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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 2 Post By brucegraydon
  • 2 Post By JMo (& piglet)
  • 1 Post By JMo (& piglet)
  • 1 Post By cyclopathic
  • 1 Post By Grant Johnson

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  #1  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Trans america trail (tat)

From Australia, retiring (60) late this year and planning on riding the TAT next year, in about May 2025. Riding solo and keen to join up with others who want to ride west to east. I will be following the GPS Kevin route.

Curious to know from the experienced if it is likely I will meet up with others naturally, but equally keen to meet anyone who may be planning the same adventure and looking for a ride buddy.

Cheers to all,

Bruce Graydon
Brisbane, Australia
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Hi Bruce - you'll have a great trip I'm sure...

A few things based on your comments - first of all, try and leave it until the end of May if you can, as there can still be snow at the higher elevations in Colorado as late as mid-June and beyond, and it would be a shame for you to come all this way and miss out on those sections - they are the literal and metaphorical high-light of the route.

Also, with that in mind, it is almost inevitable that you will have to adjust your planned route along the way - due to weather, closed roads/landslides/snow etc. so just keep that in mind - and I would also strongly recommend you consider purchasing the 'official' TAT route from Sam Correro (it's not expensive for the GPS track downloads, and you don't really need to buy his paper maps too if you know how to translate a GPS track onto a map yourself), since not only is that more up to date than the 'crowd sourced' GPS Kevin route, but it also incorporates a more diverse route with additional points of interest (northern Utah, Idaho etc) than the GPS Kevin route/s, which were based on the original East-West route Sam developed, but has subsequently got a number of dead-ends/private property etc. particularly in Nevada if you are ultimately heading to the Oregon coast rather than Kevins southern LA option.

In either case, you really ought to consider the prescribed routes as a guide - You still have over a year to plan you own trip, and having both sets of tracks will allow you to incorporate all the things YOU might want to see en route - plus it will offer you some alternatives if you want an easier or harder time of it at a particular juncture.

As for meeting people en route - as you might imagine, most people tend to travel from East to West, and are all going to be riding at a similar pace - so you may or may not meet other riders... If you do it's typically at a restaurant or campsite at the end of each day, otherwise in my experience you tend to be very much on your own - although you'll meet plenty of friendly restaurant owners and hoteliers etc. (many of whom welcome 'TAT travellers') if you choose to frequent such establishments.

Hope that gives you something to go on... if you want a taster of what you might expect, there is my 2015 Trans-Am 500 ride report here on the HUBB... plus the second half of this trip here which loosely follows GPS Kevin's southern route west of Colorado, while this trip from 2018 here, features the more recent updates to Sam's route on the east side of the country.

Have fun!

Jenny x
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Originally Posted by brucegraydon View Post
From Australia, retiring (60) late this year and planning on riding the TAT next year, in about May 2025. Riding solo and keen to join up with others who want to ride west to east. I will be following the GPS Kevin route.



Curious to know from the experienced if it is likely I will meet up with others naturally, but equally keen to meet anyone who may be planning the same adventure and looking for a ride buddy.



Cheers to all,



Bruce Graydon

Brisbane, Australia
I had done TAT a couple years back using mostly gpsKevin's tracks with older Sam's tracks as backup and in my experience you want to have both but if I were doing it again I would still follow Kevin's and use Sam's as backup. For following reasons:

- gpsKevin's tracks are better sampling quality. On more than one occasion I would come to 5-way intersection and it wasn't clear which one of 3 left did you have to take. Sam's tracks would be 40' off the road going straight off the cliff.

- Kevin's tracks split in sections which start and end at the gas station, so san possible detours you know exactly how many miles to the next gas stop. Sam doesn't give you that info, unless you pay for it. One year I rode for a while with a guy through western Oklahoma who had Sam's tracks and he ended up following me after running out of the gas. You would also have fuel anxiety in Nevada and eastern Oregon/California.

- generally speaking you could count on tracks getting easier when Sam's tracks rejoined, and harder when they left

- Northern Nevada is absolutely beautiful and newer Sam's tracks avoid it because it was "too hard". You don't want to miss it. On other hand Sam's tracks go to Bonneville, so you might want to mark it as a side trip. There are also big Salt flats in Oklahoma, about 20min south of the tracks but for whatever reason neither Sam's nor Kevin's go there.. recommend.

+ Kevin's route has alternates green for easier, red for harder. East of Mississippi red is a joke but in Colorado it includes Black Bear and the Rainbow trail those tracks are better taken on 250-450 dirt bike

- Sam's vs Kevin's is a hot topic fueled by Sam himself as he is loosing money on it. I had that conversation with Sam's guy at the top of Imogene, who was trying to tell me that TAT doesn't go through here, and that Kevin is a thief and his tracks are going through private land. Notwithstanding that Sam's tracks go through private land too, and as stealing goes some of Sam's tracks were based on tracks done by other people earlier.. figure out.

- ride doesn't really start until you get to Lake City. From there gpsKevin's TAT takes you over Engineer (relatively easy), then part of Alpine loop south to Ouray dropping you on million dollar highway just north of the town. That section can be hard, depending on the year. Easy option takes you north towards Silverton.. Sam's tracks take Cinnamon then Animos Forks, California, Hurricane and Corkscrew. The biggest difference after crossing US-550 Kevin's main goes over Imogene and Sam's and Kev's green over Ophir.

- having Sam's tracks proved to be useful in Oregon they helped me to avoid road blocks and snick between active fires. Oregon was burning for several months back in '21.

- Kevin's tracks is basically improved revision of Sam's 2014 tracks JMo rode.. and they went downhill ever since.

