My intention wasn't to attempt an Iron Butt Bun Burner 1500 Gold, but I figured that since I was going to end up doing the miles, I might as well document it and submit it. However, with the time restraints that the warden (my wife, Izumi) confined me to, I will now have to do 2 Bun Burner Golds. Ouch!! I have already taken that Thursday and Friday off from work and I can't afford to take any more time off than that, otherwise I would take my time going up there and burn my butt on the way home.
Gypsy is running really well. I hope I am, too. I have been trying to get in some sort of physical shape for this. I've ridden 1,000 miles in a day several times before in my youth, but the longest one day ride I've been on lately is just a little over 800 miles. Gypsy has a 7.5 gallon gas tank, which includes about 1 gallon for reserve. I usually get about 43 m.p.g. on the highway, but I used a conservative estimate of 40 m.p.g. to calculate gas stops. I plan to stop every 250 to 300 miles for gas. I will also be carrying 1 gallon of gas in my saddlebag, just in case I stretch reserve out too far.
A week before my trip, I noticed a small drop of oil on the garage floor. Upon further inspection I discovered that the rear shock was leaking. Damn! I wrote to the COG list server and Jim Pavlis offered to loan me his old rear shock until I returned. So that Sunday before I left, Jim came over with his old rear shock and helped me install it. What a lifesaver! I really could not afford a new rear shock for $370 especially after buying all of those other farkles for the bike on top of buying the baby crib that my son Kazuma needs.
After the tire was replaced and the shock installed, all that was left was to pack and go. I did most of the packing the night before. I left work at 2 PM and went home to pack the rest of the stuff, which took me a little longer than I expected, but I still finished by 3:00 and took a nap. I woke up at 4 PM and took a shower. I had a little time before I left, so I decided to make a stand to keep the radar detector from bouncing around on the windshield. I ended up making the stand from parts lying around the house. I decided to print out a picture of my son, Kazuma and put it on the stand to remind me to ride safely and to make it home for Father's Day. It came out very well. I placed it on the bike and hooked up the radar detector.
The rest of the trip went off almost as I had planned it, with a couple of exceptions. The first obstacle was I wanted to get gas in Salt Lake City, but I could not see any gas station signs from the freeway. I was already on reserve and I could only go about 20 more miles or so. It was 5 AM and I didn't feel like riding down the side streets of the city, so I decided to stop and use the extra gallon of gas that I was carrying with me in my saddlebag. And as I figured, as soon as I got just outside of Salt Lake, I saw a gas station. I'm glad that I filled up with that extra gas I was carrying because I'm not sure that I would have made it or not.
Another obstacle was the road construction that was taking place along I-80 all through Nebraska. The road narrowed to one lane, but traffic flowed along at about 60 65 mph. That was until I was within 20 miles of my destination, mile marker 399 in Lincoln, NE then the construction caused the traffic to come to a complete halt. It was about 6:30 PM local time and about 80º when I had to stop for the construction. All I could see were cars lines up for miles and on top of that were I was stopped at they had just laid down fresh hot asphalt. It was miserable. It was so hot and I was so tired. I just wanted to cry, so I decided to laugh instead. There wasn't much that I could do, but wait it out. After about 10 minutes, we finally started moving and I was on my way.
I got off I-80 at exit 399 and stopped at the first gas station I saw, an Amoco gas station at 3100 NW 12th in Lincoln, NE, just about a block from my hotel. I pumped the gas and got my final receipt. The receipt was stamped Thursday, June 12 at 19:24 (5:24 PDT). I still had 35 minutes, but I decided to call it quits. 1,660 miles was far enough. I went into the store of the gas station and asked the man behind the counter to be a witness. Of course, he looked at me kind of strange, but after I gave him one of the business cards I made and explained it to him, he agreed, although he still appeared skeptical. I then headed for my hotel, the Sleep Inn. I asked the clerk there if she would be my witness, going through the same spiel I went through with the gas station attendant. She laughed and willingly agreed.
I went to my room and put my stuff down then called my brother, Brent, who rode his 86 Concours from Oklahoma City, OK to attend the Kawasaki plant tour. He signed my witness form and I was complete. The first leg of my Iron Butt Burner Gold was complete. Yeah!
