Throwback! 1990 Mercury Grand Marquis GS
Behold, the land yacht
For those of you who may not know the SaddleSore 1000 is a motorcycle endurance run hosted by the Iron Butt Association. This run consists of riding 1000 miles in 24 hours or less including concise documentation which is then reviewed before membership is awarded. Rules and other information can be found on their web site.
A nice vacation to visit family in Alabama was in the works and making a SaddleSore 1000 out of it was joked about. As the planning continued my Dad and I became more serious about riding 1000 miles in 24 hours. Since the trip down would be roughly 1300 miles or so the stage was already set. Are we crazy? Perhaps.
First step was to plan the route...
We planned to leave on Saturday June 15, 2002 and of course mother nature thought it would be quite funny if it were raining that day. I was not amused. I woke up that morning and as I looked at the puddles, the rain and the dark clouds I muttered to myself and turned on the weather. Any sane person might have postponed leaving or just gone in the car. I guess my Dad and I are not one of those people, we were determined. One last look out the window and I began getting ready for the ride to the meeting spot for breakfast a few miles down the road. What a great way to wake up....sitting on a wet seat. We all had a good breakfast and set out on the road.
The first few miles we didn’t much care about a little rain, we were too excited by now. Cruising on down the Massachusetts Turnpike behind the safety of our windshields. Okay, so we were getting pretty wet but the windshields made it a lot less painful when you’re doing 70mph. Things were going pleasantly uneventful even given the wet travel. Then came time for our first gas stop of the trip. By this time we were in Danbury, Connecticut and I was looking forward to stretching a bit. Ironically, Connecticut does not have a helmet law but we were too wet to even consider talking off our helmets. Well, the gas station was a bit busy and the pavement was not exactly as smooth and level as one would hope. Sure enough while maneuvering my bike to a pump that had just opened up she started to go down. Try as I might I was caught by surprise and unsuccessful at keeping the bike upright. Down she went, all 650+lbs. I won’t leave you in suspense, this was the only mishap during the entire trip. I was also very pleased that I didn’t even incur so much as a scratch.
We pressed on.....still raining. We rolled on through New York...still raining....crossed into Pennsylvania.....still raining. By this time it was becoming miserable and I wondered if I would ever see the sun again. My Dad too had a look of disgust on his face. Could mother nature really be so cruel?
Alas, our pleas were finally answered as we rolled into Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Finally a break in the clouds and a little bit of sunshine. We had a bite to eat and headed back out on the road. My outlook on the trip began to brighten somewhat as the sun began to warm my leathers and dry my boots. Passing through Maryland and West Virginia made it seem like we were really starting to get somewhere.
Then we hit Virginia......Travelling along I–81 through Virginia seemed like an eternity! At times I thought we would never get out of there.
Now I’m sure all this seems to be rather boring. No pictures (other than those in my head), no funny stories. But it’s important to remember, not only were we on vacation but my Dad and I were determined to make 1000 miles in 24 hours, this doesn’t leave much time for “sightseeing”. Rest stops took time as there were also two cars with us...a total of 7 people. We also kind of wanted to make the whole trip in one shot unless of course we decided we were too tired to go on and needed sleep.
We continued through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina......rest stops began to take a little longer. Admittedly we were getting tired but neither one of us was ready to quit. South Carolina doesn’t have a helmet law either but by this time (about 1am or so) the temps had gone down a bit and the helmets helped keep the chill off. We kept on rolling. Somewhere in Georgia along I–85 we were getting tired and stopped into a Waffle House for a rest stop and coffee. This stop probably lasted a half hour or so. We did finally decide to continue on as we were feeling more alert again but also agreed that either one of us would just take the lead and grab an exit if we felt we needed to stop, safety is of top priority.
In LaGrange, Georgia we had about 1,100 miles and were at the 24 hour mark! We did it! We found the nearest place to eat and had a relaxed breakfast, walked around in the parking lot, etc. We hit the rode again with a renewed strength.
Twenty eight hours after leaving from breakfast in Massachusetts we pulled up the driveway to my cousins house in Skipperville, Alabama. I was soooo happy to be there! Not only had we accomplished the Saddlesore 1000 but we even made the entire trip non-stop!
The paperwork has been filled out, sent in and verified. We are now members of the Iron Butt Association.