me enough West to start my journey.



From there I need to plan 14 days West, with 5 return days as a safety buffer.

I would, at a minimum like to see the White Rim Trail and Moab in general and also check out the Rockies and the passes in Colorado. From there I would like to do the TAT to Port Orford. I highly doubt I could do the whole thing in the time I have. As a little side trip, if at all possible I would like to check out San Francisco. Google says its 34 hours ride from SF to home. Ouch! I miiiighhhtt be able to throw some sick time in there... I have like 50-something hours of sick leave. Ha!


Dirt, yes.... please! Single track or gnarly nasty rocks and deep sand... preferably no. I'd like to make good time and see as much as possible. It's not worth it to me to struggle in the sand and break the bike just to be a hardcore off road rider. If I can keep it on jeep trails and see 90% as much as I would had I found those gnarly trails... I'll be perfectly happy!
__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:27 AM   #5
buls4evr
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
Oddometer: 2,318
Of course "jeep trails" in CO are full of baseball sized rocks up to softball and baby-heads. So consider your tire choices carefully for that area on the Triumph. You have the universal problem.....Tires to get there vs tires to use there. Ideally TKC80s or such for CO,UT dirt /rock systems but your stockers good for all that Interstate and secondary roads. If you pick your DIRT ROADS very carefully (consult the locals!) ,you could use the stock tires with a little air reduction. Even May is pretty early for CO. Above 7K ft there is usually some snow in any OR situation then.Hope this helps.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:25 AM   #6
xathor OP
Not actually Gnarly
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
I'm looking at the Heidenau K60's. They look like a good mix. If I can't do a trail then I simply can't do it. I'm not going to fret over it. I'd love to take at least one dirt pass over the mountains... just to see them with my own eyes. The trip is more about just going West and seeing what I can. I just don't want to take the Interstate.

I've come up with a problem just determining how many miles I can cover in a day.



I'm thinking I will go ahead and start in Bartelsville. It's right at 10 hours from home, which I think is reasonable to superslab it for a day. Realistically it'll probably take me 12+ hours since I like to stop. Then do Bartelsville to Alva for the 2nd day, which seems fairly easy. If I get to the I-40 to 69 interchange and I feel like I can ride for a few more hours I might just skip and superslab to Alva and start from there. Oklahoma doesn't seem all the interesting to me.

Anyone vote for not skipping Oklahoma?
__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:02 AM   #7
xathor OP
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Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
My main reason for not wanting to take my WR250R is the thought of having to ride it on the interstate all the way back from Port Orford to Huntsville.

But then I thought, how much could it possibly cost to ship it? If it takes me 4 days to ride it all the way across the country, factoring in gas and hotels for those days... it might be wise to just ship the bike and fly back home.
__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
buls4evr
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It would cost a lot to ship it home. I would ride the Triumph and make the ride a long distance adventure type ride instead. There is still time in your life to do a true off-road type ride in Utah and Colorado on a WR250R. There are a lot of guys on these forums who will split expenses to come out here to ride Silverton/Durango and the really great OR stuff. My advice (FWIW), make 2 trips out of it for a later date. You can haul out here with a truck /trailer later with new friends and really enjoy the trip. A WR250R would be murder out here on 80mph Interstates but that Tiger will have no trouble. You really need to read Evomx971s Ride Report. Those Tigers are unbelievably versatile.You would be very frustrated trying to ride a lot of great roads in such a short time IMO. Go on your regional forums and you will find others doing similar trips too. Sorry.....I sounded like your dad for a minute there didn't I
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
xathor OP
Not actually Gnarly
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
Nah. I take advice when advice is given.

I agree that the Tiger would be a much, much better idea. It's just easy to get caught up in ride reports where guys take WR250R's, thumper KTM's, DRZ400's, etc. on the entire TAT. It looks to be a lot more fun on a smaller bike when you look at doing the TAT as 200mile sections every day.

I read several ride reports and plotted out each day. It's going to take exactly 15 days to get to Port Orford.

Unfortunately it seems like early to mid-May is a bit early for all the passes in Colorado... and I am sure it will be plenty cold. I'll probably just bring a heated vest with me since the Tiger has the powerlet and that will keep me from having to layer up like crazy just to cross the mountains. I'm thinking I will have to take Marshall Pass, but I am sure someone will have a better route for me to take. Colorado is up there on my "must see" list so I will probably eventually end up taking my WR250R out there some day.

Luckily my vacation is a paid vacation so staying in a hotel wont break the bank. Although I would like to camp, I have very little camping experience (other than boy scouts at a young age) and have no camping gear.

Also, I think I am going to skip all of Nevada. I've heard it's nothing but sand and sage... which don't sound very appealing to me. Is there anything to see in Nevada worth stopping for?
__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:52 AM   #10
xathor OP
Not actually Gnarly
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Oddometer: 438
Damn. I'm an idiot.

I was talking with my boss about what I can do on the trip back to see if there's anything interesting to see... He was asking where I got 21.5 days? I was kind of sad for a second there anticipating his next response.

"Did you count weekends?"

Holy shit. I forgot about weekends! That's 8 extra days!

__________________
2014 KTM 690 Enduro R (21/18 & 17/17's)
2013 Triumph 800XC (SOLD!)
2009 Yamaha WR250R (Sold!)
2008 KTM 450EXC-R (Stolen/Totaled)
2008 Subaru STi (Cobb Stage 2)
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:31 AM   #11
buls4evr
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
Oddometer: 2,318
You can clearly do that trip in 29 days. I would wait into May as long as possible if you are committed to being that far North and going to SFCA. Did you check out the "What Next Wander Tour"? Evomx971 rides the same bike you do and is really showing you what they can do if you are careful. They will handle just about any graded road. He is also the poster boy for great ride reports....like a travelogue on wheels.
If you must go to SF area, make sure you see Yosemite and ride CA120. Beautiful...
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