Thursday, August 30, 2001

Saddlesore 2000

Note: This ride was originally a Saddlesore 1000 combined with a Bun Burner provided I was able to make it. After submitting the paperwork for certification and combined with the recent restructuring of IBA Extreme rides, the IBA certified this ride as a Saddlesore 2000. My compliments to the IBA for this certification. It was totally unexpected.


I've been running in my R1150RT the past few months in anticipation of my first Iron Butt Association (IBA) event. Eventually, I'd like to get a few of the IBA events under my belt and try my hand at the actual Iron Butt Rally in 2003 or 2005. I reviewed the following IBA events:

  • Saddlesore 1000 which is 1000 miles in 24 hours or less
  • Bun Burner which is 1500 miles in 36 hours or less
  • Bun Burner Gold which is 1500 miles in 24 hours or less

I really wanted to do the Bun Burner Gold, but one of the prerequisites is the successful completion of a Saddlesore 1000 or a Bun Burner. So I decided to go with a Bun Burner. The Bun Burner Gold will have to wait for now.

Previously, the longest one-day ride was on my trip to Palo Duro Canyon this past July. On that trip I gathered some rudimentary statistics that provided a good indication of how both my bike and I would perform on a longer trip. For instance, maximum fuel range of the R1150RT, how long my buns could endure sitting on the stock seat, a good touring speed, etc. Based on the Palo Duro trip I accounted for 200-mile stops for gas and such. I packed the following items:

  • Rain gear - Frogg Toggs
  • A Change of cloths including several extra shirts for layering
  • Snacks. Jerked beef and some good hearty trail mix
  • Water - both emergency and normal conditions. I used the plastic water container from my Camelback and stored it in the bottom of my tank bag. Extremely convenient.
  • Tool/First Aid Kit.
  • Camera

I decided that an early morning start would be ideal and that I should begin my journey down the street at the Albertson's. So I woke up the morning of Wednesday September 5, 2001 around 3:00 AM, took a shower, dressed, packed up the bike, went and gassed up and I was off... Details of the trip follow.

Route Map

The route starts in Irving, Texas and heads west on I-20; I-10 to Phoenix, Arizona; north on I-17 to Flagstaff, Arizona; west on I-40 to Amarillo, Texas; and TX-287 back into the metroplex and Irving, Texas. Total mileage is 2252.

If anyone is looking for a good route for a Back to Back Saddlesore event, this route is not too shabby. I will probably ride it again when I go for the Back to Back Saddlesores after I'm certified.

click to enlarge


The official start time in Irving was 4:47 AM Central. Just as I was about to get on Interstate 635 I saw lightning and heard thunder and knew that I was not going to make it out of the metroplex without getting wet. So I pulled over and slipped on the rain suit. The suit worked out really well and I certainly needed it. I ran into heavy rain until I got to the other side of Weatherford, Texas and then it rained intermittently until Sweetwater, Texas. Riding in the rain wasn't an issue at all - even the heavy stuff. As long as you have a good suit that will keep you dry, you should be able to weather the storm just fine and ride through to clearer skies. My hat's off to Frogg Toggs for making a wonderful suit. After the rain ended it was just a matter of riding out the miles.

My first stop was Sweetwater, Texas - approximately 230 miles into the trip. I used this stop as a personal guage. I felt good, the bike was performing flawlessly and I gassed up and kept on riding.

The ride through west Texas was uneventful. The speed limit is 70 MPH, but I passed a cop or two while doing 80-85 and they didn't flinch. Nor did I as I was just keeping up with what little traffic was on the road at the time. New Mexico was pretty much the same and Arizona wasn't too far behind.

I reached Tucson around 3:30 PM local time and it was getting extremely hot. The ride from Tucson to Phoenix really drained me of a lot of energy and I was ready to stop for a good, long rest. When I saw the Comfort Inn sign in northern Phoenix, I knew that's where I would be spending the evening. I arrived in Phoenix around 6:00 PM local time - roughly 15 hours into the event. My end witness for the Saddlesore was Angela D, the manager of the Comfort Inn. I went out and got some Chinese food, ate, watched a little tube and fell asleep quickly. Only another 500 miles to go and roughly 20 hours to get them in.

I woke up at 3:30 AM in Phoenix, took a shower and hit the road at 4:30 AM. I headed north on Interstate 17 to Flagstaff. I forgot how gorgeous Arizona sunrises are and how early in the morning they come. This was no exception. When I arrived in Flagstaff, I took Interstate 40 East. I thought reaching Albuquerque, NM would be enough to reach 1500 miles, but it wasn't. I decided to just ride and try to make Amarillo before the 36 hour time limit, but time just didn't allow it. I stopped in Tucumcari, NM with 1750 miles behind me and decided to get my end witness there. I found my end witness and an ATM around 3:30 PM MST. That's approximately 34 hours into the event.

