A Chronicle of My Adventures on "The Patriot"

Fortitudine Vincimus -- "By Endurance We Conquer"
ride hard, ride far, ride safe

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Fizzle

Bottom line up front. As of 1:00 pm today, rider and trike are home in Stafford, Virginia safely without injury, damage, or speeding ticket. I guess I successfully accomplished the more important of my two goals.  You can view how far I made it at:  http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=5667.

Trip Report. My official departure receipt from the Kittery 7-Eleven was printed at 1:58 am on Sunday, June 20. I had four witnesses, including one of Kittery’s patrolmen who was passing by on duty that night. Everything was going perfect. The Gold Wing – Lehman trike performed superbly. Absolutely no complaints or problems; although I would enjoy an 8 – 10 gallon tank for greater range (which would have also avoided the problem below that was caused by a stop required for gas but not required for getting a receipt). It was a bit warm on Sunday (mid-90s) but about 4 hours of rain on Monday made up for it going through Cincinnati. And I hit very little traffic or construction during my entire trip. My goal was an absolute minimum 1,000 miles per day, but I wanted to hit 1,100 or 1,150 per day if I could. On Day one (1:58 am Sunday to 1:57 am Monday) I hit 13 states, stopping in Elyria, Ohio at 1:21 am on Monday with 1,046 miles under my belt. Day one was a good day – I was hyped and excited about having a great run to Hyder. I departed my hotel on Day two at 7:00 am. It was a beautiful, cool morning ride to Ottawa Lake, Michigan. Again, no traffic or construction was anywhere in sight. My next scheduled stop – as everyone who has studied the Ron Ayres route knows – was Lawrenceburg, Indiana by way of Cincinnati. On the way to Lawrenceburg something pleasant and unexpected happened that I hadn’t read about on the LDR listserve – I found that sweet combination of position and posture that seemed to eliminate a sore butt. Again, everything was going well – great weather, no traffic, no construction, and got in the rhythm of the trip. My eight days to Hyder looked right around the corner! The 228-mile trip to Lawrenceburg exceeded my comfort zone for the range on my trike, so I stopped at Lima, Ohio for gas. It was lunch time and I was starving, so I bought a sub sandwich; in hindsight, a terribly huge mistake. About an hour later, the torrents of rain hit, but that was no problem. My Olympia Phantom suit kept me bone dry. Although way, way too hot for 90 degree weather, the Phantom did not leak in 4 hours of heavy rain. Another hour later, another type of torrent hit. I pulled over and quickly found myself projectile puking in the middle of a concrete medium strip on the Cincinnati beltway in the middle of a pretty neat rainstorm. Okay, in the Corps, I guess that’s just another great day in the field. I was feeling pretty weak by the time I got to Lawrenceburg, but thought I would recover on the road with the cool fresh air on my face. So I pushed on another 370 miles to London, Kentucky; Gate City, Virginia; Johnson City, Tennessee; and Mars Hill, North Carolina. Sadly, this leg of the trip was slowed down with a few extra stops caused by my sub sandwich. My good friend Imodium was also not very helpful with the other consequences of my sub sandwich. Mars Hill was at mile 1,739 on my 8,880-mile journey to Hyder, and I got there at 10:50 pm Monday night. I was now a little behind schedule and I wanted to be on the south side of Atlanta before its morning rush hour, so down the road I went. The moon and the stars were out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What a perfectly beautiful night for a motorcycle ride! But, I didn’t make it far south before the continued puking drained my strength and alertness, so I decided to take a 2 – 3 hour nap to see if that would help, and figured I would simply take my chances with Atlanta’s rush hour in the morning. I turned off my SPOT and crashed at a roadside park with my bed roll. I woke up around 4:00 am and saw Hyder slipping away since I didn’t feel any better at all. So I decided to pull the plug and limp home to regroup, cursing every place along the way home that I saw selling sub sandwiches. I made it home to Stafford at 1:00 pm, glad to be home and still too sick to eat. Other than the sub sandwich, the only blip in an otherwise perfect trip was that the Johnson City, Tennessee “1 Stop” computerized gas station receipt didn’t have a city or state on it, so I had to go immediately next door at the Burger King to buy a diet Coke to get a receipt with all the required elements. Like a said, a perfect trip – so once I recover and regroup, I will try it again, likely next June – and I cannot think of a single thing I would change in my planning and execution, except being more careful about what I eat on the road.

