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Trans-America Trail 2013 : Early Morning Start

Originally posted to RoadRUNNER Magazine on August 15, 2013

Trans-America Trail 2013 : Early Morning Start

Mmmm, the day’s first sip of coffee. I am waiting for the sun to wake up so I can make the trek from Knoxville to Tellico Plains, TN (paved) where the Trans-America Trail now begins. It used to be Jellico, TN but that has changed since I started planning my route. As I wait for the sun, I am thinking about everything that has gone into putting this trip together, the sacrifices my family is making for me, the support I have received at work, and my own apprehension of doing the first part solo.

I have already been away from home for several weeks and the TAT riding has not even begun. I have traveled over 2,000 miles since I left Connecticut to participate in the RoadRUNNER Touring Weekend in Maggie Valley and I have about 2,000 more to go before I reach my halfway point at home in Colorado where I will take about a two week break before continuing.

I look forward to reporting on the ride. I ponder on what I am hoping to learn and what people want to see. Hundreds of people have done some portion of the trail, yet so many have still never heard of it. There is a lot of information out there, but much of it is outdated. As I make another cup of coffee, I think about how grateful I am that housekeeping gave me extra coffee packets.

I know some pure dirt bike riders like to read TAT reports to see how they can ride (mostly) off-road across the country. Carry food and supplies, keep away from civilization, and get lost in the vastness of America. I’m on a dual sport bike so I have the flexibility of hopping on and off the trail at will. To me the TAT is simply a guide and the appeal is about meeting people. Seeing first hand how life is like across the country live. This is one of reasons I am prepared to camp but do not plan on it. (Note: The TAT was designed so you can reach food, gas, and motel accommodations each day.)

My third and final cup of coffee and a last minute review of my notes before I begin the Trans-America Trail!

Trans-America Trail 2013 : Sunrise
Trans-America Trail 2013 : Sunrise

Others have recently reported high and impassable water crossings with very slippery rocks throughout Tennessee. There is even a recent account of a bike being swept down stream. I love water crossings, but since I am traveling alone, with the exception of my dad’s ashes, I admit this has me a bit on edge. In addition to the road closures and the privatization of lands there are conflicting opinions on the accuracy of the maps and newly released TAT GPS Tracks. This is why I am carrying the GPS, the original maps, and the roll tapes.

With the sun finally peaking through my window, I wonder where I will hit my first challenge and how I will approach it. I remind myself that everything happens for a reason. No need to waste energy on the unknown. On this journey I intend on taking the ride as it comes and to let the experiences be the driver rather than the route. With my last bit of coffee gone I think I am ready. Time to head downstairs and load my bike.


[headline h=”1″]View all the Daily Trans-America Trail Reports[/headline]

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