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

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-19-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

The following report is an attempt to reconstruct a summer spent living on a dirtbike.

“It's seems what everybody in this car needs is some good ol' worthwhile visceral experience.’’
-Dazed and Confused

We needed a “good ol’ worthwhile visceral experience”

We needed something to build a very basic skillset: mechanics, navigation, minimalist existence.

Thanks to advrider, I had known about the TAT for a while and it started to make more and more sense to the point it felt like a requisite for life beyond school. We set out after graduating from Virginia Tech to spend the summer exploring the backroads of this country from coast to coast, mostly using the TAT to guide us across.

What’s more American than the coast to coast journey? And what better way to travel a big country than on little dirt bikes?

Obviously a cross-country trip on dirt bikes was what we had to do.

14 states
8,xxx miles total
43 days or so, not really sure when it started or ended. (we left D.C. on June 19th)
15 consecutive days without bathing (a record or all three of us)
4 Motels

4 ground squirrels
1 armadillo
1 head on collision with a deer, countless other close calls.
1 fender bender with a baby cow (she was fine)
12 tires changed
2 handlebar sets
1 petcock
2 sets of rear side plastics
1 front fender
2 sets of rear bearing
1 set of bearing spacers
1 top end rebuild
hundreds of zip ties of all sizes
too many busted bungee cords

black widow
poisonous scorpion
bald eagle
golden eagle
black bear
pronghorn antelope
yellow wolf
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 06:50 PM   #2
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond


ADVRider Username : Cmean17
Age : 22
College : BioChemistry at Virginia Tech
Previous Motorcycles : 1999 Suzuki Katana 600, 2005 Kawasaki Ninja 636
Trip Machine : 2002 Kawasaki Super Sherpa w/6,xxxx miles

ADVRider Username : Mekon
Age : 23
College : Architecture at Virginia Tech
Previous Motorcycles : None
Trip Machine : 2003 Suzuki DRZ400-S w/12,xxxx miles

ADVRider Username : Tpy
Age : 23
College : Architecture at Virginia Tech
Previous Motorcycles : None
Trip Machine : 2000 Suzuki DRZ400-E w/7,xxxx miles

tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #3
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 1
June 19th, 2013
300.0 miles
Ashburn, VA to Blacksburg, VA

Bikes ready to go, or at least as ready as they're going to get.

Pre-Departure from Ashburn.

First water crossing, strong current and deep. A crazy dude that had just crossed on a massive tractor advised us to plow straight through. We decided to carefully navigate a line close to the falls instead.


These guys weren't too happy about us crossing through their swim hole, but they ended up allowing us through.

At least we had one fan. She stood to cheer us on and congratulated us on successfully crossing the river.

Casual celebration in our soggy boots.

Eric playing in the grass.

Squirrel Gap Road, WV. Ended up hitting a deer soon after this. Nailed her in the hips, Nick missed the GoPro footage of this deer's suicide attempt. Went down on my right side and sent the deer spinning into the woods. Never saw her again. We will never know what motivated this deer to jump in front of a motorcycle. I imagine its not easy to be a deer based on how many close encounters we have with suicide attempts.Tweaked my front forks and bent my handlebars. Off to see Travis at GoRace Christiansburg for a little help.

Downtown Staunton, VA.

Landed at our downtown party house in Blacksburg, VA after 11 hours on the Road. We ended up too tired to party one last time with friends. But it's alright. We've got places to go.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 2
June 20th, 2013
212.4 miles
Blacksburg, VA to Julian Price Campgrounds (Price Lake), NC

Had to cruise by our new Alma Mater one last time.

All is good again. Forks intact and new Protaper handlebars.

Travis got us back on the road before noon. Despite the deer's best effort, the journey continues on.

Have to recommend Mt. Pleasant Road South of Christiansburg. Very scenic with tons of waterfalls in a deep gulch. Set out on the Blue Ridge Parkway Somewhere in Floyd County, VA. This marks the beginning of travel in unknown country.

Lucked out with our first campsite at Julian Price along the BRP.

Do we have any idea what we are doing? No not really. First night on our own. We spent more than hour trying to start a fire with wet wood. But after killing all our brain cells from blowing the fire with our lungs we gave up. Ended up cooking hot dogs over twig embers. We were just excited to be in the woods finally. Ended the day with a beer at the lake's edge under a nearly full moon.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 10:40 PM   #5
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 3
June 21st, 2013
277.9 miles
Julian Price Campgrounds (Price lake), NC to Tellico Plains, TN

After bailing out of the campsite without paying, Karma grabs hold of Eric by tossing his sleeping bag into the rear tire. He had only used it once before it was destroyed. Turned out to be an expensive campsite. Many cold nights for Eric ahead.