The Bun Burner was over and I had options. I considered spending the night in Tucumcari, but I decided to keep on riding. I wasn't that worn out after resting for about an hour and half and grabbing some good Mexican food. While it was a heavier meal than I should have had, it was good and satisfying and that's the feeling I was after.

When I arrived in Amarillo, I decided to keep on riding. I made it home at midnight. At that time, I had traveled roughly 2250 miles in 43 hours. Not too shabby for a rookie. :)

Trip Statistics

Here are some of the major trip statistics. The one I'm most concerned about is the number of pictures taken. I went in with grandiose ideas about taking pictures along the way, but it just never happened. Perhaps next time.

Motorcycle 2002 BMW R1150RT
Total Miles 2252
Total Time 43 Hours 12 Minutes
Total Gallons 54.039
Total Gas Money $90.44
Average MPG 41.67
Average MPH 52.13*
Pictures Taken 0
*Based on Total Time.

Lessons Learned

I knew I was going to learn quite a bit from this experience and it certainly didn't fail. Here's what I learned:

  • Physical and mental preparation is imperative. I didn't decide to REALLY do this ride until Tuesday. Just FYI... I left on Wednesday. I also didn't start perparing for the ride until around 8pm. As a result, I didn't get to sleep until midnight and only got 3.5 hours of sleep. My usual 6 hours would have been nice before starting the ride.
  • I had to make an unplanned pit stop in Sierra Blanca, Texas, but not for gas. I had to relieve a highly pressurized bladder. I gassed up anyway, of course. When I realized I needed to make the stop I couldn't help but think about the Stadium Pal. This is a condom-type catheter with a tube that runs to a plastic bag.
  • A bigger gas tank, means more time on the road and that means greater distances in shorter time periods.
  • I need a Russell Day-Long. The stock seat on the R1150RT, while comfortable, did not provide the long-term support that I needed. I got through the event alright, but my butt would have been happier on a full-coverage seat like the Day-Long.
  • The heat, unforgivingly and with extreme prejudice, drains the body and mind of all will to carry on. I will only ride through the hottest part of the day (+100 F) if absolutely mandatory. I will use the neck wraps and anything else to keep me cool. The best course of action for me would be to pull over and take a short nap, rejuvinate body fluids and ride out -er-a make that sit out - the heat.

Event Log

Date Time In Time Out Location Odometer Description
9-5-2001 4:27 AM CST 4:36 AM CST Irving, TX 4763 Initial Gas Fillup. The is not the official start time.
9-5-2001 4:38 AM CST 4:50 AM CST Irving, TX 4763 Stopped at the Albertson's to get some snacks for the road, my begin witness and an ATM receipt for an official start time of 4:47 AM.
9-5-2001 7:47 AM CST 8:03 AM CST Sweetwater, TX 4992 Stopped for gas at Texaco.
9-5-2001 10:28 AM CST 10:52 AM CST Pecos, TX 5199 Stopped for gas at Texaco.
9-5-2001 11:25 AM MT 11:34 AM MT Sierra Blanca, TX 5323 Stopped for an unplanned pit stop due to increase bladder pressure and gassed up at Exxon.
9-5-2001 1:56 PM MT 2:20 PM MT Deming, NM 5517 Stopped for gas at Texaco.
9-5-2001 4:00 PM AZ 4:20 PM AZ Tucson, AZ 5738 Stopped for gas at Union 76.
9-5-2001 6:00 PM AZ 9-6-2001 4:25 AM AZ Phoenix, AZ 5862 Stopped to get an end-witness (Angela D, manager on duty) as well as for the evening at:

Comfort Inn
5050 Black Canyon Fwy
Phoenix, AZ 85017

9-6-2001 4:23 AM AZ 4:45 AM AZ Phoenix, AZ 5868 Stopped for gas at Texaco.
9-6-2001 6:47 AM AZ 7:00 AM AZ Flagstaff, AZ 6013 Stopped for gas at Mobil.
9-6-2001 10:10 AM MT 10:25 AM MT Gallup, NM 6194 Stopped for gas at Chevron.
9-6-2001 12:25 PM MT 12:45 PM MT Tijeras, NM 6360 Stopped for gas at Chevron.
9-6-2001 2:30 PM MT 3:40 PM MT Tucumcari, NM 6519 Stopped for gas and decided to get the bun burner end-witness and official end time. The end witness was Eddie U at the Shell station I stopped at. I also got an ATM receipt with an official end time of 2:37 PM MT. I ate dinner at La Cita Mexican Restaurant.
9-6-2001 6:01 PM CST 6:16 PM CST Amarillo, TX 6646 Stopped for gas at Petro.
9-6-2001 7:50 PM CST 8:10 PM CST Childress, TX 6758 Stopped for gas at Taylor.
9-6-2001 11:58 PM CST 9-7-2001 12:08 AM CST Irving, TX 7015 Stopped for final gas fill at Chevron - The same one as prior to the start.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Turner Falls

Turner Falls is west of Interstate 35 just south of Davis, Oklahoma. It's located in the Arbuckle Mountains. Yes, for Oklahoma these are mountains. A lot of people visit the falls on the weekends. If you're a people-watcher, then go on a Saturday. If you prefer a more laid back atmosphere, then go up sometime during the week. There's some ok hiking, an abundance of campsites and plenty of swimmin' holes.

