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 09-27-2014, 09:57 AM   #1
beauregard OP
n00b
 
beauregard's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Southern Illinois USA
Oddometer: 5
Random thoughts on the TAT

Hi all: My buddy and I just completed the TAT and want to add my two cents worth of advice for those thinking of doing the trail. First, bikes. I elected to do the western half of the trail on a heavily modified DR650. The bike was perfect. I did all of the mods needed for the trail. Bigger gas tank, suspension, carb, etc. Nothing was left to chance. The bike was awesome and fully loaded with tools and camping gear handled very well. The suspension paid off huge in the terms of get offs and being beat up by the trail. My buddy rode a bone stock KLR 650 and desperately needed the suspension upgrades available. The result he had numerous getoffs while I had one. Had I been boinging around like him I would have beat his count. If I were to do the trail again I would choose a smaller bike, simply because at my age it is easier to pick up and muscle around. I am 71 with bad knees and a bad back so weight was an issue for me. If I were younger and stronger the DR was a good choice.
In terms of sheer enjoyment the bike makes a huge difference. Think about that before you go. The suspension on my bike allowed me to float over stuff the stock KLR could not. On the long days in Nevada I was not getting beat up all day long. I was not having to fight my bike and could enjoy the awesome ride. I could hear how my buddy was doing over my Scala Rider intercom. Once in a while he changed swear words. His experience will affect yours as well. I would do this ride again tomorrow. He would not.
This brings up another point. Committment. I was totally committed to this ride. It was my idea. My partner, did not share the same level of excitement and committment. It was not a holy grail to him it was to me. As a result he read no ride reports, barely prepped his bike and did no riding before we left. His attitude is I see it when I see it. He has been this way all his life, a type Z personality. This works great in a wilderness setting where we have spent a lot of time together, not so good on a trail that demands your entire focus and energy. The result of our different committment levels was his high level of fatigue that set in, his frustration level from getoffs and fighting the bike, and his getting tired of being beat up. He is twenty years younger than me, so having an old coot riding along happy as a clam had to be irritating though he would never say it. I did not want to miss an inch of trail, he started looking for go arounds, which would make my hair stand on end. I came to ride the trail, all of it.
So be sure to consider the committment of those you ride with, as well as your own. We had no issues on the eastern half of the trail, but that is easy riding, it gets tougher once you get to Utah.
Things that were useful: Intercoms. These were so valuable to us. The lead guy could say take the left line or watch out for whatever, we could discuss roll charts, gps track etc. More than that was the encouragement I could give or just sharing some incredible view. We had one unit go bad and felt it was so valuable we spent a day in McDerrmitt while another was overnighted to us. I would definitely consider intercoms. Garmin GPS. Worked great, tracks saved us over and over in Oregon. One thought, becareful what color you select for the track, make it something you can see in bright sunlight. I cut pages out of Gazetters for each state that we rode through. Sometimes Sam's flat maps don't give enough detail. It was quicker sometimes to use them instead of the gps. Somewhere in Nevada I shipped home completed roll charts, maps, etc. Got rid of what we did not need. Big tire irons. I added a welding rod container to my bike. Lighter than pvc, fit perfectly and contained one big tire iron, 2 medium irons, a ten inch crescent wrench, 1/2 incher breaker bar, and a Baha no pinch tire tool. The big irons came in handy and saved a lot of time. The baha tool got sent home. We were well organized and all of our gear and tools worked well except for:
Stuff that did not work: Mini air compressor. Just find a good one and test the hell out of it. Mini hand pump. Same deal. Baha tire tool. You will need the entire kit with two shafts and the right place to use it. We spooned on Dunlop 606 tires in Nevada. I had been on them from the beginning. No complaints. However, the new rear was defective. It would not seat proprerly on the rim.We did not discover this until we completed the section of trail to Preston NV. The bike was twitchy all day, and I thought it was just getting used to a new set of rubber. We rode up to Ely where we saw the problem for what it was. We reset it over and over to no avail. That sucker was going to come off for sure. We were lucky to have made it to Ely.There are no 17" tires in Ely I can assure you. We had to give up the section between Ely and Eureka because we were losing so much time. Had one sent ahead to Eureka and we limped up there crawling along the highway and then waited for the UPS truck. Stuff happens. Got the new tire and we were back on the trail.
We had built a few extra days into our schedule, really all we could afford, and we used them up for the unforseen stuff that happens. I would suggest that anyone doing this ride do that as well. You don't want time pressure on the trail Its an enjoyment stealer.
So there you have it, an old man's observations. Travel light and you travel easy. Pay attention to the little stuff, it all counts. Above all have fun, otherwise what is the point. Of course you all know bikes make you happy. Oldguy
beauregard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2014, 12:39 PM   #2
i4bikes
Adventurer
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Oddometer: 40
Thanks for the RR. Looks like some good advice. Did you camp any and did you do any cooking? What year is your buddies KLR?
i4bikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2014, 07:38 AM   #3
beauregard OP
n00b
 
