Trip Write up for CC50/SS3000

Terry Baldridge

Executive Summary: On April 4th through 6th, 2005 I participated in the Motorcycle Touring Forumís Coast to Coast in 50 Hours Ride (CC50)and since I was having so much fun I decided to finish out the third day with enough miles to make it a SaddleSore3000.  A big motive for this trip was an excuse to get out to the West to collect some National Park Passport Stamps for the Ironbutt Associations National Park Master Traveler's Ride, so the CC50 part was enough for me.  It would be wasting my time to do the CCC100 and end up back where I came from without more stamps. 

I left home on April 1st and went down to my in-laws near Pensacola, FL to spend a few days.  April 3rd I went to Jacksonville.  On the 4th I took I-10 from Jacksonville to Slidell, LA. From there I took I-12 to Baton Rouge where I once again joined up with I-10 for the next day or so.  North of Tucson, AZ I took I-8 into San Diego, CA.  The next morning I took I-15 up to almost Las Vegas.  I then caught US-93 back down to I-40 and took it across to Williams, AZ.  From Williams I went up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and over to Cameron, AZ and then up US-89 North to Page, AZ. 

April 7th I rode up into the Four Corners area, and then spent the night in Albuquerque, NM.  The next day I spent entirely too much time on I40 going to my brothers in Stuttgart, AR. The next day I made a leisurely trip back to Vicksburg .

I kept up with receipts to get a CC50 and SaddleSore 3000. And also picked up 15 National Park Passport Stamps in eight states (seven of them new states).  All in all I would say it was a successful trip.

Big Picture: Every since I did my first IronButt Association run back in February 2004 I had been thinking about doing bigger and better rides.  One that had really been on my mind was the National Park Master Touring ride consisting of visiting at least 50 National Parks in at least 25 different states in less than a year.  I started this process back in late August of 2004.  To get that many states I knew it was going to require me to get off my duff and ride.  One way of getting new states would be to do the CC50 (Coast to Coast in less than 50 hours) and collect stamps on the way back home.  Jason Jonah of the Motorcycle Touring Forum organized a ride from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego, CA that would follow IBA guidelines on the CC50 ride (or the CCC100, 100 hours to cross the nation and back) during the first full week of April.  Having witnesses already set up and knowing that someone would probably be coming along after I went through if I had a problem was enough to get me off the fence and make me decide to do it.  So, with spousal permission, I signed up for it.  I knew after I left San Diego I would go up to Las Vegas, NV and probably up to Zion National Park in UT collecting NPS passport stamps.  A quick run though with MS Trips and Streets showed that to be more than 3000 miles when added to CC50 run mileage.  So I could easily get a SS3000 certification out of it too.  I have to make the miles anyway, might as well get credit for it.

To get my bike ready for the trip I bought an imitation Giva top box off of Ebay for my R1100R.  I really donít like a bunch of extra stuff on my bike, but I went ahead and bought the extra large one. It wasnít but $5 more than large one.  Once I had it on the bike I wished I had looked for an XXL.  There is never enough room.  I packed by putting bike stuff in the left saddlebag (to include extra tools, mini air compressor, plug kit, the spare light bulb kit out of my old K100RT, and a couple of borrowed one-liter camping fuel bottles with gas in them); clothes and such were put in the right bag; cold weather gear, maps, etc., and other travel supplies in the top box; while things that I might need right away (ear plugs, cd player, GPS unit, log book, extra gloves, power bars) were easily accessible in my tank bag.

April 1st - I left Vicksburg and went down to my in-laws in Lillian, AL.  The night before I left they had received about a foot and half of rain in the area.  Some of the rain was still around when I was traveling though.  I made my first water crossing on the R-bike that day.  I also managed to stop by the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs, MS for my first stamp of the trip.  Since I took the long way around, mileage for the day was approximately 400 miles.

April 2nd Ė I just tooled around Pensacola some and got a couple of more Gulf Islands National Seashore stamps.  My wife had given me a Fog City Hyper Optics visor insert a while back so I installed it during my last minute preparations.  It is one of those anti-fog shields that does the auto tint thing so you donít have to wear sunglasses under it.  Unfortunately, I managed to break one side of where the visor goes into the helmet while installing it.  My mother in law had a roll of duct tape so I fashioned a hinge out of duct tape and went merrily on my way.  I also stashed the roll of duct tape in the right saddlebag with the other tools and essential supplies.

