There and Back Again: A 50cc Tale. Yeah, Im here. I pause. I think I need to just enjoy the moment I say and hit the end key on the phone. Im sitting on the beach, the sun not yet up, crying softly. Im too choked up for words. Ive just ridden straight through the night, finishing nearly 2500 miles in under two days. Every emotion is playing itself out: Joy and Elation are met by Despair and Agony. Every ache in my back, the crack to my left knee, the stiff neck and dry eyes every pain simply vanished the moment I placed my first foot on the creaking wooden stairway that led to the beach. I wondered how many others have taken this exact same step the same way. Im alone, yet not. The picture of my wife winking at me as I rode through darkness, the posts of my friends on STN, the countless calls and PMs from Ken badgering me Are You There Yet? Im anything but alone. A bird chirps, a family sits off to my left waiting the sunrise, someone else jogs by while another person crushes a cigarette out in the sand. I pick up my empty Gatorade bottle and walk into the receding surf. Foam and water swirl over my boots and up my leg as I bend down to collect my prize: A bit of sand and some salty water. Just as I turn my back the sun rises and the first rays of golden-red light paint my shadow on the sand in front of me. Im here. Im not alone. And Im wondering whats next. ********************* It all started back in March, 2008 at a gathering of us riders. Sitting around after dinner we chatted about what a great year of riding 2007 had been and of some of the goals we had for 2008. My friend Ken spoke up saying I need to do something crazy this year. The end result of this 45 minutes BS Session was an agreement to do a 50CC ride. Abut 6 weeks ago, a number of us gathered to together at James home for some fantastic sammiches and great company. During our event Ken had a comment: Ken: "I need to do something crazy this year" Me: "You mean like not get a ticket?" K: "No, a ride. A BIG ride." M: "SS1k?" K: "Too mundane." K: "Maybe a B2B via WCRM?" M: "Logistics are lousy for me. I'd need to take nearly a full week off." K: "Then?" M: "oooooooooohhh...I know. Back to back 50cc's" K: "I'm listening" M: "I ride out, get to Jacksonville in two days. You FLY out, pick up the bike and ride it back. I fly home..." K: "I need another beer..." It was a simple plan, really. Our original plan was to rent a K12LT or some such nonsense. The more we looked into it, the less attractive it became. My GS would be up to the task with a couple simple modifications (seat, windshield, radar). It just needed some execution. I give you: The MotherShip. And her Co-Pilot. The Office for the next 48 hours... 50 hours, Coast to Coast. In my case, Huntington Beach, CA to Jacksonville Beach, Florida. In under 50 hours. Our discussion wound up with us renting a BMW K1200LT. Over the next couple of weeks the K-LT plan was abandoned mainly because the thought of riding a completely unfamiliar bike was a bit daunting, especially one as big and imposing as a K1200LT. Instead we chose to finish outfitting my vaunted 2007 R1200GS just for the ride. Farkling to begin at dawn! The plan formulated quickly: I would ride out starting at 6:00am PST on a Thursday morning and would finish no later than 8am PST that Saturday. Ken would fly out to JAX on Saturday (where we would meet at the airport) and then ride the GS home, leaving JAX Beach at 6:00am PST on Sunday, finishing the ride somewhere around 8am PST at the Western end of the 10 Freeway, Santa Monica Beach, CA. The ride itself would be simple: Get on the 10 Freeway and get comfortable for the next 50 hours For my part, my goal was to be on JAX Beach in 42 hours. I would ride 18 hours the first day, attempting to set down 1,250 miles later in Junction, Texas for an evenings rest. Leaving at 6am meant I should be in Junction around 12am PST (2am Texas Time). I calculated that I should be able to get Six hours of sleep before moving on. That meant I would leave Junction at around 6am PST (8am Texas time). Then I would make the run to JAX, come rain or shine, in one final ride. My hope was to run another 18 hours and arrive in JAX Beach around 12am PST (3am Florida Time). So, 18 hours + 6 hours + 18 hours = 42 Hours. Total distance would be 2,450 miles. Id need to have a 68mph moving average for my 36 waking hours. Since most of Interstate 10 is pretty much wide open riding (and I assumed Id be able to cruise at 85mph pretty much all the way) I figured that averaging a 68 mph rolling average should be doable. Ken and I compared notes and he decided that his return trip should be pretty close to the same. After all, its just the 10 get on it and go. Exactly how much planning does one need? We set forth to farkle the bike. The 2007 R12GS is one amazingly well equipped bike for distance riding right off the factory. 200+ mile range, smooth Boxer motor, extremely comfortable and adjustable ergonomics come right from the factory. Id already equipped the bike with the following: Crash bars Quad Fog Lamps (Hella Micro DE fogs, Hella FF50 Driving Lights) Ohlins Suspension (front and rear) Garmin Zumo GPS Touratech Zega Panniers + BMW Vario Topcase Bags Connection quick-detach Engage Tank Bag Autocom + ER6i earbuds To this basic setup we then added: Bill Mayer Saddle (special thanks to BMS Saddles who did a fantastic 4 day turnaround on the saddle!) Grip Puppies Ghetto Pegs (home built highway pegs made from 1 galvanized tube, 4x hose clamps, and a couple of rubber stoppers) Givi Adventure Windscreen Conti Trail Attack Tires (brand new, 9mm starting tread depth) Delphi XM MyFi Escort 8500 Radar 12 volt cig-lighter socket (wired into the tank bag) Fresh Oil and a tune up and we were ready to go! We barely had 4 real weeks to finish putting the bike together. It was a rush job and one that I am damn proud of. HUGE compliments to Bill Mayer Saddles for converting my stock saddle into a true mile-eater in just FOUR days! We could not have made the ride without such a quick turnaround. Fresh power leads were run from the Centech box (now fully maxed out) to the Escort and the 12 volt cig lighter. Relays were double checked, lights were cleaned, parts were bolted up. We finished final prep the night before I left, thereby violating the very well known IBA Rule: Dont make any changes to your bike the night before the ride! I stuck the key in the ignition, hid the spare in the tank bag. Checked my insurance and registration and turned off the lights in the garage at 8:30pm, Wednesday night. **************************** It was a simple plan. I leave tommorow at dawn.