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Old 04-22-2009, 06:56 PM   #37
Douf OP
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Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Close to Cumming (GA that is)
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The Gang's All Here: Let's Rock

Day 2 Rochelle, IL - Regina, SK

To quote a little known proverb from ancient Chinese philosophy: Confucius he say, 'Man with hole in pocket feel cocky all day'. He also say 'Man with hole in two pockets not feel too cocky'........And in the cool crisp air of the early morning darkness that constituted our first eagerly anticipated departure hour, I vaguely remember Joe ferreting around for something in the nether reaches of his pants; but at the time I just put it down to his hands being cold. Anyway old Confucius is possibly slightly better known for the somewhat more cliched 'Every great journey starts with a single step' and although even the great man himself surely didn't have the philosophical insight to contemplate future offerings from the the likes of Suzuki, BMW, KTM et al, his sentiment was never more appropriate than at this particular moment - although our 'steps' were destined to be of the rolling variety.

Feeling somewhat apprehensive as we prepared to depart, I wondered how my mind and body would tolerate the imminent mental and physical ordeal that this trip represented. However, tempering whatever self doubt lay in my mind was the knowledge that, being a veteran of many other types of physical endurance event, I'd encountered enough blistered, chaffed and bleeding body parts, enforced bouts of roadside vomiting and all the other exceedingly rewarding aspects of long distance athletics, to reliably differentiate between real pain and suffering versus just feeling sorry for myself. Gary's extensive Ironbutt resume inevitably had him feeling confident enough, but I wondered how Joe was justifying his current mindset - whatever that was.

FWIW: '07 Marathon stats (courtesy - Masochist is my middle name

What became our morning ritual, involved unwillingly extracting oneself from a few hours of less than adequate deep slumber at around 4am, taking care of whatever intestinal/appearance related maintenance issues were deemed necessary (some of us were sporadically showering before we went to bed), repacking the bikes, suiting up, riding over to the first available gas station - where we would fill up both the bikes and ourselves with whatever unappetizing fare came to hand (and even the gas was questionable in some of the remotest areas) - then hitting the road proper by 5am at the latest. As a side note: in retrospect, compared to this pre dawn gas station grab and go exercise, I can't believe how much whining I did about the comparably gourmet experience of our daily South African Wimpy ritual that recently presented itself on the Four Corners trip. (referenced in post #1 for those of you with short attention spans)

According the the careful time management strategies necessary to repeatedly complete distances of this magnitude, Gary informed the two traveling neophytes that it was imperative we didn't waste too much time screwing around, especially in the mornings. However, as I really didn't like rushing around with too much urgency first thing, my eventual tactics merely involved getting up slightly earlier and - relatively speaking of course - taking my sweet arsed time.

Another aspect of the preparations to carefully consider was the dress code, because what you had on leaving a particular gas stop would be - barring an act of God - what you'd be wearing for the next 300+ miles (and 5+ hours) until the next refueling stop. With the aid of a throttle lock it was possible to change gloves and make other small clothing adjustments, but second guessing the climatic conditions (along with elevation and other temperature related factors) was something that we all studiously contemplated at each stop; and for that very reason, electric gear became indispensable in short order - especially in the early hours. Not too far into the day's proceedings, I also realized that my custom earplugs - although great for an hour or two - were the cause of no little discomfort when used for these extended riding intervals, so they were ditched in preference to the disposable foam type that worked much better (for fatigue related reasons - not to mention deafness- riding without earplugs was definitely not an option.)

Having each consumed the FDA recommended daily amount of gas station junk food and with the bikes carrying in excess of 11 gallons of fuel a-piece, our happy band headed out to start a day populated with mainly interstate mileage, and heading for the Canadian border crossing a little way south of Regina. As is typical with most east coast originating cross country U.S. efforts (and certainly all those that I've been on), a certain element of 'distance dues paying' is required in order to arrive at the payoff which starts somewhere along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. A quick look at a relief map clearly indicates that crossing the Canadian border unfortunately doesn't improve this scenario, so I resigned myself to the prospect of 2 days and 2000 miles of uninspiring travel before arriving at Dawson Creek and the start of motorcycling Nirvana.

