Triple BBG-Ride Report
The following is my triple BBG ride report from this past september. Enjoy. GPS pictures to follow.
Regards, Pete Murray
Triple BBG 4500 Miles < 72 Hours
Well every riding season brings challenges. This year was no exception having completed in numerous extreme rides in prior years, Once again it was time to raise bar for me . After a successful Mason Dixon 20-20 this past year. My thought process switches to choosing this year's challenge. First thought BBG 3000? No doubt tough. But have done that, although not certified .BBG 6000? If it was not due to personal time restrictions that would have been the one. Instead the BBG 4500 is the plan. Although when thinking of this ride. I realize we are all just a little bit off our rockers. This will not be a walk in the park.
I suggested the plan to my riding buddy. David Derrick. He was in if we could coordinate our schedules. The ride date was set for Friday September 23 2005. Now the goal is to find the most efficient route for 3 separate back to back 1500 mile rides. Living in the east presents traffic nightmares .If that isnít bad enough there are always cities like Chicago. Enough said.
Preparation for a ride of this magnitude was similar to a multi day rally except you knew where you are going. I ride a BMW 2002 K 1200 LT with about 65000 trouble free miles on the odometer. Rally accessories are the following: Rick Mayer saddle , 5 gallon fuel cell, Piaa 910, Piaa 1100, HID low beam, works performance front shock, ohlins rear shock, CB, GPS, V-1, cell phone and half gallon water cell. The typical extensive preventive bike maintenance was performed. Three separate routes were downloaded into the GPS for each leg of the 3 X BBG. I carried 2 gallons of water in the saddle bag and 20 meal replacement bars. The plan for the ride was to have David crash at my house the night before. Get a good night sleep and get started.
Leg 1 Friday 5 am alarm sounds. No matter how relaxed I am the night before I always manage to get a whopping 2-3 hours of sleep. Anticipation. Dave managed an equal unrest full nightís sleep. The starting point is about 3 miles from my house. There is a diner within 1 minute from the start. Quick breakfast and off for witness documentation. All 3 witnesses fill out the forms .Now off to get our fuel and start receipt.
Start time is Friday 6: 47 AM. Odometer 65365. We depart from the Sunoco station in Snydersville Pa. The Fuel station is 1/4 mile from the interstate .This is just the recipe for good average speed. My thoughts; sure will feel good when I see this location in under 72 hours! We take 33 north to route 80 west. All is good. Traveling through PA is smooth. Minimal traffic hang-ups. The weather is clear and a total of only 3 interstate construction sites. While traveling through Pa. We had an unsolicited escort. You know the type. The guys who like to give you boni points. Glad to see that guy get off the highway. Makes you feel you are losing time. Welcome to Ohio. As we pass Youngstown ,we jump on route 76. Onward to Ravenna, Ohio, for the first fuel stop. Odometer 65772 GPS 348 miles pumped 9.79 gallons. Receipt was missing time, went inside same problem so special note. Continue on 76 only 1 construction site; jump on 71 south in Blake, Ohio towards Columbus. Once again an unsolicited riding partner setting the pace for about one hour (LEO). Back to pace. Continuing south to Columbus beltway 270 to I-70 west toward Indianapolis. I was concerned about a smooth transition through Indy; I knew traveling through Indy would be a better route heading west compared to Chicago. After consulting local riders from Indiana the I-465 southern loop of the beltway was chosen. The southern loop takes you past the airport and avoids the south bound merging traffic from C-town via I-65. After a successful moderate traffic volume ride through Indy; we jumped on I-74 west which would take us toward Peoria IL about 20 miles outside Indy. The sky opened up with torrential downpours .My riding buddy, David, asked if we could get off the highway. He needed to seal the vents in his jacket and put on some gators. Trip odometer was indicating over 315 miles on this fuel tank so we also decided to get fuel. As luck would have it we passed an e-z on off fuel stop just prior to Daveís request. Next fuel exit was 5 miles down the road and the fuel station was about 2 miles off I-74.
Stop # 3 Jamestown, Indiana odometer now reads 66,087 the LT takes 9.2 gallons. Back on I-74 with heavy downpours for the next 100 miles. Finally out of the rain, traffic volume has been moderate. On the approach to Peoria, IL, Dave tells me on the CB that his face shield on his HJC sy-max developed wings and flew off. Yikes! No extra shield. My thoughts. When we hit rain, it will be tough for David. Both of us were looking for signs for a bike shop for a replacement shield or goggles. There was a slight detour on I-74 prior to the Illinois River crossing. We had to take the 474 loop over the river due to construction shutdown of I-74. Hey, what are a couple more miles.
