|01-05-2014, 03:35 PM||#1|
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Austin, Tejas
Iron Butt: 48 States in 10 Days
1. I previously posted this on hdforums.com but there aren't a lot of fun ride reports to read there and I always get better ideas and laughs reading things here. Since i haven't really contributed much to the site after reading tons of awesome reports... and i'm in the middle of planning a trip for next year, i thought i would post this mess up.
2. There is a definite lack of Dirt in this report.
3. Its on a Harley so feel free to flame away and tell me how I should have done it on a dual sport/BMW/vespa/tricycle etc. FYYFF
Anticipating that this may be an issue i got you all one of these. I picked it out myself:
Iron Butt: 48 States in 10 Days
Slip the bike into gear. Check both sides of the street. Ease out the clutch and give it a little throttle. Turn the tunes up a bit and roll out of the neighborhood. The hard part is over. The bike is packed; your gear is ready. 9000 miles to go. It only gets easier from here…
My Name is Brian. I’m a 29-year-old engineer living in Austin, TX.
My bike is a 2012 Street Glide. It is my 2nd Harley and 3rd street bike.
I recently completed my first Iron Butt SS1000 in July riding from Austin to El Paso and back to Fredericksburg TX. Brains aren't my strong point and riding 1000 miles in 100+ degree weather didn't seem like a stupid idea at the time.
My job announced in August that our paid time off was going from a “pay-out what you don’t use at the end of the year" to a “use it or loose it” policy. Historically, it’s been hard to take big chunks of time off due to workload and other things keeping me busy.
So, with just under a month to plan and prepare, I decided I was going to ride through all 48 states in 10 days and complete the 48/10 Iron Butt Challenge. According the Iron Butt website, only 200 or so people had ever done this and documented it. (and about 1/2 of those were during the Iron Butt Rally in 2011). In 2012, it was completed by 6 people.
My route would require me to ride an average of ~750 miles per day for 10 days to meet the time limit.
I’m writing this now, the day after I returned to Austin, using my gas/food/sleep log, my receipts, my travel notes and my memory while it is fresh so I don’t loose any details later.
My gear is still mostly packed. The bike is in the shop getting some substantial maintenance done. I’m sunburned, wind burned, tired and still coming down off of the rush of a 10-day motorcycle trip.
Day 0: Ride to the Start of the ride and Okies from Muskogee
Friday (8/30/2013) I ducked out of work an hour early and drove home, said goodbye to the GF, did a final gear check and got on the road around 5pm.
My plan for the day was to ride from Austin, TX to Miami, OK (520 miles) where I would officially go on the clock for the 48 states the following morning. Anybody from the area knows that I-35 from Austin to Dallas is a minefield of construction and traffic back-ups sometimes and as a result I only make it to Muskogee, OK for the night. (I’m no sure why Merle Haggard was hung up about this place… there is nothing there.)
Traffic north of Austin, TX
I roll into Muskogee listening to none other than the man himself and find a cheap hotel to get some sleep.
"What the hell am I doing in Muskogee?"
Day 0 totals:
430 miles – Not a great start. But, I’m not on the clock yet.
Day 1: Get on the clock and out of Oklahoma
I leave the booming metropolis and cultural epicenter of Muskogee, OK and head for Miami, OK at 6am.
I arrive in Miami, OK and see that it is a route 66 stop complete with a motorcycle museum, classic storefronts and some other cool vintage stuff. I make notes to myself that if I ever have to drive through Oklahoma again, to stop in here and spend some time looking around.
I snap a quick picture of my bike by the big route 66 gates that are in the town and start trying to find witnesses for the start of my ride.
I find a couple who are on vacation and touring Route 66. I tell them my story and plans up to this point and they are more than happy to be witnesses for the start of my ride. They add, “That is an amazing plan, but you must be nuts to want to do something like this”
I get Gas at the local station and I’m officially on the clock at 8:30 am Saturday August 31st.
From Miami I ride north to Baxter Springs KS and east to Joplin MS to get those states. On the way, Will Rogers charges me $2 to drive on his turnpike for 10 miles.
He’s making pretty good cash for a dead guy.
I then turn south again and ride through Arkansas on 71 and 59 (mostly secondary roads) to Texarkana to get Texas.
From Texarkana I head east on I-20 through Louisiana to Jackson, Mississippi and take 49 to 98 into Alabama. I missed the Louisiana and Mississippi signs on the way. I stop in Mobile for the night.
Roll Tide? ... Nah that just doesn't feel right.
Day 1 totals:
905 Miles. (815 on the clock)
OK, KS, MO, AR, TX, LA, MS, AL
Day 2: Southern Hospitality
I leave Mobile, AL at 6:30am and head to Century, FL on Sunday morning. I watch the sun come up as I’m riding and I feel great. I’m greeted by blue-hairs heading to Cracker Barrel after church (or so I’m guessing) Dangerous driving indeed.
