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Old 06-15-2012, 08:51 PM   #1
calimusjohn OP
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Location: Sprague River, OR & Salome, AZ
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SaddleSore at 73

The I.B.A's Saddle Sore 1,000 has been completed by over 33,000 riders. So, it is not terribly unique or considered as extreme. Many of the completions are done on the Super Slab Highways. I opted to try the Rattlesnake 1,000 because it is run on two lane asphalt twisties found in the north east corner of Oregon and should be a challenge.
My challenge: Ignore my Doctor's advice and ride. To clarify: I am 73 years ancient and broke my back in three places last year. Most Medico's are very conservative. To give myself an edge, I left the Goldwing in the garage and recruited my 2011 Suzuki Vstrom 650 to go the distance. Late on Friday, I left home and piddled away 150 miles of the 365 from home to the starting point in Prosser, WA. This would leave an easy 215 on Saturday before the start at 0400 on Sunday morning.
I spent the night in Bend, OR. Slept well. Only took 20 minutes to crawl out of the bed in the morning. Plans and Reality sometimes don't coincide. Back muscles were doing a lively Polka version of Riverdance show stopping exhibitions. Crap! O.K. Fortified with two anti- spasm - everything - pills, a stack of Ibuprofen and a small dosage of Vicodin I was ready to hit the road. I beat the ice off the seat, (31 degrees) plugged in the electrics and headed north.
Forty miles in brisk morning air and I was starting to feel human again. A Black Bear Diner lured me off the pavement in Madras. The waitress sat me at a table next to a young couple touring on a new Goldwing. We swapped lies about Banff, Lake Louise, Glacier, Tetons, Yellowstone, etc. We wished each othr well as they departed ahead of me. When I went to pay my bill - it had been paid by the Goldwing couple from Denver, CO. You made this old Coot's DAY! ! ! I will pay this kindness forward.
The 45MPH gusting to 60 plus winds in the Columbia River Gorge, welcomed me to Washington. A quick spin heading upstream and downwind to Paterson and a final 24 mile spurt north had me checking into a Best Western Motel located a hundred yards away from my destination of Desert Valley Power Sports in the early afternoon.
I completed the preliminary paperwork associated with any ride of substance, grabbed a bite to eat and retired early. That 0400 start time was lurking in the near future. . . . and now to sleep. . .
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:42 PM   #2
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Off to a great start calimusjohn , love your style .. and attitude.
Good luck for the rest of your venture, take care and post soon.

cheers
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:03 AM   #3
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I'm in for this ride!

Thanks,

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Old 06-16-2012, 04:28 AM   #4
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Yeeeeeeee ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:48 AM   #5
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computer glitching

My computer ate segment #2.
4:00 A. M. comes early. Sixteen of the forty that signed up for the challenge actually show up. Our Iron Butt Facilitator, Dan Denchel gives a quick briefing: Watch out for deer and other critters, sign the waivers, keep a log of stops with time, odometer readings and attach the necessary time/dated gas chits at each mandatory fueling. Without a chit, you can't prove you went to each check point. He looked over the bikes, recorded our starting odometer readings and wished us, "Good Luck". We will need it.
Many of the bikes are "Crotch Rockets" ridden by twenty/thirties somethings. They wheelie out of the parking area headed for the nearest gas station to get the first "Chit."
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Old 06-16-2012, 12:18 PM   #6
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The Start

