20 June, 2014

Iron Butt Ride 2014: SaddleSore1000/BunBurner1500 and visit to Antique Archaeology in Nashville TN

           Adventure can be an end in itself. Self-discovery is the secret ingredient..."
                 ― Grace Lichtenstein
            "I would rather die of passion than of boredom." -- Vincent Van Gogh
                “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all -- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” ― Randy Komisar
             "A zest for living must include a willingness to die."  ~R.A. Heinlein

Sunday morning,just before midnight,I stepped out of my door and realized it was colder than I expected.
This ride had two purposes.One was to complete at least one Iron Butt Association ride and two was to deliver a vintage Airbrushed Motley Crue denim jacket I got in high school to Lauren at Antique Archeology of American Pickers fame in Nashville ,TN.
       I thought it was going to be around 50-55 degrees,turns out it was 42 degrees.I already had almost everything on my 2003 Honda Shadow Spirit 1100cc ready to go.My two bags that carried my tools for minor repairs,a www.cyclepump.com ,and my GoPro cameras .I also had a tankbag that carried my motorcycle paperwork,smartphone,and www.ironbutt.com log as I had to keep track of my stops.Of course,I also had water.
       The motorcycle is in good working order,however,new tires were put on last August and in Sept,the rear tire got something in it and I had to plug it.Rather than throw away money,I've been riding it with the tire plugged and I rode it with the tire plugged on this trip.With no problems.

     I had two sweatshirts ,Carhartt cover-alls and my leather jacket to keep me warm.I wore nothing but skate shoes.I don't have motorcycle boots.My helmet over a nylon facemask that works,sort of,but mostly causes my helmet glass to fog when I breathe.My gloves were rated for about 40 degrees,but constant air eventually found it's way through and numbed my hands.

     I got to the Wawa Gas Station in Wyomissing PA(which is also my end point) ,shot part of my video log  and topped off the gas to obtain my receipt to start the clock in this adventure.

The receipt started my clock at 12:50a EST but I left about 1:10A EST and rode
off into the darkness.There were late night partiers in the gas station parking lot looking at me like I was the idiot,talking into a camera,but almost no one on the road when I left.

Start mileage and time for IronButtRide2014
    The accuweather app said it was going to be about 50-55 degrees out,but as a cruised along at highway speed,I quickly realized it was colder.My feet were freakin' freezing.I was only wearing sneakers.I got to Shippensburg PA for gas at 2:52a,cruised along I81 South with no problems,keeping an eye out for deer.I was really worried about deer.
    At 4:59a I got gas again at Love's Truckstop in Toms Brook VA,a place I used to fuel when i delivered brand new Mack Trucks.I looked around ,but no luck,they didn't sell electric,or even insulated socks.I rode across the street,but they didn't sell them either.
    I continued on,hoping that it would soon warm to a more manageable temperature.it did not until much later.Even when I got to Natural Bridge VA a little after 7:00a and stopped for fuel, it was still cold as hell.(I imagine hell being a frozen wasteland.)
     It was still cold and they didn't sell thermal socks either.

     I left Natural Bridge,riding on Route 11,but wasn't able to see the Natural Bridge and I didn't have time to stop.My next fuel stop was the TravelCenters of America in Wytheville VA,but between Natural Bridge and there,the deer decided to declare war on all drivers with some kamikaze raids. I had only just missed one deer as he crossed left to right when two more were standing on the right,as I ripped by at 70mph,one of them ,made a move ,like he didn't no which way to go,then,and I swear to this,he made a disappointed face when he realized he wasn't going to get me.Like he was going to lose a bet,or his commanding officer was going to throw him in the stockade  for retreating.I kid you not.
     I got to Wytheville safely and fueled,then ate at Subway for breakfast as I caught up on the paperwork needed for the Iron Butt Ride certification.I'd rather do it as I go then have to do all that tedious work at one time after I was done.

Love's in Toms Brook VA

State of the Art Professional Grade GoPro camera mount

 The ride from Wytheville VA to Nashville TN is about 362 miles and was pretty uneventful.No real traffic,little heavy around cities,but not bad,and the speed limit is 70 mph,so I was cruising along great.

Crossing into TN

Movin' along

"Candy" machine in the bathroom at Shell Gas in Gordonville TN

     I got to Antique Archaeology at 4:10p CST ,three and a half hours later than I expected.They closed at 5p on a Sunday.I don't know where the time went,it felt I was moving almost non stop,but all the little stops and breaks added up.
    I parked right in front and went inside.Unfortunately,I missed the live music and it was semi crowded,but Lauren saw me from behind the counter.I looked around while she took care of other customers.
    The store is smaller than I thought it would be,and  there wasn't many antiques and "picks" as I had expected.I live near Adamstown PA and the antiques are packed into the stores.
     Some items were not for sale.There was a vintage leather jacket I liked,but it was marked as Mike Wolfe's personal collection.I really liked it a lot too. I didn't have the money that day to purchase any of the things I liked were listed at and even if I did,I was on a motorcycle,couldn't bring it home anyways.
     Shopping while traveling on a motorcycle is both a blessing and a curse when one sees something they would like to buy.
     I was looking around and was pondering if it would be also profitable for them to get more space in the historic Marathon Motor Works building where the store is,create a museum and charge admission.(If you need a curator,Mike,I am available.)

