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Old 08-16-2013, 05:20 PM   #31
mootsuno OP
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Day 11

Russellville, AR to Alma, AR

This morning we headed north out of Russellville and back into the Ozark mountains. It was going to be another hot day so the higher elevation and
shade of the trees would be welcome. Again nice dirt and gravel roads and great views.

The night before we were reviewing the maps and the TAT creator Sam Correro
had the town of Oark highlighted as a place to stop for great food. Well we pulled in Oark and it's a one store town.
Of course the store is also the restaurant and gas station so we had to stop and check it out.



We weren't very hungry but we both wanted some gatorade and snacks. So we
go in and the place is packed.

Sorry for the blurry pic.


We grab some drinks and sit down a little break. Even though we didn't feel like eating there was fresh pie in the display counter.
What the heck, I had a piece of chocolate cream and Pete lemon meringue. And it was good. Also
of note their small burger weighs half a pound. If you go there, go hungry.

One thing I love about these small town stores they have all your necessities
next to the cash register, chips, candy and ammo. People in California would
freak over that, but there it's not given a second thought.

Out of Oark we ride into some dense forest and end up behind a convoy of
ATVs. They see us behind pullover and wave us right through. A little further
up the road we stop at an intersection for a navigation check and the ATVs
pull up and as always start asking where were going.

We explain and they tell us they're the JWR ATV group, on vacation, just exploring the area. Come to find out they go all over the country with their rigs.

Group shots




They go on to tell us we're nuts to have the gear on we're wearing since it's so hot and they offer cold drinks from their coolers. I guess that's one of the advantages of riding an ATV. "No thanks, we're going to get going," and off we went.

Further down the trail we came across this rock formation.



I think it's supposed to be one of those "Old Man of the Mountain" things which you can sort of see a face towards the top of the pic.

A liitle later on we came to one of the more infamous parts of the trail in AR,
Warloop road. It was the most rocky and technical section we have until
Colorado. Downhill, rocky with small drops. It was fun!



As with all shots like this the picture doesn't convey how steep or loose it is.
Granted on regular dirt bikes it'd be easy but on loaded ADV bikes it's a bit
more of a challenge.

Warloop road was towards the end of the day so we headed for Alma for a motel and dinner.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:34 PM   #32
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Great ride.
Thanks for the report.
I am subscribed.
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They just stand back and let it all be." Springsteen
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:23 PM   #33
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Days 12 and 13

Day 12
Alma, AR to Bartlesville, OK

Shortly after leaving Alma we crossed the border into OK. Another state down.
One thing nice about about heading west was that we were leaving the high humidity behind. Temps were still in 90's but that isn't so bad when you're riding
along.

Approximate border crossing.



OK started out nice with lots of rolling hills and trees and a few short steeper climbs.

We followed the Illinois river for awhile which was filled with rafters.



And some interesting critters along side the road.



This guys shell was about 15" long and he wasn't happy to have anybody near by.

We crossed the river and headed towards Salina. The hills were started to flatten out and we started seeing lots of cattle. I did it know it then but cows
would end up being the most scary animals of the trip. More than bears, coyotes, cougars or rattle snakes.

These are the only longhorns we saw though.



we'll have some cow encounters later.

I haven't mentioned it earlier but a couple days before I had developed a leaky fork seal. I checked
a few shops for seals, and nobody had any in stock. We stopped in Salina for fuel and a snack and
did a search for the nearest MC shop. Well it happened to be in Pryor just a few miles away and it's called Cycles Unlimited. I set the GPS and we ride out.
The GPS is directing out into the country with no towns within sight. We follow it and pull into a dirt parking lot with an older, small warehouse looking
building. It sort of looks abandoned but there's a sign that says "Open."

