My Iron Butt 5000 Rally

This is the blog that I started for friends and family to follow my Long Distance Riding preparation and competition in the inaugural Iron Butt 5000, a 5 day 5000 mile motorcycle rally. In May 2011, Mike Kneebone for the IBA announced there would not be an IB5000 in 2012, but instead that the IBA and Team Strange would be sponsoring the But Lite 6IX in 2012. So that makes this blog a bit of Long Distance History, so I've decided to leave it as it is for historical purposes. I will create other blogs as I have new adventures and rally competitions.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Finished!

Well it was an unbelievable adventure and trip.  I had a great time, almost the entire time, and I am an official finisher in the first Iron Butt 5000.!  I have to figure out how to write my trip report, since this was such a long trip for me it will take some time to get it together.  Here are some pictures to hold everyone over and the links to the daily reports.
At the start, talking to Amy!
Just relaxing for a few minutes before the adventure begins
Pulling out, and so it begins...
Picture from Claye Curtis "Fleeter"
The first ever IB5K logo pin-striping by Steve Kafka!  
 This was the only time during the IB5K Rally that I was first at anything!  I was at Steve's business before everyone else so I was the first bike to get the official logo and Kool Tie.  This was worth the most points on leg 2 of the rally and when I left the lot there were about a dozen riders waiting.  It was such a cool bonus and a great way to get something to remember the rally by.

My Route using my Blackberry as a Tracking Device

I used my Blackberry as a tracking device with Jason Jones Spotwalla site.  The limitation of my phone is that the location used cell phone tower triangulation, so the accuracy is not that great compared to a traditional Spot Device, which a lot of riders use instead.  Still, I received several phone calls during the rally and it seemed that my friends and family had a good idea of where I was in general.  I think when I get my next phone upgrade next year I'll try to get a phone that allows true GPS location accuracy and see how that works for future rides.

Links to the official daily reports:

My Photos from before the Rally, Including Rocky National Park Ride
My Photos from the Rally

I'll add more when I get my story together, thanks to everyone for the support and following me!

My friend Doug Barrett just finished his Ride Report on the IB5K, I went to several of the same locations he did on leg one, but only Live Oak on leg two, which we ran into each other at, I think I was in the first 5-6 to get there.  Doug is a west coast rider that I met at the Jacksonville Pizza party a couple of years ago after he finished his 50CC, we have remained in contact and friends and it was great riding the rally with him.

I also wanted to provide a link to fellow IB5K rider, Jerome Byrd's excellent write up.   He didn't officially finish, but the effort he put in and the obstacles he had to overcome were impressive and I was glad to see him at the finish!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ready to Ride

Well it is down to a week till I leave for Denver for the start of the IB5000 and I am very excited. I had a small issue last weekend on a short 200 mile loop in AL and TN when the front left fork seal blew out. It was very messy but a wrap of a micro fiber towel around the fork got me the remaining 100 miles home. With help from my friend Tom and advice from GW LDRider Cdog I was able to replace the seal and the bike is good to go. The area around Huntsville is some great riding and I look forward to learning the area and exploring after the IB5000.  Also I have to disable the gogle tracking for public viewing due to IBA rules, so if you would like to follow me on the IB5000 send me an email and I'll send you the link to a private password tracking link.

Here are some pictures of the ride:

End of a great winding road!
Wow what a view

Awesome curves!
More great riding!

This is the fork seal, I've never seen this much blow out

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Minuteman 1000 - 24 hours of New England

“What's wrong, don't you know how to pick up a wing?” said Cdog, “Yes I do! I have already picked it up 5 times trying to get out” I said. “ It is now stuck in the mud up to the left saddle bag!” After a brief pause to relay the “entertainment” to the other staff members “OK where are you...?” What a way to be 2 hours into this year's Minuteman Rally...I'm at the end of a dirt road, stuck in mud, in the middle of nowhere, this must have been some of that entertainment we were promised last night at dinner.

This year's Minuteman 1000 was an event I was very much looking forward to as it was going to be my last opportunity to run a rally before the August IB5K, and very likely my last opportunity to see my New England LD friends before moving to Huntsville. This was my 4th year of riding the Minuteman 1000 and every year has been a blast and allowed me to make new friends and ride to places I would never normally go.

