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I had completed this group of rides in 2013 and later that year I wrote a "how to" on IBA trip planning and ride timing. I thought the info could be useful for riders planning rides.

Planning trips and IBA rides is a winter project for me in Wisconsin. I try to find rides that have not been done on a Victory before.
Some detail on completing 4 IBA rides in one week. A week in June (2013) -

“What’s next?” I had just completed the Ultimate Coast to Coast ride, Key West, FL to Prudhoe Bay, AK (2012) and already my co-workers are asking me what my next ride would be.
My answer “I don’t know but I can’t wait to see what’s next.” I have never had a bucket list but each year I find a location or a ride that becomes a “to do”.

There were a few rides that I thought would be interesting but they were all missing something. The ride to Alaska had spoiled me. Miles would not be enough, I need more scenery.
Winter in Wisconsin is a good time to plan a ride and while doing some internet research I came across an IBA ride called Heaven to Hell. Mount Evans to Death Valley.
The highest point (14,130 feet) in the country that you can ride, to the lowest point (282 feet below sea level) and would include a ride across Colorado and Utah. I like this!

The planning and preparation began.
Now that the ride planning has started I start my program to keep myself in shape for the ride, tread mill, weights and 60 sit-ups every day until a few weeks before the ride starts. I had been doing this for the past 6 years and it seems to give me the back strength I need to do the longer multiple day rides.
This ride uses the same basic rules as the SS1000 but because there is nowhere to get a receipt at the top of Mount Evans and some of the other locations a Spot Tracker will be needed to show the time, date and place. I will be able to print the Spot Tracker location maps and submit them to the IBA.

I used Microsoft Streets and Trips to create a basic route and then started planning the gas stops using online truck stop websites.
There were other questions that needed to be answered. When should I do this ride? June, would there be snow in the mountains? July, how hot would it be in Death Valley? More research.
During the research I found there was another version of this ride, the Heaven to Hell Gold. Pikes Peak to Death Valley with a required ride through Independence Pass and Ely, NV.
Now the decision, Pikes Peak to Death Valley or Mount Evans to Death Valley? Final decision? Do both but do one in reverse, now I have a plan. This trip would now include four separate IBA rides.

The plan
Ride one - Milwaukee, WI to Idaho Springs, CO. Ride two – The top of Mount Evans to Badwater, Death Valley. Ride three – Badwater, Death Valley to Ely, NV a ride through Independence Pass and then end at the top of Pikes Peak. Ride four – Colorado to Milwaukee, WI, the ride home. Each ride is over 1000 miles and I have a week of vacation.

The bike is a 2010 Victory Vision 8-Ball. This bike has been very comfortable on long distance rides and with the 6 gallon tank it has a good fuel range. The power windshield and adjustable lower vents also help to adjust to the changing weather conditions. Other equipment includes an HID Headlight, headlight guard, engine skid plate, Bead Rider seat cover, TireGard tire pressure monitoring system, Spot Tracker, Zumo 350LM GPS and an EZPass for the toll roads. I also packed some tools and tire repair equipment.
For tires I used a Dunlop E3 on the front and a Dunlop Winter Sport run flat snow tire on the rear. I had used this tire combination on the Key West/Prudhoe Bay ride and had great results!

Gear –Good gear is important in any ride but on this ride, because of the possible temperature extremes, I need adjustability. My jacket is an Olympia Airglide; I like it because it is a mesh jacket that has a removable wind/rain lining and a quilted lining. Jackets like this work well and take up less space.
The helmet that I used is a Shoei Neotec modular, what I like about this helmet is the flip down sun visor. The sun visor saves a lot of time when you don’t have to stop to change glasses during the ever changing weather and when you’re going to see the sun set and rise during each of the four rides.

June 14th, I worked a half day, cut the grass and I’m ready to go. Ate dinner and plan to leave the Milwaukee area at about 5:00 pm. I picked this later start time to start getting into the ride rhythm I will need to complete the following two rides. I also enjoy riding at night, its cooler and there’s a lot less traffic.
I get my start receipt at 5:08 pm CDT, wrote the mileage on the receipt and start the ride west to Idaho Springs, CO. The ride went well until Iowa when the sky lit up with lightning shooting from cloud to cloud, time for gas and the rain gear. The lightning was the first of two lightshows on this trip. There would be over 100 miles of rain in Iowa and then more in Nebraska.
Ride one ended on June 15th at 10:56 am MDT in Idaho Springs, CO; I had traveled 1071 miles in less than 24 hours. I have some time to repack my gear and get ready for the next ride. I can sleep late the next morning and it’s better if I do because it’s going to another long day.

