CCBB Trip report:
(Includes an SS2K and an SS5K in completely separate legs)
Story by:Bob "Bigduck" Tobitt
This trip has taken months and months to organize and plan. From a seed of an idea back in July/August of 2008 and after some correspondence with Mike Kneebone the idea to run a new IBA ride which encompassed both a Border-to-Border AND a Coast-to-Coast in the same run gradually blossomed into a real ride! According to MS S&T the trip would be 3,750 miles long (Shortest distance). When I first suggested the ride as a new ride to Mike Kneebone his response was; “Yeah, That’s TWISTED”, so the new ride would be called the TWISTED CCBB Insanity and would have two levels; a standard level over 4 days (96 hours) and a Gold level over 3 days (72 hours). The ride would leave Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, proceed through the US and end in Rosarito, Mexico thus ensuring that all three countries and both oceans were visited in the same ride!
The overall planning took a very long time and encompassed a lot of issues with which I had to deal and which I had never had to worry about on any other rides. I had never dealt with a multi-day trip which would cover three countries and over 8,500 miles but then again how man y of us have?
The first order of the day was to determine when I would attempt the ride so that I could check make sure that passports and insurances would be valid and that witnesses would be available at the start end.
Memorial Weekend seemed like a great time. The plan would be to leave from Stafford, TX on the Thursday before Memorial Day and arrive in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the Sunday evening so that I could have the bike serviced by a local dealer on Monday morning (No Memorial Day in Canada!), obtain the required witnesses in Halifax Monday afternoon, and then start the CCBB ride late on the same evening. The CCBB ride would basically be done on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with final witnesses obtain late Thursday evening. This would then give me Friday and Saturday to make it home so I could rest on Sunday (Even God rested on the 7th day) and be ready for work on Monday!
Just getting to Canada required some extra planning as the ride from Stafford to Halifax would require an overnight stay on Friday evening (We would ride through Thursday evening) and then a second stay for Saturday evening. Hoagy Carmichael insisted that we stay with him both on the way up to Canada AND at the end of the first leg of the CCBB. As an incentive he threw in a famous Hoagy Steak for our stop-over going up and then pizza and an offer to do our laundry (so that we could minimize our luggage) at the end of the first leg of the CCBB. How could we refuse such generosity? Those of you fortunate enough to be able to call Hoagy a friend (which is anyone who has ever met Hoagy) know what I mean when I say he is one in a million. Those of you who have not met Hoagy yet should make a point of getting to meet him either through one of his sponsored long distance rides for charity or through his web site (www.hoagysheroes.org). Hoagy I owe you a huge steak dinner the next time you get to Texas.
The plan would be to leave Hoagy’s on Saturday morning (4:00AM) and ride to Moncton where we would stay over night (Saturday evening) before hitting the Cabot Trail and then Halifax on Sunday prior to starting the Twisted CCBB on Monday evening.
To obtain witnesses I contacted some IBA members through the MTF Tourer’s Assistance Database via email. Alan Archibald (Halifax) and Leslie and
Jamie Edmonds (San Diego - photo on Right) very kindly offered their assistance in witnessing for this ‘new’ ride which I was keeping secret as I wanted to be the first rider to obtain IBA certified completion. I cannot thank Alan and Leslie and Jamie enough. Alan agreed to witness despite having to make a three hour journey EACH WAY just to witness and Leslie and Jamie threw in an offer to bunk with them at the end of the ride. To all of these people I owe a huge debt of gratitude. They are exceptional people and wonderful friends to the LDR community. Alan, Leslie and Jamie I cannot thank you enough for your assistance and support for this ride. Thank You!
