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Old 08-20-2011, 06:48 AM   #1
Shoganai OP
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So Duck Threw the Gauntlet Down and Re-attempting the Iron Butt 50cc

It all started here August 15th, 2010 >>> http://k11og.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9187


July 15th, 2011 - I posted "I'll see your gauntlet and raise you one
Iron Butt 50CC and one or two Bun Burner Golds!

Take that my feathered friend :razz"


The 50CC is the same ride I almost died on in 2007. I wanted to re-attempt it and this is the first year I'm physically and mentally ready to try again.


In 2007 while attempting an Iron Butt 50CC to raise money for A Special Wish Foundation I crashed at over 70 mph that resulted a severe concussion, burst fracture T6 and T7, and fractures of T5 through T10 left lateral spinus processes and a left clavicle fracture. I got a chopper ride I don't remember. I lost 9 days time and still suffer from memory issues and the damage to my spine causes me chronic pain, esp. with riding. It's still a small price to pay to give a little something to dying children and I raised $12,900 none the less.


The only explanation for the crash that was witnessed was that I had fallen asleep. In 2007 I had over 300,000 miles of riding experience and still I missed the clues that I needed to get off the bike and stay off.


The witness was Angie Bowen and I owe her my life and eternal gratitude. A year after the crash I contacted her to tell me what happened because I still couldn't remember.

This is what she sent me.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It took me a couple of days to find it, but this is what I wrote in my diary the night after it happened.


This morning on the way to the dairy we witnessed motorcycle / semi accident. I guess that isn't a fair evaluation, the semi didn't have anything to do with the motorcycle going down, and it didn’t hit the biker, nor she it. I was driving immediately behind the semi and it swerved, overcompensated and rolled one of the two trailers he was pulling. Then the bike was in front of us, half in the lane and I had to swerve to miss it. We stopped immediately to help (well, I did, I guess my poor students were just along for the ride by virtue of having no choice). One of the undergrads in my van managed to flag someone down to get a flare and cross the road while I called 911 and Kelly looked for a flashlight in the van.


Carrie and Camry found the biker but didn't touch her and were afraid of getting close. Being the “do now, evaluate later” creature that I am, I tore across the highway (probably not a great idea in the daylight, let alone when it is pitch black) with my emergency blanket and immediately started to try to evaluate her. There was no bleeding and nothing terribly crooked, which is always a good sign. She was not in good shape but had all her gear and a helmet on. She couldn’t say anything intelligible at first, just shrieking and moaning and trying to thrash. I pinned her head to the floor with one hand via her helmet and held her hand with the other and kept her talking as best I could when she was responsive and from thrashing. I got her name, birth date that she was on a cross country charity ride, her fiancé's name and where she was going.


She gave me her name after asking a couple of times. At first she couldn't remember and it was hard to restrain her without hurting her. She asked me over and over to make it stop hurting when she wasn’t able to answer any questions. She was so scared and confused. No one else really wanted to come near, but maybe it was better for her to not come to and have a bunch of people standing around her. I can't even describe the horror at knowing there was nothing more I could do for this woman in pain and confused and terrified than to hold her hand and tell her help was coming and keep her from moving. It felt so completely inadequate. The look in her eyes when she was pleading with me to let her up and make it stop hurting will never stop haunting me.


Help got there and everyone assumed I was a nurse or an EMT from the way I handled it and since I "did everything right". I did what any other human being should do, but there must have been 20 cars that drove by before the highway patrol got there and ONLY ONE of them stopped or asked out the window if there was anything they could do. I hate people.


It was a while before the highway patrol got there and I was so relieved that someone was there to take over I almost laughed. Highway patrol decided I had everything under control when I gave the woman's name and so forth and updated her on pain and such as the woman described it to me and went and started directing traffic and confirmed for air evac. I instantly felt nauseous from feeling like someone who could help she be sitting there with her. Part of me had expected the woman to be dead when we found her or that she would die with me holding her hand on the highway.