April 3rd Ė Plan was to get up early and get some more stamps in Jacksonville and maybe the two forts in and below St. Augustine.  Reality was everyone went out to breakfast in Pensacola and I finally left about 9am.  I got to Jacksonville about the time the parks there closing so I didnít manage to get any stamps.  I went to the Riderís Banquet at Jacksonville Beach at Sneakers Sports Grill.  Good food, lousy service.  I heard they were better prepared for the get together at the end, but they were clueless that night.  Though, they did pass out free salsa and chips to try to make up for it.  I sat with Jerry Riley, an ST1100 rider from TN (who rode through snow coming down to Jacksonville), Lewis Stephens a Nomad Rider out of TX, Kit Chunhawong out of VA on his Victory Vegas, and Ollie Bingaman from CA on a Goldwing.  It didnít take long to figure out that Ollie was a big time rider.  He rode from the Bay Area to Jacksonville to ride back across the nation by way of VA.  Lewis Stephens and Jerry Riley were both talking about the fuel cells and such on their bikes so they were hard core too.  That left me and Kit on naked bikes with stock fuel tanks.  I was tad worried about Kitís fuel range, but he assured me he gets 160 miles to a tank.  That is about all I figure on getting running quickly on interstate roads so he was in as good of shape as I was in.  I managed to get together with Jason Jonah a few minutes and saw Jules Davis (Girl on a Glide from MTF) that I had met at a MTF lunch back in October last year.  Good to see people you had met before and put faces on to names you have seen on the net, but not met.  Kit wanted to try the alligator appetizer and made a quick friend out of me when he kept handing the basket of gator chunks to me to get more samples out of.  I put about 450 miles on the bike for the day.

April 4th Ė We met down at Jacksonville Beach at a Shell station at 5am.  About 5:30 Jason started calling out names for people to gas up and leave starting in alphabetical order by first name.  This left me (Terry) to look around some before leaving.  The R bike sure looked small nestled in among a line of Goldwings waiting to leave.  I do believe that Kit and I were the only ones without full fairings or at least big cruiser windshields in the entire group.  I took a little comfort in that at least Kitís bike is more ill-suited for the trip than mine, but, it was very little comfort.  So finally they called my name and off I went.  I gassed up (spilling gas all over my tank in the process), rode by the beach access, and hopped on the spur to the interstate.  The first thing I noticed is that I forgot to snap the safety strap on the tank bag, so I had to pull off and do that.  At my first gas stop there were a couple of wings and a glide there filling up.  I guess I was still out of it since I filled the tank while on the side stand.  This made it hold less gas and made my next stop even quicker than it should have been.  I rode beside a fellow on a blue st1300 for a couple of hundred miles.  Passing through MS I noticed Lewis pulled over on the side of the road.  So we pulled over and Lewis waved us on.  I didnít wait around; Lewis had mentioned the night before he had a new external fuel cell and had a few hookup problems, so I figured he was still having some hookup pains.  Our styles (mine and the blue ST1300 riders, whoís name I never caught) must have meshed well at the time.  Eventually his bigger tank kept him on the road while I had to stop for gas at Pumpkin Center, LA. After getting back on the road I soon stopped again, or rather I was stopped.  A Walker, LA city cop followed me for a while with his right blinker on.  Then as I was getting into Baton Rouge he turned his blue lights on.  So I pulled over, got my helmet off, and started digging my billfold out.  He told me not to worry, that I was not running fast enough to get a ticket, it was just a slow day in Walker and he wanted to look at my bike a minute.  So we talked a minute and it quickly became apparent that not only was he a rider, he was a fellow Ironbutt Member with a SS1000 and a BB1500 of his own.  He had been in Vicksburg the weekend before at the MS State BMW rally while I had been on the coast.  He made some talk about how he wished he was going out west to ride.  I told him I had a double room in Page, AZ for Wednesday night and he was welcome to the second bed if he could swing it.  He turned me loose when he realized I was doing the CC50, a timed run.  I had noticed that my new rear end was weeping a little fluid out of the where the ABS sensor goes in.  So I dug out some tools and tightened it figuring it safe to sit there on the side of the road with blue lights on behind me.  As we were talking I saw Jerry Riley go past and looked at the officer and told him that I was going to catch a bunch of crap from the other riders that had seen me talking to him when I got to San Diego.  He got a laugh out of that and I went on my way.  I made it a point that I wasnít going to stretch speed limits after that.  No more than 5 to 7 mph over the speed limit.

amongwings.JPG (1241491 bytes)                       

Here are couple of pictures from the start, one of R bike looking sleek among the touring bikes, the other of me just having filled up at the start of the run.

