BigLew55's 50CC planning -- with Ride Report added

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#1
Yup, yet another 50CC thread! :)

There are many others like it, but this one is mine...

So, I have set aside a week to pull off my run in early May. My summer schedule fills up pretty quick, and I've been looking for an opportunity to fit this in for a few years. As the kids get older and more self-sufficient, I hope to also plan my 48(9) in 10 and UCC.

My tentative plan is to leave Iowa and take a day and a half to get to JAX. It's less than 1200 miles, but that should leave me energetic enough to pull off a 1500 BBG for the first leg of the 50CC. I have both Junction and Van Horn as planned stops to make sure I don't have to scramble to change plans if the BBG doesn't work out.

I am not planning any "days off" after completion in San Diego, but I have a little flexibility in my schedule to allow for one if needed. I have two return routes planned, a route through Utah and Colorado and on East, and a south route if the weather looks inhospitable in the mountains.

My ride is a '15 FLHTK. I have added a z590 to the handlebars because I prefer a lot of the functionality of it over the Boom unit. I do not have an Aux tank, but the bike has a 6 gallon tank. Knowing this, I kept most of my planned stops below 170 Miles. I plan on borrowing my friend's redi-can which is a 1 gallon fuel container designed to fit in a saddlebag. I hope to not use it for anything but reassurance.

I am looking for any input that folks who have done this ride have for me. Like most of us, I'm not stranger to long days, but this will be pushing my envelope for stringing so many big days together. If you have done it on a similar bike, and would like to share your gpx files, that would be much appreciated, too.

I'll also try to share anything I learn in planning or executing this ride.

Also, I'll set up a spotwalla trip, but will only share it by request, and will also use some discretion with private requests. That's just how my head works; nothing personal.

Now, let's see if I can make it to Jacksonville before something else preempts my plan!!
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#2
Hi, Lew!

From my recent experience...especially about stringing big days together (mine was on a GL1800)

- Your sleep will suck. Mine did. Doing the Why to Whynot/SS2000 wasn't that big a deal. I was in Jax two nights, then made the dash west. You'll sleep like a baby in Van Horn; I did! :D

- Starting your ride in Jax Bch by 2am will get you to the ability of using the HOV lanes thru Houston. I took the loop road around San Antonio. It's a bit slow at times (I was there at evening rush hour...), but it was actually good for a bit to do some suburban riding. Consider taking the loop road around El Paso; road construction along I-10 makes the loop road a bit better from the time management perspective.

- If you have a smart phone...when you go 'on the clock', set a count-down timer as a reference point on time. When you wake up on day two of your 50CC and you see that you have 22-odd hours to make ~860 miles to the finish, you'll not have the concern I did when it came to time management.

- In San Diego, I had ridden ~4500 miles in five days. That, and the head-cold that began to kick my butt really kicked in on the day I wanted to goof off a bit there; I needed a day off. You may want to consider planning for one, if timing allows.

Good luck; still waiting for the certs to come in on each leg of my ride. The ride was mid-October, and I submitted a couple of weeks later, so I know I still have a few weeks of waiting.
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#3
Thanks Ken!

I'm guessing that my sleep situation will be similar to yours.

As for starting time, I think I'll probably be setting out closer to 5am from JAX. I'll go before that if I wake, but my patterns don't lend themselves to committing to much earlier starts.

Thanks for the tip on the timer. I will test how that survives re-boots, etc. (already started that).
 

JAORE

Premier Member
#4
Best of luck. I hope to try this in April. Had an aborted try last year (mechanical issue). I ride a 2016 FLTRU (Redi-can for the same reason). I'll be following this discussion closely for more tips. FWIW I left Jackson at 4 am, but had to bail on LA so never got to test my timing.

I like the countdown clock idea, thanks, Ken.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#5
As for starting time, I think I'll probably be setting out closer to 5am from JAX. I'll go before that if I wake, but my patterns don't lend themselves to committing to much earlier starts.

