On September 3rd and 4th I rode my BMW R1100R a total of 1,665 odometer miles or 1,629 miles according to Mapquest, in less than 36 hours in an attempt to obtain the IBAís Bun Burner 1500 award. I also picked up about eight new National Parks Stamps along the way. My wife signed me out and back in but I also got a lady in Duck Hill, MS to sign a witness form because I was running pretty close to the edge on time. There were no real problems along the way except torrential rains, parks that were closed, parks that hid while I looked all around for them, etc. I have receipts for gas stops and I stamped my log sheet at least once at every place where I got a stamp.
The Big Picture:
An upcoming business trip to the Northeast looked like it would have an easy side trip to Washington D.C. and maybe there would be enough time to make it all the way up through the New England states. This seems like the ideal time to start the IBAís National Park Master Traveler certification I think to myself. So I start making plans, get a passport book and start making some daytrips around to get local parks. Then the business trip north falls through leaving me with a void where a trip was going to be. I looked around for some more trips to get stamps and notice that the roundtrip from my home to Andersonville, GA is almost a 1,000 miles. The trip from here up to Shiloh, TN and back is about 600 miles. If I did them sequentially, I could have a Bun Burner out of this. Not the same as spending 5 days touring the New England states, but when life tosses you a bone you gnaw on it. So I checked it out on Mapquest and set things up at home for the trip. A little tweaking of the trip had the Andersonville trip adding side stamp trips to Tuskegee, AL; Plains, GA; and Horseshoe Bend, AL.
The weather report Thursday night has a 30% chance of rain for Friday and next to none for Saturday. Things sound good.
At 4:30am I woke up a few minutes before the alarm is set to go off and start to get ready. I have my tank bag packed, my rain suit in the saddlebags, and I am ready to go. Feels a little chilly so I went ahead and put a polar fleece jacket on under my mesh jacket, get my wife to go out and look over my speedometer and I am off. There is a gas station down by the interstate that has pay at the pump with a good receipt. A quick trip by the station at 5:05am and I am on my way. The polar fleece feels good. That is a big change from most all the trips I have made since back in late spring. Sometimes I will sweat going to work in the mornings. I-20 across Mississippi to Cuba, AL is quick trip. Gas up at a Chevron and even though it has pay at the pump, it doesnít print out and I have to go in to get a receipt for some reason. From there it is US-80 across to Montgomery and a quick trip over to Tuskegee on I-85. I canít quite make it to Tuskegee on that tank of gas so I pull off a couple of exits shy and get gas at another Chevron. This one will not take my credit card. So I have to make another trip inside. Moton Field, home of the Tuskegee Airmen is easy enough to find. I pull in and see the historic buildings, but nothing that isnít pad locked. The fellow in the hanger points out the correct building to me. It was what I thought was a National Guard building when I pulled in. I obtain stamp number one here (stamp #1). I also watched the Tuskegee Airman film. It was pretty interesting. This is a highly recommended stop, especially if you have any aeronautical leanings. Then I saddled back up and went into town to hit up the Tuskegee Institute. If you wander around enough you will find the sign that says NPS parking. But then you will have to walk a ways more to find the actual George Washington Carver Museum where the stamps are. Two stamps can be found here. The first one is for the Tuskegee Institute (stamp #2) and the second one is for the Selma to Montgomery Historic Trail (stamp #3 for the day) that I have been riding on the way over.
Three stamps and it is not even lunchtime yet. Time to saddle up and get back on the road for Georgia. This is pretty section of the country I have not been exposed to before. The only problem being that Columbus, GA is full of traffic. Once I am past there, it is small towns, trees, and agriculture. Plains, GA is home of past president Jimmy Carter and the Jimmy Carter Historic Site (stamp #4). I had always heard Plains is a small town, but it was much smaller than I expected. The site is informative and also houses the First Lady Museum. A quick 20 mile trip and there is Andersonville (stamp #5). Andersonville is an old Civil War era POW camp. It also houses the National POW museum. There are lots of exhibits there to stir emotions in you. Maybe a little too much emotion is stirred at times. Now it is time to start back towards home. A stop in Buena Vista, GA for gas and guess what, this Chevron will not take my credit card at the pump either. Ok, no more Chevrons. I thought Columbus had traffic before, but now it is stuffed. It takes me way longer than I expected to get through there and on up to Opelika, AL. Now I am running short on time to make it to Horseshoe Bend Military Park. But I gotta try. I get to Horseshoe Bend in the time after they put out the closed sign, but before they lock the gates. I figure I could have stuck around and conned someone into letting me get stamped when they came to lock the gate, but by now it is starting to cloud up and I am still five hours of riding from home. So I saddled back up and headed up towards Birmingham.