June 16th - I had slept well and I’m ready to go. I finished packing the bike, stopped for breakfast and then it’s just a short ride to the top of Mount Evans. It was 45 degrees, windy and sunny at the top. It was so windy that I had to be careful how I park the bike so that it wasn’t blown over.
At the top of Mount Evans I need to find two witnesses to sign the witness form, have someone take a picture of me and the bike in front of the Mount Evans sign and when I’m ready to leave I need to hit the ok button on the Spot Tracker so that it does a time stamp of the time, date and place of this location.
I also note the mileage and zero my GPS so that I can monitor my progress during this ride.

Next I hit the Spot Tracker tracking button and the ride can begin, the time is 10:05 am MDT…. Go, go, go!
I rode to the bottom of Mount Evans and stopped at the gift shop to get an “I was there” pin and a dated receipt.
By the time I reached I-70 it started to rain and it would rain on and off during the ride through the Colorado mountains. The rain lowered my speed but I did notice an increase in fuel mileage.
The rain ends in Utah and the temperature and my average speed is going up. The temps in Utah started in the low 100’s, dropped to the mid 80’s in western Utah and then rose again as I headed south on I-15.
It was also very windy in Utah and with the higher speeds and the gusty high winds I have to make an unplanned fuel stop.

I had planned all of my gas stops for the Peaks and Valley rides and added them in order to my GPS in order. Because I will be able to use some of the stops twice I had to come up with a code so that I could find each stop quickly.
Example – Mount Evans was 1A, Parachute, CO was coded 2A/6B, gas stop two on the ride to Death Valley and it was gas stop 6 on the ride to Pikes Peak.

One extra challenge I thought I would have on this trip was the traffic in Las Vegas, NV. Timing is everything; I rode through Las Vegas at 10:00 pm on a Sunday night. There was no traffic and it was only 100 degrees.
Riding through Las Vegas at night was the second lightshow on this ride. I really enjoy riding through Las Vegas at night.
After Las Vegas I rode to Yermo, CA to add a few more miles, I want to be sure that this trip is over the required 1000 miles. I get my fuel receipt in Yermo at 12:54 am and then ride northeast to Baker, CA to get a picture of the world’s largest (broken) thermometer.
Now I’m excited, my next stop is Badwater, Death Valley. While riding north on highway 127 I’m starting to notice now dark it is, it is about 2:00 am and I can’t see anything past the edge of my headlight and nothing to the sides.

I rode past the Death Valley entrance sign and the local wildlife is busy, there were a lot of jackrabbits running across the road and I also saw one fox that was walking on the road. I rode past him and he just turned his head to look at me and kept walking.
Now I need to concentrate on finding the Badwater sign. I’m watching the elevation on the GPS and its dropping and the temperature is rising. I must be getting close! It is so dark that I’m worried that I may miss the Badwater sign. Did I already ride past it?
 

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Finally I see the sign and stop to take a picture. I take a lot of pictures on the rides; they help me remember the details. This picture would show the Badwater, Death Valley sign and it also shows that it is 6:10 am CDT (4:10 PDT), temperature is 96 degrees and I have ridden 1065 miles since leaving Mount Evans. It also shows (did I mention) that it is very dark. I would take over 900 pictures on this trip.



I pulled into the parking lot and shut off the key and everything goes black. I have to feel the edges of the bike to find the saddlebag locks; I’m trying to find my flashlight. Note to self – next time put the flashlight in a place that can be found in the dark. I give up on trying to find the flashlight and use the trunk light to add the details to my IBA paperwork. I note the time, date and mileage. I also hit the ok button on the Spot Tracker to time stamp this location. Ride two is completed, I’m happy but I’m also thinking that ending the ride in Death Valley at four in the morning is not the smartest thing I have done.
I walked across the parking lot and stopped at the railing, as my eyes adjust to the darkness I can see the shadowy images of the mountains.

I still need two witnesses to sign my form and I decide that it’s safer to stay in the parking lot and wait for the sun to come up. I roll up my jacket and lay next to my bike. I thought I might be able to get some sleep but that didn’t happen. Every time I heard a noise I would jump up and look around, I never saw anything.

