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Saddle Sore 1000


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I finished a Saddle Sore 1000 from Iowa to Arkansas and back. I love the way the bike handled through all the seasons we went through (cold, sunny and warm, and rainy). We hit highway 23 in Arkansas and ended up riding the "Pig Trail." The bike was excellent to ride through all the twisties and corners through AR. Honestly, the sorest parts of my body are my shoulders. I finished the SS on the stock seat and didn't need any extra padding.
Numbers for the trip are as follows:
Number of bikes that went: 8
Number of tires replaced: 1 (I did NOT have to replace my tire - nsmiller keeps my bike in tip-top shape!)
Number of witnesses: 2
Number of lug nuts replaced: 1 (again, I didn't have to do this)
Number of layers at start of trip: 11
Number of hand warmers used: 4
Number of layers shed in Arkansas: 7
Number of miles from Ames to turn around point in Arkansas: 557
Number of hours in the saddle to turn around point: 9 hrs. 20 min.
Number of deer dodged: 1
Number of wild turkeys seen: 2
Number of curves in the Pig Trail on highway 23: lots
Number of miles from turn around point to home: 525
Number of hours in the saddle from turn around point to home: 7 hrs. 50 min.
Number of receipts: 13
Number of gallons of 91 octane burned by the 2015 FJ-09: 22.934 gallon
Money spent fueling the FJ-09: $59.70
Total number of miles ridden from Google Maps: 1,082 miles
Total hours in the saddle: 18 hrs. 10 min.
Total trip time: 23 hours exactly
Number of memories made during trip: countless
Starting mileage:
Whole group at the beginning of the ride:
The VFR tire that needed to be replaced about a quarter of the way in (250 miles):
Starting temp in Iowa was 34-37 degrees - now we're shedding layers in Branson, MO after lunch
All the bikes, minus the two that had to go get the tire replaced, at the Pig Trail in Arkansas (very close to our turn around point)
We made it! Now to turn around...
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Gallons of 87 Octane burned by the 2015 FJR 1300A: 24.63
Cost to fuel the FJR: $52.06
Which means my bike burned a greater volume of fuel, but since the FJR doesn't require premium gas, my fuel cost was actually less than amrmiller's FJ-09.
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Since we planned to have our ride certified as a SaddleSore 1000 by the Iron Butt Association, we needed to have a start and a finish witness. This can easily be a gas station attendant or family member, but in our case, I asked the VP of ISU Motorcycle Club to be our start witness. He rides and R6 and assured me there was no way he was riding that on a SaddleSore.
So we met at the Kum and Go at 3:30 AM. A couple people were late and didn't show up until just a few min before 4 AM because they went to the wrong gas station. The temp was about 37 degrees. Between my wife and I, we have one set of heated gear (vest and gloves). When we ride together it is usually best to let my wife have the heated gear because the FJ-09 has less of a fairing than my FJR. Also my FJR has heated grips and her FJ09 does not. With the heated gear, its not hard to stay roasty toasty even in very cold temperatures. The only thing that got cold for my wife was her toes in her boots so she put a couple of gas station hand warmers in her boots at the first stop.
I stayed warm by wearing many layers of clothing. I had a base layer of Under Armour for my upper and lower body, then a normal shirt and jeans. Then my pair of motorcycle pants with a removable warm liner installed. My upper body stayed mostly warm with my 3 season Cortec jacket with a removable warm liner and removable wind block liner. I was wearing a non-heated pair of winter m/c gloves with my heated grips on high. My toes were probably the coldest part of me as well so I also added some hand warmers to my boots later on.
Other riders stayed warm by dressing in many layers that they could shed as we went further south. Coveralls, sweaters, jackets, etc. Thick gloves and using hand warmers where necessary to provide a bit of heat.
We filled up and the pump receipt said 4:17 AM meaning the clock was officially ticking. We cruised south at around 65 mph. Going on the slow side helped us have time to react to deer and also keep us perhaps just a bit warmer than if we were cruising at 75. We did pass one deer standing just off the side of the highway in southern Iowa. People in the back of the group saw me hit my brakes hard, but never saw the deer so didn't know why I slowed down until we stopped at the first gas. We got to our first gas stop in Bethany, MO about 6:15. We continued south to KC, and it finally got light outside as we were leaving Bethany so cruising speed increased to 70-75. Temps were holding steady around 42 degrees. We got through KC and made it to our second gas stop in Harrisonville, MO (where I used to live). Pulled into the QuickTrip there and was amazed at what has changed in that town in only 2 years since I was last there. To my disappointment, the temps had not warmed up as much as I had hoped yet. It was still only about 44 degrees which meant I couldn't shed any layers yet.
I went inside to grab a breakfast sandwich and hit the restroom. When I came out I a couple of the guys came out and told me Brandon's 2001 Honda VFR 800 was missing a lug nut. I told them they had to try harder than that if they wanted to get me to believe a silly April Fools prank. But they were not kidding. The VFR has a single sided swing arm so instead of an axle bolt which I'm used to, he has 4 lug nuts. One was missing and who knows how long it had been that way. I told him there was an auto parts store just a mile into Harrisonville, go down there and find a lug nut and the rest of the group would meet him there soon.
