US Northwest - I want to do the TAT (Trans American Trail) in 2021 | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

US Northwest I want to do the TAT (Trans American Trail) in 2021

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Stalker

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2. (and probably the main reason) I live in WA. I'd rather "sprint" out to the starting point (straight highway as much as possible from WA to WV), do the TAT route (figure about a month-long overlanding +/-), and then once I get to the end (in OR - taking the Pacific Ocean Spur) I'm not too far from home. By then I'll be ready to get home, and home won't be thousands of miles away. I'm just over the OR border into WA.
That makes sense. Frankly, I always thought opposite: to start in OR near home, complete the toughest part first but be able to divert if case of a serious breakdown. Towing the rig back from the East would be much more expensive.
 

armyRN

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I'm also hoping to do the TAT in 2021, but who knows at this point if I'll be able to get the time off.
That's why I started this thread six months out. I'm a believer in "If you don't plan it, it won't happen". Time's flying, I'm not getting any younger, 2020 sucked, and I've been wanting to do the TAT for years. I've decided 2021 is the year for this trip (why not?). So before my summer gets booked by someone else, I'm putting this on my calendar. Right now I'm thinking June/July timeframe.

Come join me Mtn Baja.

My wife is totally on board... on board for me to be gone for a month or more and for her to stay home and have peace-and-quiet with the dogs.

Of course I totally get the "time off" thing. For me that's no longer an issue (getting more than two weeks of leave while still active duty was like pulling teeth). So unless something major comes up (like someone dies or some major social event) I'm working towards making this happen.

In 2019 I spent just over a month crisscrossing the country (made a big "X") with the TJ and trailer, so being gone a month or more is something I'm used to.

Trip.1 (2).jpg
 
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AdventureWithDanan

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@AdventureWithDanan Do you have any words of wisdom for this thread?
I 100% agree with sprinting out and overlanding home.

I am also a big supporter of not just planning to do something, but DECIDING that you’re going to do it and planning toward the actuality of it.

When I was “planning” on doing the TAT in 2018, nothing actually happened until my buddy told me, “I’m leaving in 3 months with or without you.” Well... when he said that I didn’t even have a motorcycle. 3 months later I had a fully built bike and I headed out with him and our buddy. So setting a date and planning for that departure is key.
 
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armyRN

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Right now I'm a little-bit waiting to see what the NWOR (Northwest Overland Rally) dates are going to be this year. A friend of mine asked if I'd help him lead a group on the WABDR right after the NWOR. I don't know yet if they're planning on June or the end of August/September for the event. But I don't plan on waiting too long.

However, according to the NWOR page, they say (in talking about the schedule): "The 2021 version will be up early August 2021".

Link: Schedule (nwoverlandrally.com)

Which makes me think they're planning (at least at this point) a late August/early September timeframe for the event. So in my mind an early-ish June departure for the TAT is a reasonable assumption at this point, so that's what I'm working off of for now.

I will eventually post a rally point for the start of the TAT in WV. I will also post a rally point in WA in case folks from the NW region want to convoy out to WV to start the TAT (that or have them PM me separately to gauge interest). What I can't do is tell folks when we will complete the TAT (i.e. arrive at the end in OR). "They" (TAT folks) say to figure 200 miles/day (and their "day" is driving from 0700 - 1800). I'm figuring roughly five - six weeks at least from when I/we leave WA heading to WV for the start of the TAT till I get home (I plan on just taking pretty much all of June and July off from work). Could be longer if we are pushing it hard a few days and then decide to hang-out for a day-or-so in some really cool town. So I don't expect everyone will be able to do the whole route - if you need to check-in along the way or check-out and head home anywhere during the TAT that's fine. Some is better than none! However, I can't predict when we will arrive at certain portions of the TAT.

Overland adventure.11.jpg
 
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armyRN

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So for those still interested in going with me on the TAT this summer...

I am a planner. I am trying to plan this trip for myself, and for those who would like to do the TAT but planning isn't necessarily their thing (or they'd rather someone else do the planning - and that's ok with me).

The TAT starts in Ripley, WV. According to Mapquest (pictured below), from Longview WA to Ripley WV it is 2,594 miles (we'll round up to 2,600 miles). I don't know what size town Ripley is, or if there's a much larger town close to it. I spent some time in WV in 2019 - I thought it was beautiful country.

MAP WA to WV.PNG

Tentatively...

If we start out around SW WA and we're pushing it at 500 miles/day, that'll get us there (WV) at the end of day #5 or early on day #6. Figure the next day (or day #6) to replenish supplies, do laundry, any vehicle maintenance stuff, etc. and then start the TAT early on day #7. There is a Super Walmart in Ripley, WV, and looks like a laundromat too. Looks like they have a nice little downtown section in town.

Tentatively...

