2017 Cross Country Trip Part 1
Iron Butt 50cc
Steve has attended the IBA (Iron Butt Association) “Pizza Party” for a number of years now. The Daytona Party, as it’s now called, happens the last weekend of Daytona Bike Week, in Daytona, Florida. Long distance riders come from all over to hang, ride, and celebrate some fun IBA rides. If you’re headed to the IBA event, you will usually do an IBA ride to get there. This can be the entry-level SaddleSore 1000 or the ridiculous 250cccccc that Steve did in March 2016 where he rode from San Diego to Jacksonville and back, and back, and back and back – crossing the US 5x in 10 days. Steve and Mic decided on a single 50cc – Coast to Coast in 50 hours or less. This would be Mic’s longest ride and Steve’s longest 2-up ride.
Mic was excited to take a trip across the US on a motorcycle. She enjoyed the ride home from Denver, after flying out to meet Steve at the finish of the 2016 Butt Lite. Having completed a SaddleSore 1000 as pillion, she earned membership in the IBA, an IBA number and could be certified for completing a 50cc.
A 50cc begins at one coast (east or west) and ends at the other coast. The ride should take 50 hours or less. San Diego, CA and Jacksonville, FL are the closest points between oceans and have been used many times and beginning as ending points for this ride. The rider collects water in one ocean and then the other, and this becomes a nice souvenir of their ride.
Anticipating the trip and 2 weeks off work, she shared links so her family, friends and coworkers could follow her as she gallivants across the US.
Mic knew she needed to pack light; she was aware the bike needed to hold water & food for 2 days, in addition to a week’s worth of clothing & toiletries. She edited as best she could, yet this much still needed to be left behind.
Supplies packed and riders mounted up, headed to San Diego the night before the ride.
The alarm rang early Saturday morning. Mic & Steve suited up, packed the bike and made the short trip to the gas station to get the starting receipt. Two fellow riders offered to meet up at the starting location to serve as witnesses. With a brief conversation, thank yous and well wishes, Mic & Steve headed to Dog Beach, which has easy access from a parking lot to the surf. In the process of gathering up the Pacific Ocean seawater, a larger wave rushed in, splashing up to Mic’s knee. Having followed Steve’s lead in washing & waterproofing her Aerostich pants and riding boots, her feet and legs stayed completely dry!
The ride out of town and out of state was uneventful. Beautiful desert scenery rushed by. It wasn’t long to the Arizona border. A slight turn south and we arrived at the NM border. As the sun set, we grabbed a quick meal from a Wendy’s drive thru. It was nice to feel the air-conditioned “breeze” flowing out of the drive thru window.
Gassed up, we continued East. We noticed Steve’s microphone cutting in and out as he spoke. When he wiggled and pulled the wire, it would come back. Then a bump in the road would take it out again. Then the next bump would bring it back. Continued wiggling, pulling & tapping, guided him to the left pocket. A tap on the pocket would bring it back just about anytime it went out.
As we entered Texas we saw some rain on the radar. We were in contact with a fellow rider, Kenneth, who was doing a 100ccc from Jacksonville to San Diego and back, on the same highway. He reported hitting rain, so we prepared. We saw clouds off in the distance and encountered 180-degree show of lightning, but never experienced more than a light sprinkling of rain. Kenneth, on the other hand, hit storm cell after storm cell. Unfortunately, this impacted his timing and our intended mid-Texas meetup ended up being a quick flash of the high beams as he motored West past us on the 10. We did make a midnight rest stop somewhere in Texas to let a rain cell pass by. We ended up sitting next to a group of state troopers who had met for coffee and discussion of the latest ‘perps’ they’ve apprehended. They wished us well and we continued East.
We rolled into Kerrville about 4am Central time. We lost 2 hours moving from the Pacific time zone to the Central time zone. We also lost an hour due to the change to Daylight Saving Time. We slept hard that night, waking at noon – check-out time – to get back on the road.
Texas, and more Texas, then the Panhandle
Texas is big. Having left at noon, we were in the Lone Star state until sundown. Luckily it was a Sunday, so navigating the larger cities was a breeze and we cruised quickly through Texas to Louisiana & Alabama. You know what seems as big as Texas? The Panhandle of Florida. Man, that thing is wide! At hour 10, Mic was SO excited to be in Florida. When she peeked over Steve’s shoulder at the GPS, the realization that they were still 10 hours from the coast was disheartening. And it was cold. Why was Florida COLD???
We’ve crossed the last state line for this journey — just need to get ourselves to the Atlantic Ocean. We’re moving fine, but communication is difficult and Mic is freezing. Steve opts to stop and get Mic suited up in any electric gear he’s got on the bike. It’s dark, it’s in the 40’s and we’re motoring down the highway. Mic warms up a bit with the extra gear, but still isn’t comfortable. After a bit, Steve again decides to stop – and this time we’re not going anywhere until Mic is warm and we can hear each other. He begins with troubleshooting the gear and discovers a broken connector. He bypasses the connector and voilà!, heat begins and Mic is warm! Next he dismantles the dashboard checking connections as he goes along. A small adjustment and voilà!, we have sound. Now it’s time to finish this last leg.
The sun rose as we rode and we began to warm some. A couple stops for coffee and rest kept us moving through the early morning hours. Right about 9am Eastern we arrived at Neptune Beach, our Atlantic Ocean destination. We parked the bike, took a few deep breaths and trudged out across the sand to scoop up our water and sand for our keepsake bottles. We completed our 50cc within the 50 hour time limit. Success!