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· Visionary
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This year's motorcycle vacation was going to be a bit different, rather than just Candy and I heading off for a couple of weeks on the road we were doing it with our Indian Motorcycle Riding Group, and turned out that the IMRG was going to my favorite place to go anyway, The Black Hills of South Dakota. Sharing the rides with 24 of our riding brothers and sisters was going to be awesome, we reserved a whole block of rooms at a hotel in Rapid City and planned all the rides but first was the getting there part. Most of the group are not long distance riders so the bulk were either trailering out in small groups or else shipping their bikes and flying out, the club set up a truck hauling 14 bikes to take the bulk of them the 1665 miles to Rapid City. Candy and I decided to ride out as usual, but with a twist, instead of taking 2 or 3 days like we have done before we decided to do an Iron Butt 1500 Gold ride out to meet our friends, and the planning began.

Candy has plenty of 1000 mile IBA rides under her wheels but had not done this more difficult ride before, 1500+ miles in under 24 hours takes planning, near flawless execution, and just a bit of good luck and she was a bit nervous, was she tough enough? I coached her a bit and we planned it together and we made it happen. The whole trip was a bit too long for a 24 hour ride, 1665 is possible but not easily but that's OK, we would just ride till we had enough miles, a bit >1500 for a cushion, hopefully within the 24 hours that are allotted, and then get our receipts to end the certificate ride then do the last hundred or so at our leisure.

The planning wasn't too complex, the only thing really different for this ride from others that I had done was the fact that we were actually going someplace and had to consider check in times for the hotel rather than a mid point turn around and return, this made the start and finish times more meaningful. Another consideration as always was the route, and here is where I struggled a bit, there are 2 main routes, they start out the same but diverge past the Great Lakes, one route goes up through Chicago, then Wisconsin and Minnesota, while the other continues west and passes through Iowa. The Iowa route has less traffic but fuel is harder to come by at night, while the Chicago route has better fuel but goes directly through Chicago which from experience can be a traffic NIGHTMARE..which we can't afford on a ride like this. We worked out both routes, with all fuel stops at 160-175 mile intervals planned for both, and then literally decided the night before to go the Chicago route, with the plan being to pass though there around 0200, giving us a fighting chance at a good clean run through the city. This also let us get the night riding over in the first half of the ride while we were fresher, which I have found to be a plus.

We were planning to leave on Wednesday at 1600,arriving on Thursday, giving us 1 day cushion in case we were delayed. Sounded great but Mother Nature had other plans, the weather at home was good but the weather on the route looked awful, heavy thunderstorms and some cities along the route were getting 2-3 inches of rain, and we would have been riding through that mess in the dark! We decided to trust the forecast was correct and wait a day, the front that was causing this was supposed to clear us around 1530 on Thursday. Our nerves were tense, we HAD to ride today to arrive Friday evening and meet the group Saturday morning and it POURED all day, I was watching radar as the front crawled through but then around 1500 it slowed to a drizzle, and then by 1600 we left on wet roads under scary looking skies but with not a drop of falling rain... the forecast was correct, we were under blue skies in an hour and never saw another drop. We rode 5 miles to the local Sheetz gas station, filled out tanks, got the receipts and the clock was running..
GAME ON!

The ride went well, the miles disappeared under our wheels as we traveled familiar roads, and as the shadows grew longer we were feeling good, but then a crisis unexpectedly turned up. My GPS time to arrive suddenly added over 2 hours to the trip, I was wondering was going on, then it told me to get off in a couple miles and take a detour to save 2 hours, what the heck was going on???? We discussed this quickly, the road looked fine, we were cruising at a very nice speed but there had to be a reason..what should we do? We had decided to skip the detour rather than chance a GPS boondoggle but something told me to do it, just as we reached the ramp I changed my mind and said follow me and we rolled the dice. The detour took about 25 minutes, down barely paved country roads, and when we got back to the highway we were about 7 miles further down the road, with some residual traffic but nothing awful, looking the other way the road was backed up for 8 miles, NOT moving, we found out later that something had happened to close both directions and we avoided a 3-4 hour road closure... we dodged a bullet there! We were a bit behind schedule but with the higher speeds out west I wasn't too worried, we could make it up if we stayed focused!

