Day 24 – Final thoughts

We loaded the bikes in the Uhaul and took off for Twin Falls Idaho (719 miles).

truck

Once we get back to Florida Steve and I will continue to update the days of the blog with pictures, videos, and more thoughts. Our goal is to document as much as we can and leave the site up for those that are considering this trip.

More to follow in the coming weeks.

JB, Chris, and Steve.

Day 23 -Victory!

We started the day with a plan to fix the axle and get on to Port Orford. The first attempt was to have Steve run 8 miles up the road to the town of Glendale to the only hardware store and see if they had a 1.5 inch 20 millimeter thread nut. If that didn’t work we were going to use a chain press and safety wire the hell out of it.

Steve went to start his bike and ….no-go. Choke was stuck closed. He had to disassemble it.

stuck choke

carb

While he was working on his bike, JB took Chris’ bike to the hardware store. Not surprisingly the hardware store turned out to be more of a liquor store than a hardware store. On the ride back JB remembered passing a semi-repair shop the night before about seven miles away in the town of Azalea.

nut3

The guys in this shop reminded us of the people of Huntington. Stuart was on duty and knew about the TAT and spoke of his desire to complete it one day.
Stuart started digging through his junk drawer looking for a nut.

He couldn’t find one that fit but he said no worries I’ll make one. He grabbed a nut that was close and drilled out the threads and then began to tap it.

nut2

nut4

He drilled a safety wire hole in it and broke two drill bits doing it.

nut

Voila! a new axle nut.

new nut

When we returned to put the axle back in we needed a spacer to prevent the nut from bottoming out. This is where Steve’s Honda tools came in handy.

fix

safety wire

Some locktite, thread tape and a little safety wire and she was good as new.

fix two

At this point Steve had repaired his choke, JB’s bike was ready so we were off to port Orford a little later than we wanted to be. We had estimated we had to leave by 11 am to get the uhaul picked up in time. We were only 108 miles away. The final leg was steep, with winding turns and lots of rock slides.

woods

last leg

tired

It seemed like it was taking forever but we finally came out the other side of the mountains.

sign

The approach to the Pacific ocean was concrete and we crested the final hill around 430 pm. We rode directly onto the beach with joy in our hearts and minds.

beach

beach6

sand

tat

floagh2

beach2

steve

We made it. Exhausted and energized at the same time. The sense of accomplishment and to know that we were now part of a very small group of people to actually go coast to coast on dirt bikes is forever etched in our minds.

Would we do it again? To soon to tell. We still have five more days in a uhaul back to Florida.

beach4

Day 22 -Another Challenge to Overcome

Today started with a fever to get done. We were only 300ish miles from the finish. Yes it wasn’t a race but after 21 days on the trail the end was welcomed. The trails led us through some great forests and high altitudes.

distant mountsain

Many of the areas we went through had burned previously but the forest was recovering nicely.

burnt

top

pano2

mou

pan

Our destination for the day was Wolf Creek Oregon. We were several miles out and we faced a extremely challenging, steep, single track rock climb. All the bikes performed well as we powered straight up the mountain.

As we descended JB noticed a loud squeak coming from the rear of his bike. He thought he might just have a small rock stuck in the brake rotor or something. He had Chris take quick look as we were riding and didn’t notice anything.

It wasn’t until we had traveled another 15 miles and pulled into Wolf Creek when the realization of what the squeak was hit us.

missing axle

realization

Yes that is a missing axle block and nut. It must have vibrated off during the rock climb. The scary part was that just prior to arriving in Wolf Creek we had a 8 mile stretch of interstate at 65 miles per hour.

The lesson here is if you hear something different on your bike. Stop and check it out thoroughly.

Now that we were in Wolf Creek we were to bed down. The historic Inn was literally across the street from our fuel stop.

wolf creek inn

We still had a couple of hours of daylight left so we did some field expedient maintenance and contemplated several fixes for the axle nut.

axle

Jb felt defeated. So close and couldn’t think his way out of this one.

rest

Steve and Chris still had energy and brain power. Both motivated JB to press on. Several scenarios of how to fix it were flowing. We first started to ask around with the locals.

Unlike Steve’s issue in Huntington Oregon where we received tremendous support form the locals, Wolf Creek was a different story. Apparently the town had fallen victim to meth. On the ride in through the mountains we noticed several places hidden in the woods that were obviously meth factories. At the fuel stop and general store the meth heads were hanging out in front. From the hotel we literally watched drug deals go down. Shirtless homeless men with no teeth wandering around make everyone nervous, especially tourists.

Note to Wolf Creek Leadership: Get your shit together. A place with such natural beauty should not be overshadowed by the scourge of drugs. Fix it.

Tomorrow we solve the axle issue and finish the TAT.

tire

Day 21 – Good day

Finally a relatively maintenance free day. We departed around 9 am from John Day and headed towards LaPine Oregon, 265 miles.  The trails were wide and clear. So clear, we were asking ourselves -where is everyone? Where were the campers, hikers, and general outdoor folk?

steves

steves bkike

wsoods

We blasted through the first 100 miles practically not seeing a soul in the hills and then we approached the town of Prineville. They had a river and now we saw the campers and fishermen.

pano

river

Croked river OR

chris

crooked river campground

Chris caught another fork seal leak along the way.

fork seal

About 45 south of Prineville we entered an area designated for OHV so we were racing through trails and some single track. Steve’s tire is showing some wear but should make it for the next two days.

tread

Not much of an update as I think we were really interested to get to the destination. We have had so many issues with the bikes in the last couple of days that we are becoming cautious of stopping.

Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Day 20 – Back on the trail

Steve’s bike was still in pieces. We started back on it at 630 am. We had a goal -if we couldn’t get it running by noon, then Chris and JB would continue on and come back for Steve’s bike with the uhaul in a couple of days.

