Friday, March 3, 2017




This endurance ride took place in August of 2014 on the 8th. We were all tuned up for this ride after doing the Lake Superior 1000 in June. This ride differs some from the other individual Great Lakes Iron Butt Association rides in that you are going around two Great Lakes instead of one. Reason being is Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are both too small to create 1,000 mile routes around individually, but the two of them combined is perfect. Our route is 1,026 miles in less than 24 hours.

Before getting started, here are some interesting facts about the two amazing Great Lakes we will be circumnavigating.


-Lake Erie is the eleventh largest lake in the world(by surface area) and the fourth largest of the Great Lakes in surface area and the smallest by volume.

-Ninety-five percent of Lake Eries total inflow of water comes via the Detroit River from all the "upper lakes"-Superior, Michigan, Huron and the St.Clair River, Lake St.Clair and numerous tributaries. The rest comes from precipitation.

-Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and is especially vulnerable to fluctuating water levels.

-Lake Erie is the warmest and most biologically productive of the Great Lakes, and the Lake Erie Walleye fishery is widely considered the best in the world.

-Point Pelee National Park in Lake Erie is the southernmost point on Canada's mainland.

Length - 241 miles

Breadth - 57 miles

Avg. depth - 62 feet

Max. depth - 210 feet

Elevation - 569 feet

Outlet - Niagara River and Welland Canal.

-Water in Lake Erie replaces itself in only 2.6 years, which is notable considering the water in Lake Superior takes two centuries !!!



-Lake Ontario,the 14th largest lake in the world, is the smallest of the Great Lakes in surface area.

-It ranks fourth among the Great Lakes in maximum depth, but its average depth is second only to Lake Superior.

-Lake Ontario lies 325 feet below Lake Erie, at the base of Niagara Falls.

-The falls were always an obstacle to navigation into the upper lakes until the Trent-Severn Waterway, along with the Welland and Erie Canals were built to allow ships to pass around this bottleneck. The oldest lighthouse on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes was set up at Fort Niagara in 1818 to aid navigation.

Length - 193 miles

Breadth - 53 Miles

Avg. depth - 283 feet

Max. depth - 802 feet

Elevation - 243 feet

Outlet - St.Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.

Retention/Replacement time - 6 years

Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run at Hanlan's Point Stadium in Toronto.It landed in Lake Ontario and is believed to still be there !!!

On this ride were 16 motorcycles and 17 riders as there was a two-up couple.

1. Bergman 400 Scooter !! - Ishii Yohinori


2. Suzuki DL - 1000 Ed Feyereisen - Wisconsin

3. BMW 1100RT - Adam of Essex,Ontario

4. Harley Electra-Glide - Ed Boitkus

5. BMW K1600GTL - Ives

6. Honda GL1500 (247,876 miles) - Jim Mick (68 years old)

7. Honda GL1800 - Pastor Ted Milian

8. Kawasaki KLR650 (2013) - Jack Frost (16,550 miles)



9. Honda ST1100 - Jim VanDenBerghe -RIDEMASTER


10.BMW 1200 GSA (2009) - Ken Koren


11.BMW 1200 GSA (2006) - Scott Auer (102,350 miles)

12.Honda GL1500 - Will Smith (drbuzzard)


13.Harley Electra Glide Standard (2007) Tony Martinez and Angela Harrison



14.Kawasaki Voyager ZG1200- Duff Hanson

15.Harley Standard Electra Glide (1998) - Ronald Palmer who started and ended in Buffalo,New York.

16.Honda ST1300 (2004) -Jeffrey Smith "GAS GUY"

On this attempt,7 riders and 1 pillion will earn their IBA number - half the field !!!

We all met up at the Pilot fuel station on I-75 and Dixie Hwy at exit 15 to get our odometers recorded and prepare for our 6:00 am departure time.

Jim VanDenBerghe held a brief riders meeting and then Pastor Ted said a prayer for the group before departing,thanking God for bringing us together and allowing the group to set off on this journey and asking for safety and success, in the name of Jesus. This is Ted's first IBA ride also.