Finally the sun rises and the first car pulls into the lot. I walk over to the car and ask the couple if they could sign my witness form but there is a problem. They don’t speak English!
The next car? No, they’re from France.
Next a group of motorcycles pull into the parking lot and they also are not from around here, a tour group from France. It would take almost two hours before I found someone that could sign my form and take my picture in front of the Badwater, Death Valley sign. Death Valley is a very popular place for foreign tourists.
Next stop is the Furnace Creek Ranch to see if I can find a room for one night. Good news – they have a cabin but I can’t get into it until after 2:00 pm. I ride back into the valley and do a few side rides; it’s 112 degrees. My favorite side ride was the Artists Palette loop. I would put on another 130 miles riding in the valley.




I like my cabin, it has hot and warm running water and two air conditioners and I need them to cool off after spending most of the day outside in Death Valley. Good thing it is a “dry heat”. Time to plan the next day, I was still trying to decide what a good start time would be to ride to Pikes Peak. I don’t want to ride through Independence Pass in the dark so this will require a later start in Death Valley and another all-night ride. There is also an arrival window at Pikes Peak; the hours are 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. I decide that a 1:00 pm start time in Badwater will give me the right timing for this ride.

June 18th - I get to the Badwater parking lot early to start looking for witnesses and again I get to meet a lot of people from France. I find two witnesses and also have my picture taken for the start of ride three. I found that there is a solar powered pay station in the Badwater parking lot that will give a dated receipt. I timestamp the Spot Tracker (1:19 pm PDT), get my receipt…. Go!
The next stop is Furnace Creek to top off the gas tank and pick up one more receipt and then a hot afternoon ride across the northern part of Death Valley. It was 115 degrees as I was leaving Furnace Creek but the temperature would change with the altitude, as I was leaving Death Valley the temperature had already dropped to 96 degrees and after a day in Death Valley that felt cool.

The next required stop is Ely, NV; this will add a lot of two lane highway to the ride and that adds to the challenge. It was a windy ride on highway 95 and highway 6 with a lot of blowing dust; it was fun to watch the dozens of large dust devils that were on both sides of the highway with some even crossing the road in front of me.
Because Ely is a required stop I will need a receipt so I stop for gas and dinner, its 6:49 pm. After Ely I take highway 50 east to Utah and it’s another dark, lonely highway. Not much traffic on highway 50 at night but I would have a close encounter with a deer.
I noticed movement on my left and I’m already hard on the brakes, it’s a deer running towards the highway and once in the highway he stops in front of me but I’m able to safely serve around him. The HID headlight has such a wide beam that I was able to see him coming, thanks HID! My heart rate is up and I’m really watching closely now, eyes are constantly moving.

My next gas stop is in Salina, UT and I’m going to take a break and check my ride timing. Normally I don’t want to add time to a ride but if I don’t it may still be dark during the ride through Independence Pass.
I sat down, had a small coffee and talked to some late night travelers.
Now I’m back onto I-70, heading east. I can pick up the speed but it’s dark and I’m still watching for deer.

At Glenwood Springs I get off of I-70 and head SE to Aspen, CO and the start of Independence Pass. The sun is rising but that is also a problem, I’m riding into that bright low morning sun.
This route adds a lot of twisting, winding mountain road, it’s a beautiful ride but it also adds to the challenge of completing this ride in less than 24 hours and stopping to take pictures is not helping.
I seem to be always arguing with myself on wither I should stop and take more pictures or keep moving, taking pictures wins.



When I reach the sign for Independence Pass I will need to mark the location with the Spot Tracker, again because there is nowhere to get a receipt at this location. I will also need a picture of me and the bike in front of the Independence Pass sign. The scenery is everything I had hoped for.

Spot Tracker map -



The next destination is Pikes Peak and the end of ride three. There’s more winding road as I work my way up to 14,110 feet. It’s June 19th, I hit the Spot Tracker to end the 1044 mile ride at 11:47 am MDT.
The two-lane winding roads on this trip have made this both a physically and mentally challenging ride and I can really feel the lack of oxygen (41% less than sea level) at the top. I slowly get off the bike and walk to the gift shop to get a dated receipt. I found two witnesses and after the “I was there” picture I am done. Finding a witness was also a challenge, when people saw me walking up to them with forms in my hand they thought I was trying to sell something and would quickly walk away.
I can rest for a while and enjoy the view. I’m exhausted but this day is not over, I still have to ride to the bottom of Pikes Peak and find a motel.

