This would be my third Iron Butt ride. Each year I try to raise the bar a little. This is how it starts. I read a story about someone's ride and I think that's crazy!!! Then I find myself saying "I wonder if I could do that," then it starts............ This is the story of my attempt to ride to all 48 states in less than 10 days. My wife was not very happy about me doing this trip She was sure I was going to kill myself on this ride. She even asked me to please finish painting the house before I left so that she wouldn't have to hire someone to finish painting it when I was dead. I would be doing this ride on a 2004 Victory Vegas. The equipment on the bike would include two GPS's ( one for back-up ), a map tank bag with 3 maps and a Schwinn water bottle. I would also be bringing a spare drive belt, clutch cable, spark plugs and an oil filter, two jackets, five pairs of gloves (I wore all of them) and a rain suit. I was downloading some road trip music at ITunes for the trip when I came across this song. I didn't download it, I didn't have to. During the trip I kept hearing it in my head over and over. I think it helped me. I downloaded it when I got home. The bike- The first thing that I would need to do is plan a route that would hit all lower 48 states and do it in as few miles as possible. To do this, I used the MapSource program that came with my Garmin 2720 GPS. This route would start just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and end in Breckenridge, Minnesota. Planning this map would take weeks. I would not be using the route in the GPS. Instead I would download 26 way points to the GPS that I would use to steer myself around the country. The map- The numbers on the map are Go-To points on the GPS- I am going to have this ride certified by the Iron Butt Association so I will need to follow their rules for this ride. My first gas receipt would be my first state and my start time, my last gas receipt would be my end time. I would need a gas receipt for all 48 states plus I would need to save all my receipts ( food, motels ) for the ride so that the IBA can see my route. I started this ride on Thursday, August 7th at 8:15 pm. I started this ride at 8:15 pm because my start time would be my end time 10 days later, and my goal would be to do the needed 800 + miles before 8:15 pm each day. The MapSource program showed that this ride would be 8000 miles, so I would need to average over 800 miles each day for the next 10 days. I started at a gas station in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I am going to head east first so that I can do the east coast over the weekend. Hopefully there will be less traffic. I am also going to try to stay on central time as much as I can. I get my first gas receipt, check the numbers and head for Illinois. When I get my first receipt in Illinois the receipt is bad, it doesn't show the city or state so I ride one block to the next gas station and try again. This receipt is good. The ride continues. Receipts would continue to be a problem along the east coast. I would be waiting for the receipt and it would say "see attendant" or it would say printing receipt and nothing would come out. More time wasted. Sturgis, Michigan- The rain started in Ohio -- it would rain on and off until Vermont. Putting on the rain suit in Ohio- When I reached the end of Ohio I stopped at a truck stop. I was getting tired so I went inside to get a coffee and to walk around a little. I didn't know I would be staying here for awhile. I sat on the side of a padded bench, laid back (just to rest) and fell asleep. I slept for about an hour. I felt good and it was time to go. When I went back outside everything was wet, it had rained again. I least I missed the rain this time. I was able to make it to Vermont the first day. The weather forecast doesn't look good but I wouldn't have any more rain until Florida. Pictures in Vermont- Day one. Wisconsin Illinois Indiana Michigan Ohio Pennsylvania New York End - Bennington, Vermont. Total miles for day one - 942. A good start. ....................................................... The next morning in Vermont it's 52 degrees with heavy fog. It would be a slow start. I pick up a newspaper in Maine-- I'm going to buy one in each of the four corners (Maine, Florida, California, Washington) to show what day I was there. Fog in Vermont - Day two would be a long day. Traffic and a lot of toll roads. I wrote the name of each state in the order that I would be passing through each one on sticky notes, after I had a gas receipt for the state I pulled the note off. I did this to make sure that I didn't miss any states. I stopped in Maryland. I bring a lot of stuff! Day two Start in Bennington, Vermont. New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York (again) New Jersey Delaware End - Hagerstown, Maryland Total miles for day two - 716. Way below the needed 800 miles. ............................................................... After Maryland it was on to Florida. There was a lot of traffic due to construction in Atlanta and it was hot. Atlanta A peach! (I think it's a peach!!!!) I had used the internet to find this gas stop in Florida. The gas station was just over the Florida border but when I got there it was closed for repair. I was in Maine Saturday morning and in Florida by Sunday night. I had done the east coast in good time but I was worn-out. I was dehydrated and I hadn't eaten much. I was tired and sore and I really didn't think I could do another seven days. It this point I am deciding if I should continue. Florida Day three Start in Hagerstown, Maryland West Virginia Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia End in Atmore, Alabama Made it to Florida but the gas station was closed. Total miles for day three - 938 .............................................................. The morning of day four I feel better and decide to try to make it to all 48 states even if I don't make it in 10 days. First I need a gas receipt in Florida and then on to Mississippi. It's another 14 miles to the gas station in Florida and then another 14 miles back to where I am (more delays). Before I leave Florida it starts to rain, time for the rain suit. It would