So the plan was solidifying:
Friday: Stafford to West Virginia
Saturday: West Virginia to Moncton, Canada
Sunday: Cabot Trail (Postponed) then Halifax
Monday: Service Bikes, Obtain Witness for CCBB
Tuesday : 1st Leg of CCBB
Wednesday: 2nd Leg of CCBB
Thursday: 3rd and final leg of CCBB
Friday: Head back to Texas (leg 1)
Saturday: Arrive back in Texas
Additionally I planned on an SS2K on the ride up to Canada and an SS5K incorporating the CCBB and the return ride home. Then things fell apart just a little. A good friend, Lonnie Dickens, was making the ride with me. 4 weeks prior to the ride Lonnie was admitted into hospital with gastro-intestinal problems and was not released until a week later. Then one week before the ride was supposed to start, Lonnie’s wife was admitted to hospital and was kept in for 4 days. The ride would have to be postponed OR I could do the ride on my own. There was no decision to be made. This ride was planned for the two of us and I would not leave on the ride until we could both make it!
A quick look at the calendar showed that the July 4th weekend would be a great alternative. I checked with Hoagy, Alan, Leslie and Jamie and they could still make the new dates. I checked my passport and insurance and they were still valid and the Mexican insurance I had already obtained could be transferred to the later date. It was set. The ride would now take place in the first week of July instead of the last week of May. Then, just three weeks before the July setoff date, I was admitted into intensive care for a week with a nose bleed that would not stop and which flowed like a faucet! That’s right ... Intensive care for four days for a NOSEBLEED! How stupid do I feel? Fortunately the diagnosis was a burst artery behind my nose and NOT blood cancer and after some minor surgery and some discussions with the ENT doctor it was agreed that making the trip would not be a problem. It was back on!
Entering and exiting Canada and Mexico now requires a full passport or one of the new passport cards. I already had a passport b ut the card is much easier to use at the border crossings so I applied for one of these also.
My riding buddy had neither so he applied for both. Now we needed valid insurance. I use progressive and my riding buddy uses AAA but both supplied us with Canadian proof of insurance cards at no cost. For Mexican insurance I knew we would purchase the insurance just prior to the border crossing but this would take valuable time which I did not think we would have so I ordered my insurance on-line (as did my buddy) from www.mexpro.com. Fortunately I have no way of reporting on the value of either the Canadian or the Mexican insurance as I did not have to use them.
Final documentation consisted of the witness forms and so I had everything in order.
I am a very conservative rider so before I left on such a long trip I also wanted to make sure that I would have medical coverage to return to Houston/Stafford in case of emergency and also to know that my bike would also be taken care of in case of accident. To this end I also signed up with Medjet Assist. Their website is www.medjetassistance.com. I have heard both positive and negative reports on their services but again I was fortunate to NOT have to use them so cannot give personal recommendations.
The last thing I checked was to make sure that my Spot Tracker subscription was valid through the trip and also set the trip up on the MTF spot tracker service offered by Jason Jonas at www.jasonjonas.org/spot so that the en tire trip would be saved and could be used as supporting documentation if I was able to complete the ride and submit it to the IBA for verification.
The final thing I wanted to get before we left on the ride was an EZ-PASS for the northeastern states. I had been warned by Hoagy about the number of turnpikes in this part of the US and he was 100% correct. By searching around the Web I was able to determine that for me the best fit was an EZ PASS from New York state as it has no annual membership, no minimum usage charges AND offers a 50% discount on NY tolls for motorcycles. I ordered my EZ Pass through the web at www.e-zpassny.com. I am only guessing but I would estimate that having an EZ PASS saved us at least 2 hours on the trip.
I would be riding my 2005 Yamaha Royal Star and Lonnie would be riding his ‘no IBA ride prior’ 2008 Victory Vision.
The two of us, while not expert Long Distance Riders by any means do have a couple of SS1000s, A BBG and a RAT Insanity Gold each so we had some idea what we were letting ourselves in for.
Lonnie Dickens (In the distance is the weather over the Cabot Trail which is one reason we did not get to ride it).