A friend of mine from work, Tony Martinez and his beautiful pillion, Angela, will also be riding on their first IBA ride. Two up no less, and they are doing it "Old School" on a stock Harley Standard with no heated gear or radio and half helmets, leather jackets, and jeans.

On this ride, I am going to stay with Tony and Angela along with Will and stop every 180 miles or so to accomodate their limited fuel range. Also, Jack Frost on his KLR 650, will be riding with us, rounding our little group out to 4 bikes. Jack is 22 years old and goes to college on the west side of the state. He also did the Lake Superior 1000 in June, but not with our group as he couldn't make that date.


At 6 am bikes began rolling out of the pilot station heading south. Some 20 miles later we entered Ohio and crossed the newly rebuilt 280 bridge spanning the Maumee River and overlooking Downtown Toledo, a city I have much history and connection with. Alot of emotion floods me everytime I cross this bridge and look down upon the city.


Just south of Toledo, we entered the Ohio Turnpike heading east towards Cleveland. The ever changing morning sky over the fields was interesting to observe as the rising sun was struggling to break free of the clouds on this comfortable 61 degree morning.



After by-passing Cleveland, we stopped for fuel in Painesville,Ohio.

The ST's numbers.

57,993 - ODO

173 - Fuel trip
3.751 - Gallons of Premium
46.12 - Miles Per Gallon

Other than the corn, wheat, and soybean fields of Ohio changing to Vineyards in New York - the miles passed by uneventful and smoothly.


Our next fuel stop was a mandatory receipt point at the Pembroke Service Plaza on the NYS Thruway I-90 @ milepost 397 - Corfu, New York - and about 1/3rd of the ride distance. We arrived here at 11:45 am.

58,182 - ODO

188.6 - Fuel trip
4.090 - Gallons of Premium
46.11 - Miles Per Gallon

Tony's 2007 Harley Electra-Glide
4.353 - Gallons
43.32 - Miles Per Gallon

Will's thirsty 1500 Wing
5.063 - Gallons
37.25 - Miles Per Gallon

I didn't get acurate enough to post numbers on Jack's KLR, as he must not have been filling his tank all the way up from the look of his receipts.


The service plaza was busy as we took a short snack, water, and restroom break. Tony can't stop anywhere without eating anyway.

I had to make Jack go to the bathroom ! He said "How far till the next stop ? 180 miles ? I can just wait until then " I said "We are here stopped, just go now !!! " :lol3

While chatting with Jack at the Pembroke Service Plaza, I told him I was impressed with his riding and that I feel most young men his age would not have the patience or intestinal fortitude to "Sit there and twist that" all day and night.

He explained to me that patience and discipline was not an issue for him, as he climbs mountains, and spending all day on the side of a mountain forges those attributes.


Our next fuel stop was one of the mandatory receipt locations and the halfway point of the ride in Watertown, New York on Interstate 81. We arrived here at 2:55 pm.

The temperatures had warmed up by this time and we saw low 80's. From this stop, the 1000 Island Bridge and customs was not far away.

58,367 - ODO
185 - Fuel trip miles
3.81 - Gallons of Premium

48.58 - Miles Per Gallon


Of course we were stopped so Tony had to eat again !! :lol3 While stopped here Jim and Ted arrived also. It is pretty cool how you continually come across the other riders during the course of the event.


Tonys Harley - 42.61 MPG

Will's Wing - 36.26 MPG :eek7

Scott and Kenny were about 5 minutes in front of us. They left a note with the attendant saying "Welcome Iron Butt Riders." They wanted to leave it on the door but the attendant would not let them.

Scott's 2006 GSA - 42.36 MPG

Ken's 2009 GSA - 42.81 MPG

Crossing the Thousand Island Bridge, we had a nice view of the St.Lawrence River. Someday, I would like to follow it to the Atlantic Provinces !!!


