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Old 05-20-2013, 03:50 AM   #226
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Homestead, Florida
Oddometer: 1,401
so out of the comfort zone....good assignment.

In 2006 I split with the ex after 25 years and packed up and moved to south Florida, new job, new place and didn't know a soul......way out of comfort zone considering after all the years at the old place I couldn't walk into a place within 50 miles and not know someone there!! So the boats went with the divorce and the bikes followed in 2009. In 2010 I bought my GSA and the preps for Alaska started....not just to Alaska but Key West to Prudhoe Bay and back to Key West and with only 4 weeks vacation to do. At first it was not really a stretch of the comfort zone because I was going with an experience rider and motorcycle touring guy. All along we had a deal that if one of us couldn't go the other would go anyone. the last minute that happened, work got in the way and he couldn't go. So here I am, not that experienced of a rider, longest trip to date was 3500 miles and it was all in populated area, (The Blue Ridge Parkway), about to set off on a 15,000 mile trip into Alaska and the Yukon Territory alone.

Pucker factor was high the first few days, did I have it in me to run the back to back 800 mile days I had to do to have the time to make the trip into the Northland the best it could be?. What if the bike broke, what if this, what if that? know the feeling.....I was out of my comfort zone for sure. After about 3 or 4 days, with the hard miles behind me, rainstorms and a few other minor issues, I was in a groove and rolling. I had a destination each day, but only because with a 15k mile trip, and only 30 days, you have to map out the miles to cover, or at least get close to each day.

Now two years later it is still one of the more challenging things I have done in my life and would do it again in a heart beat..........

Your quote is so true, you really don't know what you are made until you push yourself...even just a little bit!!!

Anyway.....looking forward to the TAT portion of your ride. I bought a 2001 DR650SE earlier this year and that will be the bike I prep and take on the TAT in a couple of years.

Ride safe!!
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:53 AM   #227
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Atlanta
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Comfort zone

Ok.....I have an unplanned one. I taught an MSF class this weekend with a new instructor I had never taught with before. The class was rough, people were great but very slow......not just speed wise but learning and didn't really participate in class. It was like pulling teeth....the instructor kept boasting she was a 7 year coach....she could barely ride. Evertime she stopped, she locked up the rear wheel Great. Anyway, my 18 year dog had started acting weird that weekend and my GF took her to the vet on Sunday. She called me to let me know we had to put her down. and asked for my blessing...what could I do.? I didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye in the's the part where I step out a bit. I apologized to my co instructor for being curt and just started balling while I was teaching. We were outside riding and it was pretty liberating to just let it out but continue on with my coaching and cheering my riders on......sad weekend for me. I don't like to cry in front of people and usually lock myself away when it happens.

Hope you're somewhere warm and dry right now.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:09 AM   #228
Let's get tropical
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Northern VT
Oddometer: 1,488
LOVE the RR, you should put together a 'donate beer' button for small donations for your trip. Many of us are happy to spend a few bucks for the entertainment a great RR provides.

As for comfortzone: In two weeks, I'm moving with my girlfriend 250 miles away, casting off from my safe harbor here. I'm leaving a well-paying job, the benefits, friends, family and hometown for some adventure. To add to this, I'm in the beginning stages of opening up a business as a first time entrepreneur in the new location, a persuit that will command all my life savings and time. I haven't felt this calm in a long, long time. Your words are the truth.

Good luck as you continue on your trip - we're rooting for ya!
2013 Tay-Nay-Ray
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:26 PM   #229
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Scottsdale - Arizona
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Originally Posted by stuntheavy View Post
This makes me feel quilty about all my 1/4th tread take offs! Great report - keep it coming and have fun!
'12 KTM 990 ADVENTURE, 03'XR650R.
I'm at my target weight, I'm just not at my target height yet! '12
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:42 PM   #230
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Joined: Jul 2011
Location: Southeast Ga.
Oddometer: 347
LOVE the RR, you should put together a 'donate beer' button for small donations for your trip. Many of us are happy to spend a few bucks for the entertainment a great RR provides.

I agree. I'd be happy to buy a round or two....
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:57 PM   #231
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Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Santa Clara, CA
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Originally Posted by stuntheavy View Post
Alive and well gentleman! (and the occasional lady that hasn't been scared off by you crazies)
I'm watchin'... takes a lot to scare me off...

If you find your way to sunny CA, PM me and I'm sure I can help you out with space to stay, etc.
Spend time with those who make you better. -Unknown author

Dangerous Curves
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:28 AM   #232
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Jefferson, GA
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Great Ride Report

I may qualify for a financial suicide decision . . . Retired from a very good job at 58 . . . Which put my wife of 38 years out of her comfort zone.

I spend my days enjoying my different bikes, tinkering, home improvement projects, occasional adventure rides, manipulating my IRA . . . to fund day-to-day expenses, and reading Advrider and mysteries.

My challenge to myself is to get into the best physical condition possible so I can take trips like this one. Currently, my hands and back are my limiting factors.

Keep up the great job and be safe . . . We all are living your dream.

