For those of you just tuning in, the TAT stands for Trans America Trail, a 5000 mile dirt route across the United States. From Tennessee, we'll follow the trail all the way to the Pacific Ocean along the Oregon Coast. Follow us here as we document our adventure over the next six weeks. More info on the trail at www.transamtrail.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Here We Go

Strange Happenings, Mojave Desert

Following Mike to Area 51. But first! A stop at the Little A'Le'Inn
for their fabulous bar. First time I've set foot in a "proper" bar for
more than 40 days! Whaaat!

Zion National Park is awesome

Spent the past two days at Zion doing it up right, and it was amazing. Luke and Mike did the Angels Landing hike yesterday while I went up river to the slot canyons known as the narrows. More pics to come...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Peek A Boo Slot Canyon!!

I've wanted it hike this since I lived here in 2004/5. It was so fun
at absolutely beautiful! Parting from the trail to see these sights
was such a good idea and hanging with ole Mikey has proven to be a
great choice as well.

After all these years

Finally getting to see southern Utah. And doing it right! Here are two
pictures from Arches National Park.

Slot Canyons in Utargh* (Brit for Utah)

We camped last night south of Escalante, Utah with the hopes of waking up and being a short ride from some slot canyons we heard about while in Moab. The campsite was awesome. Built a nice big fire that burned way too long. The short morning ride turned into getting lost and riding aprox 100 or so unneeded miles, but eventually we found the trailhead to Picaboo and Spooky canyon. Amazingly beautiful. I've got some photos but mostly video that we will upload later, and Lukes gonna upload some of his pics shortly too. Oh, on a side note, we crossed paths with a rattlesnake today. Video of that coming too, hopefully soon if we can quit adventuring for long enough to properly document it.
In the morning we plan to head to Bryce Canyon NP. We are currently tucked away at a campsite with a roaring fire and somehow enough Internet to share this much.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Desert Oasis

This was amazing. A bit of a hike to a place called upper calf creek falls in Utah. We were unable to determine the depth, but it was plenty deep for some jumping and diving!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cooling down outside Arches NP

The three of us decided to cool down after a day hiking and riding in Arches NP. It was an eventful day, which included Josh getting hit by a car in the visitor center parking lot. Fortunately his legs were still fresh enough to pull some amazing stunts at the swimming hole...

Hit the full screen button on the youtube gadget to see the full 1080 resolution!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mesa Verde yesterday, Arches tomorrow!

We spent all day yesterday at Mesa Verde National Park and saw it all. Did the tours, hiked the trails, went in in the forbidden zone, the Puebloan holy of holies. We spent last night at Mesa Verde (not in the dwellings :/ ) and rode to Moab Utah today. We are in a hostel for the night so Luke can properly clean and dress/lick his wounds and will be spending tomorrow at Arches NP.

FrankenKnee

It's been a couple days now and I've pulled off the bandages. Looks
okay. Knee is quite swollen but the stitches have not broken despite a
long day of hiking(dumb) and a hard day of riding(painful). I'm very
happy with the results. No redness, heat, or streaking from infection!
We rode from Mesa Verde National Park yesterday and just now arrived
in Moab UT. Hoping to go see some other National Park classics
tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Knee trauma wrapped up

The slice hit a real tender part, severed nerves, so, no pain! It did,
however, miss loads of serious tendons, bones and things. I feel very
fortunate and with all the giant stitches, gives enough articulation
to still shift and ride the bike. So fortunate, so grateful.
We found some grand hospitality in a sweet young lady who put Josh,
Mike, and I up for the night. We'll rest up and head off to our next
campsites. Thanks all for the positive thoughts and prayers toward a
swift healing without infection!

Coolest Clinic EVER!

Thank God, they understood I was broke! This place is so rad, they're
letting me do some of the work myself!!

