Sunday, July 22, 2012

Riding home from the Rally

Since my room at the Econolodge was over $100 a night and Sunday’s temperature was supposed to climb up to 105 I opted to leave after the closing ceremonies of the Rally on Saturday afternoon.

By 7:15pm I was on the bike and headed south out of Sedalia on Hwy 65. I hadn’t really planned a route, I just pressed the “Home” button on the GPSes. They showed 2 different routes estimated to take between 12.5 and 13 hours. I wasn’t sure if I would ride straight through the night or stop along the way and grab a nap.

Around 8:20pm I was cruising down Hwy 65 which had become a 2 lane country road at this point. All of a sudden a doe (female deer) pops up out of the right hand ditch running across the road. I say “pops up” because the roadway was at least 10 feet higher than the surrounding fields. I knew I was too close to the deer and didn’t think it would turn out well. I instinctively applied maximum braking from a speed of around 70mph. Just before I was going to make impact I released the brakes and then felt the front wheel hit the rear legs of the deer. There was a slight twitch of the handlebars but the bike stayed up right. I looked back in my mirror to see the deer tumbling on the side of the road. I couldn’t believe what had just happened, it was still very light outside as I had my sun glasses on and I had just escaped a collision with a deer. Oddly enough, my heart wasn’t racing and I wasn’t really scared. It felt more like disbelief of what had just happened. Reading this paragraph probably takes longer than the time it took for the whole event to unfold.

As I continued down Hwy 65 I reflected on what had just transpired, reduced my speed and hugged the center line as much as I could. I was grateful when Hwy 65 finally opened up to a wide 4 lane road with a wide median and wide clearings on the side to make spotting deer easier. As the sun set I reach I-44 in Joplin and headed toward Tulsa. 

In Big Cabin, OK. I opted to follow the Zumo 550’s route which showed the shorter time. It wanted me to take Hwy 69 south. As I headed south I briefly questioned my decision as the road was more of a secondary road compared to I-44. Thankfully it was 2 lanes in each direction with a very wide median so I flipped on the high beam and secondary auxiliary lights and made a little day light of my own.

As the evening went on the toll of being out in the sun all day along with the heat was starting to wear on me. I knew there was a Motel 6 in  Muskogee and another one 50 miles further in McAlester. As I neared Muskogee I realized I was done for the evening. So I called Reagan to let her know I was stopping and then checked into the Motel 6.

Since the Butt Lite is less than 3 weeks away, all of my stops are in Rally mode and this was no exception. I was going to allow myself 5 hours for rest. Optimizing that time was critical. From the time I pulled off the road, I checked in, showered, washed my clothes and got in bed in less than 30 minutes. When I woke up everything was ready to go and I was on the bike leaving the parking lot at 4:53. Total stop time, 5 hours12 minutes.

As I rolled out of Muskogee, it was dark and not much was open. I knew I still had at least  50 miles before I would need fuel. The GPS showed I’d be home just before noon. I decided I’d stop at the first McDonalds I came to after 6:30.

I stopped for gas at 6:18 at the Choctaw Travel Plaza, then continued south. I had gone 389 miles on that tank of gas with 392 miles to go. I wasn’t sure if I could make it home without another fuel stop.

It was 7am before I finally got to a McDonalds. While I was making the stop I decided to adjust my air pressure because it was a little low in both tires and figured this would be a great time to see how efficient I could be. Well things conspired against me inside when I tried to order as I had to wait in line for 2 old guys to finish flirting with the young girl behind the register. I ate the sandwich on my way out the door and got on the bike as quickly as I could. The stop took 18 minutes for tire pressure adjustment, bathroom break and food. Hmmm, I’ll have to work on that.

After I got back on Hwy 69 I was greeted by more deer along the side of the road. Fortunately I saw them in plenty of time and they weren’t interested in trying to cross the road. I guess they had seen the game, “Frogger”.

Crossing the Red River meant crossing back into Texas. And soon I was in Dallas where I picked up I-45 toward Houston. Somewhere around mile marker 136 I reached a milestone in my motorcycling career. I had successfully ridden 100,000 miles on the BMW brand. I actually missed seeing my odometer read 111,744 because I was paying attention to traffic and road conditions. But when I looked down and saw 111,746 I smiled and called Reagan to let her know when I’d be home.