I have to stop for gas about 20 miles short of Birmingham. People are always glad to be the bearer of good tiding. This is reinforced when a fellow comes up to me as I am filling up and tells me how he just came from Birmingham and it raining buckets up there. I thank him for his insight, call home and tell them I am about 4 hours out, put on my rainsuit and prepare for war. I fully expected that by 6:30pm most of the traffic would be gone from Birmingham, but since it is Friday on a holiday weekend, I am wrong. The traffic and the rain are both pretty strong. By the time I am back on I-20 it is dark, the wind is ripping, the rain is pouring, and traffic is full tilt. Nothing left to do but ride through the night. Two and half hours later (and a bunch of rain later) I stopped at Meridan, MS for more gas. Bunches of people are standing under the awning of the station watching it rain. I am sure they are snickering at me on bike in this rain when they wonít even walk back to cars in it. Another harbinger of good tidings comes over and tells me he hates to bring me bad news, but it has been raining on him since he crossed the Texas line four hours before. I thank him and think I must be about out of it if he has been in it for four hours. Things are looking up. Sure enough, another 45 minutes later I break free. Another hour or so later and I gassing up at the same place in Vicksburg I had started the day at oh so long ago. A few miles more and I am home having supper. I look at the odometer and notice I started the day at 39152 and finished the 40152, exactly 1,000 BMW miles later. Only about half of this was interstate. That was a much tougher ride than when I did a SS1000 back in Feb. I only had to contend with cold that day, this day I had to contend with holiday traffic, back roads, and rain. This was the first time I had been in full tilt rain with my Frog Toggs rainsuit on. I am just glad it wasnít 40 degrees out because I had a couple of dry spots, but not many. The rain dripped down the collar and then wicked down my shirt into my pants. I will make sure I donít tuck my shirt into my pants from now on. At home it doesnít take long to eat, warm up in the shower, and hit the bed. A little while later the alarm goes off, no waking before the alarm on this day.
Day 2 begins much like the one before. Hop on the bike, get on the road, do some miles. A short hop across the interstate and I am turning north and gassing up again to signal the change of direction in Madison, MS. The early morning trip up I-55 is nice trip. Since my mesh jacket was still soaked from yesterday, I put on my old Cool-Tech leather jacket with a polar fleece vest on underneath. It is a good combination for this slightly foggy morning. Then I top a hill and find that the fog is actually rain. Luckily I get out of it before much more than my knees get wet. This happens several more times before I pull off the Interstate at Batesville, MS. I had tinkered with the idea of going on up to St. Louis and making this a SS2000, but the idea of going another 500 miles north in off and on rain on a holiday weekend isnít that appealing. From Batesville then over to Oxford, where I notice it is game day at Ole Miss, (I donít want to get tied up in that traffic later on), then up to Holly Springs and over to Corinth. At Corinth I visited the brand new Civil War Center (stamp #6). I have to admit I stumbled around Corinth for a few minutes unable to follow the map they gave me up to Shiloh. Finally I get it figured out and make the brief trip up to Shiloh, TN (stamp #7). They also have a Trail of Tears stamp there (stamp #8). I make a mental note to come back here when I have more time, because I just donít have the time to look around here and I havenít been here since I was like four years old. I had planned to go back down the Natchez Trace and pick up some more stamps along the Trace and in Tupelo, but a check of my watch and miles I have left to do tells me I better be heading back home. The gaslight is on, but I canít find a station until I make it back to Corinth. A quick call home to tell them I have rounded the bend and am heading back and it is off to the races. At Holly Springs I run into the Ole Miss traffic in spades so I made an on the fly game change and hit Highway 4 to Senatobia, MS. About half way across it starts pouring like it