Part 2 of 2: The Rides
I began and ended my weeklong Independence Day 2006 holiday break with successful Iron Butt Association (“IBA”) Bun Burner Gold rides, covering over 1,500 miles in under 24 hours each time.
On June 30, I rode north on I-95 from Miami Beach to Jacksonville, then west on I-10 to Junction, Texas, logging 1,529 miles in 22 hours 7 minutes. I returned by a similar route on July 7, logging 1,546 miles in 22 hours 28 minutes.
The Ride West
You couldn’t ask for a more inviting forecast than what the National Weather Service predicted for my ride from Miami Beach to Junction Texas: I would be out of South Florida before summer’s daily afternoon showers began, and from Jacksonville westward I could expect clear skies all the way to San Antonio.
And right they were. The sky was blue and the winds were calm as I gathered my start-of-run witness signatures and logged an ATM receipt to start my run clock at 8:59am ET on Friday, June 30. They stayed that way all day as I rode north on I-95 then west on I-10 across the Florida panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and on into the Lone Star State. Even the slight chance of showers predicted for Central Texas that evening failed to materialize. I rolled into Junction at dawn the next day, logging a gas receipt at Rowe’s Chevron to mark the end of my run at 6:06am CT on Saturday, July 1, having benefited from perfect riding conditions for the entire 1,529 mile length of my run. No rain, no headwinds or crosswinds, not even any significant delays from road construction, accidents or traffic congestion. What luck! I guess every dog does have his day…
I gathered my end-of-run witness signatures from the Chevron c-store employees and patrons … explaining to each that I needed them to witness the fact that I had just ridden my motorcycle over 1,500 miles in under 24 hours … and getting the usual “What the hell is wrong with you?” looks. Mission accomplished, I cruised south on Junction’s main drag to Isaac’s Restaurant for a Texas-sized breakfast of steak and eggs. Then it was back up to the Lazy-T Motel, where a friendly Miss Sonya checked me into Room 20, and all I had to do to fall asleep was close my eyes.
The Ride East
You couldn’t ask for a less inviting forecast than what The Weather Channel was predicting for my ride back to Miami Beach from Junction Texas: All week long, their national weather map predicted a blanket of scattered showers and thunderstorms covering most of Texas, the lower Southeast and all of Florida. In short, I was looking at riding through rain for the entire 1,500-plus miles of my route!
I awoke early on Friday, July 7, and prepared for the worst. I made sure my saddlebags and travel bag were as watertight as possible, and donned my waterproof H-D hard weather jacket, Bass Pro Shops Gore-Tex pants, and Georgia Mud Dog boots (which did their job on this ride, but fell apart on my next). Then it was off to Isaac’s for breakfast tacos, coffee and start-of-run witness signatures.
I logged a gas receipt at Rowe’s Chevron to start my run clock at 7:21am CT and headed east on I-10 under gray skies, insulated by my rain gear and waiting for the deluge to begin. One hundred miles later I reached San Antonio, and no rain fell. Another hundred miles to Flatonia, and no rain fell. One hundred more to Houston, still no rain, and with my rain gear on, I was baking in the midday heat and humidity. I considered taking it off, but was convinced the downpour would start as soon as I did, so I didn’t. I cross the Louisiana border and hit traffic congestion around Lake Charles, then finally encountered my first brief shower just west of Rayne (no kidding). The road soon dried, and I opened the throttle to make up lost time.
A major traffic jam awaited me at the west side of the Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge. Cars were backed up in all lanes leading to the bridge, all the way across the bridge, and beyond. I knew that waiting for the traffic to clear would cost me my BBG, so I pretended I was in California and applied a little lane-splitting and, ah, shoulder-expedition to weave my way through the mess. Once more, I had to twist the throttle hard to make up lost time as I rode on through the rest of the Bayou State, across Mississippi and Alabama, and on into Florida.
Somewhere west of Tallahassee, I finally rode into the serious kind of rainstorm I’d been expecting all day. From there, it was intermittent showers for the rest of the night’s ride all the way through Jacksonville and south to Miami. Fortunately though, my rain gear did its job, the showers were mostly mists, and the winds were not adverse. Consequently, I was able to maintain the pace needed to finish the run in under 24 hours. As dawn arose over Miami Beach, I logged an ATM receipt to mark the end of my second Bun Burner Gold run at 6:49am ET on Saturday, July 8.
Until Next Time … Ride Long, Ride Free!