Road Trip 98

Sunset at Hermit Island - Click to expand The following is a brief description of my 4,100 mile trip on the Sprint in July 1998 including my successful Iron Butt SadleSore 1000 run.
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IBA - Click to go to IronButt Home Page Friday Night & Saturday
Port St John Florida to Scotland Connecticut

My journey began on the 10th of July. I had been running in circles with my business and just needed to get away. Decided to pack up the Sprint and head north. My plan was to complete an IronButt SadleSore 1000 by riding non stop from Florida to Connecticut. My original plan called for an afternoon departure so I could get some sleep in the morning and not have to worry about completing the run at night (I was worried about fatigue). Instead I spent the morning troubleshooting some computer problems - then tried to get a couple hours sleep but that was no use. I just tossed and turned as the adrenaline level continued to rise. I departed just before 4:00 PM in search of my first witness. After explaining to the sheriff what I was doing, he gladly signed off and wished me luck. I then proceeded on to my initial gas fill up to begin the timed portion of the run. After filling up, I went to record the time and realized that I had no watch - no problem - I had a clock on the bike - but then I noticed no wedding band - oops - wouldn't feel right without it. So, my trip began by backtracking to the house for the watch and ring. It was now 4:40 and 100 degrees in the shade - me in full leathers - Off to the north I head. I figured that by going straight up 95, that I would make the best time, so that was the route I took. Leaving Florida was hot, muggy and smoky (the firestorm had only just been brought under control) and it didn't get much better in Georgia. I rode thru several rain showers, but nothing to warrant even stopping for the rain gear. I stopped in Savannah for a late dinner and proved that you don't have to be African American to get poor service at Denny's - they just plain and simple have poor service. It took me 1 hour for a chicken salad and a coke. Needless to say, that was my last Denny's. The ride
My SadleSore 1000 Certificate - Click to expand
Camp all set up - Click to expand through the night was fairly uneventful except for a speed trap in South Carolina. I had been following two cars that were running between 80 and 85 and as we came over a small crest, the sky lit up with lights. Two cars came out and pulled over the two cars in front of me, but let me continue on - phew! As I passed the next bend there were two more cars pulled over - I decided to run the rest of the state at the posted speed. Continued on through the night, snacking on Granola bars and Chocolate Chip cookies with a CamelBak of GatorAid strapped to my back. Stopped in Virginia for some coffee at a dunkin donuts a met an officer who was also a Duc owner. He couldn't believe that I was trying the run and wished me luck. Off I continued and all was looking well until I hit New Jersey. I95 was under construction (always is, in NJ) and a crucial sign showing a turn off to the NJ turnpike was down. So, I continued on and saw signs that read 'For I95 - Use 295 South' which is what I was now on. So I kept going until I needed gas. As I pulled into the first gas station I found no self serve pumps and none of the attendants appeared to speak english. So I went to the next station where again they had no self serve, but at least he spoke broken english and allowed me to fill my own tank. I asked for verification of the directions and he assured me 'yes go I295 south to 95 north'. So I continue south, mile after mile until I got that feeling that I was in trouble. I stopped at a group of road workers, who instructed me that because of the road work, the sign for the 95 turn off was down. If I continued the way I was going, I would be back in Delaware, exactly where I was 1.5 hours earlier. Headed back on 295 North and took the proper exit and hit the NJ Turnpike. I was just starting to feel pretty
good when I realized that my little
The Bathtub at Hermit Island - Click to expand excursion had cost me about 1.5 hours and I was now behind schedule. I still had at least 100 miles to get to New York and then another hour (with traffic) to the Connecticut border. I got my mileage requirement while in NJ, but I wanted CT to be my end point for my certificate for the ride. So, I fought the Saturday afternoon traffic going into the city and made fairly good time. It was now 3:00PM on Saturday and I was at the George Washington Bridge in NYC. I asked the toll attendant how far to CT and he said with no traffic 20 minutes - with traffic an hour or more. I had to fill up in CT before 4:10 which was my official 24 hour end period. I crossed the bridge and hit the Cross Bronx Expy where I stopped. Saturday afternoon - 95 degrees - New York City - Traffic Jam - I was sweating literally and figuratively. Did a lot of 'creative driving' and managed to make it through the mess in one piece in 45 minutes. Such is my life - if there is traffic problems somewhere, I'll find them. I hit the CT border and filled up just before 4:00 - I had made it 1277 miles in 23 hours and 40 minutes. An average of about 55 miles per hour. Not bad considering my mishaps .....
Hermit Island Beach - Click to expand  
I was tired and needed some rest, but I still had another 100 miles to go to my parents house in NE Connecticut. I rode the whole way under a dark veil of ominous storm clouds, but didn't see one drop of rain - I was leading a charmed life. Hit my parents house and they set me up with a wonderful dinner. We spent some time just talking and relaxing and before I knew it, they were headed off to bed shaking their heads in disbelief that I was still walking around. Finally hit the hay around 10:00 PM - 38 hours without any substantial sleep......