As we cross into Iowa, we merge onto I-80 and approach Davenport. This city has special meaning to me because I am a Chiropractor and this is the city where Chiropractic was born in 1895. Stop # 4 was Walcott, Iowa, 80 truck stop odometer 66,391 fuel consumption 8.48 gallons. After the fill up, we also ate fast food and back on I-80. Energy levels are great and the ride through Iowa is smooth and now it is welcome to Nebraska.
As we enter Omaha at about 11:30 pm EST, there is little traffic and minor road construction. Stop # 5 in Lincoln, NE, was uneventful. Energy levels were fine. The odometer noted 66,739 miles. Fuel consumption was 9.43 gallons . That was the last stop prior to the completion of the first leg. This had about 200 miles remaining.
Final destination for the first of 3 BBGs, Gothenburg, Ne. We arrive at exit # 211 route 47 and proceed to the fuel station I- 80 Pit Stop about 1/4 mile off I-80. My focus is on finding witnesses at 2 AM local time, I see a Shell gas station closed. McDonald's also closed. The only place open was the Pit Stop and our hotel. Stop #6, I only take on .692 gallons of fuel because I will need a fuel receipt in the AM and the max octane they have is 89, odometer 66,938. I know we will be heading into high altitude tomorrow and premium fuel is mandatory. David tries to get gas and his CC won't work so I swipe mine and he fills up. The gas attendant was not cooperative and, therefore, would not verify or witness our ride. Total miles via odometer 1,573, GPS 1522.4. Off to the Super 8 motel for more pleasure. The hotel clerk did not have me registered for check in until later that day. I had to stay cool, you know when you reserve a room and reconfirm days before arrival, how could this happen? Well, no offense to the hotel staff. They were all really nice people but when I made the reservation and my confirmation # was the maidís name, I should have expected this to happen. We were in need of rest and the clerk was the only witness available so it was time to suck it up. This gentleman would also be our next day start and end witness for leg 2. Time was about 3:30 AM EST. We requested a wake up call for 2 hours and 45 minuets later. Unloaded some gear, Dave sets the screaming meanie and the alarm goes off by accident. Can't shut it off so we pull the battery. I thought it was rather funny at the time. Oh well, great, now I am wide awake! Snooze time.
Who needs a fuel cell?
Saturday 6:15 am EST alarm sounds. Yes, those screaming meanies can wake the dead. Quick showers, 8 oz coffee, check the vitals on the bike, tires and oil. We secure the leg 2 start witness and off to get a start receipt. Was a little bummed. The Shell station and Mc D's was closed, I wanted to start with high octane fuel for me and the bike. Drive over to the I-80 pit stop for fuel, only 89 octane and start receipt. Odometer 66,938 5.31 gallons, time 6:50 AM EST, down 4 minutes at the start. Now that we are out west this should be an exceptionally quick 1500 mile ride or so I think. My nutritional policy is to fuel and hydrate the body before hunger and thirst alarms go off so as we get on I-80 west I start with a meal replacement bar and the hydration process. The plan is to take 80 west just above Great Salt Lake UT, get gas with good turnaround receipt and head back to Gothenburg Ne.
Zero traffic, cruising at a good pace, feeling well rested even if it was only about 2 hours of sleep. I am amazed how energetic I feel. I am certain it is due to good mental, physical and nutritional preparation. We encounter some soupy fog before sunrise and as the morning sun rises it finally clears our vision. As we are eating up the miles, I perform a fuel transfer at about 200 miles and shoot for another 150 miles before stopping. About Ĺ hour later, Dave starts to look at his fuel cell while riding. Apparently the cell pump is working intermittently. The partial transfer forces us to take stop # 2 Cheyenne, WY, at 266 miles into the first leg. The time was 9:50 EST, odometer 67,204 and 8.72 gallons. After fueling we check the switch and the pump is working.