So we followed Brandon over to ORielly's and he had gotten a lug nut and borrowed a wrench to tighten it up. Unfortunately there was another problem, Brandon was now noticing there was a spot in the center of his rear tire which was starting to show the cords. I told him it was his call about what to do. He claimed he checked his tire a week ago and it had plenty of tread left. Brandon is a good guy but he's also a cheap skate and obviously doesn't know when its time to just let a tire die. He talked to Colton, who would likely be on the hook to stay with Brandon if he broke down, and he decided to continue on.
After leaving Harrisonville, we got on Highway 7 heading southeast toward Clinton and Lake Truman. It was finally starting to warm up as we approached Springfield, about 50 degrees or so. We stopped for gas a few miles sooner than intended because one of the bikes was on reserve. Gassing up near Springfield took a bit longer because there were only one or 2 available pumps at any one time and 8 bikes which needed fuel. Also each bike had to fuel separately because receipts were needed to provide documentation to the IBA. After getting through Springfield we kept moving south to Branson where we stopped to eat at a Culver's. At this point Brandon's tire was getting worse and he started making some phone calls about where he might be able to get a quick replacement tire. He found out that there was a shop open in Harrisburg about 20 miles south of Branson that could change his tire for him. After lunch Colton and Brandon took off to get the tire changed, in hopes that they would be able to catch up with the rest of us.
After eating lunch in Branson the temps were now in the mid to upper 60's and getting warmer quickly so the layers started coming off in a hurry. Also, this is where the roads got beautiful and twisty in a hurry. We rode the bikes around the south side of Table Rock Lake and also near Beaver lake and crossed into Arkansas. We rode down highway 23 from gassing in Eureka Springs, AR which is a very twisty fun road. We saw two wild turkeys while cruising down the road. The last 10 or so miles of Hwy 23 leading into Ozark, AR are known as the Pig Trail and are very curvy and steep. We had fun eating up those tight hair pin turns and I got to lean over and scrape my pegs on a couple turns. I long to have roads like that in Iowa. So we made it to the I-40 Travel Stop off I-40 in Ozark, AR, a few miles east of Fort Smith. At that point I read a couple texts and it sounded like Brandon and Colton were a solid hour behind us. It was already 4 PM and we needed to make miles north while we still had warm weather and daylight, so we took off and headed home on I-40 and then up I-49 toward Joplin.
We made it to gas in Neosho, MO just before it got dark. Brandon and Colton had taken a short cut to get back to the highway heading home and had not gotten to ride the Pig Trail portion of Hwy 23, but they were still a ways behind us. Brandon later commented that although, riding those twisty beautiful roads is a ton of fun, they do wear you out faster and you don't make miles nearly as quickly. We couldn't afford to sit around and wait at that poitnn so we kept going north. We got back to Harrisonville, Mo about 9:40 ish. It was now fully dark and the temp had dropped into the 50s. We gassed up at the same QT we hit on the way down, and then went across the street to have a break and a sit down meal at Applebees. At this point, you could tell that people were starting to feel the tired set in, and we were about 750-800 miles into the trip according to our Odometers. The dinner at Applebees helped us to re-energize for the next leg of the trip north through KC. We waited around after dinner just a bit and this allowed Brandon and Colton to catch up, but they did not get to eat or have a long rest like we did. They gassed up and we hit the road again shortly after 11 PM. Moving north into KC, I wasn't concerned about hitting a deer in the middle of the city, but you could tell that people were getting tired because our group's formation was starting to get sloppy. People weren't keeping good following distances, and at night it gets hard to tell where people are in your rear view mirrors. As we got north of KC into Cameron area it started to rain. Not a heavy rain, but enough that you knew it was raining. We stopped again in Bethany at the same Kum and Go. Even though it was only 50 degrees it felt as if it was back in the low 40's as it was earlier that morning. I drank a cup of coffee at the gas station to warm up. Others did other things to try and keep them alert and prepare for the final push home.
Back on the road, and it was continuing to rain, but for the first half hour or so after leaving Bethany I felt as if I was re-energized, but out there in the dark between the Iowa border and coming into Des Moines I knew I was extremely fatigued. I was struggling to maintain my own speed, and I was getting irritable with the other riders for not following me as well as I thought they ought to. That last part of the trip we got the worst gas mileage of any leg. Riding in rain and a head wind. Coming into Des Moines one of the bikes starts pointing at his gas tank indicating he needs gas. This was extremely annoying, especially to my wife who I was communicating with via our Sena headsets. I tried to get our group pulled over to get gas in Ankeny for the one or two bikes to quickly get gas, but it became impossible because our group was so spread out and traffic was not making anything easy. So eventually the one bike which was going to run out of fuel pulled off by himself for gas and texted me to keep going to Ames, he would catch up. We made it back to the Kum and Go in Ames finally, extremely fatigued, but now full of energy and happy that we accomplished what we set out to do. Colton arrived 5 min behind us after getting some gas in Ankeny. 3 or 4 bikes reported that they nearly wrecked on the interchange between I-80 and I-35N in Des Moines due to the wet roads, ruts and tar snakes. Audrey and I did not experience this.
We had our witness form signed by another member of ISUMC not on the trip, and we all headed home to sleep the majority of Sunday.
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