Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Friday, November 6, 2015
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Oklahoma is the forum-described "boring" part of the TAT. You can read ride report after report of adventurers who choose to skip the trail through OK and take the highway from Arkansas to Colorado. The three of us have gone 'round a few times arguing about what to do. We aren't obsessive about riding every inch of the trail, but the options we faced were skipping Oklahoma and hauling our bikes to the Mountains next year... or squeezing in another short TAT ride this fall and STILL heading to the mountains next year. So fall is here, and to that trail we go. It wasn't easy finding some time for a second trip in 2015. I think we've rescheduled four times, and now we're riding in November--adventuresome, but less than ideal.
Since the spring...
Joey's Honda XR suffered a piston explosiatastrophe, and he's replaced, resurfaced, and rebuilt all those complicated metal parts that go somewhere under the seat. Just last weekend he finished the carb and says she's running better than ever.
Danny's Suzuki DR had an oil leak... if you can call it that. I think he spent $2 on some gasket and, you know, took something important off, gave it a new gasket, put it back on... and now it's good.
My Kawasaki KLR on the other hand, developed a real oil leak. And while Joey rebuilt his engine and Danny scraped off a 20 year old cam chain tensioner gasket... I put a cup under my bike.
|Plastic cup, on right, to collect dripping oil|
Also since spring, we've been playing a game of musical motorcycle luggage. In May, we each took different approaches for our luggage:
- Danny: Nelson Riggs soft dry saddle bags - $50 Used on Amazon
- Joey: Dry bags with custom straps for mounting - $60 for all parts
- Nic: Wolfman Expedition Dry Bags - $180 Used from ADV inmate
- Danny: Returned bags to Amazon for failure to perform well
- Joey: Bought Nic's Wolfman's at a $10 discount (you're welcome, pal), sold custom bags
- Nic: Opened the box of new DrySpec D20's sitting in the garage ($110 out of pocket)
|Danny's Suzuki DR 650|
|Joey's Honda XR 650|
|Nic's Kawasaki KLR 650|
Monday, May 25, 2015
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Besides the riding, it's been fun just seeing the ecosystems change as we go. The dirt we ride on has been changing colors, and at any given moment we'll be in the middle of a forest, racing over sandy farm roads, or even spinning our tires in muddy slush. And meeting people at every stop is also interesting. The accents have been getting thicker with each stop. Eavesdropping on some of the campers next door proves they are often impossible to understand.
I'd say we are exhausted. We have to start thinking about when to turn toward home and how to get there, but we can't give up tackling a few more miles of the trail. So tomorrow we'll do both. Get just a LITTLE bit further before turning sorta-around. Danny still has to get to Tennesse to cross that state off his list. And of course Joey and I need to eat BBQ or fried chicken in Memphis. Then we'll ride West while tryint to avoid highways.
Photos won't upload tonight. And it's hot. 85 degrees or so in my tent. I hear the bull frogs croaking now that it's night. A pleasant break from the zacatas scremaing during the day.
Friday, May 22, 2015
When you're driving a car on the interstate (which we lovingly call the super slab) you can cover 500 or 600 miles in a day over 8 hours. We are riding about 200 miles per day, over 10 hours, and moving eastward at less than 100 miles each day. That means we're averaging about 25 mph (including some breaks). And it's amazing.
The trail has so far been excellent. It surprised us when we hit the hardest part we've ridden within the first 30 minutes of hopping on, back south of Fayetteville. That section (Warloop Rd) set an expectation of difficulty that has been lessening each mile we ride. Today in fact had quite a bit of pavement and gravel in between the fun parts. But the fun parts included 18" deep river crossings, tree-canopied packed mud roads, and beautiful Arkansas mountaintop views.
Finding a campsite for the night was the biggest challenge. When we left for this trip we didn't know how far we could get each day. So we decided to do the very thing I hate: "just wing it." We're riding all day and finding a campsite wherever we can once we get tired. Yesterday was brilliant. We rode until we couldn't and camped in a clearing we found at 5pm that was 50 feet from the trail, in the Ozark National Forest. See our little tents in the back?
Tonight, though, was tougher. We ended the day in Beebe, AR. It's big enough that we couldn't find a place to camp or a paid campground anywhere near the trail. We drove back and forth for an hour, exhausted, looking for anything, to no avail. After getting stuck and unstuck in some mud, with no prospects... what did we do? Prayed for a place to sleep and rode back into town for some Arkansas BBQ. Then through a happenstance encounter and a kind eavesdropper, we were sent to a fishing lake, just out of town, with plenty of free campsites available (really???).
So here we are, lakeside: fully fed, warm, next to a dying fire made from wood that a stranger brought over, since he knew we couldn't haul any with us. Everything we need and more. It's good. All that and still no broken legs.
Tomorrow we hope to make it to Mississippi.