Also last but not least there's virtually no dirt in eastern North Carolina until you start getting to Asheville, so it doesn't make sense to start from Outer Banks. If I were doing it again I would start from NYC using Kevin's NYC branch. It is based on now defunct TET and it has better riding I have done some of it in the past.

EDIT: May is too early to start TAT there will be snow on Colorado passes. In the past if winter was snowy some of them were not clean until August. To be on the safe side I would plan to be in Colorado around the 4th of July.

Last edited by cyclopathic; 3 Weeks Ago at 15:14.
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A few things to consider based on what Cyclopathic mentions above:

Sam changed the route which cuts diagonally across Nevada from Baker to Denio for a number of reasons - not that it is 'too hard' per se, rather than if you are riding Colorado during July when the snow ought to be gone, then it can be hellishly hot in Nevada end of July/August, plus there is a lot of sand which riders on larger (and overloaded) bikes are likely to struggle with, particularly since they will have been on the road already for three weeks or so.

There are also issues these days with Sam's original Nevada route due to mining operations (I rode this original section again in 2020), plus, when he made the major changes in 2015, it was because Denio Junction (the only fuel for 160 miles) was no longer selling fuel...

Subsequently however, Denio Junction is now trading again for fuel (and food and a small motel) so it is viable to go that route if you wish, as long as you're aware that parts are very remote, and there are a number of soft sandy sections - so choose your bike/luggage accordingly.

Similarly, as Cyclopathic mentions above - GPS Kevin's 'hard' routes in places are very much suited to more experienced riders for smaller dual-sport style bikes rather than heffers like the KLR and larger twin-cylinder 'adventure' bikes which a lot of people these days end up riding the TAT on - which is why I suspect Sam changed his route over the years to make the trip more manageable for these riders (he knows his audience) - again, as I suggested previously, I would get both routes and use those to plan your own cross-country TAT, based on your own experience and what kind of bike you plan to ride.

Don't forget there are no prizes for riding either of these TAT routes, they are just a guide which link together a series of good unpaved roads and trails across the country, and pass by a few interesting places to visit. Also be honest with yourself what you actually want out of the trip - and if that is to finish, and not have to bail out early because of damage, fatigue or injury, then plot your own route accordingly.

Personally, unless you absolutely want to say you've ridden from coast to coast, then from an off-road perspective the 'good stuff' really starts once you get to Colorado and west, so it's perfectly feasible to plot a triangular route on the west side of the US which uses Kevin's southern Spur and Sam's Northern/main route (which goes via Idaho into Oregon) and then back down south via the California BDR route to get the best of both...

However if you do want to ride coast to coast, then for foreign visitors at least, I'd agree with Cyclo' and perhaps consider starting in New York (if you want to visit there) and head south for Virginia and perhaps take in parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Mid Atlantic BDR route (which is basically the same Route Sam now follows through his Virginia section, since there really is only one main through-route on dirt in this area), and continue on his TAT in North Carolina (you go close to Asheville, and also the Tail-of-the Dragon on the Tennessee border).

If you are starting earlier in the year (and have plenty of time) then it's worth continuing west on his TAT route if you want to do the tourist thing - you're not far from both the Jack Daniel's distillery and also Memphis if you want to visit Graceland for example - but other than the odd section in Arkansas, you're probably better off streamlining through Oklahoma and pick up the TAT 'proper' once you get to Boise City OK in the west end of the Panhandle, and dip into New Mexico before you reach Trinidad CO, which you can the plot a through route using either Sam or Kevin's tracks (plus I would suggest a side trip up to Cripple Creek and Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs) depending on the bike you've chosen and how much of a 'challenge' you're looking for.

fwiw. Personally I would follow the Engineer, California and Corkscrew Pass (Sam's route), then head down Hwy 550 to Ouray and go over Imogene Pass to Telluride - however, there is one spot on the east side of Imogene which is very steep and loose and tough on a big bike unless you are very committed.

I'd suggest that Ophir Pass is the least impressive of all the crossings there, and certainly heading west and down the tailings, ought not to prove too much of a challenge for a larger bike - although personally, I'd suggest you turn left after you join the highway 550 from Corkscrew Pass and ride the 'Million Dollar Highway' south to Silverton, and then continue down to the Purgatory Ski resort (and even visit Durango a few miles further south, especially if you like steam trains!) and take Hayden pass across the mountains, and rejoin the original TAT route on the far side.

As for Sam's 2015/18 reroute in western Utah, it's worth the visit to Bonnieville - particularly as at that time of year there ought to be some speed-week testing going on (as long as the lake is dry), and Promontory Summit (where the trans-continental railroad joined) is also worth seven of your tourist dollars.

Also, Sam's Idaho route via Arco, Ketchum and Featherville (with a side trip up to Trinity Mountain) is definitely recommended, and then personally speaking I would do what I did back in 2015 (before Sam had plotted his route though the middle of Oregon), and head south west from Boise/Mountain Home along the old ION trail to Denio Junction in Northern Nevada, and then ride Kevin/Sam's original route from there all the way to the Oregon Coast.

Hope that gives you something to go on - as I say, you're not going to be able to follow either route 'inch perfect' anyway, so you might as well get both and together with a couple of the BDR maps too, spend some time and custom build your own 'TAT' which takes in as much of what you might want to see, and provides as much or as little of a technical challenge as you feel prudent.

Jx

Last edited by JMo (& piglet); 3 Weeks Ago at 16:13.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
A few things to consider based on what Cyclopathic mentions above:

Sam changed the route which cuts diagonally across Nevada from Baker to Denio for a number of reasons - not that it is 'too hard' per se, rather than if you are riding Colorado during July when the snow ought to be gone, then it can be hellishly hot in Nevada end of July/August, plus there is a lot of sand which riders on larger (and overloaded) bikes are likely to struggle with, particularly since they will have been on the road already for three weeks or so.

