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Old 08-14-2007, 09:35 AM   #1
donniej
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9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; Finished!

Preface:
You probably know by now that this summer I rode the Trans Am Trail. This thread will be where I post all my stories and pics. I will try to post one day at a time along with the pics from that day.

Background:
In case you didn't see it in any of my other threads, here's a little history to get you up to speed. The Trans Am trail is a 4,800 mile trail across the United States. It goes from eastern Tennessee through Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, through the northeast corner of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and finally Oregon ending at the coastal town of Port Orford. The entire trip is extremely rural. The route was put together by a guy named Sam Correro. It is a patch work of dirt roads, mountain passes, abandoned rail road grades, parks, etc... It is almost entirely unpaved, some parts are also extremely difficult to get through, even on a dual sport motorcycle.

In March I decided I was going to do it. I got a month off work and found a 1997 DR350 (Dual Sport model). I spent the next 4 months preparing. All mainenance was up to spec and I had planned for every conceivable disaster. Finally on Friday, July 13th my Dad and me made way from Philly to Tennessee with my DR350 in the back of my (veg powered) 1993 Chevy 3500 pick up.
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Old 08-14-2007, 09:50 AM   #2
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The beginning

It was 700 miles to TN. We spent the night in Virginia and made it the rest of the way by mid afternoon. It was a *really* long drive, it had to be at least 14 hours and I was happy to be out of the truck! We unloaded the bike and refueled the truck with the extra 30 gallons of veg I brought with me. I thought it would be a good idea to change the veg filter too, it ended up taking forever to get the new filter to seal 100% but I'll be ****ed if I'm going to be responsible for the burning of that much diesel for the return trip! My Dad and I said our good byes and he headed out to see some friends in the area and to drive the truck back to Philly.



As he drove away it began to sink in, I was now alone. What ever should happen in the next month, I would have to handle it on my own. I'm in the middle of no where, by myself....... this is definitely going to be interesting...



It was around 4:00 and I decided it was too late to get started today. Instead I booked a night in the motel and went otu to find the beginning of the trail. It took a while, since these are dirt roads in the woods, they're not real well marked. I did eventually find it and went out for the first 30 miles to see what I was in for tomorrow.



The terrain was suprisingly tough. It was very hilly and there were no sort of protection if you go over the side of the road. You have to definitely take it easy with the speed and keep the bike uder control. With all the weight I had on the bike, that may be a challenge.

The trial in TN passes through lots of rural homes. There were lots of houses here. Lots of pick-up trucks and Confederate flags, guys bare foot and shirtless, beer cans every where... but everyone was *very* nice to me.

After only an hour or two of riding I was heading back to the motel and preparing myself for the first real day on the trail...


Last edited by donniej; 10-04-2007 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:01 AM   #3
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

ghetto sub...
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:11 AM   #4
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

Please continue
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:13 AM   #5
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

It's def gonna take some time for him to sort out all those pics. Take your time Don
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:18 AM   #6
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Day 1

Yesterday after I got back from my "try the trail" ride I met a group of guys on KLR's. There were 4 of them, 1 from Ohio and 3 fron NC. We talked over dinner about rides we'd done and of course about the TAT. I hoped I would run into them today, I was kind of nervous about getting lost out in the sticks and hoped I could follow them for the first day, just to get the hang of the trail. That didn't happen though. I knew it was for the best, I came out here to do this my way and it was time for me to figure it all out.

The way you follow the trail is like this... You have a set of roll charts that provide you turn-by-turn instructions. It works like this; Go 1.7 miles, turn left, go .9 miles, turn right, go .5 miles, stay straight, etc... The physical construction of the roll chart is just plain old paper strips, kind of like what you use in a calculator that prints on the paper strips. The roll chart holder is just a plastic box with 2 knobs. You tape one end of the roll onto one of the knowbs and feed it in, then you tape the other end in. Every couple of turns you turn the know to advance the roll chart to the next set of instructions. For about half of the country there were GPS coordinates at every turn. This didn't help you find the turn so much as it gave you confidence that you were in fact at the correct turn. This was nice because if you got off the trial, it was very difficult to get back on... and I would find myself off it all the time. With the roll charts also came maps of all the areas you go through, I found these useless about half the time. Between the maps and my GPS (Garmin Quest) I usually made my way back on the trail without *too* much frustration.

I have to get back to work so I'll have to continue day 1 tomorrow, but here's some pics...





It's a good thing I got the bigger gas tank for my bike...


Last edited by donniej; 10-04-2007 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:06 AM   #7
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

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Old 08-14-2007, 11:23 AM   #8
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

Some good pics man. Wow, that is rural. Did you ever get injured at all? I'm interested to hear about diverting from the trail in Mississippi and why you did.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:32 AM   #9
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

Woo. markin this ***** "Notify"!
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:38 AM   #10
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Re: 9 States, 4,800 Miles, 350CC's; My Summer Adventure (PICS!!)

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