Back on the move again continuing to consume meal bars,we have to keep the calorie intake up. We are about 150 miles from stop #2 and reports on the CB indicate that I-80 -W is shut down at mm #185. We are at mm 217 so we exit mm 215 and decide to plan an alternate route. We also test Davidís fuel cell for a transfer and the results are total failure. At this point we have to fill up his main tank and commit the rest of this leg to main tanks only. Stop #3 Rawlins, WY, odometer 67,364 4.28 gallons. Well, no big deal, why not a little adversity? That is one of the reasons why I do these rides. I love the uncertainty. Life can be boring without it. The plan is to keep moving. The fuel cell and truck wreck sparked us. Found a route that would take us northwest then southwest and back on route 80.
The alternate route from Rawlins sent us in an N-W direction on route 287 over some very impressive terrain. We entered Bairoil, Wy, and jumped on highway 73 west. It looked like we could pick up another road south to 80. Unfortunately you needed a GS for that road. At that point we went back to 287 N to Lander, Wy, for stop #4. My odometer 67,496 fuel 4.59 gallons, range 132 miles. Man, fuel economy not looking good. Inside the station at the fuel stop I consulted with the young lady. My inquiry with her noted fuel stops are available at a frequency of 100 mile intervals. She also noted most stations close at 5 pm; the local time was 11:22 AM mountain time. I questioned her about rt. 28 and she said, Only take that road if youíre crazy!! Itís SNOWING on that mountain pass, You should not be up here this time of year on motorcycles" Ah, what does she know anyway? What a bummer without a functional fuel cell, because we were headed en route to Grand Teton National Park. That would have been a great ride but due to the uncertainty of fuel we took the safe route. With that in mind, we took the most direct route to 80 which was 28 S to 191 S to Rock Springs WY. Yes, the mountain pass was great. It was snowing, the views were great and only wet.
Just a 3 hour side track, well worth it. We roll in to Rock Springs; we are reluctant to try to fix the fuel cell until completion of leg 2. Fuel stop # 5 odometer 67,615 fuel 3.55 gallons, only 119 miles. We have got to stretch out fuel stops to try and make time. We enter I-80 west at sticker # 104. Remember, we exited 80 at mm 215. Nutrition thus far, 3 meal bars, 32 oz Gatorade, 1 snickers bar. Well, with that diversion some calculations were in order to determine how far west we needed to travel for the turn around point. The calculations suggested Salt Lake City would be the turnaround point. No problem, we rode about 185 miles for a fill up and good receipt , Stop # 6 odometer 67,800 fuel 3.47 gallons,(note mpg ratio improving). Now were back on 80 east. Not only the last half of the second leg, but we are also on the last half of the 4500!!
So far today, the weather and ride are still going smooth. Once again I feel energized knowing we're past the double half way point. Sounds cool! Stop # 7 on the return of leg 2 we get off at Rock Springs again, odometer 67,983 fuel 3.8 gallons, distance 183 miles. Interesting contrast a 2 mile difference but 4/10 of a gallon more consumption comparing stop # 6 to stop # 7. Essentially the same road ,opposite direction, perhaps more mountain climbing riding east . Hot food in sight, we shoot into Taco Bell for some much needed real food, not supplements. The time is 7:46 EST. That looks like the only hot food for today. As we head east, the sky looks very threatening and we do take on some rain for about Ĺ hour with hail.
We soldier ahead another 217 miles to Stop # 8 Laramie, WY, take on 5.13 gallons of fuel, odometer 68,200. The bike is delivering about 40 mpg, very happy with that; motor feels strong again . Note to self, call Rhine West and ask why I was experiencing such poor mpg and performance in the mountains. I know the air is thin at altitude. On our way in less than 10 minutes, continuing on 80 east. Darkness is upon us again, the ride has been void of road construction until now. Ironically the morning started with fog and it is showing its ugly face again. The traffic slows to about 35 mph due to a paranoid cage driver; it was single lane traffic for about 10 miles, and my, how the average speed drops at this speed. We were fighting the soupy fog for the next 100 miles with light rain. The next 107 miles the rain picked up and we were experiencing 40-60 mph cross winds. The road was littered with the juicy tar snakes and mid 40 degree temperatures. There are many people who knock the Metzeler 880 tires in the wet. Not me. Conditions could not have been much more intense; the tires worked well. Additionally, the cross winds have been a common occurrence for me when traveling in this part of the country.