The timing was such that I knew I was going to get into Houston at rush hour.  So I decided I would gas up beforehand with the hopes that I would make it all the way though without having to get out the HOV lane.  I pulled off at an exit and what do I find as the only gas station but Big Daddyís Truck Stop and XXX Movie Store.  Needless to say, Big Daddyís didnít have pay at the pump.  I am not real sure if they took credit cards, but I was pretty sure I didnít want them to have my credit card number.  So I went in to give them a $20 bill to turn on the pumps.  Behind the counter is a middle-eastern girl that looks not much older my daughter sitting among playing cards with naked ladies and such on them.  Even though I think the real smutty part was in an aluminum office building sitting in the parking lot full of junk, I was happy to get out of there and back on the road.  Houston rush hour traffic looked better than that place did.  And speaking of Houston traffic, the traffic coming out of town looked pretty rough so I figured it was going to be rough for me on the other side of town.  Others on the MTF had made this trip before and let us know where and when to get in the HOV lane so I was armed and ready when I got to it.  The HOV lane was a single lane with concrete barriers on either side and traffic doing 70 mph around.  I was worried that if something caused me to take a spill I would be run over several times before anyone slowed down enough to notice me.  Amazingly enough, within a few miles I went from that point of view to wondering if there was enough room for me to pass the slow poke in front of me so I could catch up with the group a half a mile in front of him.  Of course there was enough junk and trash on the edges of the road that I didnít try, but it amazing how fast you adapt to something like that.

It is getting dark when I get to Luling , TX so I filled up and ate a Subway at the truck stop.  A pair of other riders were getting there as I was finishing up.  One of these guys was riding a late 70ís Goldwing with stickers from AK and Key West on it.  Him and that old wing must have been a well traveled pair.

I had been warned a lot of the TX counties count on traffic along I10 to balance their budgets.  I passed one cop pulled over right outside Luling and then passed another in just a few minutes.  That second one pulled out behind me.  Canít be me, I am only going 67 in a 65 zone.  But, what the hay, he got behind me and turned the bubble gum machines on.  I pulled over and started digging out driverís license and proof of insurance.  He doesnít stop me like the officer in Walker did.  After he walks back to his car and calls me in and then he comes back with his ticket book and tells me I have a taillight out.  And strangely enough, he noticed it come back on when I pulled over to stop.  So I turned it on and sure enough it is working, but when I started the motor it dies.  I think to myself, that I am glad I had the spare bulb set with me.  He writes me up a warning ticket and asks me to turn on my hazards lights till I get to where I am going.  So at the next gas station I dug out the bulb kit and pop in the new bulb.  I also notice that the rear end is still weeping fluid.  Not much, but enough to make it greasy.  At this stop I have a fellow tell me how he used to ride, but then he started working in the OR and how everyone in the OR calls them ďdonor cyclesĒ, blah, blah.  My first thought is to ask him how many cycle riders he had actually seen come through versus how many from car wrecks.  Then to follow it up by saying the most dangerous thing on the road was people like him that were out buying another case of beer at midnight to go sit around with his buddies and drink while they talk about how cool they used to be in college.  But I just said that my donor card is filled out, I hoped his was too.

I figured it would be smart for me to go more than half way the first day so I made a reservation in Sonora, TX.  At about 1am I made it to Sonora after driving the last 100 miles at a low rate of speed while watching the deer (that are smaller than the greyhound we have at home) playing on the side of the road.  Then I wandered around Sonora (which is about the size of postage stamp) for 20 minutes before I find the motel.  The motel is, at best, a pig sty.  It looks like it could be the motel sitting beside Big Daddyís Truck Stop if there had been one.  The room has the molding torn off of it and sitting in the floor.  The AC doesnít work.  But, the shower worked and linens were clean.  So it worked out just fine.  I sat the alarm clock for 5:30 and went to sleep.  Mileage for the day is 1,293 miles according the speedometer.

