Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Iron Butt - Bun Burner Gold (1500 Miles in 24 hrs)

Starting Date: Sunday 11/01/09
Starting Time: 6:06 am (CT)

Starting Location: Paducah, KY
Ending Date: Monday 11/02/09
Ending Location: Paducah, KY
Ending Time: 4:01 am (CT)
Total Elapsed Time - 21 Hours 55 Minutes
Total Mileage - 1558 (Garmin/MapSource)
Total Stops - 11

Click here to view the Spot Map

  Iron Butt - Bun Burner Gold Route     (Click Map)
(ride 1,500 documented miles in 24 hrs or less)

After completing an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 2000 ride in late August, I came away with a much better understanding of my riding/endurance capabilities. Back-to-back 1,000 plus mile days left me reasonably sure I could have ridden much farther each day. With that in mind, I began planning the next step, the Iron Butt Bun Burner Gold.  I promised myself I would closely evaluate the BBG throughout the ride for fatigue. If, at anytime, I felt rest was needed, I was fully prepared to stretch the ride to 36 hours (Bun Burner1500). 

Sunday, November 1st, 2009 proved to be a perfect day. The temps started out cool (mid 40’s) but warmed quickly under a bright, clear sky. I left Paducah, KY at 6:06 am CT, headed north to Marion, IL via 1-24 and I-57. After a quick turn around gas stop (7:53 am CT), I turned south on I-57, crossing the Mississippi River at Cairo, IL and continuing on to the next turn at Matthews, MO on I-55. (8:59 am CT)

The temps had warmed enough to switch to a lighter jacket and gloves. I gassed up to mark the corner and then turned south on I-55, skirting around West Memphis, AR and Memphis, TN. Two planned gas stops and a few hundred miles later, I made the next turn east on I-12, complete with a gas stop, near Hammond, LA. (02:56 pm CT). By then the temps were in the low 70’s (f) with little wind. It was a beautiful day for a ride!

 Interstate 12 quickly turned into I-10 and I crossed the LA/MS state line, passing near Biloxi, MS and on to Mobile, AL. I turned north on I-65 at Mobile and marked the turn with another gas stop (4:49 pm CT). Daylight was fading fast, along with the warmer temps. I changed back to my heavier First Gear Kilimanjaro Jacket and Gloves before continuing north to Montgomery and on to Birmingham, AL. (6:56 pm CT)

Following the by-pass around the east side of Birmingham, I eventually turned northeast on I-59, passing near Gadsden and Fort Payne, AL and continuing on to I-24 at Chattanooga, TN. After losing an hour to the Eastern Time Zone, and yet another corner gas stop (11:47 pm ET), I continued north on I-75 to the junction of I-40 where, after marking the corner with a gas receipt (01:01 am ET), I turned west, toward Nashville, TN. Not far west on I-40 I returned to the Central Time Zone and regained the hour lost.

By now it was late and my concerns for forest rats (deer) were foremost in my mind. I could not decide if the bright, full, harvest moon and clear skies were, overall, a plus or a minus. I could see much better with the additional moon light, but I also thought the deer might be on the move as well. After all, this late night ride was in the middle of the deer rut (mating season), through prime deer country, in the mountains of northeast AL and eastern TN. Luckily, I never saw the first deer.

I stopped again on the north side of Nashville, at a seemingly deserted gas station, to mark the I-24 corner (2:09 am CT). I continued northwest about 45 miles to the rest stop at the KY/TN state line, where I made a quick pull-over (5 min) to evaluate how tired I was, and to find a stick of gum. I have found chewing gun helps me stay alert.
The rest stop was chocked full of people sleeping in their cars with their motors running. In tough economic times many find motels an all too expensive luxury.

Throughout the night the temps had averaged in the mid to high 30's (f) but now dropped to a chilly 32 (f) degrees, insuring a brisk ride at Interstate speeds. Fortunately, I was wearing a warm electric jacket liner and was tucked in behind a fully faired Gold Wing.

About eighty-five miles later, I arrived back in Paducah, KY at the gas station where I started. After collecting an ending gas receipt (4:01 am CT) and completing the ending witness form, I rode the last four miles home, somewhat tired but, strangely, wired and wide awake.

