Here is the story on how I got to where I had to go after the UN............
I made it! I just got my official IBA notice that I am an Official member tonight!
I wrote a saga for the MOVer issue that was just published this month. I was waiting for official notice from the IBA and the article to go out on the Motorcyclist of Vermont October issue before putting the story out else where. So, with out further delay, here is my saga for all of you to enjoy or anguish over. Yes, it can be done on a C!
"Twenty Hours to Think."
Robert Bailey - MOV Director
This is an unusual title for a story don't you think? I suppose it is appropriate as I get into the story.
It So happens that when I was planning for my summer riding season, it did not occur to me that I would be having a back to back set of rallies to go to where one started on the day that another finished. No problem you say, makes for a great week of riding and friendship with no lag time in between or having to fit work in between the events.
It seems I planned one in North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the other to be had in Lincoln, New Hampshire! What is a soul to do but take one on the chin and RIDE!
The First Rally was with my good friends and riders of the BMW Sport Touring Virtual Group. They have annual rally each year somewhere in the country that is hosted by a few willing or Crazy members that step up to do the task. Not easy when about 130 members show up! The Venues tend to switch from coast to coast each year. This year, it took place at The Little Switzerland Inn in Little Switzerland, NC. It is a very nice hotel on top of the Blue ridge Parkway near Marion, NC. The view is fantastic there for a nice three day event that ended on Thursday, August 11th. However, I, as a Chromehead member, make it a religious point to attend the annual Ramblin' Pigout held somewhere in the Northeast that has also morphed into a three day event. The Ramblin Pigout V took place in Lincoln, New Hampshire this year, about 1077 miles riding distance from each venue.
So, OK, it is August, the temperature this time of year is good, weather may be good, the heaviest part of the vacation season is over and if I plan my route right, I maybe able to do a Saddle Sore 1000 in less than a day, Maybe less than 20 hours! All of the sudden, it seemed that my neglect in planning and possible confusion of canceling one of the events when I realized it in July after the MOA International Rally I attended, was now turning into a conquest!
Could this be accomplished realistically while riding my 1999 R1200 C with about 48000 miles on it? Would the Comfort be there? Would I physically hold up to the stresses and strains that riding that amount of time damage to my body? Those questions and many more while I was planning and riding came to light.
I decided to go for it. I had the backup services of a little gizmo called a SPOT Gps locator which I got on sale during the spring as I felt it would give me piece of mind and a record of my routes planned for this year (somewhere in the 12,000 mile range total). My health seemed to be going good so far and long range forecast seemed favorable.
Little did I know that on Thursday, August 11, 2011, it was to be one of the best meteorological days of the year on the east coast! Not only that, the moon was at or nearly full to help illuminate the roadways while riding into the Northeast.
So, Onto the Ride-
My North Carolina rally roommate, Armando (now wingman) and I set off early in the wee hours of about 0530 am.
As I have heard and has been recommended by the Iron Butt Association, it is imperative to get an early start as one wants to make use of as much dawn,day and dusk light as possible for an endurance run of this sort. August days are still rather long, so this will be to my advantage. According to IBA rules, The start time and stop times are official when the first and last receipts are gathered per the fuel pump you stop and start at with a witness verification. All of the forms and procedures can be found on their website.
I was behind the eight ball from the very first fill up. We pulled in to fuel at 0620, the receipt I had from the pump had a time stamp of 0555. Great! I am already 25 minutes behind before I even start as I realize the err a few miles down the road. So, the process of the story title begins..... the questions come into play as I ride and continue for the trip, "will this loss of 25 minutes ultimately do in my quest to succeed?" I sure hope not. while riding, I was working. This is not just another ride for enjoyment, it is as W would say "Stratigity" If I was to succeed I would have to be smart.