Reporting live from Urgent Care

An outstanding day of riding in the San Juan Mountains has taken us to the Urgent Care center in Cortez, CO. We were coming down from quite high on a series of switchbacks when Luke went down hard. He got his left boot caught under his metal hard cases and gashed open his right knee pretty bad. We met a Brit named Michael earlier in the day at a fuel stop who is doing the TAT as well, and he is going at it solo and camping out as well. Shortly before Luke's wreck we met him on the trail, and were riding down in a group of 3 when it happened. Michael got some epoxy glue in his eye yesterday and was looking pretty rough and red, and Luke was in dire need of stitches so we figured a ride to the nearest clinic or hospital was probably in order. Luke and Michael are both being worked on right now, while I am in the lobby taking advantage of enough signal to update y'all. The last couple days of riding have been more amazing than I could have ever imagined, we will hopefully have mire pics and video of it for you soon.
The guy in the pic is a rider in the Colorado 1000 (a motorcycle event that happens to be going on at the same time we are in CO) who happened upon the scene and happened to be a medic as well. He poured on the peroxide and wrapped it up and told us to get to a proper place to have it stitched ASAP. He had a member of his party killed near Lake City two days ago while Luke and I were in town. He came around a hill a little too hot and a little too far in the wrong lane and was caught head on by a Jeep. We heard of this the day it happened from Lake City, but just found out here with the medic that the man killed was from his party. This news definitely made us slow down a bit, and take it a little easier than we had been. This situation could definitely be worse, so we are thankful. By morning we are hoping that Luke can walk, Michael can see, and all 3 of us can be back on the trail.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun Times In Bad Weather

Special thanks to Karol with a "K" and the gang from Iowa! They've
agreed to purvey the horizons in search of single ladies for to cure
my singleness.

Lake City with Becca

Thanks Becca for taking care of us for a couple days! Lake City was awesome and that area has been the best riding yet!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Luggage rack extension, the cheap way

That should do, a board from a scrap heap and $2 of hardware from the Lake City CO hardware store should keep my bag from snapping off my tail light again. As for the tail light repair, that was super glue. We are spending today here in Lake City with my sister Becca and using the time to do some repairs, clean filters, top off batteries and change rear tires. Back on the road in the morning and hoping to make it to Moab, Utah by tomorrow night. We are really excited to keep rolling thru the Rockies and Cinnamon Pass, this stretch has been amazingly beautiful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Storm above the Rockies

Here's a view near our campsite last night. Yes we got wet, thanks for asking. Storm number 17 of 20 nights on the trail.


Burt Reynolds

Thanks for voting. New polls coming soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

View from San Isabel NF


Dropping loads of nature.

Dangerous Trail ahead

Our new tent officially sucks. 7x7 must be measured the cheater way they measure TV sets cuz I sure do not fit. We awoke this morning in our cow pasture campsite and are now headed into Colorado. We already have seen 5 other riders on the route today, however they all moteled it last night. They appropriately hung their heads in shame as they rode by us and our campsite.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tonight's camp

It was a pretty sunset here but it smells like poop and I hope a bull doesn't attack us. Amazing ride through New Mexico and the first bit of Colorado. We got some sweet footage of us going after a pronghorn on the bikes. We will try to upload it as soon as we can get some computing time.

Back on the road!

Whew. Fortunately the NAPA auto parts store here in Guymon, OK had the bearings that I needed in stock! I was kinda afraid we'd have to wait here for a few days as the part would need to be shipped. A couple of $3 bearings and a borrowed 5 gallon bucket later and we are back on the road.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hard Travelin'

The second day of the trip that didn't include rain was in Tulsa Oklahoma. We found ourselves here as we ran from Arkansas. Arkansas so far has been the most beautiful, most challenging state. Arkansas has the nicest people and has been positively the most filled with hardship.
Going 80 mph was bizarre! Josh and I had changed sprockets so that our gearing was appropriate for highway speeds. Yes, we were on pavement but we were given no choice after my major breakdown and other trouble in AR. Three days time was scheduled in Arkansas, yet we were there for seven nights!
Thanks to some incredibly thorough and over the top hospitality from Ellie Enger and the fine family she lives with, Josh and I were well fed and rested. Let me tell you, we ate up all the foods we were dreaming of! Thick steak, fresh fruit, grilled onion, homemade cookies, amazing and most perfect keish for breakfast. Anyway, we were burning up to knock down some miles after I met with a mechanic and fixed (yes more) broken things on my bike.
We rode hard through the midday heat across the state and then that's when it happened. Josh's right rear wheel bearing failed completely just as we could just about start to smell the other side. The New Mexico border was so close as we coasted down the road and coaxed a tow out of a local farmer. He towed us backward through the Oklahoma panhandle to where we are now. A disassembled bike sits outside as we prep up for our chase around town for replacement parts. Midnight dawns a monday and I must sleep as I will be awake early running from store to store chasing bearing sizes. ZzzzZzzzz
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On the reservation in Oklahoma