For Music on the trip, I had made a bunch of 100+ song playlists on my ipod and burned a bunch of CD’s as backups. This morning I’m listening to a mix of classic country as I ride through the south. (Willie, Waylon, Merle, Johnny etc.)
I tried to record some video along the way. But, the audio ranges from "eh" to "wow, thats bad"
I'm listening to this as I drive through Alabama:
From Century, I head north to Atlanta, GA where I get rained on for the first time on my trip. I saw the weather coming and pulled off in time to throw on the rain gear. Traffic was a bit backed up coming through the city, but not too bad.
From Atlanta, I ride north and cut off of the interstates to Westminster SC where I stop for gas. At this point I’m just east of the Great Smokey Mountains. My plan is to ride them all from east to west (and ride the Tail of the Dragon in the middle)
I stop in Franklin, NC for gas, now in the middle of the Smokies. I ride out of Franklin on RT 28 the whole way to the start of the Tail of the Dragon. (Google Map HWY 28 and check it out between Franklin and RT 129… it is beautiful, and a great ride, but not good for riding lots of miles in a day)
My Picture taking skills rival most 5 year old's finger paintings:
Tail of the Dragon:
Simply put: It is everything that people say it is. Great views, fun corners, spectacular people that I stopped and talked to. They asked where I was staying when they saw my TX license plates and I pointed to all of my gear still attached to to the bike and told them “Virginia”. They gave me that look where you tilt your head to one side and make a funny face while trying not to say "Awe, bless his heart"
I highly recommend anyone that hasn’t ridden this part of the country to get out and do so. Not just the Dragon, but also the other roads in the area are incredible.
I ride the dragon in silence and stop to take a picture of the Tennessee sign at the beginning and at the other end to snap a pic at Dragon Harley Davidson. By this point it is about 7pm on a Sunday so they are closed, it’s getting dark, and I want to be in Virginia before I stop for the night.
From there, I ride through the rest of Tennessee past Bristol and watch the sunset over the top of the Appalachian Mountains. I stop in Abington VA for the night.
Good enough to F#$% your mother...
Day 2 totals:
FL, GA, SC, NC, TN, VA
Day 3: The Northeast Corridor
I needed to make up some miles from the previous day, since it was both short on total miles and was an out-of-the-way route.
I woke @ 5:30 ET and headed out from Abington due west to Jenkins, KY. This took me right up and over some of the Appalachians again. I watched the sun rise from behind me as I headed towards KY. I rode into town playing John Prine - Paradise on the stereo. On the other side of the mountain, it was still dawn, and I got to watch the sunrise again as I headed back to Abington (timed it just right).
So, I rode 140 miles and was right back where I started earlier that morning.
Again, the scenery in the mountains is priceless.
From Abington, I then rode north on I-81 to Harrisonburg where I took HWY 259 into Baker, WV. The side roads are a nice break from riding the Interstates on a trip like this. I drove this listening to a pretty loud/heavy mix of Metal and Rock to get me amped up and determined to make up some serious miles.
From Baker, I rode east right through Washington DC on Labor Day. I figured this was a mistake and that traffic would be terrible. But, to my surprise, I breezed right through DC into Maryland where I stopped in Beltsville and rode through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
ZZ top always works well for me on the road. Heading into DC:
From there I rode into New Castle, DE after taking a wrong exit on the turnpike, but I needed a receipt from DE anyways. I left as fast as I could and got back on the road.
After this came the most hesitant part of the trip: Riding the NJ turnpike from bottom to top into New York. I’m originally from Pennsylvania and had ridden on the turnpike before.
The problem is: Everybody in New Jersey drives like they’re from New Jersey. They all at least drive the speed limit or over – which is great. But, every one of them is on a cell phone, changing lanes with no signals, eating something, doing their make-up and generally acting all “Jersey Shore” at once… Just imagine 300 Snookies driving beside you for a few hundred miles. At this point was wishing to be back in Florida with the Blue Hairs again. I decide that The Boss is going to play me through all of New Jersey so I queue that up on the ipod.
I stop for gas on the turnpike and remember that NJ doesn’t trust it’s own people to pump their own gas (again, think Snookie and it makes sense) but, since I’m on a motorcycle, I get to pump my own anyways.
At this point it dawns on me that the NJ turnpike exists simply so anybody from NJ or that accidentally wanders into the state can quickly escape it at either end.
(I’m kidding around here, but only a little bit)
The Sun set on me as I was coming up on NYC.
After Jersey, I continue to head up I-95 beside Manhattan and cross the George Washington Bridge into the Bronx.
