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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 
Shown below are questions that are often asked about riding the Trans-America Trail
  1) What is the "best" motorcycle to ride on the Trans-Am Trail? 2) Does my motorcycle have to be street-legal? 3) When is the best time of the year to ride the Trans-Am Trail? 4) Can I ride from West to East? 5) How many miles should I plan to ride each day? 6) What about fuel stops? 7) What about motels? 8) What about camping? 9) If I ride the entire Trans-Am Trail, where may I have bike maintenance? 10) Do I need knobby tires? 11) Do I need a GPS? 12) Do I need a Roll Chart holder? 13) What about the TAT-Roll Charts? 14) Do I need to pack food and water on the motorcycle? 15) Are rain gear and warm clothing necessary? 16) What do I need to know about GPS for the Trans-Am Trail?  
  1) What is the "best" motorcycle to ride on the Trans-Am Trail?
I would NOT recommend any motorcycle smaller than 400cc motor. You need a "Dual-Sport" motorcycle that you can handle through deep sand, mud, loose gravel, rocks and snow. It's important to be sure your motorcycle is in good shape prior to your departure. A tune-up and safety check is a good idea (fresh oil, clean air filter, good tires, correct air pressure, etc.)
2) Does my motorcycle have to be street-legal?
Yes. Your motorcycle MUST be street legal in your home state.
3) When is the best time of the year to ride the Trans-Am Trail?
If you want to cross Colorado, Utah and Oregon, then your snow-window will be late June to early September. Keep in mind the desert heat in Utah and Nevada. Also, snow on the high passes of Colorado usually doesn't melt enough to allow passage until later in June.
4) Can I ride from West to East?
No. The TAT Maps and TAT Roll Charts are specifically designed for navigation from East to West, regardless of which state or what part of the trail you decided to start in. Do not even think about attempting to navigate from west to east.
5) How many miles should I plan to ride each day?
The average days ride is about 200-miles, and that's a full day from 7AM to 6PM
6) What about fuel stops?
Gas is plentiful in the eastern sections of the Trans-Am Trail with nothing over 100-miles between available fuel stations, with an average of every 60-miles in-between stations. One day in Nevada is 180-miles for gas between available fuel stations. It's important that you review your TAT-Maps each night, locate the fuel stops on the TAT-Maps and plan your fuel stops for the following days ride. Be aware, if you get a late start and are riding at night, some fuel stations may not be open. When in doubt, be sure to fill up your tank when it reaches a half tank. Many areas of the trail are remote - do not wait until your tank is almost empty before thinking to refuel
7) What about motels?
If you ride my recommended daily distance, there will be a motel either on the Trans-Am Trail or easy to find just off the trail, each and every night. It is important to locate and plan your overnight stay... do not risk getting caught in the outback after dark. It's important that you review your TAT-Maps each night, locate the hotels on the TAT-Maps and plan your overnight stay. keeping in mind that you get a late start and are riding at night, some motels may not have vacancy. When in doubt, call ahead and make a reservation. Motels shown on the TAT-Maps are typically modest, yet adequate accommodations such as Super-8, Days Inn, etc.
8) What about camping?
Many riders prefer to camp when riding the Trans-Am Trail. So for an added sense of adventure, pack your tent and plan to camp. Campgrounds, State Parks and National Parks are NOT listed on the TAT-Roll Charts
9) If I ride the entire Trans-Am Trail, where may I have bike maintenance?
Moab Utah is about the halfway point of the entire Trans-Am Trail, and an appropriate place to change oil, get new tires or any other repairs or maintenance your motorcycle might need. Contact Fred Hink, owner of Arrowhead Motorsports at 1-435-259-7356 www.arrowheadmotorsports.com. It's best if you can call ahead to make arrangements... and tell him Sam sent you.
10) Do I need knobby tires?
Yes. Knobby tires would be best... but a very good aggressive Dual-Sport tire would be okay in the Eastern sections of the Trans-Am Trail.
11) Do I need a GPS?
No. A GPS unit is NOT required to navigate the Trans-Am Trail, but I recommend one. The main mode of navigation is TAT-Roll Chart/odometer, which is simple, basic and very accurate. A GPS would be added assurance and very good backup. If you can just do one or the other, then by all means, do TAT-Roll Chart/odometer. TAT-Roll-Charts are key because of speed of riding - there's little time to look down to check next turn - roll charts tell you ahead of time what to lookout for.
12) Do I need a Roll Chart holder?
Yes. Get one with a wide and long window so you can view a big section of the TAT-Roll Chart before you have to advance it.
13) What about the TAT-Roll Charts?
The TAT-Roll Charts are 2-1/4" wide (the size of adding machine paper). I recommend only loading one days ride at a time, usually from motel-to-motel. The TAT-Roll Charts are sent to you on 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of paper, not rolls, with three columns of navigation information per page, including mini-maps embedded into the charts, which you will need to cut into rolls. This is done for a very important reason. It's equally important to review both the TAT-Maps and the TAT-Roll Charts as an integral part of your planning process. If the TAT-Roll Charts arrived already rolled, you couldn't look at them without unrolling them to reveal various areas of the Trans-Am Trail, very troublesome during planning!
14) Do I need to pack food and water on the motorcycle?
Yes. Pack extra water and bring some food or energy bars. Also, matches and a flashlight would be a very good idea - and an adequate First-Aid kit goes without saying. Hydration systems are recommended - especially important in the arid climates of Colorado, Utah and Nevada. How much water do you need? Experts say you should drink eight ounces of water every 15 minutes during hard exercise. Think of it as four big glasses of water an hour. Remember, temperature affects water intake as well. If it's hot out, you'll need more liquid to stay hydrated. "Studies have shown the best way to drink water while you're exercising is little shots every five minutes," White says. "If you just gun back a whole water bottle, 20 minutes later you're just going to pee the whole thing out. It won't get into your blood."
15) Are rain gear and warm clothing necessary?
Yes. You must be able to keep dry and warm, even in the summer months. In the high elevations of Colorado, summer temperatures can be cold, even in July and Aug. If caught in the high elevations after dark, the temperatures can drop significantly.
16) What do I need to know about GPS for riding the Trans-Am Trail?
GPS info is a Track, not a Route, and is sent to the rider via email. The rider must have MapSource® or BaseCamp™ (a free download from Garmin) loaded into their computer to open the file, and then download the file into their Garmin unit. All states are from border-to-border, across the state. No track is over 500 way-points (poi). A free GPS test file may be requested if needed.

 For information on GPS for riding the Trans-Am Trail, refer to our GPS page.

 

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