First off, I am 48 years old and had ridden dirt-bikes for the most part of my youth then walked away from them after a bad crash 20+ years ago followed by two kids and a military career. So, the boys are grown, I retired from the Army and for my birthday I mentioned to my wife that I thought I might want to get another bike. She said “you should do that”, I don’t know whether she is an angel or really wanted me out of the house. Either way, I immediately walked into the local KTM shop and saw the most beautiful thing; a 2016 XCF-W 350 Six Days. My intention was to start trail riding on the weekends but sure enough within 30 days I was signed up for a hare scramble and had the bug all over again. While randomly searching the web for mods to the Six Days, I stumbled across the Trans American Trail (TAT), I was hooked. I began building spreadsheets, reading blogs, bought the maps from Sam and after hours and hours poring over the maps, I had a plan.



Hover over the dots for descriptions.

So the stock 350 Six Days was race ready as promised but certainly not prepared for the 30 day long cross country adventure. I pulled from every blog I could find to ensure I prepared the machine appropriately. My favorite was BigDogAdventures.com. That guy is my hero, he is living my retired dream. Below is a list of What I modded on the machine.

Rekluse Clutch – $600 (this is an amazing invention)

Steering Stabilizer- $300 (another amazing invention)

Seat Concepts seat – $300 (KTM racing seat is way too hard and narrow)

Garmin Zumo 665LM- $300 (brand recommended by Sam Correro)

Pro Moto Billet “Rack It” Rear Cargo Rack Black  – $250 (to carry shit)

KTM Fuel Tank (NO CA) 5.0 Gallon Natural – $250 (could have gone with 4 gal)

Dunlop D606 Front and Rear tires – $200 (recommended by several TAT riders)

Nuetech Tubliss Gen 2 (Tubeliss) Tire System – $200 (Recommended as well)

Heavy Duty rear suspension spring – $200 (professionally done and SAG set)

Nelson-Rigg RG-020 Black Saddlebags – $120 (small cordoro bags)

WolfMan Tail Bag -$110 (expandable cordoro bag)

Flatland Racing Skid Plate – $100 (everyone needs a good skid plate)

Spot Tracker 3 – $80 (just in case)

Aluminum rear brake rock guard – $80 (for Utah)

G2 Dirt Tamer throttle – $70 (the KTM was twitchy)

Aluminum front brake rock guard – $50 (for Utah)

First Aid kit – $50 (the Army guy in me says take this)

Enduro Engineering Lower right Fork Leg Guard – $45 (for Utah)

Double Take Universal Enduro Mirror Kit – $25 (I broke the mirror that came with the bike on day 1)

Roll Chart holder  – $20 (for Sam’s roll charts)

SMH 10 Communications  -$200 (intercom and Bluetooth for phone)

Sicass racing enduro light/horn set for KTM – $350 (great plug and play set)

The Plan

Update: This schedule went right out the window on Day 5…We hit weather and a couple of spills later decided to divert. The next day the maintenance issues showed up. We did make up time along the way and finished only one day late. Trying to go 250 miles a day is too aggressive. If I were to do it again I would allow at least 45 days for the trip -JB


So I purchased the maps, roll charts, and GPS files from Sam Correro. I took the maps and put them into modified Australian folds. Loaded the GPS files onto memory cards. Then I went on to Google earth and followed the trail across the US noting the daily mileages, gas and hotel stops. The goal is to get at least 250 miles a day. Below is the preliminary plan.

TAT Daily Goal Schedule

July 9th Sunday – Day 1 goal – 247 miles End in Chatsworth, GA.  Super 8 – 613 S 3rd Ave, Chatsworth, GA 30705 ($70) Adco Inn – 321 N 3rd Ave, Chatsworth, GA 30705 ($?) Key West inn -501 G I Maddox Pkwy, Chatsworth, GA 30705 ($48)

July 10th  Monday – Day 2 goal – 253 miles End in Fayetteville, TN 130 miles between 1st gas stop…America’s Best Value Inn – 1415 Bryson Rd, Ardmore, TN 38449 ($50) Best Western – 3021 Thornton Taylor Pkwy, Fayetteville, TN 37334 ($76) Hampton Inn – 110 Redstone Dr, Fayetteville, TN 37334 ($90)

