I wish I had thought to pull out my phone and take a photo. You would have enjoyed it. I rolled into a gas station on my Vstrom, some 14 nonstop hours under my wheels, took off my helmet and, man, I looked rough. Face wind burned, dirty from the miles, and my hair…what little I have, was forming crop circles on the top of my head and wings out the side! I didn’t know I could get helmet hair. I was a sight to see, wild eyed, disheveled and road weary in my faded red Aerostich suit. I’d like to think I take a little pride in my appearance, but I will readily admit that when I’m on the road on my bike it’s take it or leave it. I don’t care how I look, I’m going to walk into a station or restaurant or wherever just like I am. I’m sure more than one patron at the station thought I was a crazy man who had just escaped the psych ward.
But that’s what 1,000 miles on a motorcycle in a day looks like…a bit crazy. After vacationing in Naples, Florida last week it was time to head home. My family flew down but I chose to ride. I took a couple days on the trip down but when it was time to go home, I just wanted to get there. I left Naples about 5:15 am, in the dark, foggy aftermath of Hurricane Patricia and pointed the bike North. I rolled into Louisville about 9:30 pm, glad to be home. Here is a recap of my 1,000+ mile ride:
- Total miles ridden: 1,050+, I’m not sure; I don’t really keep track anymore. I’m over that. I documented an official Iron Butt ride several years ago (1,000 miles in 24 hours makes you a member), but really couldn’t care less at this point.
- Total hours ridden in the dark: 5…2.5 hours in the morning in the Florida fog and the last 2.5 in the Tennessee and Kentucky Fall air. That is significant because I make it a policy not to ride in the dark anymore. There are way too many deer in my neck of the woods to take the chance.
- Total miles between fill-ups: 170-180. I think the Strom will go further, but probably not with me twisting the throttle.
- Total nourishment consumed: 1 gas station protein bar, 1 bottle water, 1 sip of a really nasty Starbucks coffee and 1 Chick-Fil-A sandwich.
- Total number of semi-trucks passed: maybe 10,000…I don’t know, they are everywhere.
- Total number of times someone tried to kill me: only 1, which is pretty damn good. One guy merged in front of me and never new he nearly clipped me…both of us running at 80+mph.
- Total number of hours in the rain: maybe 1. Not bad at all.
- Total number of hours I ran my heated jacket and grips: the last 2. And the last hour was chilly…40 degrees in the dark.
Other random thoughts: Interstates suck. They suck in a car and they suck on a bike. Some people like to ride Interstates: I don’t. They are boring. They are dangerous. I rode the Interstate home because I wanted to be home by Thursday night and you can’t make that kind of time on two lane roads. Necessary evil. Given a preference I would never ride an Interstate. And I would limit my days to about 500 miles max. 300-400 is more enjoyable. This is the reason I limit my bikes trips to about a 1,000+ mile range from my home. It’s why I have yet to take a trip out West…it would require hours and days of Interstate travel to complete in the time I can manage to take off. When retirement comes that will change.
As for the bike, the Vstrom, the Rodney Dangerfield of the motorcycle world, ugly step-sister of the humble and equally humiliated Kawasaki KLR, great at nothing, pretty damn good at everything, ran like a champ. Stock seat, stock windshield (Mastad bracket added), comfy as Hell. Biggest complaint was that at highway speeds the motor was pretty well tapped out.
All in all, it was a good day, Interstate droning notwithstanding. Put me on a bike, point me down the road and I’m all good…and ready to run again…”driving 500 miles, got 500 to go.”