ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-20-2013, 11:30 PM   #1
mpgmr OP
Utard
 
mpgmr's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kamas, UT
Oddometer: 28
Seven More Days on the TAT (UT-OR)

On 05/10/2013 my brother, Charles, and I began our seven-day ride of the TAT (Trans-America Trail) from Kanosh, UT to Port Orford, OR. This thread will chronicle our experience on that ride, be a repository for some of the pics/videos taken, and offer advice as to what did and did not work for us. But first some preliminaries.


Last year, Charles and I rented a U-Haul in Kamas, UT (my stomping grounds) and transported our bikes to Boise City, OK to start our TAT ride to Kanosh, UT. Charles chose a 2008 KLR as his ride and I had my blue (the fast color) 2006 DRZ 400S (with a 440 kit). In our youth, Chuck and I had spent many hours riding our bikes in the dirt but this was Chuck's first 'epic' dirt ride. My DRZ and I had previously successfully ridden the Mex2Can with another brother, Brian, so we had some idea of what to expect and pack. As we all know, buying a bike is just the initial expense, if you (or a previous owner) do not add some $2K in farkels then you are just not serious about getting the best possible ride from your bike, not to mention increasing the odds that you will actually make your destination. Thus our bikes are anything but stock and after over 5,000 miles on 'epic rides' the DRZ has yet to fail me.


We bought roll charts and maps from Sam for our TAT rides and then proceeded to spend hours and hours converting the 2012 and 2013 rides to GPS coordinates and tracks. Frankly, it certainly expedited the rides with us both generating independent, GPS loadable coordinates/tracks and helped clarify ambiguities in what we saw when on the trail and what was on the roll charts. As we found out in our latest ride, it also helps to have the latest topo maps in your GPS as over the years roads, which are little more than cow trails to begin with, do change. When we were 80 miles from gas in any direction, out in the middle of 'no where', the loaded GPS units more than paid for their keep.


As to what worked and what didn't on this 2013 TAT ride, I think the biggest issue was trying to pack too many miles into too few hours. The problem was we only had seven days to ride a calculated 1,402 miles. Our 2012 ride from OK to UT through NM and CO was also seven days but ended up covering only some 1,061 miles. Two of our 2013 ride days were supposed to be over 250 miles. If you are an expert open desert/mountain rider on something more than a KLR or DRZ then 250 mile days is likely possible if you don't stop and smell the flowers. But we found 150 to 180 mile days to be more rational for us. We would typically get on the road about an hour or so after sunrise and set an evening curfew of a couple hours before dark (to have time to back-track if necessary or fix potential tire/mechanical problems). In some places we went 50-55 mph (my DRZ gearing limited our top end) and in other places we slogged through 5-10 mph sections which went on and on. We did not feel nearly as pushed on the 2012 ride when our plans called for 140-180 mile days vs. the 200+ mile days of the 2013 ride. We quickly learned that in order to not be riding out in the middle of 'no where' at night we had better have bailout routes planned. Thus we spent numerous hours at night during the 2013 ride going over maps giving ourselves alternate routes in order to make our next destination if terrain and time so dictated. In addition to our limited time (seven days) to do the ride it turns out that accommodations in the NV/OR sections of the TAT are often few and far between. Either a day's ride is shortened to accommodate widely spaced accommodations or plan on a long day in the saddle or camp out. Now I do not have a big problem camping out and we brought tents and sleeping bags if that were necessary but I sleep better after a nice meal, a warm shower and in a bed rather than in the wind, cold/heat, and on hard ground. Maybe after accomplishing some of the other rides I have planned (including finishing the TAT) then I will take three weeks and do a predominantly camping CO to OR ride or maybe make the Continental Divide ride a camping ride. But the bottom line is to really be circumspect regarding how many miles you realistically can ride in a day. For us it was 160 not 230.


Enough preliminaries for now, let's get on with the ride.
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

mpgmr screwed with this post 05-20-2013 at 11:35 PM Reason: Add Emoticons
mpgmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 04:02 AM   #2
Plastrick
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2005
Location: 100 miles into the Atlantic
Oddometer: 102
Looking forward to this one - subscribed!
__________________
"In this world, there's two kinds of people my friend - those with loaded guns, and those who dig."

http://www.adesignsystems.com/
Plastrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 05:14 AM   #3
Oldone
One day at a time!
 
