Friday, May 21, 2010

Iron Butt Bun Burner 1500

(Click Map)

Iron Butt Bun Burner 1500   (Spot Map)

Starting Date: Saturday 05/22/2010 
Starting Time: 4:31 am (CDT)
Starting Location: Paducah, KY
Ending Date: Sunday 05/23/2010
Ending Location: Paducah, KY
Ending Time: 11:14 am (CDT)
Total Elapsed Time -  31 Hours  23 Minutes
Total Mileage - 1576 (Garmin/MapSource)
Motel Stop - 6 hrs 35 mins (8:58 pm to 3:33 am)
Total Stops - 10 (not counting beginning and ending)

Typically, I first rode the more extreme Iron Butt Bun Burner Gold (24 hr), back in November 09. Even so, I wanted to complete the 36 hour Bun Burner and felt this was an ideal time to get it done. This Iron Butt ride is somewhat unique because time is not really a factor. Thirty-six hours is more than enough time to enjoy the ride, include a reasonable rest stop, and remain well within the Iron Butt time guidelines.

I left Paducah, KY at 4:31 am 
(CDT), just before daybreak, again following my normal pattern of starting early. I rode east to Beaver Dam where I made my first fuel stop. From there it was on through Elizabethtown, Lexington, and Winchester, KY for the second stop.

To this point the weather could not have been better with temps in the low 60's and a promise to be warmer later in the day. However, as I entered West Virginia at Huntington, dark clouds began to accumulate to the south along my intended route. By the time I reached Charleston a light sprinkle had developed and was gradually intensifying .

South of Bluefield, WV, following I-77 (The West Virginia Turnpike) I entered the first of two, mile long tunnels. The East River Mountain Tunnel and the  The Big Walker Tunnel . The East River tunnel enters on the West Virginia side and exits on the opposite side of the mountain in Virginia. The Big Walker Tunnel is entirely in Virginia and equally as long.

I crossed I-81 near Wytheville, VA, continuing south on I-77, over The Smokey Mountains at Fancy Gap, VA. The always unpredictable Blue Ridge weather turned into a frog-choking downpour and did not let up until I reached the lower elevations on the east side of the Smokies.

 As I neared Charlotte, NC the traffic increased dramatically due to the Inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies and Race Week. I soon departed Charlotte on I-77, headed south to Colombia, SC and on southwest to Augusta, Ga. via I-20. 

While planning this ride, I entertained the idea of combining this IBA Ride with one of the many Motorcycle Touring Forum - Ride to Eats (RTE) in this area. Unfortunately, I could not do so without starting the ride in the middle of the night. After carefully considering my route, I concluded  this idea added unnecessary risk and was not advisable.

Arriving in Augusta, I made a quick fuel stop, along with a call home to let my family know I was well. My original plan was to evaluate how I felt at this point and then decide whether to continue or find a motel. I felt fine so it was on to Atlanta.

I expected the traffic to increase as I neared Atlanta but was nonetheless surprised at the amount of evening traffic headed into the city. As I passed the center of town traffic lightened considerably. Once completely clear of Atlanta to the southwest, and having ridden nearly 1,100 miles, I decided Newnan, Ga would be a good place to stop and get some rest. (8:58 pm 

When riding alone, it does not take much to satisfy my motel needs (Think Clean). With this minimal requirement in mind, I quickly spotted a "Motel 6 With The Light On". In short order I had a down and out room, covered my Wing, and was settled in.

A short six and a half hours later (3:33 am, 
CDT), at the insistent, low-pitched demand of my Screaming Meanie, I gassed up and continued southwest, following I-85 to Montgomery, AL. I purposely left at "O'Dark Thirty" to avoid the heat wave predicted for Sunday afternoon. In what seemed like no time at all, I had ridden 150 miles, arriving in pre-dawn Montgomery, AL for a gas stop, a quick "Butler Cup" of coffee and a turn north on I-65.

I encountered low lying areas of moderate fog and very little traffic in the early Alabama dawn. The fog soon dissipated, leaving a perfect morning to enjoy a beautiful sunrise. Interstate 65 through early morning Birmingham was eerily deserted as I rode north. 

After a quick gas stop near Decatur, AL, it was on through the Sunday morning quiet of Nashville, officially ending the ride back in Paducah, KY at 11:14 am 

I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I have come to enjoy planning and executing a challenging Iron Butt Ride.

"When it's time to die, let's not discover we never lived" ~Henry David Thoreau~

"Absorb what is useful, Discard what is useless, Add what is uniquely your own" ~Bruce Lee~