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Old 08-29-2008, 10:22 AM   #1
frenchy750 OP
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A Thousand Virgins in South Dakota; or How My Saddle Got So Sore

Four AM came early. The alarm clock's piercing tone rang out through the Red Roof Inn room. My first coherent thought was, "Wha?," followed closely by, "Why?"

Of course Abi was up and packed. He always is. I don't get it, but I guess there isn't much to get. He's ready, I'm not.

"Dude, seriously, why are we doing this?" I was whining more than usual that morning, but that's because I stayed up late writing a ride report on how we got where we were, while, wisely, Abi was sound asleep. "One thousand miles in one day? Why? Is there some sort of prize for this?"

Without even pausing, Abi replied, "Yes. There will be one thousand virgins waiting for us at the end in South Dakota."

Good enough for me. Let's go.

The rules for certifying a SaddleSore 1000 are strict, but not unbearable. Here are some of the rules, from the Iron Butt site:

In order to document your ride, the Iron Butt Association requires that obtain an eyewitness to document the start and finish of your ride. Witnesses for the basic SaddleSore 1000 and Bun Burner 1500 may be a friend (but not one on the ride with you), spouse or even gas station attendant willing to answer a letter from the IBA about your start or end time.

Fill up your gas tank and obtain a computer printed gas receipt with a legible date and time stamp. You may also elect to use a bank ATM receipt with a time and date stamp for your start time but please leave with your tank full.
* * * THE COMPUTER TIME STAMP WILL BE YOUR OFFICIAL STARTING TIME * * *

At the end of your ride, before the 24 hour time period is up, obtain a computer printed gas receipt with a legible location, date and time stamp.
* * * THE COMPUTER TIME STAMP WILL BE YOUR OFFICIAL ENDING TIME * * *

There are other rules too, but these are the most important.

OK, so it's still dark o'clock, and we need a start witness. A group of Harley guys on the other side of the hotel were getting ready to head for the Harley Hundred Fifth Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee ,maybe they'd sign the form? As I walked closer, I could hear a Harley guy shouting, threatening to commit a fun reproductive act on another's mother. We decided to have the desk clerk witness our start instead.





And we're off!

Normally, when starting a ride, I don't have an exact idea how far we'll be going. The destination might change five times during the day, which is the beauty of never making reservations. An interesting detour might present itself during the day, so I rarely look at the 'Dist to Dest' box on the GPS. But this day was different. We had a reservation in Rapid City, which lay only 1016 miles from our current location.

After whet felt like a sufficient distance passed, I took my first peek at the GPS. 985 miles to go. That's IT?!? Ugh.

Trucks. Like vampires, trailer trucks own the night. A convoy of thousands of trucks disappeared behind us in a blur of lights and diesel fumes in the pre-dawn gloom. The majority of these vampire trucks seemed to vanish at dawn, leaving the entire highway to us.



Trucks may own the night, but we owned the morning, at least until we reached Chicago. Then we had to share with thousands of people trying to get to work on time.





But even Chicago wasn't that bad. The realization that this traffic jam would be our last of the day was comforting.



Less comforting was the sky; a dark, brooding mass of clouds blotted out the horizon ahead. 177 miles into our attempt, Rain Cloud Follows was about to enter the storm, along with... some boats? What the hell were we in for?



As the first fat drops of rain fell, we pulled off to prepare for the onslaught, and I started yelling at my motorcycle. "Dammit! I'm sick of this shit! Every time, every ride, it rains! If you don't quit it, I'm sending you to the car crusher!"



Then it occured to me. We were only 177 miles into this ride, and I was already talking to my motorcycle. That can't be a good sign.

The threat worked. The storm never fully materialized, and pretty much gave up after fifty miles. While the temperatures remained in the 60's, that was the only rain of the day.



The two lane highway stretched on in an endless ribbon of asphalt.



Oversized or not, what trucks there were soon became blurs in our mirrors as the odometer miles increased.