A ride down the mountain and the GPS finds a nearby motel. I checked in but the room wasn’t ready so I sat outside and started to take my over pants off. The owner who was working outside saw me and yelled “stop, you can’t do that here!” I explained that I had been riding all night and that I was at the top of Pikes Peak and needed the over pants to stay warm but that I also had pants on under them.
She laughed and asked questions about the ride and also agreed to sign my witness form for my next IBA ride; the ride home.
I’m hungry but I’m too tired to ride. The nearest restaurant is one mile away but I’m done riding today and the walk feels good. Buffalo Lasagna …… Mmmmm

I fall asleep early and I’m up early. On June 20th at 4:42 am MDT I am at a gas station in Colorado Springs, CO getting my start receipt for the ride home. The 1141 mile ride home was uneventful with perfect weather and I get to see another sunrise and sunset. On June 21st at 12:35 am CDT I am back home in Milwaukee. No problems with the bike or gear, the plan had worked.
After I got home my first concern is putting my witness forms and receipts in a safe place. Completing the IBA paperwork will have to wait for another day. While I’m unpacking I find my flashlight.

I had been gone a week, traveled 4321 miles and only needed a motel three nights, the other nights I was riding. I do save a lot of money on motels!
I had good weather, rode to a lot of scenic locations, and met a lot of people (from France); it even felt like a vacation.

SS1000 – 1071 miles – 6/14/2013, start time - 5:08 pm - Milwaukee, WI to Idaho Springs, CO.
Heaven to Hell – 1065 miles – 6/16/2013, start time -10:05 am - Top of Mount Evans to Badwater, Death Valley
Heaven to Hell Gold – 1044 miles – 6/18/2013, start time -1:19 pm- Badwater, Death Valley to Ely, NV, Independence Pass and the top of Pikes Peak
SS1000 – 1141 miles – 6/20/2013, start time - 4:42 am - Colorado Springs, CO to Milwaukee, WI
Full trip – 4321 miles, 1 week.

What’s next? I can’t wait to see.
 

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Sure leave us hanging in the Middle of Death valley! Love reading your adventures and can't wait for the pictures.

OKAY - you posted the rest while I was typing. Not my cup of tea but I do enjoy reading your adventures.
 

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Sure leave us hanging in the Middle of Death valley! Love reading your adventures and can't wait for the pictures.

OKAY - you posted the rest while I was typing. Not my cup of tea but I do enjoy reading your adventures.
Thank you!!
I had to split the post, too many words. :) I will add a few more pictures later.
 

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I have to ask this. Do you have a job? The amount of traveling you do is amazing and I put some miles on some years. Strange thing is I actually traveled more before I retired. So was just wondering if you just have a lot of vacation or are retired too.
 

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What a trip!!! I'm tired just reading about the miles you traveled without much sleep.

We have taken several long distance trips but have done them in at least 2 weeks. My hat is off to you. There is no way I could stand to sit on the seat that long for that many days in a row.
 

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Me too MONI. I'm a Wimpy Ass Rider. Takes us a week to go to Cali. Little less coming back so the wife can go to work though.:D
 

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I have to ask this. Do you have a job? The amount of traveling you do is amazing and I put some miles on some years. Strange thing is I actually traveled more before I retired. So was just wondering if you just have a lot of vacation or are retired too.
I'm still working fulltime, hoping to retire in about 5 years.
Getting time off can be a challenge and with the damn smart phones I'm still working even when I'm on vacation. :(

Some of these rides are expensive so I don't know if I would be able to do them after I retire and of course I don't know what my health will be.
I know more than a few people that had trips planned after they retired and couldn't because of health problems, including my parents.
I do try to travel a lot but also do it quickly, after I retire I should be able to slow down.
 

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What a trip!!! I'm tired just reading about the miles you traveled without much sleep.

We have taken several long distance trips but have done them in at least 2 weeks. My hat is off to you. There is no way I could stand to sit on the seat that long for that many days in a row.
Thanks Moni!!
My dad was an over-the-road truck driver. It must be that truck driver blood. :)
 

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