«Ride Dates: 17-20 October, 2004 Rider: I. Ray West Bike: 1999 BMW K1200LTC Introduction Background The Decision to Go Preparing for the trip The Pack ...»
Trip Report: CCC-100
Ride Dates: 17-20 October, 2004
Rider: I. Ray West
Bike: 1999 BMW K1200LTC
The Decision to Go
Preparing for the trip
The Pack List
CCC-100 Trip Specific Items
Things to Check
The day I left home
Getting to Jacksonville
The CCC-100 Ride
Starting Out Day One
The Speed Award
Day One on the Road
Combating Boredom on the road
Run to the coast
The Finish Line
The Morning After
Introduction This is a factual catalog of my experiences and a journal of my thoughts and feelings. I am not a writer and do not propose to be one but sometimes feel I must write down the things I experience. This log is intended to provide my wife, Patty, with my perspective on the trip and something that I can pass along to my children and grand children someday. Writing things down is like cheap therapy for me. It helps me to cement the experience in my memory and see things that I would not otherwise see. Experiences like this one means a lot to me and I want to share it with others. I think the things that mean the most to people are the things that they experienced while suffering personal hardship or sacrificing the creature comforts of life. Only in this way do you really appreciate what you have and the things you take for granted. The people that can have anything don’t appreciate anything or anyone, including the people that love them.
Background What is a CCC-100, or CC Gold as it is sometimes referred to, you might ask? It’s the brainchild of the IBA (Iron Butt Association) and is considered one of their “Extreme” rides. To be a member of the IBA you must do at least a SaddleSore ride which is a documented ride of 1,000 miles or more within a 24 hour period. There are rides between the SaddleSore and the CCC-100. The highest level non-extreme ride is the CCwhich is coast to coast within 50 hours. The CCC-100 is back-to-back CC-50’s done within 100 hours.
The rules state that you must run from one coast to another coast and back to your starting point within 100 hours. Most riders go from Jacksonville to San Diego and back which is a slightly shorter run than New York to Los Angeles. The coast must be the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico don’t count. I of course chose the Jacksonville to San Diego route. Living in Southern Indiana puts me a little less than 800 miles from Jacksonville which minimizes the time it would takes to get to the starting point and return trip home afterwards.
Another requirement is to get a witness at the start of the run, turn around point and end.
The witness must be a police officer, judge or IBA member. If you can’t get one of these, you can get half a dozen ordinary citizens to sign your form to verify you were at that location but they must supply phone numbers and agree to verify both in writing and by phone. Your time for the run starts when you fill up with gas at the starting point and goes until you return to that point. All fuel and other stops for over 10 minutes must be logged on a log sheet they have on their web site. Copies of fuel receipts must be attached to a written log with mileages and reasons for the stops listed. I have attached a copy of my paperwork to give you an idea of what must be done.
I didn’t start out to do the CCC-100 but had decided to do the CC-50 (Jacksonville to San Diego only in less than 50 hours) back in the spring of the same year. The plan was to do the run with a co-worker and then wonder the back roads from San Diego back to Evansville. I made the plans and told everyone I was going and just before the trip, the other guy backed out. I was busy with work at the time which provided me with a good excuse not to go alone. For the remainder of the summer I pondered the idea of making the trip alone while in the meantime, two of my friends, did the CC-50 run without me.
Not that I am a competitive person but from my standpoint they set the bar at the CC-50 and I had to do something more and I had to do it alone. I decided not to tell anyone what I was doing until I got back. I think I jinxed the original attempt by telling people about it and counting on someone else as a crutch.
The Decision to Go I reviewed the IBA website and read the trip logs from other riders and the requirements for the run. The CCC-100 was considered an “Extreme” run and the CC-50 was not.
That settled it. I had to do an extreme ride and one-better the others. The bar was about to be raised and I had to do it on my one. I discussed the run briefly with my wife, Patty, and she was supportive, as always. I decided that the fall would be a good time to go since temperatures on the southern route would be moderate in the fall and the chance of rain would be less. I went through Oklahoma on my Route 66 trip in September with the temperature at 106 on a Softtail and didn’t want to repeat that experience. Mid October sounded a lot better so I arranged for a weeks vacation and started preparing.