July the 2nd arrived. I had had the bike completely serviced and had the fluids replaced and new tires mounted. The 2005 Royal Star was positively bucking in the garage to get on the road. Months of planning and organizing were coming down to the next 10 days but I was confident. Now anybody that knows me will tell you that I am anal about the details. I had mapped and remapped the entire ride and more specifically the SS2K, CCBB and SS5K, over and over and created spreadsheets detailing all stops and leg mileages, average speeds, required arrival and departure times … etc. I doubt more planning went into putting men on the moon. I mean I had it ALL. I had pretty pictures and spreadsheets and checklists and maps and diagrams out the wazoo! I had planned, checked, re-planned and double-checked the entire trip. I had tried to foresee possible issues and document solutions and alternate routes. I had northerly and southerly routes worked out in case of bad weather. I had alternate border crossings into Mexico in case of issues at individual crossing points. I had emails with telephone numbers and photo-copies of insurance forms, passports, IDS … etc. Did I mention that I also had checklists and documented procedures for all kinds of events along with maps and spreadsheets for the entire trip?
The first leg of the overall trip was from my home in Stafford to Hoagy’s place in Moundsville, WV. This day would cover just over 1,350 miles. I left at 9:00 on Thursday evening after getting my wife and brother-in-law to sign the witness form fir the starting SS2K and expected to arrive at Hoagy’s house between 5 and 7 on Friday evening depending on my average speed. At this point I should mention that my highly detailed plans would have told me exactly what time I had expected to be in Moundsville. Oh, I still have them. In fact they are still exactly where I left them on my desk when I left to head to Hoagy’s! That’s right. Months and months of planning and literally days spent on MS S&T, routing and re-routing and developing alternative routes, and equal hours pouring over Excel spreadsheets detailing arrival, leg and departure times for each section of the overall ride had produced mounds of invaluable trip data and NONE of it would make the trip with me!!! The ONLY documentation I had packed was the starting and ending witness forms for the rides.
The one saving grace was that I had at least thought to download the routes (To Canada and then the entire CCBB route) onto my Garmin Nuvi 750 GPS and I had the important phone numbers (for Hoagy, Alan, Leslie and Jamie and the bike shop in Halifax) plugged in as favorites into my phone but these would not replace my carefully planned and documented trip analysis. Of course I did not discover that my carefully detailed plans were missing until I went to retrieve them after I reached Hoagy’s place in West Virginia some 1,350 miles after I left home and just a little too far away to be turning around to recover papers. After my initial panic I realized that it was not the end of the world. I still had the basic routes entered into my GPS and as long as that did not go south then I would be OK.
This was a relatively short day of 1,160 miles and, leaving at 4:00AM from WV and with an expected uneventful ride I fully expected be safely tucked up in a hotel bed in Moncton by midnight the same day. This leg was NOT un-eventful. After some fantastic riding down long sweeping curves on the PA Turnpike (my kind of riding) it was due east through New Jersey and into New York for a nice view of Manhattan.
Had it not been for terrible roads (potholes, grooves …etc) this would have been a nice ride but as it was this part of the ride was terrible. There cannot possible be worse ‘paved’ roads anywhere … (Famous last words – See 1A in Canada below!). From Manhattan it was due north on the Hutchinson River Parkway (another great ride) and then up the Eastern seaboard (495/95) through Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and into Maine. At Wells, ME we obtained ending witness signatures for an SS2K (Humble, TX to Wells, ME) and then proceeded on to Bangor. We had completed the SS2k in 43 hours with a 12 hour stop-over at Hoagy’s so we had managed BBG pace throughout.
At Bangor we had a decision to make. It had been suggested by serval MTF forum members and some other LD riders that a great ride was to turn right at Bangor onto 9 and take it to the border at St. Stephen and then 1A through Saint John and on to Moncton so at Bangor we turned East on 9 to the border rather
than head further north to Houlton on 95. As it turned out this was the major mistake of the entire trip. By the time we got to the border we had been through heavy, heavy rain and when the precipitation cleared up it was replaced by fog which was very thick and getting thicker by the minute. The ride from St. Stephen to Saint John was atrocious. Visibility was down to just yards and there was major (MAJOR!) road works on 1A. At times the road would literally drop 8 inches straight down and you just knew that somewhere up front it would do the exact opposite! Ion fact the road conditions were so bad that they resulted in a cracked fender on my mates Victory Vision which required repair at Hoagy’s when we finally got back into the US. Now the Royal Star is a great touring cruiser but it was never designed for “Rough Roading” and muscling my way across 1A was no fun at all. The trip from Bangor to Moncton should have been a little of three hours. Because of rain, fog and road works this one leg took 7 hours! Needless to say this is not the route we took on our way back!