This year the theme was “That's Entertainment” and as the website said, there was no telling who would be more entertained, the riders or the rally staff. On June 2, Rob Nye, the rallymaster, sent us the 3 electronic bonus location files, a .txt, a .gpx, and a .gdb. This is the new age of long distance rallies now, for the most part – electronic files with latitude/longitude locations to map in a variety of programs. This wasn't my first time dealing with this format and data, and it followed the same approach that will be used in the IB5K. The data also came with point values but no time availability, so you can see what is possible to some extent for a ride, but you have to wait for the rally dinner to get the packet to find out availability and what was required to claim a bonus. Looking at the menu of locations I saw that a lot of locations were in VT, NH, and along the coast of New England from ME to NYC. I immediately focused on the top high point value options; there were 6 locations over 1000 points each. With the greatest concentration of points in VT and NH, I could see a route to take me north to Canada and then loop back down into Boston and RI in the night. This had the advantage of riding the north in daylight and less animal problems and then riding the cities in night with usually less traffic and better lights for photos.

Friday morning came and I was ready to hit the road for Northampton, MA. I had volunteered to help out the staff as the “GPS Help Desk” since Andy Kirby was not able to make it to the rally; so I had to head up a bit earlier than usual. It was a lot of fun to chat with the crew before the masses showed up and just in general catch up. My check-in went fine and I ended up helping a few riders out with their GPS files and some quick tips on using Mapsource and e-boni. As usual the dinner was top notch and the room was packed. I was fortunate to share diner with some old friends and meet some new ones.

It was time to get serious and put on the game. The packets were handed out and we were allowed to read them for a few minutes to see if anything jumped out for questions. This year, Rob dismissed the 24 hour rally riders and gave us time to read the details and come ask questions to the staff. I spent the time and read them all and noted a few questions to ask, and missed a few I should have asked, more on that later. I felt good and headed back to start a serious plan of attack. A nice surprise was that there were no limits on any of the bonus locations, with the exception of the Carman Brook Farm. I looked at the target rich environment and just started planning a route that hit 36 bonus locations in under 1000 miles, with a couple of options to pick up some additions, if everything went well. With a 2 hour rest bonus it seemed like a very doable ride assuming I could get to Northern VT before noon. I also decided that going to Canada was not a good option since the miles were just too much to make it worth it, given the availability of all the other locations.

By 10:45 PM I had my plan, my route cards and my bike packed and ready for the 5:30 AM riders meeting. I never sleep well before a rally, I think my mind is still racing and planning what-ifs, so it takes some time to fall asleep. The alarm went off and within 10 min I'm geared up and outside getting the bike cover off and GPS hooked up and loaded. At the riders meeting Rob informed us the big Carman Brook Farm bonus was only available till 1 PM. You could buy any VT maple syrup for 3500 points, or get the Carman Brook Farm brand for 3750. I really wanted the extra 250 points so I would have to watch my time; I knew I had about an hour buffer in  my plan.

Departure was very exciting, the release was well organized and timed. Once on the road it was obvious that several people in front of me were heading to the same locations. My first 6 stops were also on the hit list of some of the top riders I know, so I felt pretty good about my route. My sixth stop was a sign to a dirt road, with the next bonus down that road, or so the GPS told me.

At first I tried a few alternate routes for a detour to avoid the road, but each route keep bring me back. So I figured, what the hell, I'll check it out and see if it is bad. The ride down wasn't bad, some slick spots here and there but nothing too horrible. I was glad that I had spent several rides in RI on dirt roads so I was feeling better about my little off-road adventure. As I continued on the road, I came to a fork and continued down a slight hill with some grass growing up in the middle. I dismounted my bike at the top and walked down the slope, noting that there was water on the sides but the center looked okay and not that bad. So I decided to ride down the middle to the bonus and take my time. I eased the bike over the edge and went straight down the middle fairly easy with the help of gravity. Unfortunately that was the last time it was easy! As I applied a little power the back end broke loose and spun to the left which put the bike in the water I was trying to avoid. Since I was going slow, she just tipped over on the crash bars and I was able to get the bike back up. So, maybe this wasn't such a good idea as the mosquitoes took note of the fresh red meat in their area. Well after about 10 min trying to get moving and dropping the bike an additional 4 more times, I was not happy. So I decided to turn around and try to get out of this mess. Luckily reverse on the Wing worked and I was able to maneuver the bike back to face up the hill. I started back up the hill but my luck had finally run out. As I got about 6 feet from the top the rear broke loose and into the mud she went, this time digging in deep up to the left saddlebag. Now I was screwed, because there was no way to lift the 900lb bike when it is that far over. I made the call to Cdog to let him know I had a problem. Thus providing the entertainment for the rally staff!