As the trip dates approached, I posted a note on the BMW site requesting advice and routing on the trip. I calculated the trip would total at close to 7,000 miles by the time I made it home again. This was definitely not your normal 300 mile a day trip with my wife and friends and a challenge that would be remembered for a long time. A lot of advice came in about the problems with small deer in West Texas and the bridge on I-10 being out in Pensacola and the problems with San Antonio traffic. Some said to try to make Van Horn Texas the first night (some 1,500 miles from Jacksonville). In my usual style, I picked out some of the advice to take and discarded the rest. If you take everyone’s advice, you would probably never go on the trip or you would need a semi to haul all the gear with ¼” steel armor all around to protect yourself.
Preparing for the trip I used mapping software to plot the course and looked at various points on each coast to start the trip. I wound up taking the advise of IBA members and started at a Shell station in Jacksonville Beach. This is an old section of Jacksonville that is being overrun with condo’s (more on that later). For the San Diego end, most suggested running to the end of I-8 which drops you off a few blocks from the beach and believe it or not, there is another Shell station. The president of the IBA directed me to a guy named John “PirateJohn” Gilmer in Jacksonville that witnessed CC-50 and CCC-100 trips for other members but was an outcast of the internet group which I had asked advise from. It seems he had let’s say a differing of opinion with some on the group and dropped out.
I e-mailed John and sure enough, he was more than happy to help. He gave me the address of the Shell station, recommended a hotel and said when I got into town to drop by his house and he would show me around. You can’t beat that. I’ll tell you more about PirateJohn later. I had an IBA member in San Diego, David Shealey, and offer to witness me at that end of the trip. David also supplied phone numbers, locations and recommended hotels and agreed to meet me for the official witness signature I gave the bike a good once-over paying particular attention to the rear end. The shaft drive in these particular models have about a 4% failure rate and the group on the internet have talked about it so much that I expect it to fall out at any moment. I changed the oil using synthetic BMW oil, as usual, and figured this should hold up for the 7,000 mile trip. I know some of my fellow BMW riders will debate this but my humble opinion is that you can run 10,000 between changes on synthetic.
The Pack List I am one of those people that need a list so I don’t forget stuff, like my head. I have a standard trip list that I use for motorcycle trips so I started getting things together a week or so in advance. The K1200LTC has a lot of trunk space but I wanted to travel as light as possible to conserve gas and time spent finding things. If you saw the array of electronic gadgets on my dash and handlebars, you’d laugh at my idea of traveling light but from a clothes standpoint, I think I did. I don’t think keeping a list is a matter of getting older and forgetting as much as it is a matter of something critical being easy to overlook. Einstein didn’t memorize his phone number because it could be looked up.