There are also issues these days with Sam's original Nevada route due to mining operations (I rode this original section again in 2020), plus, when he made the major changes in 2015, it was because Denio Junction (the only fuel for 160 miles) was no longer selling fuel...

Subsequently however, Denio Junction is now trading again for fuel (and food and a small motel) so it is viable to go that route if you wish, as long as you're aware that parts are very remote, and there are a number of soft sandy sections - so choose your bike/luggage accordingly.

Similarly, as Cyclopathic mentions above - GPS Kevin's 'hard' routes in places are very much suited to more experienced riders for smaller dual-sport style bikes rather than heffers like the KLR and larger twin-cylinder 'adventure' bikes which a lot of people these days end up riding the TAT on - which is why I suspect Sam changed his route over the years to make the trip more manageable for these riders (he knows his audience) - again, as I suggested previously, I would get both routes and use those to plan your own cross-country TAT, based on your own experience and what kind of bike you plan to ride.

Don't forget there are no prizes for riding either of these TAT routes, they are just a guide which link together a series of good unpaved roads and trails across the country, and pass by a few interesting places to visit. Also be honest with yourself what you actually want out of the trip - and if that is to finish, and not have to bail out early because of damage, fatigue or injury, then plot your own route accordingly.

Personally, unless you absolutely want to say you've ridden from coast to coast, then from an off-road perspective the 'good stuff' really starts once you get Colorado and west, so it's perfectly feasible to plot a triangular route on the west side of the US which uses Kevin's southern Spur and Sam's Northern/main route (which goes via Idaho into Oregon) and then back down south via the California BDR route to get the best of both...

However if you do want to ride coast to coast, then for foreign visitors at least, I'd agree with Cyclo' and perhaps consider starting in New York (if you want to visit there) and head south for Virginia and perhaps take in parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Mid Atlantic BDR route (which is basically the same Route Sam now follows through his Virginia section, since there really is only one man through route on dirt in this area), and continue on his TAT in North Carolina (you go close to Asheville, and also the Tail-of-the Dragon on the Tennessee border).

If you are starting earlier in the year (and have plenty of time) then it's worth continuing west on his TAT route if you want to do the tourist thing - you're not far from both the Jack Daniel's distillery and also Memphis if you want to visit Graceland for example - but other than the odd section in Arkansas, you're probably better off streamlining through Oklahoma and pick up the TAT 'proper' once you get to Boise City OK in the west end of the Panhandle, and dip into New Mexico before you reach Trinidad CO, which you can the plot a through route using either Sam or Kevin's tracks (plus I would suggest a side trip up to Cripple Creek and Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs) depending on the bike you've chosen and how much of a 'challenge' you're looking for.

fwiw. Personally I would follow the Engineer, California and Corkscrew Pass (Sam's route), then head down Hwy 550 to Ouray and go over Imogene Pass to Telluride - however, there if one spot on the east side of Imogene which is very steep and loose and tough on a big bike unless you are very committed.

I'd suggest that Ophir Pass is the least impressive of all the crossings there, and certainly heading west and down the tailings, ought not to prove too much of a challenge for a larger bike - although personally, I'd suggest you turn left after you join the highway 550 from Corkscrew Pass and ride the 'Million Dollar Highway' south to Silverton, and then continue down to the Purgatory Ski resort (and even visit Durango a few miles further south, especially if you like steam trains!) and take Hayden pass across the mountains, and rejoin the original TAT route on the far side.

As for Sam's 2015/18 reroute in western Utah, it's worth the visit to Bonnieville - particularly as at that time of year there ought to be some speed-week testing going on (as long as the lake is dry), and Promontory Summit (where the trans-continental railroad joined) is also worth seven of your tourist dollars.

Also, Sam's Idaho route via Arco, Ketchum and Featherville (with a side trip up to Trinity Mountain) is definitely recommended, and then personally speaking I would do what I did back in 2015 (before Sam had plotted his route though the middle of Oregon), and head south west from Boise/Mountain Home along the old ION trail to Denio Junction in Northern Nevada, and then ride Kevin/Sam's original route from there all the way to the Oregon Coast.

Hope that gives you something to go on - as I say, you're not going to be able to follow either route 'inch perfect' anyway, so you might as well get both and together with a couple of the BDR maps too, spend some time and custom build your own 'TAT' which takes in as much of what you might want to see, and provides as much or as little of a technical challenge as you feel prudent.

Jx
That sounds like a lame excuse. There's a pump north of Denio in the Fields, and that's where Kevin's route goes through. Unfortunately I came there after 6 o'clock and not feeling like camping till morning I kept going.. it was 205mi to Baker, so I didn't have to get out my emergency fuel bottle.

Hot in nothern Nevada? It's as far north as Boston, and 6,000' high. I was there early September, it snowed. Mud fest. A girl in the local station burger joint told me that it does get hot there in summer, around 95F (35C) tops. Vegas it is not. Oklahoma will be hotter for sure.

What makes Kevin's tracks harder he added a few ATV trails to Sam's route, and he didn't skip Black Dragon and Eagle Washes, too. And that double black diamond trail with the sign on book and climb out of Emory, sand and rocks. If it rains hard it can be harder than Imogene.

Haven't done Idaho but a couple whom we met multiple times since eastern Arkansas said that it was lame.. and they thought Animos Fork was hard.

Western side of Ophir can be hard, if it was a wet summer. It depends on the year, there had been some big slides over the years. It was harder than western side of Imogene on wet summer.