Photoshoot on the Parkway.

Great views and the road was almost empty, strange right? Nah, it was awesome.

Highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 6,053 ft and cold. I imagine it would have been a great view.

Stopped in Asheville, NC for lunch at Burgerworks. What a great city. There's just something in the air in Asheville that gives it the presence and energy of a much larger city. We are bummed to have to leave Asheville after lunch but we're reassured by the fact we have the rest of the country to discover.

Cut through a Cherokee Indian Reservation to Tail of the Dragon. Had to snap a pic of the tree of shame for good measure.

Tail of the Dragon was like Space Mountain. Sitting in the gas station watching bike after bike shoot off into the first turn then they were gone. The anticipation was killing me.

312 turns in 11 miles? Everyone has a different count. Eric was getting so low on some of the turns he burnt through his exhaust side plastics.

My rear brakes went out a few miles in, just before we ran into two cops at the finish line. Lucky or unlucky? Who knows.

Cruised beautiful Eastern Tennessee until we landed at Hunt’s Motorcycle Lodge. Free coffee, wifi and ICE. Already a rarity on our trip.

This portion of Tennessee is blowing our minds as novice riders. We've never seen so many bikes and so many excellent roads. The camaraderie among riders is inspiring. This is definitely a solid way to travel the country.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-19-2013, 10:41 PM   #6
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 4
June 22nd, 2013
243.7 miles
Tellico Plains, TN to Nashville, TN

Eric left early to find a hardware store to jimmy-rig a contraption to keep his plastics and bags from catching fire.

Right as he's getting back this man (Dean) runs up to us asking about engine oil. Turns out him and his friend (Pete) were starting the TAT that day too, but dropped his bike on one of the many water crossings in the first few miles. They ended up changing the oil a couple of times to remove the water. After flushing my rear brake fluid (from losing them on tail of the dragon), we were off.

Confronting the steep learning curve of packing.

All set and ready to go, First day on the infamous TAT.

The first trail on the TAT was a blast. Full of water crossings.

After carefully mounting the gopro to my radiator cover I ended up sliding out in some deep gravel - luckily the pro was on my left, and I fell right.

We managed to catch up with Dean and Pete and tried to help out with their GPS issue. Turned out I had the tracks on both my Garmin and the microSD card.

Ended up tossing them the Micro, and in the process losing my City Navigator (all the streets, addresses, gas stations, and campgrounds).

We enjoyed our first encounter with fellow TAT Adventures. Some of our insecurities were put to rest after talking to Dean and Pete for a bit. We figured no one really knows what they're doing. That's the point of an adventure. You figure it out for yourself.

We realized how goofy our set up was compared to Dean and Pete. Like cargo nets and dry bags?! Why didn't we think of that. We just have bungees running chaotically in every direction. Nicks Super Sherpa looked like a mini bike next to Dean's GS.

We joined forces and rode for an hour or two cruising through some easy Tennessee miles.

It wasn't until that night that we realized our City Navigator was missing. Luckily for us, Dean had told us about his Spot Locator. Over the next few days we used this to track them down.Now the chase is on to get our maps back! It felt like a badass mission. Traveling through the backcountry as fast as we could to recover what was ours.

Most of the Tennessee TAT is paved now, still some amazing roads like Daus Mountain Road to keep you entertained.

Headed to my Uncle’s in Nashville, the highway sucks. Landed to steaks on the grill - awesome stay. Hooked it up with breakfast and food for the road. The trip has only just begun but it already feels like we have so many stories to tell my uncle.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 12:01 AM   #7
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 5
June 23rd, 2013
161.7 miles
Nashville, TN to Pickwick State Park, TN

So Many Churches in Tennessee. For some reason little kids look at me like an astronaut when I get gas.

Great short Day. Ended up finding a fellow ADVRider just after a water crossing on Roanoke Road - Jake. Did the TET from New Jersey and now headed for Port Orford. Alaska plates NJ registered classic DR350. We really could not figure out what was going on with Jake but he definitely seemed to be enjoying his solo trip. The three of us agreed we were not capable of traveling solo due to lack of experience and almost non-existent attention spans.

We rode for a short while until we ran into the Pyburn Community (My family name) and had to stop to take a picture.

Landed over the dam in Pickwick - got to go for a dip before sausages onions peppers and a couple of brews.