The next morning I got up, wolfed down another power bar and got on the road.  It was a very overcast morning and I stayed within snorting distance of the 65mph dark speed limit.  Finally the skies lifted and it turned to into a beautiful desert morning with lots and lots of wind.  I stopped at day break and took some pictures of the sun rising across the desert.  The first gas stop seems to be loaded with IBAers.  The blue ST1300 had passed me a little while before we got there, but I wasnít in a mood to try to keep up with him today.  He was gassing up when I got there and two more pulled in before I left.  About where I10 and I20 come together the wind started blowing, sometimes from both directions at once.  Along the same area I saw a cop with the lights going.  As I got closer I winced when I saw it was Kit standing on the side of the road talking to the cop this time. 

txdesertsunup.JPG (639262 bytes)                         segarocacti.JPG (1069645 bytes)

Texas Desert at Sunrise and Saguaro Cacti

I had pulled into Texas sometime around 4pm the day before and finally got to El Paso about noon.  Texas is a big ole state to run through. El Paso at lunch turned out to be more difficult than Houston at rush hour.  I almost got run down by a fellow in a black car who never even checked his mirror much less turned his head.  When I honked my horn at him he raised his hands in a manner to say, ďSorry I didnít see you, maybe I will look next timeĒ.  On the western edge of El Paso I needed gas again so I pulled into a truck stop and gassed up.  Then I pulled over to the edge and ate another power bar.  As I was getting ready to go a pair of fellows on Gold Wings pulled in.  I went over and talked to them a minute.  One mentioned that the guy on the Victory had run out of gas earlier.  I felt real bad that I had eaten a bunch of Kitís alligator a couple of days before than hadnít stopped to help him when he was out of gas.  But, if he was getting a ticket like I thought, I donít think the cop would have appreciated me pulling over.  The Wingers heard the cop call out on the CB for help.  And they said that he had gotten gas and was back on the road.  Leaving El Paso the Wingers quickly out paced me and once again I was by myself. 

In all this swirling wind I started to have more visor problems.  This culminated in the hinge on the good side breaking and me holding on to the visor with my hand as I drove along.  I stopped on the side of the road a couple of times trying to make temporary repairs, but they would not hold.  So I pulled into a forsaken hole outside of Deming, NM to gas up and fix the helmet as best I could.  First off the pay at the pump will not work.  The lady inside pages me and says that it came back as over my daily limit.  That doesnít sound right, but what am I to do?  I tell her I have money in pocket and she turns on the pump.  After paying her I went over to the pay phone in the wind (since my cell phone will not work out there so I couldnít use it inside).  I called the credit card people and after a long dance through the phone system, I finally got a person.  I tell her my story of woe and she says that my card doesnít have a preset daily limit, that they had found that when pay at the pumps donít work a lot of places will feed you a line like that so they donít have to key the transaction in by hand.  But she puts a note on our account that says I am traveling and wishes me well.  So I go back over, get the roll of duct tape out, put my helmet on, and sealed the visor off with a couple of pounds sticky gray goo. 

At this time I am feeling pretty bad about it all.  I am tired of being blown all over the road and messing with my wardrobe malfunction.  I had watched countless tumbleweeds turned into sticks as they rolled under semi rigs, but I had yet to have any entangle me.  I had plans to stop in Tucson and go to Seguaro National Park and see the cactus and get stamped.  I had gone as far as to contact Bob Mulcahy on the MTF Touring Assistant list about the best place to go and way to get there.  He had assured me that going to the one on the west side of town would result in me being off the road for no more than about 30 minutes plus cactus looking time.  But I figured with everything that had gone on I had better blow that off.  A couple of hours later I am in Tucson with time left on the clock and suddenly getting out of the saddle and seeing some cactus sounds good.  So I went out and saw the cactus and even saw the film that goes with it.  Then it was back on the road.  I gassed up again where I-8 spurs off of I-10 at Casa Grande (the big house?).  The fellow working the counter asked if I was one of those cross country riders that one had been a few minutes before.  So I might be the last one out, but I wasnít too much out of next to last place. :}  Glad it wasn't a competition.  Watching the sunset as I rode across the desert to Yuma was pretty neat.  I wish I would have taken more pictures.  At Yuma I gassed up for what I hoped was the last time before San Diego and got back on the road quickly.  I think this about when the wind finally started to die down.  After 100 miles or so I realize that I am going to have to stop for gas again so I picked my spot and pulled off.  I think this stop had gas for $2.65 a gallon.  I just winced and stuck my card in the pay at the pump.  I noticed here that my taillight wasnít working so I pulled out my screwdriver and messed with it until it came back on.  I am thinking that the bulb socket might be messed up by now.  Since my polar fleece jacket is a pull over and I didnít want to take my helmet off and fight with duct taping it all back up, I dug around in the top box and got out my electric vest.  Just for grins I went ahead and got the cable out and hooked it up.  Within a few miles I was wishing I had gotten the gloves out too.  As I got higher and higher into the pass that goes into San Diego it got colder and colder.  Condensation formed on the windshield it was such a temperature change.  Finally I came down out of the mountains and into San Diego.  A quick run to the beach and then to the recommended Shell station to end things.  Sitting at the pump is none other than Kit and another fellow.  So I pulled in and talked to Kit a little and gassed up.  Then Jerry Riley and a couple of other fellows pulled in.  So I didnít have the latest time stamp after all.  Kit said that he had been tooling down the road that morning and his fuel light came on at 130 miles instead of the usual 160 miles.  When the light is on he only has about 7 miles to find gas.  So the wind had caught him flat footed.  I apologized that I had 2 liters of fuel that I would have gladly given him.  The fellow that was at the pumps with him said he had 2 gallons fuel and been able to share.  I felt better.  Jerry Riley spoke up about that time and asked if I had gotten a ďperformance awardĒ from a cop in LA.  I knew someone would get me on that and somehow I thought it would be Jerry.  So I told my story of the officer having a slow day and we loaded up and headed to the motel.  Jason was there to sign us in (he had flown from Jacksonville to San Diego to witness people in and out on both ends, pretty cool, huh?).  He said there were still 8 more people out.  We talked a little bit and then I went up and hit the hay.  Lots of people were talking about sleeping late, but I still had to make it up to Page, AZ the next day.  I had a hard time keeping earplugs in that day.  I would finally get my helmet on and taped down and then get on the road to find out that I left out an earplug (usually the right one).  So I had some ringing in ears that night.  I made sure I used earplugs the rest of the trip.  I took a shower, set my alarm, and went to sleep.  Mileage for the day is 1,163 miles according the speedometer