July 11th Tuesday – Day 3 Goal – 237 Miles End in Savannah, TN Quality Inn- 1645 Pickwick St, Hwy. 128 S., Savannah, TN 38372 ($63) Days Inn – 1695 Pickwick Rd, Savannah, TN 38372 ($69) Savannah Lodge – 585 Pickwick St S, Savannah, TN 38372 ($55)

When coming out of the woods and meeting 917 (Pinhook Pike Rd) (mile mark 648) turn left and go to 35.157233, -87.929095 then turn right to Old Weatherford Creek road (this cuts off loop, cuts 7 miles)

July 12th Wednesday – Day 4 Goal – 270 Miles End in Batesville MS, Ramada Inn Limited 695 MS-6 Batesville MS 38606, Days Inn 280 Power Dr. Batesville MS 38606 Batesville is 6.2 miles from route (@ McDowell rd., turn right on 278NE)

July 13th Thursday – Day 5 Goal – 286 miles End in Clinton AR, Best Western 1025 US-65 bus Clinton AR 72031, Sycamore Motel 682 US-65 bus Clinton AR 72031, Hometown Inn 424 US-65 Bus Clinton AR 72301. This route has decision point…at Gravesville mile 184.57 potential to go direct to Clinton shaving 31 miles.

July 14th Friday – Day 6 Goal – 250 miles End near Moodys OK (Gas at moodys but hotels are small lodges/camping near route.). Thunderbird Resort 7704 OK-10 Tahlequah OK 74464, War Eagle Resort 13020 OK-10 Tahlequah OK 74464, Diamondhead resort 12081 OK-10 Tahlequah OK 74464. These are all river motels (I.e. tourist camping and running the river, may not be available in July??)

July 15th Saturday – Day 7 Goal -@ the 240 mile mark there is Braman OK for camping (Matt Moreland Farms). If we push another 110 miles we can arrive in Alma OK for a hotel. Ranger Inn 420 OK-14, Alva, OK 73717 (580) 327-1981, Western Motel 608 OK-14, Alva, OK 73717(580) 327-1363, Holiday Motel 701 OK-14, Alva, OK 73717 (580) 327-3333 Plan to call ahead since we may be late.

July 16th Sunday – Day 8 Goal – 287 Miles End in Boise City OK. Townsman Hotel 1205 Main St, Boise City, OK 73933(580) 544-2506, Longhorn Motel 1012 Main St, Boise City, OK 73933(580) 544-2596

July 17th Monday – Day 9 Goal -229 miles End in La Veta CO,  La Veta Inn103 W Ryus Ave, La Veta, CO 81055(719) 742-5566, Circle the wagons RV park. 126 W 2nd St, La Veta, CO 81055(719) 742-3233

July 18th Tuesday – Day 10 – 239 Miles –Maintenance stop Sun Sports Unlimited. 219 US-50, Gunnison, CO 81230 when arriving in Sargents CO –leave route and follow US 50 33 miles to Sun Sports Unlimited. Island Acres Motel 38339 US-50, Gunnison, CO 81230 (970) 641-1442, RodeWay Inn 37760 US-50, Gunnison, CO 81230 (970) 641-0500 Spend Wednesday July 19th in Gunnison waiting on repairs.

July 20th Thursday – Day 12 Goal262 miles End at 3 step hideaway 2430 Lisbon Valley Rd. LaSal, UT 84530 435-249-5567

July 21st Friday – Day 13 Goal – 143 Miles End in Green Rriver UT. Book Cliff Lodge, 735 E Main St, Green River, UT 84525 (435) 564-3406. Sleepy Hollow Motel, 94 E Main, Green River, UT 84525. Passport Inn, 735 East Main Street, Green River, UT 84601 (435) 564-3406.

July 22nd Saturday – Day 14 Goal – 211 miles End in Ephriam UT. Willow Creek Inn, 450 S Main St, Ephraim, UT 84627, (435) 283-4566. Linnea’s B&B 244 S Main, Ephraim, UT 84627, (435) 681-0020

July 23rd Sunday – Day 15 Goal – 215 miles End in Border UT. The Border Inn U.S. 6, Utah, Baker, NV 89311, (775) 234-7300

July 24th Monday – Day 16 Goal – 155 miles Trementon UT. Western Inn 2301 W Main St, Tremonton, UT 84337, (435) 257-3399. Motel 6 585 W Main St, Tremonton, UT 84337, (435) 257-5675.  Marbel Motel 116 N Tremont St, Tremonton, UT 84337, 435) 257-3524.