My apologies. I apologize for not turning SPOT back on this morning so that everyone tracking me would not be concerned that I hit a deer or was otherwise injured. In hindsight, I realize that leaving it off was inconsiderate – but SPOT was the furthest thing from my mind as I was worried about making it home and I was overwhelmed with the disappointment of not making it to Hyder this year.

My thanks. Many thanks for everyone's advice and kind wishes before I began my trip -- and many thanks for your concerns when you didn't see my SPOT working this morning.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Adventure Begins!

Going off grid. I am going off grid tonight, meaning this is my last blog until I return home on July 5 and that I do not intend on blogging, tweeting, emailing, stargazing, or anything else during my trip so that I can keep the wheels rolling. If I am not moving or sleeping, I am wasting time. I have my E-Z Pass at the ready, and I have my SPOT Personal Tracker (http://www.findmespot.com/en/) and a waterproof, shockproof camera mounted with a RAM clutch reservoir base mount. These two devices will help record my adventure.  You can track my progress at: http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=5667.

Last minute thoughts. The route is tried and tested – it is a modified version of Ron Ayres record-breaking route. And this website mirrors that of Gregg Lenentine who created a similar blog linked to Jason Jonas' SpotWalla for his May 2010, 48 States ride. These blogs and SpotWalla make it really easy for everyone to track our adventures. I will keep the URL for my SpotWalla blog to the top left of this website so that everyone can easily click on it and watch my tracks across our great nation. My odometer reading as I depart Stafford, Virginia on Saturday, June 19 is 19,378 miles.

Again, my primary goal is for rider and trike to return home to Stafford, Virginia safely without injury, damage, or speeding ticket. But really, what is the whole point of the ride if it is not my best effort? He tan, he epi tas!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Road Trip

The Warm Up Ride.  There are six legs to my June – July 2010 road trip. The first leg begins on Saturday, June 19 with a 546-mile warm up ride from my home in Stafford, Virginia to Kittery, Maine. I will rest up that night in Kittery at the Enchanted Nights Bed and Breakfast (http://www.enchantednights.org/).

48 States in 10 Days.  The second leg is a 7,350-mile journey through all 48 continental states, starting in Kittery, Maine sometime early on Sunday, June 20 and traveling to Kennewick, Washington. This route looks similar to a lazy “W” scribbled across the United States. This leg will be punctuated with naps and motel-stops as needed.

48 Plus!  The third leg continues the journey for another 1,158 miles from Kennewick, Washington to Hyder, Alaska, completing the 48 Plus! ride in less than the IBA-allotted ten days. While in Hyder, I plan on resting up at the Sealaska Inn and Camp Run-A-Muck (http://www.sealaskainn.com/).

SaddleSore 1000.  The fourth leg begins my trip back home with a 1,082-mile ride from Hyder, Alaska to Moses Lake, Washington, where I will likely find another hotel to rest up before I pick up Interstate 90 and head east. Should the roads and terrain through British Columbia, Canada permit, this leg of the trip will complete another IBA ride, the SaddleSore 1000 (http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=1), which is 1,000 documented miles in under 24 hours.

BunBurner Gold.  The fifth leg will take me another 1,658 miles from Moses Lake, Washington to Des Moines, Iowa to attend Wing Ding 32 (http://www.wing-ding.org/), which is the annual rally for Gold Wings. This leg of the trip will complete another IBA ride, the BunBurner Gold (http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=3), which is 1,500 documented miles in under 24 hours.

