Bite the Weeenie RTE
Nov 23, 2019
Nov 23, 2019
I have never been to the west coast. That is my reasoning for wanting to go to Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood, California for the annual Bite the Weeenie RTE.
For several years in the early fall I look at the LD Riding calendar and notice Bite the Weeenie. And each year I have decided not to go due to many different factors: work, family commitments, weather, etc. This year, though, I decided that this is the year that I go. I made arrangements at work for time off and made arrangements with my wife for holiday family trips after I get back. The wild card will be the weather. Late November weather can be quite iffy.
Forward to late November, the week before Pink’s. I have made two different routes from home to Pink’s, a southern route and a northern route. According to Google Maps they are less than five miles different. The northern route takes me up to I-40 at Santa Rosa, NM, and the southern route takes me to I-10 at Las Cruces, NM.
The weather forecasts are looking more favorable along the southern route. Lows are to be in the low to mid 30s for the first few hours going across the mountains in New Mexico then up into the 70s later in the day in Arizona. Southward I will go.
My gear includes a First Gear Thermo One, a Highway 21 mesh jacket (worn under the T-One for armor), a Widder electric vest, generic lace-up boots, and GoreTex lined gauntlet gloves. LD Comfort underwear, t-shirt, and jeans make up the rest.
A bit of background: I have not ridden much this year so my LD mojo is weak. The only other LD trip I have done was a SS1000 to Iowa then back the next day in July. I will be hurting towards the end of this trip. Be warned.
I wake before my alarm goes off and decide to leave a little earlier than I had planned. Everything was packed the evening before so the bike is ready. My wife signs my Start Witness form then head out.
Getting the Start Receipt for this ride was problematic. The first receipt is off by three hours. Oops! I ride a few blocks to the other station that is open this time of day and add a few pennies of fuel. (The reason I had not used this station first is that historically their timestamp has been off by up to 30 minutes) A timestamp of 4:46am to true time of 4:51am has the receipt is off by only five minutes. Sweet! I send a Spot ping and reset the GPS timers, trip meters, and odometers. Time to go.
The roads for the first part of this trip are two-lane and dark. Very dark. West Texas and eastern New Mexico are quite barren. The upside is that no large wildlife presents itself and traffic is light. Temps are in the upper 30s so I am quite comfortable. I had not plugged in my Widder vest and would not today.
My first fuel stop is in Ruidoso, NM at 7:48am MST (214 miles) and the temps have dropped to about 30. I swear that they are even lower due to frost on parked cars, snow on house roofs, and ice patches on the road. The sun has come up, the roads expand to four lanes, and the mountains are beautiful in the morning sunshine. I stop a few times to snap pics of Hidalgo with mountain backdrops to post so my eleven year old son will enjoy them.
In Alamogordo I spy the ‘World’s Largest Pistachio Nut’ sculpture. This was a favorite bonus location from the LOE Rally so I take a pic of Hidalgo with the nut. It’s breakfast time and the Alamo Pancake & Steakhouse Grill in Alamogordo serves up a delicious omelet with hash browns and coffee this morning.
Continuing west towards Las Cruces is pleasant. I see an interesting mountain formation that looks like a ‘sleeping man’ and take a few pics of it. Hitting Interstate 10 I settle in for the long leg towards Pink’s. It’s 10:40am MST.
Fuel stop number two is at Lordsburg, NM at 12:13pm MST. (448 miles) Interestingly a Hidalgo County Sheriff patrol car pulls up as I am leaving. Thinking that, since my motorcycle is named Hidalgo, I could get a photo-op with his car. I ask the deputy if he would mind me taking the picture, explaining that it is my motorcycle’s name. (Thinking that it is better to ask permission instead of forgiveness in this case.) He agrees and I get the pic. (Sidebar: The deputy asked why Hidalgo? I explained that it is named after the horse in the movie of the same name. Both my bike and the horse are 1) not thoroughbred, 2) do long distance riding, and 3) always faithful, getting me home safely.)
Fuel stop number three is at Eloy, AZ at 3:25pm MST. (606 miles) Tucson is behind me but Phoenix is ahead. I had not thought about the amount of traffic in this Arizona city. Wow! This is a foretaste of traffic to come.
Fuel stop number four is in Blythe, CA, at 06:05pm PST, (868 miles) just past the California Inspection Station. This is my first time to visit California and I am excited to be here. I also get a snack and a cup of coffee here to hold me over for this last leg. Next stop, Los Angeles and Pink’s!