BTW the whole Cinnamon -> Animos Forks -> California -> Hurricane -> Corkscrew -> Ophir is the repeat of Colorado BDR in reverse.

IMHO Mid-Atlantic BDR whilest also based on TET is easier, they cut out harder parts in favor of visiting historic civil war sites.. rode both. Not that there's anything exceptional, TAT doesn't really start until Late City.

I realize that the whole Sam vs Kevin is sort of Chevy vs Ford dispute, people swore their allegiance and stay tribal. Also there were many changes to Sam's route, they're not now what they were back in 2014 or 2017. His main route now doesn't even go to Orford, no western Oregon.

If I were to do it again I would ride Kevin's tracks from NYC to San Diego, but I don't think I can make that staircase up in Lockhart coming from the north, solo on a loaded ADV bike. I tried to ride SD branch once, but because of the draught ferry across Lake Powell was out, and the gas stations were out too.

IMHO NYC to costal Oregon coast is the best option not too hard not too easy, just right.
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Originally Posted by cyclopathic View Post
That sounds like a lame excuse. There's a pump north of Denio in the Fields, and that's where Kevin's route goes through. Unfortunately I came there after 6 o'clock and not feeling like camping till morning I kept going.. it was 205mi to Baker, so I didn't have to get out my emergency fuel bottle.

Hot in nothern Nevada? It's as far north as Boston, and 6,000' high. I was there early September, it snowed. Mud fest. A girl in the local station burger joint told me that it does get hot there in summer, around 95F (35C) tops. Vegas it is not. Oklahoma will be hotter for sure.

What makes Kevin's tracks harder he added a few ATV trails to Sam's route, and he didn't skip Black Dragon and Eagle Washes, too. And that double black diamond trail with the sign on book and climb out of Emory, sand and rocks. If it rains hard it can be harder than Imogene.

Haven't done Idaho but a couple whom we met multiple times since eastern Arkansas said that it was lame.. and they thought Animos Fork was hard.

Western side of Ophir can be hard, if it was a wet summer. It depends on the year, there had been some big slides over the years. It was harder than western side of Imogene on wet summer.

BTW the whole Cinnamon -> Animos Forks -> California -> Hurricane -> Corkscrew -> Ophir is the repeat of Colorado BDR in reverse.

IMHO Mid-Atlantic BDR whilest also based on TET is easier, they cut out harder parts in favor of visiting historic civil war sites.. rode both. Not that there's anything exceptional, TAT doesn't really start until Late City.

I realize that the whole Sam vs Kevin is sort of Chevy vs Ford dispute, people swore their allegiance and stay tribal. Also there were many changes to Sam's route, they're not now what they were back in 2014 or 2017. His main route now doesn't even go to Orford, no western Oregon.

If I were to do it again I would ride Kevin's tracks from NYC to San Diego, but I don't think I can make that staircase up in Lockhart coming from the north, solo on a loaded ADV bike. I tried to ride SD branch once, but because of the draught ferry across Lake Powell was out, and the gas stations were out too.

IMHO NYC to costal Oregon coast is the best option not too hard not too easy, just right.
Again, I feel you're missing the point - the reason Sam changed/continues to change his route is to keep things fresh, and to reflect the changing demographic of his client base (mainly older riders, on larger bikes) - by adding in more points of interest en route than simply trying to string as many 'hard-core' trails together across the country...

All of his original trails are still there on the ground if you want to incorporate them (including Hancock and Tomichi passes in Colorado - although they have been trashed by SxSs these days unfortunately - plus Tomichi suffers from land-slides each year, and since it is not a county-maintained road, it's touch-and-go whether you could get through with a vehicle at all until the local 4x4 club have been up there) which is another reason why Sam felt it no longer appropriate to send his clients along that particular set of trails.

Ultimately though, if you want something different, and are appropriately experienced and on the right bike, crack-on and incorporate as many of Kevin's red options into your own route - that is what I've been suggesting all along - get both sets of suggestions, study them, and put together your own ultimate 'trail' which suits you and your machine.


fwiw. There are any number of TAT ride reports from people who seriously underestimated their ability and stamina to ride consecutive days on rough terrain for weeks on end, never mind their actual talent when it comes to more challenging off-road terrain... and typically have either had enough by Moab, or broken themselves and their bikes somewhere along the route already.

Regarding a few of your comments above - Black Dragon - yep, great trail, and in my opinion Sam really should have kept that in instead of that silly 100 mile loop south to see a VW with a fence around it...

Temperature in Northern Nevada - you were there in September, I was there in the middle of July and it was over 100°F between Baker and Battle Mountain - and regardless, because of the mining operations south of Battle Mountain (and some other private areas) Sam elected to change his route to go past Bonnieville and Promontory Summit, which for visitors to the USA (and even US riders unfamiliar with this part of the USA) is likely to be more interesting than endless soft trails across the desert - there is still plenty of desert east of Baker to give you a taste without things getting tedious.

As for your [second-hand] comment regarding Idaho - I can only presume those riders went along the southern Idaho [boarder] route Sam has now included as part of his route west, while what is now his loop back east from Boise/Idaho City was actually the original east-west route to the coast - which he subsequently reversed for those riding from west to east along his new northern route.

In addition, it is worth noting that from 2018 (and until 2021 as I recall) the trail which runs along the South Fork Boise River from Ketchum to Featherville which Sam utilised, was closed due to a huge landslide and subsequent repair/re-route and only re-opened a couple of years ago - hence previously having to come up with an alternative route west further south... these days there is nothing stopping you riding it in the original east-west direction if you're heading for the Oregon coast though.

