US East Running the Trans America Trail (TAT) from WV to the OR coast

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dboden01

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To the Crew:

My name is Derek, and I just signed on to this adventure! I've been looking for my next adventure and after recently discovering the TAT, and finding this group, I am hooked!

At the end of 2019, my wife and I resigned our careers, sold our house and possessions, purchased a truck and camper, and took our then 4 year old daughter on a nearly year long adventure criss-crossing much of this great country. We returned this past fall to Pennsylvania, and settled back into a "normal" life, but have been seeking another adventure. While I would love to join for the entirety of the trip, I think more likely we will be able to begin at the rally point and ride for up to 2 weeks.

My current rig is a stock 2018 Wrangler JLU Rubicon. I find the capabilities of this stock vehicle to be sufficient for nearly all my needs currently. I have had a number of vehicles that I have off-roaded with over the past 20 years including a '95 Defender 90, and a 2000 Jeep TJ I built for rock crawling. The JLU is also my daily driver and I have worked to incorporate my love of camping into this vehicle as best I can. I currently use a ground tent, but have contemplated an RTT, but haven't yet had the opportunity to pull the trigger.

I look forward to meeting you all and enjoying a fantastic opportunity to explore another area of this country.

ps.

In looking for campgrounds, boon docking sites, or parks along the route...another great utility and one I found most helpful is Campendium. It gives realtime reviews and coordinates for crowdsourced boon docking sites around the country.
 

armyRN

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I use the Garmin Inreach with the Earthmate app. I uploaded the TAT GPX files into it. There are a ton of waypoints for stores, hotels, grocery stores etc. Pretty thorough. I also use IOverlander, freecampsites.net and Gaia to find overnight accommodations.

I have an active subscription to Inreach and am planning on doing the whole trail so I can cover any emergencies for everyone.
That would be awesome. Thanks!

It sounds like we should never be wondering where the next campsite is located.
 
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Neal A. Tew

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I use the Garmin Inreach with the Earthmate app. I uploaded the TAT GPX files into it. There are a ton of waypoints for stores, hotels, grocery stores etc. Pretty thorough. I also use IOverlander, freecampsites.net and Gaia to find overnight accommodations.

I have an active subscription to Inreach and am planning on doing the whole trail so I can cover any emergencies for everyone.
That would be awesome. Thanks!

It sounds like we should never be wondering where the next campsite is located.
If even half the RSVPs show up, the challenge may be finding big enough or multiple adjacent spots.
 

armyRN

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To the Crew:

My name is Derek, and I just signed on to this adventure! I've been looking for my next adventure and after recently discovering the TAT, and finding this group, I am hooked!

At the end of 2019, my wife and I resigned our careers, sold our house and possessions, purchased a truck and camper, and took our then 4 year old daughter on a nearly year long adventure criss-crossing much of this great country. We returned this past fall to Pennsylvania, and settled back into a "normal" life, but have been seeking another adventure. While I would love to join for the entirety of the trip, I think more likely we will be able to begin at the rally point and ride for up to 2 weeks.

My current rig is a stock 2018 Wrangler JLU Rubicon. I find the capabilities of this stock vehicle to be sufficient for nearly all my needs currently. I have had a number of vehicles that I have off-roaded with over the past 20 years including a '95 Defender 90, and a 2000 Jeep TJ I built for rock crawling. The JLU is also my daily driver and I have worked to incorporate my love of camping into this vehicle as best I can. I currently use a ground tent, but have contemplated an RTT, but haven't yet had the opportunity to pull the trigger.

I look forward to meeting you all and enjoying a fantastic opportunity to explore another area of this country.

ps.

In looking for campgrounds, boon docking sites, or parks along the route...another great utility and one I found most helpful is Campendium. It gives realtime reviews and coordinates for crowdsourced boon docking sites around the country.
Hi Derek, welcome aboard! We'll have quite the adventure, and with a great group of folks. And yes, we might be "boon docking" camping sometimes.