Coming down to the wire for this leg and Davidís fuel supply, so we take stop # 9 in Big Springs NE. Odometer 68,407 fuel 8.17 gallons, 207 miles. I did not realize these numbers at the time. Holy Cow that is only 25 mpg! I was feeling very chilly at this time so I went inside and put on my Wider heated vest on top of my T- shirt for max thermal transfer and sweatshirt. Dave purchased some WD-40 to try to displace moisture in the fuel pump switch, without positive results. Just under 110 miles for completion of leg 2. Back on 80 E, straight shot to Gothenburg. Final stop, stop #10 takes 2.89 gallons of fuel, odometer 68,516, 109 miles for the last leg. Total odometer mileage 1,578, GPS 1,519.2. Rally time clock 2:58 AM est. Mental and physical assessment, I feel equally good as compared to 24 hours ago.
Wait a second, this leg is not done yet. Back at the hotel we secure the witness information and its time to rip Davidís bike apart. First point, we check notes, faulty wire connections at the fuel cell switch. The hotel clerk Shawn, who is fascinated by our ride, lends a hand with some tools. The repair takes about 30-40 minutes. We pack up and head back to the room. Dave is bargaining for a 1 hour late start. I was not keen on that idea, so we both compromised Ĺ hour late start it is. By this time the clock reads 4 AM est. The screaming meanie is set for a 2 hour and 45 minute countdown, set to go off at 6: 45 AM est.
Bring it home
Sunday 6: 45 AM, the alarm sounds. No lie! Jump up, hit the shower, grab a 8oz cup of coffee, check bike vitals, pack the bike and secure witness start information. Stop # 1 the Shell station is open today. They must open at 6 AM central time. Top off my fuel tank, get a good receipt, local time 6:18 AM central. Rally clock noted 7:18 AM; we have to be back to Snydersville, Pa., by 6:46 AM est. Monday. I am ready to roll. David is inside the store. I feel antsy. Time is a wasting. I honk the horn. My GPS is telling me to go or am I hearing things. Anyway, we start to roll at 7:28. I was concerned about the time we lost, 42 minutes and that is why I recall the time we left. So we now have 23 hours and 18 minutes to crank out another 1,500 miles.
Now under way, the goal is to try to make up time. The ride on I-80 east is smooth. One bear trap was noted on this beginning run. About 300 miles roll by, time for stop # 2. We get off in Walnut, Iowa, odometer 68,817 fuel 8.82. There is a McDonald's inside so we take the opportunity for a solid meal. Last food stop and only solid food stop was yesterday, over 14 hours ago, so that hit the spot. For me, if I get 2 solid meals a day with supplementation I am fine. Time to suit up and ride. We ride straight through Iowa, Zero road construction moderate traffic. Now in the great state of Illinois and I-74 at Galesburg we exit at stop # 3 odometer 69134 fuel consumption 9.02 gallons, another 317 miles down. The pump receipt did not display the time so a separate purchase was made.
As we merge back on I-74, I turn on the NOAA weather station and it does not sound good. The further south you go not only is there greater potential for showers but the intensity of rainfall increases. It seems we are going to get a taste of Hurricane Katrina remnants. As long as there are no interstate backups, we should be OK. We ride about 50 miles and enter a construction zone. The interstate merges to one lane without a problem and traffic volume is high. It was single lane for 5 miles. Was it a fluke how that merge could be so smooth? If only in NJ and PA it was that easy. Now the fun begins. The heavens open up with a solid rain. This prompts us to hit the next exit, David needed to put his gators on. Stop # 4 Oakwood, ILL, odometer 69,300 fuel consumption 4.25 gallons, distance between stops 166 miles. Davidís fuel cell working normal. The fuel receipt did not have the local time nor did the inside receipt, I took both receipts as evidence. The time is 5: 30 PM est. David expresses to me that he is having difficulty with vision. No doubt, remember Dave lost his face shield and had to rely on his windshield and wraparound eye wear . My vision was not the greatest as well and there was an extreme amount of oil on the road which will cloud your face shield also. The plan, as I told Dave, is for him to suck on my rear wheel (taillight) and I will guide him through the ride with the help of the CB. When the rains were hammering us, I would communicate to David where he should be in the road (e.g. switching lanes, position in lanes center R or L of center). David could barely see. I was his eyes. If I pulled too far away, he was done. The worst could happen. I had to control his back and front door and mine as well .
