So, a bit about us...Blaster and I have been doodling around North and South America. Dreamer and Doer I suppose some might call it. And somehow, for last few years we have been plotting for the perfect TAT bike. But who are we kidding, there is an art to entertaining yourself while playing with any new sled. For me, this will be the second season on the WR250R. A nice upgrade from a DR200.
(Extra points if you noticed the Weimaraner Photobomb in the previous pic!) Even been internally valved and shimmed for my stubby little 28" inseam
I might have regretted lowering it...well only this once really. And one might argue not your normal day at the office!
Blaster will be mounted a new addition. Pretty tricked out new addition. So tricked out that he plumb didn't add anything other than some preventative maintenance! Should have found a picture from the other side, it even sports a Gold chain...(just like Mr. T).
Soon enough, the shipper has been scheduled. We'll be shipping them from the house, and rendezvousing 15 days later in Oregon at the shipping warehouse terminal.
From there, nothing by East by God East we will go!
One of the greatest benefits to multi-week trips over thousands of miles is the ability to release your creative mind. Life is the Nation's capital is far too frantic to find any sort of rhythm or peace. The mental white space usually doesn't get a fair shake during daily drudgery, as the brain is too bogged down with menial tasks. I much imagine white space akin to this poor donkey suspended by those menial tasks.
We definitely planned and re-planned our trip since I am short on vacation time due to unforeseen circumstances over the last few years. None the less we decided on the West to East route so we would not have to worry about missing flights or shipping dates in case something happened. We figured if we were having fun out West that we could spend more time there and jump on the tarmac to get home more quickly if needed. Our bikes are in Portland now just waiting for us to arrive and start the adventure. We will try to post real time, of an evening, so that you can see what we are living day to day, what weather conditions we run into, and also the trail conditions/route. A SPOT link will be posted in the first post before we leave Thursday. After talking to many TAT riders we decided not to camp on this trip. That way we could spend more time each day riding and not unpacking and repacking.....besides who doesn't like A/C and a big comfy bed. The other side benefit is that our bikes are lighter and more maneuverable which should make some of the trickier sections a bit easier.
We will have lot of pictures between all the cameras and the GoPro set to take pictures every minute. We have found that we just don't have the time to edit video and make something nice so we just stick to cameras.
Here are a few tidbits on the shipping dealio. For 2 bikes is was right around $1200 cross country Maryland to Oregon. The bikes carried increased insurance for KBB value + bolt on accessories. There was a bit of multi-bike discount, a bit of discount for pickup at the terminal, the biggest discount was the AMA membership.
So far, Federal hasn't put a foot wrong so far. I booked it in advance, they called 24 hrs prior to give me the pick-up window of 3 hrs, then when they were 1 hr out. The bikes have been available for GPS tracking the entire trip, and they made Oregon in under 1 week.
Federal claims to ship over 12,000 bikes annually and has the contract for Barber Vintage Museum.
We scoped out Uship.com and prices were $100-200 cheaper. At the end of the day, it's hard to want to sacrifice that kind of service.
Ironically, two weeks later we sold a bike and the buyer shipped via AA Transport. Same truck, same guys. Seems there is a bit of collision in the trucking underworld. STI and CRST pretty much own all the less than truckloads. But,you a lonely condumer, can't book with the big dogs directly.
But the bikes ended up unscathed and on time. I think of I ever needed dtorage, I might try to them also.
So, how should we get out of this little conundrum? Well, did you know that the National Park Service is celebrating it's centennial . So, let's find our parks. The new travel plan. If they post a travel pic on Bing, I am so going there! Of course Crater Lake is in Oregon, so that means we'll need to re-rudder to Oregon.
I suppose there are two camps of folks--the planners and the non-planners. Some are planners out of necessity because it's the most efficient use of limited vacation time; Some are planners because it's much like writing a chose your own adventure book. You can write and rewrite the ending as many times as you want all while entertaining your mind's eye. And for some, planning is those things as well as deeply ingrained in your persona. While I am under no disillusion that you can control fate or destiny, all other facets are up for grabs.
In the deep of winter, I peer out the window. Sigh, there is apparently PLENTY 'O time to noodle though this 4,000 mile evolution.
We used these ideas to frame the ride:
Then we got greedy. What if we took the southern route to LA, then competed in the AMA sanctioned Dual Sport Ride LA-Barstow-Vegas? Now acting like a fat kid on a lollipop, what if we stayed in Las Vegas for some training over the winter with Jimmy Lewis? And then what if we rode down to Cabo the following winter?
It's seems that our good idea fairy needs to be put back in her proverbial box. She has used every ounce of funding and leave allocation for the next 3 years. I look at the map and realize that I should have turned left in Albuquerque!
What is the Trans America Trail? I really suppose it's who you ask, what year they made have rode it (or attempted to ride it), and what the mode of transport. Certainly, there is no lack of permutations on the maps. It a journey that has morphed and doodled. Every map designer I have followed for the last 5 years has endeavored to make it "better".
Is is possible that the we will be following in cloven hoof prints of the 60,000 oxen wagons that traveled a part of it during from 1810-1860?
Even map designers I have followed for the last 5 years keep changing it. Some claim that they added more bucolic views and perhaps tamed it, others claim that it's their is a ride which is not for the faint of heart. So for us, the idea is travel on a journey which threads the fabric of America. A journey through bucolic America, and a journey which by way of the tiny dirt roads chosen will be at a glacial pace. We'll aim to be slightly faster than the Oxen Wagons that land grabbed the West.
So, for right or for wrong, we picked a path. We simply can't live our lives like a flat squirrel (e.g how many squirrels do you see hit by a car as they ricochet directions?). Since we essentially live on the Atlantic Ocean, we'll call that one terminus. We'll start somewhere in Oregon and head east. Maybe we ride a "defined" track, or maybe we wander. And since nobody is keeping a score card, and there are no rally bonni to grab, there will be no penalty phase. Nope, just 3 glorious weeks viewing the landscape through a set of handlebars.