September 4, 2016

When FedEx says “no later than 4:30, they mean no SOONER than 4:30. So the truck FINALLY rolls in and we have a brand spanking new kickstand safety switch bypass thingie. YYAAAAAAYYY!!! It plugs in to the existing wiring harness and in 5 minutes we’re ready to roll. One last wave to the people at Duke’s who have been AMAZING throughout our ordeal and we’re down the road. We literally get 15 miles west and I start hearing noises. I slow to let a truck in front of me turn off and hear this God awful sound coming from what appears to be the front drive sprocket area. I tell Rod on the com’s that I have a problem. I can hear his heavy sigh through the speaker. I pull over, kill the motor and roll silently to the shoulder. The sound is there, turning with the revolutions of the wheel. We check the chain because we’ve both been having issues with loose, then tight chains and sure enough, my chain is as tight as a guitar string! That’s crazy because ewe both just adjusted them at Hanksville a...

September 1, 2016

So after what was possibly one of our most challenging days, 100 miles the wrong way, running low on water in the desert, mechanical failures, ferry crossings closed, we ended up in the small “town” of Hanksville UT. So we get up and start working on the bikes, I needed to make a serious repair to the navigation tower which broker again in the desert, tighten the chain (again) and Rod needed to adjust his chain and add some fuel cleaner to hopefully fix his backfiring issues. With everything fixed, we geared up and fired up the bikes. Rod started to ride away when I yelled “I’ve got an issue!”. My bike kept dying every time I put it in gear. Unfortunately, these bikes (most all motorcycles) have safety that switches on the kickstand kill the motor it senses the kickstand is still down when you engage the transmission. If the sensor goes out, it thinks the kickstand is ALWAYS down and the bike cannot operate. SOOOOO, here we are in Hanksville UT, broken down with no way to “hot wire” or...

August 31, 2016

This morning was C-O-L-D!!!! Neither of us slept at all and that pretty much set the stage for the event that would follow today. After a quick cup of coffee, packing up and firing up the bikes, Rod asked if we should head into town for gas and breakfast. I said “it’s up to you” as I yawned. He fired his bike and said we should just get on the trail, Moab wasn’t that far and we’d just fueled up 37 miles ago. So we headed out of camp and picked up the trail a few miles west. We would realize later, this was a BIG mistake.

The ride was beautiful winding up the steep mountain we had just camped on, through the tree line and over. The view changed pretty quick as we got deeper into Utah. More red rock mesas and canyons we were now weaving around above on the rim line. I noticed on the gps we kept going south. I said to Rod several times it seemed odd that we’d go so far south yet Moab was definitely north of Monticello. As we got deeper into the remote area, Rod started getting dehydrated a...

August 31, 2016

The morning was clear and cold as we crawled out of our tents in Ouray Colorado. A quick walk to the café brought hot coffee and some tasty pancakes. Warmed up and full, we cleared camp and headed for Utah. We had discussed the night before our route and came to the decision not to travel over Imogene Pass. It’s even higher and steeper than Engineer Pass and is rated a 5. Rod’s 950 just isn’t running well up above 11,000 ft and we didn’t think it was worth risking injury or worse if something happened as we made the climb. So we headed for Telluride and then on through Lizard Head Pass and the Uncompahgre National forest for our final destination of Dove Creek. The ride was beautiful and pretty calm. Passed through the little town of Ridgway where they filmed the original True Grit with John Wayne. The old buildings from the movie are still in use today. The final passes and seeing the Rockies in our rear view mirrors made me wish we could spend more time here exploring. I’ll definitel...

August 25, 2016

That may be just a line from the fun, enjoyable musical to most of you, but to us it was a nightmare! All day we dealt with 30-40 mph cross winds, which by itself is a bad riding day. Combine that with riding off-road at high speeds, it become dangerous. Add in a sandy or deep gravel riding surface and it’s downright INSANE to even think about riding in it. From the moment we left Alva Oklahoma to when we pulled into the El Rancho motel in Elkhart Kansas, that’s what we had to deal with.

There were some highlights, like riding through some really beautiful ranch land on the Oklahoma-Kansas border, dodging free range cattle. Eating breakfast at the Wildcat Café in Elkhart and meeting what might possibly be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. We’ll just call her “Maria”, she was the owner and her daughter in-law was the cook. It’s was quite an experience in more ways than one. I may have to come back sometime ;)

The people again have been amazing no matter where we go. The lone except...