Your vehicle sounds about perfect for this trip. There will be all sorts of camping set-ups on this trip; ground tents, RTTs, maybe even a small trailer or two. Some folks are happy to swing a hammock between two uprights and call it good.

And honestly, my favorite camping/sleeping set-up is my Browning 10 x 8' ground tent (so a small footprint) with an oversized Army cot inside. I can sit up in there on the side of the cot, stand to change my clothes, and there's room for a chair (or a portable potty), and room for all my gear. I can safely have a heater on inside too. So even though I'll be bringing my little trailer with an RTT on top, I'll probably also be bringing my tent and cot for those times I just don't feel like having to crawl into my RTT (which is really just a tent-cot mounted to my trailer's lid) or we're spending more than just one night at one place.

I've also got an awning on my Jeep; some nights (if it's not supposed to rain) I might just open up the awning and put the cot underneath and call it good.

Don't let costs keep you from going on adventures!

OB Feb.1.jpg
OB Feb.2.jpgOB Feb.3.jpg
 
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Darunner

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I am planning for the same multiple option setup , RTT and ground tent and even inside my car ,
It’s going to be based on the weather condition and terrain , I just bought the Gazelle T3x from The
Overland bound store with the all the discount it ended costing $205 shipped and delivered
I received it last week and it’s super cool and fast to set up , as advertised. 90 second and I was done
I am in the market for a small trailer as well but it’s not a must but if I got a good deal then maybe
Something like what is attached in the pic ....LOL
 

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Triple B

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Hello to the Group!
My name is Anna Edwards. I have a '12 Xterra P4X, (stock) that goes by the name of Triple B. Originally meant bigger, badder, better, but now it's just because it's blue in color. My co-pilot is a 2yr Dachshund/Jack Russel mix. I am somewhere between beginner/middle when it comes to trail driving. I have driven on trails in Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada in a Geo Tracker manual 4x4 Have done a few trails in Nevada with Triple B. Purchased Triple B in April and then moved in October, so did not get to trail much in her. Between Covid and Nevada heat it kept me pretty much at home. I now live in Florida and have not gone out as of yet. Trailing here is vastly different than what I am use to. It's more like muddin. Am working on getting the requirements as noted, however I do have some questions:
1) Sam's maps for Rockies are broke out into Colorado or New Mexico, which one is needed?
2) Since the rally point is WV, does this mean that the Atlantic Spur is skipped? If so, should I choose to do this section what is the allotted timeframe I should plan for this section and still make the rally point?
3) I currently have Kelly AT's new, came with the purchase. About 6k on them. Would these work or do they need upgraded? I was looking at the Wildpeaks, but don't want to spend the cash if not necessary.
4) Nightly camping. Will it be disbursed/primitive? At the very least have a outhouse? What about water/trash? Will there be spots to drop off trash and refill water daily?
5) Will refueling be done daily?
6) Not sure which TAT to purchase Hard copy/paper or go with GPX. I have a Garmin RV660(lived the RV life full time for 3 yrs) which uses SD cards along with Basecamp. However as we know SD's have a tendency to stop working. As such, I am leaning towards the hard copies. I see the group as a hole uses GAIA; Is there an app a little simpler to use?
7) Will there be some sort of virtual gathering(s) before departure,( i.e zoom, facetime, etc.)?

Well people that's it for now! Looking forward to the trip and meeting everyone!
 

armyRN

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To answer Anna's questions:

1) Sam's maps for Rockies are broke out into Colorado or New Mexico, which one is needed?

We will be in NM ever so briefly before we get into CO and pick-up the Shadow of the Rockies (SOR) route. So if you wanted to save a few pennies and skip the NM map that would be fine. The black line parallels the route we'll be taking.

TAT map_LI.jpg

2a) Since the rally point is WV, does this mean that the Atlantic Spur is skipped?

Yes, we are skipping the Atlantic Ocean Spur. We are doing the Shadow of the Rockies Spur (SOR) once we're in CO, and picking up the Pacific Ocean Spur (POS) in ID.