Why worry over a trip and what to take when a list will take the worry out of it. The
following is my list for this trip which I would cut down some for the future:
Clothing 10 pairs of Tube Socks (Patty laughs at this but since my Marine Corps days, I have believed clean, dry socks are the most important thing you can take.) 2 pairs of Wool Socks (just in case my feet got cold) 4 pairs of boxers (Tighty-Whities cut into your skin at the seams next to the seat) 1 pair of riding shorts (these are thin, tight fitting boxers, light weight and won’t ride up) 1 set of long underwear (these are the same material as the riding shorts) 2 pairs of blue jeans (the Harley jeans are a very comfortable fit. I had some old ones with holes in them which were the most comfortable. I think they are actually Wrangler brand which accommodates my wide butt better than Levis) 1 Short Sleeve Tee Shirt 2 Long Sleeve Tee Shirts (Since the Route 66 ride, I get sun poisoning on my arms and have to keep them covered up) 1 Hat (covers the helmet hair) 1 Pair Chaps 1 Pair Riding Boots (waterproof) 1 Pair lightweight riding gloves 1 Summer Cool Padded Jacket (the kind with holes in it for ventilation) 1 Rain Suite 1 Turtleneck Shirt 1 Pullover Sweater 1 Pair Tennis Shoes (I should have left these items home as I had no time to exercise or change shores) 1 Pair Running Shorts 1 Pair Tighty-Whities for Running 1 Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Dental Floss, Deodorant, Q-Tips, Nail Clippers, Tweezers, Comb Do-rag (just in case my helmet itched my head) Bandanna RKA Bags for Saddlebags (easier to take out and carry in the hotel) Gym Bag for Topcase Heated Vest & Cord (an absolute must) Belt Electronics Cell phone Cell phone charger GPS Radar Detector Sirius Radio Spare Cell Phone with Charger Laptop Computer (just in case I had time to check my e-mail, which I didn’t) Shower Caps (to cover electronics up in the rain) Camera (never used it) Bike Stuff BMW Toolkit Pocket Knife Flat Repair Kit Roll of Electrical Tape Flashlight BMW Tank Bag BMW manuals that came with the bike Spare shifter linkage kit (these sometimes break on this particular bike) Night Glasses with case Sun Glasses with case Full-face Schueberth Helmet Rags (for cleaning stuff) Sun Screen Bundle of Wire Ties CCC-100 Trip Specific Items 3 Bottles (for sand and water at the beaches, each pre-marked for JAX-1, SD, JAX-3) 5 Witness forms (only need 3 but took some extras) 5 Log forms List of addresses, phone numbers of witnesses and hotels, stop locations, and other supporting information.
3 Pencils (for filling out forms on the road, 2 spares in case lead broke) 1 Cigar, cutter and lighter for the end of the trip (never used) 1 Set motivational tapes (in case boredom sets in and I need to keep awake) 1 Camelbak hydration unit (like a backpack with a drinking tube) Food 2 Packages of Beef Jerky 1 Package of Lemon Drops (works well to keep you alert on long rides) 1 Bottle Water (kept as spare) Things to Check Tire Pressure Rear End Grease Engine Oil Communications System (more on this addition later) Battery Water Yes, I still think this is traveling light. I left my razor out to lighten the load, or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I started preparations about a week before the trip by changing the oil and checking things out pretty good. I make it a point not to change anything major just before a trip but about a month prior a friend and I built me a new seat for the BMW. The stock seat was far too soft for a long trip and my Corbin seat was far too hard. Sounds like a fairy tail, right? Anyway, I had secured some foam of various densities about a year ago and finally decided to give it a try. We took the cover off the stock seat, removed the old foam and built up new foam in layers. We started with very firm foam and worked our way to the softer stuff as each layer went on. We used 3M spray adhesive to glue each layer together and an electric knife to sculpt the foam to fit the old cover. I made a cardboard pattern of the contour of the old seat before removing the cover so we would have the right shape when finished. I was looking for the “just right” combination of firm support but soft enough to mold to my butt. More on how this worked out later. I also added a sheep skin cover someone gave me and I thought it might be better than sitting on the vinyl seat.
I packed my stuff during the week before and tried to check everything I could off the list except food and clothes. This worked well but I ran out of time in the evenings after work and failed to check out my communications system. It had worked well last time I used it but I had not plugged my cell phone into it for some time. As you will find out later, this was a big mistake. Note to self: Double check all communications gear well before the trip so you will have time for repairs. I have probably spent more time on communications gear than everything else combined. I raised the seat to do something, I forget what, and decided to check the electrolyte in the battery. Good thing I did because it was at the top of the plates. I would have probably lost the battery on the trip if I had not done this. I filled the battery with distilled water and added this to my list of things to check prior to a trip, along with checking communications gear.
The day I left home I took off from work early that Friday, October 15th, and used my list to check things off as they were packed. I packed most of my clothing that afternoon, which is my usual packing method. Printing up a standard list really helps me remember things and keeps me from worrying about what I am forgetting. I add to and take away from the list each time I return from a trip to keep it fresh and keep from taking unnecessary stuff. On a bike, too much stuff just gets in the way and hauling it in and out of motel rooms at night is no fun.