My First IBA Ride, SS1000

#1
I got my first bike earlier this year, a Honda CB650F. It's a naked sport bike. It's the same thing as the CBR, but without the fairings. Not long after getting it, I found this thing called the Iron Butt Association. Turns out, it's pretty cool. Long distance, endurance based riding. Clearly, the people there will be doing this stuff on cruisers and touring bikes. There are probably Goldwings and Road Glides as far as the eye can see at an IBA meetup. There's probably not a bunch of sport bikes though. Of the few sport bikes there are, there's probably not many naked ones. I probably have one of the worst suited bikes possible for this kind of riding. I'm not going to let that stop me though. I decided to give it a shot. SS1000 seemed like the best ride to use to get my feet wet. I was in Sulphur, LA so started looking for places 1,000 miles away. I hate the ugly barren landscape of west Texas, so El Paso was out. It was cold up north so I didn't even look at places up there. That only leaves eastbound destinations. I'd never been to the Florida Keys, so I looked at them. 1200 miles to Key West. That's a little farther than I need, but a perfect destination. Fort Lauderdale is 1,038 miles from me. That's where I'll stop for the night, then I'll enjoy the 200 mile trip down into the keys for the weekend. I hit up Expedia and got a everything set up.

For a starting witness, I used my former neighbor. I just helped him move, so he'd be happy to help out. We were going to meet at the gas station in the morning, but he got called in to work that night. I remember reading another thread on the forum that said it was okay to get starting and ending witness sign offs the evening before you leave or morning after you arrive if you'll leave at a bad time. So that's what I did. I went over to his house the afternoon before his shift and we did the sign off then. Then I got up early the next morning, suited up, tossed my backpack on, and headed out for a weekend in the Keys!

After the initial fill up and turning on my tracking app, I jumped on I-10 heading for Baton Rouge. It was a cool morning so I had on an extra sweatshirt to keep warm. Just before Baton Rouge is the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. It’s about 20 miles long and over water most of the time. I’m glad I had the extra layer there because it was cold going over the water. My first fuel stop on the road was in Baton Rouge. It was nice and quick. Pulled in, filled up, and got back on the road.

From there, I headed to Pascagoula. Traffic got a bit congested going through Baton Rouge as expected, but it was otherwise an uneventful ride to Pascagoula. When I got there, I was a bit hungry so I stopped at a fuel station right next to a Waffle House. I got brunch, then fuel, and got back on I-10 for another 150 miles. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it that far. About 60 miles down the road, I was getting hot with that extra layer, breakfast was greasier than I thought, and I saw a Buc-EE’s at the next exit. Buc-EE’s has nice restrooms, so I stopped and took care of some much needed business. That was my first, and only unexpected stop in Robertsdale, Alabama. I should have topped off my tank while I was there, but somehow didn’t even think to do that until I was getting back on the interstate. Complete brain fart, but it wasn’t worth turning around just to get a little fuel.

I was back on I-10 and heading for Pensacola. Traffic was flowing pretty well, but I was soon running low on fuel again so stopped in Defuniak Springs for a fill up. This was another quick stop; just long enough to get fuel and get back on the road. Now traffic was really moving. The flow of traffic picked up about 5 mph. People are in a hurry over in Florida for some reason. I kept going roughly with the flow of traffic until Monticello where I stopped for fuel and a short break to stretch my legs and return text messages and missed calls. This was the 600 mile mark which I heard was where things start getting rough. Fortunately, I was feeling fine and still excited to finish the trip. I got back on the bike and headed over to Lake City where I got off I-10 and onto I-75. I stopped and got a fuel at the first station I saw after getting onto I-75. Now I had enough fuel to get me onto Florida’s Turnpike, so I headed there. Once I got on the turnpike, traffic really picked up speed. Almost everyone was well over 80 mph, most over 85. At 75, there was always someone right on my bumper and people flying past me in the left lane. To stay safe, I had to speed up and keep up with the flow of traffic. The first fuel station was a left exit. I wasn’t in a good position to get to it in time. I tried to move over, but there wasn’t a safe way to get across traffic in time to make the exit. I had Spotwalla tracking me, so I didn’t worry about missing that one. I continued on to the next turnpike service station. It ended up being farther than I’d hoped, but the Turkey Lake service plaza was at the perfect place to get food and fuel. I filled up, hit the restroom, grabbed a bite to eat, and stretched my legs for a few minutes. I was about 825 miles into the trip and starting to feel it. My butt was definitely getting sore, but I didn’t have too far left to go and was excited about a successful trip. After a nice break, I got back on the turnpike with 175 miles to go.

I don’t have enough fuel to make the full 175 miles even on a full tank, so I stopped at the Port Saint Lucie service station farther down the turnpike. It was only 120 miles to this station, but I was happy to get off the bike and walk around for a few minutes. I was definitely feeling sore. I looked at my GPS and saw that I had just under 100 miles to go. That made me feel better. I could see the end of the trip so hoped back on with a full tank of fuel and headed to the hotel. Once I got off the turnpike, I had about 5 exits/road changes within as many miles so there was no way to stop for fuel at each one. The hotel was just off the interstate and had a Shell gas station with a connected parking lot. It was the perfect place to stop.

I made it to the hotel parking lot and checked the GPS. 1,038 miles to get back where I started. I had plenty of miles and was only about 19 hours in so I still had 5 hours to get checked in, find a witness, and get a final fuel receipt. Check in was quick and there was a cop patrolling in the hotel parking lot. I talked to him and he was happy to sign off my ending verification. I had everything I needed except my final fuel receipt, so I headed to the Shell station and filled up. At that point, all I wanted was to take a hot shower and get some sleep so that’s exactly what I did.

I slept late the next morning and headed down to the keys for the weekend. That was an easy short ride and so much more scenic than the interstates. I spent all day Saturday at Dry Tortugas National Park. Beautiful turquoise water all around, coral beaches, 80 degree water perfect for swimming or snorkeling, and just enough cloud cover to not get sunburned… You can’t ask for a better way to spend the day. It made an absolutely wonderful end to the trip.

1,000 miles in a day is a long way on a bike like mine, but I’m glad for the experience. I can honestly say I’m a better rider because of it. I had a great time and look forward to doing more IBA rides in the future. The hard part is figuring out which one to do next.
 
#3
Congrats. I did my first IBA ride in September of 2018 and was hooked. One idea for future rides is combining the Tour of Honor with the IBA. I did two of them last year and will be doing more this year. The sites won't be released until April 1st, so its a few months away yet.
 

HACKLE

Well-Known Member
#4
CB 650F. Congratulations on completing your first IBA 1000 mile ride. You will now find yourself in the unfortunate position of wanting to do other IBA rides. Yes their addictive. Part of the enjoyment is the planning prior to the riding. Also you'll quite possibly find yourself looking at adding extras to your bike such as lighting or a windscreen for further protection. It doesn't matter what you choose, as long as you enjoy the riding. Cheers.
 
#6
Thanks everyone. I already have better lighting (Denali D4s) and a windscreen. They definitely help. I'm thinking about the BB1500 right now. Two 750 mile drives with a night's rest between will be easier than a single 1,000 mile day I think.