The Trail is long. This country is big. We exceeded 7000 detour and TransAmerica Trail miles.
So, my presumption was that we’d cross paths with a number of motorcyclists out there doing what we were doing. Maybe we’d even camp near some of them.
Nope. We mostly had the place to ourselves.
We crossed through
>North Carolina (love that Blue Ridge Parkway),
>Tennessee (country roads take me home),
>Mississippi (Ozark dirt),
>Arkansas (buy fireworks),
>Oklahoma (hot and straight),
>Kansas (we were only there for the storm)
>New Mexico (pronghorns),
>Colorado (elevation air ahhh),
>Nevada (bring water),
>California (almost home), and
>Oregon (500 more mountain curves).
We did not encounter our first TAT riders until Mississippi or Arkansas.
And they weren’t on motorcycles. They were bicyclists:
People like Hal Russell (68), Tanner (30s), Aaron (40s), and 2 Kiwi/Spanish tandem couples. These are gnarly individuals, riding their own self-supported race across the same hot deserted western roads we crossed. On endless roads in Utah or Nevada we’d follow snaking bike tracks for hours of miles before catching up to advancing cyclists. I asked Aaron (whose tent was destroyed by the Kansas storm we encountered) how he crossed the 120+ mile Nevada sections. “I carried nine liters of water [20 lbs.] and I was dehydrated at the end.”
Son Paul informed me that Hal just finished Aug. 2; 18 days after us.
We met no fellow motorcyclists until Dove Creek, CO at Utah’s border, about 2/3 of the way through the TAT. They were Swiss-man Ralf on a BMW R1200GS and his Austrian Uncle Christian on a KTM 690. OhMyWOW: That GS looks so big in context of Oklahoma mud and Colorado’s sheer passes and Utah’s hairpin talcum rocky inclines. In fact, Ralf relates falling with some frequency. In Oklahoma, he encountered a water hazard that partially submerged his German motor. In a day or 2, his electrics began to fail, necessitating a truck ride to an Oklahoma repair shop with a 4 day delay. Buried within the GS motor, the alternator lay dead. The engine was extracted from the frame and $2400 later, their TAT journey resumed.
[Yes, if elected, I will be advocating malpractice prison for certain mechanical engineers.]
Ralf and Christian did shortcut a few segments in their quest for home. (And we chatted enough in the Dove Creek snack store, that Ralf sent Paul a Swiss computer job offer.)
Otherwise, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.
A different approach to crowds:
“When [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matt9:36