I recently enjoyed a nice WV trip with my buddies . . . I was a little out of my comfort zone trying to stay with the lead bike in tight corners . . . Definitely an adrenaline rush! We have spent many many days riding the Dragon.

Yes, I would like to contribute to your trip too.

Good luck,

Tom from NE GA
"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away"

mcmann screwed with this post 05-22-2013 at 09:42 AM
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:52 AM   #233
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Joined: Mar 2013
Location: DC & WV
Oddometer: 313
Decided on my "out of the comfort zone" challenge. I will make a solo overnight camp on my first long distance road trip. Will leave late afternoon, ride four or five hours and camp. Pack up the next morning and ride the remaining five hours to my destination which is my sisters wedding in Shelburne Falls, Mass.

Might not seem like a big deal to most, but it is the longest bike ride I have taken and I have never camped by myself. Excited for the challenge!!!
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:54 AM   #234
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY...really too far from the hills!
Oddometer: 2,006
careful there, you may get hooked!
If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem!
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:15 PM   #235
Trane Francks
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Originally Posted by mcmann View Post
I'm getting into the best physical condition possible for when I take trips like this one. My hands and back were my limiting factors.
Fixed it for ya. Always describe limits in the past tense. We create our future through our present thoughts. The power of imagining already having succeeded cannot be underestimated.

You're gonna love your journey.
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:27 PM   #236
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Fulltiming in an RV! Currently NW Oregon
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Originally Posted by Trane Francks View Post
Fixed it for ya. Always describe limits in the past tense. We create our future through our present thoughts. The power of imagining already having succeeded cannot be underestimated.

You're gonna love your journey.
My dad always told me, "you can do anything you put your mind to," and I try to tell that to others as well. You can. Just focus on your goals and you will get there. The pace is up to you.

'12 Suzuki V-Strom DL650
'96 Suzuki DR650
'92 Yamaha TW200
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:16 AM   #237
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: Northwest Indiana
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Originally Posted by stuntheavy View Post
I gotta tell ya, this picture made me laugh like all hell. That is one bad mf'er. Looks like he's gonna light somebody up.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:19 AM   #238
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Joined: Feb 2012
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Oddometer: 16
Thanks for this great RR! I took your challenge and did something I have never done before: ride a supersport...

I've drivin a chopper, tour bike, a naked and finally a offroad, but never a supersport. This weekend I borrowed a Ducati 900 supersport en drove it for 250 km's. I really liked it, but never do it again

One thing is for sure, I'll never forget it. Thanks.

Freewman screwed with this post 05-22-2013 at 11:33 AM
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:56 AM   #239
stuntheavy OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Tejas
Oddometer: 154
Day 13 & 14: Nothing fun to write about here. I came down pretty sick, and along with the crappy rainy weather, I bearly got out of my tent for these two days. I mostly said there, contemplating my demise, and reading ride reports. The SuperSherpa Minimalist RR is solely responsible for keeping me sane.

Day 15: Up early, Today is the day! Still quite sick, but at least I'm mobile. Some early AM maintenance and final checks, and then I wait for met my co-pilot, Austin, to show up for the TAT. Great guy, similar sense of humor, and he's got a KLR, so when my Big Red Pig takes a dump, I can hook it to that tractor and get on back to civilization. Perfect!

We eagerly hit Witt road, the first stretch of dirt in the TN portion. I've heard of the famed river crossings, and the owner of Tellico Moto Outfitters has warned me the 3rd will be a doozy with all the recent rain. I'm concerned.

Upon reaching it, I ride across first. It's not as bad as expected, but I do dab a foot into the water. Soggy boot today. Austin also puts one down but both bikes stay upright and dry.

After riding some pavement, we end up on another dirt road. "Road closed" sign ahead. Flashbacks to the Tatham Gap (aka Dirt Dragon as I found out later). This could be interesting! Around we go, only to come upon a white truck with an official looking logo on the side, whose driver immediately jumps out upon seeing us. Uhoh.

Turns out, he's a super nice guy. They had the bridge wash out, and have just laid new concrete. This is near Route 315, for anyone soon to do the TAT. I would imagine it will be open by the end of the month. We contemplate a water crossing, but it appears too deep, and neither of us are willing to be the guinea pig. We end up re-routing ourselves, and pound more pavement. Lots of farms, some cool looking fields, and a decent amound of curvy paved roads with some decent elevation changes.

Somewhere along this line, Austin has he rear brakes fail. Pedal feel is spongy as can be. For some reason, I grab the brake line. Odd, it's hot to the touch. The caliper is hot enough to boil water! Yikes! Somehow, the rear brakes severly overheated. The fluid is dark dark brown. We let it cool, they come back, but the rotor is blued, and his brand new pads are surely hating life. We decide to search for DOT 4 fluid, to flush the system. Turns out this is a rare commodity in this part of the state. Nothing is going to be open at this time of evening, so we camp at Savage Gulf State park. It's so uninteresting, I failed to even take pictures. Wouldn't reccomend it simply because the camping area is out of sight from the parking lot.