I made a total of eleven stops on this ride, not counting the starting and ending receipts. Without the use of an auxilary fuel system, my gas stops came at the required corner marks or between 180 and 200 miles. All but one was a planned gas stop, saved as "Waypoints" in my GPS. None of the stops were longer than eight minutes, with most in the six to seven and a half minute ranges. I encountered two gas stations with pay-at-the-pump receipt problems. I was fortunate neither caused a delay. Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of my receipts.

Borrowing a good idea from LD Riders Steve Short and Greg Rice, I used Aerostitch Pannier Bags, which enabled me to eat (sparingly) entirely on my Wing while riding. I normally avoid caffine a few days before and during long rides, limiting my liquid intake to nothing but water. I have yet to find a suitable hydration system I find practical. Until I do, I continue to use a Butler Cup and bottled water during LD rides.

After a few days of reflection, I would make one major change to this ride. Considering the inherent danger of riding at night during the deer rut, it would have been more prudent to reverse the route. Riding the dangerous mountain, deer infested portions during the daylight hours and deferring the flat, open ground of Mississippi and Arkansas for the night riding. I will certainly incorporate this lesson into any future Iron Butt ride I plan.

Although the ride was tough, I thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, the real fatigue showed up after the ride, over the next couple of days, as the adrenalin rush wore off.  

Once again, I gained valuable insight into my long distance endurance capabilities. I eagerly look forward to the KY In-State SS1000 and the  Ironbutt 50cc, planned for the spring of 2010.

"Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying"- Andy Dufresne, "The Shawshank Redemption"
It reminds me to value life and to embrace it whenever I can. Embracing life does not mean being stupid or reckless, but it does mean experiencing it as fully as we can. ~Bruno Valeri~ (L D List)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Maine/Canada Leaf Peeping - Fall 09

Our friends in Maine have invited us to come up for the Fall Foliage Peak. We will be leaving Friday morning, again in the Camry. Unlike usual, I will blog this trip, with pictures, on our return at Old Enough to Retire, Young Enough to Enjoy It!

We will use the Spot Tracker throughout the trip. If interested Click Here or click the Spot Logo on the right sidebar.

Right is still right even if nobody's doing it. And wrong is still wrong even if everybody is doing it..... ~Unknown~

Monday, August 31, 2009

Iron Butt Saddle Sore 2K (2,000 Miles in 48 hrs)

Day One
Starting Date: Saturday 8/29/09
Starting Time: 7:35 AM (CDT)
Starting Location: Charleston, MO
Ending Location: Santa Rosa, NM
Ending Time: 9:29 PM Mountain Daylight Time (10:29 CDT)
Day One Riding Time - 14 Hours 54 Minutes
Day One Mileage - 1069

Rest Break - The Days Inn, Santa Rosa, NM (7hrs 24 mins)

Day Two
Starting Date: Sunday 8/30/09
Starting Time: 4:53 AM Mountain Daylight Time (5:53 am CDT)
Starting Location: Santa Rosa, NM
Ending Location: Charleston, MO
Ending Time: 9:21 PM (CDT)
Day Two Riding Time: 15 hours 28 Mins
Day Two Mileage - 1069

Two Day Recap:
Total 2 Day Riding Time: 30 hrs 18 mins.
Combined Riding and Rest Time: 37 hrs 42 mins
Total 2 Day Mileage: 2138

Mileage Calculation Methods:
Honda Gold Wing Odometer-2138
Garmin-Model 2730-2055
(Online) Google Maps-2060
(Online) MapQuest-2062
(Online) Bing Maps-2106

Click here to view the Spot Map

Iron Butt SaddleSore 2K     (Click Map)
(ride documented 2,000 miles in 48 hours or less)

This ride was a straight forward one thousand miles out and back.

My route took me south from Charleston, MO via 1-57 to I-55 and on to West Memphis, where I turned west on I-40, through Little Rock and Ft Smith, Arkansas. I continued across Oklahoma, through Oklahoma City and across the Texas Panhandle to Amarillo. The first leg ended 95 miles west of the Texas-New Mexico border at Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

I was blessed with beautiful weather for most of the ride with two exceptions. I ran into moderate rain Saturday night near Santa Rosa, NM and again, about daylight, Sunday morning returning. Other than that, blue skies with mid 70's to low 80's temps.

