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Iron Butt Ride to the Left Coast

Joined
Aug 31, 2007
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1,023
Location
Beaumont, Texas
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Ken
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Phenix
When the prospect of a winter trip became a possibility, I set a few goals. I wanted to see the Pacific again. I hadn't seen it since I was 11. And of course I wanted to ride the Pacific Coast Highway. An Iron Butt ride (SS2000) was almost a necessity just to get to the west coast in the limited time available but what I really wanted was to earn a Bun Burner Gold. Don't ask me why. I wanted to meet and ride with internet rider buds in California and weather and time permitting Washington State. There's the annual polar bear ride New Year's Day in Vancouver WA too. It would also be nice to work in a visit with Aunt Peachie who lives in The Sierras close to the Nevada border but I figured everything at that altitude would be impassable on two wheels.



The Tigress (my 2006 919) was ready and eager to stretch her legs. Brake pads, oil change, rear tire and one wheel bearing were all she needed. One by one I scratched the little mods I planned off the list as the holiday season hit at the shop. There was no time. I spent Christmas day packing the bike - no small feat but everything fit.

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Today's the day, December 26th. I pulled out a little after 9am with a couple of stops to make before the gas stop to start the clock. As I passed by a local bike dealer "The Motorcycle Man"� I noticed the open sign then and discovered my friend and icon in the local rider community Revon Craig inside at his desk. He happily agreed to be my start witness. What a great way to start the ride!

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With my sights on a Bun Burner Gold, I hit the road at 11am. From Houston my route took me north to Fairfield then Waco and back down through San Antonio to ensure the 2000+ miles I needed. I made excellent time until construction and holiday traffic stopped me cold south of Waco.



I lost precious time but was determined to make it. Rain in San Antonio reminded me why I replaced my old comfortable gloves. I refused to take time to unpack the "good" gloves and just turned up the heat. My heated insoles however, were readily accessible in the top case and I plugged them in somewhere in west Texas. After a while though, they were at maximum and losing their effectiveness. I could feel the wires burning my wet fingers but my hands were still cold. I stopped in Deming NM at 5am mountain time to layer up and change gloves. It was 20 degrees and I had been running 75mph for several hours. I was asking myself, is wind chill cumulative or exponential? Didn't matter - it was cold. Then to my chagrin the 24hr gas pump I had meticulously mapped out was off. I took more time to find fuel. At Lordsburg I came to the realization I would not capture the gold this time and took a 3 hour nap at the Econo Lodge.

Refreshed and with plenty of time to snag the standard Bun Burner 1500 I pressed on. Arizona was sunny and gorgeous with mid-day temps in the high 50's. I encountered some traffic in Phoenix but then enjoyed a particularly spectacular sunset. I rode well past the 1500 mile mark - like 200 miles past and gassed up in Desert Hot Springs California at literally the last minute.

I met up with Mike at a burger joint on the east side of LA.

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We had a great visit and then he led me through the spaghetti bowl - I could see his tail light in the distance. I had never seen anybody drag knee on a Burgman before! :eek2:

With fatigue setting in, I pulled off and let myself doze off for 10 minutes or so with my head on the tank bag. I had made a wrong turn onto Hwy 99 and didn't realize it until after getting gas in Bakersfield and not finding the I-5 ramp. I had to map a back road route west back to I-5. The adrenalin shot from the anger and frustration I felt just may have given me the energy to complete the ride. I made it to the designated end point in Gustine CA at 7am Pacific time and checked in the Motel 6.

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I fell asleep while texting Dan, my end of ride witness of my arrival. How do I look?

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cdc

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Did you fit all that stuff in the first picture?

As far as the ride.... I do not think I could our would attempt something like that, but I certainly congratulate you for achieving your goal. :clap:
 
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The room was tiny with a large window only a few feet from the raging interstate - BUT - I had ear plugs. Deep slumber ensued. When I awoke I called Dan. He had given me the address of The Junction, an eatery and our rendezvous point about 50 miles away. I didn't snap to what was in store for me when he said, "I'll see you in about 3 hours." And then I found out.
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He led me through more excruciatingly twisty roads up to the Lick Observatory.


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Then I followed him home. I must add that up until this day I only thought I knew what a twisty road was. Whoa! After a nice dinner we spent the evening trip planning and enjoying some fine Islay single malt.

My next treat was breakfast at Alice's with rider friends Ralph and Regina. The place was full of riders - and It was so refreshing to see so much motorcycle gear in one room. I'm usually the lone ATGATT guy in cruiserville. The food and the company were great.


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Then Dan and Regina led me to a San Francisco beach and pointed me at the bridge.


