AdvTrail.comRiding the Trans America Trail

Riding the Rockies

Jon Meyer and Sam Cuttriss are neighbors in a converted industrial factory building in Dogpatch, San Francisco. One morning Sam noticed Jon working on a KLR 650 motorbike in his space. Jon had recently completed an MSF motorcycle safety course and was wrenching on his first bike.

Jon: I remember Sam saying "yep, yep" when I showed what I was working on. I had no idea I was talking to an incredibly experienced rider. We quickly started talking shop, and he visited the space regularly to help me work on the bike.

Sam: One of my goals has been to ride the Trans American Trail (TAT), a mostly dirt and off-pavement route created by Sam Correro that starts in Tennessee and crosses the US, ending in Oregon. I mentioned this to Jon.

Jon: When Sam first mentioned the TAT, I thought, "you are crazy!" Then a smile spread over my face. "Maybe I'm crazy!" I'd never considered riding dirt on a motorbike. The more we talked about the idea, the more intrigued I became. A plan was hatched.

The Trans American Trail, created by Sam Correro.

Sam: We spent six months preparing. I bought a Husqvarna 610 supermoto motorbike and prepped the bike. I had most of the equipment I needed, but the bike required some work. I focused on transforming the super motard into a dirt-ready dual sport, purchasing new wheels, lights and other parts. We ordered maps from Sam Correro to plan our route. I also got the rest of the gear I'd need dialed in. We decided we would both have a complete pack-out, our own tents and so on, so we could be independent if necessary.

Jon's first mud mission at Metcalf.

Jon: Meanwhile I started training. I visited Metcalf and Hollister Dirt Parks with my KLR, and started crossfit training sessions with Zain Elmarouk and ashtanga with Devorah Sacks and Chad Herst. I was determined to be in shape. Then I had a major setback. In April, while riding my bike, I slipped on a wet section of the road and sprained my rotator cuff. The doctors said it might be months before it heals. I had to suspend all my training. I worked hard with my "theraband" and exercises from my PT, Halima Thorsen, and by June my shoulder was significantly better, but it was not fully healed. I was scared, but decided I was fit enough to make a try of it - though one bad spill would almost certainly send me back to the doctors. It was not the way I wanted to start such an ambitious journey.

Sam: We set off on July 2nd, and got home on July 20th, with a five day stop-over in Salt Lake City. Each day presented unique challenges, but they were manageable. We avoided any major storms or breakdowns. The ride itself was awesomeness.

Jon: It was exhilarating spending ten or more hours a day riding through unbelievable landscapes. My fear never completely vanished, but I grew more confident. I had a few "get-offs" and my shoulder appeared to be holding up.