After spraying myself down with bug spray I decided to take a walk up the road a bit. I ended up finding a farmer that was willing to help me out. With her truck, a tie down strap and some very slow driving on her part we were able to right the Wing and pull it up the hill, out of the mud. No damage was observed except for my pride. I tried to pay her for her time but she refused and ended up drawing me a map to the bonus location. About that time a fellow rally rider, Adam Peirce, came along and agreed to ride with me to the next bonus. It was very helpful of him to ride behind me and get my mind back in the rally.

I had lost about an hour and was pretty sure I would not make the Carman Brook Farm by 1 PM. I decided to push on and not change my route, and see what I could do. After bagging several bonuses en route to the farm, I watched my arrival time slip to 1:30, minutes late. I instead swung into a local store and grabbed some VT Maple Syrup so that I could get the 3500 points. I decided that I wanted to make Max's BMW Dealership by 9PM, so I pushed on and continued on my plan. Riding in VT and NH is some of the best roads for motorcycles, if only the tourists would get off the roads!

I pulled into Max's BMW about 15 min to 9PM and was greeted by several rally riders. Somehow my off-road adventures had made the rounds, and even Max wanted to know how I was doing. I spent some time catching up with a few friends and decided I needed to hit the road for Boston. Riding at night is always fun, especially into Boston. With very little drama, I found my way into the city and bagged 2 more bonus locations.

A time check revealed that I had lost too much time and I was going to have to drop a significant amount of bonuses. I ended up dropping about 2000 points in the end, based on the time I had left and the fact that I had a rest bonus to take too. I bagged my last bonus in RI and grabbed a gas receipt at 1:50 AM, with 10 minutes to spare til the 2 AM mandatory time. I now had to sit still for 2 hours, so I filled up one tank, and then got my paperwork in order. I ended up taking about a 20-30 minute nap next to my bike using my sleeping bag as a pillow. I filled up my aux tank at just 2 minutes past the 2 hour rest bonus requirement, and then was on the road for the 2 hour ride to get back to the hotel before penalty points started at 6 AM. I ended up pulling into the hotel and stopped the clock with less then 10 minutes to spare; which was the closest I've ever come.

Surprisingly I felt very good and still very excited that I finished. I had no idea how well I did, nor did I really care as I had just had a great ride and recovery. I headed inside and got in line to be scored. At the scoring table I came away in pretty good shape. I lost 2 bonuses, one for not writing the complete marker down and another for not properly claiming it. I learned a valuable lesson, to always give more info than needed and to make sure all the blanks are filled in properly. These 2 errors on my part cost me 675 points, but I still walked away with a solid 28,145 points.

After resting in the lobby and chatting with friends, the brunch opened up and once again the meal was great! I ended up being the featured “entertainment” story for the rally and Rob very much enjoyed a fully documented picture of what I did! Everyone enjoyed the story and laugh and I did too; especially now, looking back! The Saddle Sore Riders were announced and then the rally riders were up. Rob decided to read out just the top 10 riders, so I figured I would have to check my position when I got home. As he made it up into the top 5, I was excited to hear several friends did well. Then to my complete surprise I was announced as the third place finisher! My good friend Jim Abbott once again won the rally with an unbelievable 32,165 points; so even if I had managed to bag the 2000 additional points I still would have been about 2000 points behind him. What an impressive ride he had!

In the end I learned a lot on this rally about my limits and abilities. It was a great 24 hour event and I look forward to next year.  Here is a link to all my pictures from the rally.  This is a great write up from my friend Bob on the rally.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

RTE - Ride To Eat

A lot has been going on around the RI Tubb house over the past month.  I have accepted a new position within my company and will be relocating to Huntsville, AL at the end of June.  We are looking forward to this new change and at the same time are sad to leave behind our New England friends.  For me, I leaned and grew into my Long Distance Riding because of all the great 'local' LDRiders that I have met and call my friends now.  Today I got to see a few of them on an excuse for breakfast and some good old fashion tire kicking.

I sent out a note to the local NE LDRiders to met at Joey's Diner, and got a few positives so it was on.  At 5:30 AM our neighbor hood wood pecker started trying to bore holes into the roof.  Nothing like a jackhammer on your house first thing in the morning to get you going!  By 6 AM I was suited up and heading out the door with more then enough time to make the short 100 mile ride.  After exploring a bit in NH I pulled into the lot to be greeted by 2 other riders., David 'Cdog' Riley and Bob St. George. 

