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Let the madness begin! TAT Ride 2009

Aug 9, 2009
Austin, TX
June 25, 2009, the day MJ died, the 3 Muchachos return from a most excrement adventure on the Trans American Trail. 3140 miles in 14 days. Scroll down for sections on:
- The Red Beanies Ride Report (like the "film within the film" its full of cryptic meanings!)
- Riding in all five states: AR, OK, NM, CO and UT
- The Cosmos Cemetery
- The "Matrix" of ****
- The Cannibal of Lake City
- Hooker on Loveless Corner
- The 25 cent, 30 year old map I used to draw the TAT on (No GPS for me!)
- How eggs, bacon and hash browns take on new meaning in each state, like some gravy on that?
- The cows, doggies, horses, and a rattle snake!
- The plant life, none of which was dried and smoked, really.
- Finally tips on surviving the TAT, including dealing with blue-balls and how to apologize to your wife after the first night home.

How did we get to this most hallowed and revered points in Oark AR?


The Beanies start the plan! Let this quest of "Le Big Mac" dimensions commence!


We are Austin HillCountry HellBuellies - the HellDirties 3 Muchachos arrive primed and eager for heights not yet known to man.

Of these 3 Muchachos, Iceman "cometh" throwing down our signs.

DoctorDR takes TAT maps coming by horse messenger and painted in with ancient picto-grams. While crudely effective, Doctor finds the weight of all the TAT maps overwhelming! .

KosmicKLR needs more explanation, and consults the ivory to translate TAT maps into electrons for beaming into the GPS. .


After much fresh lubrication, the bikes are prepared!.

Come, RideDualSport with us and learn our cryptic signs for communication. .

The adventure starts in Fort Smith AR. Muchachos grab much needed rest after hauling the bikes from Austin to Fort Smith.
(Disclaimer: any homo-erotic, prurient or un-seemly fantasies are purely those of the viewer, and in no way implied, endorsed, or suggested by 3 Muchachos, who are individually very secure in their manhood.)

Wow, those are some colorful beanies.



Resting after doing Warloop Road in AR.

DoctorDR and KosmicKLR ponder the wheat fields of Oklahoma.

Wildlife encountered in Coldwater Kansas.

Look, out yonder what comes this way?

Welcome to New Mexico. We are enchanted.

First entry to Colorado.....excellent!

Cold Mexican beer to the rescue.

A wee touch of the 'knob needed.

Ascension of the great pass completed.

Red Beanies on White Rim Trail, UT.

THE RIDE: Loading up in Austin for the drive to Fort Smith.

Our first day's ride got rained out after hitting Oark in AR, after starting out in Fort Smith. We picked up the TAT heading up to the old CCC lodges, with rain and thunder coming down. As we near the top of the hill its like a horror movie, approaching Frankensteins castle....two stone gates with lighting coming down around us! We scramble off the hill....now getting soaked and water pouring into our boots because we just put on our rain tops. We make it down for a good stout lunch in town. We try for some pavement, but by chance hit Warloop Road! Wet, greasy, boulders and technical. What started as a bummer day became excellent in the end. One big lesson on the TAT is that it will always surprise you, even if it starts out bad.


We hit the first official TAT dirt! "1st Durt"



Start of Warloop Road...I think I see the remains of a stock car back there!


I dropped my DR before taking the rest of Warloop!


Kosmic after clearing Warloop Road!

After a long day in the rain and doing Warloop, Im rewarded with TAT GRUNDGE
MMMMM, at least it smelled like a good ripe French cheese.


Our TAT adventure continues in Oklahoma, after rains in Arkansas. Much of the dirt roads were muddy to ride on, but the surface is deceptive looking....it appears smooth and hard on top, but in really its mud from 1 to 4 or more inches, depending. For most of OK we struggled to ride the bikes, 20-25 mph, with front and rear tires slewing all over the place. Numerous near misses as you slide on the mud, rear end hanging out and headed into the trees and shrubs!