Anybody that has been here will tell you that this was probably the worst idea in the history of riding motorcycles. The potholes are huge and patches in the road are the size of Texas speed bumps. I started to count the times my a$$ left the seat, but gave up after 20-something. I thought I was going to blow the rear shocks right through the bags a couple of times.
For anybody that is considering riding this stretch of road, let me suggest this instead: Get a can of gas and a match - Light yourself and your bike on fire. This will do less damage to you and the bike both physically and emotionally than riding that section of I-95.
After NYC, it was up into Connecticut where I stopped for gas at a service station off of I-95 near Darien, CT. I shot the breeze with another biker who was at the station and asked what I was up to when he saw my TX plates. He said he was from the Bronx and had just gotten out of jail and spent 15 minutes telling me 10 other ways to take to avoid taking I-95 through across the GW bridge and that I must be one crazy, stupid motherf@$%@# for riding that road at night.
I left the service station, cranked up the Bobaflex – Bury Me With My Guns On and rode on to West Greenwich, RI just south of Providence where I spent the night.
As I pulled into a hotel at midnight ET, I was asking myself, “What have you gotten yourself into?” and telling myself, “You are almost 2000 miles from home if you feel like bailing out”. I was beat. The miles spent riding on edge through DC, Jersey, and NYC after a day of the dragon and the Smokies had taken it out of me. I went to bed questioning my drive to keep going.
Like a bag of smashed A#$holes
Day 3 totals:
KY, WV, DC, MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, RI
StrokedNBored screwed with this post 01-06-2014 at 04:38 PM
|01-05-2014, 03:36 PM||#2|
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Austin, Tejas
Day 4: Pahkin’ my Cah in Hahvad Yahd, Lobtstah, and some Great Lakes
I woke up again @ 5:30 ET, packed the bike and headed north. This morning I felt better and my apprehension from the previous day had passed. Sometimes, all you need is a crappy hotel room and a few hours of shut-eye to put yourself in a better frame of mind.
I cleared Providence and was headed towards Boston. Dropkick Murphys seemed like a fitting band to play for the morning so I punched that into the iPod as I rode up I-95.
My first gas stop of the day was in Mansfield, MA where I asked for some advice about avoiding the rush hour traffic in Boston. The guy there told me that my best bet was to run I-95 straight through and avoid the beltway traffic around the city.
If I ever see him again I’m putting my whole foot up his a$$.
I sat in traffic for a loooong time with the bike bouncing in and out of parade mode getting through Boston, but I made it through and jumped on the NH Turnpike towards Maine.
At this point, I would like to say that I waved to every biker I saw on this trip. (Except on the Tail of the Dragon, because both riders are a bit busy and it’s just understood) It didn’t matter what the other guy was riding or where they were from or anything like that. This is my standard policy. New Hampshire is the only state where I literally got zero waves back. None. Not-a-one. WTF?
I ride north to Kittery, ME and stop for some gas and a sandwich. I really wanted to try some of the lobster, but it was still early in the morning and I was hell-bent on making up the miles from Day 2.
I jump back on the NH turnpike and headed west on 101 towards Concord. From there I was on RT9 and RT 7 through Brattleboro back into New York. This is another very scenic and nice ride with lots of motorcycles along the way, but again, not a good mile-eating course. There are tons of mom-n-pop Inns, Cabins and Motels along the way with signs that advertise things like: “Restaurant and Color TV”. It is mostly 45~55 MPH across NH and VT on this route.
I pull into Troy, NY to get gas and snap a picture of the batwing on the bike. It now has bugs on it from all of the eastern states. They are beginning to build up like how corral is formed. A buddy of mine, who is from this area tells me that the best thing to do in Troy, NY is to pack your sh#$ and leave. So, that’s what I do.
From Troy, I crank up the metal and ride I-90 the whole way across NY to Eerie. My original plan was to ride on some other secondary roads to come up with a shorter route, but I needed a nice long easy haul for a few hours to get my wind back. I get rained on in Syracuse on the way to Buffalo. This is not a particularly eventful portion of the trip, other than it got cold and rainy.
I roll into my home state of Pennsylvania just after Dark and snap a picture to send to the family… and tell them I won’t be stopping in for a visit because I’m on a mission from Willie G… they don’t get the reference.
I ride on and end the night in Geneva, OH.
I hope nobody lights a couch on fire near me
Day 4 totals:
MA, ME, NH, VT, NY (again), PA, OH
Day 5: Toll ways, Toll ways, Toll ways, Chicago, and Corn.
At this point I had ridden quite a bit of toll way through the northeast and was about tired of it. Luckily for me, I had several hundred miles of it left to go…
I went through my morning ritual. Wake up, get dressed, take multi-vitamin and Advil, pack the bike, check my gear, do my biker yoga - stretch the quads, hamstrings, calves, lower back etc. (you've gotta stretch that a$$ if you're about to sit on it for 17 hours... and I don't mean in a KY jelly kind of way) and ate breakfast.