Thanks again for everything CRASH! :mrgreen:
 
M

mr-roboto



Thanks again for everything CRASH! :mrgreen:
Ken,

Not all IB rides are created the same. You took a really tough route in the middle of the winter with a standard Honda 900 cc bike using a small windscreen - all the way to the Pacific ocean from east Texas in the allotted time.

This is much more impressive in terms of endurance than merely riding 800 miles on a dirt road or doing an IB sanctioned rally from the comfort of a large Gold Wing or BMW RT, etc.

Way to go! You're one tough guy with a great attitude.

:clap:

RB
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2012
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760
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San Antonio, TEXAS
Wow, I think I may have switched my mind back to looking for a 919 instead of an FZ1. I don't know which I more impressed with the man or the machine! No way could I ever do that, but it is a dream of mine to head out west and ride from San Diego to Washington State. Glad you arrived safely and hope the rest of the trip is slow, safe and enjoyable.
 
Joined
May 27, 2010
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5,419
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Livermore, CA (formerly Grapevine, TX)
Kudos Ken! Well done- sorry to hear you missed the BBG but from talking to other IBA guys it's almost impossible without at least a 400+ mile range (e.g. aux tank) or an EXTREMELY heavy lead wrist (one guy was talking about getting clocked by a Montana State Trooper at 145mph on his ST1300 one of his BBG qualifies during his Prudhoe Bay -> Key West -> Prudhoe Bay trip...)

I've heard good things about Del Puerto Canyon Road... glad to hear it lives up to its reputation. The BARFers I know all talk about it highly.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
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Fort Worth
Kudos Ken! Well done- sorry to hear you missed the BBG but from talking to other IBA guys it's almost impossible without at least a 400+ mile range (e.g. aux tank) or an EXTREMELY heavy lead wrist (one guy was talking about getting clocked by a Montana State Trooper at 145mph on his ST1300 one of his BBG qualifies during his Prudhoe Bay -> Key West -> Prudhoe Bay trip...)
I came close 2 years ago, without crazy speeds or a 400 mile range between fillups. But close don't get it done :trust:.

On a BBG1500, everything has to fall right if you are not planning on riding well above posted limits. Quick gas stops, good receipts, little to no traffic, staying on course and good weather can't hurt. I unfortuntley had a bike issue in the middle of the night that cost me an hour and a half. No way I would catch up but I tried anyway. 1308 miles in, with 2 hours to cover the next 200 miles, even I could do the math on that one... made the Motel 6 with the Dennys next door.... irresitable :giveup:

It is a tough one to get. Ken gave it a dang good try.
 
M

mr-roboto

It is a tough one to get. Ken gave it a dang good try.
Oh yea and on a standard bike in the winter at almost 1,500 miles at one shot. The guys that ride the ST1100s and ST1300s are a bit jealous it sounds like to me.

:lol2:

Good for you Ken!

RB
 
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Subin to see the rest of the trip. I will do one like this one day. But I'll wait till it's warmer. I can hardly stand the cold for a few hrs let a lone days.
 
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Nice ride Ken. Sorry you missed the BBG but there is always next time. I plan on trying it later this year going to the East Coast.
 
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So what was it that made my friends scatter? All I said was that I wanted to ride over The Golden Gate Bridge.

TRAFFIC! That's what. It took me over an hour. I am soooo over The Golden Gate Bridge.

Here's a shot of the bay.
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My attention turned quickly ahead - to the Pacific Coast Highway and the deep blue ocean beyond. Breathtaking.
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The road and view were incredible but I began to realize the going was too slow and I'd have to punch it to reach my goal of Ft Bragg or Eureka by nightfall. The afternoon sun was quite warm compared to the crisp 40 degree morning. I had peeled off electric and thermal layers and since my cases were full I deployed the bungee net on the top case to secure them. Later at my next gas stop - the unthinkable. I discovered I had neglected to hook the bungee net at a previous stop and my cold weather gear so vital for my trip home was GONE! I retraced my route and luckily recovered the gear before dark. There was heavy traffic and I had to endure watching countless cars and trucks and even a land yacht as they ran over my stuff. It took an eternity to find a safe place to put the sidestand down and wait for a break in the traffic. To my surprise my hand-made heated liner wasn't shredded. I plugged it in and it still worked save the left arm. An easy fix. How stupid and how lucky was I?
 
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My luck held a bit longer as I secured one of the last rooms at the Bodega Bay Inn. The man at the desk took pity on me as I told my story and gave me a deal. Happy ending or not, this little gear recovery escapade put a dent in my trip plan too big to fix. I would not have time to color in Oregon or Washington this trip. I payed close attention to the forecast checking for any possibility of precipitation. The next morning, December 30th I would ride The Pacific Coast Highway a short distance to Jenner and then say goodbye.