When we arrived at customs, there was somewhat of a back up, but it stayed moving. So we shut the bikes off, dismounted and pushed them forward, a couple feet at a time while standing next to them - until we reached the Border official.



Angela did not recieve her Enhanced Michigan Drivers License in time before leaving on this ride, but being determined to participate anyway, she grabbed her birth certificate and brought it along with her conventional license, hoping for the best - she wasn't scared.
                                               GAS GUY



We were already through and pulled over to the side waiting for Tony and Angela. We became concerned when we observed them pulling off to the other side, just inside the gate, and then walk together into a building.


About a half hour later they emerged and all was well,  back on the road we were, and in short order on the 401 heading towards Toronto. Considering the lower speed limits in Canada, I was surprised at how fast the cars were travelling. It seemed well over the posted limit and no police presence , that I saw, or motorists pulled over.



After covering some ground on the 401, we stopped in Port Hope, Ontario for fuel and a dinner break at Tim Hortons; it seems there is a Tim Hortons at every exit in Canada. Killing some time was desired also since we were approaching Toronto and I suspected the later we arrived there the better, hoping the heavy traffic would have subsided by then.

After food and coffee we fueled up the bikes. Jim VanDenBerghe and Pastor Ted just happened to be filling up also. Jim and Ted joined our group for the remainder of the ride. We were back on the 401 around 7:11 pm.

58,526 - ODO

158.7 - Fuel Trip
3.61 - Gallons of Premium ($5.21 per gallon)
44 - Miles Per Gallon

Ted and I coordinated our CB stations so we had communication. He took the rear position of the group and kept me informed while I led the group from the front.


Sometime around 8:30 pm we worked our way through Toronto. We stayed rolling at speed but there was still alot of congestion. I was surprised how busy this area still was at this hour. Later Scott and Kenny told me they passed through Toronto around 7:00 pm and traffic was so bad it was stop and go with feet down many times - our dinner break worked out well !!

This train was different looking, some kind of people mover likely, as we passed through Toronto.


Our last mandatory fuel receipt before the finish was in Woodstock, Ontario.It was night now and after fueling up everyone took a break while chatting in groups.

58,675 -ODO

149.3 - Fuel Trip
3 - Gallons of Premium ($5.64 per gallon)
48.79 - Miles Per Gallon

Ted was near my pump with his 1800 Goldwing and I noticed he took a 1/2 gallon more fuel than the ST over the 150 miles we just covered together. That is not too bad considering Will's 1500 Wing took a whopping 1.3 gallons more than the ST during that short distance.

Tony's Harley = 42 MPG
Will's Wing = 34 MPG :eekers
Ken's GSA = 43 MPG
Scott's GSA = 43.4 MPG

Jim wanted to stop in Chatham, Ontario for a coffee break at Tim Hortons. Some other riders were to meet up there also. We had to exit the 401 and ride a handful of miles down some country roads to get there. It was a beautiful and peaceful night for riding under a almost full moon - just a sliver was absent.


Angela was getting somewhat chilled as night set in combined with riding along the lake, so she donned her rain gear, balaclava and whatever remaining cold weather gear she had and was good to go the remaining 90 miles or so to the finish.

After more coffee and conversation we pulled out for the run to the Ambassador Bridge at the Detroit border crossing, hoping Angela gets through with no problem.

Ted's transmission broke over my radio informing me that Jim had turned around to return to Tim Hortons. I asked him what was going on and should we turn around. He said Jim informed him to continue on. Later, Jim told us his tire looked low so he went back to the lighted parking lot to check his pressure. Upon inspection, he found a old rusty nail and promptly plugged and reinflated his tire before continuing on.

Upon arrival, at 1:10 am, there were only a couple of cars at the border and Angela passed back into the US without a hitch. That's odd, I would have thought it harder to get into the States vs. Canada. The atmosphere of run down and desolate Detroit even showed at the border with the girl in a carnival like booth collecting the $5.00 bridge fee - you could feel it in the air.