The next excitement was fun, we were humming along down the Ohio Turnpike in the dark nearing the Indiana border when we passed yet another pickup truck pulling a box trailer, but as we passed I heard horns blowing and saw lights flashing, and then Candy's phone rang, YUP, we had just passed our club President and VP who were towing their bikes! I knew they were on the road but had thought they were way ahead since they left in the rain while we waited but they had spent hours in the traffic jam so we caught them!

Next up, Chicago, and this went OK, even at 0215 the road was busy, construction, crazy drivers, single lanes, but we ripped though it all at 70 mph, I'm used to city riding so it was not a big deal. We did have a minor issue, right there in the city when we really needed communications my headset died, at the bridge toll booth we stopped and plugged them into the bikes and continued on that way.

The rest of the ride went well, I was watching time and distance and making calculations, we were doing OK, we had a little cushion, no time to waste though. Fuel stops were efficient, a quick pee, get gas, slam down a liter of water and a handful of GORP or jerky and back on the road. The sun came up, it was great riding, no traffic, speed limits get higher as we headed west, but around noon the temps were getting pretty high, around 100F and taking their toll, staying hydrated was tough, we soldiered on, tired, hot, but determined, this is where the iron in the rider is needed.

I was doing the calculations, trying to see where to end the ride, we had until 1400 local since we were 2 time zones west of where we started. Originally I was thinking Wall, South Dakota, close to 1600 miles but that was too close for comfort to the 24 hours, so I started looking for alternatives. Towns are sparse in western SD, I thought of Murdo, I had fueled there before and knew the town but at 1503 it was not enough miles, but we needed fuel and hydration so we grabbed some gas and water there and hit the road again. I had never stopped in Kadoka, SD, but it showed a gas station on the GPS so that became the goal.

We rolled into Kadoka around 1330 local, got the gas and receipt, 1552 miles in 23.5 hours, Tatamy, PA to Kadoka, SD, and through the heat and dehydration we experienced the sweet relief of success!
Pending Submission and verification, Candy has earned her first IBA Bun Burner 1500 GOLD certificate and I have my 3rd.

Kadoka didn't have a lot to offer, a gas station, a craft distillery, and a Subway sandwich shop, we still had 100 miles to go off the clock so we chose to celebrate in Subway over the Badlands Distillery :) . Just sitting in the air conditioning for an hour while slowly eating a sandwich and drinking water and iced tea was heaven! Deciding to get moving was tough, but it had to be done, so we saddled up and rode off under the blazing sun and crystal blue western sky.

The last 89 miles into Rapid City to our hotel was anti-climatic, endless, and HOT, we almost stopped midway for a break which sounds hilarious after what we had already done but says a lot about our remaining energy. We arrived, checked into our room, and decided to take a short rest before rustling up some grub (gotta talk western in SD, right?). You know where this is headed, we woke up 5 hours later, starving and wondering what we would find for dinner! Luckily Perkins attached to the hotel was open till midnight, we walked in at 11:30 and had a late night feast. The next morning we woke up early to the sound of motorcycles, overnight the big truck with most of the bikes had shown up, he was unloading them under our window. We went out to talk to Mario, we had met him while helping to load the truck a couple days before, turns out we had passed him on the road too, just one of many white tractor trailers on the road so we never noticed. Mario transports bikes and also runs tours with his own fleet of bikes , mostly for Europeans who travel to the US, he had his own bike in the truck and he rode with us all week, a great guy. After breakfast we got some wet towels and spent an hour removing 1650 miles of splattered bug guts from the bikes, it was nice to be able to see through my windshield again.

The rest of the club arrived either by their own vehicles or by air a few hours later and we spent the next 7 days riding the Black Hills with our group, and relaxing every night around the fire pit with some adult beverages at the hotel with 26 good friends made this a wonderful trip, but that's a tale for another day...

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· On The Road Again!
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4,156 Posts
You guys are crazy! CRAZY I TELL YA!!!!
Congratulations, and please tell Candy congratulations too.
Hopefully see you at Bike night one day soon.
 
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