I left Geneva, OH around 6:30 am and headed for Cleveland. I was worried about getting caught in rush hour traffic and loosing more time, but there didn’t really seem to be one. I think it says something about the state of the economy. The place could use a jumpstart.
I West Bound and Down:
From Cleveland I rode flat out to Sturgis, MI (No, the other Sturgis) where I stopped in at Hamilton Harley Davidson to get a cigarette lighter that I had lost somewhere the night before.
I stopped just outside of South Bend, IN for gas again and wished that Notre Dame was going to have a terrible season… just for good luck.
I think that midwest states are having a competition to see how many road cones they can put up without having any work underway at one time. Ohio and Indiana were ½ construction and I think I counted 3 guys leaning on shovels the whole way across.
From there it was on to Chicago, where I rode right through on I-90 praying to not have a repeat of Boston or NYC.
I stop just west of the toll booth and put this on the radio to gear myself up for possibly putting up with a lot of traffic:
To my surprise, the traffic and roads weren’t that bad at all. … Still paying tolls.
After Chicago, I-90 currently has about 40 miles of construction until you get to Rockford. It seems Illinois is in the road cone race as well.
Today’s music has been mostly country and classic rock up-to this point. Easy listening for relatively easy riding down the toll roads.
From here I Ride to Beloit, WI. I really wanted to ride to Milwaukee to see the HD factory, but time was not on my side and I was in a hurry to get the Midwest over with by this point.
I ride west out of Beloit on 11 to Dubuque, IA. Lots of corn…
I start my ride on Hwy 20 across Iowa knowing that I can’t get to the other side before it’s dark and that there isn’t a whole lot along the way. I crank the Metal up to 11 on the stereo heading out of Dubuque and keep it there until I hit Nebraska.
For anybody that hasn’t ridden this part of the country: There is corn… that’s it. If Harley Davidson added a Fork Lock in the straight position instead of clocked to the left, I could have left it on for 90% of the state.
Dusk is a 3-hour event in Iowa. It goes on for forever. There is no topography to snuff out the sun’s final rays, so it just stays orange-purple looking for a hell of a long time.
I had neglected to research this part of the trip assuming that a highway stayed a highway. To my surprise, Hwy 20 turns into an opposing, 2-lane road full of truckers coming the other way at 65mph about 60 miles from Sioux City… not cool Iowa, not cool at all.
I ride into South Sioux City, NB just as it starts to rain again to get gas and spend the night.
Who decided this part of the country was "the spot" to settle down...
Day 5 totals:
MI, IN, IL, WI, IA, NB
|01-05-2014, 03:37 PM||#3|
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Austin, Tejas
Day 6: The Great White North
I leave South Sioux City, NB around 6:30 am in the rain and head north to Fargo, ND. The sun comes up and I’m surprised how much corn and hay there is in eastern South Dakota.
The speed limit is finally back up to 75mph, so I should make good time through the vast plains of nothing.
I stop in Sioux Falls for gas and take the rain gear off.
The music selection is back down to lighter stuff for the morning. Alternative Rock and 90’s stuff.
I decide to try to make the run from Sioux Falls to Fargo without stopping for gas or anything else. I’m carrying an extra gallon in a saddlebag just in case I miss a station or places are closed once I get into the northwest states.
I end up using the spare gas about 15 miles south of Fargo. The bike was reading “LO” and I rode another several miles until I came to an exit with no services.
80MPH fully loaded and into a headwind makes the bike pretty thirsty. This would be the only time on the trip that I dipped into my extra gas supply.
I hit Fargo, ND around noon and fueled up. No sign of Steve Buscemi or a wood chipper. Then headed east to Dilworth, MN to get a receipt from Minnesota. It is the end of summer in Minnesota (and everywhere else I guess) but I’m 4 shades more tan than anybody else I can see. Spending the last 5 days on a motorcycle probably has something to do with this.
From Dilworth, It was time to head west on I-94 across North Dakota. I was surprised at how hot it was out and I got a bit sunburned on the way across.
Robocop has nothing on this:
This road really does go on forever across ND:
I stopped in Bismarck, ND at Roughrider Harley Davidson for an oil change. I had called ahead at a previous gas stop and explained what I was doing and asked if they could keep a spot open for me to get the oil done. The guys at Roughrider were awesome and had me back on the road in less than 45 minutes. They asked about my trip and again said I must be F@#$’in crazy.
Riding out of Bismarck and back into the plains, I was about sick of seeing fields of nothing. I then got a surprise when I rode into Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There were hills and things other than corn for the first time in over a day!