We go in and this place is crammed with tons of parts, just piled and stacked everywhere. "Hello, Hello any body here?" An older woman comes from the back and asked what we need. I tell her some fork oil, rear brake pads and some fork seals. (Even though I'm riding a Beemer it has a KYB front end from a Yamaha, pretty common seals) . She shows me the fork oil and says she get Eldon, her husband, to look up the other parts.

Eldon turns out to be quite a character.



He tells me he has the pads and seals and puts them in a bag for me. Then
he starts telling us all kinds of stories. "So and so doing the TAT too, they were here a few days ago. Yeah I only sell parts and do machine work, nothing mechanical, well maybe a little bit mechanical. I also collect Honda CBX engines, might have to build a dirt chassis with one of those"

After about 20 more n minutes of stories we politely tell him we're following behind schedule and need to get going. He keeps talking as we exit, he still
may be talking.

But if you need parts while traveling near Cycles Unlimited, Eldon probably has it.

Leaving Eldon we started into the flatlands of OK and it'd be really flat for the next 500 miles.
We finish the day in Bartlesville and while lubing my chain at the end of the day i discover this.



Another nail and it's a long one.



Luckily for me these Heidenau have some thick lugs and this one didn't get to the tube.

Day 13
Bartlesville to Alva

The day started riding along river towards Lake Hulah.



Looking from the bridge this one was getting a little dry.



Picked up some new friends,



and did some more creek crossings.



One creek crossing was a little slippery. We we're expecting Tennesee to be the worst but this one got the best of me.



Those two streaks coming out the creek is the distance I slid out of the creek. It was only about a 1/4" of water and the same in slime.



I made it about 80% across and the front wheel came out from under me and over I went.
I jumped up and waved and yelled for Pete to stop.



He looks up and asks why I had parked my bike laying on it's side. "I didn't, I slid across, we're walking your bike." Which we did and our feet were both slipping as we crossed.

I got a little dirty,



and the only thing that happened to the bike is the handguard got twisted upward. Got the tools out, a quick adjustment and we were ready to go.

We ended up in Alva for the night. Note: Don't go to Alva if want want a deal on a motel. The cheapest we found was $75. All the oil workers in the area stay there so it's hard to find a vacancy, hence the high prices. Oh the restaurants suck too.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:34 PM   #34
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Days 14 & 15

Day 14
Alva, OK to Elkhart, KS

Today would be the flattest day of the entire trip. Lots of straight roads that
looked like that they go on forever.

Click on pic for video


Even though there wasn't much to see the road conditions kept us on our toes.
The majority of the roads in this area are laid out on a grid pattern, east - west.
north - south. Almost every time you hit an intersection the conditions would change. Dirt, gravel, sand, silt, even a little mud thrown in here and there.

Some times you'd be cruising along at 55 mph on packed dirt then you cross a
road and find yourself in deep gravel and have to slow down. Or, some irrigation
water would soak a spot and all of a sudden what looked like solid road was mud. Lots of pucker moments that day.

We came across small towns advertising for TAT business.





More long straight roads,



and some deep sand.

video


An old abandon cabin might have been the highlight of the day.



Late in the afternoon Pete was running low on gas and the closet town with fuel (according to the GPS) was Hugoton, KS. So we diverted off the trail, headed north and fueled up. After that we made a beeline on the highway to Elkhart, KS and grabbed a room for the night. Elkhart is right on the border
with OK and only a few miles from the TAT so we be able to easily pick it up in the morning.

Day 15
Elkhart, KS to Trinidad, CO

Today would be a great day covering three states. Finishing the plains of OK,
into the high desert of New Mexico and into the beginning of the mountains
of Colorado.

We got back on the trail and were greeted with some nice, fast, dirt roads.

video


Riding a bit further we started seeing herds of antelope, we even had a few
run right in front of us on the road. They were just a bit to fast to get camera out for a picture, sorry. However, as we pulled in what would be the last town
we ride through in OK, Boise City, we came across the critter.