2b) If so, should I choose to do this section, what is the allotted timeframe I should plan for this section and still make the rally point?

I honestly don't know. The route is described as starting from the outer banks of the Atlantic Ocean (Nags Head) to Burnsville, VA (469 miles). Then once in Burnsville, you head north to Ripley WV (about another 225 miles) which I'm figuring is all pavement. So you're looking at about 700 miles total, with a good portion paved at the beginning and end. Those last 225 miles should all be pavement, so that's an easy half-day or so.
Link: Atlantic Ocean Spur: aka AOS – TransAm Trail

Off the top of my head... be at the start of the AOS in Nags Head a week prior (start the spur on 5 June). That'll give you a week to enjoy the AOS. You want to get to Ripley, WV NLT early in the day on 11 June, so you can get repacked/replenished, do laundry, and be ready to go early on 12 June (I'm shooting to get to Ripley by the 10th). The AOS sounds beautiful - you don't want to rush it or miss any part of it.

3) I currently have Kelly AT's new, came with the purchase. About 6k on them. Would these work or do they need upgraded? I was looking at the Wildpeaks, but don't want to spend the cash if not necessary.

Those tires should be fine. Make sure you've got a same-size matching spare tire on a matching rim.

4a) Nightly camping. Will it be disbursed/primitive?

Totally depends on where we end up for the night. Plan on primitive, so if there are facilities, you'll be pleasantly surprised. If we're at a formal campground, we may be assigned spots, and we might not all be side-by-side. We might even spend a night circling the wagons in a Walmart parking lot one night (it might happen, and it'll give you a story to tell afterwards).

4b) At the very least have a outhouse?

Again, depends on where we end up. The TAT has campgrounds and such marked, and many of us have apps that show camping areas (from primitive sites to luxurious). If we're at a campground, there should be something there for bathrooms. If in the middle of a field, you may be digging a hole. One of those folding toilet seat things come in handy. This looks like what I've got:

Link: Rothco Portable Camp Toilet-RO560-5188 (gnarlygorilla.com)

My folding toilet seat, TP, supplies, etc. all go in the Trasharoo bag mounted on the spare tire of the Jeep. I can also put trash bags in there till I can get to a place to dispose of them. You can see the small shovel used to dig potty holes up on the roof rack above the passenger door. The gray container inside the spare tire on the back of the trailer holds two gallons of water.

arctic prerun.3.jpg

4c) What about water/trash? Will there be spots to drop off trash and refill water daily?

Don't count on campgrounds having water. Carry it with you. We should be somewhere daily where you can refill water when we stop (I usually buy gallon jugs of water for drinking, and use this to refill my water bottle). I usually have separate water for drinking, and water for everything else. And there should be places we get to daily (like a gas station) to dump trash if the campground doesn't have a dumpster. You may have to carry your trash with you sometimes till we get to a place to drop off trash. Buy a box of kitchen trash bags so you can have a fresh bag daily (you can tie them in a knot so they're sealed-up and won't leak till you can properly dispose of them).

5) Will refueling be done daily?

That's kind-of my plan. But that's one of the reason's I mentioned early-on that when we stop for gas, everyone fills-up.

6) Not sure which TAT to purchase - Hard copy/paper or go with GPX. I have a Garmin RV660 (lived the RV life full time for 3 yrs) which uses SD cards along with Basecamp. However as we know SD's have a tendency to stop working. As such, I am leaning towards the hard copies. I see the group as a whole uses GAIA; Is there an app a little simpler to use?

I would go with the GPX. I've become a believer after using it for a while (actually, after the first time). Unless you've got a passenger acting as navigator with their nose constantly in the map watching where you're going (not fun for them), it is too easy to not know where you are on the paper map. Been there even when I was trying to follow a map the best I could.

