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Discussion Starter #1
...and a big storm front is assaulting from the west so this will get interesting quick. The goal is Trinidad Colorado, starting point is Andrews NC.
I'll post when I can....................
 

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aka Rick in Alabama
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Subscribed! Will look forward to reading and looking!

:lurk5:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm back and a week early. We had some "group dynamic's breakdown" that did not involve me and I'll leave it at that. However we did cover almost a thousand miles of the TAT. I'm downloading pictures and will put together a trip report. As usual my bike handled everything the TaT could throw at it with zero issues.......
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Ok, originally I was supposed to do the TAT with a buddy, but he had to bail. So I glommed onto a group of 3 on ADV that had been planning a run for over 6 months. So the players were my 'strom, a Husky 650, a new Africa Twin and a trusty KLR. We all met in Andrews NC at for the launch.

My bike rolling out:


Weather threatened for the first 4 days. Radar looked dismal, but each day it simply vanished before getting to our particular location. I have never ever had this happen, but one of the guys is from Ireland, so I suspect he had smuggled a Shamrock somewhere:


First day, it had rained all night, but quit just as we pulled out. I got my get-off over quick at 6.2 miles. 100% rider error, cutting the apex of a turn right into a nice thick pile of leaves with something like goose shit, or frog snot underneath. No damage, other than pride:




This was the only time I was down on the trail(all of us had top heavy pig parking lot drops...usually at the end of the day). I do have some advise for the TAT trail through the Blue Ridge...Stay Away From Brown....the the edges of the trial are either soft, slick, or thick. The best place is the inside of either the right or left tract closest to the center but not on the center. We all had new 50/50 or better tires and everyone could easily get squirley when near the edge. I ran new E07 Dakar, and a Mitas MC60 front. Others were running Kenda, Shinko and Conti TKC80. Out of all of these tires the TKC80 showed the most wear(Africa Twin) and before he turned for hom his rear was below 50%. My tires show no wear but I will measure tread depth for y'all later as I ma sure I lost maybe 15% overall.

 

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Well done sir.....well done!!! Hope to see you at my Labor Day gig this year "10th annual" WOOT WOOT!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First camping spot...a free USFS campground...Lost Creek:


No showers but this was perfect for a bath:


Trail pic's:




 

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Discussion Starter #10
The second day we hit the infamous Witt Road outside of Tellico Plains TN it did not disappoint. Multiple creek crossings and a bunch of trees down from a major storm:


The AT is an absolute Beast(photo of the trip award):




 

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Discussion Starter #12






Somewhere in the Conasaga NF near Chatsworth Ga, we hit a Road Closed sign. A brief investigation confirmed that a bridge was completely out...no way around. We had to backtrack about 10 miles & later grabbed a motel in Chatsworth. 5min after unloading the bikes a wicked storm hit......{wheeew}. Here is a pic the next morning after breakfast:


Now...here is where I will throw my "opinion" in. All of us originally wanted to follow the TAT tracks...a kinda pilgrimage. Once out of the mountains the TAT meanders .....ALOT, and on pavement. Through subdivisions, neighborhoods and it even does loops bringing you back to your starting point. The lead guy had bought Sam's tracks and we found that the tracks did not always show on the road intended. Sometimes the colored track would be a quarter mile off the road which lead to missed turns and general confusion. Many many paved farm roads led to a 90 degree turn, another mile then another 90 degree, then another etc. There were a few jewels in there, but they became further and further apart.

As the terrain flattened out West of Chattanooga, I found the meandering very time consuming and not all that interesting. Eventually we found ourselves on miles of gravel.....the deep marble kind. All but the Husky found that 30mph was the best speed since there were hidden ruts thrown in just to keep us on our toes. The weather cleared off and dust became a issue. We had to string out almost a quarter mile apart just to see the road. Northern Alabama came and went, then we were in Norther Mississippi and whipped around a corner to find this:


Certainly that sign did not mean "us":








 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)




I do not advocate breaking the law.....all riders assume total responsibility for their actions....but damn it was fun!

All us us except the lead bike had orange dirt faces....the dust was kinda epic:


Camped somewhere in West TN...yep back in Tennessee!


The next day we made the Mississippi River:


We rolled on into Arkansas and that is when the Irish guy had already planned to turn and burn for home(Ft Walton Beach). There was another unexpected exit which left me and the Husky. A guy in an ambulance(yep you read right) saw us on the side of the road and pulled over. He said that the TAT roads near the Big Muddy in Arkansas were mostly impassable due to a boat load of rain over the past month. He offered to guide is the next day on his KTm 1090 working West. We decided to burn west on pavement and pick the TAT back up when it looked dry. That turned out to be about an hour out of Helena and the roads were flat and yeah, that marble gravel with dust thrown in to keep it interesting again.

We rode to this side of Little Rock, grabbed a motel and the next day the other rider decided to head home. I know Trinidad Colorado was a lofty goal, but not even seeing the Ozarks was a bummer. So I set my Garmin to "Curvy Roads" and headed home. Overall, it was a great trip, and I will pick the TAT back up in the Ozarks someday and push westward. My bike was flawless.....and I have no doubt it can do the test of the TAT as long as I am up to the task.

I have to point out that weight management is critical for a trip like this. I weighed in when I got home and my load including bags/box was 86lbs. The others in the group were carrying too many tools...up to 30lbs worth. Too many clothes also,,,,remember you can wash when staying at most motels, or even at a campsite. Hold each item in your hand and say, "Can I buy this somewhere along the way if I really need it", and "is there a lighter version?, or can I survive without it?" Inmho, you load including food and water should be well under 100 lbs. Why? Because you bike will handle better with every ounce you manage to cut out of the load, and that is really a big plus when "off road". And weight up high is a nono......a Yeti Cooler should not be loaded down with 30lbs of ice and water at the beginning of the day....only at the end of the day.

Armor up, yep you will look like a dork, but when that unexpected turn or rut grabs you and you crash, walking away without a few broken ribs or a scapula sticking out of your shoulder is worth all the strange looks. The ride can be monotonous, and you get fatigued and it gets hot and humid....all of this equates to you not being on the top of your game...we were all guilty at times.
 

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I don't do water crossings, I have drowned "2" too many bikes.........terrifies me now. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I don't do water crossings, I have drowned "2" too many bikes.........terrifies me now. LOL
I hear ya. We did quite a bit of scouting on foot before plunging in. Having Gore Tex riding boots made checking depth more fun since we could walk across quickly and even though the water was over the top of the boots very little got inside.
 

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aka Rick in Alabama
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Wow, I'm impressed! I could see doing the TAT on a Honda CRF250L or Yamaha WR250R, but not in a Vstrom 650.
+1, with caveats.

The eastern portions of the TAT are improved dirt roads and entirely doable on a VStrom, but the western portions follow rough country double track and jeep trails and get a lot more technical. For the really rough western sections Sam includes detours in the tracks for those riding anything more than a lightweight dual sport.

Back in 2010 a bud and I rode the CDT (Continental Divide Trail) on DR650's. The big thumper was great for the improved dirt roads and performed well on the solid-pack fire-roads and trails, but when it got down to sandy desert double-track a bike even lighter would have been nice.

And on the rock strewn mountain roads (think concrete block size rocks, not pecan or peach sized rocks) the high ground clearance of the DR was invaluable. Don't hear me knocking the VStrom; rather, I'm just aware of it's limitations.

If I were going out west again I would choose the WR250 and would trailer instead of succumbing to testosterone poisoning and riding 5,500 + miles on a glorified dirt bike... :skep:
 
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