I stopped in Willis to add a few gallons of fuel and then rode on home. I pulled into my driveway just after 12pm. The ride home was 789 miles and I completed it in just under 17 hours including my rest stop in Muskogee.

The weather was dry for the ride home and a little warm as well. Most things on the bike worked well except my Zumo 665. I had to call SiriusXM 3 times on this trip to get them to send a new activation signal so I could pick up traffic and weather updates. I’ll call Garmin support this week to determine if I have a bad receiver. I was happy to see my new McCruise Electronic Cruise system from Australia had arrived.

Now begins my final 2 week prep to get the bike ready for the Butt Lite. I need to fix a small leak in my aux fuel tank, install the cruise control, change tires, put my Valentine 1 in it’s new weather resistant case, chase down a couple of lose electrical connections, change the oil and inspect the bike top to bottom.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

40th Annual BMW MOA Rally

I arrived last Saturday and spent the week either as a student or a RiderCoach every day on the range. The first 3 days I was in an MSF Bike Bonding RiderCoach Certification Class and the rest of the week was spent teaching that class as well as the experienced rider course, now known as the basic rider course 2.

If you get a chance to take the Basic Bike Bonding or the Ultimate Bike Bonding course I highly recommend it. Both courses really help riders to improve their overall abilities to control their bikes.

Besides the RiderCoach work I enjoyed lots of great food. We had Geuber Burgers (hamburger with peanut butter, yum!!!), Bar-B-Q and Mexican food. I really didn’t have a bad meal the whole time.

The folks in Sedalia, Mo. were friendly and happy to have us there. I believe attendance was down this year due to the heat. That worked to my favor as I was able to extend my stay at the Econolodge which was cheaper than the Hotel Bothwell where we had originally made reservations last year.

I didn’t win anything this year. There were 13 bikes up for grabs which I a ticket for. I came very close on the BMW R1200R.  The winning number was 2567, I had 2570. Oh well maybe next year.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heading to the BMW MOA Rally

The annual BMW Rally is next weekend but I went to Missouri a little early so I could take a RiderCoach training class on MSF’s new Bike Bonding series. The training course will be 3 days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). On Wednesday and Thursday I’ll get to teach the new class to rally attendees assuming I pass my training.

When planning this ride it looked like is was a little less than 800 miles from my house to Sedalia so I decided to just do it in a day as I was traveling alone this year. I also learned that the training began on Sunday instead of Monday as I had originally thought so that sealed the deal on me riding it in one day as I had a crazy 4 day work week this past week.

I left the house at 5:30am with a full tank of gas. I planned on stopping somewhere in Oklahoma for my first stop and thought my second stop would be in Missouri. The route was simple, at least until I got into Missouri. Take Hwy 59 north to Nacogdoches, pick up 259 up into Oklahoma until it runs out. Then get back on 59 through Arkansas and into Missouri.

The ride up 59 was nice. The weather was cool but I had concerns for the rain. Yes, another riding day in July this year and rain is a factor. So far it’s been everyday this month. I wonder if mother nature is trying to tell me something about the upcoming Butt Lite rally next month?

When I got north of Houston I called the folks at Sirius XM to resend an activation signal to my Zumo 665 and then I started receiving my NavWeather data. I must say, it’s radar imagery is greatly improved over what the Zumo 550 had. This time I actually have radar to tell me where the storms are in relationship to my route.

As I pulled into Nacogdoches, the traffic light turned red and I came to a stop. I realized that was the first time I had put my foot down since pulling out of the driveway 2 hours earlier. Taking the loop around town and picking up 259 went as planned. In fact the whole ride was going well until I got to Longview. There both GPSes tricked me. Instead of grabbing I-20 east for a couple of miles and then picking up 259N again they decided to take 31 through town. That was at least a 10 minute time waster, thankfully I wasn’t on the clock.

I stopped south of Idabel, OK for fuel as my gauge had said I was out. It turned out that it was wrong and I still had an extra 2 gallons left. That’s OK, the stop was pleasant and gave me a chance to visit with a few locals.