Then, it was into Montana
I continued West and ducked into Miles City, as I could see a big storm brewing as dusk settled in. I gassed up and got my receipt, threw the rain gear back on (2nd time today) and set out for Billings.
… Whoops. About 10 miles outside of Miles City it begins to rain pretty steady and I can see lightning off in the distance. The temperature is dropping and the rain is getting harder. There is lightning and thunder all around and the wind is picking up.
I find a nice pigeon to follow into Billings where I pull in to stay for the night.
When I get to a hotel there are several other bikers there asking me which direction I’m coming from. I tell them Miles City and they proceed to tell me that there are reports of golf-ball size hail rolling through there right now.
Day 6 totals:
944 Miles, Oil Change
SD, ND, MN, MT
Everything is bigger in Montana... and Texas.
Day 7: God’s Country
The morning of day 7 I Rode out of Billings around 6:30 on I-90 towards Washington. I gassed up in Livingston and then proceeded to ride some of the most beautiful highway I’ve seen.
Western Montana turns into a series of amazing views and high speed curves for hours. The last 30 or 40 miles to Idaho run through a canyon along the river and has 45MPH caution signs for the turns… on an Interstate!
(maybe I think it was this good because I had spent 2 days in the plains – but I don’t think so)
Bob Ross would love to paint what I spent the day riding through.
I got to Idaho at the top of the pass on I-90. The temperature had dropped into the 40’s and it was foggy and cold
Riding through Idaho was a lot like Western Montana, but the road wasn’t as nice.
I stopped in Wallace, ID for gas and a short break. A portion of the town looks like it is literally built under I-90. Or should I say, I-90 looks like it was built over the top of Wallace.
I continued on to Spokane, WA and south to Kennewick, WA in the rain. I stopped at Rattlesnake Harley Davidson in Kennewick because it was raining, I was at a stoplight, and it was right there. I threw on some 90’s grunge/alternative because it seemed appropriate.
Southbound, I crossed into Oregon where it continued to rain off and on.
From there I headed to I-84 and Dead Man’s Pass back into Idaho heading south and I watch the sunset over the hills as I’m riding through the sweepers, climbing the hillsides.
I pull into a Holiday Inn in Nampa, ID around 11:30 for the night just north of Boise.
Where are all the Potatoes?
Day 7 totals:
ID, WA, OR
Day 8: Where are all the potatoes in Idaho? And, the Mormons take a beating
I’m feeling good when I head out of Nampa at 6:30 and ride through Boise.
I watch the sun coming up over the hills to the east and make a run for the Utah border.
I stop in Snowville, UT for gas. While there I BS with a guy in a bunch of bikers from Salt Lake City heading north to Jasper, Canada. We both agree that each other are nuts.
They pull out and I start the bike back up and WFT!?!?!?! The primary is making serious squealing noises. I stand the bike upright and it goes away. Set it down on the Jiffy stand and it comes back... I’m 2000 miles from home. Oh shit.
I Google the nearest Harley Dealership and they are 108 miles away in Salt Lake City, UT. I decide to ride it there to see what the issue is. While under steady load in gear, the squealing goes away. This comforts me slightly, but not much. This was maybe the longest 100 miles of my trip so far. I had the tunes off so I could listen for any new sounds on the way.
I pull into Golden Spike Harley Davidson just outside of Salt Lake City and grab a tech to come listen to it. He takes one listen and says, “Chain compensator sprocket is wearing out” I tell him the bike only has 11,000 miles on it at this point. How can that be? He say’s that there is a re-design to the re-design and it just came out on the 2014’s. The part I have is now obsolete.
My guess on this is Kawasaki had a bunch of spare Doohickeys laying around and Harley bought them all up and melted them down into compensator sprockets...
Just to be sure, they put the bike on the stand and pull the primary cover to inspect it. They don’t have the parts in stock and the nearest dealership the way I am heading is Denver, CO.
They assure me that it’s just going to make some noise, but it won’t grenade in the bike. They button it back up, I pay a crap-ton of money for what amounted to a quart of Amsoil, a new primary gasket, and some peace of mind and head out again.
The guys ask me if there is anything else they can do for me, and I ask if they know a place to buy new underwear after hearing that noise for the first time.
From Salt Lake City, I drive west on I-80 to get to Evanston, WY. The road between Salt Lake and Evanston is really nice with some sweepers and cool scenery.
My Wyoming sign didn't turn out so well.
I head back down I-80 and get onto 189 towards Provo (BYU university). The road is beautiful and winds through more canyons along the way. I would never have expected Utah to be so scenic before this trip.
Just north of Provo, UT on I-15 I can see some storms coming from the south. I pull over and throw the rain gear on so I’m ready. Traffic is heavy – and I remember that the Texas Longhorns are playing BYU in Provo that night… Good timing, Brian.