As we continue on I-74, we are back in Indy and its raining like Hell. Beltway 465, people are spinning out everywhere, and as a beltway would have it, multiple merging is occurring. On the opposite side of 465 the belt is shut down due to accidents. We finally get off of 465 and merge on I-70 east en route to Columbus, Ohio, moderate rainfall continues. As we enter the city limits of Columbus, the beltway is next, we jump on 270 north to I- 71 north. The plan was to get on 71 above the beltway then stop for food and fuel. Stop # 5 Sunbury, Ohio, odometer 69,612 fuel consumption 8.0 gallons even, distance 312 miles, time 10:03 PM est. Again another faulty receipt. The inside printout did not show the time either so a separate purchase of chewing gum was made. That receipt had the date and time . We try to get some fast food but they shut the doors at 10 pm. I see a Waffle House, shoot over there. The place its vacant, should be quick service. Dave does not think we have time to spare. I feel we can't afford not to eat due to the calorie deficit from the past 2 days, but I defer, chomp on a bar and we go.
Back on 71 north we travel about Ĺ mile, Dave who is still following due to the rain, shoots to the center median of the 3 lane highway. I see this and pull over, turn on the emergency flashers and run back to his bike. Dave says the engine just died!! Dave rides a BMW 1100 RT. OK lets figure it out. There is time. We check the little things first. Kill switch that's OK, kickstand safety switch OK. We try to start the bike. It has lights but when we depress the start button everything blacks out . The problem appears to be terminal; the RT instrument panel is also acting strange. When the tranny is in neutral, the gear shift indicator indicates fifth gear. We make attempts to get it going with the rain not letting up, and Dave makes the call to stop his ride. I wait while Dave secures road side assistance Help is on the way. Fortunately, he is only Ĺ mile from lodging and a good size city. We have an agreement on our rides and if someone breaks down, if we can't fix the bike, we make sure the other is safe and the other rider has the option to move on. The DNF is a great disappointment! I am most certain David would have completed the ride.
I had no choice but to move on. The time was 10:45 PM with 480 miles to go and 8 hours and 1 minute time left. Its turning into a pressure cooker. The rain is steady. Traveling on I-71 in Ohio is littered with road construction, lane shifts, and the threat not to exceed the posted speed limits in construction zones or else . I had about 90 miles of this wonderful road ahead of me with fog rolling in. I love it. Visibility conditions were difficult; you just had to keep proper distance to enhance visibility. I picked up I-76 in Blake, Ohio, I would be on 76 for about another 60 miles. Route 76 had minimal traffic; after all it was after midnight. Monday morning, the work day was set to begin in 6 hours. Onward to Jackson, Ohio. I pick up route 80; things are looking good. Traveling into Pa there was a huge convoy of trucks. The rain was continuing to fall and once again, moderate fog rolled in as the elevation increased. I felt I had to make fast work of the convoy or be bogged down on the climbs ahead. I made it through the trucks quickly, just in time for multiple single lane, lane shift construction sites. I noted there was about 20 miles of intermittent road construction. The mileage was piling up and it was time for refueling. Stop # 6 location Lamar, PA, odometer 69955 fuel 5.68 gallons, the time 3:28 AM . The last pull was 343 miles without stopping. I only filled my bike up part way. The ride to the finish was less than 150 miles. I had 3 hours and 18 minutes to spare. Before leaving the fuel stop I drank a Gatorade and had a meal bar. Over the last 150 miles, I sensed moderate fatigue. It rained the whole time except for the last 30 miles. Total time in the rain was at least 700 miles. I took 2 brief rest stops for meal replacement and fluids. After each stop I was energized but it did not last long. Finally I merge on route 33 south just a short pull, 4 miles to Snydersville. My final thought process is," bike donít fail me now! WOW there is the exit. The ride is almost done" I pull into Schochís Sunoco. It is a very busy service station.I pull up to the pump. Final stop # 7 throw in 3.2 gallons of fuel, another partial fill up, odometer 70,093 time 5:36 AM est. Made it with 1 hour and 10 minutes to spare! Before leaving the pump, a fellow asks where I am off to? When I tell him I just returned home and completed an extreme ride of 4,500 miles in less than 72 hours, he shot me a very peculiar look...he said, Youíre kidding Right?"
Total miles for Leg 3 on the odometer 1,577, GPS 1,521.9.
I would like to give special thanks to the following people for taking the time out of their busy schedule to witness the start and end of the ride.
Shawn Schoch - Mike Rimer - Bill Koehler - Robert J Held -
Special thanks to my intermediate witnesses, Sean A McBride and Rebecca Eddins
And of course, the power behind the power, my beautiful wife Alison Murray.
What's next? I have some ideas!