It seemed like I had just gotten to sleep when the alarm went off.  5am already?  Then I realized that I still had the alarm clock on central time.  So I reset it and got two more hours of shut eye.  I went down, loaded up, and talked to the people that had witnessed out the people going back to Jacksonville.  Jason said that everyone but two were in (I later found out those two had gotten wore out by the ever present wind and had spent the night in a motel and just couldnít make it in time).  So I loaded up and taped my visor on and my glasses fogged up.  I took the visor back off and cleaned off the glasses and once again they would be fogged over before I could get going.  So, finally I stuck my glasses in the tank bag and decided to not worry about.  I wear glasses for distance vision, but about what it amounts to is that I read road signs at a further distance with the glasses on, not much else.

The trip up I-15 was fairly uneventful except for one place.  At Corona, CA where I-10 splits off to LA, the interstate became stopped.  I sat there while the local riders lane split between the rows of stopped cars, but I had no intentions on following them.  If I had been fresh, on a bike without saddlebags, I might have considered it.  In my current condition I just watched them and waved.  I managed to get two Mohave Desert stamps, one at Baker and the other at Barstow, CA.  I was shut out on my attempts to get a new visor, though. Then up to Las Vegas to get the Lake Mead stamp.  We had come through here last summer so this was not new ground the way everything since Lake Charles, LA had been.  I looked at all the big casinos shining in the distance and thought I would get that stamp at Lake Mead and then hit up a casino buffet since I had eaten nothing but power bars for two days, save one Subway sandwich.  I got to Lake Mead, got stamped and started looking at the maps and decided that instead of going up through Zion which I had been to last summer, I would go to the south rim of the Grand Canyon which I had not been to (though I had been to the north rim).  So off I go across Hoover Dam and through the desert to I-40.  This decision insured that I would have to go to Hovenweep to get a Utah Stamp, since I would not be going through Zion.  The wind was perfectly still, traffic calm, and the bike was running right.  I felt sure I could have doubled the 65 mph speed limit and all would have been right (but I didnít, just the same).  About this time I noticed that I was striking lots and lots of butterflies.  This was reported to be one of the wettest springs on record and I was harvesting the bounty.  I made it to the visitorís center well before it closed and got my book stamped.  The Grand Canyon is just as spectacular from the south end, but it seemed a little less so since I was by myself.  It had seemed a little grander when I had Leila and Keegan with me during the summer before.  I enjoyed the trip, but I guess I felt a little lonely and maybe even a tad guilty at being by myself there.  I talked to a couple of people and they assured me that I would find gas on the way to Page, so I took off.  I came around a bend and there were a couple of Elk standing there staring at me, so I decided that even though I was finishing up a SaddleSore 3000,  I didnít need to be in a big hurry.  I got gas in Cameron, AZ and drove up to Page. I noticed here that my taillight wasnít working so I whacked the taillight with my gloves and it came back on.  I have got to look into that.  I did manage to stop and take a couple of pictures of sunset across the desert mesas.  About 10 miles short of Page I got blue lights in the rear view mirror again.  An AZ state highway patrolman gave me a ďfix itĒ ticket for having a taillight out.  I pulled out the screwdriver again and got it to work, again, but he gave me the ticket anyway.  Three pull overs  in as many days.  I think you would have to go back twenty years to find the previous three times I had been stopped.  So after that I rode into Page, got a final gas receipt and went to the motel.  There was not a Walker, LA policeman hanging out in the lobby waiting on me to show, so I guess he couldnít get things arranged.  The night clerk (a really nice lady) was kind enough to sign my witness form.  She also pointed me to a Mexican food place that she said was really good and open until 10pm.  Well, when I got there they said that they were open on weekends to 10pm, but were closed at 9pm on weeknights.  So I ended up with supper from KFC.  There is something totally wrong with going out west and eating at Subway and KFC.  No problems with sleeping again that night.  For the first time in several days, I didnít set an alarm clock.  Mileage for the day is 767 miles according the speedometer.  The three day total was about 3,300 miles.