I felt horrible that no one had gone to check on the semi when it was all said and done, but apparently I sent someone to look for him before I ran across the highway. I can't remember doing it but they said I was directing people the whole time from the time we stopped until the paramedics got there, and didn’t have any qualms telling the police and highway patrol and paramedics and emergency operator where to go and what to do when they got there either. Turns out the first aid and leadership training pay off in a crunch I guess. It is also probably a good thing that none of them took offense to some critter they didn’t even know who had no obvious authority bossing them. I am still nauseous from coming down off the adrenaline.


I called Dr. Ax as soon as we were done filling out incident reports, of course being an avid rider himself he was horrified to hear someone going down on the 10. He was great about not getting any data that day and took care of everything with Frank and what not. By the time I got to my classes, the whole department knew and kept wanting all the details. Thanks to Michelle, who was there this morning, they decided to leave it after she said she wasn’t sure we were allowed to talk about it.


The skid marks on the highway and median and damage to her helmet were unreal. I can't imagine ever going down like that and sincerely hope she doesn't remember any of it. It is haunting me, but to live through that? No thanks.


I just hope everything is ok. Kelly sent some flowers from the group of us, but the hospital won’t tell us anything or let us talk to her. She has the right to her privacy, I just hope she is ok.


Time to find something to calm myself. Like a drink perhaps. Or a bucket of them."


I hope this helps. It was hard to read again but great to know it all ended as well as can be expected!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I didn't know it in 2007 but I had sleep apnea. I most likely had it for the prior 10 years but wrote off the chronic fatigue, the need for long naps, the falling asleep if I was still for shortest periods, and the need to pull over when driving or riding to nap as being a old, fat nightshift worker.


I've been using a CPAP for the last year and I can't tell you what a positive change it's made in my life.


There was something that worried me though; I wasn't sure Steve would approve of the 50CC re-attempt. I had failed in the past and he had to live through the following year. I was in a lot of pain for most of that year and it was hard on him.


I would not attempt it if he said 'no' in any way, so I was prepared to get to the west coast slower if need be.


One of the founding principles of our relationship is "I'm not the boss of you". We're both adults and love and respect each other, but we strive to not tell the other what to do or not. This is hard sometime, especially with the stakes are so high. Steve agreed to not stand in my way about the 50cc. I would be traveling with a Spot Tracker so he could keep close tabs on where I was.


I also wanted to pre-riding the DustyButt 1000 route which is a 1000 miles on dirt in less than 24 hour ride, weather permitting. Since I'll be on my 1996 K1100RS for this ride, 1000 miles solo on dirt in both day and night will be entertaining. I set aside 48 hours for this and had made contact with Rod aka old2wheeler to be my backup should I have any problems.


As for pre-trip prep, there wasn't much. It's covered in the last pages in this thread http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...=408937&page=6
Basically basic maintenance and a way to charge a special battery that would power my CPAP if I couldn't find AC power, no fuel cell and just an extra watch to keep Eastern Time. My plan was to change the bike clock to local time. That didn't work out.


I also made an evap. cooling shirt 'cause Texas in August was going to be hot. http://k11og.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10602


What's that stupid little saying...'if you love something set it
free...' I've always said Steve is the wind beneath my wings.


Day 1 July 29 Fri Culpeper to Jacksonville Beach
I packed the bike the night before of all but a few things and Steve saw me off in the morning. I got to the second stop light and I notice a LOT of smoke coming off the bike. I was thinking, “I don’t think I wasted THAT much oil or transmission lube, WTH”. I rode to the first gas station, about 7 blocks up, pulled in and got off.

Let me tell you something; there is nothing to prepare you for seeing your bike on fire AT THE GAS PUMP!! I start stripping off my helmet and jacket. (I don’t have a clue why) And as God as my witness I can’t believe what I did next.

Yes, I tried to blow it out.

Holy shit Gwen!
What the hell were you thinking!!!
Well, obviously you weren’t thinking.

Idiot!

I grab the windshield cleaner thingy and start soaking the exhaust header hoping to cool it down enough that whatever was dripping on it wouldn’t catch fire.

It worked.




Ok…calm down and think Gwen…what is that dripping on the exhaust?
What did you do or NOT do to cause this?

I assessed the bike and watched to make sure it doesn’t light up again.
All I could conclude was that I had over filled the transmission.


