BBG Fail and lessons learned 8/27/20


Premier Member
For reasons beyond this post, I retired July 1, 2020. My wife and I sold our house in western Washington, then ultimately moved into our 5th wheel RV. The only germane part of that is that I own a 2013 Honda Goldwing. We were going to traverse the country in retirement and having to unload/load it from the back of our 5th wheel is a pain (especially if there is any weather to deal with).

To alleviate some of the load/unload pain, I elected to ride my bike to my brother’s house in Las Cruces, NM and then fly back to the Seattle area to finish the house sale process, pick up my wife, and hit the road with just the RV (no bike).

My brother is also a rider, but certainly not an experienced long distance/endurance type rider. (In fact, I used his Kawasaki GPZ750 to get my initial motorcycle endorsement at 18 years old!) When he heard of my plan to ride from Seattle to Las Cruces ( 1,648 miles ) in under 24 hours, he wanted to join in the fun. After some discussion, we decided to meet in Ship Rock, NM ( 6 hours north of his house) then ride the final 6 hours together for me to finish my BBG near his house.

I’ve ridden several 1000 mile days, one certified by IBA, and an out and back 1,626 mile BBG from Seattle to Billings Montana and back in 23 hours (also certified by the IBA). I’m aware of the time, stamina, planning, and potential hazards involved with such an undertaking. I’ve read the IBAs “Archives of Wisdom” (their version of things NOT to do prior to a long ride), I’ve spent nearly 30 years working in emergency response and emergency planning. I should have known better than to do what I did. But I didn’t. Here is my story of how I paid the price for ignoring the archives of wisdom; followed by a tiny victory.

The moral(s) of this story are:

  • Don’t ignore those who came before you. Learn the lessons that their mistakes can teach you, don’t get cocky.
  • Read and follow the IBA archives of wisdom. Ignore them at your own risk.
  • Make sure you know your limitations; don’t be afraid to bail on a certification ride if something is wrong with your health or your bike.
  • Live to ride another day!
  • Use a map (or GPS, whatever, just don’t do what I did…3x5 card in a ziplock bag taped to the gas tank)
In 2019, I purchased a Go-Pro hero black 7 to take time lapse “video” of my first BBG ride. That go-pro battery died 17 minutes into the ride (who knew they would give me a 20 minute battery…but I digress) That battery failure caused me to locate a usb charging Go-Pro mount and cable that allowed the battery to be continuously charged and still be waterproof! I was stoked about that purchase and anxious to put it through its paces. I also purchased Pathfinder LED aux lights and mounts to give me a wider light path during my run through the desert southwest.

I also added an igloo gallon cooler for water, a long drinking hose and insulated sleeve with camelback mouthpiece to the rear seat so I could stay hydrated more easily.

I’ve always hated the air vent in the Goldwing windscreen, so I purchased a Long Ride Shield replacement windscreen (+4 inches high) which is also wider than the stock windscreen. It also has NO vent to catch all of the dead bugs. I have a Garmin Zumo GPS mounted on the handlebars as well as a Spot tracker so my wife and friends could follow my adventures. I mounted (and tested) the Spot tracker (and charged the Spot battery) and Go-Pro, all working perfectly! My highway pegs and sheepskin seat cover were already part of my load out, I was prepped to head out the morning of August 27.

Initial plan was to meet my brother in Ship Rock NM between 1900 and 2000 on 8/27. Backing up the timeline, I needed to leave for the run down by 0100. I knew this because I had planned everything out on a 3x5 card. Seriously. The last two times I used that method (Saddle Sore 1000 and a Bun Burner Gold) I missed the planned time by 5 minutes and 1 minute respectively. I was confident I could ‘three-peat’ the 3x5 card performance and timing. $300 GPS? Got it…didn’t use it. Didn’t upload the route to it. Dummy.

I was planning on going to sleep by 1600 on 8/26, up at midnight, shower and coffee then head to the local 7-11 for a known ‘good’ pump receipt to start my 24 hour clock. At about noon, I realized that I had failed to install the new windscreen on my bike. Well, I’ve still got 4 hours to go until bedtime, I’ll just install it; how long could it take? I’m reasonably handy, but not a wrench whiz by any means. I’ve got the manuals and youtube-easy as pie, right? at 1700 I finally got everything back together. Dummy.

Early dinner, hop in the shower, into bed I go, 0000 wakeup…can’t sleep. Of course I can’t. Why would I think I’d be able to? I’ve never been able to get a good nights sleep before an Iron Butt attempt. I think I fall asleep about 2100 or so. Dummy.