The rebuild went smooth. It took us about five hours of methodically putting all of the bolts back in. We were researching the internet, messaging with the Wankers and making calls back to mechanics in Florida.

The three Irish bros that we had met two days earlier and warned them about the mud came through town and we shared our story. They heeded our warnings about the mud but ran into closed roads and had to divert to different roads. They were now in front of us. Their goal was to get to Oregon and Uhaul back exactly the same as ours.

irish3

While we were still working on the bike, Mike went into town (about 30 miles away) to pick up some oil for our bikes. We had just finished the reassembly when he returned. Oil in, it was time to kick it over. It fired right up! Steve commented that it sounded better than ever.

finisehd product

We had to get moving so we packed everything up, thanked everyone profusely and took off into the afternoon heat of Southern Oregon. Our goal was to reach the town of John Day about 150 miles away.

We came across this old bus in the middle of nowhere.

bus by lake

We transitioned from a desert landscape to tall pine forests within about 50 miles. The riding was smooth and there were no people (campers) in sight.

southern or forests

Bouncing around the forest trails Steve broke another bracket. We stopped for another safety wire fix. This time he added an old nail to reinforce the fix.

repair

The trail through the mountains was beautiful and we arrived in John Day around 8pm. The parking lot of the motel was full of Harley’s headed for Sturgis. The guys were sitting outside their rooms having a few beers. We were certainly a different sight for the Harley riders as we came in all dusty on little dirt bikes.

Day 19 – Wheels Come Off

After getting lucky the night before with the cabin we were feeling good. We were up early and looking over the bikes.

Trudys idaho city]

Steve went to work fixing a bad battery pack that powered his GPS. Luckily he had brought a spare.
bad batt

batt replacement

We were feeling so good that we decided to eat breakfast at Trudy’s. The BEST corned beef hash we’d ever had.

trudys bfast

Trudy was making the rounds between customers and sat with us and told tales for a while.

trudy

We hit the road around 10 am and the weather was perfect. About 20 miles outside of Idaho city JB sprung an oil leak and a fork seal leak. The oil was coming out of the clutch slave cylinder and spraying on the rear tire. This being a direct result of the mud and rocks form the day prior. Luckily Chris spotted it a quick stop and Steve had oil with him.

oil leak2

oil leak

seal leak

That took about 30 minutes and we were back on the trail.

We crossed into Oregon! we were finally making some good time.

border

The weather turned hot and the trails were dusty. But we were flying. Then at the top of a hill about a half mile outside of Huntington Or, Steve’s bike shut down. He coasted down the hill while using his GPS to find a gas station. Amazingly he made it to the only gas station in town.

This is where things got interesting. His bike had lost compression. wouldn’t start no matter how much he kicked it over.

gasd station fix

We were stuck but something great happened. The town rallied around us. Huntington has just over 400 residents. People were calling each other looking for guys with tools and knowledge.

One guy, Mike, actually had small cabins right around the corner that we would be able to stay. We moved the bikes over to the cabins and into the shade. More and more calls were made and more and more people showed up.

crowd

Several “experts” chimed in on the issues with the bike.
IMG_0699

The consensus was the valves needed a looking at. So we began to tear down the motor. Mike brought his tools over and we went to work.

pulling the head

part table

TDC

steves biuke2
dirty valves

We still weren’t sure what exactly the issue was a local named Kevin offered to take the head back to his home workshop. The whole town was behind us and the hospitality especially from Mike and Kevin was absolutely amazing!

Back at kevin’s place he welded a nut on top of the head were we sheared a bolt off so we could remove it.

weld

We poured some fuel onto the closed valves to see if they leaked. And they did. badly. Therefore we had to clean them. Kevin pulled the valves out and lapped them.

leak test

Everything we could do was done except for putting everything back together. That would have to take place tomorrow and it was now after midnight. We have more pictures and will load them later.

Day 18 -World of Mud

Today was a beautiful morning. We were up early and ready to hit the trail. It had rained a bit the night before so we were thinking the dust would be suppressed a little. The clouds weren’t to dark so we really thought nothing of it.
menacing skies

What we should of done was actually heed the advice of the designer of the TAT: “Some roads are dirt based and may become impassable”

But we’re smart guys, good riders, so whats a little mud?

raod after the night of rain

raod after rain

These cows were actually warning us by not moving out of the way.

warning us

We rounded a corner and began a small climb. That’s when things got dicey quick.

pano

mudhill

mud front tire

mud around sprocket

steve nud

steve mud 2

After three hours of digging mud and rocks out of our brakes, chains, tires and sprockets we turned back to where we had come. On the way out of the foothills we ran into three Irish bros on the TAT. We pulled over and warned them of the hazards.

irish

Once we hit a hardball road we headed back to our motel to get a hose to clean as much of the sticky mud out. We made it about five miles and JB’s rear brakes locked up and the right front fork seal was leaking.

fork seal

We made it back to the motel, cleaned the bikes grabbed a bite to eat at the Pickle (from the night before).  The weather forecast was foreboding and we could see it off in the distance. We decided that the best course of action was to take a direct hardball route to Idaho City Idaho. This meant 200 miles of slab. But the mud and the weather made this decision easy for us.

Not two miles out of the town JB’s brakes locked again. We removed the brake pads to clean out the dried sticky mud.

roadside brake repair

Once repaired we had no issues and ran 216 miles of hardball road to get to Idaho City. Idaho city is a town of 400 people and we arrived at 9pm. Everything was closing and initially there were no rooms available. We Stopped in at Trudy’s roadside restaurant. We got really lucky and they answered the door even though they were closed. They offered us a small cabin and we could settle up in the morning.