SaddleSore 1000.  And finally, the sixth leg of the trip is another SaddleSore 1000 ride of 1,082 miles from Des Moines, Iowa to Stafford, Virginia.  I hope to be home no later than Monday, July 5.

Musings.  According to MapQuest, this 17-day road trip will take 216 hours to travel 12,760 miles. For those of you who cannot resist reaching for a calculator, that is only 9 straight days of riding if I average 59 mph, which leaves me another 8 full days to stop for gas, food, and sleep, or to slow down for traffic, construction, and weather. I know, easy ride!

Of course, averaging 59 mph is the real challenge when stopping for gas, food, and sleep. My Gold Wing has a 6.6 gallon tank and I average a minimum of 31 mpg around town and in the mountains, and a maximum of 37 – 42 mpg on level blacktop Interstate. So, I have planned my road trip around the stops required for each state and a comfortable 180-mile range for the stops required for gas. I have calculated that I need to stop for receipts and gas 57 times between Kittery and Kennewick, and another 9 times from Kennewick to Hyder (at 15 minutes per stop, that’s almost 17 hours pumping gas just from Kittery to Hyder!). A 15-minute stop for gas during a 3-hour run at 60 mph drops my average mph to 55 mph, and a 2-hour stop for a nap during a 3-hour run at 60 mph drops my average mph to 36 mph.

Okay, enough with numbers. My number one top priority goal is for rider and trike to return to Stafford safely without injury, damage, or speeding ticket. The trick is not to speed, but to keep the wheels rolling and to stay reasonably well rested. I have food and snacks on board for 15 days, and a 100 oz camel back for hydration. I also have waterproof boots and a waterproof Olympia Moto Sports Phantom riding suit with a great ventilation system that will keep me moving regardless of the weather. And my Bluetooth-enabled Nolan N103 full-face modular helmet keeps me in touch by phone for emergencies.

The Ride

48 Plus! is one of the 117 rides sanctioned by the Iron Butt Association (IBA) (http://www.ironbutt.com/about/default.cfm) that involves visiting all 48 continental states plus Alaska in ten days or less. The IBA rules permit a rider to take any route to all 49 states; however, it requires two witnesses to document the beginning of the ride and two witnesses to document the end of the ride as well as a dated business receipt documenting a visit to each of the 49 states.

The IBA reports in its rules for the 48 Plus! ride (http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=14) that:

“In 1998, Iron Butt rider and author, Ron Ayres set a new 48 state record of 6 days, 0 hours and 5 minutes. Ron went on to add a new twist to the 48 state record ride by continuing on to Hyder, Alaska to establish a new 49 state record of 7 days, 0 hours and 20 minutes and a new ride, one that Ron has named the 48 Plus!”

I believe Morris Kruemcke now holds the record for visiting 48 States on May 20, 2004 riding a Honda Gold Wing with a route of 7,146 miles in 5 days, 8 hours, and 52 minutes.

“The Patriot”

“The Patriot” is a 2008 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing with a Lehman Monarch II Trike Conversion (http://www.lehmantrikes.com/) purchased in August 2008 during the 68th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (http://www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/) at Outdoor Motor Sports (http://www.outdoor-motorsports.com/) in Spearfish, South Dakota and custom painted in April 2009 by Garwood Custom Cycles (http://garwoodcycles.com/) in Lexington, North Carolina. More pictures of “The Patriot” are available at Garwood's website (http://www.garwoodcustomcycles.com/index.cfm?&pageid=45). “The Patriot” has won “Baddest Bike in the Carolinas” at an April 2009 competition in Lexington, North Carolina; “People’s Choice” and “Second Place Custom” at a May 2009 competition in Richmond, Virginia; “First Place Metric Original” at the October 2009 Axis of Steel competition in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; “People’s Choice Honorable Mention” at the January 2010 International Motorcycle Show in Washington, DC; and “Best of Show People’s Choice” and “Second Place Trike Metric” at the February 2010 Timonium Motorcycle Show in Timonium, Maryland.