July 25th Tuesda7 – Day 17 Goal – 232 miles End in Arco ID. A&B motel 766 W Grand Ave, Arco, ID 83213, (208) 527-2051. DK motel 316 S Front St, Arco, ID 83213, (208) 527-8282. Lost River Motel 405 Hwy Dr, Arco, ID 83213, (208) 527-3600.

July 26th Wednesday – Day 18 Goal – 265 miles End in Idaho City ID. Inn the Pines 3764 Hwy 21, Idaho City, ID 83631, (208) 392-9505. Idaho City hotel 215 Montgomery St, Idaho City, ID 83631, (208) 392-4499.

July 27th Thursday – Day 19 Goal – 283 miles End in John Day OR. Dreamers Lodge 144 N Canyon Blvd, John Day, OR 97845 (541) 575-0526. Little Pine inn 250 E Main St, John Day, OR 97845, (541) 575-2100. Budget 8 motel 711 W Main St, John Day, OR 97845 (541) 575-2155.

July 28th Friday – Day 20 Goal – 264 miles End in la Pine OR. Best Western 16515 Reed Rd, La Pine, OR 97739, (541) 536-5130

July 29th Saturday – Day 21 Goal – 226 miles End in Glendale OR (7 miles south is Wolf Creek inn on maps)

July 30th Sunday – Day 22 Goal – 108 miles End in Port Orford OR. Battle Rock motel 136 US-101, Port Orford, OR 97465, (541) 332-7331

TOTAL 5,018 miles

July 31 Monday -Day 23 Goal – 595 miles –End in Boise ID. Pick up rental truck at Uhaul 1-888-303-7696 (regional office) Res# 84856622 KarKare 1717 Oregon St, Port Orford, OR 97465 P/U date is 30 July.

Aug 1st Tuesday -Day 24 Goal – 686 miles – End in Laramie WY

Aug 2nd Wednesday – Day 25 Goal – 683 miles – End in Kansas City MO

Aug 3rd Thursday – Day 26 Goal – 684 miles– End in Chattanooga TN

Aug 4th Friday – Day 27 Goal – 550 miles –End in Spring Hill FL

The Riders

So I had initially thought I would do this adventure alone. The more and more I read about the riders it just looked like it would be more fun with at least another person or a team of riders. It just so happens that the guy that got me back into riding in the woods and doing hare scrambles was excited about doing the trail. We both worked hard to get the time off simultaneously and have been equally preparing our bikes for the past 6 months. He will be riding a 2013 Honda CRF250L. We have been bouncing ideas off each other and helping each other prepare the machines. Chris (left) and I met at the local dog park.

Dog park bros2

Chris on the left and JB on the right.


This is Steve, he will be joining us in Colorado. He and I met while attending the Shane Watts Dirtwise in-depth off-road course in Florida.

You need a license?

I found it interesting that the guy that got me back into riding in the woods and he himself is a great racer actually didn’t have a license to ride on the street. I guess it shouldn’t of surprised me, there’s no need if all you do is ride off-road. But the topic came up as we were discussing our plans month’s ago and I stated that I would be bringing a firearm. We talked about reciprocal carry permit states and sure enough the topic of laws led us to the discovery that he didn’t have a road motorcycle license. Easily rectified, he signed up for course nearby that offers classroom and maneuver instruction. At the completion of the 2.2 day long course you head to the DMV and get your endorsement.

Chris at riding school 3



One of the things that is elusive in most blog posts about the Trans American Trail is the gear people take. This has been the topic of most of our conversations at the dog park “what to bring”. Since we are planning on about 10-12 hours a day of riding and crashing at a motel each night, this helps us pack lighter. We are prepared for limited camping. Hover over the red dots for descriptions.


Day 0 -Spring Hill Fl to Andrews NC by truck

Day Zero (July 8, 2017) began at the crack of dawn as usual for me. Today was the big day -pick up Chris and off to Alachua to grab JD then 8 hours to Andrews NC.

day zero

loaded bikes

At JD’s Place

Since JD and Chris had never been to the “World Famous” Varsity restaurant in Atlanta we decide to stop.

Of course anyone who has ever eaten there would surely say it is the worst food with the most attitude from the staff you will ever find. But if you’ve never been there -you have to try it once.