lakemead.JPG (1083365 bytes)            grandcanyon1.JPG (1061134 bytes)            azdesertsundown.JPG (1143377 bytes)

Lake Mead, the Grand Canyon, and Sunset on the Desert

I woke up about 6:30 Thursday and had a couple of fruit cups and a bagel from the continental breakfast.  By the time I made a few phone calls (one of which was to my brother asking if I could spend the night at his house in Stuttgart, AR if I got to running late) and got loaded up it was 8am so I went by Canyon Dam Welcome Center and got stamped there.  They also had a Rainbow Bridge, UT stamp, but I passed on it since I wasnít likely to run down the 50 miles of dirt roads each way required to actually visit the site.  And off to Hovenweep I go.  The winds had picked up again, but the trip through there was nice.  I bought gas when I found it instead of when I needed it.  Hovenweep was further out of the way than I expected.  It also required a section or two of dirt roads.  It is a fascinating place.  Why would someone choose that hole in the ground to build village around?

hovenweep.JPG (1050291 bytes)                    CO-UT.JPG (1059042 bytes)

Hovenweep and mountains along the Colorado-Utah Border

From there I crossed smaller and smaller roads while going to Cortez, CO where Mesa Verde is.  I had gotten worried that my gas light blub had failed.  I was used to coming on every 140 miles (about 41 mpg) or so while running the interstates.  When I got into Cortez I fueled up and found my mileage to be about 51 mpg, so I came to the conclusion that this bike seemed to like high altitude and back roads.  I rode out to Mesa Verde and found out that the Visitorís Center there is 20 miles past the entrance.  So off I go.  I got back there, wondered around some, and got stamped for Mesa Verde and for the Yucca House Monument that I had passed on the way there.  Mesa Verde is another of those places you just have to wonder why someone would decide to build a village at.  The place is up above like 8,000 feet.  It had to be a really hard place to eek out an existence.  A quick look at the map showed there was no way I was going to make down to the Aztec Ruins in New Mexico before it closed.  I would just have to get a NM stamps somewhere else.  For the record, there is still lots of snow on the ground up in those parts in early April, especially in the higher areas.  When I gassed up south of Farmington, NM I noticed that the taillight was out again, though the brake light was working.  So I tore it down one more time and looked at it.  Now I came to realization I should have come to a few days before when I first replaced the bulb.  A K-bike and an OilHead do not use the same taillight bulb.  This is an 1156 bulb from the K-bike light kit and it should be an 1157 bulb for the R-Bike.  So I got the correct replacement bulb at a gas station in a two pack for less than a dollar and all has been well since.  Coming into Albuquerque, NM about 9pm I came to the realization that I wasnít going to make Amarillo, TX that day.  So I stopped at a Dennyís for breakfast (supper just didnít sound good) and called some places east of there about a hotel room.  An Econolodge in Morarity, NM had a room for me so I finished up my eggs and got back on the interstate.  Apparently they are doing some major remodeling of the interstate in Albuquerque because it went from 4 lanes going my direction to two lanes going my direction, to an off ramp up on surface streets.  If there was any warning about this, it was before I entered I40 off I25.  So I followed the truckers around till they stopped.  I sat there for a while digesting my Dennyís then figured I would be better off passing all the trucks and then turning around once I figured out where they were getting back on the Interstate.  So that is what I did.  While the Econolodge in Morarity is better than the ratís nest I stayed at in Sonora, TX, it is only a couple of steps better.  The mileage for the day wasnít but maybe 600 or 700, but they were some very interesting ones.  I wouldnít mind going over a bunch of them again (and again).

