TAT Ride with QRP

Update: Two videos added at bottom of this page
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In September 2015 I left eastern Tennessee headed for Colorado. Here are the photos from that trip.
The idea for this trip germinated thirty years ago thanks to my shipmate and best friend’s wanderlust and a love of motorcycling. The cure back then for our claustrophobic jobs and forced togetherness was the wide open spaces of San Diego and Imperial counties of California and, even better, Baja California on fast motorcycles.


Sometimes others joined us but it was always Britt and me as the common denominator, riding in the mountains around Julian, the sweltering roads of the Anza-Borrego desert or to the always-lively bars in Ensenada. At some point we got the idea to ride our motorcycles across the country, camping along the way and seeing what the road had to offer.

We made the most definite plans to do it – someday.

Post-Navy life, careers and family all occurred in the years to follow. Children, and then grandchildren, were born.

We would never do our cross country ride together – we waited too long. Britt called me two years ago to remind me of our plan and wondered if it was possible to still do it. Neither of us had owned motorcycles for years but it was on his bucket list and he hadn’t forgotten our dream. But the rare genetic disease that caused Britt to make a bucket list had other plans for him. My old best friend passed away later that year.

And now here I am at the trailhead of the Trans-America Trail, the result of too much reminiscing and a renewed awareness that our time is limited. I kick the bike into first, give it some gas, ease out on the clutch and start rolling west.

Here’s to you, Britt.

Britt & me. Baja Mexico 1987
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Tennessee - No idea what this is - it was vacant but well maintained.
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Tennessee from the driver's seat
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Tennessee - not wrong for TAT rider...
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Tennessee - one of several water crossings
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Tennessee - first night's campsite
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Mississippi - Stopped in Corinth to get new tires for my bike. This old Indian is one of over 100 vintage bikes on display there.
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Mississippi - Dwayne, the owner. He's ridden the TAT on this 1964 Honda 350!
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Mississippi - Pulled over at a bend in the road to rest and these friendly fellers came to visit.
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Mississippi and cotton go hand in hand - even today
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Gonna pick a bit more of this and homebrew a new shirt tonight around the campfire...
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Kudzu is everywhere in Mississippi and takes the shape of whatever is beneath it
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Even tall structures are not immune to its invasiveness. I'd better get moving.
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Mississippi red dirt
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Rural Mississippi
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Mississippi - churchly shade
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An Arkansas welcome
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Arkansas - the well-know TAT rest stop courtesy of Percy & son Glenn. Thanks guys! It was hot that day.
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Arkansas - camped in a state park
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Operating QRP from the tent
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Did some pavement time the next day. Arkansas roads are made for motorcycles - hilly, curvy and well maintained.
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Well, most of the time...
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Well duh
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Great riding in Arkansas
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Pulled into some Arkansas town and met Stanley, age 81, who recently got a speeding ticket - 140mph in a 60 on his bad-ass Yamaha! He was a hoot!
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Then back to the trail and up a ridge...
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Arkansas scenery
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Arkansas - camped among a flock of Harley conventioneers or whatever they call themselves
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The kitchen crew was friendly...
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and the scenery was nice.
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And I played radio until sleep came

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Oklahoma - a mix of the old and the new

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A quiet road along the Cimarron River

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I should have cooled off here but kept riding
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I did stop here though to charge my phone ;-)
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I met Dave in Buffalo, OK while looking at my GPS. He came up to me to ask if I was riding the TAT and told me he had ridden portions himself. As a testament to Buffalo’s small size and peacefulness, we had this conversation in the middle of an intersection with my engine off.
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Cleaning the talcum dust from my air filter in the hotel parking lot on my last evening in Oklahoma.
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In for the night, even the bike.
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I later cleaned the millions of tiny bits of Oklahoma from my saddlebags
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New Mexico quickly converted the plains of OK into mesas
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The first of numerous cattle guards I would cross in New Mexico
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The white gravel and bright sun can almost cause "snow blindness"
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Long stretches of beautiful isolation. Loved it.
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Serene and quiet, it felt as if the rest of the world was light years away
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Shade was scarce but I stopped here to eat a snack and stretch my legs a bit
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Several old structures like this dotted the landscape
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Finally, the Rocky Mountains appear. Trinidad Colorado is just down the road and is where this half of my Trans-America Trail ride ends. The second half will begin on 9 July 2016.

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I'm going to hold off on a report of my recent TAT Colorado ride until I receive the video/photos from a couple of guys with whom I rode up Engineer's Pass. A few of my own pics:
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On the Trail and going up...
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Engineer's Pass, 12,825 feet. But my moving average was nowhere near 110 mph...
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The KX2 performed well
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"CQ CQ" - dots and dashes flew from here on my first night in Colorado
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Videos
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