After some catching up we headed in for a good breakfast.  After awhile Andy Kirby showed up followed by Ray Dole and his son.  One great thing about RTEs is that everyone is off the clock and the stories and tales of rally's and rides past is always entertaining and helpful to those of us that are newer  in this sport.  We continued into the parking lot and checked out the bikes and kick some tires.  After a bit Ray had to take off while the rest of us followed Cdog back to house for some trading and 'upgrades' to my Wing.  A result of an insurance claim awhile ago I had an extra set of headlights that had some minor scratches that were just taking up space.  I remembered that Cdog mention awhile ago that his lights were looking a bit worn out after the 130k+ miles they had on them.  So I offer them up to him for some extra farkles he had.    David loves to keep tweaking his bike and tying new things and ideas so he has quite a collection of extras.  Two items I was interested in was a Dash shelf and a Hopnel tank and saddle bag system.

We had a typical NH ride up and down a winding road, which would have been better if the SUVs were not in our way.  Arriving at David's house he pulled my bike on to his motorcycle bike lift.  I swapped out the headlights and Dave pulled out my choice of dash shelves, I went with the Ron Smith Shelf since it seemed to offer a bit more space to work with.

David added the 'wings' on each side with some additional bracing so this is a very unique piece of equipment.  I plan to move my GPS, radar, EZ Pass and map light (that Dave also threw into the deal).

Dave then mounted up the saddlebags which I had noticed a lot of Wing riders using to carry snacks and other easy to grab items from the cockpit.  There is a tank bag but it blocks the wing audio controls and gas tank door so I doubt I'll use it in a rally in this position.  

What seems to happen when your bike is up on a lift is that every one get's in their looks and 'recommendations'.  It was noted that I did not have a lanyard for my gas cap and once again Dave came to the rescue to build me up one right there!

At the end of the day I had several nice new additions for the Wing and David had a set of 'newer' headlights.  I am amazed at how generous this group of Long Distance Riders is when you are relatively new and learning from those that have been there done that.  It will be hard to move south, but as it was pointed out today by Bob, AL is only a quick SS1000 ride to New England!

Friday, April 30, 2010

RI Flood Damage

This is a bit late, but back on April 3 I took a ride around RI to check out some of the flood damage.  My intended route was to take 102 north from Exeter to the boarder of MA.  I ended up taking several detours as the roads were flooded out and closed.   I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, it was impressive what water did to these roads!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

RI Park Tour Plus

Last weekend was a fabulous New England Weekend that almost makes up for the near continuous rain and cold weather for the past several weeks.  After a full day of Daddy Day Care; Amy gave me a kitchen pass for Saturday.  It was 8 PM Friday night so I needed a plan and route to practice and exercise my rally routine as much as possible.

Rallies usually have themes which make them a lot of fun to experience.  I’ve had an idea for a RI only ride that hits every known State Park in a day, and not leave the borders of the state.  I quickly came up with 250+ mile loop, which was not doable for a ‘quick’ ride.  I cut it down and added some extra locations that would be difficult to document with a photo of my bike in front of a landmark.

9 AM Sunday morning I was on the road heading due south to Newport, RI, to grab my first set of ‘bonuses’ for the day.  I really wasn’t in ‘rally mode’ so I elected a more scenic ride by heading south on East Main Rd on my way to the Mansions of Newport.  It was a beautiful day, the the traffic was light, and the ride along the coast was refreshing with views of the bay.  Newport is home to some of the oldest historic mansions from the Gilded Age. Most tourists usually want to see the Newport Mansion Tours and I have been subjected to them several times.  Not that I don’t like the tours, but after going to them several times now I’m pretty much all set with that check box.  I decided what I wanted to do was to get my bike in front of each mansion sign and take a quick photo, hop back on and hit the next one.  There were four that I wanted to bag, The Elms, Chateau Sur Mer, Breakers, and The Mable House.

My bonus snagging routine was pretty rusty; I struggled to find the right sign and to get a picture that clearly showed the name and the bike.  I realized, I was jumping off and on the bike a lot which forced me to unplug and plug in my helmet headset several times.  That extra action was becoming a real pain.  Looking back at the route now, I should have routed up the other side of the street so that all the locations were easily accessible by just pulling over real quick instead of having to cross traffic two times at every stop.

