Thanks to warchild’s thread @ hayabusa.org about his ToH Nevada ride, I was able to scramble to get California done before this year’s deadline lapsed. I tried to recruit other riders to do this with me but ended up with the prospect of doing this SOLO.
I initially envisioned to get combo credit for an IBA SS2000 along with the ToH ride but aborted that pursuit for safety reasons (more on that later). I used GOOGLE maps to plot out my course and split the 7 sites into Day 1 (3 sites, the longest legs and most grueling terrain) and saved the other 4 for DAY 2 (mostly straight and flat, homeward bound).http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208816190015702663545.0004ac84c713257667997&msa=0http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=208816190015702663545.0004ac857aa89bbcc051b&msa=0
Used all my lessons learned from my IBA SS1000 ride last year to pack and prep for this one with one major addition: a 2.5 gallon gas can for CYA and peace of mind (got this tip from warchild’s thread). My bike can go 170 miles on 1 tankful before the low-fuel light starts to flash.
Did my best to load up on sleep the day before the trip (hit the rack @ 1900 on 09SEP) so I can be KSU NLT 0400 on 10SEP. Now enough with the chatter and on to some pictures (do not have much since I was chasing time, really wished I had bought a GoPro for this trip).
First off, my steed: a 2009 Hayabusa (used my old Busa for my IBA SS1000 last year). Some of you may ask: why attempt a 48-hr endurance run covering approx. 2,000 miles on a sport bike? Day 1 had lots of twisties while Day 2 had long stretches of empty freeways so I picked the Busa (I also have a Road King) for its speed and agility. I do intend to use the Harley for ToH 2012.
First stop was Big Pine: 286 miles from my house. One hour into the trip, I was ambushed by a heavy donwpour in the middle of a dark, barren desert. I did check the forecast for all the cities/counties I was going to hit, slight chance of rain on Day 2. Pulled over and put on my wet weather gear (which I packed last and positioned near the top) and almost like a cruel joke, the rain completely stopped no more than 20 minutes after I was back on the road with raingear on. NOTE: If the rain did not stop, I seriously considered aborting the ride (I have ridden thru heavy rain but only for short trips, 1-2 hours tops)
Second stop was Placerville, 246 miles, 4 hrs. 56 min from the 1st memorial. Some may notice that it is different from the actual site which was situated no more than 200 meters from this one. Yup, I may the first (and only) rider who flat out missed a stop and stumbled upon another. I begged Steve for a waiver (or this was going to be a 1,000-mile round in itself to take a pic of the correct site) and thank God Steve said YES (must have caught him in a magnanimous mood when I asked him...WHEW!)
Third and last stop for DAY 1: Crescent City ( 416 miles, 7 hrs, 19 min of riding thru some wicked twisties that I was only half-prepared for). It was midway thru this leg that I began to entertain the prospect that I may not be able to make this an IBA SS2000 ride. I had a motel reservation waiting for me with a check-in time of 2100 on 10SEP. But at around 1900, I still had over 200 miles of twisty roads which I had to navigate at night. I had so many lapses in judgement on this segment that I am forever grateful to God almighty that I made it to my motel in one piece...at 0100 on 11SEP.
Before I got to the motel, I decided to take a pic of memorial #3 on my way out of Crescent City later. While I was in bed, I was still toying with the idea that SS2000 was still within my reach (I had a 6-8 cushion in my timeline for delays, etc.). But how much sleep should I get before heading out for DAY 2 so I can do it safely (4 hrs, 6, more???). I was up, geared up and ready to go @ 0800 on 11SEP2011.....this DATE was a central reason in the planning/scheduling of this trip (details in my INTRO post here: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=229
First stop for DAY 2 was Alameda. This was the BEST leg of the trip and still get jitters when I remember riding thru the forest along Hwy 101....enchanting and exhilirating all at once. I was on such an emotional high that I lost track of the 362 miles, 6 hrs, 37 minutes that I just covered.
Onwards to stop #2 for Day 2: Bakersfield which looked easy on paper (275 miles, 4 hrs/47 min) but turned out to be the most draining (fatigue and sleep deprivation were slowly creeping up on me). I think the long, desolate, flat stretches of freeway dulled my senses so badly that I resorted to singing to keep myself awake. And just when I thought I was already running on fumes, this is the sight that greeted me when I found memorial #5....the city was in the middle of their annual 9-11 remembrance ceremony and used memorial 5 as part of the stage. NOTE: I got such a huge mental/emotional boost that for a fleeting moment, I actually believed I still had a shot at doing a SS2000 (only 2 more stops to go with 10 hrs left in my 48-hour window).
As I was leaving Bakersfield, I reminded myself of the reasons why I was doing this ride which in turn made it easier for me to make the decision to abort my quest for SS2000 credit. My focus shifted to making the trip home safely and this actually proved to be the most difficult part of the trip to accomplish. Something happened to me after a gas station stop that caught me completely by surprise and enveloped my entire body with fear: my neck and trapezius muscles seized up in a major cramp. I literally could not hold my head up and made a panic pull over, jumping off the bike as fast as I can.
After I recovered from the shock/fear/panic, I gingerly got back on the bike and promised myself to stop as many times as necessary so that I will make it home safely. So at around 2200 on 11SEP2001, with over 1800 miles covered (and around 40+ hours of riding), I pulled into my driveway...home sweet home).
P.S. I postponed visits to the last 2 memorials (La Jolla and Riverside) after I recovered from this trip