Friday, August 12, 2016

What is he thinking?

Who:  Mike Best - Father of four children and Husband to one very understanding wife.  

What: Ride a motorcycle to all 50 states in 10 days (240 hours)

How:  Rent a motorcycle and ride around Oahu to start the clock.  Ride about 80 miles.  Get on an airplane to Las Vegas and pick up my bike.  Then ride through the remaining 49 states, ending in Hyder, Alaska on September 3rd.

When: August 24 to September 3, 2016

Where:  Honolulu, Hawaii to Hyder, Alaska

Why:  When I was about 19 or 20, I read an article about the Iron Butt Rally in a magazine.  A few years later I read about the Iron Butt Association and long distance riding.  Having already done a saddle sore 1000 a few times and not even knowing it, a dream formed that I would someday again ride long distances regularly and some day ride in the Iron Butt Rally.  After a family, work commitments, business commitments and other endeavors, I bought a 2006 Honda Gold Wing two years ago, wondering if I had what it took to ride over the horizon again.  A saddle sore 1000 (1000 miles in 24 hours), a bun burner gold (1500 miles in 24 hours), and a Saddle Sore 2000 gold (2000 miles in 36 hours) were my tests in the last year to see if I could go further.  Then, last August I intentionally went to Las Vegas to spend a day riding in traffic in 115 degree heat for 8 hours to see what i was made of and to test different heat strategies.  After reading about the exploits of Mike Kneebone, Ron Ayres, John Ryan, and other famous distance riders, I developed a need to do something epic for myself.  Something that a few if any, have ever done.  I will not be the first at many things, although i enjoy following in the footsteps of others on great adventures.  But i just want one ride where I am the first to do it and document it.  So building on Ron Ayres 49 state ride, I asked “why not 50 in 10 days?”  I don’t expect to set or keep the speed record.  I just want to be the first.  

According to the IBA website, as of June 2016, 113 riders have documented riding to the 49 states in 10 days or less.  212 have documented riding the lower 48 states in 10 days or less.  I hope this is the launch of even bigger rides in the future.

Preparation:  I have been planning this trip for about a year.  In February, i wrote to the IBA asking if they would certify a new ride.  They said they would, and suggested the Hawaii ride be on a rental, so others could duplicate the ride.  I originally had planned routes around shipping the bike on fedex or ups.  Maybe someday I still will.  Guinness will not certify the ride as they quit certifying road timed rides in the late 90’s due to legal concerns.  (About the same time Ron Ayres did his 49 state ride.)

I started with a 2006 Honda Goldwing with about 35000 miles on it.  It has a Corbin heated seat, Honda GPS, Kuryakyn highway pegs, and Baker Air Wings.  I have since added handle bar risers, a Tour Tank Auxiliary tank with 4.8 more gallons of fuel, a tank mount over the passenger seat, an Edset Bluetooth, a Butler mug, water jug and hose, SoCal Led lights and Hi beams, new Progressive Suspension - front and rear, tapered roller bearings for the steering, a Laminar Lip, a cooler, usb ports, and a Ram mount for my iPhone and Go Pro camera.  Bike prep also included new tires, brakes, oil change, new battery and a checking of the systems and fluids by the Honda dealer.

For personal gear, I bought Danner Gortex boots, tour master heated pant liners, gloves and jacket liners, Klim Badlands jacket and Pants, Edset speakers for my HJC IS max 2 helmet, tour master summer and winter gloves, Aerostitch rain glove covers, tour master rain gators, and misc items.  A couple of changes of clothes, a pair of tennis shoes, and lots of sunscreen and visine.  I chose not to use a cooling vest, as I don’t want to stop to re-soak it and it won’t be as effective in the humid south east.  

I have a Go Pro 3, updated Honda GPS navigation, Stop n Go tire plug kit with compressor and CO2 bottles, first aid kit, tools, chargers, an iPhone 4s, iPod classic with 8000 songs, iPad and Mac Pro computer.  A GPS Spot tracker, Two pair of sunglasses, two pair of regular glasses, lots of ear plugs, and zip lock bags for subway sandwiches.  

Personal preparation included a little weight loss, no caffeine or stimulants for the last few months, back exercises, fatigue mitigation strategies, short nap practice, and riding skills practice.  Plus I bought a new Mustang GT for Lisa, to soften the blow of being gone 18 days in a row, and maybe again next year.  I had planned a couple of practice rides for the end of July and August, but family commitments and a bout of Shingles has prevented most of the riding.

I have a link to spotwalla and spot tracking on Lisa’s blog,  It will track where I am and where i have been during the ride.  Lisa will post Facebook entries with a snapshot of spot every day.  Sebastian will handle most of my hotel reservations which will be done on the road as I travel so i can take advantage of extra hours on the road or shortened days based on my fatigue levels.

This ride is scheduled to take 138 hours of riding, not including Hawaii.  Hawaii and the flight will consume 14 hours.  The leaves 8 eight hour nights in a hotel, and 48 twenty minute fuel, eat, and rest stops.  The unknowns are weather, traffic and construction.  I will use google maps online for traffic and myradar app for weather.  Eating and drinking will be on the road.  Dylan asked if I had a cup to do my business.  I said no, but there are some riders that use a tube.  I am not on that tight of a schedule, nor that inhibited.  

Lisa asked that when I do this, I show the kids that we can respect the law, so I am not using any kind of speed detection device or jammer.  My plan is speed limit plus 4, unless I have a good rabbit.  On my other rides, i usually was about 45-60 minutes faster than planned.  That would give me another 8 hours.  If i get slower, then time will have to come out of sleep and or stops.  20 minutes is over estimating, but it accounts for my stops being 150 minutes further apart than I have been riding.  With the last three rides, I had a two hundred mile range, now it’s up to 350 miles give or take.

Something Epic

Mike has always wanted to ride to Alaska on a motorcycle.  Mike has always wanted to ride to the Northeast on a motorcycle.  Mike has always wanted to do something epic.  So Mike has decided to ride a motorcycle to all 50 states... in 10 days (which as far as we know hasn't been done before).