Day 16: The morning pack-up takes some serious time, because it's a few hundred yard walk through the trails to get back to the bikes. Not particularly far, but the added distance makes each trip that much more of a pain.

Finally, on the road, we track down some DOT4, give it a quick flush, and on we go. Theres more pavement. And And cool looking fields (I know, I take weird pictures) And then disaster! Another KLR mishap. It can't be! His speedo cable has discombobulated, and the internal spring, the square drive, is gone. MIA. We trace back looking for it, but it's nowhere to be found. Zip-tied out of the way, we head to a moto-shop. No luck, and Austin considers a trade-in in this picture. (Just kidding!)

Then we go supaaaaa-Fast!

The skies look angry, and the wind is crazy. This particular tree-tunnel was getting hit hard, and there were so many leaves in the air, it was like a bad snowstorm.

I forget, we're in the South. Jeebus is big here.

This is a road, in Tennessee. It ends up being only a foot or two deep, hard bottom, and relatively uneventful. Splish Splash, now we're on the TAT! This is fun!!!

The usual Suspects.

Back on pavement, it seems the locals are trying to tell us something. But I don't think Sam would lead us wrong...

Soon, it's time to call it a night. Man, all this pavement riding sure is mild. I'm getting bored! I sure hope tomorrow is better. We camp at Pickwick Landing State Park. Just as we're setting up shop, the Ranger comes by and mentions the weather is said to get nasty tonight. Tornado watch in affect, and that we might be slightly touched in the head to be camping. Sure enough, verifies. This could be an interesting night.

After what feels like Richard Simmons is having a dance party on the top of my tent all night, and enough rain that I was considering putting on my rubber ducky arm floaties, I finally fade off to sleep. In the morning, we're still alive, and the bikes haven't been swept away.

Day 17:

Onto Mississippi! As the day runs on, we find some dirt roads. They're mostly red, or orange soil. Interesting. I'm not used to this type of dirt. I clutch up a few wheelies. Feels normal enough. I wonder why they call it "Mississippi Mud", as in the dessert.

Obligitory en-route selfie.

This little guy was camera shy.

Then the real fun. This is the TAT, Turns out it's a little moist. I wade out to see how deep it gets. Once it's over my waist, I turn around, and it's only getting deeper. The water is moving fast enough here to be dangerous if one were to fall.

I decide to venture off to find a way around. After a lapse in judgement on my part, Austin comes back to rescue me. Seems I had made a slight miscalculation.

We re-route ourselves, and I'm gifted with this...

Austin it a team player and finds me a bikestand.

Shortly, I find the reason behind me flat.

And the carnage. Yes, that's 5+ punctures. There's no saving this one, Doctor. She's a flatliner.

Shortly, we're back moving, and go to investigate the OTHER side of the aformentioned watercrossing. It's no better.

It's even flooded miles upstream, into the farmlands.

Back onto the TAT, we cruise down some very very worn, old dirt roads.

Soon things get pretty slickery. So THIS is Mississippi Mud. The gumbo! This stuff is thick, and heavy. Fully loaded down, it's nothing like riding an MX bike in the mud. I'll be the first to admit I spent more time sideways than I did straight.

Eventually we make it to civilization, and search for food.

People sure do park funny here in Mississippi. I thought that double-yellow meant something different.

While in search for the KLR speedo cable and a new front tire for me, we see this cool little rig. A plated CRF230.

Maybe this is part of the reason I spent so much time sideways. I thought the abrasive nature of the cords would aid in gripping... no?

We stop at walmart for supplies. This is what it looks like when ADV'ers go shopping together.

Today ends at Trace State Park, MS. Lovely looking place. I love camping near water. Just feels right. Should have bought a beer or three back in town. Would have been nice here.

There it is folks, The first three days on the TAT have sucessfully concluded the TN portion, and the first 130 miles of MS. It's been fun, and we are looking forward to more dirt! TN was some good back roads, and a very mellow feeling. However, it left me feeling as though I could have completed it on a Sportbike. This is ADV, not Kneedraggers! Bring on the dirt, the mud, rocks, and spills!

How does one setup a paypal 'button' so to speak? I do have a paypal already linked to my email,, but don't know how to set up a button as you guys mentioned. I would be forever greatful to anyone interested in helping out, but by no means expect it. Maybe all that reading on South America wasn't such a bust, maybe this can really happen! You guys are out-freakin'-standing.

WiFi, and 'sitting around' time is limited on the TAT. Doing 200 miles a day is a serious job. Updates may be 3-4 days away, maybe longer at times, so bear with my everyone, and keep on reading. Seeing that 'view count' rising is what makes me want to risk one-handed mud holes, and wading in swamp water for that perfect picture!

Also, I'm impressed by how many of you took me up on the homework assignment. Very very impressive! As for thinking what you chose wasn't 'a big deal'... I'd say otherwise. Everyone of them I read sounded like a huge step to me. Great job everyone! I know I couldn't do some of those things!

Over and out!
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:37 AM   #240
Honkey Cat
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Joined: May 2011
Location: SW Florida
Oddometer: 1,152
nice report, glad it was dry last year for me
My favorite philosopher is Cha Ching !
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