Pemaquid Lighthouse - Click to expand  
Local Connecticut Rides

After a huge breakfast, my Mom and I headed off for a local ride. She has a Heritage Springer - and looks good on it - still kicking myself that I forgot to take a picture of her. There were a lot of bikes out as a local bar was doing a pig roast. We headed out through some of the rural routes with some nice twists and dips and ended up at a country store where we both had some hand dipped ice cream before continuing on to finish the ride. Had someone said 15 years ago, that I would be out riding motorcycles with my Mom on a Sunday afternoon, I would have just laughed.........................

Typical Maine Coastal town - Click to expand  
Scotland, Connecticut to Small Point Maine

After a short ride with my Mom and breakfast, I headed off to the North again this time targeting the coast of Maine - specifically Hermit Island - an island campground on Casco Bay. The ride up was fairly uneventful and my first real stop was at L L Beans for some new camping gear. Following my natural bad luck, the first two tents that I wanted were out of stock - the third was a demo only set up on their showroom floor. Another couple was seriously eying it as well, so I asked if I could buy it even though it was on the floor. I was told no, but after pleading with him to check with a manager, I got the ok. As I started taking it down, the other couple looked at me with daggers in their eyes - survival of the fastest I guess.... Anyway after going through the same fiasco with sleeping bags, I was finally on my way with a 4 man tent, sleeping bag, inflatable pad, ground cover and water proof cargo bag to keep it all in. I got in at Hermit Island, met with some old friends and then set up camp. I then headed back off to Bath to meet Sean, a fellow Triumph rider that I had met on the T5net mailing list. He graciously took me into his home, fed me and helped prepare my ride for Wednesday across New England. Thanks again Sean.
Campsite all loaded up - Click to expand  
Local Maine Rides

I decided that I was going to do short local rides so that I wouldn't wear myself out. I left Hermit Island after some picture taking and headed north to the Pemaquid Lighthouse for some sight-seeing. The roads were fun and most were free of debris although there was more than one frost heave that caught me by surprise. I headed back towards Hermit Island and hit Fort Popham and a few other sites on my way back to camp.
New Hampshire Mountains - Click to expand  
Small Point Maine to Montreal Canada

Got up early and broke camp. My goal today was to reach Montreal, Canada. After a nice breakfast at Kristina's in Bath, I was off for some scenic riding. Took 25 out of Maine to 153 in New Hampshire. The roads were nice and the only other traffic was the occasional logging truck. I got into Conway and immediately got stuck in the tourist traffic. I mad my way to 112 aka The Kancamagus Highway. Beautiful mildly twisting roads with many runs along the side of rivers or passes up through the mountains. The haze was pretty thick so I didn't get many good photos, but I've plenty of scenes in my mind. The traffic was not bad, as it was mid week and the cars that I did come upon did a good job of pulling over to let me pass when there were no passing areas. Once I crossed on to the other side of I93, route 112 became much less travelled and as I rounded one corner, I found myself with no more paved surface at all. Ended up doing about 10 or 15 miles on a oiled dirt surface - made a mess of the bike as the oil stuck to everything. Did route 232 in Vermont before realizing that I was fast running out of time. Jumped on Rte 2 for a quick trip south to I89 and then I blasted my way up to the Swanton area. I then crossed over Lake Champlain to catch 15 into Montreal. It was now 4:00 PM and I saw a sign saying Montreal - 43. I thought oh great, I'm going to hit the city at rush hour - 1/2 hour later, I was in the city - forgot the signs were in km instead of miles. Met up with some old friends, enjoyed the Montreal night life and then off to bed for a few hours sleep.
Unimproved road ahead ! - Click to expand  
Montreal to Front Royal, Virginia