Great meal and great people running the campsite. Manager came over to chat about our trip, ranger actually knew how to spell my last name (because of the locals). The little old man taking cash rolled over with a cigar in his mouth in a golf cart had no idea what was happening because he completely botched my change for the campsite. I’m pretty sure he thought the nickels were dimes.

Raccoons visited Eric's bike for a late night tortilla, pulled his spare inner tube out and left footprints all over his seat.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 12:08 AM   #8
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 6
June 24th, 2013
160.1 miles
Pickwick State Park, TN to Trace State Park, MS

Eric Managed to use some beer cans from the night before to keep his bags from setting fire. Headed to get gas early but Eric's petcock was leaking - used a little super glue and it held. Nick and Eric both tightened their chains.

We crossed over into Mississippi only to find deep gravel and a crazy terrain. Straight from deep woods into a moonscape of logging. Great pine smell but intense heat. My right wrist (the only non covered part of my body) was scorched.

About fifty miles in we hit a pretty sandy situation. Decided to break for lunch at this old bridge.

Eric's bike refuses to start due to mysterious flooding. After a few tries pushing his bike up and down this hill, we decide to remove the spark plug. Only to realize we don't have a spark plug removal tool. We clamp his fuel line, try a few more times and it kicks. Ride for another 60 miles and land in New Albany, MS. Mississippi is all random three way intersections with no stop signs. Grab some gas then off to the state park.

Snagged an awesome campsite right on the water.

Huge 50 lb carp washed up on shore so we poked at it like little kids. We dared each other to stand next to the dead fish to provide a scale reference in pictures but no one was into it.

The moon rose over the horizon bigger than we've ever seen. It had a warm orange tint as it climbed over the lake's still water. How lucky to randomly stumble upon this campsite. Mississippi is alright. The facilities were top notch as well. Better showers than most hotels. Before we hit the sack, a herron swooped in practically landing on top of us. I think we’re starting to fit in.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 12:18 AM   #9
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - TET, BRP, TAT, PCH & Beyond

Day 7
June 25th, 2013
187.7 miles
Trace State Park, MS to Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel, MS

Eric attempting surgery on his fuel line. Turns out the flooding and leaking from the day before was a failure of the petcock's vacuum shut off. Since the petcock doesn't have a manual shut off function, it is completely useless. Eric fashions his own cut off with pliers and rubber bands. It's strange how many things on this trip can be fixed with duct tape, zip ties and rubber bands.

Nick had a little spill in the deep gravel, had to readjust. This was the first time Nick had crashed and it demonstrated to Eric and myself the Nick was indeed mortal.

Even just a week in I’m already a professional rock thrower.

MIssissippi surprised us with some pretty deep mud and ruts. Not an issue though, flew threw this section. Maybe the most fun I’ve had all day.

Lots of wooden bridges over pits of mud.

After that deep sand gravel roads seemed easy.

Had our first taste of blowing through cornfields after Levee Road.

Interesting facade treatments here in Mississippi.

Seriously a kid no older than 12 years old was operating this machine. Made me wonder what I used to do at the age of twelve. Definitely not anything that cool.

Sandy Road was fun, and sandy. Right up until an armadillo committed suicide with Eric’s rear tire. He was so excited to finally see a live armadillo after miles and miles of Mississippi armadillo road kill. But the little guy was determined to end his time on earth. I guess he figured that if all his friends were dead he might as well join them. It was gruesome to watch the poor guy go. He was stuck on his back with all four legs going full speed. After a minute the back legs slowed and eventually stopped with the front legs still kicking frantically. A little while later the front legs came to a stop and then nothing. Our first close encounter with an armadillo was witnessing its death. It was heavy.

The rear right bearing failed on Eric's bike and we had to limp it to the Isle of Capri Casino on the border of Mississippi and Arkansas.

Kids always asking for the wheelies.

Limping, lounging, texting, ipod shuffling, standing, anything to pass the time when you're cruising at 25 mph.
tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 12:30 AM   #10
tpy OP
Wild Wanderer
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Oddometer: 13
WestBound & Down - PACKING LIST


Wearing on Person (Minimum)
1 Compression Short
1 Pair Socks
1 Riding Pants
1 Pair Boots
1 T-Shirt
1 Motorcycle Jacket
1 Helmet
1 Goggles
1 Gloves

SaddleBag (Left) in Dry Bags & Ziplocs
1 Vans Shoe
2 Pair Socks
1 Upper LongJohn
1 Lower LongJohn
3 Pair Boxers
1 Jersey
1 Shorts
Extra Space - Miscellaneous - Food & Parts