Lukes sitting here watching reruns of Tia and Tamara at this gas station

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two Down

Josh just loves running down poisonous snakes.

Arkansas. Wow.

This state has been the wildest combination of ups and downs I could have imagined. The downs consisting of weather and and hard traveling, and the ups being the people. A few days ago we were playing our daily game of guess when the storm is going to be the worst while sitting on the ground near a fuel pump in Devalls Bluff, Arkansas. Up pulls a man who notices aloud that we are not from anywhere near here. He mentions that he has heard of the trip we are doing, sympathizes with our situation, and offers to put us up for the evening in a cabin on the White River. We followed him back to his place and were immediately treated with the most hospitality possible. Allen and Brenda Childress were absolute angels as they fed us, laundered our clothes and provided an air conditioned cabin. Luke and Allen even provided some entertainment via an old fiddle. We departed on our way the next morning feeling rejuvenated and refreshed, spirits lifted and ready to head to the Ozark Mountains.
That next night we found a perfect campsite just inside the Ozark National Forest, set up camp, and watched a large thunderstorm roll in. So much lightning it was almost too bright to sleep with our eyes closed. We awoke at 6am and made some oatmeal while discussing our aspirations of an early start and lots of Ozark riding. That's about when wave #2 of the storm blew in and kept is hiding in the tent until 11:30am. We broke camp and hit the wet trail excited to be moving again. 20 or so miles down the trail, Lukes motorcycle gave a sputter and a pop and came to a halt. We spent some time working on it to little avail. We were fortunate enough to meet Don an Jeannie Furr, who of course invite us into their home, feed us, and haul Lukes bike to Jerusalem, Arkansas to their small engine/lawnmower repair man Mike Shannon. He helps us diagnose the issue. No spark. We spend the night in the grass behind Mikes shop and in rolls our massive thunderstorm equipped with lightning and 60mph winds, the high winds are new to us at least. Mike informed us they were in a horrible drought and hadn't had rain in two months. He appropriately thanked us for bringing it with us. After breakfast I towed Luke's bike to Russellville Suzuki with my bike using a couple of modified ratchet straps that I'd packed. (video of the tow coming soon) To be completely honest, the trip was in limbo at this point. Not knowing what was wrong with the bike, how expensive the repair could be and how long we could have to wait for some obscure part to ship here were another type of cloud storming over us. One of the guys at the shop noticed Lukes Minnesota plates and came out to inquire about us and our travels as he had lived in Grand Rapids, MN. Levi proceeded to invite us to his home, meet his family, feed us an amazing dinner and stay the night. Luke again entertained with a fiddle as we played a game called 'washers' and fired shotguns. We are currently still at Levi's place awaiting news of the part that will hopefully get us back on the road within a day or two. Levi's sister Leah has agreed to take us out kayaking this morning on the river they live on, it's doesn't sound like it going to be too hard of a day today. After all, we got to sleep inside Levi's house last night and observe the lightning and rains out the window from the comfort of the couch on which I am still laying and writing this post.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's not all Peaches and Rainbows

