SaddleSore 1000 to Sault St. Marie

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Nytelyte, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Nytelyte

    Nytelyte Somewhere about

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    ** There are not a lot of pictures on this, I was riding and I only had my cell camera, which I can't use with my gloves. **

    Prelude: I've been hankering to complete a SaddleSore 1000 for about a year now. I was riding a CBR600F4i, which was a great machine but my hands went to sleep about 20 minutes in. I decided to get a better motorcycle for the style of riding I wanted to do.
    Enter 2002 FZ-1. I found it on the FZ10A forum in February with 1420 miles with a touring screen an yoshi slip on. Rented a truck, brought it home, sold the CBR. I've been putting miles on it, getting the poor thing broken in and learning it. Its MUCH more comfortable, plenty of power, smooth and efficient.

    The Plan: I live in Dublin, OH. My plan was to leave here about 0515 in the morning, truck my way up to Sault St. Marie, MI, turn around and come back. Route was to go up US-23 to Findlay, I-75 N, back onto US23 at Toledo, back onto I-75 at Flint all the way to the turnaround. Check out the locks, fuel up, and same route home in reverse. I've never been north of the Au Sable River in Mi and I have always wanted to ride my moto across the Mackinac bridge, Sault St. Marie is 511 miles away from my house, and for my first SaddleSore I wanted a highway out and back so I can be as efficient as possible.
    The Route
    I get about 180-200 miles or so to the tank on the FZ-1 and I can comfortably ride it out. I installed a Go-Cruise throttle 'lock' to help my right hand. I use a Nelson-Rigg tank bag with drinks, Cliff bars, a MSR bottle with about 30oz emergency fuel (didn't use it), my clear face shield, a wet microfiber towel to clean my faceshield and my other Sena. I cruise with audio books playing, I've found it keeps my brain more engaged than just music and makes the miles roll.

    The Ride: I laid out my gear and set up the bike the night before and hit the sack at about 2200. I woke up at 0450, had a quick coffee, sandwich & water, got my wife to sign my start witness sheet, geared up and rolled out. Got to the Shell station close to my house, fueled, grabbed a gatorade for my tank bag, took a picture & got a receipt.
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    Picture was when I got to the station & started. Of course the receipt printer is out of paper so I run in and have one printed, fuel time stamp was 0527.
    Get on 270 for a hot minute, hop on 23N and roll. First section has some stoplights, and I've ridden through that area enough to know that the 45mph speed limit needs to be followed, even at 0530 in the morning.. and sure enough, in Delaware I go by two police running traffic. That quickly opens up into farmland Ohio, small dips, little field fog banks, and nippy! I was planning on this day being warm so I was wearing my lightweight gloves and had no liner in my jacket, but this stretch is cool enough to keep my fingers cold and my legs hugging into the engine. I see the sunrise & its gorgeous, traffic is light, temperature starts to climb, the engine is singing and I'm feeling good. Its a fantastic day for a motorcycle trip.

    I merge onto I75N at Findlay, and just cruise. Slip into Michigan & stop for fuel in Ypsilanti just on the south side of Ann Arbor, first leg of 178 miles, 8:02am. Grab 4.02 gallons of fuel, a bottle of water, and a cliff bar. Back on I75N.
    Stop for fuel just north of Roscommon, MI, second leg of 189 miles, 10:34am. 4.08 gal of fuel, finish my water. While I'm fueling a guy at the next island starts regaling me about his motorcycle days, asks the standard "How big is that engine? How fast can it go? How many MPG?" while filling his SUV. Nice enough guy, had that look in his eye that said he would swap places in a heart beat... No thanks. Back on I75N.

    Rode behind two riders on Harleys with pillions on this leg. Harley 1 had a tendancy to get RIGHT up a car's butt and then wave angrily at the car, Harley 2 rode a more intelligent distance between rolling hazards. Stayed behind them for about 10 miles, saw this drama 4 times & decided that I didn't want to have to dodge an accident, so I passed them and moved on. No hard feelings, just not my style.

    I'm just cruising and start to see signs for the Mackinac Bridge. I'm looking forward to this, big long bridge, high winds, seeing down THROUGH the bridge to the water below, $4 tolls each way... Wait, What?! $4 to ride across a bridge?! Really? Each way?! Thats 2/3 a tank of fuel... Oh well. Riding across the bridge was awesome, great views, WIND! High wind advisories with a speed limit of 20mph for anything with a trailer. Bike was moving around with the wind, was interesting. Then off the bridge, pull up to the booth and give the nice lady her blood money and move on. She gave me a very strange look; I think she could hear my audio book piping out of my helmet and could not figure out what "I" was trying to say, something about wizard magic. I'm probably lucky I didn't get flagged for 'investigation' and tackled by some men in black suits with sunglasses... No drama, soon I was bombing north through the pine forests and gentle straight hill stretches to the locks.

