Iron Butt 4810 – Day 1
Only a handful of riders have tried and successfully completed the cross-country “48 States in 10 days” motorcycle run created by the Iron Butt Association of America. Once the clock starts, riders have 240 hours to gather receipts for gas, food, toll roads, and hotels to prove they physically entered each state. In addition riders must log their mileage and time at each stop. Each motorcyclist creates the itinerary, and the run has to be completed on time regardless of the challenges posed by weather, road conditions or wildlife. My husband of 25 years, RD, and I are riding two up on our 1998 BMW. We have either just lost our minds, as my Mother-in-Law, Nancy, says or we are in for the adventure of a lifetime. As for myself, I’m voting for the adventure. But it’s nice to know we have “insanity” to blame if we fail.
The alarm rang at 4 a.m. this morning and we were on the road by 5 a.m. To start the ride, you have to find 2 witnesses to sign forms validating the odometer reading, time and location of the start of our run. Our friends, Dick and Judy Segress, on Grand Lake put us up for the night and signed our forms starting the trip. The night before we enjoyed a fantastic steak dinner with Dick, Judy and Jim and Dianne Sellers, who own The Artichoke Restaurant. Thanks for helping us fight off the heeby jeebies before our adventure.
Right now I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi listening to RD snore while he waits for me to write. We have just finished the first 800 miles of our 8,500-mile course. Today we visited our first 6 states: Oklahoma (of course), Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and finished in Mississippi.
The only problem was our very first chore. We needed a receipt with time and date to officially begin our ride. The gas station receipt did not have a time printed on it, so we had to run across the street to an ATM machine. Thanks to the rider that gave RD that very helpful tip!
We covered 800 miles in about 16 hours of driving time. We were rained on twice in Louisiana and Mississippi. It was the best way to cut the heat. I’ve decided I like cloudy days. I also love riding in the rain.
We barely nicked the corners of Kansas and Missouri before picking up Hwy 65 in Arkansas and following it south to Hwy 20 going into Mississippi. We’ve picked the perfect time to travel because everything is still green, even though it’s the middle of June. However, it did occur to me that maybe Louisiana and Mississippi don’t have the “brown and dry” summer phase we get in Oklahoma.
A lot of things occurred to me today. One, I realized I have a major car snooping habit. When I was a little girl, we moved a lot. I used to sit in front of whatever house we were living in and watch cars go by. I would make up stories about the people in the cars and send them on all kinds of adventures. Today I reverted to my childhood habits.
I also enjoy waving. Waving is fun. No one is immune. I wave to anyone; kids in the back seat, bored husbands, truck drivers and even the highway patrol. And guess what? They wave back!
I saw a nuclear power plant in Arkansas today. All of a sudden up thru the trees came a sci-fi moment. The scenery in that state was awesome and deserving of a more leisurely ride than what we gave today. We will be back.
As far as first days go, I’m pretty proud of RD and the Mistress, my pet name for our BMW 1100 RT motorcycle. We chatted a little on our intercom system, and RD did not unplug me once.
See you on the road,