1500 mile, 32 hours and rain
A few weeks ago I decided it's time for another Iron Butt ride. At first a 1500/24 sounded like a good idea, but was then at the request of SWMBO changed to a 1500/36. A good decision in looking back.
Also the forst plan to do that last weekend, which would have had optimal weather for this kind of activity, due to various factors had to be delayed to this weekend, with, well lets just say less optimal weather.
So, on Wednesday evening I packed up the bike, checked everything one more time, and Thursday morning I went again to work (just as every day) but with one exception: Come lunchtime, instead of going with the guys to pick up some food I started my run.
During the preparation phase when I looked at the map I was looking for a destination around 1500 miles from Houston, easily reachable on freeways which was a straight shot and no matter what I did I had to go north. Going to either coast would not be good, and in CA I would run risk of running into some serious traffic. So, the endpoint chose was Philadelphia, PA.
Therefore, before I started my run, I also decided I could afford to loose a few official miles, and moved the start point to the east side of Houston to miss Houston traffic. Something I did not need to do as it turned out later, but I didn't know that at the time.
Thursday 12:02 Start in Baytown (Eastside of Houston) at a light drizzle. We had a storm coming through the day before so I pretty much knew I would be going to chase that storm for a long time. I just did not know for HOW long I would be chasing that squall line which again as it turned out was 2000 miles long. Anyhow, The driizzle turned into heavy rain just as expected, And I was on my way east to New Orleanso I-10. Houston to New Orleans are about 4 hours and it was 4 hours of torrential downpour frog drowners. Now I know how Grif feels when his personal raincloud follows him everywhere he goes. But then by the time it was time to turn north on I-59 the cloud cover opened and the weather got nicer, and for the rest of the day it was actually dry. Needless to say that during those 4 hours I had plenty of chance to test my rainpreparedness and I have to say the combination of Olympic and Frog Toggs kept me perfectly dry. UNfortunately by the time the rain stopped it also started to get dark, so I had little chance to look at the country side and just kept on going.
Now you have to understand that the bike I was doing this run on is everything but an LT. A few of you might know the story but suffice it to say that I don;t have an LT right now for verious reasons, and I was/am on the Burgman. Turns out that the Burgman's limits and mt limits are in pretty good alignment. Especially since there is no special seat, just the stock Burgman seat. Those limits are clearly defined since the tank capacity with 4 gal is anything but great, and so the stopping points are every 150 miles max. AT travelling speeds that is about every 2 - 2.5 hours. That is long enough to put a good distance behind you and then it's time to make gear adjustments anyhow. So my Burger and I were droning north east on I-59 until short after Birmingham, AL when I realized my reflexes are getting slower and I was just generally exhausted, and so I called it a night. Since the rain had stopped 6 hours ago I was still riding with summer gloves, even though it started to get a little bit to the chilly side.
One thing I had been told was that when you doing these long runs, the worst you can do is to eat a big meal, and so I basically lived all day long on a bottle of ice tea and one bagel. Needless to say at midnight I was kind of .... hungry. I was about 30 miles north east of Birmingham in the middle of nowhere where I found a motel, and next door a little country diner. VERY good food after a long day. They all loonked at me in light disbelieve when I walzed in in full gear.
After some restful 5 hours of sleep I got up at 6AM to continue the run up to Philly. Unfortunately during the last 5 hours of me being more or less still in my bed the storm had caught up and when I opened the room of the motel door I looked again into light drizzle. SHIT!
Oh well, back out comes the rain gear, and off I go. unfortunately the line of travel now lay perfectly aligned with the aformentioned squall line. Or in other words, I was in rainy conditions all day long until I came to Harrisburg, PA, where it opened back up. during that time again, my gear worked flawless, the Gerbing kept me warm, which would otherwise have been a reason to break it off, because after you have travelled for 12 hours through downpours, no matter what model of glove you have, it WILL be soaked through and through. I did bring 3 pairs of gloves, but even the real heavy winter gloves were getting too cold since they were wet, so I switched to the Gerbing gloves. The Gerbings are not AS watertight, but at least they were warmer. mind you I did not say warm. During all that travel I got quite a bit further noth, and the temps were getting down into the low 50's, damp, wet, clammy, 75mph, even the gerbings were unable to keep up. BUT they were able to stay warm enough to enable me to finish the ride.
At 9:20 local I rolled in Philadelphia, got my final receipt, and my witness signatures.
Today I am comfortably resting and unbuzzing. Because, while the burger is a nice and very capable bike, it's still a twin. A very well balanced twin, but still a twin. LOL. Certain parts of my body are still numb from all the buzzing. Oh well, that'll go away with time. I am spending the Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia and riding back on Monday.
I just hope the weather back will be better,
'14 GSAW soon:
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Still in search of Occam's razor to cut a Gordian knot.