I am not quite as agile as I once was. I can't throw my leg up and over the seat in one fluid motion. Instead, I generally end up kicking the side of the motor, wiggle-walk my foot up to the top of the seat and then side hop towards the bike until I am perched on top in complete control. Please - don't snicker. . . O.K. Mostly in control. Except for one minor detail this morning. Somehow between last evening and now - I have lost my Credit/Debit card. I have back-ups and enough cash to carry on. But!
By 4:18 A.M., the bike is fueled and I am finally on my way. It is only 124 miles to our first check point in Condon, OR. The Weestrom can cover 250 miles with a topped off tank. (Hint of things to come.) I have to go south and then east to reach a bridge over the Columbia River. No problem. I am cruising along watching for deer at W.O.T. (wide open throttle) when a white staccatto snake flys past my right shoulder. What the ? ? ? I look down at my tank bag. The 4x6 cards with route information are not in the small map holder!
I stop. I turn around. I ride back to find cards scattered along 100 yards of pavement. I slide off, pick up, sort and finally ZIP the errant cards back into the tank bag's map case. There is a thin white line along the eastern horizon fading out the stars. I do the kick, squirm, and hop routine and resume the ride.
Waves three feet high and white capping are seen below the bridge as I lean hard into the 45 MPH wind while crossing the Columbia River. It seems that one mistake leads to another. Yep. Took the wrong off ramp and found myself riding through small towns that were not yet awake. I was the only thing moving so wasn't too worried about the 25 - 35 MPH speed signs.
Eventually, I begin to notice that the landmarks around me don't match what I studied on the map last night. Drat! Stop again to get my large map case out of the tail trunk. AHA! I am found. I am on a parallel road headed for Condon and have actually made up some lost time. Realizing the map does little good locked away in the trunk, I push it up under the front of my jacket. Start kickin' and hoppin'.

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Old 06-16-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
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Cool2



Two hours and a mess of minutes after starting, I ride into Condon. It is not a large town. Both houses have big front porches to sit on and watch the crazy motorcyclists racing back and forth looking for the now defunct gas station. Someone has a "Smart" phone and relays that the next town has gas. It's about twenty miles on down the road. We all head on down. Hmmmmn 124 plus 20 is 144, give or take.
The next town has two gas stations. Both are closed. It is Sunday in rural America. We all practice riding back and forth between the stations. Then a bike breaks out and heads south. We follow along.
Next town. Same ol' story. An educationally challenged young man is sitting on the tail gate of a pick up truck. ( In my imagination - he is playing Dueling Banjo's). He speaks to a couple of riders and they take off. I don't know what the latest rumor is, so I flag down one of the Rocket riders. He stops on the right side of the road at the apex of a sharp, banked curve to the left.
I stop beside him, turn off the key and put my feet down. Only problem is: there is nothing but too much space under my left foot. The bike slowly at first and then very rapidly leans to the left. I shout an obscenity as I am catapulted completely off the bike to land in the opposit traffic lane. I try to tuck and roll. I land on my left side with my arm safely tucked up under me. A rib landed on the arm and quickly broke. I am beginning to think that this is not going to be a great day for me.
The Rocketeer is almost immediately hovering over me asking if I am all right. "Hell no!" I shout. After the initial hit, I had rolled sideways. I then landed on the "kink" in my back where it was broken last year. My, but that smarts! Eventually I am able to crawl back up to my bike which is lying on the engine protection bars (We used to all them Crash Bars) and atop my new Jesse aluminum saddle bags. Both wheels are in the air.
I find out my helper's name is - Will. He is saying he doesn't have cell coverage and can't call for an ambulance or a tow truck. I am running out of expletives and have by slowly crawling, reached the bike. I ask Will to help me get it upright. He grabs the bars and has the bike up with minimal assistance from me. We can't push it up the slope, so Will climbs on, gets it started and rides it forward to a flat spot.
When he is off the bike, I ask him to help me by raising my foot and basically drag my leg up and then across the bike to where I am on the seat. He is looking at me like I am nuts, but gets me on the bike. I am so discombobulated that I can't get the bike started. Will tells me to raise the kickstand. I can't. He holds me upright and raises the kickstand with his foot. The bike starts. Will tells me, "In ten miles the adrenoline is going to wear off - be careful."
He was correct. The ride into Spray, OR seemed to take forever. When we spotted the other motorcycles lined up at the pump, Will went forward and recruited a "Catch the Old Guy" crew as I rolled in. They were all great. I slid off the bike so I could retrieve meds I had stashed in the trunk. Even went into the station to pee. Funny thing, later when I reached for my map case - it was missing.
After downing a cocktail of anti - spasm pills, a few Ibuprofen and a dash of Vicodin, I was ready to continue the ride.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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SaddleSore at 73

As we used to say in Vietnam: "Charlie Mike!!!"