Thanks for the tip on the timer. I will test how that survives re-boots, etc. (already started that).
Quick clarification on this...based on my calculated average speed prior to my ride, the 0200 start in JAX was to arrive at the HOV lane window in HOU at the beginning of the afternoon window of opportunity. As my body was still on Mountain/Pacific time, I was in a negative situation, but was truly planning for that window in Houston. Early afternoon there weekday really wasn't bad at all.

From where I stayed in Jacksonville, I had a ~20 minute ride on empty freeways in the middle of the night to the starting location. Consider local traffic issues as you plan the actual 'get on the clock and go' time.

The countdown timer idea and a reboot? I dunno - my phone is wired onto the bike when on the road, and I was using Bubbler to create my Spotwalla track - it's on all the time. I *did* have issues with the phone GPS functionality, though. My phone has had a LOT of miles on the handlebar of my bike.

I didn't take a fuel can, and only did a couple of legs right close to 200 miles. Not only did I have my primary stops planned, I had also done enough research along the way to know where the alternative locations were (I called these 'short-pit' locations).

Have a great time with the planning - and a better time when you hit the road!
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#6
My longest fuel stop is just shy of 170 miles, so I should be fine with my 6 gallon tank. I'd have to get pretty bad MPG to have that be an issue. Out between Junction and Van Horn, I have 2 around 160. So, as long as I'm aware of headwinds and vehicle speed, I should be good. I always have my "distance to via" displayed on my GPS along with "range to empty" on my odometer. I have used those to adjust speed (affecting my MPG) to make sure I made it to my fuel stop without issue. I really want to add an aux tank, but it's not going to happen by spring...

In testing the timer on my phone yesterday, it did not persist through a reboot. I will still probably use it (or my set up an alarm?) to help keep track of it. I have had my phones spontaneously reboot on occasion, so it would have to be considered. I also use Bubbler (have for a few years, AWESOME app!!), but it can be set to restart if the phone reboots.

I'm planning on a hotel near the beach, so that should help with keeping my pre-clock awake time to a minimum. HOU traffic is a bit of a concern, so I think starting between 2:30a and 5a could be an issue with that. I haven't completely resolved that in my head yet.

I appreciate all the input. I know that there have been others who have done this ride, and had threads about them, but it's winter, and ride planning is about all I have to keep me from losing my few remaining marbles.
 

Paul Knight

Premier Member
#7
I will add this as a comment.

I saw some guy on the adventure forum write that he was up at 1:30 am but did not get his gas receipt till 2:49am. He wasted all that time getting a police signature and sand on the morning of his ride.

If you are collecting sand get it the day before. Also you can get the police station signature the night before as well.

DO NOT waste any waking hours on the morning of your ride doing anything but getting on the bike and getting your gas receipt and getting on the road.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#8
<...>DO NOT waste any waking hours on the morning of your ride doing anything but getting on the bike and getting your gas receipt and getting on the road.
I'll say "ditto" to this comment as well! Especially if you are even considering a BBG as part of the 50CC ride.
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#9
Thanks. In my reading over the years, this seems to be a constant source of confusion. My plan included the witness and beach on the day before, but some folks continue to think that it has to be immediately before the ride, or even on the clock. Thanks again for helping to clear this up, though.

Ken, getting back to your timer suggestion; I found an app called "Final Countdown" that allows for timers to be set up that countdown to a particular day/time. The timer/stopwatch function in my phone's built-in clock app would not persist after reboot, so I deemed it fairly unreliable. This app will continue to count towards the preset time even after reboot or battery pull. This seems to be a lot more robust for me, so I'm going to continue to test it.

I'm also giving serious thought to adding an aux tank....
 

