Monday, June 22, 2009

Gearing Up

I am planning a motorcycle trip to Rapid City, SD to visit my friend Jon. Ever since he moved away, then back, then moved away again, we've generally visited at least once per year. Last year it was easy to get to Rapid City, since we were already driving to Nebraska to visit Brandy's family and Rapid City was just a few hours from Hastings.

This year, we aren't making any trips since Coughlin is so young, but I've decided to make the trip myself. I've wanted to make a long distance motorcycle trip since I started riding, but every time that I tried to team up with a friend to make one, something would come up and the trip would fall through. Now that I have a reason to travel solo, I'm taking the opportunity to visit a friend and also get my IBA certification, which one of the afore-mentioned ride-mates, Malachi, already went on to get without me.

For those who don't know, IBA stands for Iron Butts Association. They are a group who offers certification on a series of endurance rides that are both grueling and practical to complete without breaking laws or putting anyone in extreme danger.

Before you can go on to complete any of the more advanced rides, you have to complete one of their two preliminary rides which are the SaddleSore 1000 and the BunsBurner 1500. The SaddleSore, which is the ride I plan to complete with this trip, requires you to ride 1000 miles in 24 hours. The BunsBurner is 1500 miles in 36 hours.

Even if there was no certification involved, I'd be doing this ride just because it's the type of thing I enjoy doing. I love road trips, especially the kind which boast ridiculous proportions for relatively short times. Such as the time that Brandy and I went to Sacramento to have dinner with Mac and Malachi, then came back home.

I'm planning to leave at about 3:00, which is a pretty standard departure time for road trips. I think I'll start out wearing my rain gear becuase it will probably still be fairly cold, and it would be smart to keep my rain gear handy in case I run into any of the frequent western summer storms along the way. The only problem is that it's just one more thing to store when I hit the hot tempuratures on the other side of the cascades. If it's warm enough, I might just bring some trash bags and push through the cold morning in the name of packing lightly.

My plan is to arrive at Jon's house before 9:00, so that I'll do the majority of my riding while it is light. Since I'm staying close to the 45th parellel, I think it should be light until well into the late evening.

In preparation, I've already ordered a throttle locking "cruise control" kit for my V-Star, it should be very useful in all the vast open spaces I'll be travelling through. In addition to that, I plan to get a new set of tires from Burton Motorsports, since the current tires appear to be stock. The concern for me at this point is the age of the tires and not the miles on them. On average, motorcycle tires last around 10-15,000 miles, because they are made with a very soft rubber, unlike car tires which usually last around 60,000. In this case, the tread is still just legal, but after ten years the tires are showing some minor signs of aging, including some very small cracks. I plan to replace them with a stock size.

I'm very excited to be on the road again before the end of the summer.

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