The ride to Moncton had taken so much out of us and caused such delays that we no longer had time to ride the Cabot trail on Sunday. As it turned out this was a blessing in disguise as the following photograph showing the weather to the East toward the trail can attest:
Sunday afternoon found us in Dartmouth at the Day’s Inn after a short ride of just 160 miles. The rooms in this hotel have both an inside and outside door which is great for bikers as you can get your gear in and out easily and maintain a close eye on your bikes parked outside. By coincidence this was the hotel used by the MTF for the Trans-Continental Canadian ride some years back and the gas station next door was the starting receipt station for the same ride. If it is good enough for the MTF then it is certainly good enough for me!
Parked next to our bikes was a Goldwing with lots of farkles including a tail dragger extra fuel tank. Obviously this belonged to a compatriot in the LDR community and it was not long before we found out that the gentleman and lady in the room next to us was Roy Collins and his wife. Roy was an entrant and middle level finisher in the 1999, 2001 and 2003 Iron Butt Rallies. Roy was merely “flower sniffing” with his wife and although we had different schedules we did get to chat for a few minutes before we had to part ways.
Late Sunday afternoon we setoff to Queensland Beach some 30 miles west of Halifax and the closest place to Halifax that I had been able to research which had access to a beach to obtain a tube of Atlantic Ocean water and Sand!
Day 4-5 The start of the CCBB
Early on Monday morning we rode over to Freedom Cycle Ltd in Halifax where I had pre-arranged to have the oil changed in both my Yamaha and Lonnie’s Victory Vision. These guys are a class act and had us in and out in no time flat. On the same note it ought to be mentioned that I have never met a group of people as welcoming and pleasant as the Canadians. Where ever we went they were a delight to meet. Thank you to all of you. Later in the morning we met up with Alan and his wife at the hotel and they signed our starting witness forms for both the CCBB and the SS5K.
Monday afternoon found us at a pub next to the hotel wolfing down “Fish and Chips” and talking about the ride to come. At 5:00PM we retired to the hotel where we tried to get some sleep before our scheduled midnight departure. (I had decided on Midnight as it gave us the best chance to avoid the dreaded 3:00AM to 5:00AM drowsies) while at the same time preserving as normal as possible sleep patterns for the remainder of the ride.
Sleep did not come easily or fruitfully and at 8:00PM we both decided that there was no point in laying awake trying to sleep and that leaving earlier than planned was not such a bad idea (especially given that I had forgotten all of my time dependant documentation anyway!). By nine thirty the bikes were packed and we were checking out of the hotel. At 9:52PM we got our first receipt from same gas station used on the Trans-Continental-Canada run by the MTF! Surely this is a good omen for the ride.
Riding back through Moncton we took 2 to Woodstock and the border crossing to Houlton where we picked up 95 down to Bangor, instead of the 1A and then 9 route to Bangor we had disastrously used just a couple of nights before. Moments after crossing the border however the rain started. Before leaving Texas, I had elected to put on my taller screen in case of bad winds (which I expected in West Texas, New Mexico and on into Arizona and California) BUT this screen also makes me virtually blind in rain and in driving rain I have no option but to proceed with extreme caution. Extreme caution was used for the next 460 miles!!!!!!! My riding partner had to lead most of the way during this leg as I was incapable of seeing enough distance to lead safely. This was the most exhausting riding, both mentally and physically, that I have ever encountered. These 450 miles took more out of me than 1,000 miles in Texas heat. This early into the ride and I was already questioning the wisdom of the attempt. If I was this tired after just 790 miles how would I fair over 3,000 miles more? Turning left at Hartford we headed west to Scranton and then on to Moundsville, WV. Because of the torrential rain we were now running 4 hours behind based on some very tricky mental arithmetic. It is amazing how accomplished the mind can get with math problems when one has hour-upon-hour of time to dwell on possible solutions.