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It was worth it. The coastline is simply spectacular.

I turned east and paused in Guerneville for brunch at The River Inn Grill.

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I made my way through wine country toward Sacramento. Once there I stopped for gas and called Aunt Peachie. Plan B is in motion. Then suddenly a rider on another 919 appeared. It was fellow Wrist Twister Ed. Great to meet you man!

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Darkness fell as I rode US-50 toward Lake Tahoe and so did the mercury quickly approaching the freezing mark. There was a substantial amount of snow along the roadway but the pavement was dry. I continued with caution using my HID beams when possible and taking advantage of turn outs to allow 4 wheeled traffic to pass. I noted the elevation signs as I passed them, 5,000, 6,000 and then 7,000 feet. It was a long ride to Carson City and I found the Motel 6 parking lot covered in ice. They let me leave the bike in front of the office for the night.

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Today's route:
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Bob Dahringer

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.......sorry to hear you missed the BBG but from talking to other IBA guys it's almost impossible without at least a 400+ mile range (e.g. aux tank) or an EXTREMELY heavy lead wrist
Not nessasarily an extremely heavy wrist, but an average speed of 62.5 needs to be maintained, so all gas stops have to be perfectly timed and virtually nothing else can go wrong that would cause a delay and yes, an aux. tank is just about a must even though you must document a stop every 350 miles.

Kudos to Ken for going after the BBG, thats next on my list.....but in warmer weather. ;-)
 
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Not nessasarily an extremely heavy wrist, but an average speed of 62.5 needs to be maintained, so all gas stops have to be perfectly timed and virtually nothing else can go wrong that would cause a delay and yes, an aux. tank is just about a must even though you must document a stop every 350 miles.

Kudos to Ken for going after the BBG, thats next on my list.....but in warmer weather. ;-)
Thanks Bob. I learned a lot from my buddy Dan Crenshaw IBA#21680 who recently did the 50cc in 43hrs. He did it with meticulously planned gas stops every 160 miles and never exceeding 75mph even when the speed limit was 80. His mpg would plummet if he went faster and cause him to stop for gas more often.
 
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Didn't want to stray too far off topic. Good planning and experience trump aux tanks and motorcycles.

There's a guy over on the FJR Forum, he's done at least 30 certified rides and recently ran in the IBR and came in 20th on his first attempt. He's quite good at both the planning and the execution of his rides. He recently rode out here to Texas from Tampa to do the SS2K.

Now, an SS2K might not seem like much for this guy, and it wasn't. He wasn't doing it for him, he rode out here to do it for a friend. Or rather, to lend his experience to his friend and escort him on the SS2K ride. Heck of a friend I'd say.

Oh yea, I was talking about experience trumping aux tanks and bikes. His friend he took on that ride...did it on a Yamaha R6 with a stock seat!

If you are interested...spot links over here -> http://www.fjrforum.com/forum//index.php/topic/152292-ss2k-gold-attempt-spot

Hopefully that'll be some motivation for Ken to get moving. On both this RR and on his attempt. :D
 
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Hopefully that'll be some motivation for Ken to get moving. On both this RR and on his attempt. :D
Sorry 'bout the delay. I did 4848 glorious miles in 10 days and felt fine. Then Wednesday I had an angry whopper that sent me hurling the last 2 days. :puke:
Go figure.

Anyhow, here's what I have so far. Enjoy.

The next morning, New Year's Eve, high 20's I believe, I treated myself to the sheer grandeur of the snow covered Sierra's. I was even treated to a token handful of snowflakes on my visor on the way out of Carson City. Again, I did not expect to be here in winter but here I am. US-395 is a must ride.

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I kept seeing repetitive signs, not on the scale of Bucee's mind you but touting nonetheless the $5.95 steak 'n egg breakfast special at the Topaz Lodge. I bit. I had to walk to the back of the massive casino and couldn't find the cafe at first. The waitress seemed frustrated when I ordered the special, and even more so when I asked her to take my picture against the beautiful backdrop of the lake. Her heart just wasn't in it.

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Well at any rate, the view was impressive . . . . .

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. . . . and the steak was excellent.

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The sun had warmed things up a bit to near 40. It was a feast for the eyes.

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A tourist at the overlook offered to get a shot of me with the bike - and actually put some effort in it.

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I arrived at Aunt Peachie's around 3pm. We had a late lunch and spent New Year's Eve watching game shows and catching up on family business. It was a very enjoyable visit.
 
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Great trip! These are some of my old stomping grounds. Used to ski at Mammoth Mountain every year. Did you explore June Lake Village or Mammoth Lakes? Ugh! You got the misty-eyed memory juices flowing.
 
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