I continued north through Idabel and Broken Bow. Finally when I got to Smithville I knew I was almost there. To the bet little stretch of twisties there is in the area. Todd and I found these curves several years back when coming home from a Harley Davidson training conference. Back then we were pretty worried about running out fuel so part of the fun of the curves were overshadowed but this time I had plenty of fuel.


Once the twisties were done then it was back to regular riding but now I had a little bigger smile on my face. The weather seemed to be getting warmer as the day progressed. And the storms seemed to be staying at bay to my east. That was until I got to Ft. Smith, AR. As I was about to head north out of town I saw the unmistakable look of rain in the air in front of me. So I pulled into a bank parking lot and donned the rain gear. By the time I got everything on I felt like I was soaked just from my own sweat as the temperature was warm.

I was glad I had the rain gear on because it really started to come down heavy as I headed north. And to top things off, AR-59 gets pretty twisty so I was really having to watch the road as well as the other drivers. That went on until I got up near Evansville where I pulled over to remove the rain gear.

Riding through Arkansas on AR-59 seemed to take forever, but then again I was going the entire length of the state. The speed limit drops to 35 quite a bit as you go through little towns and much of the route is 2 lanes. Since the locals never seem to want to go the speed limit there was a little bit of passing when conditions permitted. For this reason, I’m glad I was alone on the ride as a group could have certainly made it more challenging with the limited passing opportunities.

Finally I made it into Missouri and picked up Hwy 71 until I got to Nevada, Mo. Then it was east on 54. I started looking for gas and finally stopped in Weaubleau. The bike didn’t need much gas as it turned out that it got 40mpg on that leg. The slower pace definitely had something to do with that.

With less than 100 miles to my destination I was ready to get there. My wrist was bothering me as was my UnderArmor underwear. I pressed on to Hwy 83N which took me to Hwy 65N and into Sedalia. I stopped by the high school to scope out the training range and then headed to the hotel. Total distance for the day was 790 miles and I finished it in 13 hours.

About my wrist, last weekend I realized that I REALLY needed cruise control. In fact it’s the number one reason I want that new K1600GT. Finally this week I broke down and ordered the electronic cruise control kit for my GS. Yes, it’s a little pricy but I think it’s going to make next month’s rally much more enjoyable. It should arrive at my house before I get back from this trip. Just knowing that seemed to make my wrist more sore as I road today.

About the UnderArmour underwear, well they may be great for sporting activities but they don’t do so well for long hours in the saddle. I’ve previously worn LD Comfort but thanks to some border expansion issues my LD Comforts are no longer so comfortable. I’ll resolve that issue at the rally this week when I visit their booth to get some new pairs in the right size.

I’m not yet certain on my route home, next weekend. I might run over to Kansas City and “slab it” the whole way home or I might just press the “Go Home” button on my GPS and see what I get. Whatever I do, I want to make sure I get at least 800 miles on the odometer before I get home so I can reach my 100,000 miles on BMWs goal. It’s always something :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

4,835 miles in 4 days, a coast to coast ride

OK so this ride was completed in 4 days time as in 96 continuous hours. A travel agent might call it a 5 day 4 night trip. But for me, it was all about the time on the clock from when I left the gas station near my house until I returned to that same station.

The plan was simple, get over to San Diego at a slightly relaxed pace, stopping in Van Horn, TX along the way, get a little rest and then knock out a Coast to Coast ride in 50 hours per the Iron Butt guidelines. As I was riding out there however I started to rethink my schedule as I wanted this ride to help me work out some issues for the upcoming Butt Lite rally in August. So I decided I wanted to finish the entire trip in 96 hours or less and I wanted to finish the actual riding of the 50CC in under 40 hours. That meant that I would have to keep my rest/sleep breaks short and I’d have to keep the wheels moving when I was awake.

Here’s a break down of the time I was moving and stopped/resting by the calendar day

Day Moving Resting / Stopped
Thursday 8:26 1:34
Friday 13:05 10:55
Saturday 20:08 3:52
Sunday 18:12 5:48
Monday 8:33 5:27
TOTAL 68:24 27:36

So that was an average 6 hours 54 minutes of being stopped or resting per day, not including gas stops. With the exception of 2 difficult stops on Sunday morning my gas stops ran between 5 and 10 minutes as I refined my routine of refueling both the main tank and the aux tank. Bathroom stops were done separately at rest stops because they could be completed in 3 minutes.