    Pulled off the highway at the last exit before Canada. Rode through town to the locks, grabbed a quick parking spot for a picture behind a Triumph.
    [​IMG]
    I looked around for 2 minutes and noticed that the helmet on the Triumph had a ADV sticker. I tucked a quick note with my screenname on the edge of the seat, its always cool to 'meet' another inmate. Saddled up, got to the fuel station. Third leg of 157 miles, 1:08pm, including a 12ish minute ride through town and picture stop. Got 3.56 gal of fuel, a powerade, water and a cliff bar. This fuel station is the first one I've used in probaby 10 years that you pump the fuel THEN go in to pay: no prepay, no credit card reader on the pumps, just pull up, fuel up, then pay. Receipt did not have an address, but the attendant gave me his name and number and wrote the address on the receipt. Hopefully between that & the store number the IBA will be happy... Then back on I75S towards home.

    Back to the bridge, same extortionist transaction (except I turned down the volume this time). The right side lane of the bridge was closed, so I rode on the grates. With the wind and the wandering feeling the grates lend to the bikes handling, it was slightly unnerving. Got back onto solid ground and headed on.

    I stretched the fuel tank on this one. I got behind a Subaru going a nice speed and fuel burn was a bit up. Got off the highway to get fuel and the helpful sign said the station was 3.4 miles off to the east... The heck with that! There will be another fuel station next to the high way before that! Went through the intersection and headed on.... and on. and on.. Fuel light came on (which I try to avoid, so I don't know how much fuel is left when that happens) and the road was doing that funny thing that only happens when you are very low on fuel; each mile feels like 5 and any bump in the road feels like the engine gurgled air. I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to need that emergency fuel in my bag..

    And then a sign for fuel! I get off the highway and pull into this place near West Branch, MI. Its a gravel parking lot with a handful of Harley riders. Curt nods all around and fuel was garnered. Fourth leg of 184 miles, 3:48pm. While I was filling the tank I watched one of the Harley riders fill his tailbags with beer and ice... And I admit that one of those would have been good right then, the day was really warming up at that point. More water and onward!

    Almost exactly 47.5 seconds after I got on the highway and up to speed I took a butterfly (It was the size of a crow, I swear) dead center to the middle of my face shield. With the quantity of guts that gooshed out of the darn thing, I'm amazed that this bug was able to get high enough off the ground to get me in the face. It was like I rode full speed into a flying jelly donut, the mess was epic. I wiped it off as delicately as possible but that only served to smear it all over my gloves as well as my shield. No option but to clean the thing off, it would have driven me crazy for the next 3 hours. I pulled off at the next overpass, wiped it off with the microfiber (If you don't use these, you are missing out.) and pressed on.

    At this point in the day I'm surprised that I'm still feeling pretty darn good. I'm able to keep moving around in the saddle to keep any spot on my butt from getting too worn in. My throttle hand is the only part of me that is actually 'tired', and its more of a stiff from not being able to move it around much as anything. Unfortunately the Go-Cruise is not tight enough on the throttle to hold my speed up. I set it, shake out my hand for 8 seconds or so, then need to grab more throttle to maintain speed. The bike holds speed somewhat better than just pulling clutch and coasting, but not by much. I need to fiddle with the thing to make it reliable as I really like the concept. Other than that its just a warm summer day on the highway, warm and cruising.

    I stop for fuel in Milan, Mi for what I HOPE is the last stop before the end receipt. Fifth leg of 168 miles, 5:10pm. 3.8 gal of fuel, tanked up on water, gatorade and a cliff bar. Got back on to get on the highway, head the way I came... and no entrance to the highway? WTF? I go over it, turn around in a gravel parking lot that happened to be a little produce stand's drive. There is a little girl, 8 or so, in a beat up golf cart bebopping around in the gravel, stops when I pull in and gives me the strangest look, a "Who are you, what are you doing, and why do you think you can do it here?" look. Her future SO will have a handful, methinks.

    Spin about and see the signs for entrance back on the highway a little ways south. No big deal, but I totally missed it on my way off the exit ramp. First signs of fatigue? I don't know, but it makes me think and vow to reamp my attention. Can't get sloppy, that's how things go bad in a hurry.