Similarly, he still offers a 'Pacific spur' if you do want to go all the way to port Orford and cross the country, but now there is also the 'loop' option for those riders who have the time to return back across the country following a different [northern] route - and why that Arco / Ketchum / Featherville / Trinity / Idaho City section is now shown as the return [east] rather than the outbound [west] route.

Regardless of who's route you initially base your own trip on, once you have the GPS tracks (and look at a map where these routes pass though), there is nothing stopping you riding a certain portion in a different direction, adding in your own option, or missing some parts out all together if personal circumstances dictate...

At the end of the day, there are [primarily] two guys who have mapped out and published their suggested through-route across the country, and you can choose either or both and will have a great time regardless... You aren't going to see everything (or even everything they individually recommend due to the almost inevitable weather, road-closures and other unforeseen diversions) - so as I've endeavoured to suggest all along: gather as much route information as you can - including some of the BDR and other maps/atlases too - and piece together a route which suits your own circumstances.

Jx

Last edited by JMo (& piglet); 3 Weeks Ago at 16:17.
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@JMo (& piglet) on "missing the point"

Here's the latest Sam's route off his site (pic#1, marked red). It doesn't start on the Atlantic coast, and it doesn't end on the Pacific coast. Not sure why he has the audacity to call it "Trans" American Trail. For comparison gpsKevin's TAT (pic#2)

Second, compare how much Sam charges and how much Kevin. You can still have his route free if you don't want to buy the SD card.


EDIT: personally I would prefer to have the EU TET or RideBDR type of model for maintaining the TAT route, but when I suggested it I was shouted at by Sam's goons.
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
.

Ultimately though, if you want something different, and are appropriately experienced and on the right bike, crack-on and incorporate as many of Kevin's red options into your own route - that is what I've been suggesting all along - get both sets of suggestions, study them, and put together your own ultimate 'trail' which suits you and your machine.


fwiw. There are any number of TAT ride reports from people who seriously underestimated their ability and stamina to ride consecutive days on rough terrain for weeks on end, never mind their actual talent when it comes to more challenging off-road terrain... and typically have either had enough by Moab, or broken themselves and their bikes somewhere along the route already.

Regarding a few of your comments above - Black Dragon - yep, great trail, and in my opinion Sam really should have kept that in instead of that silly 100 mile loop south to see a VW with a fence around it...

Temperature in Northern Nevada - you were there in September, I was there in the middle of July and it was over 100°F between Baker and Battle Mountain - and regardless, because of the mining operations south of Battle Mountain (and some other private areas) Sam elected to change his route to go past Bonnieville and Promontory Summit, which for visitors to the USA (and even US riders unfamiliar with this part of the USA) is likely to be more interesting than endless soft trails across the desert - there is still plenty of desert east of Baker to give you a taste without things getting tedious.

As for your [second-hand] comment regarding Idaho - I can only presume those riders went along the southern Idaho [boarder] route Sam has now included as part of his route west, while what is now his loop back east from Boise/Idaho City was actually the original east-west route to the coast - which he subsequently reversed for those riding from west to east along his new northern route.

Jx
Battle Mountain? That brings memories. I stepped on a trash bag over oil slick at the gas station there, and hurt my knee. Couldn't walk or stand on the bike for a few days. If you like riding in that area, check out RM battle rides.

100F doesn't sound bad at all since it will be only an hour or two in the afternoon, and it is ~50F in the morning, so it is very dry. For comparison it will be 104F at 10am around Vegas.. and it will get worse. And don't even talk about low lands, Mojave.

And for the [second-hand] comment the guy was on an electric road bike (Zero DS), I think they followed 2017 tracks through Idaho. He is sort of a celebrity IIRC he was the first to do TAT on electric bike.

I was initially planning to ride Idaho tracks back east and then cross south of Jellystone and continue on Sam's loop to Minnesota, but ended up going to Canada to visit friends. Alternatively you could make similar ride utilizing BDR-X and BDR connectors, at least around black hills.

Not sure why someone would have difficulty and decide to quit in Moab, perhaps they were on a wrong bike or have unrealistic expectations. The section between Lake City and Oregon is the ride, everything prior and after just a warm up
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Originally Posted by cyclopathic View Post
@JMo (& piglet) on "missing the point"

Here's the latest Sam's route off his site (pic#1, marked red). It doesn't start on the Atlantic coast, and it doesn't end on the Pacific coast. Not sure why he has the audacity to call it "Trans" American Trail. For comparison gpsKevin's TAT (pic#2)

Second, compare how much Sam charges and how much Kevin. You can still have his route free if you don't want to buy the SD card.


EDIT: personally I would prefer to have the EU TET or RideBDR type of model for maintaining the TAT route, but when I suggested it I was shouted at by Sam's goons.

I really don't know why you are arguing? - it seems you're the one trying to perpetuate the 'Sam vs. Kevin' thing...

Sam's map you posted clearly shows the Atlantic Spur (in Yellow) and the Pacific Spur (in green) - and the information is all there on Sam's website... you include those two GPS track packets if you want to ride his current route coast to coast.

As I explained above - Sam continues to evolve his version of the Trans-America Trail - something he's been doing for over twenty years now - and currently is working on a loop back across the country (the main red track on the map) for those who have the time to continue their 'Trans-America' journey in either direction, back to the point where they started - utilising a different route so they can see more of the country.

This second cross-country route which forms the northern part of the loop offers an alternative to the original and/or an addition - typically depending on the time of year for example - in an effort to expand on what was already on offer... note that it also connects to his shadow of the Rockies trail (blue) for those who want to ride a shorter loop around those particular states.

I really don't get your animosity against all this? - you chose to follows Kevin's route (with Sam's as 'backup') - great... other people may want a different experience and be traveling under different circumstances.