By the time we got to Hoagy’s we had traveled 1,350 miles and were already 4 hours behind schedule, the day had taken it’s toll, we were both physically exhausted and mentally drained due to the rain we had encountered through a full 1/3 of the journey so far AND if we wanted to stay on schedule we only had 2 hours to rest up before we had to leave! Obviously this would NOT work and would be dangerous given our physical and mental condition so I decided to “Rob Peter to pay Paul” and took 4 hours of planned sleep time from Wednesday night and added them to Tuesday night giving us 6 hours of rest. I was hoping that I could make up at least some of the time on the next day’s ride. I set my alarm for 1:30AM and immediately fell into a deep and restful sleep. While we slept, Hoagy and his crew fixed Lonnie’s fender and washed, dried and folded our dirty laundry. What can I say about these guys? Hoagy and his crew looked after us and went way beyond the call of duty for the two of us. Thank you to everyone at Hoagy’s for everything you did including allowing me to be rude and go straight to bed without even any introductions! I promise I will make it up one day when I come up there just for a visit!
Day 6 – 2nd Day of CCBB
When the alarm went off I felt like a new man and was ready for the challenge of the next leg. Downstairs in the Irish Pub (Hoagy’s Man Cave of a Garage) Hoagy had already packed up our newly laundered cloths, given each bike the once over and cleaned our windshields. At 2:00AM we left Hoagy’s house and headed out onto the second leg. Our initial goal was to reach Vega, Texas (1,350 miles) with a secondary and more elusive goal of Albuquerque, NM (1,600 miles) figuring that the more miles we did on the second day the less we would have to do on the last day! What a day we had. Miles just shot past. No traffic. Minimal road works and next-to-no congestion! LEOs were everywhere but we never ventured more than 5 miles or so over the speed limit and tnhey left us alone. We took I70 through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri. Out of Missouri we took 44 down to Joplin and then it was onto the Oklahoma Toll Way (44) all the way to Oklahoma City. Out of the city on 40 and we were headed towards Amarillo almost before we knew it. We encountered very strong winds from the Texas state line all the way through Texas and into New Mexico. We had easily surpassed our first goal and ran straight through Vega and on to Albuquerque, NM. It was a great day of riding and very fast despite keeping the speeds within reason and at a limit designed to NOT attract LEO attention. In fact we rode the first 1,000 miles on this day in just over 14 hours and 30 minutes and the entire 1,600 miles in 24 hours flat. Easily BBG pace and had I known we would travel 1,600 miles in this leg I would have got witnesses for a BBG for this part of the ride. It was by far the greatest fun I had had since leaving my house just 5 days earlier. At Albuquerque my mental aerobics told me we had gained 2 hours back and could afford to rest for 5 hours but I convinced my riding buddy to accept just three hours as I had a sneaking suspicion that we would need this extra hour somewhere for some reason. (I think I may have a future as a seer based on this suspicion alone!).
Day 7 – 3rd and final day of CCBB
I awoke when my alarm went off after two and a half hours of very deep sleep. I immediately awoke Lonnie and we set about packing up the bikes. The look on the receptionists face was priceless when I strode in and handed in the room keys to check out after just three hours! At 3:48 we gassed up in Albuquerque and were on our way for the final leg west on I40 to Flagstaff were we turned south onto I17. I was feeling really good and I17 has to be one of the prettiest and nicest Interstate rides in the country with beautiful countryside and long sweeping curves. Phoenix (and the heat!) arrived in no time. We took 101 loop around Phoenix to US85/I10 and then US85 south to Gila Bend and I8. As the miles went past so the temperature climbed. 95, 96, 98, 100, 102, 105 …. By the time we were halfway to Yuma the temperature had peaked at 117 degrees and it stayed in the high teens all the way to the mountains and on into California. We were stopping every 120 miles or so … not for gas BUT for fluids. In the three or four hours we rode from Buckeye, AZ through to El Centro, CA I consumed at least 6 large bottles of Gatorade AND a 100 oz Camel Back.