After futzing around with the mansions, it was time to get back to my primary objective.  I continued to hug the coastline and enjoyed a great ride around Ocean Avenue on my way to Brenton Point State Park and then Fort Adams State Park.  From Fort Adams I made my way through the narrow streets of Newport to cross the Clairborne Pell Bridge to Jamestown.  Once again hugging the coastal route I made my way to Fort Wetherill State Park, which is right across Naragansett Bay from Fort Adams.  I made my way along the southern end of Jamestown Island and got my first sample of dirt roads for the day. I continued onto the south west end of the island to Beavertail State Park and Lighthouse. After a beautiful view from the lighthouse I headed back north to cross the Jamestown Bridge to head down to Narragansett Bay.  Although it was nice for New England, the temperatures were still a bit cool so beach traffic was very light in this well known area.

It was approaching noon by the time I arrived at the end and I had already decided that a trip to Narragansett required a stop for a lunch at Iggy’s Doughboy famous for their Chowder, Clam Cakes, and of course sugar loaded Doughboys.  I sat outside in full gear and enjoyed several fresh hot Clam Cakes; surprisingly I was the only one eating outside!  After a great lunch stop, I grabbed Fishermen’s Memorial State Park.

Back on the road I headed toward US 1 and continued south to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.  This turned out to be a pretty neat area with very little people and some nice facilities to come back to with the family for a day to explore on foot.  Back to US1 again for Burlingame State Park, for a fun road with some interesting scenery as I worked my way around the park’s border.

I rode some great riding fun on 2 lane roads all the way to Arcadia Management Area, and purposely planned for some dirt roads to cross this area.  Riding the Wing in the dirt has never been especially fun for me, mostly I think it is in my head so I figured I need to practice more and get more comfortable with the bike.  I crossed over using Bald Hill Road which isn’t too bad but with the recent rain did have some wide ‘ditches’ across the road.  There was also a mix of hard pack, sand, lose rock and larger marble rock.  From now on I’m going to try and hit some dirt roads every time I take a short day ride to keep practicing and getting comfortable.

After the dirt road adventure, I continued onto Beach Pond State Park, which brought within a lake crossing of CT.  With a time check I realized that I needed to cut the northern RI Parks out to make a decent estimated arrival time at back in Bristol.

Sticking with my goal to stay in RI, I plotted my next stop for Squantium Woods State Park.  This turned out to be a bust as I was at the GPS location, there were woods on my right but I never found the Blue State Park Sign.  I pressed on and headed for Haines Memorial State Park next and after some horrible stop and go traffic I arrived and got my photo.  Unfortunately it was now pushing 3 PM and traffic in Barrington was just creeping along at a snails pace.  I finished up at 3:30 PM pulling in my garage, 171 mile all RI, not made for a day ride.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Quick Test Run

Not many understand or comprehend my long distance riding aspirations, and that is fine, as it is not something that I can easily explain.  For me, the long distance riding is just a skill I have to get me to places I want to go to.  There are certain rides that are short and give me great pleasure and there are rides that are long, that end someplace I enjoy.  This last minute weekend trip was just such one of those latter rides.  Originally, I hadn’t planned to make the IBA Annual Bike Week Dinner (historically know as the Pizza Party) in Jacksonville, but when a fellow rider couldn’t make the trip and offered up his ticket I jumped at the chance.  It was a great opportunity to knock off the winter riding dust and to put my new Aux Tank through a proper long distance ride.  The weather predictions were all over the place for the east coast, so I waited to see how it looked the day before I left.  On Wednesday it was rain and snow flurries all day, which was making Thursday morning departure look a bit challenging.  But, at 4 AM Thursday when I pulled out of the garage it was warm (a relative term for March in RI) and no snow accumulation on the driveway or roads.  A misty rain / snow flurry mix was about all I had as I made my way south and it pretty much stopped just south of TF Green airport in RI, with the roads perfectly dry and clean.  

This trip was not unique or especially challenging, as I have made it several times before, so I planned to see how I felt and how my changes to the Wing worked out.  After 350 uneventful miles I pulled in to fill the tanks and get some breakfast and coffee.  The sun was up, the skies were clear and blue and the temperatures weren’t too bad...with heated gear!  I discovered my new favorite breakfast stop, Roy Rogers.  I had a great egg, ham and cheese sandwich on toasted sourdough bread that I highly recommend!

