Wednesday, November 4, 2015

TAT 4 - Oklahoma

"Love the TAT. Miss it already. Some more thoughts and pics to come."

That's how I ended the last trip entry. It seems I'm not so good at following up... but here we are, prepping to leave again. Tomorrow we return to the Trans-America Trail (TAT), for part 4. We ride straight south from KC, and turn right into Oklahoma. 

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
Anyway, the cup is starting to fill a bit. So I added some oil to my bike last night. Good to go!

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
There's a longer, really boring story about how Danny and I both ordered newly released DrySpec dry saddle bags several months before the trip, and then the bag manufacturing became so far delayed that Danny cancelled his order and I ordered Wolfmans at the last minute... and then two days into our trip the DrySpec bags shipped to my house. Anyway, after getting back from the trip, we decided the Wolfmans were the best, and Danny's bags were falling apart. So this happened:
  • 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)
Only problem here? Danny doesn't have any luggage. Then sometime over the summer he surprised us with his UPS tracking number of brand new Mosko Moto Scout Panniers. I won't say here how much they cost, to avoid Danny's embarrassment. I'll just say that they did cost less than $451. And so far they seem amazing. Time and the trail will tell us which bags are to be most desired.

And that brings us to tonight. Three running motorcycles, packed (overpacked in my case), ready to haul us through a rain storm (tomorrow) and across the Oklahoma plains. And here are three not-very-good pictures of it:

Danny's Suzuki DR 650

Joey's Honda XR 650

Nic's Kawasaki KLR 650

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