It gets dark early this time of year in California. Thank goodness for HID and LED lights.
There are no issues at all with the roads or traffic. There are a few slowdowns but no stoppages. I did consider lane-splitting but was not sure of the protocol so I did not attempt it.
The last fuel stop is in Hollywood just a couple of blocks from Pink’s. The End Receipt is at 9:47pm PST! I have covered 1,099 miles in just under nineteen hours. I had planned on arriving at 10pm and I pull into Pink’s parking lot at 10pm on the dot. Once there I find a couple of riders willing to sign my End of Ride Witness form. Thanks James and Brian.
Now, off the clock for a while, it is time to mingle. I wander around the small parking lot searching for some familiar faces amongst a sea of strangers. They are not strangers for long because no one stays a stranger at these events. I find and congratulate find Tim Masterson, who had just completed the inaugural 40-40 Insanity ride. (ride I40 end-to-end in 40 hours or less.) Great job Tim. Next I finally get to taste my first Pink’s Hot Dog, a simple chili dog with onions. It was good.
After a couple of hours, although things are still quite lively, I decide that it is time for me to seek lodging for the night. As I bid everyone farewell someone with a cellphone camera is recording the event and I make a quip to it about ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’. Little did I know that Josh Mountain was filming a video record of the event. Thanks Josh.
Turning eastward I pull into the Motel 6 in El Monte and stop for the night. 12:33am PST (1,120 miles) Thanks for the suggestion Jason. Tomorrow is another day to ride.
Day 2I had a good rest last night and am raring to go this morning. Leaving the motel just a little before 7am I find that the traffic this Sunday morning is very light so no slow downs at all. I’m also getting to see some of the landscape that was hidden in the dark last night. The mountains on either side are beautiful.
My fuel stops today will be identical to the ones coming out and I will attempt to use the same pumps if possible. Blythe, CA, comes at 9:43am PST. (1,331 miles) Again, I get a snack and some coffee.
When riding this kind of route I load up some audio books and podcasts to pass the time. Between Blythe, CA and Eloy, AZ I listen to Justin Long’s interview with Bob Higdon on Long Riders Radio. Thanks for the informative entertainment.
Eloy, AZ comes at 2:23pm MST. (1,543 miles in 34h23m) A BB1500 if I I choose to include it in the paperwork. It’s getting warm so I stash the top layers. (Thermo one and gauntlet gloves)
As I continue east the sun is setting and it gets quite cool before the Lordsburg fuel stop. Maybe I should have kept that layer on. Get fuel at 5:38pm MST (1,751 miles) The next leg will be taking me over the mountains of southern New Mexico in the dark so I put the top layers back on and plug in the Widder vest. It will be needed.
I try and find some good food in Alamogordo, like I was able to find yesterday morning, but at 8:30pm on a Sunday night I was content to eat at Taco Bell. (Insert snicker here. It was tasty and filling regardless.)
The riding to Ruidoso was, as expected, quite cool. Not as cool as yesterday morning but I was glad to have plugged in Widder. The receipt time was off by over 40 minutes though. Receipt time: 9:20pm. True time: 10:02pm MST (1,982 miles).
Fatigue is beginning to set in but I want to be safe. I’m not having micro-sleep but I find my focus is drifting from time to time. I take extra care to keep warm and comfortable. So far large critters have not made themselves known on the road and I am thankful.
Just after Tatum, NM and just before I turn northeast on my final leg I stop for a nap at a roadside picnic area for a few minutes. It does the trick and I feel much better. (I respond very well to power naps.)
It’s only 68 miles to the end of this quest. My rear hurts, my feet hurt, my feet are cold, and my shoulders hurt, but I am not going to quit!!
Turning northeast I am reminded of the strong tailwind that I was enjoying earlier. Remember that I am riding on two-lane roads in the eastern New Mexico and west Texas ‘dark’.
This last leg is broken up in to several segments of about 15 miles each making a nice countdown to completion.
Completion comes at 2:43am CST (2,200 miles) at the same pump that I used two days ago to begin this adventure. A take a few pics of Hidalgo to congratulate her on completing yet another IBA challenge. She done good.
Arriving home I kiss my wife, ask her to sign my End of Ride Witness form for the SS2000 then go to bed. Unloading Hidalgo will wait til tomorrow.
Looking back on this the weather was nearly perfect, Hidalgo performed perfectly, as always, and all my gear performed well. The GPS’s did a great job at routing too.
It’s been a challenging ride! Thanks for reading.
Bikerbill and Hidalgo
Josh Mountain’s video: