Monday – July 21, 2008
Kevin and I embarked on the ride of nearly all rides. The goal was to complete our first Iron Butt ride. 1000 miles in 24 hours. The route planned would takes us from Bakersfield CA to Springer New Mexico. We would pass through Barstow, Needles, Flagstaff, Albuquerque and then on to Springer. 1022 miles in total. There are three reasons for this plan; We want to get to the rockies, We want to do it quickly, and we’re totally insane. The later one came into realization as the alarm went off at 5 AM. We figured we could get on the road by 6 AM Pacific and be done by 10 PM Mountain. Seemed like a pretty sound plan. It wouldn’t be an interesting ride other than the fact we covered a massive amout of distance in a short time on a motorcycle.
For those of you who don’t know about the Iron Butt I’ll give a quick brief. Specifically we are doing the Bun Burner (I’m guess cause your rear end is on fire!) That is 1000 miles in 24 hours. Its pretty doable in 16-18 hours. When you start the ride you have to have a witness sign off that you’ve left as well as get a reciept from a gas station with a date and time stamp. The key part of the witness is they need to be reachable to verify they did indeed see your crazy ass leave that particular place. Then along the way you need to gather receipts at any stop possible as well as log these stops. This is especially important when you are making a prominent turn in the route. Then when you finally arrive at the destination you need a gas receipt with a date and time stamp as well as another credible witness. Not much, but enough to make it interesting.
The alarm went off at 5 AM, we were loaded and ready to go by 5:30. We had to backtrack about 20 miles to get to our official starting point. It didn’t take long so we got our receipt and hit the road. Something of note, Kevin’s bike has nearly twice the fuel capacity as mine. I can go about 200 miles before I need gas where as he can do over 350 miles. We had our first gas stop in Barstow CA and took a quick break. Then back on the freeway we went. I’m so glad I bought the XM Radio receiver to run through my Zumo. As the freeway is incredibly boring on a motorcycle. As we approached the Arizona border and the Colorado river it started to get hot and muggy. Uhg. The kicker of taking this route via the 40 is you think you’re going to cross into Arizona an moment but instead you end up following the river south for a while. In the hot mugginess.
At about 160 miles we planned to start looking for gas. Unfortunately the nearest gas was 40 miles away. That puts me pretty close to running out of gas. In middle of the desert there aren’t many places to fuel up. Kingman AZ was our nearest location. My bike started flashing at me around 170 miles saying “Dude, get gas.” At 204 miles we rolled into a gas station in Kingman. My fuel guage said I had 0 miles to go until I ran out. Fueling up, I put in 5.5 gallons into my 5.2 gallon gas tank. Close! We finished fueling and rolled over to CJ’s Steak house (Carl’s Jr. for you common folk).
After lunch we get ready to load up and what’s this?! There is oil coming out of the rear seal on his final drive. Let me tell you. This is the one thing that Kevin always says he’s worried about. And here its happened. We were 350 miles into the Iron Butt and failed. I wasn’t too worried about it, these things happen. Something of note the particular BMW both of us ride (Not at the same time, we have our own bikes) has a shaft drive rather than a chain. Unfortunately sometimes the seals have failures. And, if you don’t catch it soon enough it can be really bad. Pondering what to do I grab my iPhone and start looking up BMW dealerships. The two closest are Las Vegas and Phoenix. Las Vegas is about a 100 miles and Phoenix is just over 200. Since Kevin’s bike said “Go to hell!” we figured Vegas was the closest we could find. (Phoenix is a close second with the heat!) So, knowing our Iron Butt run is over we head towards Phoenix hoping to get to the dealer on Tuesday morning and repair the bike. For some reason, BMW dealers are closed Sunday and Monday. Go figure.
Once we located the dealer in Vegas we had to determine where were gonna stay. I pulled out the iPhone again and checked out some places. Cheapest place I could find was the Tropicana for $50 a night. Not to shabby but definitely no five star resort. Nice thing it was on the strip so we could walk to go do things. With our incredible desire for Vegas night life we went to the movie theater! Haha! It was hot, and neither of us really wanted to be there so we saw Batman. Great movie btw! Afterwards we wandered over to NY NY for some pizza, beer, and people watching. You see some funny stuff in Vegas! Eventually we made it back to the room and crashed out for the night.
Tuesday – July 22, 2008
Tuesday morning we got over to the BMW dealer around 8:30 so we could be some of the first inline for their service department. It was a good thing too. Shortly after we arrived a number of other people did including a tour group with about 10 riders. They were pretty accomodating and got Kevin’s bike in right away. We went accross the street for breakfast with our new aquantence Chuck. Chuck is down from Alberta on his way to San Diego via the BMW rally in Gillete Wyoming. Great guy. I’m hoping to catch him while he’s in San Diego. By the time we got back from breakfast the bike was done and we were set to go! Or so we thought…
About 25 miles outside of Vegas we stopped to get gas. And his bike was leaking again. Crap! So, back to the dealer again. This time they did some more diligence and took it for a longer test ride. This seemed to fix the problem and we beat feet to get out of the heat. Our Iron Butt was blown but we still wanted to see the Rockies so we got headed in that direction. We figured we would stay somewhere near Flagstaff since it would be much cooler. We had dinner at Rod’s World Famous Steakhouse in Williams AZ. We had never heard about it but gave it a shot. It was ok. I think the touresty route 66 trap has taken its toll on it. It was about then we remembered they don’t do Daylight Savings in Arizona and asked the waitress what time it got dark. She said “About 8 or so.” It was 6:45 now. we had little time to find and setup a campsite before dark.
We found a campsite near Lake Ashurst just south of Flagstaff. It was nice and cool and a great spot. Kevin noticed they had these giant ants. I never saw one but I’ve heard about them getting that big. I made sure I used extra stakes to hold the tent down. Sometime around 1 AM I woke up with one of those “Oh shit, something is outside” feelings. Sure enough, there were coyotes out sniffing around the tents and bikes. Kind of a weird feeling but what can you do. I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Waking up the next morning was awesome. The weather was great. I made some spegetti and meatsauce for breakfast. Then walked around and took some pictures.
Next installment: Four States at a time and Durango