In California I opted to get my start witness form signed by an IBA member listed on the  IBA Approved Witness list. Leslie was great and I had a nice visit with her in the parking lot of the Motel 6 where I was staying for my short time in the area. Note to self, if you don’t see somewhere to get a bite to eat, find you something before you get off the bike for the rest stop. One can only eat so many Cliff Bars and Beef Jerky. While hanging out in the room trying to get some rest (it was 2pm local time when I got there, 10pm when I left for the start) I discovered there was a fire station just down the street which also would have made it easy to get a witness form signed. That’s what I’ll do next time if Leslie isn’t available.

Around 10pm local time I’d had enough tossing and turning so I donned my gear and headed back over to the Shell station near the beach to “get on the clock”. When I finished pumping my gas a blank receipt was printed. Oooops! I walked inside and told the attendant what had happened. He apologized and quickly printed my receipt. Then he asked me if I was starting or ending my ride. I told him starting, he wanted to make sure I had my witness form signed and then wished me a good ride. As I pulled out of the station my bike’s clock showed 12:53 AM CDT.

The ride out of town on I-8 was relaxed with little traffic and cool temperatures. I really enjoyed the twisties once I got outside of town, even in the dark they were fun. Temperatures seemed to swing quite a bit from the low 70s to low 80s as I went along.

Once past the twisties I dropped down into the desert part of I-8 and just cruised through the night stopping once along the way in Gila Bend, CA. for gas just shy of the 300 mile mark on the trip meter. Riding this stretch of highway is like riding in west Texas, you don’t want to pass up a gas station if you aren’t sure you’ll make it another 60 miles.

Around 5:30 AM CDT I was finishing my ride along I-8 and merging onto I-10 at Casa Grande. Even with my failed attempt at rest before the start of the ride I was feeling fine and things were great. I rolled through Arizona and into New Mexico as the sun started to rise.

My second gas stop was a little past the 300 mile mark because the place I had planned to stop at didn’t sell gas. They sold everything else, but the gas pumps had been removed some time ago. So I stopped at exit 62 in Deming, NM at 8:55 AM CDT. While fueling the bike I grabbed a muscle milk out of my saddle bag and a cliff bar out of my top case. That’s a breakfast of champions!

As I rode through New Mexico I could tell fatigue was creeping up on me. It just seemed like I’d never get out of the state and construction zones kept plaguing me. When I finally rolled into El Paso at 10:40AM CDT, I was happy to be done with the first third of the ride but my energy levels were down. I just kept moving and worked on staying alert as I interacted with the traffic.

When I got to Van Horn, where I had been less than 30 hours previously I opted not to get gas as I still had plenty in the tank and wanted to stretch it out to maximize my 300 mile range between stops. I checked my GPS and found a Chevron up ahead in Salt Flat at exit 176. It looked like it was going to be about the right distance so that’s where I planned to stop. When I got there however the place was boarded up. Now I thought my goose was cooked. I decided I’d have to press on for Pecos as that was the next fuel station my GPS showed. Now my adrenaline was pumping, what would happen if I ran out of gas?

Just 5 miles down the road I found a Chevron station at exit 181. Talk about relief! I wanted this to be a quick stop but when I got to the pump the display wasn’t working. I stuck my card in any way, waited for a beep and took out the nozzle and selected the grade. After pumping I figured I’d have to walk inside but as it turned out my receipt printed. I had only used 8.215 gallons of gas which left me with 2.785 gallons. My previous concerns about running out of gas were unfounded. But at least now I was 100% awake and alert.

I only had one issue with border patrol in Texas at a check point. I guess the agent was new but he seemed to want to interview every single vehicle extensively as they went through. I waited in line for 15 minutes there in the hot Texas sun while barely moving in line. Finally I saw another agent step out of the building and the line picked up as he waved us on through. I was happy to be moving again but thoroughly annoyed by the needless delay.