rain (pouring rain at times) for 300 miles. The rain stops in central Mississippi and after that everything goes well. Good weather, no traffic, no tolls, and no more problems with gas receipts. Now the ride is fun! Florida rain- On to Kentucky- Sunset in Kentucky- Riding into the sunset- The day's receipts- Day four. Start in Atmore, Alabama Florida Mississippi Louisiana Arkansas Tennessee Kentucky End in Sikeston, Missouri Total miles for day four - 819 ............................................................... Kansas- Oklahoma - Route 66 - Midway Point - Now what's the hold-up??? Hot Truck - Day five Start in Sikeston, Missouri Kansas Oklahoma Texas End in Tucumcari, New Mexico Total miles for day five - 902 ........................................................... Day six - It's time for an oil change. I stop at a Victory dealer in Flagstaff but they say that they are busy and they could do it in a little over an hour. I need to average 60 mph every day so every minute I stop I loose a mile. I can't wait. I have tools with so I bought oil and asked if I can use a drain pan and I changed the oil myself in their parking lot. Dealer - Oil change - I would get up at 4:30 am (central) everyday and try to be on the road by 5:30 am. At 5:30 am in New Mexico it is 55 degrees. I can't believe how cold it has been on this trip. It is August, it's suppose to be hot!!! I make to Needles, California that afternoon and it's 111 degrees. Careful what you wish for. I stayed in Needles for a couple of hours while trying to recover from being dehydrated again. I drank a lot of water and laid on the ground in the shade. I have ridden in higher temperatures but this year the heat really got to me. Needles - I left Needles and rode about 50 miles and stopped again and had more water. I make it to Las Vegas at 9:30 pm (central) I can't wait to get some sleep. I have been up since 4:30 am. As I am trying to fall asleep at 10:30 pm (my time, central) I realize that it's only 8:30 pm in Vegas. I'm in Vegas, it's 8:30 pm and I'm falling asleep. That's just not right!! Riding to Vegas- The Vegas in Vegas- Sun setting in Vegas - Vegas race track - Day six Start in Tucumcari, New Mexico Arizona California End in Las Vegas, Nevada. Total miles for day six - 839 ...................................................... Leaving Las Vegas. 5:30 am my time (central) 3:30 am Vegas time. And then it's on to Utah - I-15 my own private Idaho - And then Oregon and Washington. Washington- After Washington it's back across Idaho - Day seven Start in Las Vegas, Nevada Utah End in Riggins, Idaho Total miles for day seven - 926 ........................................................... The next day there would be 300 miles of twisting mountain roads to start the day. I'm on Hwy. 12 in Idaho when I see a moose crossing sign. I start laughing until I see a moose walking along the side of the road. I don't have time to get my digital camera so I use the disposable camera that I have in my tank bag. Day eight was a long day. I was setting the alarm for 4:30 am central time and because of the time zone change and my math skills I was up at 3:30 am central and on the road at 4:30 am. I didn't know that it was that early until I was leaving the parking lot and one of the parking lot lights lit up my clock on the bike. Per the GPS I rode 975 miles that day. Long day!!! Moose- 99 miles? Total of 450 miles of two lane twisting mountain roads in Idaho - Riding through Idaho - The Mountains - On to Casper, WY - GPS - Day eight - Day eight Start in Riggins, Idaho Oregon Washington Montana End in Casper, Wyoming Total miles for day eight - 968 .......................................................... When I left Casper, Wyoming it was 50 degrees and raining. It was a cold ride to Colorado. 50 degrees - Colorado - Pony Express - I made it to South Dakota and stayed at another cheap motel. Bikers Welcome, South Dakota - Day nine Start in Casper, Wyoming Colorado Nebraska Iowa End in Elk Point, South Dakota Total miles for day nine - 809 ............................................................. Day ten - I only have 268 miles to go and I have until 8:15 pm to make it. I still need a gas receipt for North Dakota and then on to Breckenridge, Minnesota. I made it to Minnesota by 10:37 am. I had made it in less than 10 days. I had made it in 9 days, 14 hours and 23 minutes. 9.5 hours to spare. The last 200 miles- North Dakota - Breckenridge - The last gas receipt. The 48th state - Final 48-10 mileage - 8199.7 - After I get my last receipt I need to find two witnesses. I had planned to go to a bank and have a notary sign my form. I went to three closed banks before I remembered that it was Sunday. I found one witness but I still needed another. I was riding to the hospital to see if they would sign my form and I was passing a church and the congregation is just leaving. Perfect. What could be better than a minister for a witness. I go inside and show the Pastor (David) the map, and tell him the story of the ride. We would talk for along time and he agrees to sign my witness form. We talk for a while after he signs and then...............he asks me if I would like to go to a picnic. He said that they were going to the park after the service for a picnic, and asks if I would like to go. This is great, I haven't eaten and I haven't had any real food for 10 days. What a great way to end the day. The food was great and it gave me a chance to meet and talk to a lot of people. (Thanks David!!) Day ten Start in Elk Point, South Dakota North Dakota End in Breckenridge, Minnesota Total miles for day 10 - 268 ....................................................... After the picnic it was only another 558 miles to get home. I stayed in Black River Falls, Wisconsin Sunday night - After the Falls it was only 200 miles to get home. I made back to Wisconsin on Monday, August 18th - Total miles for the trip were 8758. The first three days were hard and then the ride became fun. Every day was easier, it seemed like I could ride farther every day. Fun trip and I learned a lot. (I know where all the states are again) and met a lot of people. I can't wait to go again! (I finished painting the house when I got home) .