“The mountain is the mountain, and we are the people who go there.”

—Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner

You know, I’ve thought long and hard, over many hours – 24 of them, in fact – and the quote above sums up the most rational reason for doing an Iron Butt Association SaddleSore 1000 ride. For those who like things distilled down to their most concentrated form, the only real reason is, as George Mallory famously said, is “Because it’s there.”

Otherwise, undertaking a SaddleSore 1000 is irrational, foolish, and without real merit – all of which makes it absolutely essential for a MOron, like myself.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

With riders as competent as these, the SaddleSore 1000 should be a piece of cake.

Ever since I heard about Iron Butt rides, way back in my motorcyclist infancy, the idea of completing one has appealed to me on a basic level. Considering that it took me this long to actually do one is kind of shocking. After all, I’ve competed in three 24-hour races and volunteered for a fourth. I’ve ridden cross-country multiple times – sometimes with an arrival deadline which forced me to log long days in the saddle and other times with no schedule at all, allowing me to follow my impulses. I’ve ridden to the Arctic Ocean and back from Los Angeles, including the more than 800 miles of gravel roads – on a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra. I’ve impulsively split off from a guided ride at the original Yamaha FZ1 introduction because the Rock of Gibraltar was there in the distance – and I needed to be there, too.

Without exception, every single great motorcycle adventure I’ve had was the result of an irrational impulse. Some were acted on immediately without thought. The rest fermented below the surface until they bubbled up through any levels of resistance I had. So, when boss-man Kevin Duke asked for ideas on how we should compare our two Harley-Davidson touring bikes to see how a fork-mounted fairing or a frame-mounted unit affect virtually identical motorcycles, I piped up with my idea about doing a SaddleSore 1000. Much to my surprise, Tom “Electric” Roderick said it was on his bucket list, too. Even more to my surprise, E-i-C Duke thought the ride was a good idea.

So, an adventure was born.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Every big ride needs a mascot. We thought the Dumbo with his magic feather was appropriate on several levels.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

While I suppose you could just hop on your bike and ride out I-40 for 500 miles, then turn around and ride back, that doesn’t sound like much fun. If you’re taking the SaddleSore 1000 seriously (and you should), you’ll need to plan a little. First, if you want official proof of having completed a SaddleSore 1000, you’ll need to document your trip for certification by the Iron Butt Association. Who is the Iron Butt Association? Aside from being “60,000+ members… dedicated to safe, long-distance motorcycle riding,” as stated on the organization’s website, the IBA holds the keys to the kingdom. If your ride is not certified by them, you don’t become a member of the Iron Butt Association, making all those hours in the saddle nothing more than a good fish story. So, you’ll want to look up the rules for a SaddleSore.

The rules are simple but fairly strictly enforced and can be broken down into four steps. First, you need to plan a route. Remember, if you’re riding anywhere other than on an interstate, you need to make sure that you will be able to find open gas stations in the middle of the night. It would be a tremendous bummer to have an attempt thwarted by being stranded in East Nowhere, waiting the three hours remaining until the station opens. Planning the route also allows you to consider things like weather during your ride. Our initial route would’ve put us above 8,000 feet in the mountains, at night, in early February – just a couple days after snow had fallen. Not too smart. However, being able to look at the route in detail allowed us to shift the whole thing slightly southward and largely (but not completely) avoid the high altitude riding.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

The planned route should have enough extra miles to account for speedometer error when tallying the 1,000 mile goal.

Second, with the safe route planned out, you need someone to sign a witness form at the beginning and the end of your ride. The forms don’t need to be signed by the same witness just someone responsible enough to reply to inquiries from IBA should they audit your application. These witnesses can be anyone – even strangers.

Third, log every gas stop and save the receipt. The IBA has great forms that you can print out on its website. I kept both mine and Tom’s in a three-ring binder on my bike. Our receipts were kept in separate envelopes. Although we were swapping bikes at just about every gas stop (remember, we were comparing the two Harleys). I paid for all of the Electra Glide Ultra Classic’s fuel while Tom paid for the Road Glide Ultra’s. (Imagine the nightmare of sorting out the receipts if we hadn’t been meticulous.)

The SaddleSore 1000 starts with the timestamp of your first gas receipt. So, you’ll want to make sure it has both a printed address and the correct time. For each subsequent stop, make sure the receipt has the address and time. When one station didn’t print the address on the receipt, we simply grabbed a business card that had the station name and address on it as proof.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Every gas stop began the same way: We recorded the odometer readings, the date, the time (including time zone!), and the town name to aid the volunteers in certifying our SaddleSore 1000.