I jump back onto I-15 and take a few more corners before the traffic almost comes to a stop. All the lanes are down to 15 mph and everybody has their flashers on. I’m guessing there must have been a pretty bad accident up ahead…
And then the storm hit. I honestly looked to my side and saw a black cloud touching the buildings in Provo, UT. There aren’t any buildings there that are more than 6 stories tall from what I could tell. The clouds were that low. I have ridden through some pretty rough weather before: heavy rain, decent wind etc. But, I have never ridden through anything like this. The traffic was backed up on the Interstate while the sun was still shining over me – meaning that the storm was bad enough up ahead to cause some serious delays.
When it hit, the rain and wind was coming in from the side in gusts, it got dark enough to need headlights at 5pm and visibility was down to about 20 feet. There were small tree branches and shingles blowing onto the highway from the yards and houses nearby. I was in 1st gear doing 10mph and was struggling to keep it in my own lane battling the wind. I was looking for an exit asap. It was about ¾ mile away. I pulled off onto the exit for West Center Street in Provo. I didn’t know what was there, but I knew I was getting off of the bike. When I got to the bottom of the exit to turn onto the street, both of my floorboards went underwater. I pulled into a gas station where there were 2 other bikers already stopped. At this point I was waiting to see a poor Mormon kid on his bike in his khakis to come blowing by Wicked Witch of the West style. Dorothy didn’t have s#$% on this storm.
I went inside to change my underwear for the 2nd time that day and when I came back, I found out that they had delayed the football game just prior to the start because of the weather.
Here are some pics I found of the stadium during the storm keep in mind this is 4:30 in the afternoon:
All of me was wet at this point. No rain gear I’ve ever had was going to stand up to that storm, short of a latex body suit. I swore at myself for forgetting my over boots at home.
I waited there with the other bikers drying out and checked my phone after the storm had passed Provo. It had died down by now to only blue and green from what had been all red and yellow on the screen. I decided that from then on, when I stopped to put gear on, I was going to also check how bad the weather was supposed to be as well. Live and Learn...
I checked the weather and it looked much better to the south, so I headed back onto I-15 towards St. George, UT. I was still raining lightly now, but nothing like before. I headed south, still a bit wet. I got to just above Beaver, UT and I felt the temperature drop again. I could see lightning and thunder off in the distance and promptly took the exit to a Flying J in Beaver. I got there still wet, and now getting cold. I put gas in the tank and grabbed a bite to eat before checking the weather. The radar showed another huge line of storms to the south coming my way. It was after dark, I was cold and wet, and Beaver had a hotel. It was early for me to stop (9pm) so I decided that I would get up extra early to make up for it the next day.
So, I stayed there for the night and got creative with drying my gear out.
Day 8 totals:
658 Miles, 1 Primary cover removed, 2 pair of underwear ruined.
StrokedNBored screwed with this post 01-05-2014 at 04:52 PM
|01-05-2014, 03:38 PM||#4|
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Austin, Tejas
Day 9: Get ‘R Done
My gear was dried out, the bike was loaded and I was ready to make tracks by 5am.
I let the bike warm up while I listen for any additional noises coming from the primary, but only hear the same squeal as before.
I headed south on I-15 towards St. George and stopped at a McDonalds for breakfast at 6:45am.
I pulled back out of St. George and began riding through some of the nicest scenery of the trip. I-15 from St. George through Arizona to Nevada is epic. The rocks and hills are different than anything I have seen so far on the trip. Everybody should go ride this road.
Bad Arizona sign pic.
I hit the Nevada border and it started to rain… again…. in the desert. Take a moment to reflect on that. I know I did.
Worse Nevada Sign pic
As I rode across the desert I had my iPod on full shuffle and Guy Clark – Dublin Blues came on. It said everything that I was thinking for me while I rode across the desert in the rain.
I came into Las Vegas in fog and a drizzle on a Sunday morning. The place looked and smelled like an entire town doing the sorority girl walk-of-shame. I grabbed gas and kept going determined to get back out of this storm.
From Vegas, I headed down 95 South to Needles, CA. The rain eased up and the sun came out. There is not much out here. I missed the California sign, but snapped a quick one at the Needles/Barstow sign.
We can’t stop here, this is Bat Country!
Around this time my USB adapter that I had my phone and ipod plugged into gave out (probably due to being wet for 2 days). I stopped at Needles for gas and bought another one. Gas in California is the most expensive of the trip. Hopefully, they are using all that Tax money to save up for some new roads.
I-40 through California and into Arizona is one crappy stretch of road. Just saying. The patches are crappy and it is uneven and beaten up pretty badly. California and Arizona should go check with the boys in the Dakotas about how to pave and patch a road, because they have it down to perfection. Now that I think about it, the same goes for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well. None of them can pave a road to save their lives.
