Day +11: July 27, 2000
I have been home for more than a week now, and I'm in danger of not completing the final trip report, so I will write a few words and wrap this up.
Bun Burner Gold 3000: Completed BBG3000 41 min. before the 48 hour deadline Day 1: 1529 miles in 21:45 including 1:24 in gas stops Average gas stop: 14 minutes Average speed: 70.3 mph, 75.1 while in motion Fuel economy: 38.1 mpg Day 2: 1513 miles in 21:18 including 1:15 in gas stops Average gas stop: 12.5 minutes Average speed: 71.0 mph, 75.5 while in motion Fuel economy: 37.8 mpg Rest stop in Salina, Kansas was 4:16 Four Corners Tour: Completed in 16 days (5 days under the limit) San Ysidro, CA to Key West, FL: 3480 miles 38.6 mpg Key West, FL to Madawaska, ME: 2872 miles 44.9 mpg Madawaska, ME to Blaine, WA: 3356 miles 44.8 mpg Total: 9708 miles Vacation: Blaine-Scripps Ranch: 3072 miles 42.5 mpg Total Trip: 12780 miles in 24 days Average Daily Mileage: Days 1-2: 1521 miles Days 1-24: 533 miles Fuel: 303.5 gallons total 42.1 mpg average for entire trip Best fuel economy: 51.7 mpg (The next tank after the ticket in Michigan - reformed speeder) Worst fuel economy: 33.7 mpg (First tank after leaving Salina - hair on fire) States & Provinces visited: CA, NV, AZ, UT, CO, KS, OK, AR, TN, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, VA, WV, MD, PA, NJ, NY, CT, MA, NH, ME, NB, PQ, ON, MI, WI, MN, ND, MT, ID, WA, BC, WY (33 states, 4 provinces)
Bun Burner Gold 3000:First, the Bun Burner Gold 3000. I was totally surprised by the hailstorm on Day 1, but after a few minutes, I resigned myself to the fact that weather is the one thing I could not control. While I was planning the trip, I knew I would leave on June 23, regardless of what the national weather conditions were, so the hailstorm was just something I had to deal with. It certainly made the first day a lot more challenging, and it put me behind schedule. I really expected to arrive in Salina, Kansas at least 20 minutes ahead of schedule, and instead, I arrived 26 minutes late. The scenery on I-70 from I-15 in Utah all the way to Loveland Pass in Colorado was breathtaking and I can't wait to go back to see it again.
When I arrived in Salina, Kansas, I nearly blew the whole event by deciding to sleep until 7:00 and meet the Glaves for breakfast at 8:00AM. I should have kept to my original plan, which was to be on the road by 7:00AM. Next I tried to make up for that mistake by riding like my hair was on fire, and that screwed up my gas stops for all of the second day. It was at the first (unscheduled) gas stop in Pawnee, Oklahoma, that I had a bite to eat and reminded myself that I know how to ride an endurance event. If I could concentrate on keeping a steady pace and making fast gas stops, I could still make it to Orlando on time. From that point on, the second day was a great personal challenge, and a great experience for me. I have not felt as focused and as alive as I did that day for a very long time. I remember thinking about all of the months of planning, and thinking how disappointed I would be if I failed at achieving this goal. And so the rest of the second day was really a very positive experience for me, striving to make time on the road, and keep the gas stops as short as possible. I fairly flew across Georgia in the middle of the night, and this is where I made up the time to allow me to complete the BBG3K in the alotted time. I have since learned that if you are arrested for excessive speed in Georgia, you can be locked up! That sure would have ruined my Bun Burner Gold 3000!
To arrive in Orlando in the early morning fog, knowing that I was going to succeed, was a great feeling. Many thanks to Ed & Marge Estes, who opened their home to me in Orlando. It was the perfect place to rest my Iron Butt.
One other emotion that bears repeating is that the knowledge that my witnesses were waiting for me, both in Salina and Orlando, was a tremendous motivational factor. Thanks again to Steve Hobart, Lou Caspary, Paul & Voni Glaves, Richard A. "Smitty" Smith, and Bruce Barge. I could not have completed the Bun Burner Gold 3000 without you.
Four Corners Tour:The Four Corners Tour was the main reason for taking this trip, and I am very happy that I completed it according to my schedule. I would have enjoyed having a few more days in my schedule to do a little more sightseeing, but I could not take off any more time from work.
In spite of all the planning I did, I wish I had thought through the Madawaska to Blaine leg of the trip a little better. That part of my trip plan was somewhat unrealistic, especially when the time necessary to write trip reports is considered. I did not realize how much time the writing would take away from riding. On too many occasions I stayed up late at night writing, which affected my ability to get on the road early the next morning.
The Florida Keys were beautiful, and the night spent in Islamorada was wonderful. I knew I would be staying mostly at Motel 6, but that night on Key Marathon was very luxurious. I had a great visit with my cousin in St. Petersburg, who I had not seen in a very long time. The Blue Ridge Parkway scenery in North Carolina was gorgeous as expected, but the road through Virginia was a pleasant sport-biking surprise. My hometown visit in New Jersey was brief, but enlightening. Fighting rush hour traffic in New York City on a Friday afternoon now seems like a terrible blunder, although originally I wanted to have a sandwich at The Stage Deli in Manhattan. This was the only major routing mistake in the entire trip plan.