NOTE ABOUT THE HEAT: I have been trying to convince my buddy that wearing a jacket in the heat is cooler than going without but have had no luck. This changed on the way back when he wore a fully leather jacket and a full helmet and agreed that the difference is remarkable! If you are still holding out that you cannot possible be cooler wearing a heavy jacket then please, please just try it once. You will NEVER go back to tee shirt riding again!
By the time we hit the mountains we were ready for some cooler temperatures and while not exactly cool, the low 100’s were a darn site better then the high teens. Yet again I was thrilled to be riding long sweeping curves. The ride across the range into California was just superb and I must admit to some exuberant speeds on occasion in this section. I had planned for a number of different border crossing points from as far east as Mexicali through Tecate and on to San Diego/Tijuana based on available time and potential border crossing issues and long lines at San Diego but after some more quick metal arithmetic I decided that we had enough reserve time to chance the crossing at Tijuana.
Although my GPS (Garmin 750) would not route me to Mexico I had her (Emily with a British Accent) route us to San Ysidro and then on to Mexico. Crossing the border into Mexico and then riding in Mexico were two things I had really worried about during the planning of the ride. I did not need to worry. As we were happily waved through the border into Tijuana I immediately saw a sign for the ‘Scenic 1D route to Rosarito’ which is the road I planned to take. I had absolutely no problems either crossing the border or navigating around this part of Mexico and we very soon found ourselves on the toll way (2 dollars per bike) on the “Scenic” route. This was very, very disappointing. The views of the ocean are spoilt by construction and the road itself is very dirty. This is NOT a road I would recommend to anyone other than as a way to get from point A to point B!
We took the ‘Norte’ exit into Rosarito and were rewarded with a Pemax Gas station right on the exit and for which we had to do a ‘U’ turn but which gave us our final gas receipt. We had completed the new CCBB in 71 hours and 10 minutes! 50 minutes to spare on a 3,750 mile journey! Back out of the gas station and down the road into Rosarito I found a turning on the right which took us between two hotels and on to the beach where I promptly dropped the bike while at a stand still! My buddy, otherwise preoccupied, was totally unaware of my plight so I discovered that a 180lb weakling can pick up an 850lb bike even on soft sand! A walk of about 100 yards bought us to the waters edge with lots of very strange glances from the sun-bathers on the beach when they saw the two of us in riding gear and boots walking down to the water! A couple of quick photographs to preserve the moment in history and we had our vials of Pacific Ocean and Sand. I had corresponded with Leslie and Jamie Edmonds regarding being our final witnesses and they had volunteered to allow us to stay with them for the night. I had sent them our spot track page and I knew they were tracking us but I tried to call from Mexico to let them know we were close but I could not get a call to go out.
This was the first time my friend had been out of the country … EVER! And he did not want to stay in Mexico any longer than he had to so with our precious cargo of water and sand we were back on the bikes and heading north on 1D back to the US. Following the signs we made it back to the border crossing at Tijuana only to discover a tail back of about ½ mile of vehicles trying to cross. Now I had read that lane splitting is legal in California but I was not sure about Mexico but there was no way I was going to sit in line if I had the chance not to! Not even worrying about pulling in the highway pegs I tentatively started to split the lanes. It was like Moses and the red sea … Vehicles seemed to dive out of our way and within a couple of minutes we were the third vehicles in line to go through customs. I am not sure if this was excellent manners or just very scared drivers who, upon seeing two huge motorbikes in their mirrors, decided that discretion was the better part of valor but either way I strongly urge all of you who attempt this ride to lane split if you feel comfortable doing so!
It was just a short hop and skip to Leslie and Jamie’s house in San Diego. Leslie and Jamie have a great garage for LDR bike maintenance and both ride BMW RTs. Jamie and Leslie are accomplished Long Distance Riders and are exceptionally nice people who have witnessed for more than 40 riders on CC rides. My thanks to both of them for their outstanding hospitality.