Easy shot, he wasn't moving too fast. After that we pulled into gas/convenience store for fuel and snacks. As we were getting off the bikes
a suburban pulls up with sheriff emblems on the side. An older gentleman gets
out side arm in view and walks towards us. "How you boys doing?" he says.
I'm thinking here we ago again, what's we do this time? But, he was just being friendly (probably checking us out) and asked the recurring questions. Here you going? How long you been riding and so on. He ended up wishing us good luck and to have a great ride.

Back on the trail as we were getting close to the NM border the weather
started to turn a bit ominous. A nasty looking storm front was right in our path.



Then we heard the thunder and saw the lightning. I don't think it's a great idea
to be out on the plains during a lightning storm but we didn't have much of a choice. Luckily it started to move south of our path and we only ended up
with a little rain.

video


Arriving at the border we geared up for the rain.





The distance through NM is only about 60 miles and is the second shortest
on the TAT. (California is even less) But the scenery in those miles is far better than the almost
700 miles of OK.



The weather warmed up and we worked our way through the desert viewing antelope and prairie dogs. Out of the prairie and into some valleys where we found some short, rocky climbs.





This is our first view of Colorado taken from the NM border.



From the border we dropped into CO down a series a switchbacks and across the plains towards Branson, the first town we come to in CO.
Well sort of a town, no stores or fuel, maybe 20 buildings total.
However they do have a tourist attraction, the jail.



According to local history only one person ever had been jailed overnight and the cell wasn't even locked.
We needed to stop here anyway for a roll chart change.

It wasn't to much further to Trinidad and the terrain was starting to change.
There were real mountains up ahead.



Earlier in the thread I mentioned about changing out my top heavy luggage. Well a few days before I had called the folks at MX1West and ordered set of Wolfman Rocky Mountain soft bags and racks. They were dropped shipped to the Quality Inn
in Trinidad where we had reservations and were waiting for me when we arrived. After a couple of weeks of riding we decided to take a day off for bike
maintenance and to relax a little so that's what we did.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:42 PM   #35
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Good stuff, guys. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old 08-23-2013, 06:57 AM   #36
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:28 PM   #37
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Good stuff Dean! Keep it coming!
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:15 AM   #38
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Nice to see your ride report. I'm in.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #39
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And now starts the good part, keep it coming. :
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:28 PM   #40
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Very good so far! Waiting for more!!!
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My TAT trip in 2014: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998193
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:21 PM   #41
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Days 16 and 17

Day 16
Trinidad,CO

Today was maintenance day for the Dakar and the DR.
My Dakar received new oil, rear brake pads and a cleaning of the air filter. I also
fitted the new Wolfman racks and their Rocky Mountain saddle bags. More storage
than the Giant loop, which I really didn't need, but more importantly they lowered
the center of gravity of the bike substantially. I'm really glad I did this for it
helped greatly on the second half of the trip. Not having anymore room for the
Giant Loop I decided to ship it home. Without thinking I sent it out with another
small bag that was attached to it. Just so happens my SPOT was in the small bag.
I wasn't too worried. There was two of us and we had cell phones. I shipped the unit
to my neighbor back home and figured I just have him ship it
back, although that'd take about a week. I'd be changing my mind about that.

Later that day I was coming out of the motel to finish up the bike and I see
Pete talking to these two other guys looking like they just got off the trail,
which they had. There names are Nate and Art and they tell us "We've been following
your tracks for days now and didn't know if we'd catch up. Anyway they decide to
staying at the same motel. We exchange contact information and end up having
dinner with them at a cheesy Mexican place. These two will figure prominently
later in the trip. You can also check out their ride report.
Nate & Art

Day 17
Trinidad to Salida

Reviewing the maps and roll charts the night before it was suggested that we get an early start it was supposed to be a long day. We figured it was going to some tough
riding but the roads we're surprisingly easy, except for one three mile trail detour. We started north out of Trinidad and took a sharp right west after 15 miles
and headed into the foothills. Saw the normal, old broken down cabins



and easy winding dirt roads.