My recommendation: Get the premium GAIA subscription (about $35/year), download it on your computer/laptop, and put it on your phone (and have a phone mount on your dash). Then order the GPX maps from Sam and load them. Most of us (I don't know if everyone) will be using GAIA. So if you have a question about it, you'll have plenty of folks that can help you with GAIA questions. I don't know of a "simpler" app. They all have a learning curve. I'm 60 years old, and somewhat computer knowledgeable. I'm able to get it working pretty quickly (still learning some of the finer points) - it isn't that difficult. There are a lot of smarter folks on this thread that can help you/us. Once set-up, you're all set - just follow the line with your arrow.

7) Will there be some sort of virtual gathering(s) before departure, (i.e. zoom, facetime, etc.)?

I hadn't planned on it. I was going to contact all that are signed-up starting a month out to see if everyone is still going, and put out last minute info on this thread the two weeks leading up to the departure date. I will be traveling from WA to WV the week prior (driving 2500 miles), so I won't have my usual computer access like I do when at home. I figure there will be others who will be driving a few days to get to the starting point too.

I'm trying to keep this simple - Sign-up, Show up ready to go, & Enjoy the ride, comradery, and the adventure. This thread is the place to ask questions. Lots of info was front loaded by me in the first few posts (requirements and such), and questions have already been brought-up and answered such as radios, licenses, GPS, etc. But I'm sure there will be more questions that come-up as we get closer to the departure date.

And on that note, if anyone out there who is signed-up finds out they're not going to be able to go after-all, please remove your name from the list. If you can't get it removed, send me a PM and I'll get an administrator to remove your name.

Keep asking questions - there are probably others with the same questions in mind.
 
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Darunner

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Hello to the Group!
My name is Anna Edwards.



2) Since the rally point is WV, does this mean that the Atlantic Spur is skipped? If so, should I choose to do this section what is the allotted timeframe I should plan for this section and still make the rally point?


Well people that's it for now! Looking forward to the trip and meeting everyone!

Hello Anna My Floridian Neighbor ! ...
I live In Orlando and I am planing to do the complete trip Including the Atlantic Spur . then meet the rest at Ripely WV , my plan to start from where 95 Intersect with the TAT route and go from there . that will shave some ~ 275 mile off highway driving or more
see the attached pic
if you close by Orlando lets setup a meeting and we can go over a lot of things that you asked and cross check our readiness for the trip so if any thing need to be ordered we will have time to order it .
you can send me PM to setup the meet , I can also travel half way to meet you if that easier.
I have the Sam maps so you don't need to download the Atlantic spur.
 

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Neal A. Tew

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Is anyone planning a ground tent for their sole sleeping arrangement?
 
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armyRN

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Group,

It was pointed out to me that the SOR track (the spur going up through Colorado) was missing all the waypoint markers and POIs. I double checked with mine, and it is missing them too. So I contacted Sam at TAT, and his reply was:

"TAT...The POI got stripped some how from the main file and I am working on the problem. Sorry for the trouble."

So stay tuned for more info as he gets the problem fixed.
 

armyRN

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Dan Grec to me is one of the top experts on Overlanding. He took a Jeep TJ on a couple year trip from Alaska to the tip of South America (sleeping every night in a ground tent). Then he took a JK on a three year trip around Africa. He doesn't have any big name sponsors - his trips are self-financed. So like the old TV commercial... "When Dan Grec speaks, people listen". I've also met him in person a couple times at Overlanding events - he's a really nice guy.

From the video: Think of Overlanding as: Vehicle Based Adventure Travel

As of last year I'm also now one of his "Patreons" (I sponsor him at $25/month - helping him live his dream - it's not going to break the bank). He's currently living in Canada getting ready for another big adventure. He's been putting out a lot of videos sharing his knowledge about facets of Overlanding since he's been back from Africa. His videos are based on his extensive experience - not him trying to sell you something or just to say "Look at me".

He has a new video out, and I thought you guys might find it interesting (only 14 minutes long). It pretty much follows what I believe Overlanding should be. Check it out.

