TAT Day 9 – Some Days You Eat the TAT, Some Days the TAT Eats You

 

lunch pit stop

West Helena, AR – Woolly Hollow State Park, AR

Miles Ridden – 167

Total Miles – 1,427

Today’s Travel Time – 9 hrs

Animal Totem – Frog

What I learned today – When Severe Thunderstorms are forecasted, it’s probably smart to opt for a hotel….

 

a short meditation before we hit the road!
 
The past 8 long days of riding must have started catching up with me today – I had to lay down a lot. I never knew dirt and pavement could be so comfortable. I guess I take after my dad in more ways than one!

  
We packed up and rode out of West Helena, AR around 9:30. There wasn’t any more immediate rain forecasted, but after last night’s storm we were unsure of road conditions on the TAT. 

   
 Not 15 miles down the trail we ran right into Percy and Glenn Kale’s TAT stop – you just can’t miss it! 

   
So we pulled off, signed their TAT riders log book and took a few minutes to chat.

   
   We also found some cute TAT Pups right across the road ☺️

    
 
We could have stayed all day talking with this father and son duo, but since we had just started out not 30 minutes before, we pushed onward. 

Soon we found that the effects of the rainstorm were twofold – on the one hand it was a much cooler and more comfortable riding temperature, and no more dust being kicked up in our faces. On the other hand….

  

I went down once in the mud (luckily a soft landing), and then this happened –
  
It took all three of us to lift the back tire and push it forward up onto higher ground. 

   
  

  

There was a frog swimming around in the big mud puddle – the storm must have flushed all kinds of other animals up onto the roads – we saw several snakes and turtles, one raccoon, and more frogs (including this little guy) at our campsite. 
  
Today’s mud and water was challenging and fun, but the majority of the day was gravel. Man am I sick of riding on that stuff! Don’t think I’ve seen the end of it yet by a long shot. Old gravel and dirt roads aren’t bad. It’s the fresh, thicker gravel that is a giant pain for me, but after saving two tank slappers- one yesterday, and one the day before, I wised up and just slowed it down – prevention is the safest cure. 

After lunching on leftover pizza by the side of the road, we stopped for gas in Beebe, AR and took a look at the doppler radar (a motorcyclist’s best friend), which forecasted a big storm headed our way.   

   

  

Getting a hotel was mentioned and then for some odd reason (I was fairly delirious by that point) we all decided we were fine with camping. Well I’m writing this from the bathroom/shelter at Woolly Hollow State Park, if that gives you any indication of how it’s going ☺️ It seems like the worst is over though, so hopefully soon we’ll be snug in our dry tents…we hope anyway….apparently Stefan’s hammock tarp has already sprung a leak.  

‘lil Henry watching then storm
     
The adventure continues!

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21 thoughts on “TAT Day 9 – Some Days You Eat the TAT, Some Days the TAT Eats You

  1. Your story was posted up on a facebook motorcycle group page and I decided to come check it out since I am very interested in “doing” the TAT but have had concerns. Your trip so far is inspiring, your pictures are awesome, and your story telling is wonderful. Keep up the good work! Cant wait to see this story continue to unfold and make it all the way to Oregon. I am also very eager to see the story once you get into Colorado. The best of luck to you all…I wish I was out there with yall! =)

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  2. Some days are better than others, but there’s no such thing as a bad day when you’re riding. I’ve been a member of the Iron Butt Association for years and have spent many a time catching 15 on the ground, sleeping on the bike and many other places. My worst day in a tent still beats a good day at the office. You will have memories and stories to last you a lifetime. I can’t wait until this time next year when I will also be on the TAT. Keep the blog going, I’m loving every word of it!!!
    Stay safe,
    frank

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  3. Wow!!! We are following your journey every day and are in awe of you guys!! Y’all are serious badasses. Chris and I are ready to strap Bella and Tay in a sidecar and come meet you on the road…. We are in love with the TAT adventure!! Ride on!!!

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  4. Keep it going guys. You will have some wonderful, dry, low humidity, days ahead. Somehow this is not reading like the typical Harley venture. Hmmmm.

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  5. Great pictures. Nice touch with your reflection in the mirror. I can’t believe your on a XT 225 not that its not a nice bike just seems like it would be under powered with all the gear your carrying.

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    1. Actually XT225 is a popular bike for the ladies. It’s light weight, easy to handle, and generally speaking the speeds on the TAT are not that fast, so it does just fine. I think the more petite ladies tend to struggle more if they are on a bigger/heavier bike where the weight can really hamper them. My wife used an XT225 on our TAT trip in 2009 & 2012. She has since upgraded to the CRF250L, but we sold our XT225 to a lady and her husband from NZ who were doing the entire TAT. She rode it from our house in GA to the West Coast. It was outfitted great for the TAT.

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    1. Hi Tom.

      I’m starting solo on 1st August from East of Jacksonville. Would be interested in talking preparations as I feel I’m a little behind in my planning. Find me on Facebook. Stuart Twiss.

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