The 2016 Iron Butt and Lake Michigan Route and BlogIn July, 2016, I'm doing an Iron Butt ride from AZ to Oklahoma City, then on to Lake Michigan. Follow along on this page for updates!
Day 1 – July 11 – Phoenix, AZ to Albuquerque, NM – 460 Miles
12:50 PM, MST
Today I’m heading out at 4 PM for the first leg of the Iron Butt ride (The Iron Butt Association’s Saddlesore 1000 Ride requires 1000 miles in under 24 hours). If all goes well, I’ll get a few hours of sleep in Albuquerque, then head to Oklahoma City tomorrow to hit 1000 miles almost on the nose, then up to Wichita, KS. Stay tuned here for updates!
1:53 AM (12:53 AM Phoenix Time)
Made it to the Motel 6 in Albuquerque! ‘Querque – we all know what happened there and none of us want to remember it. So far so good. Great traffic (none), great weather (literally perfect), and a great ride. I had a man pray with me (literally hug me – was pretty comforting) at a gas station, and a lady try to “play” with me (offered a service I declined) at another. Really interesting night. Glad to be here safely – almost half-way done with the iron butt – making tomorrow an easy day as long as the weather holds. Good things. ‘Nite.
Day 2 – July 12 – Albuquerque, NM to Edmond, OK – 561 Miles
6:56 PM – CDT
Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000 done! The riding was the easy part. Today I had “great” weather. I say great because there were no storms or hail, but to be honest, the temperatures and humidity were pretty high. Once I hit Amarillo it was above 100 degrees for the entire ride. As I neared Oklahoma City the cross-winds were hitting HARD, and at first it was annoying, until I realized that the worry about the cross-winds and the cooling effect from them completely erased the worry about dehydration and sunburn from the temperature. So, I’m here. LOTS to tell everyone about this ride. I’m glad it’s behind me and glad I did it, but (stay tuned for more here), this was probably my last Iron Butt (or any sort of “timed”) ride. Something about the tight timeline just took away from so much of the pleasures I get out of riding. From meeting people and having good talks, to stopping in a nice spot for a while to enjoy it, to just hopping off of the bike to enjoy the stars when they’re that bright…the timeline keeps you from doing a lot of that, and for this rider, it’s just not what I’m out there for. I’ll post a video about it shortly. The great news is, I got it done, and I’m glad I put myself to that test. Now, on to what I’m excited about: Seeing some great friends, taking some winding backroads, and sitting in a folding chair by the bike talking about life and such. That’s what I’m in this for. Stay safe out there.
Day 3 – July 13 – Edmond, OK to Kansas City, MO, to Iowa City, IA – 641 Miles
(Written after the fact)
I burned myself. At least I’ll have a good scar to show for it. The rear tire of the Indian is covered mostly by a large fender, so it’s very difficult to check the tire pressure. Trying to get the gauge in there, I accidentally pressed my arm into the hot exhaust pipe…I heard the hissing sound before I felt it, and then, the burn was so bad that it didn’t even hurt. It still doesn’t hurt! It just turned black, blistered, and now looks like a missing piece of my arm. I’m lucky – it’s a small burn – I had a great first aid kit and I’ve been able to treat it very well as we’ve ridden, so though I’ll have a really cool scar, I don’t think there will be any real damage. On a positive note, I finished the Iron Butt last night! So, now I get to just ride with the guys and relax without collecting receipts. Today I rode a few hundred miles, met up with John in Kansas City, then rode another few hundred miles to meet up with Bill in Iowa City. MASSIVE day – anything above 600 miles can really make your ass sore. This was the case. It was great to crash by the end of the night, and good to meet up with another part of the group!
Day 4 – July 14 – Iowa City, IA to Franklin, Wisconsin – 270 Unusually Long, Hot, Traffic-Filled Miles
(Written after the fact)
Today John, Bill, and I rode together from Iowa City to Milwaukee (Franklin actually), where we would meet up with Kevin, who was taking the ferry over from Muskegon, Michigan. It was a nice ride – relaxed pace – until the very end where we hit some crazy construction in Milwaukee. Construction can be the worst, because you get stuck in the middle of a few lanes of traffic, and though you do all you can to be safe and keep your distance, you still have a pretty good chance of getting taken out by a driver who’s pretending to be Vin Diesel. They’ll weave right into you without even seeing you, and it’s tough to leave any room to maneuver out of the way. So, we got lucky, got to the hotel safely, and then had a great night. Bill’s brother in law owns a place called “The Rock,” which is a bar high atop a hill overlooking baseball diamonds, a ski area, and the beautiful green trees of Franklin, Wisconsin. It was a blast just overlooking all of that and having a few drinks to close out the day. We met up with Kevin at the Rock, and the group was complete – ready to head further North.
Day 5 – July 15 – Franklin, WI to Green Bay, WI to Marquette, MI – 335 Miles
1:53 AM – Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
This is a great group to ride with. The guys all ride safely, the communication is solid, and we’re having a ton of fun. The thing I’m finding out about myself (now on the fifth day of riding), is that I have a different style than others. We all get into a rhythm that helps us to get through the day without feeling like we want to fall off the bike when we get to the hotel and have to re-energize for 24 hours. For me, that means getting up really early, riding in 100 mile blocks, getting a few hundred miles behind me before it gets too hot, and then getting to decide how much further to go. It’s different for everyone. With this group, our style was one where we would take it easy right through the day, stopping about once per hour, enjoying our breaks, and talking about the ride. There’s an advantage to that, but the disadvantage is that by 11 hours in, you find you’ve only covered about 350 miles, and you’re feeling really beat. Then, you only have a few hours to have a few beers and explore the town before you need to be sleeping to prep for the next day. If you choose to stay up late (which you want to do with a good group) and enjoy the local restaurants and bars and such, you’re going to be dead in the morning. This is what we’ve been up to. So, I’m with a great group, and wouldn’t have it any other way, but I’m exhausted!
Today even though we were under 400 miles, it took about 11 hours of on-the-road time, and that’s just a big day, regardless of how far you go. It started out rainy, never really cleared up until the end of the day, and at that point we were pretty far north and it got very cold compared to the morning! I didn’t have the right gear on but I didn’t want to stop the group, so I did a good solid hour of shivering as we went through the most beautiful part of the ride so far, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For that reason, I spent the time shivering that I should have spent taking video, and I missed some good scenery. I’ll get some good stuff tomorrow. We’re overlooking lake Superior from our hotel right now, and we’re all sh*tting our pants about crossing the Mackinac Bridge on bikes tomorrow (it’s windy, high, and steel-grated – not bike-friendly). Should be fun.
Day 6 – July 16 – Marquette, MI to Traverse City, MI – 303 Miles
(Written after the fact)
Great ride. Long day, even though the mileage was short. This was my favorite day of the trip. Upper Peninsula, Lake Superior, Mackinac Bridge, Tunnel of Trees, Harbor Springs…Beautiful.
Day 7 – July 17 – Traverse City, MI to Muskegon, MI to Royal Oak, MI – 335 Miles