Tuesday, April 1, 2014


The day I purchased and rode home my well used, but new to me, ST-1300.
Picked it up in Parma, Ohio (Cleveland) and hammered down the Ohio Turnpike back to Detroit Metro on this chilly March day.

The Mighty ST-1300

After considering this model of bike for over 10 years I came across one in Parma, Ohio (Cleveland suburb) that I did not want to pass up.

So after work on Friday, 21 March 2014, my friend Ken Koren drove me out there and I rode it home to Detroit.

The ride went well and even though the temperatures dipped down to 34 degrees, warmth was maintained with my heated jacket liner.

The bike is amazing and will be my - long distance machine - in the future.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Lake Michigan loop  1000                                          
      Archives- 8 June 2007        
       1, 005 miles   About 20 hours
         Shortly after realizing that Capital Harley Davidson in Lansing, MI was organizing an Iron Butt Association sanctioned ride I visited and registered for it.
          My friend and co-worker Ken Koren came along and signed up to attempt his first Saddlesore 1,000.
          Ken would ride his 2003 100th Anniversary Gold Key Package Electra Glide Classic and I would be riding my 2003 100th Anniversary Ultra Classic Shriner with 34,131 miles on it.



Basically, we would be riding clockwise around Lake Michigan starting and ending in Lansing.

The ride leader and organizer was Herm Bushnell. He was 74 years old on this ride and was riding a 1984 Evo Tourglide with 250,000 miles on it.
          Ward Blanchard was also on this ride and he was 84 years old!
          There were approximatly 50 riders participating.
          Glenn Pancoast of Lansing was also on this ride. He is a big time long distance rider having rode and finished in multiple 11 day 11,000 mile Iron Butt Rallys, and a pile of Certificate rides.
          Kenny and I rode the 85 miles from my house to the dealership and signed in for the 8:00 pm start. These late starts are tough though, as I would rather start early in the morning.
          Shortly after pulling out of the dealership we were hustling down I-69 South towards Fort Wayne, Indiana.
          We stopped in Fort Wayne for a mandatory Fuel receipt at about 120 miles into the ride.
          From Fort Wayne we hammered across US-30 to Frankfort, Illinios for our second mandatory fuel receipt. At this point it was 11:33 pm central time and 265 miles into the ride.
          During this section on US-30 we were trying to stay with Glenn Pancoast on his BMW 1200 GSA, and did so for awhile but he could pull away at will on that bike. We saw him at the gas station in Frankfort, Ill, but that would be the last time on the ride. (A few months later while Glenn was participating in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally(11,000 miles, 11 days) his final drive blew up and knocked him out of the rally.)
          I also had a close call with a car pulling out in front of me on US-30.
          I momentarily had to lock up the rear brakes to avoid him. The Harleys front brakes were always weak so I usually ended up locking up the rear to Scrub Speed.
          Now we turned North and rode through the West side of Chicago.
          At one of the lights in Chicago, Herm Bushnell and a couple of other riders pulled up alongside of us.
          Herm looked over at us and said, "There's no Butt like an Iron Butt."
          Just over the Wisconsin State line we stopped at a gas station in Bristol at 2:11 AM Central time to have some coffee and put on some cold weather gear as the temps were dropping.
          As we sipped our coffee and chatted we could hear the occasional Harley roar by and knew it was some of the riders from our group.
          It made the ride interesting as you kept leap frogging each other and meeting up at different times throughout the ride.

          Back on the road and just before entering Milwaukee we came across one of our riders on a 1984 Honda Goldwing 1200 on the side of the road. His transmission had gone out and he was out of the ride. He had already made a call so with help on the way we rolled on Northward.
          Milwaukee passed quickly as there was virtually no traffic in the middle of the night but shortly after Milwaukee my headlights went out and I cautiously pulled over to the shoulder as we were in a completely  dark stretch of road with no lights.
          Ken held the flashlight as I pulled my Sidecover and replaced the fuse for the headlight circuit and we were back in business. I had a high power headlight bulb in the bike (like an 80/60 H4 bulb) and the flipping back and forth from high to low beam along with the passing lamps burning must have spiked the system and popped the fuse.
          Somewhere in the vicinity of Green Bay we witnessed the spectacular sunrise to our right over Lake Michigan.
          This was pretty much the half way point at around 500 miles and 10.5 hours.
          The rising sun gave us motivation as we ground along up into the Upper Penninsula of Michigan with stunning views of Lake Michigan and before we knew it we were rolling into Escananba.
          As we continued along the North Shore of Lake Michigan on US-2 I was battling the sleepiness I always encounter a while after the sun has risen and I've been up all night.
          Even though I had quit smoking years ago, occasionally I would have one and was craving one right now, so the next stop I bought a pack and burned a few during this stretch of road.
          Along US-2 we stopped at some nice sandy pull offs along the lake and watched the choppy water crash upon the shore as we had a southerly wind pushing the water and the cold air from it towards us.