There is no one definitive answer, just like there is no one definitive route. These are all public roads/trails across the country to begin with, someone has just done a lot of the hard work of route planning for you - but it's still up to you to put the final details together if there is specifically something you want out of your TAT trip - which is what I have been saying all along.


As for any respective cost for this information - that is your choice... Sam put a lot of work into plotting the 'original' TAT route (including riding every inch of what he defines, on both a bike and latterly on an ATV) and continues to do so well into his 80s now. If you don't want to pay what he is asking for his particular route, don't. But if you want his route, that's the deal.

Conversely with the increased usage of GPS tracking/mapping and online file-sharing etc. Kevin took Sam's original route, and modified it with a few of his own suggestions/preferences and initially started to share it for free (which is why there is still a degree of animosity between Sam and Kevin I suspect) together with crowd-sourcing some others using local knowledge (ie. similar to the TET model you propose). However, the issue with this model is that different 'scouts' have different abilities, which is why Kevin ultimately had to incorporate easy and hard options so that people didn't get in over their heads on certain sections, potentially ruining the rest of their cross-country trip.

There is also the issue (much as there is with the TET in Europe) that keeping on top of private land and other road closures and restrictions can be harder to keep up to date - and I suspect the reason Kevin now charges for his TAT routes too is in an effort to try and maintain the integrity of his route more than he might have done in the past?

Like I said, if you want to do this for free - the roads and trails are all there on the ground, and open to the public... get the maps of the states you want to visit and spend as much time as you like plotting your own cross country route.

However, if you want a head-start (or don't have the time or inclination) you can also purchase a defined route [from either Sam or Kevin] where a lot of that hard work already done for you - and pick and choose those elements which most appeal to you - and certainly for anyone living outside of the USA (such as the OP of this thread) it would make sense to at least start with those pre-determined routes to give you an indication of where the stuff worth seeing is.

Jx

Last edited by JMo (& piglet); 3 Weeks Ago at 19:01.
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Originally Posted by cyclopathic View Post
Battle Mountain? That brings memories. I stepped on a trash bag over oil slick at the gas station there, and hurt my knee. Couldn't walk or stand on the bike for a few days. If you like riding in that area, check out RM battle rides.

100F doesn't sound bad at all since it will be only an hour or two in the afternoon, and it is ~50F in the morning, so it is very dry. For comparison it will be 104F at 10am around Vegas.. and it will get worse. And don't even talk about low lands, Mojave.

And for the [second-hand] comment the guy was on an electric road bike (Zero DS), I think they followed 2017 tracks through Idaho. He is sort of a celebrity IIRC he was the first to do TAT on electric bike.

I was initially planning to ride Idaho tracks back east and then cross south of Jellystone and continue on Sam's loop to Minnesota, but ended up going to Canada to visit friends. Alternatively you could make similar ride utilizing BDR-X and BDR connectors, at least around black hills.

Not sure why someone would have difficulty and decide to quit in Moab, perhaps they were on a wrong bike or have unrealistic expectations. The section between Lake City and Oregon is the ride, everything prior and after just a warm up
I think that is the crux of the conversation - it all depends on who you are and what bike you're on... 100°F would be murder if you were all togged up in a Klim 'adventure' suit on a 1200GS loaded with hard-luggage and spare tyres, constantly dropping your behemoth on a sandy two-track in the middle of the desert.

Conversely if you are on a lightweight dual-sport, with minimalist luggage, fit and experienced, nothing in even Kevin's 'hard' routes ought to be overly taxing (although like you say, 'dirt-bike' routes such as the Rainbow Trail can still be a bit much, and have caught out plenty of 'cross-country' riders who are already two or three weeks into their trip, with the associated fatigue) - but I suspect the reason Sam has chosen to re-route along 'easier' trails is because he knows the typical customer who wants to purchase a pre-defined route is likely to be less experienced and/or looking for something other than a 'hard-core' challenge as they cross the country?

Certainly those few riders I've met on and around the TAT route tend to be middle-aged and on overloaded bikes like KLRs - not riding 500EXCs with just a tail-pack... and I suspect Sam knows that too.

As for the 'quitting in Moab' thing (just a have a read through some of the TAT reports on ADVrider for example) - again I suspect it because those riders started to suffer the compound effect of riding day-in-and-day-out for at least two weeks by the time they get to Colorado, only to be faced with significantly more challenging terrain and altitude - increasing their fatigue and the chance of making a clumsy mistake. I suspect a lot of people also under-estimate how long it actually takes to ride the complete TAT route (at least as closely as possible, and with the odd stop to sight-see en route) and realise they aren't going to make it all the way to the west coast in the time they allotted.

Ultimately I think you and I are both on the same page here (other than how much the respective predefined route providers ought to charge for their work) - at the end of the day, a pre-defined TAT is just one person's suggested route across (or around) the country... To really make the experience unique, and fundamentally suited to your own requirements, it makes sense to gather as much information as you can (BDR routes etc.) together, and plot your own route to take in those elements most important to you, and which is achievable in the time frame you have allowed.

And add a extra week to that ;o)

Jx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I really don't know why you are arguing? - it seems you're the one trying to perpetuate the 'Sam vs. Kevin' thing...

Sam's map you posted clearly shows the Atlantic Spur (in Yellow) and the Pacific Spur (in green) - and the information is all there on Sam's website... you include those two GPS track packets if you want to ride his current route coast to coast.

As I explained above - Sam continues to evolve his version of the Trans-America Trail - something he's been doing for over twenty years now - and currently is working on a loop back across the country (the main red track on the map) for those who have the time to continue their 'Trans-America' journey in either direction, back to the point where they started - utilising a different route so they can see more of the country.