The visual highlight of the ride came at daybreak Sunday morning as I re-crossed the New Mexico/Texas border (near Shamrock, NM) on the return (east) leg. The sun slowly rose behind high, thin, rain-streaked clouds.  It was siimply beautiful over the arid Texas Panhandle.

After a smooth, uneventful return, I arrived home from Charleston, MO around 10:30 pm (CDT), tired but very satisfied with the ride. It should also be noted, my Wing purred like a contented kitten the entire trip.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." ~Helen Keller~
My life goes in only one direction ..... forward! ~HBO's Madmen~

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tennessee Courthouse Tour

It is only a matter of time before I continue my Courthouse Tour, this time in the beautiful state of Tennessee.

Tennessee has 95 counties which I have divided into four trips. Leg 1 & 2 should be overnight trips (2 days) while Leg 3 & 4 will be two nights (3 days). I will probably do these four trips sometime during the fall of 09 and spring of 10.

As yet, I have no date in mind for any of the rides.

If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. ~Wayne Dyer~

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot.
~Michael Altshuler~

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Old Enough to Retire, Young Enough to Enjoy It!

Carolyn and I will leave on our Northwest vacation July 7th.

As promised, we will blog as much as possible along the way. If you are interested you can join us with the link below.

Comments are always much appreciated and always welcome!

Old Enough to Retire, Young Enough to Enjoy It!

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with" ~Mark Twain~

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

KY County Courthouse Tour (10)

120 Counties Visited
122 Courthouses

As late as last Friday the weather forecast remained doubtful for the later portions of the upcoming week. Bright sunshine and moderate temps were universally predicted for Sunday through Tuesday. With this forecast in mind, I invited both Bill Hulen and Kevin Pugh to accompany me on my next and final KY Courthouse Tour. Sadly, Bill was unable to ride due to previous appointments.

After a quick gas up, Kevin and I left Paducah Sunday morning at 7 am, east-bound to Shepardsville, KY. and the Bullitt Co courthouse.

(102) Bullitt Co.
Shepardsville, KY

We rode into downtown Louisville on two lane, tree canopied streets, past Churchill Downs and Cardinal Stadium. This is a magnificent mature neighborhood full of beautiful, well maintained, hundred-year old homes.

(103) Jefferson Co.
Louisville, KY

The largest Kentucky county by population is Louisville/Jefferson County , which has a population of 693,604.

The Jefferson County courthouse is enormous! For a size comparison, notice my Wing parked in the lower right side of the photo. This building is simply too large to include in one photo at close range.

(104) Oldham Co.
LaGrange, KY

From Louisville we rode north-east on 1-71 to LaGrange, KY. After visiting Oldham Co's courthouse we were treated to some great two-lane twisty roads.

(105) Henry Co.
New Castle, KY

(106) Trimble Co.
Bedford, KY

(107) Carroll Co.
Carrollton, KY

(108) Gallatin Co.
Warsaw, KY

In 2000 the Gallatin county population was 7,870 in a land area of 98.81 square miles, an average of 79.6 people per square mile. It is the smallest county in the state.

(109) Owen Co.
Owenton, KY

(110) Grant Co.
Williamstown, KY

(111) Kenton Co.
Independence, KY

This is the first of two courthouses located in Kenton County.

Kenton and Campbell counties are side by side in the Covington-Newport area. Each county has an inner city courthouse to the north and another courthouse in the southern part of the county. I assume this accomodation allows people to complete their courthouse business without coming into the city.

After leaving Independence we made the decision to find a motel and dinner in Florence, KY.

The next morning we turned north and rode through beautiful, green hills and curvy roads to the small hamlet of Rabbit Hash, KY, on the banks of the Ohio River. I found this area to be quiet and peaceful, in addition to being quiet scenic.

Rabbit Hash is the home of the oldest, continually operated general store in Kentucky. It is also recognized by the National Historic Register for the part it played before and during the Civil War, ferrying runaway slaves north to freedom across the Ohio River.

An original log cabin at the site of the Civil War ferry landing in Rabbit Hash, KY.

(112) Boone Co.
Burlington, KY

Six miles downstream from Cincinnati we crossed the Ohio River on the Anderson Ferry into Ohio.

We stopped just across the Ohio River to check Kevin's static filled CB ground wire connection.

We soon discovered Kevin's battery was dead. Kevin found a replacement and eventually, we started his bike, and were able to resume our ride.