The First goal was to get to the interstate and start to make as much time as I can without "speeding" Although this is a race, IBA wants all riders to arrive alive and not go nuts ripping down the highway. The best way to do this in my estimation is to take the interstate highway system and make tracks. The Plan is to ride I 40 to I 77 to I 81 to I 88 to I 90 through the Capital district of NY, Stop at home there to freshen up with a shower and change of clothes quickly with a short "how is everything?" then on to Rt 7 to Bennington, the Molly Stark Trail to Burlington, I 91 to northern Vt, onto the secondary roads to Lincoln, NH.
The First leg was successfully accomplished without fault. We ran down rt 226 to I 40 and the interstates rather nicely watching the sun rise and area traffic increase as rush hour settled in around 0800 by Hickory, NC. Traffic continued to be heavy as we rolled onto I- 77 in Statesville, NC. My wingman alerted me to the turnoff coming up to I 77 there as my GPS showed me to be OK in the far left hand lane at the exit before, but the exit for the I-77 was right after it. I quickly and safely advanced and merged to the exit lane for I 77. It was wonderful to have a wingman that helped with his extra set of eyes make the turn. I fear that If I blew past that exit, I may have lost another 15-20 minutes of precious time.
One of the longer sections of the trip was I 77. It ended where I picked up I 81 in Fort Chiswell, VA. Along this section of the route, Armando noticed that his rear tire on his RT was looking a bit strange and started to worry about it. It was a Continental ATTACK tire where I believe he said he only had about 6000 miles on it. We gassed up and continued on vowing to monitor the tire at every gas up and agreed to pull over if a problem developed. The 1200 C not blessed with a huge gas tank, limited our stops to about 110- 125 miles for fill ups. When we stopped just outside Roanoke,VA, Armando's tire was in bad shape. The tire was losing it's rubber quickly now with ghost lines of bias belts showing beneath the rubber that flattened on the crown of the tire. On top of the tire, small gummy pellets of rubber was sticking to it, not good to continue on. The question was asked and the heavy pondering starts again. "How many miles to the next dealer?" Where is the next dealer?" Could we make it to possibly Hermy's in PA?" The decision was made. Armamndo decided it would be best to lay back and find an independent in Roanoke and have me continue on. I was not too comfortable about losing my wingman from Connecticut, but it turned out it was a good choice. All was well. After consulting the Anonymous book and making a few phone calls, Armando had a Shinko tire installed at a Yamaha dealer in about 3 hours.
Now alone, riding north, the next obstacle appears ahead. Traffic comes to a dead stop. Apparently an accident occurred. Three lanes of traffic crawled for about a mile, maybe a mile and a half before it was forced to exit prior to Harrisonburg,Va. About 95 miles from where Armando and I said our goodbyes. The detour took me into town a bit, around a three mile detour. What do you know but along that detour was a Honda dealer open for business! If we had known, possibly he would of made it to this dealer and purchased a tire but then, maybe the other variables may have made a play too. Just adding the thinking into the 20 hours of the title again along with thoughts of just how bad that accident may have been. Apparently, It was good for me that I at least had only a mile of backed up traffic. On the other side of the detour, Traffic from the north was backed up for many more miles!
The long route of I 81 continues. A few gas stops along the way, doing the minimum necessary to stretch the legs, fill the tank and quickly answer nature's call. On into Pennsylvania after a short ride through Maryland. Seemingly endless miles of slab. One of the best things for me to have at least was a well varied selection of music programmed into my MP3 player. The player I have is the new Apple Nano Shuffle. I have a good varied assortment from Vivaldi to Seager, to "Nitty gritty dirt band" and of course, The Green Mountain Rally Favorites, "Snake Mountain Bluegrass" . There is little to worry about or keep your eyes from getting heavy when a favorite selection is in your ears.
