Just Ride

Just Ride

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trans-America Trail - Prep Ride

I'm a bit of a planner if you haven't noticed.  I'm also a bit of an adventurer (well sorta) - I enjoy backpacking, hiking, camping, hunting, and recently (last few years) I've gotten into motorcycles.


The Trans-America Trail

In my constant search of new and exciting adventures, I've come across The Trans-America Trail (TAT).  Simply put, the TAT is a west-bound dual-sport motorcycle adventure across the United States.  A gentleman by the name of Sam Correro has spent countless hours compiling routes and maps, providing his research to the public via the TransAmTrail.com website.  The TAT starts in Southeastern Tennessee and ends at the Pacific Ocean in Southwestern Oregon - nearly 5,000 miles of off-pavement riding.

Over the course of the last 4-6 months I have been plotting and planning...this August, myself and two others are going to ride the first three states of the TAT.  This is a test run to ensure that we aren't packing too heavy and still have decent coverage to bring what we need to survive the full TAT!  I've selected a used Kawasaki KLR 650 as my steed of choice.  The TAT's website provides some general information about what bring and recommends riding a dual sport motorcycle if you plan on doing the whole TAT.

I've bought the bike, 2011 KLR - it had 4500 miles on it when I bought it, it already has upwards of 5600 miles and I've not had it a month.  Of course, I did ride it from Indiana to Tampa, FL - 860 miles in one day.  Most I've done in a day on my Harley was around 660 - and it is super comfortable.  The KLR, not so much.
 

I've only got a few weeks left before the trip up to Tellico Plains, TN - but the bike is ready and I'm finalizing a few details.  For instance, I've got two others going with me, so I've pulled together emergency contact info for all and will be posting SPOT (Satellite GPS Messenger) data to everyone's email / mobile phones.  I will have a SPOT running the entire time, allowing for our trip to be documented by spotwalla.com - live tracking of our location at all times!!  Most of my gear is packed and what isn't, is lying in my office on the floor ready for packing. 

This weekend, I'm documenting the gear (I'll provide a list here) so I can share with the other two riders.  In hopes we can reduce overall weight on each bike by reducing redundancy (where redundancy would be unnecessary).  One of the guys going is like me, highly organized with planning and logistics.  Between the two of us, our coverage of the following should be pretty decent:
1. Mechanics
2. Logistics
3. Routing (GPS and Maps)
4. Medical
5. Communications

We have high level plan of miles per day that we need to accomplish and I've spent considerable amounts of time locating fuel stops.  Lodging isn't as much as a concern for us - we all have tents and bedrolls for camping and I've got a small camp stove with which to heat up food when necessary.  However, for the most part, food, fuel, and water are all items we will be purchasing daily (no major stock piling of any of those items).

Mileage Goals:
Day Ride Goals Weekday Mileage Fuel
  Tampa->Tellico Friday 600 33
Day 1 TN1,2,3,4 Saturday 257 6
Day 2 TN5,6, (1/2)MS1 Sunday 211 5
Day 3 (1/2)MS1,2,3 Monday 227 5
Day 4 AR1 Tuesday 220 5
Day 5 AR2,AR3,AR4 Wednesday 212 5
i40 Arkansas - i40 Thursday 375 8
i40 Tellico - i40 Friday 375 8
  Tellico->Tampa Saturday 600 33

Anyways, more later - I'm pretty excited about the trip.  Details on my bike, storage, and gear will all be provided in a subsequent post.