Notice the new luggage?

We stopped for gas and snacks in the nice little tourist town of La Veta.
North out of La Veta we encountered more range cattle that hate to get
out of the road.



These guys just don't like getting out of the road.

A little later, following the roll chart we came to our detour. actually it wasn't a detour it just seemed as it was after all the easy roads.

This is Pete at the beginning.



This turned into a narrow double track with lots of rocks, trees and brush.
And of course just before it gets back on the main road we have to go through a herd of cows!

Down the road we see some more antelope as we make our way towards Salida.



It was getting late in the day as we pulled into Cotopaxi. The maps strongly
suggested to do the portion of the TAT between Cotopaxi and Salida during the daylight, the views are supposed to be spectacular.

We decide to take the highway directly into Salida then back track to Cotaopaxi in the morning and get back on the trail.

On trip like this you really don't think about what the date is. Today happened to be
the fourth of July and we didn't know Salida was a tourist destination. It was a little tough finding a room. After a bunch of no vacancies we were referred to the
Circle R motel. It looked a little divey but it had rooms. Actually the rooms were reasonably priced and clean. Also, they love TAT riders and witnessed
by their sign.



I know it says AT Riders but the owner said one "T" fell off and her husband
hadn't put up another yet.

The next day we started getting up in elevation and the 10,000' passes.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:44 PM   #42
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Great reading!

You say you ditched your Giant Loop. Did you have the big one (Great Basin) or the Coyote? I ask because I've never felt like my Coyote was that top heavy, and I don't want to be wishing for something different on the TAT!
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:48 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR1 View Post
Great reading!

You say you ditched your Giant Loop. Did you have the big one (Great Basin) or the Coyote? I ask because I've never felt like my Coyote was that top heavy, and I don't want to be wishing for something different on the TAT!
SR,

It was a great basin and it really wasn't the bags fault. The Dakar I was riding
is fairly wide in the back and the wings of the bag couldn't drop down the sides
of the bike very well. I also had it pushed pretty far back so I had enough
room on the seat to stay comfortable.

I also had a duffel strapped behind the giant loop with my camping gear in it that exasperated the problem.
You could really tell the difference picking up the bike with the side bags, much easier. Luckily I only had to pick up the bike
four times. Two falls and two tip overs at stops.

I am keeping the giant loop though, I think it'll work well on some of my smaller bikes. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:26 PM   #44
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Days 18 and 19

Day 18
Salida to Lake City

We started early again out of Salida. Got on Hwy 50 back to Cotopaxi where
we picked up the TAT. Headed north up easy dirt roads and started gaining altitude. The weather was great as rode through the beautiful aspen groves.



Today was the first day we'd go over 10,000. Pete was a little worried about his carbed bike but didn't have any trouble at all. Lucky me mine's fuel injected and
really didn't feel much difference in power.

As we came over the last summit we were treated to the full view of the Rocky Mountains with Salida down in the valley. As we were admiring the
view a couple of mtn bikers came riding by. Since both Pete and I are avid
mtn bikers we had to talk with them. They were a couple, Ryan and Jen, and were just out climbing fire roads for the day. Probably had climbed about 3000' by the time they reached us.

We didn't of Jen but did of Ryan.



Just to freak the non mtn bikers out a little, that bike Ryan is riding, a Moots
Mooto-X YBB costs a little more than a BMW G650gs. And it doesn't have an engine!

Anyway, after talking with them we headed back down into Salida, it is on the route by the way.
Before we left town we wanted to hit Hayduke's T-shirt shop. (Hayduke's a prolific ADV poster). We walked in saw this guy with a cast
on his arm, "Hi, are you Hayduke?" "Yeah." "Have any ADV stuff?" "Yep, it's
in the back."



We both bought hats, he wished us well and we were off.
Although we did see some more interesting critters as we left Salida.



