Oklahoma Mud Versus TransAmerica Trail Motorcyclists

Mud causes grunting and flopping about.

Mud V. Motorcycle

Mud is devious. A rocky Colorado pass atop a two thousand foot drop is only rideable if and when that traction thing is working with you.

Mud does not work with you.

A few miles west of the Mississippi, hospitable elder Percy Kale manages a friendly TransAmerica Trail stop in Trenton, Arkansas,(sign-in with cold water and cookies). He warned of an Arkansas stretch where, post-rain, a TAT rider had to have his motorcycle extracted by a tractor.

Another TAT Road in Oklahoma
Contrasting the narrow steep rough stuff, there are hundreds of miles of long straight, rough, long straight, dusty, long straight, gravelly TAT roads.Dave Bramsen

The effects of our stern Kansas storm followed us back into Oklahoma. We traversed a sinuous farm road where the juicy moistness of mud nestled in the low points. We negotiated several of them until one put the A-Twin and me on our side.
Layover 1.

By mid-day it was 96-degrees, and we rumbled past endless cornfields for miles until we came to a segment appearing crusty on top. What lies beneath? The essence of non-traction. The Twin slithered to the right and down, pinning my right boot into the earth. It hurt.
Layover 2.

TransAmerica Trail Ride Oklahoma Mud
Mud makes a stalwart steed look disabled. But in (only) 2,600 miles it will be sitting on Pacific sand.Dave Bramsen

I requested aid via my Sena intercom, reminding the boys to photograph first. Thank God for Nate Wagner’s motocross boots. And thank Nate if you see him in Santa Barbara. With lesser boots, this story might include a broken foot. (TAT pro-tip: be hot, uncomfortable and wear gear.)

The boys assisted in picking up the Twin, which sadly lacks many grab points. Grab the seat and it pops loose at the front. I mudded forward. The bike twitched and flopped on its side. In fairness, adventure bikes give liberty to swerve off the asphalt but they're not 300 lb. dirt bikes. (See Motorcyclist's ADV bike/motocross experiment.) The TAT is mostly ADV bike territory, but it has many unpredictable stretches where the lighter bikes rule the path.
Layover 3.

TransAmerica Trail Ride Oklahoma Mud
The mud insisted Caleb lay it here for the moment. Caleb had the lightest bike and his 250L was dropped the least in the 7,400 mile crossing. He rode with skill and was our scout and drone-ographer. He tended more to bumping one of our bikes at the moment of imbalance and watching it fall. In line for an Atlantic island ferry, he bumped his own bike over. No harm, just embarrassing.Dave Bramsen

Caleb decided to try the north side of the road with its thick ridges of mud marinating in brown water. He was a spectacle of flying mud chunks and minimal forward motion. His bike tipped over when he ran to help me, which was also a spectacle.
Layover 4.

We achieved dry land after a good hour. Hot Yoga; forget it—this was a workout. We celebrated the mid-point of the TAT with Caleb’s Arkansas firecrackers.

Next entry: A bit more mud.