On the plus side, the next day heading further out we got back on the TAT after detouring the mud, and were rewarded with nice damp roads and incredible scenery. Eastern OK was surprisingly lush and beautiful to ride in.

We start out in OK with rain clouds gathering, and on with the Frog Toggs to start. These Toggs are HOT, and the OK chicks really dig the high riding waste with a tight butt crack in the back.....


The restaurant we had breakfast in featured an excrement fake fish tank, and fish mural, in case you did not get it the first time.

While this looks dry and smooth, its actually a layer of mud and very slick.



Must be the mile of mud, a low lying area where the water has no where to go.



After the mud fest, its time to bail cause we dont know how much worse it will get and progress is slow. We hit the asphalt for a bit.

We find some dryer TAT!


Finding Hooker on Loveless Corner turned into a dead end cause I was out of cash, so I rolled on!




Sweet ride, a real patriot! These colors dont run!

We head due north and spend night in Coldwater Kansas.



Its dry in OK, and we run into this incredible, small cemetery very aptly named:



Touching grave stone in its simple statement of fact. I wonder who he was and the life he had.


Finally we roll in to New Mexico, and hit our first short, but steep climb!




Next up, Colorado!


For TAT navigation, we used GPS tracks Kosmic loaded by hand, roll charts followed by Iceman, some mapping I did and a set of notes compiled from other RRs providing lots of guidance and tips. Iceman found the TAT roll charts to be mostly accurate, but based on using enduro tripmeter, at some points the roll charts were dead accurate and at other points wildly off by several miles. So, GPS and roll chart together are needed!

This map outlines our general route, its an old map from 1977 that I got for 25 cents, talk about high tech! Also the ride report notes and info that I collected up....thanks dudes for the helpful tips!


Our next stop is Trindad CO, the sex change capital of the world. While we dont plan to leave anything behind, its an interesting mining town, with a substantial Native American population, contributing to the rolling, warbling accents we heard in the local cafe. Just 3 miles out of Trinidad is Lake Trinidad state park, where we camped. Windy in the day, it died down at night and proved cool, restful and quite. Camping is not always the great deal, cause we had to pay $6 per bike and $14 for the night, even tho the showers were out, and I tried to talk the ranger out of some of the fee! Lake Trinidad:



While camping, Iceman steps into the brush to get some fire wood....and comes within 2 feet of this!

Heading out to Salida to start up the high passes, hitting Hancock first.




Lookin rough after a long windy day!

Hit the motel in Salida, where they provided a hot tub and bike rags! Go local, dont to the big chain motels unless you have to!



Starting up Hancock, which the locals said was open....



Open? I dont think so! We back out, and try do to a work around but it only gets worse, so we do the Marshall Pass route. It took half the day, just to end up back in Salida where we started!


We head out to Lake City CO, to try Cinnamon Pass on the Alpine Loop.

We find Bruno's Grill and stay at their attached motel Alpine Moose Lodge. They had a restaurant in Corpus Christi TX for 20 years before retiring to Lake City. We are French too, and exchanged stories of how lots of French moved around because of revolutions and wars. Bruno's wife Frederique was separated from her twin sister, when the Nazi's invaded France....they shot her dad and made her mother choose one child to keep. Frederique later moved to South Africa and then Vietnam after WWII, then the States. My grandfather, working for the French police was also in Vietnam at the same time. She was later reunited with her sister 40 years later who was living in Normandy the whole time. Bruno and his wife are very hospitable and genuine folks. Highly recommended to stay at the Moose Lodge and eat at Brunos! The TAT roll chart shows and old name, its now Moose Lodge.


Chef Bruno and his wife, Frederique




Cool and interesting old buildings in Lake City, also home to Alferd Packer who in the 1880s took gold seekers up over the passes....but ran out of food and killed and ate them! The town celebrates this occasion ever year!
Ymmmm, I love people, gimmie a taste of that booty!





Starting up Cinnamon pass!