Oldone's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
Oddometer: 636
Dirt rider~

I'm thinking of becoming a dirt rider but first I must decide if I could handle it? Seems like the time has moved along sorta rapidly and now I find myself to be only a few months from 70 yrs. old! Having never ridden on dirt before, I have a hunch that it just might be a little late to start now. :-(
Guess I'll just follow along here then.

Thanks for doing this for those of us who kept waiting for another day!

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride

Oldone screwed with this post 05-21-2013 at 09:13 PM
Oldone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 06:15 AM   #4
Squeaks
n00b
 
Squeaks's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Las Vegas
Oddometer: 8
subscribed. Can you also post your gps tracks? I'm thinking of trying the same thing next year and am slowing starting to dig up info for my ride.
Squeaks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 06:59 AM   #5
TahoeRob
Adventurer
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: N Lake Tahoe
Oddometer: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeaks View Post
subscribed. Can you also post your gps tracks? I'm thinking of trying the same thing next year and am slowing starting to dig up info for my ride.
Yes, Please! I live in N. Tahoe and plan to try and start hitting the same areas next year as well. Current GPS tracks would be wonderful!
You could email or PM them if you don't want to share publicly.

Looking forward to the report...now back to work for me!
TahoeRob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 07:07 AM   #6
mpgmr OP
Utard
 
mpgmr's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kamas, UT
Oddometer: 28
When is one 'too old'?

Gary "Oldone",
I am 63 and change and my brother, if my calculations are correct, is 54 something. We each need to be the arbitrar of when we become 'too old' and these rides (Mex2Can, TAT, Cont. Divide, etc.) are my efforts to get in some 'epic dirt riding' before I can't make it over the next hill. There were sections of both our 2012 and 2013 TAT rides which were challenging and for which there were no easy/quick ways around. In my way of thinking it becomes more of a reactions and strength issue. Things happen quickly in the dirt, e.g., rocks, ruts, mud, steep down hills, etc. and if one's reactions are too slow or if the strength is not there to control the handle bars then one is going to be frequently picking themselves (and their bike - did I mention how heavy a loaded bike seems?) off the ground. There are sections of the TAT which anyone who can push a starter button can ride and other sections which definitely had a pucker factor and we didn't look pretty riding them. I would say get in shape (which I am not - do as I say not as I do), get a light bike, and do day rides on local trails and see how it goes. I don't know when I will be 'too old' but I hope it is not before I shake off the dust from the rides I have planned. So far so good, pretty much...
Best wishes!
Gary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
I'm thinking of becoming a dirt rider but first I must decide if I could handle it? Seems like the time has moved along sorta rapidly and now I find myself to be only a few months from 70 yrs. old! Having never ridden on dirt before, I have a hunch that it just might be a little late to start now. :-(
Guess I'll just follow along here then.

Thanks for doing this for those of us who kept waiting for another day!

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC
mpgmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 07:30 AM   #7
mpgmr OP
Utard
 
mpgmr's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kamas, UT
Oddometer: 28
GPS Tracks

I appreciate your desire to obtain GPS tracks of the TAT. If we could have easily obtained the tracks/waypoints, it would have saved us hours of work pouring over Sam's roll charts. In the past, when I read similar requests of other TAT riders their response was basically, "Sam spent a lot of time and expense finding and 'maintaining' the TAT route, producing the roll charts and maps (which can be obtained from Sam... http://transamtrail.com) so even though we created the tracks ourselves we did it from Sam's roll charts. Thus in order to protect his investment (time/money) and encourage his continued labor of love in maintaining the TAT route, please purchase Sam's roll charts and do as we did."
Now to be fair, I do not know Sam's current stance on this issue but I too wish to encourage his continued efforts and the TAT route does change in sections from year to year, e.g., Sam changed a NV section in 2012 due to a road no longer being used and we found several sections in which we had to really hunt for the road.
I will shoot Sam an email or call him this evening and ask him his stance on giving out GPS waypoints/tracks produced from his roll charts. If he is OK with it then I will disseminate my waypoints/tracks, if he is not then I can't and won't.
Fair enough?
Gary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squeaks View Post
subscribed. Can you also post your gps tracks? I'm thinking of trying the same thing next year and am slowing starting to dig up info for my ride.
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC
mpgmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
Schroeder
Schroeder
 
Schroeder's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Tehachapi, Ca
Oddometer: 12
Sam's website now includes GPS Tracks!
Schroeder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 12:42 PM   #9
Rally_West
Central Scrutinizer
 
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Redondo Beach
Oddometer: 142
The BDR crew has the GPX files for you to DL from their webpage. You can still donate and participate in the program in other ways. Always smart to have a backup (not a second GPS) and know how to use it. Butler maps are recommended for the BDR rides.