Although it sounds simple, remembering to track the mileage and receipts on the ride gets difficult in the middle of the night. We tried to establish a routine of recording the mileage before pumping the gas as a means of making sure that we had all the information we needed to record. How seriously does IBA take this tracking? If you’re riding a loop that has the potential for cutting corners and reducing the actual miles ridden, stopping for gas/receipt at the corners of the route is recommended to prove you covered the whole distance.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

This is what you’re riding those long hours for, and without careful verification of your ride, it wouldn’t be worth the paper it was printed on.

Once the trip is completed, you’ll need to finish filling out all the forms, copy the receipts, and send all the documentation to the Iron Butt Association. Then the waiting begins, and during the busy summer season, the wait could be a couple months. The IBA has a great explanation of why the process takes time, and it’s worth giving it a read:

We realize this is a long time to wait for your certification. However, our certification process is very thorough. In fact, the entire certification process is what gives your certificate value. It would be very easy for the Iron Butt Association to simply take money and print up a generic “you rode a 1,000 mile day” certificate, however, the value of the entire certification program is in the fact that not just anyone can get an Iron Butt Association ride certification. The downside is this process takes time… We can only offer that when you receive your certification you know that not only you earned it, and so did any other rider that you meet with the same certification.

Remember, you’re depending on the hard work of volunteers, so don’t get grumpy. When your trip is verified, you’ll receive a package with a certificate, an Iron Butt Association pin and a plastic license plate emblazoned with “Iron Butt Association – World’s Toughest Riders.”

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Preparation Is More Than Just Paperwork

Okay, so you’ve planned a safe route, and you’re prepared to handle the paperwork. Now, it’s time to ride, right? Not so quick, Sparky. Let’s consider some creature comforts. I can tell you with the voice of experience, that not considering the weather and your time of travel can lead you to the considerable discomfort of arriving in Las Vegas during peak evening traffic in 116° weather while wearing a black Aerostich suit.

So, take a gander at your route and the time of day you’ll be riding through desert or mountain passes. Tom and I did, and our route determined how we approached our gear. Since we considered the potential low temperatures we could encounter in the wee hours of the February night, I selected a Spidi 4Season H2Out Suit while Tom selected a Firstgear Thermosuit along with a selection of electrified gear from fingers to toes.

In the interest of shortening our stops, we both packed various forms of sustenance that could be eaten while standing next to the bike at the gas pump. Tom’s rations included a half dozen nature bars and two thermos full of Unleashed Muscle Uprising (for energy). True to form, I packed: two foot-long Subway sandwiches for us to share, a few bottles of water, a bunch of progressively sad looking bananas, granola bars, and a 4-pack of Starbucks double shots (in case of emergency). After watching the two of us on this ride and other touring rides, these two lists pretty much reflect the way both of us travel.

Regardless of which school of touring you subscribe to, we were planned, organized and prepared for a variety of potential outcomes.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Our ride began inauspiciously with us lane splitting in the rain.

Once More Unto The Breach

With a ton of excitement (and a tad of trepidation), Tom and I began our ride in true MO fashion – stuck in detour traffic trying to get to the freeway. Once we cleared the construction and got on the freeway, the rain began to fall, and the SoCal traffic stacked up. Nonplussed, we stayed dry as we split lanes towards the eastern horizon.

Tom’s Notes: The right bike is important. This much seat time in 24 hours will exacerbate every comfort shortcoming of your current motorcycle. We had the convenience of choosing two very comfortable Harley-Davidsons for our trip that are tailor-made for the combination of freeways and two-laners comprising our route. A Honda Gold Wing would be equally nice, as would a lot of adventure-bikes or sport-touring models. Amenities such as vents and power outlets are your friends.

Eventually, the weather and traffic cleared, and we began to rack up the miles. About 20 miles before our first gas stop, however, potential disaster struck. Although the temperature was a balmy mid-50s, Tom had his electric gear plugged in, even though he wasn’t using it. For a moment, I saw the main power cord dangle from Tom’s bike before it leapt to freedom. Despite our best efforts, the cord was never to be found.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

We finally left the rain, civilization, and traffic behind.

As luck would have it, a Radio Shack (remember those?) was just a few miles from our first gas stop. So, with the help of an X-acto knife borrowed from the cashier, Tom was able to cobble together a new power cord, thus assuring he didn’t turn into a popsicle after dark. Still, after this combination of delays, we found ourselves about an hour behind our planned schedule.

Watching the day progress through dusk and into darkness from the seat of a motorcycle charging across the desert – mostly without other traffic – is an experience not to be missed. Shortly after dark, we came to the Algodones Dunes that make up the famed Glamis off-road riding area. The big bikes muscled their way through the prevailing westerly winds which were strong enough to blow sand across the road in our headlights and occasionally push us off line. Like a marathoner just hitting their stride around mile six of 26.2, we settled into a comfortable groove through the rolling desert countryside.