Day 1 -Blueridge Mountains down to GA

July 9th 2017. Today was the official start of our TAT trip. We were up on time and the morning weather was perfect. A little foggy and cool outside made the start a perfect one.

day zero before we depart

jb NC waterfall

We headed straight up into the mountains and immediately we twisting and turning through the Appalachians. We stopped for this photo next to a waterfall

ken at thundewr mtn

thunder mtn gas

chris at thunder mtn

Our first fuel stop took place at Thunder Mountain General Store. The proprietor, Ken, was on hand to let us know how many others had come through this season. I asked about the old school gas pumps and he said “they” want $60K to upgrade his to digital…He said “They still work just fine”.

chris at forrest sign


Our route actually skirted behind this sign and then onto the dirt roads. This is very near the famous “Dragons Tail” route for motorcycles (all hardball roads).

buckets and brews

Once we cleared the Appalachians we came out around Tellico Plains TN. We stopped for BBQ and of course a couple of beers. Just so happens there was a aptly named BBQ joint called Buckets & Brews.

We had a great conversation with the owners of Buckets & Brews and amazingly they had previously lived in Spring Hill Florida where Chris and I are from! We sat and talked with them for about an hour.

forest sign

Once we departed Tellico Plains we headed right into the Blueridge Mountains. This is where things went from awesome to “get me off this mountain”. Those are the words I was uttering as day turned to night and we still had at least 20 miles to go.

We had no problem navigating but the ups and downs, twists and turns, and sheer rock cliffs but it took an inordinate amount of time. Our goal was to get to Chatsworth GA and by god we were gonna do it. At one point Chris hit empty on his fuel but we were carrying spares. We emptied our reserve fuel and finally made it out of the mountains. We arrived in Chatsworth around 10pm and parked at the nearest motel (Adco Motel). For those of you familiar with the Bambi Inn in Gainseville FL, this place put it to shame.

It was a Sunday night and everything was closed -I mean everything -Also there was absolutely no cell service or internet. It didn’t matter -we were exhausted. Our asses hurt bad, our feet were wet from the river crossings and our attitudes needed healing sleep.

Day 2 -A day of getting lost and the Georgia heat

July 10 2017. If you are following along, Day 1 ended late and we were exhausted. Day 2 had to be better and it was. We started our day a little late -around 9 am but that was because we had to remove all of our gear from the bikes the night before for fear of theft in Chatsworth GA.
JB Slow Sickness

Not long after departing Chatsworth we ran into this sign. Does anyone know what that means?

GA Logging trail

We pressed on and went into the mountains again but this time it was logging roads which are a bit easier to move along. We were constantly on alert for jeeps and trucks headed in the opposite direction. We have already had a couple of close calls as the trails are just wide enough for one vehicle.

jb on rock

Chris overlook

We passed through a couple more small mountains winding our way towards Tennessee.

Zach and Dakota

We had made it close to the Tennessee border and got a bit turned around. We spent maybe twenty minutes trying to find the route and ended up on the tracks, literally. We were paralleling the route but on the railroad tracks. Our thought was simply at the next crossing we get back on the trail. Well turns out -that wasn’t to be. We ran into a couple of good ol boys welding the railroad tracks.
Dakota and Zach.

chris on the vtracks

They let us know that there was “no way to get there from here” and while we were turning around Chris managed to get really stuck in the gravel. It took Zach and Dakota to help us manhandle his bike back onto the tracks. Great guys just plugging away in the Georgia heat.

chris in tunnel

After the exhausting events of having to push and pull a fully laden dirtbike we had to find some shade and take a break. Turns out the shade we found was the turn we had missed. It runs under the railroad tracks.

JB Map review

After our break we were only about fifty miles from Fayetteville TN. A quick map check to be sure we could make it.

bikes in rm in Tn

We made it to the motel in Fayetteville around 1830 and promptly loaded the bikes in the room.

chris after day 2

Then it was shower time and crash. Tomorrow we head to Savannah TN.

Today was a real gut check. Hot, getting lost, and mentally evaluating whether we could actually get all the way across the country. The planned schedule was certainly beginning to come into question. Could we go 250 miles a day like this? We of course still had the enthusiasm to get this done. It takes at least one of the two riders to have a positive attitude to encourage the other and this duty was passed between the two of us throughout the day.