Back on the road I made my second stop, another 350+ miles away, off I-295 going around Richmond, VA.  This was a familiar stop, I seem to always hit this one exit for gas and McDonald's cheeseburgers almost every trip I make to FL.  However this time there was a bit of excitement from the girl working the counter.  She noticed I had wires hanging out my sleeves and on my leg which caused her to be a bit concerned.  In a rather loud voice she asked why I had all those wires coming out of my rather bulky jacket.  Well this quickly got the attention of fellow customers and the manager and not wanting to be tackled like a airline shoe bomber, I reassured her it was for my heated jacket, gloves and controller for my motorcycle gear.  At this point she asked a second profound question, “So, you're on a motorcycle, huh?”.  With my size large silver helmet sitting on the counter in front of her, I said yes I was riding a motorcycle and I would take the burgers to go.  As I left, I wondered if there was a big problem with ‘questionable’ looking strangers with wires in their jackets running around Virgina.  

Back on the road I set my cruise to the speed limit and kicked back.  BTW, here is a warning to everyone, DO NOT SPEED IN VA!  The amount of troopers pulling over people for speeding (radar detectors are illegal) is just crazy.  They are every where and in a variety of cars from your regular Crown Vics with light bars to several unmarked Chargers, and Impalas.  They are sitting right out in plain sight and they are sitting in hiding places that are shielded from direct view till you pass them.  You have been warned, set your cruise and sit back till you can get through VA.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and by the time I made Savannah I decided to just continue on to Jacksonville.  I called ahead and was able to get a room and pulled into the front of the hotel at 10:06 PM with 1150 + miles behind me.  Inside I found some fellow New England LD Riders at the bar.  Dave Riley thought I had stopped for the night in SC as that was my last location he had since he was tracking me on Google.  It turns out my phone stopped updating my location in SC on the way down.  The battery was just about dead so I made a quick call to Amy to tell her I was checking in and that everything went well.  The rest of the night till 12:30 AM I meet old friends and put faces to on-line friends for the first time.  I had a great conversation with Ira Agins; Ira is a legend in the LD world and I was honored to have him spend time just talking with me.  

I was up at 7:30 and by 8 AM Friday I was having a totally awesome breakfast which was included with the room.  You can always count on Lisa Landry who puts in great effort to organize, coordinate and makes sure every thing is top shelf at IBA events.  The breakfast was a huge buffet that included just about anything you could want including my all time favorite, fresh biscuits and gravy!  I loaded up with eggs and bacon and then spotted the giant waffle makers and grabbed a second plate!  I had a great meal with some old friends and some new friends. 

After breakfast it was off to Andy Kirby’s eBoni Workshop for IB5k Riders.  It always impresses me the effort that individuals put in to this sport and it is always free and volunteered.  Andy, who is also competting in the IB5K, saw on the IBA Forum that there might be a need for some help with riders to understand and process electronic data that we would be using in the rally.  He volunteered to come up with a complete training package and even demonstrated how to use the several different techniques.  In addition to Andy, Rick Miller actually put together an electronic rally package including a rally book to practice with!  Amazing effort and time from those riders is humbly appreciated by myself and the other riders.
After a great class, the follow on presentation was by legend and noted author of Against the Wind, Ron Ayres.  This is the book to read to understand this long distance / rally riding stuff.  I sooo wish I had my copy with me for him to sign as I got to meet and talk with him for a bit before his presentation.  Ron presented a new IBA / Ron Ayres Adventure Group ride program that was specific for IBA members.  After Ron’s presentation, Mark Kincart of Go AZ Motorsports presented a new discount program specific for IBA members and included some interesting new products.  

After Ron’s presentation, I met up with another IBA legend Tom Austin.  Tom had volunteered to check anyone’s Aux tank set-up at the event and I had called to make arrangements for him to inspect my set-up.  He looked it over and didn’t note any issues or problems to correct, which very much made my day.  He also asked about my rally tray to hold note cards and info on during my rides and I was glad to explain to him how I made it.  

If all that wasn’t enough, those in attendance also got so see the first promotional preview of the Hard Miles 2 video about the 2009 IBR.  It looks totally awesome and I can’t wait to see the finished movie. For the rest of the afternoon there continued to be a growing crowd of riders in the hotel lobby and comedy club / bar.  I spent a bunch of time just visiting and introducing myself to others, as I recognized their names, till diner started.  