I haven't been throughout the entire Arbuckle Mountain area, but I do not ride to that area of Oklahoma for the twisties. There are some good roads in the area, but it's not enough to attract me on a regular basis from Dallas. Instead, I go for the quiet, relaxing atmosphere and the cool springs that a weekday visit offers up.

click to enlarge

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Possum Kingdom

I found myself thinking late last night that I need to go to Possum Kingdom in the morning... so that's exactly what I did the morning of August 7, 2001. I intended to visit both sides of PK lake. I wanted to visit and take some pics from the bluffs with the spectacular views on the east side. The west side of PK is quiet, good roads and PK State Park has some fairly decent hiking and a nice swimming hole.

I woke up around 07:00, dropped a load off, showered, grabbed a shirt to wear while hiking, some shorts for swimming, the book I wanted to finish under the sun at PK State Park, and my camera. I packed the beemer bags, attached them to the bike, started the engine and promptly sped off to the Denny's just around the corner. What? Did you think I would start a long day of riding and hiking without putting fuel in my tank?

I was out of the Denny's and down the road by 09:00 and that's when I realized everything I had left behind:

  • Pen and pad for documenting the trip
  • Tripod for the camera
  • Camelback to use while hiking around PK State Park

When I gassed up in Jacksboro I bought a pen and pad. I was surprised the rinky-dink gas station had pens, not to mention a small pad identical to what I usually use. It was the beginning of another karmic day, or so I thought.

Here's the map. I chopped off the part between the metroplex and Jacksboro.

click to enlarge

The ride that's worth talking about begins at Farm Road 4 just west of Jacksboro on US 380. This road is marked as FM 206 on MapQuest and in MS Streets/Maps software, but it's marked as FM 4 on 380 road. It's a nice, winding and sometimes sweeping road that goes all of the way to Graford, Tx. Graford is an excellent town to shoot for if you're planning on going to the east side of PK Lake. From Graford, take 254 West. Following the sign directing you to PK Lake will eventually get you to Park Road 36. Now if you go this route, the payoff is a bluff that overlooks PK Lake. The best ones are on some property known as The Ranch. Continue on PR 36 and take a left on La Villa Road. There's a little pizza joint just before the street. Take a left on Scenic Point Drive. Take a left on Harbor Way. Take a right just before hitting the fence. This road is not marked, but it takes you up to the bluffs. The road winds and climbs all the way to the top of the bluff. Take a right and go all the way to end of the road. There's a dirt road at the end that will take you to the observation deck. Here's what you may see:

After taking some pics, chillin' and relaxin' I decided to get back on the bike and go to the west side of PK Lake for some hiking and swimming.

Making your way back down, don't take a right on Scenic Point Drive to go back from whence you came. Instead, take a left. This will you take out of The Ranch and onto FM 2353. Go south until you get to FM 16 and take a right. Go south on 16 until you get to US 180. That stretch of 16 is another nice bit of road. It will thin the chicken strips directly from your tires. Good stretch of road for this part of the country. Head west on 180 until you get to the little town of Caddo. From Caddo take Park Road 33 all of the way to PK State Park. PR 33 is another great stretch of road and is totally recommended if you're in the area.

So I pull in through the park gates, park the bike and walk up to the counter with my $3 daily fee already whipped out. After smiling at the lady who could be my own grandmother, she apologetically informs me that they are not admitting daily usage folks because the park roads are going to be repaved starting that afternoon! Needless to say, I was disappointed. I was going to hike around for a spell, get nice and sweaty and then hop in the lake. What a bummer. So I smiled at granny and told her, "I'll be back!", and walked out of the office already plotting my way back.

As I'm heading back out PR 33 I remember Ranch Road 3253 which eventually gets you to the north shore of PK Lake, but as I'm contemplating how much to brake and which gear I want to manuever the turn in, I think I should just head back home and go through Ft. Worth and Bedford for two reasons. First, I needed to run by BMW of Ft. Worth to purchase an oil filter and see if my license plates had arrived. Filter good, plates bad. Second, I needed to stop by DFW Honda to see if the Kuryakyn accessories came in for my VTX. Accessories good.

Then I went home and figured out there wasn't anything specific in the BMW manuals about what screw is the oil drain plug on my bike. I get to call them in the morning. I also installed the accessories on the bike and wrote this cheesy report of the day's events.