Right next door was a tire shop so I push the bike over there, put it on the center stand and went inside. I explained my situation and asked to borrow an oil pan and a plastic bag. They provided those and I went about draining the tranny oil. My plan was to keep the oil clean, find out exactly how much SHOULD be in there and then refill it reusing that oil.





I called Steve to let him know where I was and what was going on and he insisted that he would bring the trailer, load the bike and take it back home to sort things out there. So that’s what we did.


Basically I “thought” I knew how much to put in and was wrong. Does RTFM ring a bell? After putting the right amount in and cleaning all the oil off the bike, I once again gear up to leave.





Steve said, “It’s all part of the adventure” as he could tell I was a bit flustered by the whole affair.





The ride from Culpeper, VA to Jacksonville Beach, FL went smoothly. Along the way I sorted out some things and tried out the cooling shirt which worked well. I found a hotel and ate my left over chicken nuggets I bought hours prior, a mushed banana and a yogurt bar.




Day 2 July 30 Sat Depart Jacksonville Beach at 1800 for 50CC

The next day I slept in late on purpose because I was planning to start my 50CC at 1800. I showered and then did the difficult and uncomfortable business of inserting an 8F Foley catheter, securing the connection to some small tubing down my left leg and then securing that tubing to my leg in a manner that would allow for good range of motion but keep it from pulling on the inside. I then cut a hole in the left pocket of my jeans so that I could discretely release the clamp when I needed to void.






I contacted Larry Meeker who had agreed to be my IBA witness to confirm the starting time and location, then found a Panara Bread for my last sitting still meal for 24 hours.


It was over the next couple of hours as I sipped my coffee that the weight of what I was about to do settled heavily on my mind.




I worried I would let Steve down or worse, crash again.
Was I up to this mentally?
Would I be able to deal with the pain?
Is the bike sound?
Did I forget anything?
Why was I really doing this?


The last stuck with me awhile. I guess it was that I didn’t want to be laying on my death bed regretting I had not at least tried to accomplish what I started.


A great ER Doctor once asked me, “What’s the first rule of medicine?”
I said, “First do no harm”. He replied, “No, first don’t fear it”.


To quote Rafiki, “It is time”.


And with that I ride to the starting point. Shortly after I get there, Larry rolls up and asks, “Are you going somewhere?” We chat a bit, do the paperwork and takes some pics. I get my fuel receipt and write in my log book. And then Larry kindly escorted me out of town and as he waved off I realize I’m on my own.











I start singing in my helmet… http://youtu.be/IAfI1YFA1w0

It's my time to fly
Proving ground tonight
Try to be the best that I can
I've grown to be a man
Only human can understand
I fill my lungs with fear and I exhale

It's my time to fly
Father, be with me tonight
I'm right on target
Keep the dream alive
It's my turn to fly
Gotta prove this tonight – Urge from TitanAE


Now it’s confession time.

I really enjoy riding without music because it allows my mind to sift through all the things I see and trigger snippets of songs. I would sing 3 or 4 different songs an hour on average. So I’ll share a few with you in this report but just be thankful you can't hear me sing, just sayin'. (They’ll be blue if you want to skip them)


http://youtu.be/6QP8UfCxMJI

The sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind
Just another mad mad day on the road
I am just living to be lying by your side
But I'm just about a moonlight mile on down the road

Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
Gonna warm my bones
Gonna warm my bones
I got silence on my radio
Let the air waves flow
Let the air waves flow

Oh I'm sleeping under strange skies
Just another mad mad day on the road
My dreams is fading down the railway line
I'm just about a moonlight mile down the road - Moonlight Mile Rolling Stones



And the night start slipping behind me as I pointed her nose to the west and with a flick of the throttle we were off.
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Shoganai screwed with this post 08-21-2011 at 03:37 PM
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:30 AM   #2
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My hat's off to you, Young Lady.



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Old 08-20-2011, 04:55 PM   #3
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Way to go Gwen!



Pass the salt please.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:08 PM   #4
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I'm gonna spoil it for y'all.

She made it home intact.











Can't wait to hear about how it all went down, and the answers to your questions, if you got them.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geode View Post
better make more popcorn.

I'm hungry.


