500 Miles, Got 500 to go

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Total miles between fill-ups: 170-180. I think the Strom will go further, but probably not with me twisting the throttle.
  4. 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.
  5. Total number of semi-trucks passed: maybe 10,000…I don’t know, they are everywhere.
  6. 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.
  7. Total number of hours in the rain: maybe 1. Not bad at all.
  8. 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. FullSizeRender (16)

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.”



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