This second cross-country route which forms the northern part of the loop offers an alternative to the original and/or an addition - typically depending on the time of year for example - in an effort to expand on what was already on offer... note that it also connects to his shadow of the Rockies trail (blue) for those who want to ride a shorter loop around those particular states.

I really don't get your animosity against all this? - you chose to follows Kevin's route (with Sam's as 'backup') - great... other people may want a different experience and be traveling under different circumstances.

There is no one definitive answer, just like there is no one definitive route. These are all public roads/trails across the country to begin with, someone has just done a lot of the hard work of route planning for you - but it's still up to you to put the final details together if there is specifically something you want out of your TAT trip - which is what I have been saying all along.


As for any respective cost for this information - that is your choice... Sam put a lot of work into plotting the 'original' TAT route (including riding every inch of what he defines, on both a bike and latterly on an ATV) and continues to do so well into his 80s now. If you don't want to pay what he is asking for his particular route, don't. But if you want his route, that's the deal.

Conversely with the increased usage of GPS tracking/mapping and online file-sharing etc. Kevin took Sam's original route, and modified it with a few of his own suggestions/preferences and initially started to share it for free (which is why there is still a degree of animosity between Sam and Kevin I suspect) together with crowd-sourcing some others using local knowledge (ie. similar to the TET model you propose). However, the issue with this model is that different 'scouts' have different abilities, which is why Kevin ultimately had to be easy and hard options so that people didn't get in over their heads on certain sections, potentially ruining the rest of their cross-country trip.

There is also the issue (much as there is with the TET in Europe) that keeping on top of private land and other road closures and restrictions can be harder to keep up to date - and I suspect the reason Kevin now charges for his TAT routes too is in an effort to try and maintain the integrity of his route more than he might have done in the past?

Like I said, if you want to do this for free - the roads and trails are all there on the ground, and open to the public... get the maps of the states you want to visit and spend as much time as you like plotting your own cross country route.

However, if you want a head-start (or don't have the time or inclination) you can also purchase a defined route [from either Sam or Kevin] where a lot of that hard work already done for you - and pick and choose those elements which most appeal to you - and certainly for anyone living outside of the USA (such as the OP of this thread) it would make sense to at least start with those pre-determined routes to give you an indication of where the stuff worth seeing is.

Jx
I sense self-projection. All I stated was that out of 3 tracks I had on my hands (gpsKevin's and older and newer Sam's) Kevin's were better for several reasons:
- better quality GPX sampling
- better route
- presence of easier/harder alternatives (green/red)
- every section starts and ends at the gas station (and you don't have to pay extra for this)
- NYC branch which is head and shoulders above alternatives (Sam's Atlantic spur, Kevin's main route)
- latest Sam's route is lame, every revision made it worse he gutted it completely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I think that is the crux of the conversation - it all depends on who you are and what bike you're on... 100°F would be murder if you were all togged up in a Klim 'adventure' suit on a 1200GS loaded with hard-luggage and spare tyres, constantly dropping your behemoth on a sandy two-track in the middle of the desert.

Conversely if you are on a lightweight dual-sport, with minimalist luggage, fit and experienced, nothing in even Kevin's 'hard' routes ought to be overly taxing (although like you say, 'dirt-bike' routes such as the Rainbow Trail can still be a bit much, and have caught out plenty of 'cross-country' riders who are already two or three weeks into their trip, with the associated fatigue) - but I suspect the reason Sam has chosen to re-route along 'easier' trails is because he knows the typical customer who wants to purchase a pre-defined route is likely to be less experienced and/or looking for something other than a 'hard-core' challenge as they cross the country?

Certainly those few riders I've met on and around the TAT route tend to be middle-aged and on overloaded bikes like KLRs - not riding 500EXCs with just a tail-pack... and I suspect Sam knows that too.

As for the 'quitting in Moab' thing (just a have a read through some of the TAT reports on ADVrider for example) - again I suspect it because those riders started to suffer the compound effect of riding day-in-and-day-out for at least two weeks by the time they get to Colorado, only to be faced with significantly more challenging terrain and altitude - increasing their fatigue and the chance of making a clumsy mistake. I suspect a lot of people also under-estimate how long it actually takes to ride the complete TAT route (at least as closely as possible, and with the odd stop to sight-see en route) and realise they aren't going to make it all the way to the west coast in the time they allotted.

Ultimately I think you and I are both on the same page here (other than how much the respective predefined route providers ought to charge for their work) - at the end of the day, a pre-defined TAT is just one person's suggested route across (or around) the country... To really make the experience unique, and fundamentally suited to your own requirements, it makes sense to gather as much information as you can (BDR routes etc.) together, and plot your own route to take in those elements most important to you, and which is achievable in the time frame you have allowed.

And add a extra week to that ;o)

Jx
1200GS with spare tires? What kind of idiot would do that? This is WR250/CRF300/DRZ/DR650/690 type of ride. Yes it can be done on a bigger bike, but why? And spare tires in lower 48? What kind of dimwit would entertain this? You can get new ones shipped from Rocky Mountain, RevZilla or Chaparral to any post office, bike store or hotel in 2-3 days. Africa it is not. And 100F is a pretty comfortable temp to ride in. Summer in Arizona, SoCal and New Mexico is much worse.

Agree. The route passes through some really nice country, so it is a good idea to take a few breaks now and then and visit what is nearby.
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This conversation really is going round and round now...

These days there are two DIFFERENT published route across the country - Sam Correro's 'TAT' and GPSKevin's 'TAT'... to say one is better than the other is completely subjective, and very much based on what you as an individual want out of the trip.

