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.

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