We headed south then west and started up Marshall Pass with a light rain coming down.
Marshall Pass is one of the easier passes. In fact I passed a Gold Wing, two up with street tires. He was going slow but didn't have any trouble at all.
Got to the top, spoke with some more mtn bikers vacationing from Philadelphia
and got a picture of Pete at the sign.



The rain lifted and we headed down to Sargents where we gassed up and ate some snacks. Rode a little pavement out of Sargents the headed SSW through a valley with rolling hills and a strong headwind. We passed a few more mtn bikers on this easy dirt road and wondered why they were riding here. Strong headwinds and flat, not very appealing. A bit further along we noticed more mtn bike tracks mildly zig zagging down the road.



We eventually caught up with the bike and asked the rider what he was doing.
He told he was racing the "Ride the Divide" race. People who do this race are sort of crazy. It goes from Banff Canada to the Mexican border criss crossing the continental divide numerous times. Fully self supported with no check points! And we thought the TAT was sort of tough.

After that we headed into the Gunnison national forest. Again easy riding with great scenery where we found the old stage route.



Parked at the stage route.



The photo above is the last one with Pete in one piece.

I got a little ahead of Pete and decided to wait at an intersection for him to catch up. After about 10 minutes no Pete. I'm thinking "Oh crap, another flat."
and start to back track. As I was riding back a white suburban flags me down
and asks if I have a friend named Pete. "Yeah". "Well he's on the side of the road and the bike is laying on the side of the road, but he says he's OK"

I ride a couple miles back and find Pete sitting there with his leg propped up on his helmet. I ask, " You OK?" "I can't stand up give me hand."
We get him up but he can't put any weight on his left leg and I prop him up against my bike. He says his knee is going sideways not just back and forth.
This isn't good.

As I'm picking his bike up a couple in a jeep stops to help. We sit Pete down
in the jeep and examine his knee. Completely swollen. The jeep folks have an ace bandage and we wrap it up. Pete can now hobble around but we know he has to get it checked out.

It's about 20 miles more to Lake City and He's going to have to ride or call a tow truck. He decides to ride. I do some quick fixes to his bike and help him get on it. Luckily it's only about 8 miles of easy dirt road and then pavement.

We take it real slow into Lake City and get directions to the medical clinic.
There's no hospital, Lake City's too small. We show up and it's closed until the next morning. A nurse who works there asks if it's an emergency and we tell
it'll be OK until morning. She says if it gets worse to call the number on the door and the doctor come see Pete. How cool is that?

Next we have to find a room and it's still fourth of July weekend in a vacation town. After some calling around we find a cabin at the Texan Resort and get
settled in. Pete downs some ibuprofen and we actually go out for dinner at some southern cooking place. Everything was already closed for the evening.
We get back and then take a closer look at his knee.



So the plan is to go to the medical clinic in the morning for an x-ray.

Day 19
Salida

As suggested by the nurse Pete heads for the medical clinic early. I stay at the cabin to do some work to the bikes. I mentioned earlier about my leaking fork seal and I needed to add some fluid. I ended up putting too much in but
I wouldn't discover that until tomorrow.

It's now early afternoon and Pete returns from the clinic. Bad news. They took x-rays and did an ultrasound. The doctor said it was a mess in there
ha should get a MRI in Gunnison, about 55 miles away. We discuss the situation and decide Pete's has to fly home and ship the bike back. The rest of the day is spent arranging a flight and a place to leave the bike until the shipper can pick it up.

I contemplate just slabbing it home and coming back next year with Pete to finish the ride. But who knows what next year will bring and I decide to continue alone.

Hopefully Pete will chime in here and put in his version, just for the different viewpoint.
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Old 08-27-2013, 08:53 PM   #45
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Holy smokes! Never did see the picture of Pete's knee. That looks like a completely different "heavier set" persons leg. Hope you're healing well Pete! Keep it coming Dean!
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