beauregard's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Southern Illinois USA
Oddometer: 5
Random thoughts on the TAT

We carried camping gear.
I had a 2 pound tent, goose down bag and thermorest pad. My clothes bag and
down jacket doubled as a pillow. We had freeze dried food and a one burner stove, coffee and that was it. My load was under ten pounds. My clothes bag was minimalist as well. One pair of light weight pants, camp shoes, three tee shirts, one set if thermals, three pair of socks and three underwear exofficio for easy washing. A wee camp lite, Buck knife and lexan cups and sporks. The rest of my load was tools and spare parts. I carried a clutch cable, extra levers, front sprocket,air filters, some oil, etc. all this stuff went into the side bags. Everything was inventoried and checked off. I carried lists of what was where. A time saver. Somehow we lost the #19 socket. I bought another set of deepwells to get the 19. They are in my dirt bike box now.
I had calculated my load and went with the spring to match. Cogent was dialed in to what I wanted. Our camping gear while sparse was good stuff. Tested over many wilderness trips so we knew we would be comfortable.
My buddy's bike was a 2009 KLR, same as mine. My KLR would have handled well what we rode. It is modded and set up with Ricor suspension. It has everything on it to do the trail. The weight was why I did not take it on the western half of the trail. I tore up my knee on a getoff in Mississippi( note don't use hard boxes they can do nasty things to you). Came back, had another surgery. Rehab was slow. The weakness shifted everything to the left knee which needs replacing. Things were not good and I looked for a lighter bike. If not for the knees my KLR would have been fine. I am
Glad I built the DR. It was just easy to ride and over a couple of thousand miles saved me energy every day.
beauregard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2014, 09:06 AM   #4
Dark Helmet
Studly Adventurer
 
Dark Helmet's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: You'll know when I know...
Oddometer: 655
Congrats Beau! Glad you didn't let age and a few ailments deter you. I just turned 60 on 8/20, retired 8/22, and left on the TAT 8/24, completing it on 9/18. I agree with your comments on commitment and preparation. I rode a DRZ 400 and it was perfect. One flat tire and a brake light switch were the only casualties.


What a fantastic way to see there country. Anyone interested can view my blog at darkhelmet3.com.

Keep on riding Beau!
__________________
Growing old disgracefully
You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD -40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape
BMW R1200GS Adventure
Suzuki DRZ 400S
Dark Helmet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
HanShotFirst
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: May 2013
Oddometer: 223
Thanks for the insight, always welcome.
__________________
I'm quite convinced that Armadillo's are born dead on the side of the road. ~ Me.
HanShotFirst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2014, 11:22 AM   #6
SOLOKLR
almost retired
 
