1,660 Miles in less than 24 Hours
Diary of my trip to Lincoln, NE and Back

June 11, 2003
18:00 PDT
Fremont, CA
0 miles
21:46 PDT
Fernley, NV
267 miles
June 12, 2003
01:09 PDT
Carlin, NV
512 miles
05:12 PDT
Park City, UT
786 miles
09:07 PDT
Rawlins, WY
1,050 miles
12:36 PDT
Sydney, NE
1,296 miles
16:01 PDT
Wood River, NE
1,551 miles
17:24 PDT
Lincoln, NE
1,660 miles
= Rest =
June 13, 2003
11:00 PDT
Kawasaki Plant Tour
= Rest =
June 14, 2003
06:08 PDT
Lincoln, NE
0 miles
08:05 PDT
Lexington, NE
172 miles
10:26 PDT
Pines Bluff, WY
420 miles
13:40 PDT
Wamsutter, WY
648 miles
18:17 PDT
Salt Lake City, UT
895 miles
21:59 PDT
Carlin, NV
1,156 miles
June 15, 2003
01:07 PDT
Fernley, CA
1,381 miles
05:12 PDT
Fremont, CA
1,660 miles
3,320 miles
in less than
84 hours

I left Fremont, CA on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 at 6 PM PDT and headed for Lincoln, NE where a fellow COG (Concours Owners Group) member had coordinated a tour of the Kawasaki plant that manufactures the Kawasaki Concours that I ride. The tour took place on Friday, June 13 at 1 PM CDT (11 AM PDT). Izumi said I could go, but that I had to be home in time for Father's Day on Sunday, June 15.

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.

After planning my trip, I decided to buy some farkles to make the trip a little more comfortable, such as an electric vest from Widder, a Throttle Rocker to rest my wrist on, a heated grip kit from Electric Connection and a radar detector from Escort. About two weeks prior to my scheduled departure, I discovered two nails in my rear tire. I didn't plan to replace my rear tire until I returned from the trip since it still had plenty of tread life. I tried to plug it myself, but this time it wouldn't hold, so I took it down to Fremont Cycle Salvage and had them repair it with a patch-plug for me. I was still uneasy about running a patch-plug on such a long ride, so I decided to replace the tire before I left. I took my bike down to Hayward Kawasaki and had them replace my rear tire with another Metzler MZE 2. I checked out the patch-plug job done on the old tire and I would definitely plug the tire that way again. The patch-plug was very sturdy. In fact, I should have left the old tire on and replaced it when I got back or kept the old tire as a spare, but oh well. Live and learn.

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.

First Leg
I loaded the bike up at 5:15 PM and got my neighbors, Margie and Joe to sign the “Iron Butt Start of Ride” witness form. Izumi was my third witness. I finally left home at 5:40 PM. I got gas at the Shell station on Mission and I-680. The printed receipt shows my official start time at exactly 6:00 PM PDT on June 11. I have to cross one bride that requires a toll on the I-680, but I was told that if I made it before 7 PM that it was free for car pools and motorcycles. The I-680 was pretty congested and I found myself spitting lanes with an overloaded bike. Actually, it wasn't much of a problem. I made sure that the load was evenly distributed before I left, so Gypsy handled very well, but you still have to concentrate and focus when splitting lanes. I found myself yelling at other motorcyclists who were blocking up the middle between the lanes to get out of my way. With the shorty helmet on, they were able to hear me and moved out of my way. I ended up spending about an hour and a half splitting lanes.

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
Prior to the Kawasaki plant tour, we met some other members of COG (Concours Owners Group) at a local food court for lunch, and then we rode up to the factory together. There were about 30 people in all. When we got there we split up into smaller groups of 6-7. Our guide, Kevin was a nice enough fellow, but we tended to bombard him with questions he did not have the answers to. The factory is smaller than NUMMI, but it was still larger than I thought it would be. They manufacture motorcycles, watercraft and utility vehicles. Motorcycles make up but a small percentage of what they produce. While we were there, we met the lady who welded together a gas tank for a Concours. The Concours gas tank is welded down the middle from aft to fore. After it is painted the seam is not visible. We were impressed.

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 Brent’s 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.

Second Leg
I told Brent that I wanted to leave at 6 AM (8 AM local) so that we would be home by 6 AM the next morning. I woke up at 4:30 AM PDT, showered and packed. I asked three of the clerks at the hotel to sign my Iron Butt Burner Gold witness forms and then headed over to Brent’s hotel. Brent was ready so we went to the gas station to fill up and to get our starting receipts for this last leg. Our official start time was Saturday, June 14 at 6:08 AM PDT (8:08 AM local time). We headed out on I-80 and then Brent wanted to stop for gas after only 167 miles. His bike was weighted down pretty good and it was sucking up his gas. We were making pretty good time since it was Saturday and they weren't doing any construction. We stopped at the Conoco in Lexington, NE, filled up and said our goodbyes as this would be the last stop before we split up at the I-76 and I-80 split. After we split up,

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 Father’s Day and life was good.

When I got home, I woke Izumi up and we talked about my trip while Kazuma slept. After telling Izumi about my adventure I decide to take a 3-hour nap. When I awoke from my nap, I changed the oil on Gypsy while Kazuma sat in his stroller nearby and watched. It’s nice to be home.

I had a good trip except for the last 200 miles from home. I was really upset that I lost the stand with Kazuma’s picture. It was on there fairly securely, but California’s crappy roads just jarred it loose. Oh, well, I’ll 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)