Kawasaki Plant Tour
Since I work at NUMMI I was interested in their production system, but our guide wasn't too knowledgeable about that aspect. I tried to pick his brain, but I didn't gain that much more information. This Kawasaki plant is not run as tightly as NUMMI, but many of the same principles are used, such as the Andon Board, Kanban and Heijunka. They lent us safety glasses to use while we were on tour, but were very stringent on receiving them back after the tour. One of us still kept a pair as a souvenir.
When we left the Kawasaki plant we took a wrong turn so I stopped by an office where a couple of workers had gathered before going home. I asked them if they could point my brother and me in the right direction to 12th Street where our hotels were. One of the gentlemen said to follow him and he would take us there. Very nice of him. It ended up that we made a wrong turn right out of the Kawasaki parking lot and were headed in the completely wrong direction. Oops.
We went to Brents hotel, Comfort Inn, where they had an indoor Jacuzzi and sat in there for about 20 minutes, then we headed over to my hotel where we discussed our trip. I tried to talk Brent out of going, but he was dead set on riding to California. I was afraid that he would fall asleep while riding. We had planned on riding together until Nevada, but that would make his trip about 200 miles longer and mine would be about 100 miles longer. We decided to do the most direct route, which had him taking the 80 to the 76 to the 70 to the 15 and on into LA. I was going to take the same route that I took to get there, I-80 all the way home. We would ride the first 300 miles together, but then would split up and go our merry ways.
After planning our trip we went to Perkins Restaurant and had some good Nebraska steaks. We then went back to our hotels for a good nights sleep before our long ride home.
I made very good time. I just kept my speed at about 83 mph and with no cops in sight to worry about I was able to enjoy the scenery. It was pretty incident free until I hit Salt Lake City again. This time when I got to Salt Lake, I decided to get off the freeway and look for gas. Well sure enough, about a mile down the road was a Chevron gas station. It was on the corner of what must have been the main drag there in Salt Lake. There were a lot of sport bikes racing up and down the street. It's been a while since I've seen a bunch of riders without helmets. Wyoming and Utah do not have helmet laws for those over 21, so it was nice to have the freedom to choose. I chose not to don a helmet until I was well into Nevada when it started getting dark and the bugs started hurting. It was exhilarating riding through the Bonneville area of Utah where everybody was racing for the Nevada border. I had to do triple digits just to keep up. Gypsy ran as smooth as silk. It felt great to open her up and really let her fly, but I would not recommend splitting lanes at those speeds. ;-)
The weather was warm all the way up until I hit the California border at about 2 AM. After that it got cold and the roads got crappy. The stand I built for the radar detector with Kazuma’s picture on it got jarred loose somewhere shortly after crossing the California border. I stopped, in hope that it had fallen inside the fairing somewhere, but to no avail. It was gone and now I was sad. I was also pissed at the crappy roads that California has. I had just ridden over 3,000 miles and Kazuma’s picture was there with me the whole time. Not only that, right after I get into California, the speed limit drops to 65 mph and I had a CHP following me for about 5 minutes. The roads were so crappy that I found myself going 50 mph in most places and it took all I had to keep it at 65 mph. I don't know why he was wasting his and my time following me. I was nearly home and I wasn't going to risk getting into an accident just 200 miles from home. What the hell was he doing following me at 2 AM when I was going so slowly? I guess my bike looked fast or maybe I looked drunk trying to navigate that damn crappy road.
I rode the rest of the way to Fremont without incident. I had to watch my speed, because there was a high presence of CHP with very little other traffic. I rolled into the same Shell station that I started this adventure at on Mission Blvd. in Fremont. The time on the receipt said, June 15, 2003 5:12 AM. The Iron Butt Burner Gold Tour x 2 was complete. I had ridden over 3,320 miles in 3. 5 days with an average of 930 miles per day from start to finish. I also made it home in time for Fathers Day and life was good.
I had a good trip except for the last 200 miles from home. I was really upset that I lost the stand with Kazumas picture. It was on there fairly securely, but Californias crappy roads just jarred it loose. Oh, well, Ill try to make another one; I just wanted to keep it as a reminder of my adventure to Lincoln, NE and my Iron Butt Burner x 2 tour.
This was my itinerary. Distances were calculated using DeLorme's Street Atlas software. All times are Pacific Daylight-Savings Time (PDT)