August 19, 2016

Day 6

We broke camp at Lake Enid MS at daylight and headed west for Arkansas today. We discovered rather quickly that rain is good AND bad. No more dust, cooler temps…Good. Muddy, slimely, slippery roads…BAD! Not too long after hitting the trail, we came to some roads that were pretty muddy. Corey’s back tire, which started life as a 50/50 tire, was now a “slick” when caked with mud. At one point he just sat and spun the tire on level ground in the mud. A few minutes later, the mud trolls grabbed his bike and pulled him down again. This time much harder than the first and I thought he was pinned under the bike. But he popped up and was ok. The heat and humidity, combined with the physical aspect of this kind of riding was brutal. I think I lost 5lbs of water weight in the first 30 minutes.

We finally started getting close to the Mighty Mississippi and even road several levys, which was totally awesome! One got pretty treacherous. It was muddy and rutted, but trying to go around left you...

August 19, 2016

Started the day from Corinth Mississippi at the wonderful Quality Inn. We discovered after checking in that this is likely one of the town hot beds for meth heads and crack heads. I swear I saw several deals go down and the hotel desk clerk confirmed our suspicions. Regardless, it was good to do our laundry, recharge all the electronics, catch up on the blog/videos/website and SLEEP on a real bed!

Once packed and ready to go, we decided to put on our rain gear since rain was likely. We come to the theory that if you wear your rain gear, it will never rain. Later after lunch I broke ranks and removed mine. It POURED 10 minutes later. Lesson learned.

The riding today was a mix nice Mississippi backroads and some gravel forestry roads. While stopped in one town for lunch, the local County Road guy stopped us and said to avoid a certain part of the trail because they were working on the bridges. We rolled the dice and found the roads open and the road crew was kind enough to move the barrica...

August 17, 2016

Headed out of the David Crocket (I guess they wanted to be formal and not call him “Davey” here) State Park headed west. Well, we THOUGHT we’d be heading west! It seems in order for Sam to get more dirt into his new tracks in Tennessee, there’s A LOT of going north to get east to get south to go west! BUT the trade-off was the best riding so far! Some really nice off-road tracks, especially through a pine forest near Collinwood and Lutts Tennessee. Super wide, smooth gravel with big sweeping turns!! PERFECT for fast riding!! We stopped and did some filming of each other riding through here and having a blast doing some sliding around in the gravel. The tracks weren’t too dusty, because we’d been dancing around a huge storm front all day and guaranteed we wouldn’t get wet by putting on our rain gear.

Then we swept down the lake formed by the dam on the Tennessee river area by Waterloo Alabama. Wondering why Sam would drag us down here, we soon found out just west of town when the road tu...

August 17, 2016

We all made a last minute decision a week ago to start from TN, since we all were within driving distance from Tellico Plains, most of the TAT from Cape Hatteras to Asheville is pavement and we’ve ridden just about every track from Asheville to Tellico Plains. So the plan was to meet up at Wayne’s awesome campgrounds, Cherohala Mountain Trail campground on Friday and head out Saturday morning. There was a group doing an “off road riding“ class on Saturday, so we got the pleasure of meeting some awesome people both taking the class and teaching it. We “crashed” their party and ended up hanging with them until midnight!

Saturday morning came too early and packing one more time to make sure I had everything took some time (sorry Rod), but we got out on the trail and suddenly, everything was right with the world. The bikes seemed to all be working great and we were making pretty good time through the woods, creeks and back roads. We quickly got into GA and zig zigged back and forth from TN...

August 6, 2016

After months of planning, preparation, ordering, installing, fixing, replacing, reinstalling, adjusting, cussing and LOTS of blood, sweat and tear... it's time to head out on my most adventurous trip so far. Crossing these United States on the TranAmerica Trail! 5200 miles of off road tracks linking some of this country's most beautiful sites and scenery. 

I want to give a HUGE shout out to the sponsors and supporters of this adventure, without them we could NOT have been ready! 

Mosko Moto and Wolfman for some tremendous adventure luggage. Eli at KTM Twins for getting us some crucial parts on time! Klim and AlpineStars for the top shelf enduro gear. Motion Pro for your tools and cables. Perun Moto and Rade Garage for the awesome 690 parts and pieces. CJ Designs for the KTM parts. Seat Concepts for the super comfy seat and getting it here in time! Go to the "BIkes" page on the site to see all the other parts we're using on this adventure. THANK YOU ALL!!!

My riding partners (Rod Johns, Co...

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