'The defendant stands here today accused of the following:
(i) Stopping without requiring gas
(ii) Fraternizing aimlessly during a ride.'
'And if it pleases the court, let me submit exhibit 'a': photographic evidence of the defendant - during a ride - with both jacket and helmet off' (hushed murmurs of disbelief are heard throughout the court)
'And furthermore your honour I have documentary Ebay evidence connecting the defendant to the sale of an Arai XD, which would incriminate the accused in the unspeakable act of riding without a modular helmet.' (gasps of incredulity are heard from the gallery)
- At the Supreme Court of Ironbutt, Gary's IBA membership is revoked and subsequently he's sentenced to have his extensively collection of distance awards burned on the court steps - doesn't seem that worried though.

However as I recall, even before the first tanks of gas were consumed, surprisingly we stopped for a bathroom break. Before the trip, as I've mentioned previously, Gary had led me to believe that the only times we would take any kind of break in the first few days would be either for gas or to sleep - food/drink was not a commodity deemed important enough to make a specific stop for, but instead would be procured on a haphazard basis when at either a gas station or lodging location. So we all marched into the little boys room, shortly thereafter marched back out and, as we stood around the bikes, took a couple of photos of our immediate surroundings. I made the mistake of grabbing a Power Bar for a quick snack and - I have photographic evidence to it - Joe even had the audacity to take his jacket off. Although having instigated the pause in proceedings, I get the impression that in sharp contrast to the current bout of protracted socializing taking place, Gary had imagined something along the lines of: all three of us pulling quickly into the parking area, simultaneously jumping off our still running bikes, sprinting into the bathroom with helmets affixed, taking care of business, running back out, then wiping our still dangling Johnsons on our respective panniers bags before - in one fluid movement - stowing the jewels, zipping up, hitting the gas and peeling out of there in a cloud of smoke and rubber. Reality bites, huh?

No gas, no hotel? What the F%^k are we doing here?

Well, maybe that wasn't quite the twisted scenario playing out in his mind, but apparently once the picnic tablecloth was unfurled, Gary was irritated enough with our insubordination to jump back on his V-Strom and roll slowly out of the parking lot and back onto the interstate. Joe and I eventually followed and although not having a visual on our leader, my GPS - being programmed with this evening's ultimate destination - ably took over as our immediate guide. Shortly thereafter the pair of us came into the Twin Cities region where - assuming Gary would never take a chance in the potential congestion of a cross town route - we diverted onto the ring road. Well what Gary does and what I think he'll do are apparently two different things, because it turned out that he'd stopped to wait for us somewhere in town, and we'd ridden right past him on the ring road. Establishing that this was indeed the case took quite a while however, since, unable to answer our phones due to the road noise associated with riding, we had arranged to use my wife as a point of contact, leaving messages for each other to intercept and, only at the next gas stop did we finally realize the realities of our current predicament; at which point we simply agreed to meet up later that evening in Regina - a decision that would have Gary riding the day's remaining 800-odd miles solo.

Joe (note: still with hands in pockets ) - possibly enjoying a satisfying fart after a leisurely crap - not the stuff that 60+ mph total averages are made of

Without our experienced shepherd to guide us, the perceived level of adventure increased slightly, but we continued in a generally North Westerly direction along the prescribed path in an essentially trouble free manner. As I recall, the mid afternoon temperatures eventually climbed to a fairly uncomfortable level, with the misery of the stifling heat being apparent even while moving along at our cruising speed. Water from the Camelback I was wearing came in useful as a cooling medium as, in addition to taking regular drinks, I sporadically squirted portions of its' contents onto the backs of my exposed hands which, although evaporating fairly quickly, did provide a measure of temporary relief.

'SIR: I have my riding suit on and am ready to go'
'What about yer helmet, you pathetic wonka. DROP and give me 20'

As we proceeded up through the plains of North Dakota, the increasingly rural roads were arranged in a grid pattern, where a period of riding through the farmlands along an essentially straight stretch would be suddenly punctuated by a ninety degree turn and then another featureless straightaway. At 800 miles and counting into the day's ride, a consistent level of concentration was certainly desirable. However eventually we came in sight of the Canadian border and after a long day of riding, we hoped for a smooth crossing. I said 'A SMOOTH CROSSING YOU CANADIAN MOTHERSUCKERS'. Watch this space...........


Douf screwed with this post 05-27-2009 at 01:10 PM
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