I know not TAT, but still epic offroad, cross-state rides.
__________________
'07 450EXC Sold but not forgotten...you will be replaced soon.
'07 990 Adv...BOOYAH!
Rally_West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
motoged
Studly Adventurer
 
motoged's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Kamloops, BC
Oddometer: 861


More, please....
__________________
Ged Schwartz
Kamloops , BC


Baja '05 , Baja 06/07 , Baja 08/09 , BC Alpine Single Track




motoged is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 04:29 PM   #11
Tyr
Expedition Leader
 
Tyr's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: SoCal
Oddometer: 2
subscribed. Looking forward to the story by Gary "The Lone Dune Rider" and his side kick Chuck. A shout out from the old Glamis crew in Hemet, Sam, Todd, Mike and Kevin.
Tyr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 04:51 PM   #12
dirt between my toes
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: From WNC live Oklahoma
Oddometer: 44
let's go !!

held up by the rain ! let' go get this party started !!!
dirt between my toes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2013, 07:21 PM   #13
Squeaks
n00b
 
Squeaks's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Las Vegas
Oddometer: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpgmr View Post
I appreciate your desire to obtain GPS tracks of the TAT. If we could have easily obtained the tracks/waypoints, it would have saved us hours of work pouring over Sam's roll charts. In the past, when I read similar requests of other TAT riders their response was basically, "Sam spent a lot of time and expense finding and 'maintaining' the TAT route, producing the roll charts and maps (which can be obtained from Sam... http://transamtrail.com) so even though we created the tracks ourselves we did it from Sam's roll charts. Thus in order to protect his investment (time/money) and encourage his continued labor of love in maintaining the TAT route, please purchase Sam's roll charts and do as we did."
Now to be fair, I do not know Sam's current stance on this issue but I too wish to encourage his continued efforts and the TAT route does change in sections from year to year, e.g., Sam changed a NV section in 2012 due to a road no longer being used and we found several sections in which we had to really hunt for the road.
I will shoot Sam an email or call him this evening and ask him his stance on giving out GPS waypoints/tracks produced from his roll charts. If he is OK with it then I will disseminate my waypoints/tracks, if he is not then I can't and won't.
Fair enough?
Gary

Just found Sam's site this afternoon while looking for info. I'll get my tracks from there.
Squeaks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2013, 08:25 AM   #14
mpgmr OP
Utard
 
mpgmr's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kamas, UT
Oddometer: 28
Seven More Days on the TAT (Day 1)

In preparing for our 2012 TAT ride from OK to UT, Charles and I spent hours discussing the route, what to take, how to prepare the bikes, etc. For the 2013 ride I was a bit concerned since up until a couple of weeks before the start Charles and I communicated very little about the ride (Charles and family reside in Tucson, AZ while we call Kamas, UT home). But I knew all was a go when Chuck writes that he wants to meet in Kanosh at 9 AM on Friday. I suggested a saner 11 AM meeting so we didn't have to get up at 4 AM (that would have been a difficult sell, even to the very supportive better half, Mary Ann). Chuck concurs and preparations continue.



Friday, May 10th, dawns with the promise of great weather with a high of the mid-70s at our Day 1 destination, Baker, NV. We opted to ride the TAT early this year in order to avoid the summer heat sure to be encountered going across Western Utah, Nevada, and Southeastern Oregon. We rode the TAT (OK-UT) in 2012 in mid-August due to the snow in the passes of Colorado, but paid for that with the heat in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Eastern Colorado. I did not think snow would be an issue on this ride, but more on that later.



So I go out and load the bike into the truck only to find a nail in the left front tire. Great, is this a harbinger of things to come? Fortunately we have another truck so I unload and reload the bike and gear and we are off to Kanosh.



