Spring Tour To the Northwest
This is my first Ride Report post and also my first Iron Butt ride attempt...I had to take care of some family business in Spokane and had a week's vacation coming, so I took a chance on the weather from the Sacramento valley to the inland northwest. Following IBA guidelines, I mapped out a route that included mostly freeways and plenty of opportunities for rest stops. I read an IBA forum post that suggested leaving in the early evening so as to do the night riding while fresh(er). That made sense to me, so I left (following a short nap) after work Saturday night.
East of Sacramento even I-80 gets twisty, so I had fun riding up the Sierras. I got off the bike for the first time at the Donner Summit rest area, and the temperature had dropped some 40 degrees from home...I got into my full winter gear then, and didn't warm up again until I stopped for an extended nap break at a motel in Elko! Winds across northern Nevada were in the 30-40 mph range all night, but they were mostly at my back so I made good time. I wish I could've seen more of Nevada, but I saved daylight for views of the spectacular Ruby mountains southeast of Elko and the Thousand Springs area near Hagerman, Idaho.
Back on the freeway, I-84, through south Idaho and northeast Oregon, I started to wonder if the Iron Butt goal of a thousand miles in 24 hours was doable. The rest break in Elko threw me off my timetable. The original goal was to make it to Spokane in 24, but that looked impossible now. As I rode northwest, constantly recalculating my mileage and time, it looked like I'd hit the 24 hour mark somewhere in eastern Washington, north of Walla Walla. Sure enough, I made a thousand miles just south of Waitsburg (cute little town...always liked it). The problem was finding an available end-of-ride witness. Only two businesses were open on a Sunday afternoon! The clerk at the convenience store turned me down, so I backtracked to a little brew pub. The bartender took pity on me and signed my witness form with about 30 minutes to spare (it couldn't have hurt my chances to get the witness signature that I bought some of their IPA for the end-of-ride celebration). If all my documentation goes through, I guess I'm now an official SaddleSore rider per the IBA. Then, on to Spokane for the only rain on the trip and some of the worst pavement. Note to self...never finish a demanding ride with a nighttime transit on an unfamiliar urban freeway. Scariest riding ever. My return trip was the straightest, fastest route I could take, southwest to the Columbia river, down the gorge to US 97 and south to I-5 and the Sacramento valley, all in one 800 mile day. I felt worse after the return leg than on the 1000 mile trip up there. Lack of rest breaks, I suppose.
Final thoughts...the bike (1987 K100RT) ran flawlessly, except for the clock which needs resetting a few times a day. This isn't normally a problem except when you count on accurate timing info, as in an IBA ride. Crummy pavement made the bike handle a little squirrely...I think I need a new front tire. My gear was sufficient, but some upgrades might be in order, especially boots & gloves. Also, I am now officially immune to wind. After constantly battling strong winds on both legs of this trip I hardly notice it anymore.
I haven't decided whether this Iron Butt riding is what I really want to do for fun, but this ride turned out pretty well.