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Old 06-16-2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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I wonder how the Rocket bikes have covered the 187.4 miles my trip meter recorded on our way to Spray. It turns out they all stopped for gas after crossing the Columbia. They heard a rumor the gas station in Condon was closed. Hmmmnnn.
I stuff 5.4 gallons into a 5.7 gallon sized tank. Whew! Definately topped off.
We discuss my options. 1. Stop in Spray. 2. Ride to John Day and see how I feel then. What a plan. Two guys help me back on and wish me luck. I find that I can stand the annoyance of having limited left arm motion. At John Day, I top off the tank and head out on a lap through Vale to Burns and back to John Day. The road out of John Day is no problem. Fuel in Vale. Ride across the plains to Burns. More gas and back to John Day. So far so good.
Another factor I must deal with. Old guys gotta pee - often. . .. Solution: Don't drink anything. I sip very small amouts of Gatorade or an Energy drink to prevent complete dehydration. When I mis-calculate, I am rewarded with cramps in my legs. They are really fun to deal with at speed. I rub with a free hand and scream inside my helmet until the muscle just gives up and releases.
Every mile covered is one less to ride.
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:54 AM   #10
Ian Robinson
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Hey like yr style ...great RR... looking f/wd to more.
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:40 AM   #11
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I'm in for this one too!
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Old 06-17-2012, 04:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calimusjohn View Post
He is looking at me like I am nuts, but gets me on the bike.
You might be nuts!

But an inspiration too...

Thanks for taking the time to write this up, great reading.
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:01 AM   #13
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calimusjohn ; dang , you make my beat up old body seem to work flawlessly ! I broke my back years ago , also broke my neck (cage tagged me) . Had heart surgery in 62' , now all my joints are about shot from work . I also have a 650 weestrom . Without highway pegs , I couldn't ride 30 miles , bad hip . Biggest day I have ever put on my strom is about 550 , took me an hour to get moving the next day . I will be waiting for the rest of your story ! Thanks for writing !
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:58 AM   #14
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Thank you kind readers for the kind words I now have even more respect for the men and women who write ride reports, post them and add photos and videos as they end each day. Good Grief! When do they sleep?

For variety, we stop at the Shell station in Canyon City. Biker friendly. Spotless facility. Good folks.

Just down the road a couple of blocks is a long red barn with farm equipment and yard art parked outside. Stop. Go inside. A museum of farm/ranch life is inside. They also build stagecoaches, buckboards, hay wagons, etc. True Artisans.

Oops - - - gotta run. . ..
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Old 06-17-2012, 12:13 PM   #15
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We sneak through John Day and head out Oregon Route 7. It zig zags along the ridgeline adjacent to Chief Joseph Canyon. Just when I start feeling comfortable, the road jumps off the ridge and plummets down cliff face after cliff face. I quickly lose count. Thousand foot drop offs are found at every other curve. Curve is a misnomer. These are TURNS. When the handlebar hits the stop - it's a turn. I scream (guess who is doing the screaming) around one turn and skid to a halt. A fawn is standing monument still in the middle of my traffic lane. We stare at each other until she bolts off.
The other riders waited at the bottom of the canyon. When they saw that I had made it down - they buzzed off. The road squirms along the canyon bottom following a waterway. Then - surprise - surprise - it climbs the opposit canyon wall. It is a magnificent ride. It makes "The Ride to the Sun" in Glacier National Park seem like a stroll down a garden path.
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