          It was also along US-2 that I remember a rider purring by us on his GL1800 Goldwing and thinking to myself thats the bike to be on.
          I also had to lock up the brakes because I was following Ken too close while gawking at the lake at the same time he was stopping to enter a pull off, but I avoided him.
          Eventually the mighty Mackinac Bridge loomed in the distance.
          We payed our $2.50,saving the mandatory Bridge receipt with the date and time along with our written odometer reading and started off across the bridge to the Lower Penninsula. It was 12:30 Eastern time in the afternoon and we had knocked down 750 miles at this point.

          We hustled down I-75 to US-127 and the final blast into Lansing and the finish at Capital Harley Davidson with approximately 4 hours to spare.
          After turning in our paperwork we still had a 85 mile ride home. So counting to and from the start it was an 1,175 mile day.
          Ride Statistics
          1,005 miles
          20 hours
          27 gallons of fuel consumed
          $3.40 gallon (premium)
          $93.97 fuel cost
          37. 2 mpg average
          32.8 mpg Low
          43.5 mpg High

KEN KOREN - Worn out but victorious !!!

GAS GUY - Ready for bed !!!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


My first Iron Butt Association Saddlesore 1000           

Archives - 10 AUG 2005
More than 1000 miles in less than 24 hours.

          The original plan was to leave very early on Thursday morning, but that was not to be.
          Wednesday morning I went to work as us usual and figured I would get to be early that evening and try to leave on the ride at 6:00 am, since the bike was already packed and ready to go.
          At 7:00 pm I went to bed hoping to be well rested in the morning.
          By 8:15pm I realized I was so anxious and excited about the ride there was no way I was going to get any sleep. And might as well take off now.
          So, by 9:00 pm I had a fuel reciept in hand along with 5 gallons of fuel and heading South, leaving the Detroit Suburbs behind.
          My bike of choice in those days was a 2003 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide; it was a beautiful Arctic White Shriner.
" When parked next to a standard Pearl White Harley, the special Arctic White quickly became apparent. It was brilliant ! " 
The 100th Anniversary model that I bought brand new from Cement City, Michigan in the Irish Hills area at - Town & Country Harley Davidson. 

"Having cut my teeth in the world of long distance riding with this Electra Glide, Harley Davidson Motorcycles will always hold a special place in my heart."
The odometer was at 19,012 miles at the start of the ride and the machine was meticulously maintained by myself.

 The route was not set in stone.

 The Virginia Coast was the final destination, as I was going to visit my dad there and have him and his girlfriend be the end witnesses.
          A couple of routing options that covered the miles were dancing around in my head and I figured I would just play it by ear... I mean time.
          Ohio passed by quickly while cruising along at 70 mph down Interstate 75 south.
          Shortly after entering Kentuky it started to get stressful. It was between 1 and 2 am and I had already been awake for 21 hours, since I worked the day before and left out without sleep.
          To add to this, the fog and cold was setting in while passing though the mountains of Appalachia.
          Visibility was very limited as the lighting on my Harley was mediocre at best with the vintage passing lights.
          You could see the fog floating past across the interstate and condensating on my windsheild.
          This was also before I started using heated gear. The lack of sleep, cold, and poor visibility due to inadequate lighting was very fatiguing.
          As I was approaching Knoxville I decided I would stop in at the Scottish Inn just off of the freeway at exit 110 and get a few hours of sleep since I was familiar with this motel that my dad lived in for awhile and I rode down and visited here during Easter 2004.
          It was 6:00 AM as I entered room 208 and immediatly fell asleep with my alarm set for 9:00 AM.
          I didn't want to sleep very long because I was going to need all the time I could get considering I wanted to ride some of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The BRP is 40-45 mph. Sloooow.
          I could not believe they gave me room 208. That was the same room my dad stayed in for a long time. What are the chances of that? Strange!!!
          I just shut my eyes and the alarm was screaming at me!
          Up and across the road to the fuel station and immediatly back on the road punching through Knoxville TN, enroute to Ashville, NC.
          After getting turned around in Ashville looking for the entrance to the BRP I eventually stopped and asked for directions.
          Finally, on the Parkway and cruising along the ridges of the Appalachian moutains. Soaking up the sun and the spectacular scenery. This was just the recharge I needed.

The touring rider and traveler in me just could not resist the urge to squeeze in some of the Parkway, even if it did present some unnecessary routing challenges.

I wanted to follow the BRP all the way to 64 but that was not to be. After doing some quick time/distance calculations in my head I knew I had to bail off of the BRP after a little over 200 miles of Bliss.

So after crossing Interstate 77, I jogged around the back of roads until finding an enterance onto I77 North.

          With a couple hundred miles left to go and thin on time I had to devour some miles.

          I shot up I77 North to 81 N and exited on I64 East for the final stretch of the route as I started the descent down towards Newport News, and sea level.

          At this point I was approaching 1000 miles with approximatly 1 hour left, but I wanted a cushion in case of any errors in calculations.

          So, just after entering Richmod VA, I wound her down and took possesion of my last fuel recipt and ending time stamp with 35 minutes to spare.

1,050 miles in 23 hours and 25 minutes !!!!


 With an amazing feeling at elation I can now relax and make the final push to Dad's and have him sign my forms as my end witness.
Another 50 miles and I pulled into Dad's motel done for the day with about 1,100 miles.