Three hours of sleep and I’m about to begin a nearly 1,700 mile ride. Good call, dummy!

I’m amped. I fill up my igloo with some ice and water, kiss my wife goodbye, hop on the bike, and I’m off to the 7-11. I arrive at 0049 on 8/27. Already ahead of schedule!! Awesome! To maximize my clock time, I start the track on my Spot tracker as well as hit start on my Go-Pro! I fill my tank, get my receipt, make the required notations on the receipt, take the required photo of the receipt and odometer, stow the paperwork and then look at the Go-Pro display…”Memory Card Error”. I’m prepared for this…quickly insert new memory card…”Memory Card Error”. Well, there goes the time lapse video…


I’m off onto Hwy 18 toward I-90 by 0051. First scheduled fuel stop is in Prosser, 191 miles away. ETA 0343hrs. No issues on Hwy 18, no problems over Snoqualmie pass on I-90, light traffic, no rain, great conditions. 0200(ish) tire pressure monitoring system warning light comes on…not flashing, but still lit up. I know I cannot continue without checking this out, fortunately, the exit to Cle Elum, WA is less than a mile away. I pull off the freeway to the (closed) fuel station, center stand the bike and grab my flashlight. I laid on the ground and rotated both the front and rear wheels looking for any sign of damage; I found none. Checked tire pressure, I run both front and rear at 40psi cold, they were both at 44. No clue why the light came on.

Since I was at a fuel station, I decided to fuel up (store was closed but the pumps were still turned on). First unplanned stop took me over 10 minutes. Cle Elem is a one horse town. I knew their graveyard officer would be running radar at the bottom of the hill leading into Cle Elum ‘proper’ so I rode the brakes down the hill to respect the 25mph speed limit. Sure enough, he was there, I gave a 5 finger wave and continued on. By the time I made it back to I-90, I had wasted 15 minutes. Once I was up to speed on the freeway, the light went out and never came back on.

Next stop, Prosser, WA: Arrived at 0345hrs, 3x5 card time said I would arrive at 0343hrs. 2 minutes late, not bad for a 15 minute unplanned stop in Cle Elum! I bought a sugar free Monster energy drink popped it open, into the cup holder and then hit the road toward LaGrande, Oregon. Prosser stop was a total of 8 minutes. Excellent!

Dateline LaGrande 0550hrs: Pumped in 4.66 gallons of the good stuff, hit the “of course I would like a receipt” button…”receipt fail” “check with clerk”. Ok…no biggie, my 5 minute fuel stop will be 7-whatever. I see the TWO clerks inside of the building, one is making coffee, the other is sweeping. The door is locked…no answer to my knock. I walk down the side of the building to the window right next to where the young man is prepping coffee. I knock, give him the “I need a receipt please” signal. He looks at his watch, looks back at me, holds up 6 fingers and shakes his head while saying closed until 6. Son of a…mother…(*&^! I take some photos of nearby freeway signs to ‘prove’ I was in LaGrande, then notice they don’t say LaGrande at all…they only indicate the route to Baker City. Well…I wait until exactly 0600, they turn the lights on inside and unlock the doors. In 5 seconds, I have my receipt and am jogging back to my bike to hit the road. I’m up to speed on the freeway by 0601. My trusty 3x5 card didn’t have me arriving that until 0623, so I was ‘ok’ with the wait but would rather be early than late to meet my brother.

Off to Mountain Home, ID (0757 mountain time arrival, according to the card)

I arrived at 0928hrs. What happened, you may ask? How did I manage to get an hour and a half behind my magical card’s schedule?? Well…During my pre-ride prep work before I went to bed, my wife made me an actual ‘lunch’ as well as packed some quick protein snacks that I could eat while riding or at a fuel pump. Naturally, I left them in the refrigerator at the house. That meant that I now had to find something to eat at o’dark thirty in eastern oregon and western Idaho when nearly everything was closed. I must have exited the freeway 5 times looking for food, wasted numerous miles and, apparently, an hour and a half looking at closed businesses. Awesome. Dummy.

Off to Snowville, UT (ETA 1249 according to the card)
Actual arrival 1324hrs. I was in a construction zone…25 mph…when the dust storm hit. The sand was amazing to see stick to everything but a huge pain to be in. Before I could get to the next off-ramp, the monsoon hit. This caused several problems…first, the wider (and newly installed/untested) windscreen dumped the rain directly onto my hands. Second, I couldn’t go fast enough to allow the rain/sand slurry to properly move off of the windscreen. It only went to the top then back down the “inside” of the windscreen, covering it with mud. Did I mention that it is also nearly too tall to look over? I was therefore largely unable to see what was in front of me because the new windscreen was coated in mud. To make things more exciting, the new screen is tinted brown…At least I was able to make up some time, getting to this little slice of heaven; still 35 minutes off schedule. I change my gloves and glasses, then call my brother to give him the ‘go’ signal, off to Provo…

Provo UT arrival 1526hrs. (card arrival ETA 1508) making up ground on the clock!