Here comes an update as we reach Internet cellphone coverage for the
first time in days. Unfortunately we are under this coverage due to
some bad news.
Josh and I are some fifty miles from the trail in Russellville,
Arkansas outside of the beautiful Ozark National Forest. We woke up
early after another huge thunderstorm, ate out oatmeal, then ducked
back in the tent avoiding the next lightning storm. It was a late
start after the storms calmed and the bikes ate up a rough hill climb
for breakfast. Cruising down a tree covered steamy dirt road my bike
made heaps of bad noise as it came to a halt. The bike was quickly
being disassembled as Josh and I ran through rough diagnostics.
Skipping ahead a few hours, Don and Jeannie Furr drove by in their
nice new white Chevy pickup truck. I ended up bugging my old boys back
at G&H Cycles in Portland for some over the phone diagnostic as we
exhausted the battery trying everything. We ended up taking the Furrs
up on their offer to haul the bike to town. This included a fabulous
lunch of fresh tomatoes, cantaloupe, and conversation about all our
travels.
Don and Jeannie took us into Jerusalem AR and introduced us to Mike
Shannon of Shannon's Small Engine repair. Josh and I disassembled the
carb and inspected everything to find that it was indeed an electrical
issue and it was one of two $750 parts.
Getting a tow to the Suzuki dealership 26mi away proved impossibly
expensive so Josh towed me all the way there with his bike. (video
coming soon? Computer still not fixed)
So here we are at Suzuki of Russellville in limbo, awaiting news on my
pickup coil and as I'm typing this, it sounds like they're trying to
solder in one from a Polaris found "out back".
Wish us luck, Josh and I are hurtin' to get back on the trail, we've
fallen back over three days now already!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Support Our Adventure now working

Thanks to all of you who brought to our attention that the support our adventure feature was not working! As of now, this feature should be functioning, thanks!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The people that you meet!

Rough day riding leads to high tensions, aching belies and a serious
need for conditioned air. After forging through two of three downed
bridges we happily crossed the grand ole Mississippi! What was found
across the bridge was a exceedingly rough looking town overgrown by
recession and lost industry. A landscape of collapsing buildings and
homes long vacant, covered in vines is what we discovered to be
Helena, Arkansas.
We drove around looking for a place simply safe enough to stop with
our gear. After scrounging all around town we dove into a mexican
restaurant hoping for AC and a blood sugar increase. This is where we
met the Robertsons. One of a kind good people showing us the truest
southern hospitality. Rauncey was his name, we think! and he was out
scouting crappie fishin holes. He quickly gave us even greater
perspective to the vastness of this trip simply from his reaction to
our undertaking. He and his wife gave us valuable advice as to where
we might find a place to camp. After all they did for us in
encouragement, they past all expectation and purchased our dinner! It
was the wind in our sails to drive, this late night, to a decent
hiding place to put the tent.
Back on the road for these dirty boys, day five ain't over yet. Stay
posted! As soon as we figure out how to charge my broken computer and
get the wifi to upload, we've got some exciting new trail footage for
all you folks following along.

Tennessee in the mirror

One down. We are still alive, no thanks to the heat and humidity. The rains found us again today, and we have yet to experience a day without it on the trip. If I was to be positive about it I would say that the great thing about life threatening storms while you're out camping is that they tend to cut down the humidity while the fronts converge. My recounts of Tennessee are many, namely calendar worthy lush green countryside, toothless locals, and warnings about "copperheads and pillheads". It's tough to determine with any certainty the cause of the widespread toothlessness. In my humble opinion it is either from a lack of general dentistry or rampant use of meth. It seemed worse in the eastern part of the state, nearer to Appalachia. More than once we were warned about 'pillheads', and on a trip of this magnitude it is important to take only calculated risks. The chance that a sole drug crazed fiend could bring this adventure to a screeching halt by crawling into our tent with a knife in his teeth is not something that Luke or myself have time to calculate. This is why there is a loaded gun under my pillow every night, something that Luke has grown accustomed to already.
A factor that I am, and always have been calculating is the constant threat of snakes. This area is apparently filled with copperheads, and I am happy to report that today there is one less in these woods. I looked down at the road below me, and there it was. A tail with a face. My tires went right over the face portion and ended it's horrible life. Luke heard the commotion via the helmet coms and insisted we turn around for a photo. Yes, I am afraid to get close even to a dead snake that I proudly and accidentally killed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dam Pano