Passing Harrisburg, Pa, I am back in some familiar territory as I have been through this way many times, it all seems the same. Through Scranton, PA and Camp Hill on into the Allegheny Mountain range moving to Wilkes-Barre. Once again, I see the flashing approach lights before the runway of the Wilkes-Barre Airport and as it happens to be, I arrive in this section of road between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre during The Five o'clock Rush. Traffic moves along rather slow. This includes the fact there are lane restrictions due to resurfacing. One uncaring Harley rider and possibly commuter takes to the varied littered shoulder and blows right by the traffic, seemingly uncaring about what ever debris lies along the road. I ride alongside for some time with another female rider who has a pack on the pillion going to destinations untold on a mid sized Yamaha. Gas is getting low through here and despite heavy traffic, I had to make an exit and do the routine stop. When I exit, I find my way into an even more congestion full of the influx of vehicles within the confines of Wlikes-Barre's sprawl Shopping district. Plenty of places to shop but not too many to gas up, Long Lights. Of course, there are multi lane left and right arrows that slow the progress of finding somewhere to pit stop. After a series of u turns, and lights, I find a national gas / convenience chain. I was hoping to find a Wendy's to satisfy my urge to eat and regain some nourishment but to no avail. I quickly got my gas fill up and went inside. I selected a half of a premade ham sub and a chilled bottle of Ice tea. While enjoying the meal outside on and around the bike, looking it over while I eat for signs of Final drive leaks or low tires and the such, a local Policeman fills his patrol car with gas at the station which I thought was quite odd in a large city such a s Wilke-Barre. What was not odd however was the fact that he looked like your typical patrol car cruiser cop complementing a good 54 inch waist line.
OK- so, Now, onto Binghampton NY and to battle some more of the high peak winds of the Allegheny that I neglected to mention before. The Sun is now casting longer shadows and the traffic has let up. It was surprising that so far in this amount of miles to this point, the only patrol car I have seen was filling his own gas or diverting traffic. It must be that budget cuts have taken many off of the radar scenes in most states. But then, we get into NY!
I fill up at Bighampton as I know that I 88 going to Albany has limited availability of stations. Ah, yes, familiarity is a great asset in also planning your ride. Getting towards about 7pm or 1900 hrs, the ride is lonely and long by most accounts on this stretch of highway. Well that was until now. After I have done so many miles before I arrived here, I will not look at I 88 that way again. It seem to move behind me that much faster than when I ever traveled it before. Keeping within my ultimate power band in fifth gear, I was running about 80 MPH indicated which as we all know is around 72 MPH. Going at a nice clip, I see some cars faster, some cars slower, but all of them moving in nice bands. I found that it was good to move along the highways at this rate of speed. Just enough to get by the vehicles on the right and letting them know that you are not in their blind spot. Anyway, As I was saying about NY troopers, I did see 2 or three patrol cars lurking in the woods monitoring traffic. I think there was one pulled over.
Coming into the Northeast-
Home is just on the Horizon as I see signs for Rotterdam and places like Schenectady. Ah, home. I must now decide on this part of the leg (part of the Twenty hours to think) exactly when I should fill up. I know just about every station on this leg. and I want to time it to make my fill up in Bennington last as long as I can. I decide that the Pilot Station just before the entrance to the I 90 tolls is good. It will be about 100 miles by the time I get to Bennington and besides, The gas IS cheaper in VT! So be it! That is done, I am on my way without even getting off the bike. Having a gas/ Credit card handy in your pocket for fill ups if a great time saver. As with the other stops, I retrieved my receipt and logged my entry. My stop at home was very brief. As I said before according to plan, I arrived around 9 PM, 2100hrs. I am running a bit late. a quick change of clothes, nothing serious is going on, I feel a chill so I decide to also change to blue jeans from kaki slacks, put on my BMW heated vest and Girbings liners for extra warmth but not plugged in yet.