Day 8 – The final legs
This is a picture of Lonnie packing his bike for the return trip.
We made a short detour to Wally-World to get a gel seat for Lonnie (Monkey Butt was starting to take it’s toll), A new GPS audio cable, for me, and to stock up on Gatorades and Ice for the desert crossing we were not looking forward to. We both completely filled our camel backs with Gatorade and ice and packed the rest into a flexible cooler on my bike and then it was back onto I8 for the ride through hell.
The temperature going back on I8 to I10 through the desert was no better than our trip the previous day. The temperature hovered around 116 degrees for HOURS and occasionally hit 119 degrees. It was BLOODY hot!!!
At least while we were traveling we were able to generate a wind-draft which maintained some coolness. This time through the desert Lonnie was wearing a full leather jacket and a ¾ helmet with a full visor and agreed that the difference in comfort was amazing compared to the previous day when he wore a ½ helmet, no visor and a short sleeve tee-shirt!!!! (I was dressed as always in my mess jacket and modular HJC Symax-II helmet).
After three or four hours of riding in the desert the sky ahead darkened. Could it be rain? Bring it ON!!!! We did not even stop to put on rain gear. The rain was manna from heaven! Immediately the temperature dropped, not a lot but, enough to make us feel almost chilled. It was so pleasant we even pulled to the side of the road and stopped just to feel the cooling breeze on our face and arms. Suitable refreshed we continued on I8 to I10 and into Anthony, TX. We now had decision to make. We could stop here for a few hours and then continue on to home OR we could continue on to Van Horn and then stop and have shorter distance to travel the next day. Despite the rain earlier the desert and the heat had taken their toll on us and although we had only ridden a little over 700 miles we decided to stop in Anthony for the night. This also meant we
would have daylight for the ride from El Paso to Fort Stockton and could take advantage of the higher speed limit (80 MPH) AND we would not have to deal with road rats during a nighttime drive to Van Horn. All-in-all I think we made a very wise decision.
Day 9 – The final leg home!
We left Anthony, TX at 3:30AM the next day. The ride along I10 is pretty boring and I have ridden it a number of times. The last time on an in-state BBG.
The only excitement came after we filled up in Fort Stockton and headed out. We had planned to gas up in Sonora but went straight through. After missing the final gas station exit I decided that we should be able to make the next gas station at Junction but it would be close. What I did not take into account was the increased speed. By the time we got to Roosevelt we were running on fumes and were very, very lucky to find a gas station just a mile off the road. In the oppressive heat it would have been no fun what-so-ever pushing an 850lb bike to a gas station!!!!!!
We completely filled the bikes at Junction and headed out with a next stop in Flatonia which marked the end of the SS5K. A quick fill-up, validate the information on the receipt and it was back onto the bikes for the final leg to home.
It never ceases to amaze mw how the body and mind react to the nearness of home. As the final miles melted away so did the previous 8,000 that we had ridden. All aches and pains disappeared and the ‘Why am I doing this?” thoughts were banished to the very darkest corners of my mind. I would soon be home where my eldest daughter had already gone to Starbucks to get my favorite Chai Tea, my two other kids and my wife were waiting with open arms and, dare I say, my entire family held an admiration for the task I had just accomplished. Even they knew the difficulty of this ride.
I had been successful. Not only had a developed a brand new ride but I had also completed an SS2K and an SS5K in addition. With the new ride I was now one of only two riders in the entire world who had ridden from the Atlantic Coast of Canada to the Pacific Coast of Mexico on a single documented ride of less than 72 hours. I am very, very proud of this accomplishment. I truly believe I can now say, for the first time, that I have joined the ranks of successful ‘long-distance-riders’.
Now I challenge all you long distance riders out there. Who will take up the gauntlet and run the ride from the Pacific/Mexican Coast to the Atlantic/Canadian Coast and who is brave (foolish?) enough to try the CCBB-BBCC (back-to-back CCBBs)? Anyone?