My First Saddle Sore 1000
I had never ridden motorcycles before taking the MSF course 2 years ago at the age of 38. I took the course in October 2011 and bought a Suzuki S40 to learn on. After a season on the S40, I wanted something that would keep up better on the Interstate after I got more comfortable riding. I traded the S40 for a shiny new Fox Orange 2012 DL650 V-Strom in February. I have wanted to tackle a Saddle Sore 1000 ever since. My longest ride so far was 350 miles to see my sister last summer (the S40 was really uncomfortable after about 100 miles).
I marked my calendar for Saturday, August 3 as the day to make the attempt, but family obligations got in the way. Went to bed Saturday night and set the alarm for 3:30 am Sunday, planning to be out the door by 4:00 am. My plan is to head north on I 35 from central Iowa to Albert Lea, MN then west on I 90 to Sioux Falls, SD, then north on I 29 to Fargo, ND, turn around and head back. Google maps says it is7 hours and 39 minutes to Fargo.
When 3:30 am arrives, I hit the alarm and decide today will be a “sleep in day” and instead I'll do the Saddle Sore 1000 next weekend. I wake up about 9 AM goof around the house for little bit and then decide about 10:30 to go for a ride. It's only going to be about 82° today so should be a nice day for a ride. Skies are clear, except the news this morning said there would be some thunderstorms over Northwest Iowa and Southeast South Dakota. I decide use today to maybe stake out some gas stations along my proposed Saddle Sore route. I stop at the Co-Op, fill the tank, collect the receipt, set trip 1 (trip mileage) and trip 2 (mileage on this tank of fuel) to zero on the odometer and start the GPS.
About 12:30 pm I pull into the gas station Albert Lea, MN. Where the hell did all these Harleys come from? Oh, yeah…Sturgis starts Monday. It’s a great day to ride and I decide to head to Sioux Falls. I figure once I get there, I’ll turn around and head back. Rest trip 2 to zero, collect the receipt and head west. Somewhere along the way, the GPS charger wiggled out from the socket, the battery drained. Darn, lost the GPS data for this leg of the trip.
I make it to Sioux Falls about 2:45 pm. I feel really good. Let’s see, It’s about 3 and a half hours to Fargo From here. That would put me into Fargo about 6-6:30…eight hours from fargo back home…that means I get home between 2-2:30 am…I’d have about 6 hours riding in the dark, but it’s open interstate…F@^k it, let’s keep going. Fill up the tank, reset trip 2 to zero and head north on I 29.
The 75 mph limit in South Dakota is dropping my mpg, so I make a stop for gas in Sisseton, SD. Back on the road and I make it to Fargo at 6:02 pm. Fill up the tank, reset trip 2 to zero and tape the GPS charger to the outlet so it won’t come apart again. I quickly eat a quarter pounder and fries, and call Mrs. ABNDVM.
Mrs. ABNDVM: How’s the ride honey?
Me: Great. Weather is great, bike’s running fine.
Mrs. ABNDVM: Where are you?
Mrs. ABNDVM: AS IN FARGO….NORTH DAKOTA!!!!!!
Mrs. ABNDVM: You’re crazy.
Me: You knew that when you married me.
Mrs. ABNDVM: Ride safe.
Me: I always do.
I reset the GPS time and speed information and am headed south on I 29 by 6:25 pm. The headwind is brutal…100 miles down the road and trip 2 is telling me I am getting 31.5 mpg. Lets see 30 mpg times 5 gallons means a range of about 150 miles, add in a fudge factor of the extra 1.5 mpg and 0.3 gallons extra in the tank and I can only go about 175 miles. Time to start looking for some gas. I fill up in Watertown, SD and keep heading south. I debate putting on the frog togs while I am stopped and decide not to. Bad decision, I run into rain 3 miles south of Watertown and pull over to put on the rain gear.
It sprinkles on and off for about 30 miles, but I seem to come along just after the major downpours. The last of evening twilight has faded as I arrive in Sioux Falls just shy of 10 pm. Fill up, reset trip 2 and head east. I am treated to a lightning show off to the north for most of the trip. Lots of lightning…I hope it stays north or this is going to get miserable in a hurry. Between Sioux Falls and Albert Lea, I run into some drizzle and a little rain, but the thunderstorms listened and stayed away. Make It to Albert Lea at 12:57 am. Fill the tank, grab a snickers and a Diet Coke and head south. A little rain just south of Albert Lea, but nothing major.
I pull into the Co-Op at 2:23 am and grab the final receipt. One I get home, I am way to excited to go to bed, so I grab a beer and start working on IBA paperwork. Maybe I should have headed another 250 miles south and make this a BunBurner Gold?
1083 miles on the odometer
41.5 mpg according to the bike
Fargo back home (due to GPS shutting off on leg 1):
520 miles from on the GPS (so 1040 miles total)
7 hrs 20 min moving time
43 minutes stopped
71 mph moving average
65 mph average