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Ride Report: Iron Butt 7-23-10

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Wonko T. Sane, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. Wonko T. Sane

    Wonko T. Sane Adventurer

    Jun 1, 2009
    PNW Dryside
    Ignacio once said:
    With all these I think excitement carries you the firt 500 miles, youth can carry you another couple hundred, and you develop the ironbutt sense and character that last 200 [​IMG]

    (Don't blame me for the typos, blame the source)

    In many ways, the tale of my saddlesore 1000 is two stories. On one level, what I did is very simple. One morning, I got on a motorcycle, rode for 510 miles, turned around at a gas station, and rode back.

    You want a more in depth version, fine, I'm an ex long haul driver, ex city bus driver, who laughs at ten hour days behind the wheel. I knew I could complete the trip, my only question and concerned was for my relative lack of riding skills, and how bad the pain would get before the ride was over.

    Oh, you want the real story? Fine. But If I were you, I'd stick with the short version.

    Perhaps, in truth, a saddlesore is like most other deceptively simple things, in that doing simple things well is usually harder than doing complicated things poorly.

    It's fitting that I quote Ignacio to begin this ride report, as although the poor bastard has never met me, he is directly responsible for my descent into the heart of madness. I work at a municipal corporation, for which Ignacio serves as a board member. When one of your board members decides to take an 11,000 mile road trip for a vacation, people in the fairly buttoned down world that I work in take notice. I, I must admit, take a lot of notice. I followed Igancio's blog, as well as his progress through the Iron Butt 2009 rally with keen interest. First off, I had no idea that the LD rider community existed, and the idea of the Iron Butt rally was as foreign, and as fascinating as watching Anthony Bourdain eat warthog asshole on the travel channel. I didn't think I wanted to try asshole, but I was glad someone had.

    Perhaps partially due to the influence of reading too much from the LD riding community, perhaps due in part to my own history of endurance travel, when I started riding, I never though 100 miles in a day was any big deal. Inevitably, this has led to some time spent with mapping programs. Taking a moment at work to briefly glimpse at a possible motorcycle trip, or a quick look at a motorcycle forum for tips on where the good roads are in various places around the west are a part of my daily routine.

    And so the trip began a while ago, but it also began on Monday. As I realized that due to some poor scheduling on my part I would be working a lot of long days early in the week, I did as I usually do, try to save the taxpayer a buck or two, and get my boss to agree that I should take Friday for the sake of the budget. It didn't take much for our department head and my coworkers to agree that they were better off without me, and as I worked my way through my week, I started thinking about a Friday ride. I had just recently done both Stevens Pass and Ukiah, so I was looking for a different direction, but not one that would duplicate riding I'm planning on doing as part of an extended tour in the fall. Figuring out that Pocatello ID was 510 miles away from my door was an accident. Why would anyone WANT to go to Pocatello? Unfortunately, that number stuck in my brain. My wife wanted me home on Saturday to go the Farmer' s Market, so I didn't have a lot of time.... just enough time.

    Friday morning came, and I was still a bit unsure about trying for the Iron Butt membership card, but I had my wife sign a witness form, just in case. And as soon as I had wasted her time, my mind was made up. I had admitted to my wife that I was going to try something. Although she encouraged me to take clothes for a hotel stay, I knew then that failure would have to come from something mechanical.

    The ride itself was simple. Using advice on route planning I had culled from various blogs and forums, I set a course based on fast slab. I hadn't been in Southern Idaho for quite a while, recently had a friend move to the area, and so I was set on Pocatello, a town with little to recommend it other than it sat at the end of a lot of 75 mph superslab.

    My first receipt was the typical frustration that accompanies such events, no location, no time, none of the information that I needed for proving that I had been there. A quick trip into the station changed all that with a duplicate printed from the helpful cashier. Aim south, open throttle.

    At this point it should be noted that after the huge hours that I have racked up on the road due to jobs and wanderlust, it is still one of my favorite places to be. Although people can argue about whether or not you can mediate while riding a motorcycle, I find that my brain will often begin polishing coal. It will obsessively work on a topic for enormous amounts of time, providing me with clarity about my day to day interactions with people, goals, or mental blocks. This was not one of those trips. This was the trip where the simple fact that the gas station with crappy receipts was playing crappy Jason Mraz and that meant that I was stuck with crappy Jason Mraz in my head for at least the first nine hours of travel.

    It was also a shakedown cruise of sorts. It gave me a chance to see if my newly mounted panniers and newly purchased under armour heat gear would work as expected. Panniers were great, heat gear was a mixed blessing. If you are wondering, I wouldn't wear heat gear and a mesh jacket in anything less than 85 degrees, and the pass headed into La Grande, Oregon was less. It was so cold for a while that I began to think that the two pairs of two up beamer riders in front of me had a croissant machine in the boxes. They may have, I'm just not sure. I was following them due to their casual disregard for Oregon's speed laws, and I wanted to make sure that they were safe.

    After shivering out a dental filling, and hallucinating about optional french bakeries stored in bavarian hard luggage, we arrived in Ontario, OR, where I got my first fuel receipt of the run at a truck stop where the attendant taught me to run their pumps so I didn't have to wait for the state mandated fuel attendant the next time. Needless to say, I stopped at the same place on my way back.

    Idaho. The less said about the Idaho part of this run the better. All I will say is that the fork brace that I bought before the trip from Richland Rick's transformed my motorcycle's cross wind stability. 8 hours later, I left Idaho again.

    As Ignacio said, the last 200 miles are where you earn your certificate. Now wearing a jacket liner and the top half of my rain gear, I headed back over the pass. My arms hurt badly enough that I rode in the fast lane so that I would see people coming up behind me, as it was excruciating to turn my head to check the passing lane. Shifting positions in the saddle was now pointless, as everything hurt and I was only my half an hour sandwich stop off of a butt burner gold pace.

    Nothing funny happened from the point that I left Oregon up to the point that I reentered Washington. If you have ever had a hard ride with little scenery or anything else to recommend it, you know what I mean. The only funny part came as I reentered Washington for the short part of the ride between the border and my home. Watching the few stars that I could see while not running off the road, I wished that the ride wasn't over quite yet. In modern life, as an increasingly responsible member of society, a person gets less and less chances to test themselves against a standard. These test are often where a man can learn about himself, things both good and terrible. It was nice to get out and do something difficult again, for no other reason than that I believed I was equal to the task.

    I'll send in my paperwork tomorrow, but it doesn't really matter one way or the other. I earned my iron butt yesterday.
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Aug 16, 2002
    The long story sounded good.. congrats on your achievement :thumb
  3. bg

    bg Monster

    Jul 21, 2004
    Mayberry, WI
    Well said.

    Much congrats on your successful (and safe) finish). :thumb
  4. mentalfloss

    mentalfloss Been here awhile

    Sep 19, 2009
    Outside Lawrence Kansas
    What a treat to hear of your trip.
  5. IgnacioB

    IgnacioB Been here awhile

    Nov 8, 2004
    Pasco, WA
    I would have to say that we should meet up sometime....unless you have a family member that now has a hit out on me for dragging you down into this pit. ;)