(113) Kenton Co.
Covington, KY

This was the second courthouse for Kenton Co.

While stopped in downtown Covington, we quickly learned Kevin's bike remained unable to hold a charge, despite the new battery. Kevin decided to head for home while the bike still seemed capable of making the trip. I followed him west on I-71 until he was well within one gas tank's range of Paducah. Kevin made it back to Paducah without further problems.

After Kevin departed I returned to the Covington / Newport area and resumed my courthouse tour solo.

(114) Campbell Co.
Newport, KY

(115) Campbell Co.
Alexandria, KY

This is the second courthouse for Campbell Co.

After leaving Alexandria I called it a day and returned to Covington to find a motel room for the second night.

Old Augusta Ferry (The Jenny Linn)
Augusta, Ky

Tuesday morning I left Covington shortly after daylight and followed the Kentucky side of the old river road south-east in a moderate to heavy fog. Eventually I arrived in the picturesque river town of Augusta, KY. Unfortunately the ferry was closed due to the fog.

Augusta is a beautiful little river town with peaceful, tree-lined streets filled with restored buildings and quaint shops.

I rode south to Walcott, KY to visit The White Covered Bridge. This covered bridge is privately maintained and in immaculate condition. It is located in a small park near the main road in Walcott, KY. By now it must be apparent I also have an interest in ferrys and covered bridges.

(116) Bracken Co.
Brooksville, KY

(117) Pendleton Co.
Falmouth, KY

(118) Robertson Co.
Mt. Olivet, KY

Robertson County is located in north-eastern Kentucky in the middle of the Licking River and Bluegrass regions of the state. It is the smallest county in population, and the second smallest in area with one hundred square miles of land.

Johnson Creek Covered Bridge (Four miles southwest of Mt. Olivet, KY)

(119) Mason Co.
Maysville, KY

I have had the pleasure of riding my bikes in Ohio many times in the past but I have never been able to find a safe place to take a picture of the state sign. While in Maysville, I decided to cross the Ohio River again and check out the sign at Aberdeen. Fortunately, this time a volunteer group was painting a mural on the concrete abutment below the sign and had the highway cordoned off. I was finally able to add Ohio to my state sign collection.

(120) Fleming Co.
Flemingsburg, KY

The Goddard White Covered Bridge
Goddard, KY

(121) Nicholas Co.
Carlisle, KY

(122) Harrison Co.
Cynthiana, KY

The Valley View Ferry across the Kentucky River

This paddle wheel ferry, opened in 1780, is the oldest continuing business in Kentucky. It is located on Tates Creek Road, 12 miles south of Lexington. It is now publicly funded, free to use, and is easily the best maintained ferry I have ridden in KY.

High Bridge

My last stop was a trip to High Bridge KY. The majestic High Bridge railroad structure, considered an engineering marvel of its time and featured by the Smithsonian Institute, is an honored landmark that spans the Kentucky River at the breathtaking Gorge and Palisades. When built in 1877 it was the highest railroad trestle in the world.

I departed High Bridge Park around 3:15 pm, stopping in Bardstown for a quick sandwich and a tank of gas. I arrived home around 7:15 pm after riding 1278 miles for the three day ride.

I regretted Kevin's battery problems knocked him out of half of this trip, but, in the end, anyone who travels knows you always have the ever-present mechanical and electrical glitches to deal with. Kevin and I have had many great trips in the past and I look foward to many more in the future.

This trip completed my tour of Kentucky's Courthouses. The courthouse theme was simply a means to explore my home state of Kentucky. It accomplished that goal and many more. I highly reccomend it to anyone suffering from a bad case of "Wanderlust".

My wife, Carolyn, will be retiring next Wednesday and my travel focus for the forseeable future will shift primarily to automobile trips. I will also still be making shorter trips on my Wing. Look for a web link to our new blog to be posted here in the near future.

And finally, two signs I saw on this trip that put a smile on my face. The first was actually a bumper sticker I saw twice.

"Wag More - Bark Less!" (Sage Words to Live By!)

The second was seen near Lexington, KY in the center of some very expensive horse country.

"The Double Stink Pig Farm"


"You could be the one who takes the long way home, roll down the window, turn off your phone, see your life as a gift from the great unknown and your task is to receive it" (Mary Chapin Carpenter - "The Long Way Home")

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly". ~Unknown~