mesaverde1.JPG (1065428 bytes)                mesaverde2.JPG (984015 bytes)

View from Mesa Verde and of Mesa Verde

Next morning at 6:30 I had to make a decision.  Go back to Albuquerque and get a stamp or continue on and hope I donít need a New Mexico stamp to have my 25 states.  It didnít take but a couple of donuts off the continental breakfast to realize I needed to be moving east and not back tracking.  So off I went towards Amarillo and civilization (or at least what I am used to).  As the sun gets up higher in the sky, the wind starts up.  But at least it is all from one direction.  I straightened by left arm some and counter steered the whole way on I-40.  About the Texas line my gas light came on (meaning I have about 30 miles to get gas).  The next exit has no services, and then the next exit has a gas station with no signs of life and a bunch of busted out windows.  I see a sign for a town that may well be outside my range, but I still have two liters of fuel in the saddlebags.  I considered stopping and going ahead to put the fuel in, but the wind is blowing so bad I figure I will do it only on a have to case.  Luckily I donít have to because a Stuckeyís appears on the horizon.  Another 200 mile tank has come and went.  I guess I was getting enough tail wind to keep the gas mileage in the 50 mpg range.  I sure didnít expect it on the interstate.  I went through Amarillo about lunch time, but just kept going.  This was my second trip through there in the past year and the second time I missed the Cadillac Ranch.  At the Oklahoma state line I turned up north and ran up to the Black Kettle Museum and got another stamp.  The museum is a pretty interesting place.  I didnít know the history behind the battles there.  Kind of scary what we will do in the name of progress.  From there I go through Oklahoma City about 4pm.  I am positioned a lane over and a couple of hundred feet behind a pair of identical sport bikes.  I couldnít tell what kind.  They were riding side by side in the same lane and talking to each other doing about 55 to 60 MPH.  The guy on the left keeps rolling on the throttle and doing wheelies at 55 MPH???!!!!  I can not fathom that much power.  By 6pm I have made it to Henryetta, OK and decide to stop at the PigOut Palace for supper.  The PigOut Palace has really good barbeque and vegetables, but not a clue about fish should be prepared.  Well, the meat was worth the price of admission.  And a bowl of soft serve ice cream topped it off.  I called my brother and made sure he would still have room for me and I got back on I40.  Of course the old courthouse was already closed in Fort Smith when I went through so I didnít manage to get the stamps there, but I was more interested in sleep than stamps at this time.  The trip on in to Stuttgart was uneventful, which is good because I have had many eventful trips through Little Rock.  Jerry was still awake when I got there.  We talked a little bit and then I showered and hit the bed.  Miles for the day were 950 or so, but it seemed further.  I think I could have had the mileage for a SS5000, but I didnít have the prerequisite ride for it so I didnít keep up with the receipts after Page, AZ

The next day I spent some time with my brother and mother, ate an incredible breakfast and rode the 150 miles or so to home to Vicksburg.  I remember my first trip to Stuttgart on that bike.  It was the first time I ever rode out an entire tank of gas out of that bike without stopping.  Kind of hard to imagine how many times I had ridden tank to tank to tank in the past week and I thought that was a big deal when I did it the first time.  I think my total mileage for the trip was a little over 6000 miles, but I am guessing some.  I had been like 6400 since my last oil change and I am sure I put a couple of hundred miles on before I left.  All in all, a good weeks work.

Click here if you want to see the CC50 certificate or here to see the SS3000 certificate.

I guess it is summation time.  I guess I should go back to my lessons learned from the earlier trips and see if actually learned anything.

Here are the lessons learned from my first SS1000 in italics and my comments about them:

 1)         I can stay on a bike all day and cover lots of mileage safely.  This is the main thing I wanted to know.  Now I need to find out if I can do it on multiple days.

Hey I can stay in the saddle for a week if needed.  I donít see many job descriptions that require that, but if one does, I am ready.

 2)         Active warmth is essential on a bike with no fairing if the temperature is going to be below about 60.  There is only so much warm clothes can do for you.  I was dreading the early morning stops because I knew it would take me about 10 miles to get over the shivers afterwards.  That takes the fun out of it.