SOLOKLR's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Green Valley, AZ
Oddometer: 139
Great thoughts on the commitment level. I've been planning to do the TAT for years now. I've been waiting to retire and for my son to be old enough. There are days I swear he's just planning to make me happy. I can't imagine getting out in the middle of nowhere with someone that doesn't want to be there.
Congratulations on finishing a ride many won't get out of the planning phase!
__________________
steve
04 KLR 650
"I could do that....Ynot"
Steverauklr@gmail.com
SOLOKLR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2014, 05:48 PM   #7
trypod-AL
Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Oddometer: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by beauregard View Post
We carried camping gear.
I had a 2 pound tent, goose down bag and thermorest pad. My clothes bag and
down jacket doubled as a pillow. We had freeze dried food and a one burner stove, coffee and that was it. My load was under ten pounds. My clothes bag was minimalist as well. One pair of light weight pants, camp shoes, three tee shirts, one set if thermals, three pair of socks and three underwear exofficio for easy washing. A wee camp lite, Buck knife and lexan cups and sporks. The rest of my load was tools and spare parts. I carried a clutch cable, extra levers, front sprocket,air filters, some oil, etc. all this stuff went into the side bags. Everything was inventoried and checked off. I carried lists of what was where. A time saver. Somehow we lost the #19 socket. I bought another set of deepwells to get the 19. They are in my dirt bike box now.
I had calculated my load and went with the spring to match. Cogent was dialed in to what I wanted. Our camping gear while sparse was good stuff. Tested over many wilderness trips so we knew we would be comfortable.
My buddy's bike was a 2009 KLR, same as mine. My KLR would have handled well what we rode. It is modded and set up with Ricor suspension. It has everything on it to do the trail. The weight was why I did not take it on the western half of the trail. I tore up my knee on a getoff in Mississippi( note don't use hard boxes they can do nasty things to you). Came back, had another surgery. Rehab was slow. The weakness shifted everything to the left knee which needs replacing. Things were not good and I looked for a lighter bike. If not for the knees my KLR would have been fine. I am
Glad I built the DR. It was just easy to ride and over a couple of thousand miles saved me energy every day.
I also ride a simple mod DR650 and it is an excellent bike for the TAT as a buddy of mine and I rode the entire TAT this year from Blowing Rock, NC to E. Tenn. and on thru to Pt. Orford, Or. and then back home to Charlotte, NC. It was a great adventure camping the entire way.
trypod-AL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2014, 03:48 PM   #8
beauregard OP
n00b
 
beauregard's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Southern Illinois USA
Oddometer: 5
More random thoughts.

Dark Helmet. I checked your blog and your rant. I had to laugh
For the joke is on all who ride the TAT. We noted the same thing, at the end of a long day there was always some little surprise waiting for you. Whether it be that nasty scree pile uphill as you head to
Lakeview or to rutted dust bowl after the Antelope refuge. Those miles were memorable. It also seemed like we would be chasing the setting sun while riding some gorgeous scenic canyon and would have the sun in our eyes and making picture taking difficult. Then of course the Utah canyons are a bit of exhausting work. I laughed when we got to Big Spring wash. It was just Sam finding another way to mess with you. I laughed a lot, the trail is such a blast. We were not too far behind you and enjoyed great weather until the last day. No blue Pacific for us but steely grey and cold and rain. Didn't matter, it was spectacular.
My riding chops and bike were up to the task. I ride trails every week and boulder fields, steep up and downs, sand, and scree are always on the menu. Endurance wise I was fine. No issues. The altitude did mess with me a bit and that was surprising. I have climbed at altitude for years and not ever had a problem. I was never headachy but never felt comfortable above 8000
Feet or so. Something to consider if you want to do the trail.
My Klim Traverse worked well. It was hot in the canyons and I took it off in Black Dragon as I recall. I also recall it being really hot that day. Other than that the venting system really worked. Half the fun of the trail is on the planning and preparation. Adventure is usually the result of poor planning and preparation, the kind you don't want. Do your prep and you will have a great time.
There are guys in their 60's and
70's doing the trail. I think we are having just as much fun as the younger folks.
So, while age is a factor, if you are fit and healthy, go for it.
On the DR its a great simple easy bike and is like a tractor on two wheels. It handled the trail with ease because of the
upgraded suspension. Since returning I have serviced the bike and cleaned and lubed the chain. It needed nothing else. I would ride the trail
again tomorrow because there is so much to see and what a way to see it. You have to say thanks to Sam for this gift and to all the folks who have posted ride reports. Many thanks to all of you. Beau
beauregard 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 10:57 PM.


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