It rains on me again as I cross into Arizona and I start to think that the Big Guy upstairs must be having a blast messing with me at this point. I ride through to Ash Fork, AZ in the rain and stop for gas and a drink.
Back on the road, I ride through Flagstaff and get ahead and to the east of the storm for the first time in almost 3 full days of riding.
Rain in AZ
I make a quick stop in Winslow, AZ to take a picture at the famous “Standin’ Corner” and to use the bathroom.
“Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow Arizona, I must be quite a frightful sight to see. I’m a man, I am, on a black Twin Cam, I’m stopping here because I had to pee…. Take it eaaaasy…”
I head back onto I-40 in the sunlight and begin to dry out. I’m feeling like I might be able to finish the 48 states today. The weather is clearing up, I’m feeling good and the bike (aside from the squeal) is running great.
I run through the rest of Arizona and hit the New Mexico border.
I leave I-40 at Gallup and head north to Farmington, NM on 491. There is absolutely a whole lot of not much in this part of the world. I stop in Farmington to get gas and my receipt for New Mexico (47th state) and set out for the last 50 miles to Durango, CO.
I cross into Colorado on RT 550 and arrive at a gas station in Downtown Durango, CO at 8:30pm MTN time.
I missed this sign on the way in and took the shot the next morning
I had completed riding all 48 states in 8 days and 13 hours. I quickly started looking for people to be eyewitnesses for the end of my ride (you need at least 2) and I found 5. Everybody was shocked by my story and they all congratulated me and agreed that I must be F@#$’in nuts. (this seemed to be a recurring theme)
I spent the night in Durango and slept in late for the first time in 10 days… till 8:00am.
Day 9 totals:
NV, CA, AR, NM, CO
(7576 miles on the clock for 48 states)
48 States - Done
Day 10/11: The ride home
I left Durango and rode south through New Mexico to Albuquerque on 550. This part of New Mexico is much nicer and more scenic than my ride the previous day.
I queue up something thats fitting for the occasion, although technically i haven't been to Alaska or Hawaii.
In Albuquerque, I stop at Thunderbird Harley to see if they have parts for the compensator Sprocket (Just in case). They don’t, so I got back on the road.
There isn’t a lot to take pictures of in eastern NM and West Texas, so I just kept to riding and working on getting home.
I ride I-40 to Santa Rosa, NM and cut off on I-84 to Lubbock. I continue on I-84 watching thunderstorms build to the south of me until I get to I-20. I stopped in Abilene for the night because I was tired of being wet and didn’t want to push my luck. There were 2 other Harleys parked outside when I got a hotel and I wondered if they had the same idea that I did.
The next morning I rode 183 south back into Austin. My trip was over. I had ridden 9000+ miles in under 11 days.
I Queued up Panheads Forever and recorded this video as i rolled back into Austin. It may not be a Panhead, but the feeling was the same.
Panheads forever. the last song of a 48 state, 10 day ride. - YouTube
This used to be black...
That was too...
Day 10/11 totals:
9010 Miles (Door to Door)
7576 Miles for 48 States in 10 Days only portion
1 Oil Change
1 Compensator Sprocket going bad
1 broken exhaust bracket
10 rainstorms (2 severe)
4 Time Zones
2 times across Appalachians (TN/KY and VT/NH)
2 Times across the Rockies (ID/MT and UT/WY ?)
2 Times across the Mississippi (Vicksburg, MS and Dubuque, IA)
48 states portion:
AVG speed: (including everything:sleeping, getting gas, food etc.) = 37mph for 8 days and 13 hours.
AVG speed: (not including hotel time / sleeping): riding + gas/food stops/oil changes/Breakdown = 51mph or so.
Somewhere just south of $1000 for the whole trip (9010 miles)
(rough estimates checking a few receipts and doing some "Engineer Math" which translates to "ball-park it and throw in a bit of a safety factor")
High: VT, NH on route 9 cruising 45~55 mph was around 48mpg
Low: 80mph+ SD/ND into a rough headwind was around 34mpg
(the batwing has the aerodynamics of a barn door at this speed)
I spent a lot more time in the 2nd speed range.
During the trip i noted that Ethanol vs. non-Ethanol gas made quite a difference as well. Some gas stations had signs in bold letters "No Ethanol in our gas" These gas stations only exist where corn isn't farmed.
I did some research on the Iron Butt and MCTourer websites for suggested routes to take.
I didn’t have much work to do to the bike before I left. I changed all the fluids, checked all the fasteners and went over the mechanicals.
I wired in an additional Cigarette outlet off of the headlight (Truck-lite LED) that I ran behind my windshield and located it in the center pouch of my 3-pouch bag. This would allow me to charge the GPS and Phone/iPod all at the same time.