Video: (207) TOP 5 Reasons Why I Overland Differently - YouTube
 
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Neal A. Tew

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I am bringing a ground tent as a backup, but planning on using my RTT as my primary residence.
I asked because I was wondering how comfortable folks would be in a tent at Wal-Mart.
 

armyRN

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I asked because I was wondering how comfortable folks would be in a tent at Wal-Mart.
If we "circled the wagons" (or formed a big "C"), and had tents inside, or had the tent between two parked vehicles it should be fine (i.e. make folks feel more comfortable). Even folks looking to cause trouble generally won't mess with a group (especially a group of 4x4 vehicles). And if we do an Urban Camping thing like at Walmart (I kinda want to try it if the opportunity presents itself and the timing of day is right), we're out of there early in the morning.

What scares me (or scared me - been there) was camping alone in the middle of nowhere where bears and other carnivores and wild beasties were present. Or thinking some meth-head psycho (or two - I think they run in pairs) might show up seeing my out there all by myself in the middle of nowhere and decide to "have a little fun" or worse. When boondocking it, I try to make my presence not visible from the road.

Either way, someone or something might have got shot, but that's beside the point.
 
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Neal A. Tew

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If we "circled the wagons" (or formed a big "C"), and had tents inside, or had the tent between two parked vehicles it should be fine. Even folks looking to cause trouble generally won't mess with a group (especially a group of 4x4 vehicles).

What scares (scared) me was camping alone in the middle of nowhere where bears were present. Or some psycho might show up seeing my out there all by myself and decide to "have a little fun".

Either way, someone or something might have got shot, but that's beside the point.

I was assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that some would be uncomfortable spending the night in a tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. And I'm not speaking from a safety perspective. It just seems weird to me. I'm probably the only one with that hangup. LOL. But maybe that's because I'm not a tent fan and I sleep in my truck. As you say, it's an adventure. :D
 

Neal A. Tew

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Dan Grec to me is one of the top experts on Overlanding. He took a Jeep TJ on a couple year trip from Alaska to the tip of South America (sleeping every night in a ground tent). Then he took a JK on a three year trip around Africa. He doesn't have any big name sponsors - his trips are self-financed. So like the old TV commercial... "When Dan Grec speaks, people listen". I've also met him in person a couple times at Overlanding events - he's a really nice guy.

Think of Overlanding as: Vehicle Based Adventure Travel

As of last year I'm also now one of his "Patreons" (I sponsor him at $25/month - helping him live his dream - it's not going to break the bank). He's currently living in Canada getting ready for another big adventure. He's been putting out a lot of videos sharing his knowledge about facets of Overlanding since he's been back from Africa. His videos are based on his extensive experience - not him trying to sell you something or just to say "Look at me".

He has a new video out, and I thought you guys might find it interesting. It pretty much follows what I believe Overlanding should be. Check it out.

Video: (207) TOP 5 Reasons Why I Overland Differently - YouTube
Thanks for sharing. I've got a friend that talks about this guy. I've been meaning to look him up.

I agree with him completely. I'm a bit of a minimalist in this sport/hobby/lifestyle. I was honestly concerned about serving in my OB positions because I don't possess a skottle or traction boards. LOL
 

armyRN

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I was assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that some would be uncomfortable spending the night in a tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. And I'm not speaking from a safety perspective. It just seems weird to me. I'm probably the only one with that hangup. LOL. But maybe that's because I'm not a tent fan and I sleep in my truck. As you say, it's an adventure. :D
Spending the night in a Walmart parking lot isn't weird to the RVing crowd. Some Walmarts allow it; some don't (hence that "RV-Parky" app). It wouldn't be my first or second choice, but sometimes any shelter in a storm.... They have bathrooms inside. Buy a few things in the store while there, be polite and friendly and make sure the cashier knows you're one of the folks out there spending the night in their parking lot and thank them, and let them know you'll be leaving early in the morning. Be quiet and keep a low profile while camping in their parking lot.
 
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