Had breakfast with my friends and then it was back on the road heading south. I had reached the mental halfway point and now every mile I put on was 1 mile closer to home. Was really starting to miss my wife and daughter. Hit the Canadian border and received a thorough questioning.
"Where are you from?" - Florida
"When did you enter Canada?" - Last Night
"Where are you going today?" - Virginia
"Are you transporting narcotics?" - No

Unknown sign for Florida residents - Click to expand I could tell he really didn't believe me, but he waved me on, none the less. Thank god - I hadn't planned a search of my bike into my time line and today was my longest mileage trip except for the ride up - about 600-700 miles. I continued south to Albany where I picked up I88 and and rain front. I continued in a light rain all the way to Harrisburg where it became a full out downpour. By the time I hit West Virginia, the only people on the roads were me and the truckers. It became too dangerous to try and keep passing them so I found two that kept a sufficient distance between themselves and stayed there until I hit I66. As I rolled into the hotel in Front Royal at around 10PM, I noticed the parking lot was dry. Could I have imagined all that rain? I went inside to check in and the desk clerk gave me that 'what planet did you just step off of ?' look. I explained that it had been raining all day - 'not here' she replied. I shrugged, got my key and turned to open the lobby door - pouring rain! It had found me ... The clerk called after me and offered the carport over the entrance as a place to keep the bike dry, so I unloaded in the rain and then brought it back over to the carport - at least my seat had a chance of being dry by morning.
Entrance to Skyline Dr - Click to expand  
Front Royal Va to Asheville NC via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If you've never done Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway, mark it on your map of must do's. It is 600 + miles of scenic, twisting 35 and 45 mph roads cut through the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Skyline Drive begins in Front Royal and continues on for about 120 miles when it become the Blue Ridge Parkway. Skyline Drive has a $5 entrance fee, but it is well worth it. I have heard some people complain about the road being too congested, but I did not find that at all. I think the trick is to hit it during the week and not on the weekends. I was in twisties heaven running the 35 mph corners at 60-80 mph which was plenty fast with my fully laden Sprint. At the end of Skyline
Blue Ridge Mountains - Click to expand I had to stop for several minutes to let my head equalize again from all the corners. Continued on down the Blue Ridge, which was really nice until the Roanoke area. It then comes down out of the mountains for some really flat riding for about 100 -150 miles. Then back up into the mountains for some more fun. I had now been out for about 8 hours on this road and was starting to feel fatigued, but there was nowhere to stop at this point - had to continue on to Asheville or risk trying to find suitable accommodations in the Virginia back woods - no thank you. I had a small accident at this point (a 0 mph drop) and ended up cracking my fairing and breaking my turn signal - more damaging to my ego than anything else. After recomposing myself, I continued on to Asheville without incident. Stayed at a motel in Asheville if you could call it that. It had a screen door that you couldn't prop open to unload, a malfunctioning smoke detector, a bathroom that didn't look like it had been cleaned at any point this year and a mattress that was older than the hotel - but it was ground floor and I was exhausted. I slept in my clothes and refused to use the shower (that bad). I was all to ready to leave when my alarm went off in the AM ......
Southern end of parkway from a Honda Hoot Brochure - Click to expand
Blue Ridge Pky Waterfall - Click to expand  
Asheville NC to Cocoa FL (home!)

I had watched the weather channel (for all its other shortcomings, it did have cable) in the morning and was shown a huge front coming in to blanket the Southeast. Time to get moving. I took I26 south through into South Carolina and on to I95 south. Once I hit I95 the nuisance rain began - where it will rain for 5 minutes and then clear up for 20. I ended up leaving my rainsuit on up to my waist and then just stopped and pulled the rest of it on when I needed it. It was of course around 95 degrees with 100 percent humidity, so leaving it on was not an option. Made it through Jacksonville before getting the steady rain and to Titusville before the downpour. Real wrath of God stuff with horizontal rain and lighting and a few pieces of hail mixed in for good measure. I pulled in the driveway of the house , honked the horn and watched the garage door open before me - It was good to be home - hopped off the bike, dripping wet for a hug from my daughter and a kiss from my wife - My life is soooo good. ;-)))

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