did the night before. As I suit up under a gas station awning I am waiting for someone to come out and tell me it is raining, but amazingly no one does. I get back on I-55 at Senatobia, a half an hour later the rain stops, and just a few minutes more and I starting to bake in my rain suit. South of Batesville the odometer tells me that I have past the 1500-mile mark. When I stop for gas at Duck Hill, MS a lady signs an ending odometer statement that says 40696 just in case I am running too late. That is 1544 miles. Of course the time on the receipt is off by an hour, but the lady at the counter is willing to initial the receipt and put the stores phone number on it. So it is all gravy now. Which is good since it is after 3pm and I only have a couple of hours to go. I cut across on Mississippi 22 through Flora and come out on I-20 at Edwards at a few minutes before 5pm. So I gas up again to get my final receipt. I look at the receipt and it doesnít have the time on it. So I unhelmet and go inside and ask for a receipt and it doesnít have the time on it either. So I saddled back up and went across the street and bought a bottle of water to obtain a receipt that did. This receipt says 4:49pm. Six minutes short of the deadline and 1,665 miles. (Note: once I got a good nightís sleep and started looking at my receipts I found the time on the first Edwards receipt, it was just hidden.) So all I have to do is make it home. Just to put a cap on things I stop at store where I started off a day and half before and buy a drink whose receipt says 5:25pm. So if I hadnít messed around for 20 minutes in Edwards I could have made back to there for my final receipt, but what the hey. It is over with now. My wife signs my final witness form at home at 40,841 miles.
Click here if you want to see the certificate.
I did a bunch of lessons learns after the SS1000 ride in February. Guess I should look back on them to see if I actually learned anything. The blue is from the SS1000.
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.
Ok, I can at least do a day and half.
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 don't think I saw any temperatures below 70 degrees (though it was a wet 70 degrees), so polar fleece and a mesh jacket worked fine for what I was doing.
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.
I donít guess anything was too different from home, but it was still a nice change.
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.
I did have earplugs or a set of good in ear monitors in the entire time this time. I didnít have problems afterwards like before.
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 used a camel back type bag and it helped a lot. It is not the most comfortable thing to wear though. Maybe I should get a bigger tankbag so I can put it in there.
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
Still no IronButt, probably a copper one, though.
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.
2) Hitting up National Parks along the way eats up a lot of time.
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 my protection in a get off event.
Here are the roads for the trip.
Day 1 Ė September 3rd
I-20 East from Vicksburg to Cuba, AL
US-80 East from Cuba, AL to Montgomery, AL
A few miles on I-65 and then I-85 North to Tuskegee, AL
A few miles on AL-61 South to Tuskegee, AL and then US-80 East to Columbus, GA
US-280 East from Columbus to Plains, GA
GA-49 North up to Andersonville, GA to just short of Oglethorpe, GA
GA-26 West back to Cusseta
US-280 West through Columbus and up to Dadeville, AL
AL-49 North to Horseshoe Bend up to New Site, AL
AL-22 West back US-280
US-280 West up to Birmingham, AL
I-459 West around Birmingham to I-20
I-20 West to Vicksburg, MS
Day 2 Ė September 4th
I-20 East to Jackson, MS
I-55 North to Batesville, MS
MS-6 East to Oxford, MS
MS-7 North to Holly Springs, MS and up to US-72 East
US-72 East to Corinth, MS
MS-2 East till it turned into TN-22 East to Shiloh
TN-22 West till it turned into MS-22 to Corinth
US-72 West to MS-7 South
MS-7 South to MS-4 West
MS-4 to I-55 South at Senatobia
I-55 South to MS-22 West in Canton
MS-22 West to I-20 West in Edwards
I-20 to Vicksburg
* I should probably say "non-sleeping hours" or "time not at home" instead of "rolling" above, because I didn't keep up with time spent at gas stops or at the parks.