Just off Cinnamon, I drop it on the last steep rocky down hill section. After dropping the bike, while the bash plate took most of the hit, a rock mashed a small hole in my oil filter cover...oil spraying out the bike! But a $5 tube of JB weld, and some extra oil saves the day.

The bikes wont idle, and power is down, but they run well enough to get us up and over. Be ready for spectacular view and riding, the toughest I have ever done on my first big Dual Sport ride!




Right behind is the steep down hill where I dropped the bike...and we are leaning the bike over to let the JB Weld set. Better than being stranded at 12,000 ft, with no help for miles!






Moving on!

Later that night, we camp.

Iceman with the hatchet, Alferd Packer took over his brain!



Our last stop is Moab UT, one of the meccas of dual sport riding. Early on we wanted to camp in Moab at Up The Creek, because its right in town and a less expensive option, costing $30 per night for the three of us. From camp you can easily walk to a large store, laundry mat and outdoor gear shop. We arrive totally wasted and take a whole day off to rest sore butts, shower, do laundry and just chill. Next day is time to hit the White Rim Trail, and including a couple of wrong turns we do 100 miles off road on the rim.
Arrived at Up The Creek!





Chillin at Up The Creek in Moab.


Iceman opens wide....$6 lunch for three on the White Rim!

We hit the White Rim, which is not too technical, tho it has a few steep/loose sections and some sand. Overall its very ridable, but long. Dont underestimate how the slickrock will give your body a good pounding. Keep your eyes open cause rocks, holes and ledges can sneek up on you when you start speeding up on the slick rock. Also: BRING LOTS OF WATER AND ELECTROLYTE REPLACEMENT! We carried 5 liters each and went through every drop, it just lasted to the end. Jell shots will save your butt too, giving much needed boosts of energy.











Here at the White Rim, our great TAT adventure ends.....Mission accomplished!

P.S. some classic signage on the way back thru New Mexico, the laughs never end on the TAT.

B]Along the way, 3 Muchachos picked up some choice expressions both from ourselves, and the local flavor we encountered. The accents were wide and varied"
- the sharp twang of Arkansas
- the rolling softer country-fied speak of Oklahoma
- the soft streaming warbling of Trinidad CO, with Native Americans
- the thick French accent of Bruno's Bistro in Lake City

Some thoughtful words of reflection and introspection:

"The 'Matrix' of ****"
Referring to the incredible bowel explosion all over the walls and even to the next stall, we found in a AR rest stop, with a big sign outside saying "Welcome." We could not figure out how it was humanly possible.

Nasty bathroom...

Referring at to that which is excellent, superlative, or awesome (see below). For example, when rolling up to a cafe when really hungry, or taking in an incredible view. "Excrement!" Not related to the "Matrix" of **** above.

"So how's your food? Awesome!......So how is everything? Awesome.....So your from Austin....Awesome!
Our irritating waitress in Hermans Rib House, AR...the best ribs I ever had, even better than Texas. "Awesome!"

"We can thank Obama for that.....I just love Obama....I want to shoot him[/B]."
Heard in OK grocery store, the person was looking at a gay pride march poster and commenting on how it was Obamas fault.

"Watch out for those crop workers from Minnesota they will run you down in their trucks"
Advice from a wheat farmer in OK, commenting on how he is seeing a lot more dual sport riders coming through the area now.

"When I was 13 I herded cattle down to Austin Texas"
From an old rancher in Trinidad, he was 90 years old and still going strong, weathered and lean. So in 1932 he was just a boy herding cattle across the US!

"You think ur better then me? Dont you judge me!"
Used anytime we ragged on each other, or passed judgement on one of the Muchachos. Said with much internal loathing.

"Lets just get there!"
Used by Kosmic when in a big rush to get to Colorado and sick of the mud in Oklahoma. We instead did a few road miles, then jumped back on the TAT, which was excellent again....the TAT always surprises, dont give up on it.

"My system is totally combre-hesivile"
Referring to Kosmic's complex spread sheet system for tracking who last paid for gas, breakfast, dinner, lunch and motels. After a few days we were totally confused!