Charles and I arrive at the church in Kanosh within one minute of each other. Greetings are exchanged (Deb, Charles' wife, is to drive their truck back up to Kamas and spend the week with Mary Ann and friends), bikes unloaded, equipment loaded on the bikes, and protective gear donned. Uncharacteristically, I am ready to go before Chuck. Come on, come on, little brother!



Here's our send off pic (hopefully when Charles chimes in to this thread he has a pic of his bike at the start, though you will see enough of the KLR later in this thread). I am the one with Scott across his middle, appropriately enough since that is my middle name. Yes, we have the same mother and father and don’t tell Chuck, but physically fit people really bug me, when I’m not.






The following map will hopefully give you a better idea of the general route the TAT takes from Kanosh to the Border Inn near Baker, NV.







We finally start our ride at circa 12:15 PM and the first few miles consist of reacquainting myself with the DRZ as I had ridden less than 10 miles since the melting of the snow at our 6,700 foot home elevation. The bike feels less than nimble with a fender bag consisting of a front wheel inner tube, a handlebar bag above the head light containing small miscellaneous items like air gauge, air pump, spare head light bulb, WD-40, sun screen, lip balm, scotch tape for roll chart, registration and insurance paperwork, TP, etc., a tank bag containing maps, wallet, knife, pistol, glasses, camera, etc., two Wolfman side bags and a large rack bag. When I rode the Mex2Can with Brian in 2008 I tried to go cheap on the side and rack bags and paid for it by losing tools. I highly recommend Wolfman products (http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/), their side panniers and mounts are beyond peer, IMHO. In the panniers I carried 2 liters of water, a quart of oil, tools and related, another front wheel tube and green goop, a tent, sleeping bag, first aid kit, tie downs, rope, etc., basically stuff I hoped not to use but it was there if needed. The rack bag contained clothing, food stuffs, trip maps, tablet, electrical/digital components, light shoes, more tools, toiletries, etc. The rack bag was my go to bag at night. I also wore a hydration backpack with a couple liters of water, coat, wind breaker, rain coat, extra gloves/goggles, flashlight, spare GPS, etc. or stuff I could need on the trail but wasn’t heavy. I have a spreadsheet of all that I brought and where I located it on the bike. If you are interested in the equipment spreadsheet then email me and I will send you a copy. Note that as on the 2012 TAT ride, I really did not use anything but tools and tie downs in the panniers. I could have saved considerable weight if I had not brought the panniers but at the cost of the peace of mind of being able to extract ourselves from ride ruining, or worse, situations.

In addition to the above I of course had Sam’s TAT roll chart along with a GPS (Garmin 76CSx) with tracks and waypoints and a SPOT messenger on my handle bar. I also had an ICO odometer mounted on the cross member of the handlebar. I would not attempt a roll chart ride such as the TAT w/o an ICO odometer (or similar). The ICO has been bullet proof since I installed it for the Mex2Can in 2008. The ICO is highly recommended, particularly since my DRZ odo gave up the ghost on the second portion of the Mex2Can. I also had an extra gallon of gas (Wolfman) mounted on the left pannier frame. With this extra gallon of gas and a 4 gallon gas tank the DRZ has a range of about 250 miles. That said, I do my utmost to keep the station to station distance down to a maximum of 150 miles. The extra gas is for track backs, bail outs, emergencies, etc. I guarantee you, I have no desire to push the bike along the TAT.



Getting back to the ride out of Kanosh, we travel relatively well maintained dirt roads with some soft dirt and rocky areas but nothing noteworthy. This area South of Kanosh experienced a planned burn about three or four years ago so it is not that pretty or interesting. We are making good time and not paying enough attention to the roll chart/GPS tracks and miss a right turn at the TAT 382.83 Utah mile mark. Instead of turning right we ride up a small canyon with an ever decreasingly used road which turns into a trail. Doesn’t that figure? Eleven miles into the 1,400 mile ride we miss a turn. Coming back down the canyon I get too close to a dead branch sticking out into the trail, it pierces my right pannier and breaks off. Great!! Did that stick puncture my water or oil or ? I stop and extract the embedded five inch stick. It comes out clean and dry but it is long enough to have done some damage to the pannier’s contents. I hope for the best but hurry on catching up with Charles who is waiting at the missed turn.