Rural Connecticut was beautiful and historic, and the White Mountains in New Hampshire were even better than expected. There was not enough time to take a planned side trip on the Moosehead Trail in Maine, but what I saw of Maine was beautiful. The evening and the morning in Madawaska were very uplifting; I felt like a celebrity in this small town where everybody seems to know about the Four Corners Motorcycle Tour. The ferry boat ride across the St. Lawrence was a delight, and the scenic roads on the northern riverbank were beautiful.
The remainder of the time in Canada was just a long road trip to get through. The speeding ticket in Michigan was yet another wake up call that I was in an endurance event, not a race. The LEO who gave me the ticket told me he once drove from Sault St. Marie, Michigan to Fargo, North Dakota in one day, so of course I took that as a challenge, and did the same thing myself. If I had it to do over again, I would have stopped in St. Cloud, Minnesota when the sun set, rather than pushing on to Fargo in the dark.
I was very lucky in North Dakota and Montana, just missing the tornadoes that passed through the area just after I did. The Gold Wing people I met in Miles City, Montana were a delight, I hope we stay in touch. I-90 from Butte into Idaho was a pleasant surprise. I had modified my route to make time, and did not expect all the beautiful scenery I witnessed, especially over Lookout Pass at the Idaho border. In Washington, my revised route took me across the Columbia River Gorge near Ellensburg, and over Snoqualmie Pass, which was everything I had heard about it.
Completing the Four Corners Tour in 16 days was a great feeling, and the realization in Blaine, Washington that I had 27 hours to ride to Spokane to pick up Carla caused a curious reaction. After 16 days of rushing, suddenly I could relax. And relax I did, spending 4 hours seeing all the sights in Blaine, including the magnificent Semi-Ah-Moo Resort.
Because I revised my route, I missed seeing Mackinac Island in Michigan, which I have always wanted to visit. I also missed the Northern Unit of Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and US2 across northern Montana.
I did not take the route I had planned through the state of Washington, but I actually ended up seeing a lot of the state in the time I was there. The North Cascades Scenic Highway was a wonderful road, everyone should have the opportunity to see "America's Alps" someday. Grand Coulee Dam was very impressive.
Several people have asked me if I would do the Four Corners Tour again, and my answer is no, because I have already done it. Would I enjoy traveling around the US on a motorcycle again? Absolutely!
Vacation Time:Carla and I spent 6 wonderful days together, and we were blessed with great weather 99 percent of the time. In Idaho we truly saw the amber waves of grain. The Wild & Scenic River Route along the Lochsa River in Idaho was beautiful, and the butterflies were free. We stayed in a nice hotel in West Yellowstone for 2 nights, and our experiences in and around Yellowstone National Park were memorable. The sound of 10 wolves howling at the moon from 20 feet away is something I hope I never forget.
We spent enough time in Yellowstone to take all of the major roads, and we saw all of the large wildlife, including a Grizzly. Beartooth Pass was pretty tame, compared to the experiences of other motorcyclists who crossed over it this summer. The view from the overlook on the Montana side is quite memorable. Grand Teton National Park was magnificent as always.
We wished we had more time to spend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, it is a bustling tourist town with a lot of Old West charm. Someday I would like to stay long enough to visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
The ride home from Jackson Hole, highlighted by a fantastic day of riding in Utah is something that will stay with me for a long time. Everyone should take Utah Route 12 someday, in a car if necessary, but preferably on a motorcycle.
Trip Reports:These trip reports turned out to be so much more than I expected when I decided to take a laptop along on this trip. From the feedback I have gotten from a number of people, I know that a lot of you have enjoyed them, and your compliments are the biggest surprise of the entire trip. Many, many thanks to Bill Englander for setting up the website at www.englander.com/ironbuttrick . I really resisted Bill when he first suggested it, but now I am happy I have my 15 minutes of fame. I find it amazing that there have been hundreds of hits on that page. To the friends and co-workers I did not include in the original distribution for my eMails, I apologize. I never thought these reports would amount to anything, in fact I seriously questioned whether I would write something every day.
Some Thoughts on Touring the United States:This country is so big, and so varied, and so beautiful that its citizens owe it to themselves to experience its magnificent beauty. The roads that I took, and the sights that I saw are out there, right now, for everyone to see. My message to anyone who cares to hear it is: get on your bike, or get in your car, and go see a place in this country that you have never seen before, or even re-visit some place that you know is beautiful, and share it with your loved ones. We have set aside the most beautiful places in this country as National Parks, National Monuments, and National Forests, and as Sunday Morning host Charles Kurault used to say, these places are "Our Gifts to Us". Go out there and enjoy them.
Next time:I have no plans right now for another long motorcycle trip, but I know I will take one again when the time is right. Next time I will definitely take a laptop computer, as I really enjoyed communicating via e-Mail from the road. Next time I will definitely take a digital camera so that I can capture digital pictures, preview them on the spot, and upload the best of them to a website. Next time I would like to experiment with a recording device of some sort so that I can capture my thoughts while I am riding. Next time I would like to be able to connect to the Internet via a cellular modem. And next time it would be pretty cool to mount a video camera to the handlebars to record the experience of ripping down a twisty road. Let's see, that's an awful lot of equipment to carry on a motorcycle, so I think I better start shopping right now for a trailer!
Thanks for listening.
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© COPYRIGHT 2000, Richard R. Brookes, Peter H. Baumann