31 May 2012

Iron Butt

Road trip.
Twice in the past couple months we've made the 700 mile trip to Pensacola, Florida, to visit my Mother there...
Once in our car, and once in a 24-foot box van truck.
Gas stops, stretch-your-legs and go pee stops, and grab-a-sandwich stops means the trip takes us almost exactly 12 hours. Do the simple math and you'll find that works out to a 58.33333333 mile-per-hour average.
In a box.
With air-conditioning, power steering, AM/FM stereo, and an automatic transmission.
Even with those conveniences after 700 miles you arrive a little fatigued, but not zonked. Mostly what you want is to just be out of the box.
Obviously, road trips are different on a motorcycle. On three different occasions I rode from Savannah, Georgia to Indianapolis, Indiana, (also about 700 miles), on a "naked" bike that really wasn't intended for long-distance touring. One of those trips gave me an interesting story to tell for the rest of my life and is chronicled here.
But even without Mother Nature's input, long-distance riding on a motocycle will be more fatiguing than riding in a car. There are a dozen reasons why, but on a bike you are just required to pay more attention to what is going on around you. That in itself is more stressful. Add to that the fact you are more exposed to the elements, your seating position is more limited and therefore more tiring, and most bikes are more limited in range due to their fuel load. (Most touring machines are good for about 200+- miles between fill-ups, so you're gonna have to make more stops.)
Each time I make the trip to Pensacola I think about those Savannah/Indy/Savannah trips of long ago and wonder what it would be like to make the trip on the GoldWing. On this big "slab-burner", I think it would be fairly easy to average the same 58.33 mph as we do in the car. But with weather considerations, the experience would be totally different. We'll do it one day, but my experience on bikes is that trips of about 250-300 miles are comfortable so I think stopping for the night about halfway would make that journey more enjoyable for Sara Jean.

Thinking about long trips brings to mind another subject- the "Iron Butt Association".
Anyone reading motorcycle publications will be aware of the term and the organization.
To be a member and get the certificate you must register, pay a fee, then ride 1,000 miles within a 24-hour timeframe and have the necessary documentation to prove you actually covered the miles.
To read the account of someone who actually did it, (on a little 250cc Kawasaki Ninja for heaven's sake!), click here.

Riding 1,000 miles at an average 60 mph would take 16+ hours.
Even on the "sofa on wheels" GoldWing, you're gonna be tired when you've finished qualifying for the certificate.
But I think I want to do it.
Weather in October would be perfect.
I'm gonna start the ball rolling right away.

Biker-readers... Any thoughts?


lotta joy said...

Boy, did I pick the wrong time to move from New Albany! You could have stopped on your way. As it is, we're now 6 hours further south from Pensacola and I don't think your iron butt could make it.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

1967-1969, a Yamaha was my sole transportation, year around, in Denver. My parents lived 180 miles away over two mountain passes. I visited them monthly.

Only the young and dumb.

The Old Man said...

Hell-bent on proving that you've misplaced your marbles, aren't you? Good luck, brother, but having done 1000+ miles in a cage in a day, there is no way I'd try it on my scoot. And I was younger then (2010).

Timothy Frazier said...

Go for it, Broham! I'm going to do it, too. Kinda like Sturgis...just another thing I have to do before I'm too feeble to ride any more. Lost marbles are a small price to pay for adventure and bragging rights.

Anonymous said...

it never to late go for it!!!