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As some of you know, I planned a combined BBG1500/SS2000 ride this past week. http://preview.tinyurl.com/BBG1500


I rode out to Spokane, WA to the start point of my intended ride, on the morning of 5 July. Got an early start (8 AM'ish) to the 4.5+ hour trip out across eastern WA in order to avoid some of the heat and to get settled into my motel... and, to give myself a chance to pre-ride the section of highway (about 120 miles each way) that I was most concerned about: I-90 between Coure d'Alene, ID and St. Regis, MT.

This, for those who don't know, is a mountainous and heavily forested (read: an area for forest rats) area where I-90 winds through the Bitterroot Mountains, and over the pass (Lookout Pass) that forms the boundary between ID (in the panhandle) and MT. The past few times that I'd been out there, MT's highway department had been doing construction -- and I wanted to see (in daylight) the condition of the road. My schedule called for riding it at night, before dawn.

Hit one of the more unique bars in the area on the way back to the hotel. A place named "Cruisers" in Stateline, ID. Now, this isn't a place that you're likely to see many Wings or Wingriders, or textile jackets being worn. But it has the incredible appeal of having a road through it.

Seriously.

There are roll-up doors in two of the four walls, and they've painted a road through the bar on the floor -- down which you can ride your bike, stop and get a photo taken of you and the bike (your camera), and then ride back out to the parking lot.

Got my picture taken, parked the bike, and had two Sam Adams beers (two wheels, two drinks).

Spent Wednesday resting-up, getting some last-minute supplies for the road, and met-up with my eyewitnesses that evening. Had a moment of panic, during the afternoon, when I noticed a spill of something under the bike after I got done with lunch at a local mall's restaurant.

Fortunately, there's a Honda dealer nearby, and the service manager took a look under the bike and said "Don't see anything that's a problem!". "Your belly pan is clean and dry, and you've got a full level of oil."

(phew)

02:30AM -- kickstands-up and heading to my 'clock start' receipt location 4 miles away. A little weary since I didn't sleep well the night before.

A beautiful ride through the mountains! There was just enough pre-dawn light to silhouette the mountains, and let me see the road reasonably well -- even without the help of the Wing's lighting system. Hit a 19 mile construction zone on the east side of St Regis (of course, just past the area that I'd pre-ridden on Tuesday), but was able to continue travelling at about 45mph.

Rolled through St. Regis (next gas stop) then Butte, MT for a fill/drain the tanks. Got across the Continental Divide east of Butte, headed down the east side, and ran into several active construction zones. Speeds? Down to 35mph on the freeway, in places, and zones extending 10-11 miles each.

And, temps are now into the upper 80s -- and I ride AGATT. Fortunately, I carry a 100oz hydration pack in my travel backpack, so I was keeping myself well-hydrated, and the supply of landsjaeger sausages is keeping me from feeling hungry.

Got into Hardin, MT -- just past the I-90/I-94 split in Billings -- a little before noon. Still pretty close to the planned schedule. Stopped for gas, and (1) the printer at the pump isn't working -- so I have to stand in line with the other c-store and fuel pump customers, and (2) the computer-printed receipt has the location and date, allright... but no time of day! Find a fast-food place with a drive-up across the street, and get a receipt that has both time of day and date! Huzzah!

Got down to the I-90/I-25 split near Buffalo, WY. Stop for gas to document the "corner", and have been noticing the increasing cloud cover. It isn't getting any cooler, but I know that means crummy weather here on the downwind side of the Bighorn Mountain range.

Escape a band of rain that I can see off to the west (prevailing wind is out of the west).

Had to make a quick stop about half-way between Buffalo and Cheyenne -- and WY DOT has the interchange under-construction... so, I have to ride PAST the overpass, do a turn-around (WYDOT's doing) in the median, and then ride back towards the rest stop. Now, with the overpass closed, there's a 2+ mile extra detour down a paralleling State Highway. Speed limit = 65 and just one small town to travel through.

Anyway, back onto the I-25, and into Cheyenne... passing half-dozen folks on Wings (different state plates) on the way. Get gasoline -- not at the location planned, since I got off on the wrong interchange ramp -- but close enough, and shoot a quick email on the Blackberry to let friends know that I'm safe (so far) at my turn-around point. Drive about a mile to a Sonic DI, under continuing cloudy/windy conditions, get a drink for the road -- stick some more sausages into the shelter pouch -- and head west on I-80.

Beautiful country. Getting more overcast, and windier, however. Pull into a service station off the freeway near Rawlins to call my end-of-ride witnesses (as I said that I would) to confirm my anticipated arrival time.

A stop in Rock Springs fills the tanks, again. Just past that, some more construction and some drizzly weather. Getting dark and very cloudy, now. Hear NOAA WB report of thunderstorms, ahead.

Get into Green River, and down comes the rain -- and all around me, flashes of lightning. I 'suck it up', and don't go for the waterproof overpants or wrap-around galoshes. Through Fort Bridger and Evanston... still with the thunderstorm and rain.

I got into the pass west of the state line, and the weather is letting up. Some lightning flashes in the distance, up to the north away from me. Rolled down 215 to the area of Sandy/Draper, getting to my 'corner' gas station about midnight. Been up, now, for 21.5+ hours, and on the road for about 20.5.

Rolled through SLC and Ogden, and got to my planned end-of-ride (the BBG) at 1:30AM local time: a little less than 22 hours since I went KSU from the starting-time gas receipt. Distance? 1529 miles by the GPS. 1501 by the odometer. Met-up with my witnesses: Roger and Dennis, who agreed to meet-up with me in the middle of the night, at Denny's there in Tremonton, UT, had them sign the paperwork, and thanked them profusely for their willingness to come-out at 2:30AM to witness the end of my BBG.

(to be continued)
 
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