Ira

Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
IBR Staff
#10
Thanks. In my reading over the years, this seems to be a constant source of confusion. My plan included the witness and beach on the day before, but some folks continue to think that it has to be immediately before the ride, or even on the clock. Thanks again for helping to clear this up, though.
If you have any questions regarding ride rules, please contact me. I provide much more reliable information than "some folks". :)

Ira Agins
Iron Butt Association
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#11
If you have any questions regarding ride rules, please contact me. I provide much more reliable information than "some folks". :)

Ira Agins
Iron Butt Association
Thanks, Ira. I know that "you da man". My comment was about "victims" of the misinformation that sneaks it's way into these forum discussions.
 

hsd10

Premier Member
#12
Lew to add my 2 cents, I would suggest taking off from JAX on a Sunday morning. I left around 3:30AM and didn't really have any traffic problems the whole trip. I stopped in Junction there's a close to highway motel. Also when you hit the mountains leading in to CA, take the time put on a warm jacket. After sweating my butt off in AZ and NM, my mesh jacket was not up to the cold night time temps. El Paso road work is a pain, do the loop, wish I had. Have a great time, it's a fun ride.
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#13
Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, I have an appointment in Iowa on Friday evening. While I could haul buns down to Jax on Saturday morning, and leave on Sunday, that doesn't seem like a good plan for this situation. I am struggling with launch time, and have to research Houston traffic a little more. It seems everyone mentions this specifically.

As for the jacket, I have a riding jacket and cooling vest for the heat, and quilted liner for the cool. I've used this jacket from 30* to 106* for the last 6 years. I just wish it had come in something besides black.

I just want to repeat how much I appreciate the insight you are all providing. It is very reassuring to have experienced eyes on my plan.
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#14
OK, now that I'm about 3 weeks out, it's time to start calling gas stations.

Here are my planned stops, so if any of you have had issues with any of these locations, I would love to hear about them now.

I tried to plan stops with more than one option. We'll see how it goes.

Spotwalla link.

This link won't update until after the trip. If anyone is interested in following this live, drop me a PM and I'll give you my other link.

I have ordered the specimen bottles for the beach samples, and also a small clipboard for the receipt pics with the odometer. I hope this all goes well. I really like the advantages of being a Premier member!
 

cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#15
Lew,
First I think you should do the ride on your Sporty :)

In west Texas there is little to give you a sense of speed since there were no large object near the road and little traffic, so using your cruise control will help maintain the speed you want.

As stated, there can be a significant temperature drop going through the mountains in CA at night so having a heated jacket liner on may be something to consider, or at least be sure you have your warm liner handy so you can pull over and put it on quickly.

The winds going through those same mountains can be pretty severe so be ready for them.

Be aware there are likely to be two immigration check points you will have to stop at and confirm you are a US citizen, one for me was in the mountains. I've forgotten where the other was.

And lastly, as you are approaching California and see a sea of red lights it is not a UFO rally, it is a whole mess of wind mills :)
 

BigLew55

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#16
Ha, Chris! Sporty?...No...Cruise Control...Yes... Almost all the time. I think I speak for many of us when I wonder "How in the hell does he do this on a Sportster?" I think I'd pick the panhead first...

You are an evil man! Based on one of our earlier conversations, I spent some time mapping a SS3K from Van Horn back to Iowa. I found a route, but I think I want to spend some time going through the Canyon area of Utah. It was simply incredible when I lead 3 other riders through it last year. Maybe a SS1K or something for the last leg, but that's about it.
 
#18
Guys,
Thanks for the great information!! I was planning on doing this ride this year, but financial concerns had to be met, so planning on a 2018 time frame.

Lew and Dale - best of luck on your trip. Hope you have good weather, no traffic or mechanical issues and a safe journey.
Be sure and let us know how things go and I'd appreciate any advice you might want to offer.

Mike
 
#20
Lew,

What is your official start date in Jax? (sorry if I missed going through the thread). I'm leaving San Diego May 17th for a 100CCC (SD-Jax-SD). Should be back in SD on the 20th. Plan to ride straight through to Jax; sleep 6-8 hours and ride straight back. Just finishing San Diego Sheriff's Search and Rescue Academy the week prior and looking to decompress; but don't have a big window of time.