So if we left WA on Tuesday, 1 June, we should be ready to start the actual TAT in WV on Monday, 7 June. So if anyone was not going to be convoying from WA to WV, but wanted to join us at the start of the TAT (for however long), they could plan on being in Ripley WV by 7 June for the start of the TAT adventure.

However, one of my concerns are the passes in CO being open by the time we get there. I'm roughly figuring it'll take us at least two weeks once we start on the TAT to get to those passes. So hopefully by then we'd be good.

Tentatively...

Or
... to play it safer we could shift the day we leave WA to Sunday, 6 June, so we'd be starting the TAT on Saturday, 12 June. Those extra six days might make the difference as to whether or not the higher passes in CO are open. Time will tell if CO has a heavy or light snow winter.

June 2021calendar.PNG

How's that sounding? Of course, there's no way I can predict when we'll complete the TAT back to OR. Or if CO will have a heavy-snow winter or a light one. Or when we will start a particular segment of the TAT (like the Shadow of the Rockies portion).

This is a bucket-list kinda trip for many folks, so it isn't something you'd want to rush driving through just to check-the-block. But also it is understood folks have time limits they can be out overlanding, so every little town can't be explored for a day-or-two before getting back to the TAT.

According to the TAT website: "The average days ride is about 200-miles, and that’s a full day from 7AM to 6PM". And this for motorcycle riders. This may be a bit optimistic for a group of 4x4s.
 
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shortbus4x4

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I say take the Willys. It wouldn't be the most fun rig to drive to the starting point but it sure would be a blast on the trail. Will you be doing any part of the trail in WY? I might be interested in joining you for that part or possibly ID or OR.
 

armyRN

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I say take the Willys. It wouldn't be the most fun rig to drive to the starting point but it sure would be a blast on the trail. Will you be doing any part of the trail in WY? I might be interested in joining you for that part or possibly ID or OR.
I plan on us taking the Colorado portion of the TAT (runs north through all of CO), which ends at the southern WY border. And then WY to ID to OR.

If for some reason CO portion of "Shadow of the Rockies" isn't an option, we would continue on to Utah and up into ID, then to OR.

I'm leaning towards taking the TJ (mainly because of the 2,600 mile drive to get to the TAT starting point), but haven't completely ruled out taking the Willys. If there were other flat-fenders that were definitely going to run it, I would reconsider. I definitely plan on taking the Willys on some shorter trips in WA and OR this spring & summer.

TAT map.PNG
 
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shortbus4x4

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Yeah the drive out in the flatty would be long, if you do take it definitely try to take 2 lane highways. I'm definitely interested in the WY section and west if 2021 is better than 2020.
 
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armyRN

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Yeah the drive out in the flatty would be long, if you do take it definitely try to take 2 lane highways. I'm definitely interested in the WY section and west if 2021 is better than 2020.
Which might be doable if I were going by myself heading out from WA to the start of the TAT in WV. If there's a group going (even just one other), we'd need to be making time on the highway (and even then, my four-cylinder TJ pulling the trailer won't win any races on the highway). Unless we both were in little flatties.
 
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shortbus4x4

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I just ordered the Pacific Spur, WY, and ID maps from Sam. I actually spent some time working down near Baggs WY the winter and spring of 2019 and have probably driven a small part of the TAT in a Ram 5500 service truck for work.
 
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armyRN

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I'll order mine sometime after the first of the year. It'll come to a little over $100 once I'm done. I'll be getting the TAT bundle, plus the Rockies piece, and the Pacific Ocean Spur.

But after using GPS stuff loaded onto my phone using the GAIA platform a few times this year to mark our intended routes, I'm sold on how much it helps in the backwoods. It is money well spent. I would have been lost without it on my recent Pacific Crest Overland Route - Oregon Portion trip. I've got the books with the topo maps, but things aren't always marked like you'd like them to be in the woods. I'd come to a fork and nothing's marked, and I'm not really sure where I am according to the topo maps (didn't have a navigator with me constantly staring at the maps), and the GPS would have it right there in front of me. I would encourage everyone that goes with me on this TAT trip to have it (TAT routes from TAT) loaded before we start. I'm using GAIA - but there are other platforms out there. I am not smart enough on this stuff to know the difference between the different platforms. I just know I have GAIA loaded on my phone and it works for me. I pay an annual fee, and I think there are different levels you can get (I have the premium level).

Speaking of spending money, about the only thing I think I need to buy for the Jeep is a kit for the transfer case so I can have 2WD Low-Range. I have it in my Willys and it comes in very handy. It might make those switchbacks in CO a little easier. Having a locker in the TJ's front axle (Aussie Locker) sometimes wants to make the Jeep swing wide on sharp curves when in 4WD.
 
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Vtpeter

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Wow ! I'm really excited to see you are planning a TAT trip, and possibly driving vintage Jeeps. I've been working on the same adventure for a few years, and should have done it this year. Well, Covid changed those plans, and now I'll be leaving the east in June 2021. My vehicle will be a Willys CJ3B.