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Day Spa For The Bikes

We spent the bulk of today in Corinth, Mississippi to have some work done on our mounts, namely new knobby tires for the dirt and mud that lie ahead and an oil change. We were fortunate enough to deal with Lake Hill Motors and they were amazingly accommodating. These folks are die hard motorcycle people to the bone, and many of them have done the TAT either in it's entirety or in part! Dwayne and Dan own the place and maintain the amazing museum of bikes from all eras, ranging from an old 1917 Royal Enfield to limited production collectibles. Just walking in there to look around was a real treat. Homer showed us around the shop and took us to the best BBQ place in town while the bikes were worked on, and Partick did all the wrenching. Many thanks to all of you! And for anybody out there who wants to see a collection of amazing motorcycles swing by their shop! www.lakehillmotors.com

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

End of day 2 on TAT. Lighting storm.

We covered about 190 miles yesterday and ended up finding a great camping spot just off the trail with a creek flowing through it and enough room for a tent and two bikes. We immediately went into the creek to cool down and swim a bit as well as wash some clothes. It wasn't soon after the sun went down that we saw the biggest lightning storm I've ever seen. It was SO humid and hot. It was nonstop lightning, actually nonstop and the thunder just rolled and rolled. Our gear got a bit wet, but the tent and rainfly kept us in pretty good shape. The scariest part was the trees hanging over us, one bolt of misguided lighting could have easily meant a tree branch crashing to the ground. Fortunately our prayers were heard and we made it out fine. The good news about the big storm from was that it pushed out all that humidity that was making life tough. I had actually considered sleeping in the creek before the lighting started. That's maybe the most dangerous part of this whole trip, the fact that I can convince Luke that just about anything is a pretty good idea, and he possesses the same skills. Both good salesmen I suppose.

Awesome dam bridge

We came upon this in Tennessee today, Luke took a awesome pano too, maybe we will upload that one too

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One day of trail riding is in the books

Well not really in the books, cuz we didn't reach our camp site until
just before dark and thus had no time to write in our journals. We are
camped behind the police station in Sparta, Tennessee after our
request to camp in the city park was denied. However, the officer did
say we could stay in a grassy yard behind the station and use their
water hose as needed which is great. We covered approx 180 miles of
trail today from Jellico to Sparta and have already become pretty good
at navigating using the roll charts and gps, only got lost once and
that was for about 20 mins. The 1 mile range on the intercom helmet
units (scala rider G4) wasn't giving even a quarter mile at times
which forced me to follow Luke a bit closer than we'd have liked and
eat more dust than I am used to consuming in one day. Luke took this
picture of my dusty filthiness at a stop to check our coordinates, you
can't really see the caked dust around my eyes, but I'm sure you'll
get a chance to see plenty of that in the coming weeks. One thing we
are already appreciating about Tennessee is the shade that is provided
by all the trees, kinda makes me a bit weary of those western states
we will hit with much less trees and thus much more sun. That might
cut down on the number of miles we can do in a day but we will prolly
be super tough and weathered by then and it will be a non issue. Or we
might be super tired, weak and weary by then and it wi be a huge
issue. Oh well, we will cross that bridge when that time comes. One
day at a time until then. As for this our first day on the TAT, we are
gonna retire for the evening and be gone with the sunrise.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Jellico Tennessee USA

Here we are. Our furthest east destination. Sleeping well tonight before we embark on this incomprehensibly huge trip. We really don't know what to expect, and it is certainly drawing out the most nervous feelings, some fear, and perhaps the greatest excitement we have ever felt.
Working hard on our motorcycles has both turned the anticipation into something tangible and has also caused a spike in our silly paranoias. Let me tell you that this has been a BLAST! Those terrible Interstate Highway miles are now behind us, and we see nothing ahead of us now but little tiny roads leading us through open countryside.
A huge thanks to ADVrider.com and thumpertalk.com, bottomless resources that have proven to be the end all of trip prep knowledge and advice. We also thank all of you who have put up with our crazy dedication to this trip.
Tomorrow, it begins.