The next gas stop was in Junction, TX, exit 456 at the Exxon. It was now 4:18 PM CDT. I knew I’d be home by 8:30 since it was only a little over 4 hours from there. While at the stop I took a couple of extra minutes to investigate a wiring problem. It seemed that I had an intermittent power connection to my GPS/CB/Radar Detector set up. I didn’t have any luck getting to the suspected connector so I hopped back on the bike and hoped that it would make it to the house without completely disconnecting.

When I got to San Antonio I followed the GPS which took me onto I-35 over to I-410 and then down to I-10 again. I was pleasantly surprised with the route and feel that it did cut a few minutes off the trip compared to just riding I-10 straight through. Once clear of town I called Reagan to let her know I was past San Antonio and that I expected to be home by 8:30.

As luck would have it the weather had been good all day long but the closer I got to Houston the darker the skies looked. Near Seally I finally pulled over, donned my rain gear, and resumed the ride. It wasn’t a hard rain but enough to make people slow down and start to make foolish decisions. I exited at Hwy 99 to head to the house. I pulled into the driveway at 8:35.

I tried to treat the stop at home like any other rest stop in a rally. Get off the bike, get something to eat, get some sleep. Reagan had me a Subway sandwich waiting, so I tended to the bike’s electrical issue, got a shower and then had my sandwich. I was asleep before 9:30.

The alarm clock went off at 1:20AM and I did my best to get moving. It was a little difficult but I managed to get on the bike by 1:54AM CDT. I rode down to the Exxon station and tried to fill up. The pump wasn’t cooperating so I moved over to another pump and finally got the bike filled up. So much for being on the road at 2am. It was 2:08 when I got on the freeway heading back into Houston.

Things seemed completely different after my rest stop. The weather in Houston was hot and muggy. I was not happy with the temperature at all for it being so early in the morning. But once I got to I-10 and started heading east the temperature seemed to drop a few degrees.

Riding along I-10 between Houston and Beaumont was pretty sedate, except when I passed a sheriff’s deputy going the same direction. I had the throttle set at 5 over the limit and so I slowly passed him. As I pulled up along side he hit me with his spot light. I just waived and kept going. I guess he wanted to see what sort of fool would be out riding at a time like this. When he got an eye full of Hi-viz green and 3M reflective panels he got his answer.

It seemed like I got to Beaumont only minutes after leaving Houston but the clock said time had actually passed. As I breezed through town I reflected on the gas station where I had started the April Fools rally months before. Before I knew it I was leaving Texas and into the final third of my route.

Louisiana has managed to build some great bridges over the marshes and swamps but they haven’t done so well with the roads that are built on actual solid ground. I was pleased to get across the Atchafalaya basin bridge without any delays as in times past. In Hammond I took I-12 to avoid the drop down into New Orleans.

At exit 16 on I-12 I stopped for gas at a Chevron station. I wanted this to be a standard quick stop after my earlier debacle in Houston. No such luck, the first pump kept telling me to replace the nozzle after I had inserted my credit card. I finally moved to another pump and filled up. The time showed 6:18 AM CDT on the receipt and my clock showed that I had spent 12 minutes at the stop. Grrrr.

Not long after I got back on the road the sky started to turn dark to the east. The lightening dancing across the sky was awesome to watch but I knew it was going to be a serious storm to get through. When I got close I pulled off the road, put on my rain pants and gloves, zipped up the jacket and resumed the ride into the storm. As expected it was one heck of a storm and visibility dropped substantially but I pressed on through it.

By the time I-12 joined with I-10 I had ridden out of the rain and I was heading out of Louisiana. Mississippi was nice as was Alabama. I noticed that my bike seemed to be getting better gas mileage than I had gotten the day before. Going the 300 miles between stops was going to be easy and my aux tank really wasn’t going to see much use.

I stopped in Defuniak Springs, FL for gas at 10:33AM CDT. This was exit 85. This time I just filled the main tank and didn’t even get off the bike. Finally I had a smooth gas stop.