    Back on the highway, and back to cruising. Traffic picks up as I close in on the Toledo area. I forgot to flip my map in the tank bag window at every single stop on the way south, and as a result I followed a sign for 23S when I should have followed 75S, which results in a two-ish mile out of the way jaunt up I75N. Oh well, its only one exit's worth of highway. Get back on track and head south.

    Back into Ohio and back down to a 65mph speed limit... Drat. I cruise with traffic and keep an eye out for Findlay where I exit I75 for US15, then to link up with 23S back to home. I'm on 23, cruising & watching the sun set, and I pass a pickup truck that is below the speed limit. This truck was in full redneck regalia, NoFear sticker right next to a peeing calvin, bumper scrotum, rusty, one and one half fog light hanging on the front bumper, cracked windshield, the whole shebang. Apparently being passed offended this fellow's tender sensibilities, for I hear a clattering racket fire up just as I get past him and this heap adds two or three whole miles per hour, which appears to bring it to its highest achievable velocity. Amusement ensues on my part, I cannot speak to the emotions in the truck, but I doubt they mirrored mine.

    I'm watching my fuel gauge, tank odo, and miles remaining, and I'm coming up with a very close call. I really don't want to stop again until the end. I'm hoping that the lower speeds of this country highway will bring up the average mpg and it will get me there...

    Back through Delaware, see two more police running traffic radar (The only four cops I saw all day were running traffic in Delaware, OH), then back on 275 and off at my exit. The fuel light comes on about a mile out from the fuel stop, but it will make it. I stop at the Speedway nearest my house, get fuel. Final leg of 174 miles, finishing time of 8:58pm. 4 gal of fuel and four blocks away from my house.
    [​IMG]

    Get home, have a shower and a homebrew, and complete! Now to finish the receipt paperwork and send it off to the IBA for verification. :clap

    Final Stats:
    Start time: 0527
    Finish time: 2058
    Total Time: 15H 31M
    Start ODO: 2263
    Finish ODO: 3313
    Total Miles: 1050 by ODO
    Total Miles by map: 1024
    Discrepancy between ODO mileage and Map mileage is due to side trips for fuel off the highway and odometer error.
    Total Fuel Burn: 23.6 gal
    Average Gas Mileage: 45 mpg

    Great ride, only soreness the next day was my throttle forearm (dang go-cruise) and my inner ears from wearing earplugs for 15.5 hours. The FZ-1 did great, I am thrilled with its performance and my own.
    #1
  2. FirstLight

    FirstLight Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    172
    Location:
    N. Carolina
    Great ride and great report! Like the way you broke it up by gas stop, seemed natural due to the range. Well done.

    67.7 mph average speed is cookin! I'll never tell. ;-)
    #2
  3. Nytelyte

    Nytelyte Somewhere about

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Thanks! :freaky Its fun to write this stuff up.

    I was just keeping up with traffic, really, most of the time just a comfortable bit above PSL. And I kept my stops very short, just fuel & bio, and back on the bike and moving. Its not too hard to make good time. :evil
    #3
  4. Haar

    Haar Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI (Beulah)
    Hey there: don't know if you're familiar with your area (and I'm certainly not) but if you go north (of Del.) and turn right at Rt. 229 you'll have a really nice day trip. Go east through little towns to Mt. Vernon, stay on 229, keep goin' til Rt. 36 (to Newcomerstown) and you can start hittin' backroads throughout and around there (Salt Fork Lake). Lots of gravel and shittyasphalt. Rts. 258, 342, for example, going over hill and dale, but look out for Amish buggies on hairpins, 20mph curves. Your bike should do it nicely (my fjr did it in the rain). Be prepared to spend a leisurely afternoon and don't be afraid to just turn off (like Rt. 800) and do a gravel/backroad back and forth. And don't forget Rt. 555. (ssshhh!) Great change from the gridlock of Cols. --good ridin', I'll be in the area (at least in deer season)
    #4
  5. RECON

    RECON Guit Sum

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    745
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    Welcome to the IBA!
    #5
  6. Squirreltoe

    Squirreltoe Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Central Iowa
    I just stumbled on this. Good write up. I'm going to sneak one of these in before the winter sets in. Thanks for sharing.
    #6
  7. Nytelyte

    Nytelyte Somewhere about

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I just got the "Your Ride was Approved" email from Kneebone. W00T! :freaky
    #7