Father and sons on the Trans American Trail!

Time to fire up the blog for another motorcycle adventure tale. If you’ve been following this blog, or as you may presume from the title, the subject is motorcycle adventure rides by Donn and Deby. We’ve rode adventure motorcycles together for the past 5 years including South America in 2013, the Continental Divide Route in 2012, multiple trips to Baja and mainland Mexico and a number of organized rides in the US. Deby’s G650GS, which is her third motorcycle now has over 40,000 miles on it. I don’t really keep track but we ride a lot. This trip is a little different. Our oldest son, Jonathan, had the idea a year ago to ride the Trans American Trail. Over time he thought it would be a great idea if he could talk his brother, Weston and dad, me, into joining him. Of course, this obviously leaves out the most important person of the Donn and Deby motorcycle adventure duo, Deby. Jonathan’s vision of the TAT was “no girls allowed.” Certainly a problem for dirtbikeridergirl (ADVrider.com user name). Deby, ever understanding, recognized this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a father and sons adventure so reluctantly she is staying home and will be “mission control” following us on SPOT and ready to help where needed. Thanks Deby!  What is the TAT? The Trans American Trail is “An Epic 5,000-mile Dual-Sport Motorcycle Adventure Across America,” according to the official website, http://www.transamtrail.com/.The site further explains, “This motorcycle adventure across America on the Trans-America Trail is NOT a single-track tight woods ride. It is a route using dirt roads, gravel roads, jeep roads, forest roads and farm roads. Dropping down into dried-up creek beds. Riding atop abandoned railroad grades. There are sections of mud, sand, snow and rocks… it’s all of the above, but it’s for the Dual-Sport Rider.”  Another recent site about the TAT is run by a guy named GPSKevin. His site is here: https://sites.google.com/site/gpskevin/adventurerides/trans-america-trail. Deby and I rode with Kevin this spring and had a great time on his Red Rocks tour around the Grand Canyon.

This is  Jonathan. Jonathan works during the day as a glass artist and has been riding motorcycles offroad since he was 10. He is a better rider than me and is riding a KTM 690 Enduro. Jonathan is insisting we CAMP every night, anything less would be wimping out. His only concession is that we can occasionally camp at a KOA campground in the evidently unlikely event that we might need showers.


This is Weston. Weston has a day job as an account manager in the tech industry. He managed to save vacation time and sweet talk his boss into 4 (or 5) weeks off. Like his brother he has been riding offroad since he was about 10 years old and will also be on a KTM 690 Enduro. He supports Jon in his camping fever.

Here are all three of us. I’m the old guy in the middle who likes a nice hotel once in a while but is willing to accept the camping challenge.


This is Dean. Dean is a friend who rode the TAT about this time last year. He chronicled his epic adventure on ADVrider, you can read about it HERE. In preparation for us riding the TAT I thought it would be a great idea to pack all three bikes and ride to Dean’s house on the Olympic Peninsula and camp in his back yard. Dean was very gracious and spent most of an evening and morning with us reviewing our packing, bikes, gear and answering a million questions.   Here is what we learned:

  • Try to keep my thumb out of the pictures
  • Remember to bring the food and coffee. We forgot both.
  • Bring a spare stove, my new MSR sprung a gas leak and we almost burned down the campsite.
  • Allow enough time. We arrived at Dean’s well past sunset.
  • Bring flashlights.

Yes, a great shakedown trip. We rode home the next day, re-packed, re-organized and did final preparations. Thanks Dean. Ok. Here is the plan – Rent a truck (check), drive it with Deby and the bikes to Milwaukee, WI to attend my 40th high school reunion (yikes) over the weekend, pickup above mentioned sons from airport in Milwaukee, drive to Knoxville, TN, drop off truck, ride Deal’s Gap, return home to Seattle via the Trans American Trail. What could go wrong? I checked the PO Box one last time before leaving and found this: Really? My bike has a recall? It could catch on fire? Don’t ride it? Great. Ok, maybe something could go wrong. I think I have enough technology with me to keep my blog up to date real time so I hope you can follow along and enjoy the ride. You can track our real time progress by going to the tab on the top that says “Follow Us”.

More to come,


7 thoughts on “Father and sons on the Trans American Trail!

  1. Ok , this is going to be really good ! I love your blog and am looking forward to reading about this adventure ! Hi to the boys ! So fun to see them with you . See you at the reunion 🙂

  2. Thanks for including me in your emails. Love your adventures. I ride along with you. Keep me going along on this one.

  3. Hey Don, Jon and Weston,
    What a trip! Have a great time!
    Kristina, Bruce, Leanne and David

  4. Can’t wait to follow this ride. Deal’s Gap is a major riding milestone (as you know, Donn) but I think it pales next to the TAT. I would say “shiny side up” ‘cept I don’t think you guys will have a shiny side!

  5. Happy and safe travels to you guys. It was fun seeing the boys. Excited about following you on your journey..

  6. Hi Donn, Johathan and Weston!
    Excellent start to the trip. Donn, I’m sure your bike won’t catch on fire… but if it does, be sure to document the incident with lots of pictures. I will be following along for sure. Good luck with the blogging, as you know, it is worth the trouble in the long run.
    You guys are going to have a blast!


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