By 11 AM, we had already ridden 364 miles through Indiana, Illinois and were deep into Wisconsin. The scenery became redundant.



Lost in my thoughs, I left my turn signal on. For about twenty miles. Unable to take it anymore, Abi raced up next to me, and indicated his displeasure with a single upraised finger. I noticed a rest area ahead, and, leaving the signal on, pulled in.

"Dude," I asked Abi, "what's your problem? I was just trying to tell you I wanted to take a little break. It's not my fault the rest area was so far ahead."




It was already mid-afternoon, but we still felt reasonably good.



The Iron Butt association is very strict. Especially when it comes to speeding and reckless motorcycling (understandable) and the use of stimulants (somewhat less understandable):

Please remember that the Iron Butt Association is dedicated to the sport of safe, long-distance motorcycle riding. It does not condone nor will it tolerate unsafe activities such as excessive speed, reckless motorcycle operation, riding while fatigued or otherwise impaired, the use of stimulants to maintain alertness, or any other activity that results in riders exceeding their personal limits. Any rider found to have engaged in these or other unsafe activities, as determined in the sole discretion of the IBA, will have their certification refused. If the certification is already issued and we find out about these infractions after the fact, the certification will be revoked (if you read Motorcyclist Magazine, you may have seen them burning an IBA certification when we revoked the certification of a noted staffer's ride). For these purposes, the IBA will consider as an admission of violating this policy any public statements made by the participant that describe participation in unsafe activities during a ride subject to certification.

I remember reading that article a few years ago. The Motorcyclist Magazine journalist in question was disqualified for admitting he drank a coffee during his SaddleSore attempt. I would like to publicly admit that while I was jonesing for a hit on the ol' java crack pipe, in the interest of following the IBA rules, I abstained from the unsafe activity of drinking a Grande Redeye.



Corn. Farm. Corn. Barn. Corn. Silo. More corn. There's a lot of corn out there. Then, we stumbled onto a farm of a different sort. They were growing what appeared to be gigantic Mercedes logos, probably for all the new Smart Car dealerships popping up nationwide.





Yeah. I know. Lame. Well, you have to make your fun when you can. Part of my fun was working on my new camera technique.







After many crap pictures of the sky or the road, I finally figured it out. Press the shutter button, count to fifty, and the camera will usually take a picture.



The long day took it's toll.



With a little less than 500 miles to go, Abi and I stopped in a town called Blue Earth, Minnesota for a stimulant-free lunch in my favorite Irish restaurant, McDonalds. A very elderly, very sweet looking couple sat down at the booth next to us. We must have been looking a little less-than-fresh by then, judging by the look on their faces.

"What have you boys been doing?"

I wanted to impress them with our tale. "Well, we left Elkhart, Indiana this morning, and we're not stopping again until we get to Rapid City, South Dakota," I bragged.

The woman smiled and said, "Well, isn't that nice? You don't have far to go now, boys."

Stunned, I had no answer.

Distance, now judged by the tankful, became irrevelant. I became a part of the motorcycle, my hands became the grips, my feet became the pegs. Thoughts swirled, music blared, and the day progressed.



Two tanks later, we entered South Dakota. The end, 360 miles away, was in sight!





The thought of finishing, of getting off these damn bikes energized us both.





The next hours became a race with the sun. I didn't like the idea of riding these dark, deserted South Dakota roads at night, so we set off in a very unreckless manner to put as many miles behind us as possible. A photographic bonanza celebrated the sunset.















The darkness enveloped us, and we rode on. The miles between us and the end of the road ticked down, 60... 50... 40... Suddenly, the bright lights of Rapid City erupted out of the darkness. A surprising swell of emotions overwhelmed me for a moment, fortunately it was too dark for a picture of my swelling. Eighteen hours after leaving Elkhart, we made it!

With 1020 official miles on the bikes, all that was left was getting our end time stamp and a witness. I pulled up to a gas pump at a Flying J rest stop for my final tankful.

