Just Ride

Just Ride

Friday, August 2, 2013

Trans-America Trail - Travel

Surprise Surprise.  We're in Tellico a whole day early.  We were supposed to be traveling from Tampa to Tellico on Friday - however, after getting the trailer setup with the bikes, we decided to just drive through the night and not waste precious daylight.

We did have an interesting time with the fuel of the TRUCK... we were almost completely out of fuel because we thought: "oh we can make it to the next gas station" - not so much. i think we coasted into the gas station. I even tried to fill the truck with the spare fuel I had on the bike... of course FORD makes that impossible... so no go.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trans-America Trail - ready!

Trailering up on Friday!  TAT starts Saturday!  Of course, I have a business trip to NY first.  But that will make this week go by that much faster.

We installed some foot peg extenders on luigi's ktm the other day.  We went through his packing list..decided on a few last minute purchases he needed (ordered last night through Amazon - I love Amazon Prime).  Last night I finalized my packing.  Bike is ready to go!  I am ready to go.

I am also taking a mascot...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Trans-America Trail - Bike Packed

For the most part, the bike is packed. Technology and the associated cables/wires/chargers are really all that remain. I've weighed each bag and the trunk. All-in-all, I feel I have too much weight.

Left Side Bag = 10 lbs (camp gear, 1 Gallon of fuel / rotopax) = 17.5 lbs
Right Side Bag = 16 lbs (clothes, klim pants/jacket)
Top Duffel = 11 lbs (laptop, bed roll, sleeping bag, tent poles, flip flops)
Rear Trunk = 28 lbs (tools, tubes, maintenance items, first aid, and ratchet straps - just to trailer to Tellico and back)

Once we're in Tellico, this will change - some of the weight in the trunk will be redistributed and some of it isn't going with us. Goal for the trunk is around 20 lbs.

I also cleaned the original air filter, lubed the bike, and we now have new tires/tubes! We are ready to roll!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trans-America Trail - Prep Ride

This was just after I got myself out of a situation where I was stuck for about 30 minutes.  It had rained on me and I was wore out.  The wife had called while I was stuck to check on me - told her to wait until I called her back.  After getting myself out - I gave her a call while riding...technology is great.

Anyways, except for getting stuck, the KLR did great.  It wasn't the KLR's fault we got stuck!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trans-America Trail - Gear Part 1

Figured I would do a quick inventory of the rear box.  I am probably packing too much - but again, this is our "figure it out" ride.  Without this ride and no past experience doing these types of trips...we don't know if we're packing too much or too little.

Rear Box Contents
1. 10w-40
2. Freshly oiled air filter
3. chain lube (dry)
4. air filter oil and rim grease
5. front and rear inner tubes
6. extra gear shifter (this is probably not coming with me)
7. JB Weld (fixes all kinds of things to include metal)
8. Jumper Cables
9. Filter Cleaner
10. Chain cleaner
11. Chain Brush
12. Bead Breaker
13. 16 tooth sprocket (spare) (may not be coming with me)
14. Air compressor and patches/glue etc
15. Zip ties
16. .40 Ammo
17. Fuses and other minor electrical stuff
18. Duct Tape
19. Extra spark plug
20. Tire Pressure Gauge
21. Valve Stem Puller
22. Tire Spoons and other various tools for the bike

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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lesson Learned

While researching events for my upcoming motorcycle trip, I found myself surprised that a major part of day 3's route is closed!  If I had not known this prior, Day 3 would have been a disaster!!
Either way, now I know that US 441 had a landslide earlier this year.  Which allowed me to change Day 2's hotel stay and Day 3's route.  The good news here is that I've increased mileage for Day 3 and we get to stay at the venerable Buckberry Creek Lodge for our third time!  I foresee another drunken walk down the hill to the creek!!
If you are taking US 441 in the near future - please note the following road status:
Newfound Gap Road Landslide ClosureNewfound Gap Road (US-441) between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC is closed to through traffic due to a landslide near mile marker 22 on the North Carolina side of the park. Access to Newfound Gap from the Gatlinburg Entrance is open to all vehicles. Watch for ice and snow on the roadway. Access to Collins Creek is permitted from the Cherokee entrance in North Carolina. The road is expected to reopen to through traffic in mid-May.
US 441 Landslide

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Run for the Hills

Been a while - of course I've been busy.  However, that doesn't mean I haven't been riding.  I've had some great weekend trips since our last adventure for "No Labor" day weekend.

This trip is looking to be a little different because we're going with two other couples and we're not actually riding the whole way.  Let me explain the latter statement.  There will be about 1,500 miles of great riding (well - if you remove the first day, there is about 1,000 miles of excellent riding).  However, once up North, we're going to hop on the Amtrak Auto Train and ride in comfort from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL. 

The autotrain is truly my first experience on a train in the United States.  I frequented a number of trains in Europe and a good number of subways in the US - in fact, I rode the Long Island Railway from Long Island to New York City.  Anyways, suffice it to say, N and I are looking forward to the overnight train ride from VA to FL.

The Plan - Florida to Virginia.  What's in VA you ask?  The Hills.  Really, we've been talking about doing this for a while, but now is the time.  We're going to do the entire Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.  With a few stops here and there along the way.

A basic route has been chosen with some hotel/b&b's selected along the way.  Nandi are pretty excited...

Run for the Hills - The Route

The route does take us through the following areas (to name a few):
Dahlonega, GA
Blairsville, GA
Deals Gap, NC (Tail of the Dragon Again!!)
Pigeon Forge, TN
Gatlinburg, TN
Bryson City, NC
Asheville, NC
Linville Falls, NC 
Blowing Rock, NC
Fancy Gap, VA
Natural Bridge, VA
Front Royal, VA

Overall mileage is much different than last time - we are really all about enjoying ourselves (of course we did last time we went out of state as well...).  But again, Iron Butt Association aside, we have two other couples traveling with us and I don't think they'd be able to keep up with the pace we set back in September 2012.

Day 1 - 493 miles

Day 2 - 269 miles

Day 3 - 102 miles

Day 4 - 193 miles

Day 5 - 120 miles

Day 6 - 196 miles

Day 7 - 64 miles

There is a day 8 - but that is simply riding from Sanford, FL to home...139 miles of Florida.

Anyways, looking forward to the trip and I'll post many pictures upon my return.  (don't hold your breath, it will be a while before the trip).  Until then... JUST RIDE.