Me too, can I join ya?



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Old 08-20-2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:51 PM   #7
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I'm damn proud of you Gwen, your bike is beautiful, your clean packjob is beautiful and so are you.



Looking forward to the rest of your tale, you rock.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:56 PM   #8
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Me too please.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:23 PM   #9
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Its hard to imagine this was actually happening as I sat at work. I am looking forward to the rest of the story as this is a ride that intimidates me, even though I have compelted shorter Iron Butts.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:39 PM   #10
Shoganai OP
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For me, numbers have no meaning. I could tell you I rode x-number of miles per day, and used x-number gallons of fuel and so on, but that will not express the meaning of the ride. As I rode, I recalled memories and stories of places and things I’ve seen and done.


So I’ll share some of those with you.


As I rode through Lake City, FL I recalled swimming in Ichetucknee Springs and being amazed at the free divers, looking fish in the eye and the feel of water grasses on my legs as I swam in the shallows looking for critters I might catch.


The first time I ever swam there I jumped right straight in the deep part. It was a 90+ hot summer day and the moment I surfaced I was so shocked by the 72 degree water I couldn’t breathe. I mean bronchospasms so hard I couldn’t exhale or inhale at will for what felt like a minute. But once I ‘numbed’ out I had a wonderful time. However, from then on, I waded into the springs.


Years ago, somewhere outside, of Tallahassee I tried to catch an armadillo. They’re faster than they look and darn near blind so it was like chasing a near sighted, hard-shell piglet. I finally laid both hands on it’s back and then it jumped so hard it dislodged my grip and startled me something bad. I had no idea they could jump and by the time I regained my composure it had made it under the fence. I never tried to catch another one.


As I rolled past New Orleans, Don’t Mess with my Toot Toot by Buckwheat Zydeco came on in my head. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBm3aTW9ek4


Don't mess with my toot toot
Don't mess with my toot toot
Now you can have the other woman
But don't mess with my toot toot

When she was born in her birth suit
The doctor slap 'er behind
He said you're gonna be special
You sweet little toot toot

So you can look as much
But if you as much as touch
You're gonna have yourself a case
I'm gonna break your face

So don't mess with my toot toot
Don't mess with my toot toot
Now You can have the other woman
So don't mess with my toot toot


Damn! I love me some Buckwheat! If that don’t make some part of you start tappin’, youz deiad.


I remember eating at Ralph & Kacoo's and having my first crawfish étouffée and it was delish. I then went to the Cafe Du Monde and drank my first cup of chicory coffee. I still order it today mail order. I’ll never forget the gold statue of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans and watching with delight as a second line band went dancing and parading by.

Day 3 July 31 Sun 50CC continues

As dawn is softly breaking, I approached the Texas border. Christopher Cross steps in…

It is the night. My body's weak.
I'm on the run. No time to sleep.
I've got to ride.
Ride like the wind to be free again.

And I got such a long way to go.
To make it to the border of Mexico.
So I'll ride like the wind.
Ride like the wind.



Texas holds a lot of memories for me. I remember traveling with my parents when I was 12. See, my Mother had/has an aggressive form of Retinitis Pigmatosa and was going blind quickly. So when I was 12, my Dad built a little wooden trailer and I helped paint it orange to match our Datsun 510. He loaded it with two kids (me and my Sister, age 9), and medium sized black, curly haired dog, and near blind woman and with nothing more that a Rand McNally, went off to see America before she lost all her sight.


"Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together"
"I've got some real estate here in my bag"
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America.



We camped and ate our fill of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for 2-1/2 months.

An especially poignant memory was standing knee deep in the Rio Grand in Big Bend National Park and watching a herd of wild horses running on the other side in and out of the river’s edge. I picked up a rock to remember that moment.


Mike Berlien aka Mike Butt was my friend though we never met on this side of the River. He was going to be my IBA Witness in San Diego in 2007 but I didn’t make it. So I wanted to honor him on this ride. I chose the rock I picked up as a child to carry with me to Gerlach, NV.


It felt right, this rock, on many levels. It was round like a motorcycle wheel, a rolling stone, with gray and white lines that looked like they were painted on it. It made me think of Mikes tattoos.