I made a gear checklist and figured out how to make everything fit on the bike.
I set mileage/location goals for each day during my trip. This would help to keep me on track and to know if I had to make adjustments based on my progress.
Bike Gear –
My normal tool kit with pliers, wrenches, sockets, Alan/Hex keys, etc.
Zip Ties, Duct Tape, Electrical Tape
Spare light bulbs
Tire plug kit
12V pair pump
Chain and Lock, Disc Lock
Travel Bike cover
1 Gallon spare gas can
Extra bungee chords
Airhawk seat cushion – Worth its weight in gold
Personal Gear –
6 Days worth of Street clothes (socks, underwear, shirts)
3 pair of Jeans
Rain Gear – Jacket and Pants (I left my over boots at home and kicked myself pretty hard for it in Utah)
Chaps – really good for the cold mornings up north
Modular Helmet – Better for rain and cold than a ½ helmet
North Face shell jacket
Wool long underwear tops/bottoms
Gloves: 3 pairs – light, winter, waterproof
Flip-flops for hotel
Clipboard for travel log/receipts/ Ride notes
Toiletry stuff – the usual
Sunscreen, Chaps stick – possibly two of the most important items I had with me.
Builder Bars (cliff bars) to eat while on the road
Camelback 100 oz water bladder (carried in my tour bag to drink while riding)
Cell phone charger / GPS Charger / Ipod charger cables
Emergency Gear – In case I didn’t get to where I was heading or worse
Tent (in case I didn’t make it to a town and got tired)
Large First Aid Kit
Things I will change for the next time:
Lights – The Truck-Lite performs far better than the stocker, but riding from before dawn to past dark every day is stressful. I would add a set of fogs/spots for sure. This is top of the list. Item #1.
Rain Gear – I will never leave home without my over boots in a saddlebag again. I took them out during my last gear check and they were waiting for me in my garage when I got back... nobody but myself to blame for this one.
This trip was part reason to go for a motorcycle ride, part excuse to see the country and part personal challenge.
I truly believe that everybody should do something like this in his or her lifetime. I don’t mean they should have to take a motorcycle through all 48 states, but just get away from their normal life, unplug for a while, and go see something in this world that they haven’t yet. It is eye opening and inspiring.
It’s amazing how a small change in scenery can lead to such a large change in perception about life.
StrokedNBored screwed with this post 01-06-2014 at 05:46 PM
|01-05-2014, 03:40 PM||#5|
Joined: Jan 2014
Location: Columbus, Ohio
I ride a Harley too so no flaming from me. Looks like an epic trip!
Sent from my GS3
tlempke screwed with this post 01-05-2014 at 04:17 PM
|01-05-2014, 04:14 PM||#6|
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Northwest Ozarkistan
Great report, and glad you accomplished your goals. I've looked at this 48 in 10 before, but seemed like way too much interstate to make it happen, and that's about the only way I think it can be accomplished. I do like to ride the back roads too much.
But congrats on your accomplishment! Great Job on a tough ride!
|01-05-2014, 04:28 PM||#8|
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Central fly-over land.
Oh, two more things:
1. What brand is your helmet?
2. What brand are the stackable bags on your passenger seat? They look like they lock together. Waterproof?
|01-05-2014, 05:00 PM||#10|
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Austin, Tejas
It was pretty light and then chin bar detaches if your into that sort of thing.
I wouldn't rate if very high on the comfort or wind noise scale, but it worked fine.
2. The bags are Kuryakyn. The bottom one has a big velcro strap on the back that lets you put it over a passenger backrest. They have D-rings that let you strap them together. They come with waterproof covers, but are 90% or so by themselves. I keep all my stuff in plastic bags on the inside anyways for ease of organization and "smell segregation"
|01-05-2014, 05:58 PM||#11|
52 Weeks of warm
Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Miami, FL.
Hey, I was gonna send somebody in Boise a FEdex envelope tomorrow, could you swing by and get it and take it up there? 10 bucks?
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
|01-05-2014, 06:49 PM||#13|
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Cullman AL
2012 Road King Classic (my touring Bike)
2013 Yamaha XT250
1974 Yamaha. MX 125 my race bike
|01-05-2014, 07:27 PM||#14|
Joined: May 2012
Don't care what people ride that's One hell of a road trip.
Congrats on the achievement
BTW....I read the entire post....well written
“Always drink upstream from the herd”
2007 Yamaha TW 200 / 2008 Buell Ulysses
2013 Triumph Tiger 800r / 2014 KTM 1190 EDS
|01-05-2014, 07:46 PM||#15|
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Los Angeles
congratulations on your trip? What was your average speed? How much $ on gas?...don't know if you can answer this, but it would be great for those of us that may want to do this....Again, congratulations on a great adventure!
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