I used the electric vest a lot, and should have used it more.

3)         If you are going to spend 17 hours on a bike, try to choose an area where the scenery is new and/or exciting.  Pine tree on rolling hills might be interesting to someone from west Texas , but it all looks alike to me.

This trip was the best of scenery; it was the worst of scenery. 

4)         Earplugs.  I usually have a pair or two with me, but in this case I went two days without earplugs or music and I felt it at the end.

Yeah, for day after day stuff, my Shure in-ear monitors donít cut it as good as foam ear plugs. 

5)         Drink up.  It was cool and I chugged what I thought was a good bit of water.  I was still dehydrated the next day.  I probably need one of those camelback rigs that I can drink from while I am traveling before doing anything further into summer.

I took a camel back type bag but still didnít drink enough.

6)         Do I now have an IronButt?  Probably not.  But at least I have worked my way up from LeadButt to AluminumButt.  Maybe I can work my way into the ferrous metals before too long.

Still no IronButt, probably a less malleable one, but I donít think I will have a true IronButt until I ride in the IronButt Rally (11 days, 11,000 miles).  Currently I have no plans to ever ride in the IronButt Rally so I guess that answers that question.

Lessons from the BB1500 I did last fall.  Again lessons in italics and then my comments afterward:

1)         Even though it was the first week of September, I probably could have made it in my Goretex/Condura riding suit.  I would have had to stop and open or close vents a few times, but I had to stop and put on or take off a rain suit, anyway.  I really didnít expect it to be that cool. 

I rode in the Joe Rocket Revolution suit the entire time.  I did have to open up the vents the final day on the ride from Stuttgart to Vicksburg.

2)         Hitting up National Parks along the way eats up a lot of time. 

Hitting up National Parks takes up even more time when you are out west and you have to travel 20 miles from the entrance to the Visitorís Center.  I really thought I would have time to get the Aztec Ruins in New Mexico, but unless I would have gotten up at like 5:30, I couldnít have made it.

3)         I need a beaded or sheepskin seat cover.  I had more trouble with a tired rear end this time.  It was a much longer trip than the SS1000, but I think the fact that I was only wearing jeans this time and last time I had a pair of heavy insulated overalls on over them added another layer of comfort.  I am not sure if the Joe Rocket Revolution pants I have now would have been better for comfort or not.  They certainly would provide more protection in a get off event.

I used a beaded seat cover and I liked it.

Any new lessons learned?

1)         I will probably check out motels on the Internet a tad more before I give them a credit card confirmed reservation.  The place in Sonora was terrible.  I would not have stayed there with my family.

2)         You can see a lot of really neat things, but it means more if you have your family with you.  Loneliness was about the biggest problem this trip had.  If you are moving it is not bad, but when you stop and look at something really spectacular (like the Grand Canyon or 20 foot tall cacti), it hits you that you are alone when you canít share it.  Last summer when I went through that area with my family I kept thinking that I wish I was riding my scooter out through there.  Then when I was there on the bike I kept wishing my family was with me.  Since I donít think all of us can pack onto the bike, I guess I will just have to get used to the duality.  :{

 3)         Will I do it again?  I think so.  I donít know if I will do anything that involves spending days on end on I10 or I40, but wouldnít mind taking a trip every year to something new and maybe exciting.  Then again, maybe not too exciting.  I will still have to make a couple of more runs this summer to finish up the National Park deal.  Maybe next year I will do a border to border run.  And there are always the Great Lakes to circle.  So many IBA rides, so little vacation time.  But I think one big multi-day trip a year should get it. 

4)         GPS.  I took a borrowed Garmin GPS V unit and found it very handy to have along.  A couple of times I zoomed out to where I wanted to go and clicked to where I wanted to go and had it calculate a route to get there.  This worked very well.  There was one glitch.  For some reason it thought I could cross one branch of the Grand Canyon that I really didnít think would be a good idea.  So I stayed on the road while it beeped and told me I was off course and it had to recalculate.  I just ignored it.  I ran a wire from the battery to my tank bag and put a two way cigarette plug on it to power the GPS unit and a discman.  This meant I didnít have to keep up with batteries for them.  This also gave me a place to power the mini air compressor if I would have needed it (which, thankfully, I did not).  And yes I put a fuse in line near the battery, just in case.

5)    I wish I had stopped and taken more pictures.

 

Return to IBA Page