After fueling up, I ask the Shell fuel island worker which way to Moab (my next scheduled stop). He says-stay straight on I-15, you can’t miss it. Its about an hour and a half down…I thank him and motor-on.

About an hour later, I feel like I’m going the wrong way…If only I had put the route into my GPS or looked at a map (all of the turns from the freeway go toward major cities, surely I can just use the signs instead of putting this route into the GPS, After all, I have my 3x5 card!) At 1650, I stop in Scipio, UT to get my bearings, get fuel, and spool up the google-machine. Uh-oh…

I’m a LONG way out of the way from my route and there is ZERO chance I will make my rendezvous with my brother in Ship Rock, NM as planned. Fortunately, I am at the intersection with the road I need to take without backtracking to head toward Moab. I take US50 from Scipio toward Salina, UT then to Interstate 70 toward Moab. I call my brother and get voicemail…not a surprise, he is riding his bike! I figure I’m at least 3 hours behind where I should be.

Now…I guess I should have mentioned earlier that I have 4 herniated discs (C-4 through T-1). In order to ride I do many stretching exercises while I’m riding. This keeps me limber enough to tolerate the discomfort/pain in my neck while riding. Basically, I have the neck/shoulder version of sciatic nerve pain if you know what that is like. It was due to a work injury in 2010; it is what it is.

I-70 from (about) Salinas to Green River, Utah is the devil’s rear for me. It is a twisty and wide interstate which for most people isn’t an issue. But…since my head (when riding) stays upright and my body rotates under it, it is the equivalent of moving my head side-to-side for 100+ miles straight with a 2 pound weight on it (helmet). As a result, when I got to Green River at 1845, I was unable to move my head left or right even 5 degrees without excruciating pain.

I fueled up and called my brother. He had been waiting on my in Ship Rock for about a half hour. I was still about 5 hours away from him. I explained that I was physically unable to continue; we made plans to meet the following morning at 1000 in Cortez Colorado. I headed out at 0600 and met him there.

We had several more adventures on our trip from Cortez to Las Cruces, probably worthy of another post, but the long and short is that my 1600+ mile BBG ride turned into a (not yet certified) long saddle sore 1139 ride. Know your limits. If you’re done, stop. Live to ride another day! Don’t be a dummy like I was, don’t be cocky, read and adhere to the archives of wisdom. Don’t install equipment right before a ride that hasn’t been tested. I hope this is of some use to others.


Premier Member
I forgot to mention that my spot tracker battery was dead by the first unplanned fuel stop. It was fully charged the night before‍.
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Premier Member
Sounds like it was an SS1000 success to me. Congratulations!

If you are still interested in doing a BBG, consider doing it for the upcoming summer solstice. Not only would it be a BBG, but it would be a Solstice ride too so you'd have a good start for the Four Seasons ride if you want to go for that one.


Premier Member
We may be long lost brothers, at least in our ability to re-learn what we already "know". But 3x5 cards? why that's just silly.....;). I use painter's tape and a magic marker. Very high tech.
Congratulations on the SS 1000 and a most interesting read.


Premier Member
IBR Finisher
Good on you for sharing your ride. If you look at the IBA list of completed rides you will see some long SS1Ks there. Sometimes it's because the ride was part of a destination travel, but other times it's just a plan gone awry. I have a couple of long SS1K rides myself. One was a BBG rain fest and I just got wet and tired of riding in the rain and headed for the barn early. Another was during an endurance rally and I was having a really good run of bonus collecting.


Premier Member
Good on you for sharing your ride. If you look at the IBA list of completed rides you will see some long SS1Ks there. Sometimes it's because the ride was part of a destination travel, but other times it's just a plan gone awry. I have a couple of long SS1K rides myself. One was a BBG rain fest and I just got wet and tired of riding in the rain and headed for the barn early. Another was during an endurance rally and I was having a really good run of bonus collecting.
Fortunately when I woke up the next morning, my neck pain had resolved itself and, other than horrible roads, a lovely roadside admonishment, and some sunburn, the remainder of the ride was uneventful!
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