First the good news – we made it to Dallas safely last Thursday and had a GREAT weekend hanging out with our fellow Iron Butt folks. They are caring, amazing, funny and wonderful people. I’m proud to be counted amongst them.
We left Denver as planned at 4 AM Thursday morning after stopping for gas and a beginning ride witness. This is a requirement for an IBA certified ride to prove we were at the stated location at the stated time. Our next stop was on the eastern plains in Limon, Colorado where we met up with another rider also heading to Dallas.
A couple of things that I noticed at the beginning of the trip – as we moved away from the city lights of the Denver metro area, I started to notice a TON of stars. It was really cool to be able to put my head back and see millions of stars in the sky – simply incredible. One of the benefits of riding pillion is being able to take in the sights without having to worry about what the traffic ahead is doing.
As we headed east from Limon into Kansas the sun was beginning to rise and I had the pleasure of watching the sky turn many shades from pink to orange. I saw farms and outbuildings shift from the shadows to being bathed in perfect pink light. It was quite a sight and I wish I had taken more photos. One challenge with taking photos while riding is that I have to take my gloves off and that’s not something I want to do for long. Not only is the temperature an issue but there is always a safety concern too. We don’t ride with gear on to make a fashion statement, I assure you of that! 🙂
Our plan was to travel to Kansas City, Missouri and then turn south and head for Dallas, which would give us a head start on the second leg of our 1500-mile trip. It also gave me a visit to Missouri which I’d never seen before. We arrived in KC in the afternoon and had a nice ride through part of Missouri before taking a turn for Oklahoma. I enjoyed seeing Kansas City and landmarks I’d only seen online prior to this trip. Oklahoma was another new state for me and a bit of a surprise. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised by the green, rolling hills we encountered there.
Somewhere in Oklahoma around 9:00 PM CT my rally partner let me know he needed to take a break as he was having a hard time staying awake! We took the very next exit and found ourselves in a place with no services and few other vehicles. We pulled off into a park and surveyed our surroundings to make sure we were safely out of the roadway. One kind gentleman did stop to ask if we needed assistance, which was much appreciated. We were again pretty far from city lights and the stars were even more amazing than on the eastern plans of Colorado. I felt like I could reach up and touch the Big Dipper as it hung on the horizon, just over the tree line! As our eyes adjusted we realized we could see part of the Milky Way overhead – it was stunning and made for a memorable experience!
We always carry food on the bike to help manage our energy and reduce the need to stop as often. One of the items we’ve found useful is the Ensure energy drinks for “mature adults”. Well, being the goofball that I am, I had to inject some humor into the stop by making jokes about having an Ensure party in the middle of Oklahoma. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, but we laughed ourselves silly over that and it helped us wake up so we could keep moving.
Somewhere around 1:00 AM CT (midnight mountain time for us) we rolled into the hotel in Allen, Texas. I don’t remember the last time I was so relieved to drag my tired backside off the motorcycle. Oh wait, actually I do – it was at the end of the HW3 rally in August. (More details about that in a future post.)
So, back to our original plan which was to catch a bit of sleep and then ride 400 more miles. We had a total of 36 hours to complete 1500 total miles for an additional ride certification. An added bonus for me was going to be seeing a bit of Arkansas, which would have been my third new state. As it turns out, we were so exhausted when we pulled into the hotel in Texas that we abandoned that plan. Instead we spent Friday resting our sore muscles and taking it easy. Yes, we could have pushed for those last 400 miles, but we were so worn out from Thursday that we decided it wasn’t wise.
Sometimes the plan changes and that’s ok – every rider has to sort out for themselves how far they are capable of safely pushing on and when it’s time to stop. The #1 goal is always to arrive safely to ride another day!