"Uh, say can you make us a deal and just charge one vehicle fee for the campsite, since if we were in a car we would all be in it...."
DoctorDR's attempt to use logic and talk the park ranger into not charging us $6 EACH for our motorcycles on top of a $14 camp fee. Yes, parks need to raise $$ thats great.....but $34 total when the showers were broken?

"Screw da man!"
Uttered with foul loathing every time we felt the need to rebel against everything that is unfair in the world to dual sport riders! Use when paying just one vehicle fee for camping later on. Yeah, screw da man!"

"Ummmm....can you buy us some beers?"
Some chicks in Salida rolling up on Iceman, and he said:

"Ummmm....my friend likes you but is kind of shy...she wants to know your name"
Chick in Trinidad asking Iceman, that ****'!


Here a few tips and thoughts, this being my first epic dual sport adventure.

Plan, Plan, and Plan again.
All of the info your group puts together will become invaluable on the trail, you need to draw from many sources to help make decisions. GPS tracks are incredible, and you need to back them up with the roll charts, to confirm direction from time-to-time. The TAT roll charts are fairly accurate, but from sometimes the milages for turning and some of the info on motels ect....is way off. The comments and tips I put together from various ride reports helped fill in the big picture, by having info on distances, towns you DONT have to stop in, last gas stops, and what to expect for conditions. With all the planning you still need to be flexible on the TAT, and make decisions on the fly based on your daily situation.

Be ready for the testosterone to riding high....if your a group of dudes.
The ladies are at home, and two weeks on the road with a bunch of guys starts to get lewd and crude! If you bring lotion and handy-wipes, don't let anyone steal it! Those blessed by the creator with an oversized sack will soon find this to be a curse. Yeah, its sad but true, as you get more blockage the longer you ride the harder it is to not start going a bit stir crazy. Dont be shocked by the depths of depravity you reach in your "humor."

Know the skill levels of your group, and if you all dont ride at the same pace be understanding.
I was still freaked out by the loose over hard pack conditions, esp going down hill into turns. Help each other out with riding techniques, and use the trip to improve your skills....before you know it, you might be setting the pace at the end of a long day. USE THE DUAL SPORT RIDING TECHNIQUES....like steering with the pegs and weighting the outside peg. These will save your butt at the end of a long day when your butt is kicked and your tired. Dont try and be a hero cause one wreck can take days off your trip...and no help is around for many miles.

Coordinate on packing your gear, the less you take the better.
Yes, its said over and over, but its true. I took too much cold weather gear in case the passes were in bad shape, but really I did not need it all. Try to make some gear serve dual purpose. I took my jacket liner, but really a pullover fleece would have been better, cause the liner did not keep me warm in the campground. Try to coordinate on your gear to not duplicate items. One of us carried all the tools, one the tire irons and pump, one the cooking gear. You can always mail items back home on the road if you dont need them.

Take lots of pictures, it wont slow you down too much.
If you get into a "lets just ride" mode, you wont get all the pictures you want to remember it by later. Groups only average a certain speed no matter what, based on gas, food, and pee stops. Stop to soak in the views and take pictures of the little unusual sights along the way, to really get the local flavor. Use the "leap frog" tech for taking pics, you can blast up ahead, hop off the bike and use some different angles for pics. Then your buddies can do the same for you. Its easy to get too many "from behind" pics so try to get some more different angles and perspectives.

Dont bother with separate tabs or figuring out the costs to the dollar per person!
This will drive you crazy, and time effort you spend on that is not worth it. We simply rotated on the costs: take turns paying for meals, gas, and motels...track it during the trip so everyone takes a turn. Dont sweat the $$ cause it will all average out in the end. If you drink more alcohol than others, or some dont drink, pitch in a bit more to help out. Be generous in tipping. Most everyone that waited on us in the restaurants were really friendly and nice....and jobs are scarce in rural towns. They put up with our mud, sweat, and foul humor...so dont be a cheap tipper.