With a full tank of gas and the end in sight all I had to do was just sit on the bike and wait as the miles clicked down. Driving in Florida on I-10 certainly isn’t a visually stimulating experience. There’s nothing but pine trees and flat straight roadway. And the heat, it’s that sticky, muggy, humid heat that won’t let you get cool no matter if your jacket is opened or closed.

When I got to Jacksonville I was excited and then I realized I still had another 20 miles to go to get to the beach. I continued to follow the GPS and it led me to my planned Shell gas station where I ended the ride. The time on the receipt showed 3:31PM EDT. Wooohooo!!! I had finished the ride in 37 hours 48 minutes.

After a short break to get a cold sports drink, eat some beef jerky and call home, I went to the fire station to get my end witness form signed. The fireman Matt was very helpful and gladly signed the form. A short ride across the street had me at the beach where I grabbed a sample of the Atlantic ocean and snapped a photo to post on Facebook.

Since it was still day light outside and I didn’t want a repeat of the restless stop in San Diego I decided to head back to Pensacola to get a room. With a full tank of gas and the better mileage I was getting I expected it would be a stop free ride. The GPS helped me find the motel 6 in Pensacola and told me I’d be there in less than 5 hours. So with one last look around at the beach and beach bodies I thumbed the starter and headed west out of town.

As I rode along on I-10 I watched the mile markers drop. I was looking for marker 13. I was also watching my fuel gauge fall. Finally I switched on the pump for the aux tank and after the customary 6 minutes I turned it off. The only problem was that my gauge didn’t go back up. Something was definitely amiss. It was clear that I wasn’t going to make it the 360 miles to my planned stop so I pulled into a gas station only to find that I had apparently used the aux tank going to Jacksonville but failed to refill it when I got to the end. Oooops. I put 10.437 gallons of fuel in the bike. By my calculations I can carry 11 gallons between the 2 tanks.

With a full tank of gas I pressed on the last 100 miles and reached my hotel at exit 13 just a few minutes after 8PM CDT. There was a Waffle House next door so I parked the bike between the two and walked into the Waffle House to get some hot food. I thought I’d be smart and book my room while I was sitting at the table. When I walked over to the hotel though their internet was down, fax machine was broken and their credit card system didn’t work either so they didn’t have my reservation. They did have power and running water so I paid cash for the room and unloaded the bike.

It’s amazing what 7 hours of rest will do for a person. I woke up the next morning before the alarm and was out the door and on the bike by 5:30AM CDT. I had about 8 hours of riding to get home and plenty of time so I decided I’d stop at a McDonalds when it got to be 6:30. And almost to the minute that’s what I did as I rolled into Grand Bay, AL.

As I got into Louisiana I saw some pretty ominous looking storm clouds ahead on I-12 so I dropped down on I-10 into New Orleans and drove around them.  However coming out of New Orleans another storm cell caught me and I got a little damp because I didn’t stop for the rain gear thinking it was only going to be a little shower.

I stopped for gas in Lafayette, LA at 10:12AM CDT after having ridden the Atchafalaya basin bridge with my fuel light on and the trip meter showing 400 miles since the last fuel stop. I put in 10.92 gallons of gas. Remember my bike only has an 11 gallon capacity. Yikes, that was close.

With the final gas stop completed I was energized and ready to complete the ride. As I headed west though it was clear to me that I was going to go through another storm before making it home so I pulled over about 40 miles east of Lake Charles and donned the rain gear. It was a good thing that I did too.

I ended up riding in rain almost non-stop all the way back home. At one point in Beaumont it was so bad people were going 10 to 15 mph. I just kept the bike moving and ignored the water leaking into my gear at various point. My rain gear is waterproof not submersible proof. That’s some of the hardest rain I’ve ridden through in a very long time.

As the miles to the house clicked down so did the time remaining on the clock. I reached my gas station at 1:45PM and my driveway before 2PM. I had accomplished the ride I set out to do in less time than I had initially planned. 4,835 miles in 96 hours.

Now for anyone still reading who might be thinking, “OMG, that guy is crazy, he must have driving like a bat out of Hell!” That’s actually far from the truth. I kept my speeds at no more than 5 to 10mph over the posted speed limit. When I was in a metropolitan area I would maintain speeds with the flow of traffic. The key that made my time across I-10 so short was that I simply didn’t stop very often and when I did I tried to keep the times short. I gassed at gas stations and peed at rest areas. It’s much quicker to take a 3 minute stop at a rest area to handle the call of mother nature than it is to go inside at a gas station. It also helps circulation to get off the bike for just a few minutes.