I will be using Sams maps. Last year on the way to Moab EJS I stopped by to meet Sam. We had dinner and talked about the route. He thought doing it in an old Willys would be fine. He's a great guy, and really enjoys telling stories of the TAT.

I'll definitely be following your planning. I hope you choose the Willys for this trip. You can find me @Oldjeepadventures on Instagram. Or thru Petescampvt.com.
 
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Levine98

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Hi ya,

A guy I met on the FB group and I are planning on leaving VA June 19th and going all the way to WA (like you will be taking the pacific coast stem once we hit ID). We have a hard departure date of June 19th due to prior committments. His goal is to make the port of Seattle in 6 weeks time from start so he can ship out to his next post--I'm retired and just have to get to Seattle sometime in August. We are both planning on stopping off in Colorado Springs along the way to visit family for a couple of days. I'm in new 4Runner, he is in a restored 1990s Defender. Will pop you a note after the holiday's once our plans are firmed up to see if there is any overlap on the route/timing that you'd be interested in.
 
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n0mad

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Hi All - fairly new to 4x4 and overlanding in general. Was looking at TAT for 2021 as a way to immerse myself, and celebrate my 50th birthday. I live in Pittsburgh, PA not relatively far from the proposed WV start point. Taking a work sabbatical for 2021, so time away is not an issue. Would be adventure of a lifetime for sure!
 
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Vtpeter

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Hi All - fairly new to 4x4 and overlanding in general. Was looking at TAT for 2021 as a way to immerse myself, and celebrate my 50th birthday. I live in Pittsburgh, PA not relatively far from the proposed WV start point. Taking a work sabbatical for 2021, so time away is not an issue. Would be adventure of a lifetime for sure!
Yes, definitely a trip of a lifetime !
 
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armyRN

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Hi All - fairly new to 4x4 and overlanding in general. Was looking at TAT for 2021 as a way to immerse myself, and celebrate my 50th birthday. I live in Pittsburgh, PA not relatively far from the proposed WV start point. Taking a work sabbatical for 2021, so time away is not an issue. Would be adventure of a lifetime for sure!
Yup. Make it happen. Would definitely be an adventure of a lifetime.

Block off those days, prep your vehicle, get your gear, and lets do this.

How can we help you?
 

Neal A. Tew

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@armyRN

Paul, I've realized that you may be coming through Colorado right about the time of the 3rd Annual Buena Vista June Jam. I am the creator of the event and presently trying to nail down the dates for 2021 to create the Rally Point.

If you have 1-4 days to layover in Buena Vista for a group camp and trail runs, we'd love to have you. If you have any interest, I could use your plans to influence our dates. Also, I'd like to run a little of the local western portion of the TAT with you, if possible. I was thinking of promoting your trip to this Region also if you were agreeable.

Here's our joint photo album from last year's Buena Vista June Jam:

and the discussion:

I'm not real familiar with the SOTR portion of the TAT, but it looks like it runs very close to Buena Vista if not through it.

Let me know if you have any interest. No pressure. I just thought it might be fun for the two groups to hook up for a day or two.

EDIT: I just read up more about the Shadow route and found that it shares much with the June Jam. See underlined. Those are all things we did last year.

Salida is the junction where you turn North and break away from the TAT. The route goes to St. Elmo, a real must-stop. From here, start your climb to Tin Cup Pass, which is very rocky. I have given the riders a Big Bike Bypass with easy exit and easy way back on the TAT that is marked on my maps. If you take the bypass, ride to St. Elmo, then back track to Buena Vista and Cottonwood Pass, which is just as beautiful but does not have the ROCKS. You will enjoy Crest Butte and Kebler Pass. Then, it’s on to Rifle, CO, Meeker, CO, and Craig, CO, each with motel, food, and gas available. Cross into WY and end in Baggs, WY.
 
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armyRN

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Sure. Let's see if we can work something out. Colorado is one of the states I'm really looking forward to visiting on this trip.

I'll decide on a WV departure date sometime in January and will post it so others can plan if they want to join me. I'm a lil' bit leaning towards the 12 June WV TAT departure date so by the time we get to CO the passes are clear. You'd probably know better than me (TELL ME) when these passes are generally open (Mid June? Late June?).

The other thing is, I don't know how long it will take to get to get to Buena Vista once we start in WV. The TAT folks toss-out 200 miles/day, but that's based on an 0700 - 1800 driving days, and that was on motorcycles. So 4x4's (especially if we have a group) I'm thinking it might be closer to 100 - 150 miles/day (off the top-of-my-head). Depends on the terrain and such of course and how many kittens I'm trying to herd. I'm having a hard time figuring out how many miles it is from the start in WV to the Shadow of the Rockies turn-off.
 
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