By the time I slipped smoothly through the still sleepy Houston the sun was starting to rub my back.


(There will be pictures later, I promise)
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:15 PM   #11
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Gwen,

Nice to see you riding and posting here again. Your early reports were my introduction to this site, and I thank you for that gift. Looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. Enjoy the ride...be safe.

Best......John
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:41 AM   #12
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Hiya Gwen-- glad to see this happening!!
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:34 PM   #13
Shoganai OP
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Being in Texas reminds me of sitting on my Mother’s lap watching
Westerns Saturday night before bedtime on a small black and white TV.




From this valley they say you are goin'
I will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are takin' the sunshine
That has brightened our pathway a while

Come and sit by my side if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the old boy that loved you so true



I thought Bonanza was the best show ever!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfP0Uf1n88o




People weren’t complicated and the clarity between good and bad was a
seductive lie that I wanted to believe. To this day I believe that people are basically good, but I also feel that belief crumbling around the edges.


In my best Fox Moulder…”I want to believe.”


By the time I tucked San Antonio in my back pocket the Sun was trying to talk me out of my riding jacket. The evap system has doing it’s job and I had worked out a process where by at each fuel stop I’d toss out any hot drink left on the ground where I was fueling up, this would hide the urine. All I did was slip my hand in my pocket where I had cut a hole in the bottom, released the clamp and …*sigh*


The only issue was this caused bladder spasms and I was a little worried I might have caused myself to get a urinary tract infection. That would SUCK on a long distance ride.


I seemed to be drinking enough so all I could do was push hard for the coast so I could get rid of it as soon as possible.


I bought two orders of chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger before making the stretch to Van Horn. If I could make it there in 24 hours I could grab another Bun Burner Gold. (1500 miles in 24 hours). FWIW, chicken nuggets make pretty good tank bag food.


As I leave Fort Stockton I’m surprised I don’t feel the least be sleepy. And when I reach Van Horn, the suns still shining and I don’t feel like stopping so I don’t. I know as I pass the 1500 mile mark Steve would start really worrying about me. He knows that anything beyond that will be more mileage than I’ve ever done in a day. I was now in uncharted territory but instead of intimidating me, I was excited.




I asked Steve one day ‘what makes a good rider’ because I know I’ll never be as good as he is.


I don’t remember the whole answer, but I remember ‘someone who pushes the limits a little and strives to learn’. I want to make Steve proud of me and I want to be a better rider in whatever capacity I can. So now I can push those limits and see just how far I can go in 24 hours.




As I’m riding through Las Cruces I started seeing a huge, dark bank of clouds occupying nearly the entire northern horizon. It looked like a super cell and it promised to give my bike and me a bath. By the time I was approaching Deming, NM it was within striking distance and my mind was weighing the growing desire to sleep against what was sure to be one hell of a wet, cold ride that may have had the added joy of hail to keep things interesting.


One last glance at the storm and said, “Done, I’m done for today” and exited into Deming. The very first thing I did was look for a steakhouse. I was starving for protein because after a while granola bars just don’t satisfy. I found Rancher’s Grill and went it and ordered. While waiting for food I called Steve to let him know I was safe and would be sleeping in Deming that night.


The steak meal included a trip to the salad bar where they had a food I’d never seen before. It was longing, white sticks with a dusting of some red powder. I had no idea what it was but I put some on my plate, and then bit off a chunk. It was crunchy, light and slightly sweet with a mild potato flavor. I liked it, and put four more on my plate.




When the steak was brought to the table I asked what it was. She called it Jicama. That was cool…something new.



I was so hungry I ate the steak as well as the fat, grizzle and all in real short order. It was an effort not to pick it up with my hands. I’ve had better steaks but I as I look back, that was the most satisfying steak I ever ate.





I found a Motel 6, and from the time I parked the bike and unloaded it to the time my head hit the pillow was less then 20 minutes.


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Old 08-21-2011, 03:52 PM   #14
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I am really enjoying your writing and amazed you had time to take pix and eat steak. Great time management on your part!

Steve in So Cal
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:17 PM   #15
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Yeah, what an amazing ride and rider.....
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