I make my way up Hoosick street in Troy,ny past MAX BMW where traffic for a Thursday night is rather light. As anyone who travels this street, it can be pretty congested at times. As I ride out through Brunswick and into Hoosick Falls, I find that the NYS DOT has done partial pavements from the road's edge to below the crown which makes handling the bike difficult and challenging in the dark of the night. I take appropriate speed reductions to compensate. At just after 10 pm or 2200, I fill up at the Stewart's in Bennington and continue to Burlington via the Molly Stark. I find that recent work was done on several miles of the road and with fresh marking paint, it made the ride very pleasent. I continue on past Brattleboro and onto I 91 where I will start to once again rely on my instincts, skills, and experience to get me through undiscovered territory in the dark of the night. Interesting enough, My Magellan, which has been flawless thus far, pulled a big quark on me at the Pultney exit. It directed me to get off but then told me to get back on I 91 South! I obliged thinking it hasn't failed me but I knew that was not right. I made a median U turn back to the north. Soon after I decided that I really needed to at least get some heat to my gloves on the 59 to 62 degree dampness of the night. I pulled off on the rest stop ahead and found I only Had my cables for the gloves and nothing in case I wanted to get the vest warm. (The next day I did find those wires- Lesson learned, be better prepared) Set to go, i thought ahead on I 91 I should be thinking of a gas stop. I am running around 110 miles on the tank I think so next exit. No good signs for gas. continue to the next, a 24 hour sign. I exit but did not find an open store. Back on, Exit sign once again says 24 hour gas. I pull in to one, Not open but lights on, maybe the pump will still take a credit card. Yep! It dispensed all of 10 cents worth! I continue to Rt.5 hoping that Windsor,(home of member Tim Herbert) had a 24hr store. I recalled when I visited him before the town was vibrant and my have such a facility. It Did and I found the Cumberland Farms open with a bunch of juveniles playing on skateboards and such. I wondered if the town had a curfew as I saw a few Windsor Cop cars patrolling the streets. Well, On with the mounted fillup here. No need to stop, must push on the time is fleeting I think it is well past 12 am or 0000 hours. A check of the Receipt says 0029 or 1230 am.
Confident I now have enough gas to make it to Lincoln, I set off and find a ramp to I 91 above Windsor. Some miles up the road, I forget now how many, I am totally relying on my GPS to get me to Lincoln. My Cell phone is dead and it would not do me much good as it was not in range of it's carrier(Sprint) most of the day. I crossed a small bridge and I am in New Hampshire! I follow the GPS on some rural farm roads until I get to Rt. 112 I think. I get into Lincoln and fill up at 0211 or 2:11am. I am lucky I have found a 24 hour store in town. I ask the keeper to witness and sign my form and ask for directions to the Rally hotel of which I have forgotten the name of. All I remember was that it was a hotel with "White "in it. HA! I had an address but he did not recognize it. My only recourse was to drive around town, Look for a internet hook up and refer to the rally postings on our Chromeheads forum. I found a Comfort Inn, asked to use his desktop for reference from where I found the White mountain Hotel where everyone was staying. Saying thanks, I plugged the Address in my Magellan and arrived. at 0330 or 3:30am. Relieved, I found a few dozen R1200C's and knew it was the place! I thought that when I pulled up to the place my loud Z-tec pipes would wake some one up and I would be welcomed in and directed to my awaiting bed and room that I was to share. There was not a sound! The welcome mat was rolled up! I figured that I would not disturb anyone as it was real late, there was no sign for me on any doors so I just sat on a nice Adirondack chair, watched the Perseid Meteor shower and maybe fall asleep. I did. Then, about 0515 or 5::15 am, I was suddenly startled awake by a small pat onto my leg. I must of jumped about four feet and screamed! It seems a neighborhood cat lurks around the motel and was checking me out! Needless to say, I was awake for awhile and watched the sunrise, 24 hours after I started the trek north seeing it come up much differently than the preceding day.
Official Start- 0555 @ 49726 miles - Marion NC
Official End - 0211@ 50788 miles - Lincoln, NH
11 fill up of gasoline-
New Market Va
Wilkes- Barre, Pa