With our needing to only cover some 120 miles today and traveling mostly graded gravel roads we have no concern regarding making the Border Inn. But too much of a good thing gets boring and the rear sore so we stop alongside the road overlooking dry Sevier Lake and eat a light lunch of trail mix and cardboard bars, err, Cliff bars. Cliff bars were Chuck’s staple during the 2012 TAT ride and he gladly shared them with me. This year I vowed to carry more palatable fare, thus the trail mix.


I note that there is mention of Black Rock and Garrison on Sam’s roll chart and maps but I never see anything looking like civilization. Continuing on we traverse the House Range of hills which makes the ride a bit more scenic and come across an interesting rock formation. It looks like a huge mound of solidified clay with numerous pockmarks. As Charles was the primary photographer and videographer on this ride I know he has a picture of the formation which I will post here. I wish we could have spent some time clambering over the formation.



Like last year, Charles brought his GoPro Hero 2 video camera which he mounts to the top of his helmet. This mounting makes him look a bit like a Hessian soldier, but it works for stills and videos. Like last year I opted to take my Drift HD and did so again this year but when I try to look at my video from Day 1 at the Border Inn, nada. Great. I also, on the spur of the moment, bought a Veho Muvi Pro Micro DV camcorder. Here again when I checked the video for the day, I got crappy audio and no picture. Talk about a bust. My fall back was my Canon Power Shot SD990 IS but that was much less convenient than accessing the Drift and Veho, thus making Chuck the designated videographer and primary photographer.


We continue our unremarkable and rapid ride to mile mark 482.08 where the roll chart says to take a faint road out into the desert, find a second water hole and head West to State Route 159. This when continuing on the gravel road we were on would have us on the paved 159 in short order with just a bit longer paved road ride into the Border Inn. This then was to be Sam’s MO during this portion of the TAT. Sam did his utmost to keep us on dirt roads/trails even if it meant four miles of dirt road to save having to travel one mile on a paved road. Now mind you, I am not complaining (least when writing this, when riding it and trying to make time it was different) and these ‘dirt detours’ best kept the spirit of the TAT. At times the ‘dirt detours’ were even interesting to ride but when making time was critical or it was getting late, it could be frustrating. So we took the right off the gravel road and went through a bunch of cattle milling around a water hole, headed out into the desert on a faint track, hung a left at the other water hole and headed back to SR 159 in the dirt rather than gravel.

We arrived at the Border Inn at approximately 5 PM. We first loaded up with gas (to ensure we did not forget in the excitement of the morning), got our rooms (the Border Inn only had single double bed rooms available so we got two rooms), unloaded the bikes, checked in with our wives and ate supper in the restaurant. I spent some time wrenching on my Slozuki and we chatted with our neighbors. All-in-all, the Border Inn is what it is, a no frills gas station, motel, restaurant, and casino in the middle of ‘no where’. The rooms were small but reasonably clean and air conditioned. I give it a solid B+/A- for desert accommodations. It’s not for honeymooners but for those visiting the nearby Great Basin National Park or traveling through the area it meets our needs. Note that there is no cell phone service and marginal wi-fi at the Inn, thus the B+/A- rating.




A good though unremarkable afternoon’s ride, with stops and all, we averaged about 30 mph, we were on track and ready for the Day 2 ride, no one went down, we saw only one other moving vehicle on the roads/trails we rode and had good accommodations for the night. A good ending to Day 1.
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC

mpgmr screwed with this post 05-22-2013 at 02:27 PM Reason: Add pics and emoticons
mpgmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #15
mpgmr OP
Utard
 
mpgmr's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kamas, UT
Oddometer: 28
TAT GPS Tracks

Schroeder,
Thank you for the update. Apparently this is new or at least I hadn't seen his offering GPS tracks last year (when I purchased the 2013 TAT roll charts). For the record the URL is http://www.transamtrail.com/store/#gps
Excellent. I hope Sam is able to make a few bucks and continue his support of the TAT.
Gary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schroeder View Post
Sam's website now includes GPS Tracks!
__________________
'10 KTM 530 EXC CE, '09 Kaw KLR 685
'07 Suz DRZ400, '06 Suz DRZ440S
'05 HD FXDI 1550, '05 Kaw KLR 650
'05 KTM 525 EXC
mpgmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014