Work together as a group to get on the road, and to help out.
Leave no man behind. If your pressed for time, then if everyone gets their **** packed and on the bike fast that helps, same for BS at the gas station. You can save a lot more time in places where you have some CONTROL, like packing in the AM, eating, gassing, and peeing. Try not to be the only dude that needs a pee break, cause you did not do it earlier with everyone else...ummm that would be me! That way you can move at a good clip and make progress. You dont have to rush all the time, but try to be aware when your buddies are all loaded up, but your still wiping your butt on the toilet. Lots of places on the TAT you DONT HAVE CONTROL! The TAT will dictate your time and pace, so know where and when you can make time.

Above all, have a sense of humor!
You can get cranky and pissed at times cause we are all human. The TAT will test you! Get it out of your system and move on, later on you will laugh about it. Dont give up and bail on the TAT too early, but be flexible about hopping off if the conditions are too bad and your not making any progress. Its an endurance ride, so compromise, have a good attitude, rest when needed, and have an adventure of a life time!

Oh, and if some chicks in a car roll up on you and want you to buy them beer, give'em this!
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Oct 29, 2006
Bartonville, TX
As they say at Herman's Rib House, "Awesome." Probably the best and most creative ride report that I can remember. I like the 3 dwarfs, Santa's helpers, grunge rockers or whatever they were at the beginning. I suppose you are going to try to enter this in the Sundance Film festival, or will you just go directly to having your own reality show>

Pat McDonald
Mar 25, 2007
the red hat pics are great!
The pics from the TAT were amazing, I hope to ride at least part of it some day
Aug 9, 2009
Austin, TX
As they say at Herman's Rib House, "Awesome." Probably the best and most creative ride report that I can remember. I like the 3 dwarfs, Santa's helpers, grunge rockers or whatever they were at the beginning. I suppose you are going to try to enter this in the Sundance Film festival, or will you just go directly to having your own reality show>

Pat McDonald
Our inspiration, and someday the sequel!

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Aug 30, 2007
austin tx
Great RR, Doc! Most excrement job, as always. I'm already planning the sequel! And by 'planning', I mean waiting for someone else to do all the leg work so I can just show up and ride!:eat:
Jun 7, 2006
Exit. Stage West.
You guys rock:clap:
I think this is the third (4th?) time I've read this report. I like this rendition the best :mrgreen:

Carry on, Beanie Boys.

(btw, ever notice the similarities of you guys with Mr. Bean? :rofl:)
Aug 9, 2009
Austin, TX
Great RR, Doc! Most excrement job, as always. I'm already planning the sequel! And by 'planning', I mean waiting for someone else to do all the leg work so I can just show up and ride!:eat:
Just show up and ride dude? Whats with that??? Next trip were not letting you bail out of a Roadhouse bar fight again man, you got to kick sum booty out there, not leave me and Kosmic to settle the situation. Thats what happens when you keep hittin on those trailer chicks in the bar!
May 30, 2006
Spicewood, Tejas
Nice report and the pictures are hilarious .. looks like you guys did it right!

thought you guys were going for the DEVO look but then I get the life aquatic pun
Apr 25, 2007
Sulphur Springs
Great report guys!
I have a bike question. I have a bud with an 08 KLR. He is going to buy a second dual sport to ride the Western Section. We just finished the Eastern Sec. I rode a DR 650 and he rode the KLR. I am going to ride the DRZ s on the western half . He is looking at a XRL to ride. I have 0 experience with the XRL and want your opinions.
Would an XRL and a DRZ be compatible on the both the on and offroad parts? Will the XRL hold up to long rides?
I see you guys had 3 different bikes. Did everyone have the best bike or did one stand out?

Thanks :rider:
Aug 9, 2009
Austin, TX
I rode the DR650 and loved it! Overall a good balance btw the XR and the KLR....I think the lighter bikes would do fine, if you were not loaded up too much. If your carrying lots of gear (camping, like we did) I would ride the 650 singles....hope that helps!