And, no recepit came out. Of course. I went inside to get this most important picece of paper, and was doubly stunned. There was NO TIME on the receipt!

Oh, what the fuck?!? After eighteen hours of riding, I didn't need this. I withdrew $20 out of the ATM in the Flying J, which would definitely have a time stamp receipt, so I thought I would be covered. Abi, who noticed my increasing frustration, didn't bother fill his tank. We went down the road to a Mobil station, where Abi was able to get his final receipt. Knowing the Iron Butt rules are fairly strict; remember, something as harmless as drinking coffee can get you disqualified, I put $1 of unleaded into his tank, so I would also have a final, time stamped fuel receipt.





And when it was all said and done, I knew one thing for sure. Abi lied. The thousand virgins were nowhere to be found, but at that point it didn't matter. All that mattered was sleep. Off the motorcycles, we quickly congealed. The desk clerks at the Fairfield Inn were happy to sign our end witness forms. To honor our accomplishment, we changed our traditional 'Best Day Ever' toast, and officially finished the day by hoisting a hefty glass of Macallan in a toast to the 'Longest Day Ever.'

And that, as they say, was that. Heading to the comfort of clean sheets, we were silent in the elevator, then I looked at Abi and said, "I don't ever want to do that again."
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:43 AM   #2
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Nice Job! Keep it coming please!
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:23 PM   #3
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Great RR. Nice job on the ride.

I love this picture:



Can't wait to hear more.

-Alan
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:38 PM   #4
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Good stuff...thanks.
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:31 PM   #5
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Yeah, well, if there had been a thousand virgins, in SD, they still would have been virgins when you left. oooo I crack me up sometimes.

and everybody knows McDonald's is a Scottish restaurant, not Irish.

Good RR, thanks for posting it.
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:38 PM   #6
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:22 PM   #7
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Great job

I'm thinking about trying one of these on my KLR, how do you think that will go?
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by El Guero
Great job

I'm thinking about trying one of these on my KLR, how do you think that will go?

Esto dominus ominus, esheinius issasorus, estootee frootee matatseeclee

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Old 08-29-2008, 07:56 PM   #9
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1000 Virgins?

I grew up in South Dakota and the 1000 virgins are ugly sheep! Great ride and pics!
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jhansen
I grew up in South Dakota and the 1000 virgins are ugly sheep!

LOL!! That's funny right there...

Hey Jeff, thanks for what you do (Patriot Rider)
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:55 PM   #11
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Pray that the IBA judges don´t see this thread, they might decide taking photos while riding your bikes is an unsafe practice
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:38 PM   #12
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Great ride and great pics! I did my first Saddlesore 1K last month on my little FZ6. I didn't take pics though. Long day to be sure.

I'm planning a Bunburner 1500 next June along the same route you took (+500 miles - from mid-Michigan to Bozeman MT). Should be a hoot.
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:11 AM   #13
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Its Official!

Got this email from Mike Kneebone today:

Dear Frenchy:


You are receiving this e-mail because of your application for a ride certification. This note is to let you know that your ride has been approved and although your ride documents may take a few more weeks to arrive, your membership has also been approved and entered into the Iron Butt Association's member database.

Welcome to the Iron Butt Association!
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by frenchy750
Got this email from Mike Kneebone today:

Dear Frenchy:


You are receiving this e-mail because of your application for a ride certification. This note is to let you know that your ride has been approved and although your ride documents may take a few more weeks to arrive, your membership has also been approved and entered into the Iron Butt Association's member database.

Welcome to the Iron Butt Association!

Congrats!!
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by frenchy750
Got this email from Mike Kneebone today:

Dear Frenchy:


You are receiving this e-mail because of your application for a ride certification. This note is to let you know that your ride has been approved and although your ride documents may take a few more weeks to arrive, your membership has also been approved and entered into the Iron Butt Association's member database.

Welcome to the Iron Butt Association!
Congratulations!

But, everyone knows there probably isn't even 1 virgin in South Dakota older than the age of 15.
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