In the last 40 hours I had only received 3 hours of sleep. Night starts, after being up all day, are brutal !!!
In those days I was young and foolish so I didnt wear earplugs. Along with not wearing earplugs I only wore a half helmet and the bike had Kerker performance mufflers and a shorty windshield. So after a ride like this I would lay in bed and I could still hear the roar of the big V-Twin and the wind and see the road passing in my mind - Live and learn.

When the certificate arrived there was a handwritten note on the envelope.
It said "That was a wild route ! Welcome to the Insanity ! Mike Kneebone

Here are some of the ride statistics(certified portion of ride)
1,050 miles
26.6 gallons of fuel burned (premium)
39.42 average Miles Per Gallon
$66.57 total fuel costs @ $2.50 gallon (premium)
47.10 High MPG (205 miles on the BRP)
38 Low MPG (high speed Interstate)
I hung around for a day or two visiting and exploring local areas and rode to Yorktown and ate breakfast at the Duke of York restaurant/motel. This would end up being a common breakfast stop on subsequent trips, as the Colonial Parkway dumps you right into Yorktown. The Colonial Parkway being a very desirable 23-mile ride connecting up Virginia's historic triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.

On the way home I rode the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to the DelMarVa penninsula. The sunrise on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was pretty cool, although going under the ocean in the tunnel sections is somewhat eerie !!

After riding up through Ocean City, Maryland, where I stopped in at a Harley Dealer for a souvenir stop which is near US-50 (which goes coast to coast) and then through Delaware, I jumped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and rode it out to the Ohio Turnpike and next thing you know I was pulling in at home some 800 miles later.

Another succesful ride in the books and my first Saddlesore 1000 completed as well.

As tough as that ride was due to the situation that I created (Don't I create them all.:lol3 ), I can't help but remember what I believe to be my toughest day in the saddle to date; It was returning home from this very area the year before after visiting my Dad.

He had just travelled to this Hampton Roads area from Knoxville to seek work in the ship yards at the time and was staying in another motel in Norfolk. Every trip to see him lands you in a different area. Always interesting. If you can even find him. Sometimes you just don't know. Once he disappeared to Tucson for 5 years and I never heard from him. He was mad that I got married and settled down. Are you kidding me ?

Anyway, on that visit, the day before I left out for home was a long day. It set the stage for the miserable and torturous 800 mile ride home.

The day before I left for the ride home, I had rode from Norfolk to Virginia Beach to the Outer Banks and back to Norfolk the first half of the day. It was a very hot summer day and as always in a tee shirt and half helmet getting cooked and dehydrated in the sun. That is how I rolled back then. Always burnt up. That is also part of the reasoning of why Long Distance riders and Desert Dwellers wear all the gear all the time. Because the elements will take a bigger toll on you than the ride itself. Even the wind that feels so sensational against your skin and appears to be providing welcome relief is actually whisking away much precious moisture from your body.

The second half of the day before leaving was spent drinking with Dad .... in the sun also! Not just for awhile. Till 2:30 am.

He had just come out of a rough stint in the streets and barely had money for his motel, so I took him over to the bar which had a large outside open deck over the Ocean Bay and we commenced to drinking and reminiscing while basking in more sun, as I had not seen much of him for many years. He was really always more of a drinking buddy than a Dad anyway and it always is a bittersweet experience to visit him. Such a bizarre past we have together, but I do love him, nevertheless. For all his faults, and there are a million of them, he has a very unique depth and toughness that is hard to deny. Especially when you are blood. A bond that often haunts.

We drank non stop as we always did. Night fell. Then a radical storm whipped up in seconds from out on the water and blew into shore with fierceness, driving everyone inside. We finished up when they could no longer serve and walked back to his motel, falling asleep around 3:00 am.

For some reason I was up at 6:00 am and ready to hit the road. Obviously still drunk. Emotionally, I just needed to be on the move. The stigma that resides with my Dad, and hangs in the air always, often drives me out. I can't stay long. Not something that is ever said or something that necessarily happens but rather just a spiritual thing. At times things can seem so perfect between us. A perfect vibe. Then the air can just go black. That is within myself anyway. Don't know how he feels. I am sure he feels the switch within me though as he is very in tune with things like that. We don't talk specifically about those situations. Just our dysfunctional past, I suppose.

While initially the ride started positive, as I was still buzzed and the morning air was cool - things started to unravel quickly - as the heat of the day and the hangover started to set in. The hangover was in force and concentrated. The extended time in the sun, the incessant drinking and to make matters worse, even though I had quit smoking years before, whenever I drank the smoking would of course resume for the night.

Mile by mile, I would push on in the blistering sun. Through Virginia, across West Virginia and into Ohio. When a rest stop would present itself, I would lay in the grass and try to muster the determination to press on - actually moaning at times. The kind of frazzled where you are physically, emotionally and mentally destroyed. Somehow I would find the resolve after hydrating repeatedly to continue on, until I made it home to Michigan. I have had many tough days in the saddle, often due to extenuating circumstances, but those 800 miles I will never forget.