Nashville TN as seen from Antique Archaeology

Not For Sale 

I think the price on this is $495 
     Lauren saw my airbrushed Motley Crue jacket when I posted it on Instagram and asked if it was for sale.It wasn't,but I said make an offer and she did.It really was never going to fit me ever again.I decided I didn't want it to be stuffed in a closet,but it also had sentimental value as it was a gift and this is and always will be my favorite band, so it had to go to someone who would appreciate it.
     When I took it out of the bag,I could see her eyes light up and I knew this was the right person.Although,the money wasn't important,she paid me.I was so happy to see her as excited about it as I was when it was given to me in 1990.
     Visit the shop,you'll never meet a nicer person than Lauren.She's very cool rocker chick,that,in my opinion ,should have more air time on American Pickers ...I've said that even before meeting her,though.
Lauren and I in the Antique Archaeology shop,Nashville TN

Has found a new home in Nashville TN
      I also had a missed opportunity,of meeting another celebrity,local,but most likely soon to be international country music star.
     Lillie Syracuse ,a country music singer who has sang on many stages around Tennessee including playing live at Antique Archaeology ,where she is also a sales associate. Now I had seen her videos on YouTube last summer ,before I had even thought of  this or knew much about her.I am even subscribed since last year to  Lillie's YouTube Channel ......and I had her use my phone to take the pic of Lauren and I.....then I asked her to do it again because she blurred it. I didn't realize it until a few days later,that not only did I miss an opportunity to properly meet her because,even though I've seen her videos,I didn't make the connection,I also had her take that photo for me. Duh! Idiot!
    So please check out her website,youtube channel, Lillie's Instagram ,Lillie on Facebook and Lillie's Twitter

     I left after 5pm and rode back the way I came on I40,another uneventful ride with food and gas stops along the way.There was a semi truck/pickup truck accident blocking the left lane right before the I40/I81 split.It looked like the pickup truck tried to change lanes and put himself in the trailer tires.Pieces of Chevy everywhere.I started to feel tired,but not too bad until I got to White Pine TN and fueled there for the end of my Saddlesore1000 at just after 11:00p .I hung around and stretched my legs,then got moving,since I was way behind the time I set for myself.
Trying to stay awake at Gordonville TN around 6:18p CST

    I "hit the wall" at about 23 hours, when I hit 1008 miles for the Saddlesore1000.I'm just not cut out for staying awake like I used to be.Honestly,I used to drive a truck straight to CA,make the delivery,sleep for a few hours,then sit on Venice beach until my log caught up.I can't do that stuff anymore.
     I used to get that numbing pain in my lower back from the seat and sitting,but this is the first time I wore Carhartt cover alls over top everything for a longer ride other than to work in winter time and they were the perfect thickness for taking the vibration and I had no pain at all when i was done. 
     I have no throttle lock,so at one point,my wrist hurt so bad,I shoved my weight against my elbow/arm  to keep moving.
     During the night,I stayed behind cars or trucks as blockers for deer,this one car I ran behind for 70 miles,I think he was a high functioning drunk driver as he kept slowing down to 50 mph and back up to 60 even though it was a 70mph.
    It dropped to 32 and my hands didn't function right,I couldn't always pull the clutch or brake fast enough and couldn't always coordinate them.

Quick rest stop at the TN/VA State Line -12:30a.My $25 tire pressure gauge fell
out of my bag here,I was too tired and didn't notice,so someone has a new gauge now.

    I stopped for breakfast,because I was really feeling tired to the point of nodding off,at the Waffle House in Troutville VA around 4:10a.I'm not sure if it was the food or me just being awake and tired,but it didn't sit well after eating there.The night was rough,with being real tired and it being real dark out,plus the 32 degrees affecting my motor skills,I was thinking it's time to quit.I should have,but I didn't,but there were some moments that almost became FUBAR.

     It was work to keep moving,I was falling asleep and I had to talk to myself,to stay awake.Just talking,pointless talking to just try to stay awake.Sometimes yelling....
     It finally started to get light out,but not warm yet.More vehicles were on the road and I had to pay close attention.Being tired and freezing really does affect one's abilities to do things to try to avoid causing accident.
Iron Butt Ride log of my stops

End mileage and time

     I was nearing the end of this long ,tiring,but awesome journey.I stopped a few more times for breaks and gas and my second to last stop was in Mechanicsburg ,PA. I filled the tank and got rolling as my time counted down.
     I did have one issue,probably because I was tired and not thinking.I had to stop and look at my phone at the intersection of I81 and I83 to figure out which way to go.After consulting Google maps on my phone (I knew the way,just had a moment where I was confused due to lack of sleep)I pulled out onto the highway as a Prius cut in front of me with a flat tire on his way to the shoulder.It was a close call and I wish I had my GoPro on,it would've been an interesting video.
     I made it to the end point with less than an hour to spare.It should have been faster,but I did a lot of stopping and a lot of time lost in Nashville. I am disappointed in my time,but I still made it.

     It was a great experience,one that was on my bucket list since 2010.I wouldn't say it was life changing or life altering,but riding on a motorcycle,alone,through the darkness,nothing and nobody around,it does give you time to think.To reflect.I won't go into details,except to say I have no regrets,save one,and that's getting into my current chosen "career",but that is hardly a secret. I need to make a change and get out of that.Soon.Now.
     I knew I was doing a timed ride,but when I was out there cruising alone,I know this is how I want to live.Traveling.Riding from place to place on no one's clock.I'm looking around in the pitch black along I-81,no headlights,no streetlamps ,just the occasional eye shine of an animal among the trees along the road hunting for dinner.For those 35 hours I was who I want to be.I was that person.There was no dead end job,there was no house that needs repairs or POS car that needs constant attention.There were no people I have to pretend to like to make life(mostly at work) easier.No fake conversations.

No bullshit 

Just me,the bike,and the road.


                                     Maybe it was a life changing experience.