SaddleBag (Right) By Ziploc
1 Vans Shoe
1 Denim Jacket
1 Camp Towel
1 Mesh Shorts
1 Fleece
1 Button-Up
Extra Space - See Utility & Food

Rear Rack
1 Sleeping Bag
1 Raingear
2 Innertubes
1 1.5 Gallon Gas Tank

CamelBak (Pouch)
Extra Space - See Utility & Food

CamelBak (Accessory Pouch)
1 Chapstick
1 Purell Hand Sanitizer
1 Eye Drops
4 Vitamin C Packets
1 Flash light
1 Superglue
1 Earplugs
4 AA Batteries
2 Lighters

CamelBak (Electronic / Toiletry) By Ziploc
1 Toothbrush
2 Toothpaste
1 Deodorant
1 Moisturizer
1 Body Wash
1 Shampoo
1 Electric Trimmer
1 WetNaps
1 Spork
1 iPod
1 iPhone
1 Charger
1 Headphones
1 Wallet
1 Nail Clipper
1 Retainer

CamelBak (Main Pocket) By Ziploc
1 iPad Mini
1 Charger
1 Sketchbook
3 Mechanical Pencils
1 Registration
1 Title
1 USB (4GB)
1 SD Card (4GB)
Extra Space - See Utility & Food

Utility (split between the three of us) :
1 Bungee Assortment (20 pc)
2 Qt SAE 10W-40 Engine Oil
1 Dot 4 Brake Fluid
1 Air Filter Cleaner
1 Air Filter Oil
2 Chain Lube
3 100-110-18 Rear Innertubes
3 90-90-21 Front Innertubes
1 Funnel
2 Brake Levers
2 Clutch Levers
1 Front Brake Lever
1 Phillips Screwdriver
1 Miniature Phillips Screwdriver
1 Flathead Screwdriver
1 Needlenose Pliers
1 Monkey Wrench (0-20mm)
1 Locking Pliers
1 Shear Pliers
1 Socket Wrench Set (8,10,12,14,17, 24, xxmm)
1 Handheld Socket (6,8,10,12,14mm)
1 Durabilt Hex Set (3,4,5,6,8mm)
1 ChainBreaker Tool w/ extra links, Masterlinks
1 Coleman Stove & Pot Set
2 Coleman Butane Cannister
1 Multitool
3 Tire Irons
1 Bike Pump
1 Tweaser
1 Valve Stem Core Remover
1 File
1 First Aid Kit
1 Sewing Kit
2 Electric Tape
1 Scissors
1 Set of Zip Ties
1 Tire Pressure Gauge
1 Pocket Saw
1 Compass
2 Electrical Tape
1 ¼” Diameter Plastic Hose
1 Knife
1 Bug Spray
1 MultiTool
1 Pack Sandpapers
1 Camp Rope
3 Lighters
1 Bottle Opener
1 Hero 2 GoPro w/Extra Battery & Assorted Mounts

tpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2013, 08:54 AM   #11
Shooby's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: San Diego
Oddometer: 1,012
Great start guys!
Where would the world be if not for zip-ties, rubberbands, JB weld & bailing wire? oh, and duct tape, o'course.
Shooby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2013, 07:50 PM   #12
Studly Adventurer
airdale7's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Oddometer: 567
It was exciting to meet you men and follow your adventure across America. Good Luck.

Every day is a new adventure!
airdale7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2013, 08:05 PM   #13
loves dirty things!
MountainsandRivers's Avatar
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: To Hell U Ride
Oddometer: 2,789
Been looking forward to this ride report. Great start!
2009 Beta 525RR
supporter of COHVCO, RMAR, PAPA, TPA and the GOATS!
MountainsandRivers is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2013, 02:36 PM   #14
You can do it!
LittleWan's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: behind BigWan, trying to keep my feet tucked in :)
Oddometer: 1,792
15 consecutive days without bathing!

I just found this today - it's really great so far!
You even made TN and MS interesting.
Come back and give us more. You've only done 7 out of 43 days...

I wanna see how those bungee cords hold up on the TAT west.

Originally Posted by tpy
1 Sketchbook
3 Mechanical Pencils
Are we going to see some of those sketches?
OSO LOCO!! osoooo!

Oso bored? you can find the rest of our ride reports HERE
make stupid your favorite!
LittleWan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2013, 03:40 PM   #15
cmean17's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Virginia Tech
Oddometer: 9
Originally Posted by airdale7 View Post
It was exciting to meet you men and follow your adventure across America. Good Luck.

Hey Dale!

We can't thank you enough for your help along the way. Hope you enjoy the rest of the report!
cmean17 is offline   Reply With Quote


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 11:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015