Saturday, September 6, 2008

Epilogue

Just about everything worked, but here is what I found that worked exceptionally well:

1. The bike. 2008 KTM EXC-R 450, what more can I say? It just worked. Being nearly brand new probably helped too though. I changed the .6 liters of engine oil about every 2 days going through about 8 or 9 liters of high quality oil (either Motorex or Mobil 1). This wasn’t such a hassle for me as I had plenty of time each night and carrying 3 liters of oil at all times wasn’t so bad. Here is a link to all of my farkle.

2. Moose Heavy Duty Tire Tubes. They didn’t bust, enough said.

3. Wolfman Small Expedition Rear Bag. I never had to thing about this bag. It didn’t burn on the exhaust (I had about a 1/8th inch gap), it didn’t tear while I was beating it around and dropping the bike, it didn’t move around and required no modifications to the bike and had surprisingly few re-tightens. Good stuff.

4. Enduro Engineering Comfort Seat: I had monkey butt only one day. And that was because I was wearing old cotton underwear and sliding around in the seat and heat all day. Otherwise, monkey butt was not an issue.

5. Scott’s Steering Stabilizer. It’s expensive but well worth the investment. Mandatory suspension upgrade in my book.

6. My laptop! How? I dunno, I fell directly on it in NV and I’m still typing on it right now. HP Pavilion dv1000.

7. Sicass Racing Rearview Mirror. I never had to put a screwdriver on it once. One less thing to worry about.

8. Under Armour Base 1.0 Crew Long-sleeve shirt. Quick dry.

9. MSR ISDE Pant. Big pockets placed perfectly. Quality material.

10. Garmin GPSMap 478. Yes I had mapping problems but that was solely my fault. The battery issue was not, but I was running off the bike’s electrical system. Other than that, it’s bulletproof.

11. Keen sandals: Perfect in every way… except fashion.



What failed to meet my expectations:

1. Firstgear Master Waterproof Summer Rain Gloves: Once wet, virtually impossible to get on and off. And what are they doing wet in the first place?

2. Cotton underwear: leave it at home

3. Fox coolmax socks: Still wet…



What I would have done differently:

1. Purchased a quality voice recorder. I thought I would remember all the thoughts that I had throughout the trip, but I didn’t. I’m sure it would be easy to rig it up to make it easy to record on the fly.

2. Ride longer. I rarely rode past 4pm and never in the dark. Had I rode longer I could have…

3. Scheduled more side trips and soak in the historical sites a bit more.

4. Not drink so much. Riding the TAT is too much fun in and of itself, drinking too much that one night set me back a little bit and spoiled some fun.

5. ATGATT. This would have saved some road rash and possibly two fractured bones (I’d still wheelie all the gas out though)



Lessons Learned:

1. I didn’t really learn anything “new”, however a lot of the teaching of my parents and all the little idioms and sayings we hear everyday were reinforced… “the hard way”.

2. Patience

3. Sacrifice

4. I learned (and I’m still learning) more about myself. I learned that I’m a pretty good “leader” when I’m by myself and like to be a “follower” when in a group. I’m most definitely an introvert, not necessarily always shy or depressed, but I gain energy through introspect rather than yapping it up with others. There are also many attributes about myself (riding skills and degree of kindness come to mind) that I thought were higher than they really were. As I told several people that I met along the way, “this has been a very humbling experience”.

5. If you have no other choice but to ride through a flock of birds, keep your line.

6. If you stall out on a steep slope, and it’s possible to turn around, just go back down and go back up faster than your first try… you can wear yourself out trying to pick up where you left off.

7. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, it’s truly contagious, just like cruelty and disrespect are.



Final thoughts:

1. Seeing the environment and climate changes first hand is priceless.

2. Sam Correro, creator of the TAT, is a true pioneer, well deserving of all credit.

3. If you have the desire to do this (not everyone does) or something similar… make it happen.

4. I need to do this sort of thing much more often. I still have a lot to explore and learn.



A friend asked me when I got home to sum up my trip in a few words… that’s easy: Mind-expanding.



Trip Favorites:

Favorite Sight: Crater Lake (I know, I know, not very original, but it’s the truth)

Favorite Scent: The array of pines and evergreens riding through Oregon.

Favorite Sound: Mountainside brooks

Favorite Taste: Fried Chicken meal in Oark, AR!!! Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!

Favorite Feel: All the kind people.

6 comments:

jpwood said...

Nick,

You did a great job of documenting your trip. I really enjoyed it. Don't worry about finding all the answers in the end. "Life is a journey, not a destination - we determine our destiny by the direction we take." You are headed in the right direction.

Bill said...

Nick,

I just have to say thanks for sharing your experience. I stayed up until 2:00am last night only to fall asleep wondering what was going to happen on day 19. I promptly awoke at 7:00am to resume finnish up reading about your experience. I know this tale is 2 years old but i'll post anyway. I'm in the beginning phases of planning the second half of this trip with a buddy of min, Colorado to Oregon. It WILL happen about a year from now. Until then i'll have to suffer and patiently wait for my own TAT adventure to begin.

Thanks again!

Skip Close said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You have stoked the fire in me to do this ride! I am 60 and retired so I have the time - but I would like to have someride to ride it with me since I'm not bulletproof anymore. Experience does that to you! Thanks again!!

TransAm Trail July 2016 said...

Nick,

Thank you for such a complete and detailed journal of your ride! 15 or so friends of mine used to ride together in California racing desert & motocross. We have all (physically) grown up and probably average a little over 60 years of age. The idea came up from one friend who has made the journey and so far 8 have signed up for a July 2016 start date. I decided to set up a blog instead of a facebook page for everyone to collaborate and wanted to populate it with some content and came across your blog. I have posted much of your material there and would like to leave it up with your permission. I'd also like to invite you along for the ride if you would be interested. We will be taking at least one truck along to carry the kit, spares, food, beer and possibly some gas if there is any room left over.

Although we have a few years on us, none of these guys are amateurs and most have completed Barstow to Vegas and a few have ridden the Baja 1000, more than once. It should be a blast. You can see the humble beginnings of our blog at transamtrail2016.blogspot.com.

Thanks again for your inspiring report.

Best,
Peter
pclloyd@gmail.com

Nick Dillon said...

Hey, Peter. Glad you enjoyed the report! Feel free to use any material here you wish to. Thanks for the invite, who knows, I may get the urge to go again, ha. Just watch those slippery rocks in TN mate! Enjoy the ride.

Nick.

Joe S said...

This was a great read. I just got back into riding & just being on the bike enjoying the sights reminds me why I came back.
You had detailed descriptions and very good photos. It also looks like you did your best to save $ where you could. I was curious as to the overall cost of your adventure.