If you're an experienced rider on a lightweight dual-sport, then sure, crack-on and ride Kevin's route and include all the red sections you like...

If you're a more leisurely rider (ie. want to sight-see a bit too) on a typically larger 'adventure' bike, Sam's route is probably more appropriate for you.

It's not a competition in either case, there are no prizes - but as I said previously, there are any number of ride-reports (on ADVrider etc) where people got in over their heads - be it the fool on an Africa Twin who though he could ride the whole TAT in 16 days (he tired himself out, crashed a lot, and quit in Moab), or the two guys on DR650s who got stranded on the Rainbow Trail and had to hike out for help - and any number of others who soon realised they had either taken too much stuff with them, had not prepared their bikes properly, or simply had underestimated how much physical and mental strength it was going to take them to ride day-in-and-day out for four weeks or so.

The point being, while YOU might be an experienced long-distance overland rider, who knows how to pack light, can handle dramatically different weather and altitude changes, and is prepared for most eventualities - a lot of people choosing to riding the TAT are not... and for many it's their first time embarking on such a long-distance overland trip.

Just look at the kind of questions people on social media ask about 'adventure' bikes in general - I suspect some of them probably shouldn't even leave their driveways before gaining a lot more experience first, let alone set off on a 5000-mile multi-week journey off-road across a continent!

So by all means point out that you found the quality of the [GPS] information provided by Kevin superior to Sam - that is completely valid (I'd agree that Sam is still very much old school and paper map orientated in comparison), and that for someone looking for more of an 'off-road' challenge, that Kevin's Red routes might well provide more of what they are looking for in comparison...

But don't discount the fact that a huge number of TAT riders are just doing it to see the country, may be older and less [off-road] experienced, and in the case of the OP for example, might have travelled half way around the world to embark on this 'once in a lifetime' cross-continental adventure... they would be gutted if they broke their bike or themselves due to a lack of preparation - and that is what I've been saying all along - get both published routes, and spend some time plotting your own version, incorporating the 'best' [of both] depending on your individual circumstances.


Using words like 'lame' and 'goons' when describing Sam's route isn't doing anyone any favours, and only perpetuates the perceived animosity... At the end of the day, sure, Sam might well have simplified or 'sanitised' his route over the years, but almost always for good reason - for example the mess which is Hancock and Tomichi now (plus there was always issues with both weather and maintenance on those trails, often forcing you to reroute anyway) which is why he now uses Marshall Pass which tends to be open much earlier in the season, in turn extending the window when a complete through-route could be ridden - or because he knows that the majority of his clients are not on lightweight dual-sports looking for a 'challenge' but these days there tends to be a lot more people on larger all-terrain touring bikes and/or with less off-road riding experience, but still want to see the country from the backroads and byways - and has chosen to cater more towards them instead, leaving Kevin to provide for those who are looking for a more technical off-road challenge.

So again, I suggest that for anyone reading this thread - decide what it is YOU want from your TAT experience, and choose your initial route accordingly, particularly since it is very easy these days to download GPS tracks from all manner of sources - paid for or otherwise (BDR GPS tracks are free too btw) - study them, combine them, and put together your own 'Trans-America' route which is ultimately going to be the most satisfying solution - not least as you can then blame no-one but yourself!

Jx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
This conversation really is going round and round now...
...

So again, I suggest that for anyone reading this thread - decide what it is YOU want from your TAT experience, and choose your initial route accordingly, particularly since it is very easy these days to download GPS tracks from all manner of sources - paid for or otherwise (BDR GPS tracks are free too btw) - study them, combine them, and put together your own 'Trans-America' route which is ultimately going to be the most satisfying solution - not least as you can then blame no-one but yourself!Jx
Well said Jenny, and I think cyclopathic makes good points too.
I think there are two opinions here, and both are valid - everyone has one, right? I also think there has been a ton of great information posted here, and it will all be helpful to anyone planning on riding the TAT - whichever version you like, or roll your own version.

Time to focus on the details, information, routes and less on which is "best".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
This conversation really is going round and round now...

These days there are two DIFFERENT published route across the country - Sam Correro's 'TAT' and GPSKevin's 'TAT'... to say one is better than the other is completely subjective, and very much based on what you as an individual want out of the trip.

If you're an experienced rider on a lightweight dual-sport, then sure, crack-on and ride Kevin's route and include all the red sections you like...

If you're a more leisurely rider (ie. want to sight-see a bit too) on a typically larger 'adventure' bike, Sam's route is probably more appropriate for you.
This is not actually good advice since not that many riders would be comfortable going over Animos Forks -> California -> Hurricane on big bikes, especially if summer was wet. I'd say if you are on a big bike and want to smell roses Kevin's green over Colorado passes would be a better option.

And it is probably not a good idea to ride red tracks on a loaded DS bike alone, since there will be opportunities to off the cliff and it will be hard to pull the bike back up.

Quote:
Using words like 'lame' and 'goons' when describing Sam's route isn't doing anyone any favours, and only perpetuates the perceived animosity... At the end of the day, sure, Sam might well

Jx
Well I had more than a few conversations with Sam's followers and in context of what words they used to describe Kevin's tracks, goon is the most polite and appropriate.. and many rumors and fake accusations originated from Sam himself. Understandably, because it was a financial hit for him. So animosity is there no way to deny it and pretend it doesn't exist.

Personally I don't have a dog in the fight, solely judge on the merits of the route itself.. just saying.

Sam now includes "the Shadow of the Rockies" side route, which looks awfully like the CO section of CDR. Give it a couple years and Sam's goons will be telling stories on how Kevin stole it from Sam. Meanwhile it was an MTB route which Kevin adopted for motorcycles.
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