My riding gear is pretty sorted out at this point. I am going to pickup some new LD Comfort underwear while I’m at the BMW Rally next week and I’ll look at other possible options for mesh pants. But things work overall. If I get into another hard rain storm as I did on Monday I have to accept the fact that I’m likely to get a little wet but I’ll dry out. For the moderate rain though I’m fine with the Frogg Togg pants and my Held gloves.

I still have the electrical problem to contend with so my farkles stay powered properly. I’ll pull the tank off and inspect all of the connections, pack them with die-electric grease and shrink wrap them to make sure they stay connected better. There’s also  a smell of gas I’ve notice after filling up the tanks. However I’ve been unable to find an actual leak. I’ll continue to monitor that and determine where the vapors are coming from.

I stopped 15 times for fuel along the way. The cost of which was $508.80 for 138.146 gallons of premium unleaded. That’s an average price of $3.68/gallon and an average of 34.999 miles per gallon.

I stayed at Motel 6 for this ride. The rooms were cheap and the beds were comfortable enough. Total cost for lodging 3 nights was $151.65. Of course I save $40 or so by staying at home one night. Which just for reference I won’t do again when. Stopping at home breaks the routine of being on the road and makes it more difficult to get moving again. Lesson learned.

I really had a great time on this ride. It was clear to me that the time I’ve spent at the gym is paying off. I had more stamina than ever before and I was able to function well with less sleep as a result. I think I can tweak my on bike nutrition to be more efficient but I’m pretty satisfied with things so far. Doing this ride this close to the Butt Lite was a good thing because it gave me a chance to really push myself and judge where I am in preparation. Next year before the Iron Butt Rally I plan to do a 10 day ride with the same intensity level to really help with my final preparations before the big show.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

50CC Pacific to Atlantic–Prep

Next month I’ll be riding in the Butt Lite 6IX to prepare for next year’s Iron Butt Rally. So to prepare for the Butt Lite this year I thought I’d do a Coast to Coast ride in under 50 hours (50CC).

The plan is simple, ride over to San Diego, sleep, turn around and ride to Jacksonville, sleep and then head home. Since I live almost in the middle of the route it’s really about twice the distance to ride this ride which is about 4,600 miles. So to make this a good training ride I’m going to do it in 4.5 days.

Here’s the general schedule I have planned:
07/05 14:00 - leave for Van Horn, TX
07/05 23:30 - arrive in Van Horn
07/06 06:00 - depart Van Horn
07/06 19:00 - arrive in San Diego
- get witness form signed
- visit ocean and fill Pacific vile
- scout gas station
- get into motel and sleep
07/07 02:00 - depart from gas station
07/08 00:00 - arrive at home, get sleep!
07/08 06:00 - depart for Jacksonville
07/08 21:00 - arrive in Jacksonville
- get final receipt
- get witness form signed
- visit ocean and fill Atlantic vile
- check into a motel
07/09 08:00 - depart for the house
07/09 21:00 - arrive home!

If I’m able to stick to this schedule I’ll complete the 50CC in 43 hours. I have 50 hours to do it in so I’m not too concerned.

I’ve been prepping the bike for the past week. The folks at the Butt Lite didn’t like some of the details of my auxiliary fuel tank so I fabricated a new one. This time it’s a cube with no more than 2.5 gallons of capacity. Period. When I filled it up yesterday it stopped at 2.3 gallons. The new tank is fed into the main tank via a pump instead of gravity. So I should avoid some of the issues I had previously with the gravity feed not working.

Yesterday I installed new tires, checked all the nuts, bolts and fluids. The bike is ready to go.

As for me, well for this trip I won’t look so much like a motorcycle fashion model. I will be wearing the new Olympia Recon 3 pants because of a size issue with my old pants. But everything else has seen previous trips.

No updates while riding this ride, but you can follow along via SpotWalla. Here’s the link,

The ride report to follow next week.