 Once again the buffet meal was great and top notch.  I found the New England Riders table and had an excellent seat to see the rest of the evening events.  This year the IBA sponsored a special SS1000 ride called The Legends 1000.  A twist on the normal 1000 miles in 24 hrs was added that the riders would ride to checkpoints in FL and meet some of the legends of the IBA.  70+ riders finished the ride and each one received there award in front of the 300+ riders in attendance.  After dinner finished up there was, of course, more social hours and more chances to meet people I knew online but not in person. 

My evening finished up late, as I left the hotel to walk across to my room I ran into Mike Kneebone, the president of the IBA, taking a cool evening walk.  We ended up just chatting for quite some time in the parking lot and I was impressed that he was so friendly and personable with me.  It was a perfect way to end my evening on a high note.

8 AM Saturday and I was up and ready for another breakfast.  I enjoyed some great morning conversation with friends and was on the road heading due north. 

The ride home went well and since I had a late start I decided to stop in NC for BBQ Dinner and a hotel.  I ended up running into Dave Riley, who was about an hour behind me, and he swung in to the restaurant after having tracked me to my exit!  He too decided to call it a night and we ended up splitting the room I already had.  The next morning we got our complimentary breakfast, which was not the same level of the previous 2 days, I really missed those biscuits and gravy, but they did have the giant waffle maker at least.  Dave agreed to let me follow him and we stuck together all the way to CT where we each went our ways. 

I pulled into the garage at 5:30 PM, having covered a total of 2300+ miles in four days.  It was a great trip and with the exception of my heating gear cord failing was nearly flawless.  I feel much better about my set-up and look forward to some more rides in the next month. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The First Time

To say it has been a long winter would be putting it mildly.  I've had projects and objectives for the Wing this winter which have taken some time, so the lack of riding hasn't been that bad.  But this weekend just looked like it was too good to pass up, so I had to take a short shake down ride for the new Aux Tank.  I thought I should try and see some areas of RI that I hadn't been to before.  I found some interesting references to the Scituate Reservoir and did a quick route plan in Mapsource to practice.  I found some interesting roads in Google Maps that didn't show up in Mapsource, which probably meant they were dirt or restricted access.  Either way it was worth a look and some practice finding weird locations would probably come in handy this June and August. 

I also talked Tom into the ride too, which really didn't take much convincing since he too was looking for an excuse to get the bike on the road.  We decided to meet at the reservoir and do the loop around together.  We arrived about 10 AM to be greeted by light traffic and ice free roads, sand was another thing but it is February after all. 
The loop was actually pretty short, and as I figured, the roads I saw in Google Maps were restricted access only as they all had locked gates.  Too bad since a few of them looked pretty good and would have taken us right down to the water's edge.  I guess since this reservoir serves Providence they don't want people going down to it for some reason. 
After a nice ride, we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts and decided that the day was still good and to head to CT for checking out some bikes and gear.

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We headed for the dealership formally known as Excalibur, but seems to be known now as only Motor Sports Nation.  On the way to the dealership I was finally down low enough in gas to try a transfer.  Since I had only a small amount of fuel in the aux tank I wasn't sure what to expect.  I flipped the valve on and within a minute the gas gauge started to go up!  What a cool thing, the first time I transferred fuel and filled my tank while riding.  When we pulled into the parking lot I checked the aux tank and it was entirely empty and there were no leaks, success!

Surprisingly, we were the only riders there, go figure, so we went in and checked out the inventory.  Pretty nice selection, they had quite a few GL1800s and a ton of sport bikes.  We asked a sales "kid" about the new VFR and he wasn't sure what a VFR was, so that wasn't exactly a good sign, oh well.  Upstairs was a nice selection of gear including the new Scorpion Flip Helmet.  I tried on the large and it was way too small, unfortunately they didn't have any other sizes.  About that time a young parts manager came over and started to ask as about our gear.  He was interested to hear what we thought about our riding pants as he was looking to stock up for the summer.  After a few minutes of talking we gave him some ideas and recommendations.  He then said to make sure to give him a call when we needed anything and he would beat all internet prices.  I told I would since I would need some tires and brakes this summer for my rides.  Tom and I took our separate ways home, and I swung into a gas station to top off both tanks for the first time.  I did notice the extra weight from the additional four gallons of fuel but soon was used to it by the time I pulled into my driveway.  It was a short ride, around 130 miles, but it proved out the first fuel transfer and first fuel fill up.  No leaks and no issues...a successful ride and awesome day.