At this hour even I-75 was mostly void of traffic. As I passed the Detroit Marathon oil refinery, which is eerily lit up and resembling some kind of space station, the poisonous fumes from it gagged me and burned my dry eyes through my full face helmet, even in the short few seconds it took me to pass by it. That totally took me by surprise, air pollution is for real here. It made me feel guilty for "torching" tanks of gas for the last 20 hours. As a saving grace - at least I am getting exceptional fuel mileage.

After a short jaunt down Interstate 75, we were back at the same Pilot station that we started from in Monroe, Michigan @ 1:52 am for our official ending receipt and a successful and memorable Lower Great Lakes 1000 in the archives.

58,865 - ODO

190 - Fuel Trip
4.353 - Gallons Premium
43.7 - Miles Per Gallon

1,045 miles - ODO (a little optimistic)
19.866 - Hours
52.60 - Miles Per Hours Overall Average

We all went next door to the 24 hour Denny's for breakfast, which Jim was kind enough to buy for our group. While there we checked and sorted all our receipts, handing them over to Jim for the ride verification.

A few months later our certificates and pins were delivered.


Scott and Ken had just left as they had made it back @ Midnight in 18 hours.

Ed on the 2012 Harley arrived about 15 minutes after them and he was just leaving the restaurnt as we were coming in.

Everyone made the ride in the alloted time.

Unfortunately - Ed on the V-Strom - recieved a speeding ticket near Buffalo, New York. The officer asked him if he knew why he pulled him over. Ed said, "Yes, I was speeding." Then the officer asked him how fast he was going and Ed said, "Really, Really fast." :lol3

Ishii consistently returns 61 MPG on his 400 Burgman.

Early in the ride I mentioned to Jack that stock KLR's are notorious for consuming some oil when riding at sustained freeway speeds and that he needs to keep a close eye on his sight glass level. Sure enough, deep into the ride he needed 3/4 of a quart - which can be vital with a 2 and 1/2 quart system.

I very much enjoyed sharing this ride with Jack Frost. Living in Metro Detroit as I do and observing the many pathetic young men running rampant in this day and age (more like girls) it was a breath of fresh air to observe Jack's intelligence, respect, and strength. He will excel at anything he does in life and do it with grace. We need more young men like him - I bet his parents are special people.

Of all the Great Lakes Iron Butt rides, I would say the Lower Great Lakes is the easiest due to it being mostly Interstate, but with one small caveat - Toronto traffic.

As always, a big thanks goes out to Jim VanDenBerghe for putting the time and effort into making these rides happen.

Jim VanDenBerghe lives on the west side of the state. After leaving Monroe, he rode to Tecumseh and stopped at a Tim Hortons. Sitting in a booth, he laid his head down and the lights went out for an hour and a half. He left there around 7:30 am and also stopped at the Charlotte Big Boy for a coffee break and finally made it back to Newaygo at about 11:30 am. That's a long day.

Sometimes I enjoy crunching numbers,so I sat down one morning and layed out all the receipts and mileage info that I had on hand and performed an exhaustive comparative fuel mileage and odometer discrepancy analysis.


A summary of my findings-

-Most of the time - Scott and Ken's GSA odometers almost mirror each other - but occasionally there will be a 1 or 2 % variance between them for no apparent reason - and they ride together. Bizarre.

-It appears that overall, Scott and Ken's odometers are approximately 1.5% pessimistic. (Reading less miles than traveled.)

-The ST seems to be a fairly consistent 2% optimistic. (Reading more miles than actually traveled.)

-Which gives an overall variance between the ST and the GSA's odometers of about 3 and 1/2 % - which equates to approximately 1 and 1/2 MPG.

-So the ST's actual fuel mileage numbers that I post are about 1 MPG high and the GSA's are about 1/2 to 3/4 MPG low.

-The GL1500 Wing just plain and simple gets dismal fuel mileage all the time.

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