All too soon, we encountered our next delay. A seemingly endless train of tractor-trailers carrying oversized loads stretched out before us. The heavy loads caused them to slow down to as low as 35 mph on uphills. Downhills saw them reach a blazing 50 mph. Communicators helped us leapfrog the rigs relatively safely, with the lead rider calling out clear road to the trailing one. Eventually, we found open highway and assailed the night with our combined high beams.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Being able to talk to each other on our Sena 20S communicators throughout the ride made the time pass much quicker. Additionally, having Siri whisper directions in my ear made sure we didn’t stray off of our intended path.

Tom’s Notes: Evans and I had communicators which kept us in close contact with one another as well as the outside world. My wife checked in occasionally to make sure I was safe, and I talked to my brother – who was fireside in his backyard in Ohio drinking a beer – about our upcoming shared vacation. All this chatter helps break up the monotony and pass the time during stretches of long, straight blackness. I now know what band Evans would take to a desert island, and having him along as a wingman not only helped pass the time, but acted as another layer of comfort knowing someone was there to help if things went south.

Getting Into A Groove

With the nine-day-old moon waxing gibbous above us, we cruised north on Highway 78 up to Interstate 10. In the darkness of Highway 95, we had no way of knowing that we were occasionally riding a stone’s throw away from the Colorado river, though the ramrod-straight section just north of Blythe, CA featured all of the smells of the agriculture that the Colorado’s water allowed to flourish in the desert. Before long, the road began to dance its way along the edge of the Chemehuevi Mountains on our way into Needles, CA for our second gas stop.

While we were pumping gas and eating the first of our Subway sandwiches, the cashier closed the station and came outside to wait for her ride home. When she found out we were traveling north on 95, she told us that we were lucky because 95 to the south (which we had just ridden) was “like a roller coaster,” and we wouldn’t want to do it after dark. We just smiled, knowingly.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Our time during the SaddleSore 1000 was spent either sitting in the saddle or fueling our bikes every three hours or so.

The road north alternated between two- and four-lane rural highway. With relatively low traffic, we made good time. Soon, the moon’s light had to compete with the glow of Las Vegas reflecting off of the increasing cloud cover ahead of us.

Halfway Home

We dove into Henderson, NV, skirting Las Vegas on I-515 to I-215 to I-15. Eventually, we found ourselves in an endless series of stoplights on NV 160 west back out of civilization. At each red light, I felt the weight of our average speed lowering. Since we tended to lollygag at gas stops, keeping our feet on the floorboards between them was important. Although the 500th mile was about 20 miles west of town, Las Vegas marked the emotional midpoint of the SaddleSore 1000.

We plowed through Pahrump, NV around 11:00 only stopping when fuel lights demanded. Soon, but not soon enough, we left the lights of civilization behind and headed back out into the desert. From here until Beaty, NV (where we previously overnighted on our Baggers Brawl) we traversed the wide-open spaces on the northeastern side of the Amargosa Range that defines one side of Death Valley. Unincorporated towns, like Amargosa Valley, NV cropped up along the way and whisked by in the blink of an eye. The land outside of our headlights became flat and featureless as we gradually lost the moon to cloud cover. Traffic was sparse and getting sparser as the hours wore on. Remarkably, Tom and I weren’t yet experiencing any signs of fatigue.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

For long stretches, the only lights we saw were our instruments, the headlights and tail lights, plus, occasionally, the moon.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

The temperatures were more than a little chilly, and look at those wind gust speeds!

Since we both expected to be feeling the effects of 12 hours in the saddle, we were surprised at our freshness. During the night, I developed a theory about this. Riding at night, on two-lane highways, requires such a level of mental focus that we never had time to get tired. The luxury of having a partner in crime to talk to throughout the ride was also a boon. I didn’t realize how much of a role rambling on about a never-ending list of topics was helping to pass the time until Tom’s communicator ran out of juice an hour outside of Tonopah, NV.

During that period of forced silence, the wind picked up, the road climbed in altitude, and the temperature dropped. Once we got above 6,000 feet, my medium-weight Racer Stratos Goretex II Gloves were no longer enough to keep my digits warm – even with my Aerostich Kanetsu AIRVANTAGE Electric Vest inflated and turned up almost all the way. According to a local thermometer, the temperature was 35° at our third fuel stop. We decided to have a snack and some coffee inside the convenience store to warm up before hitting the road.

Flashing Lights

Only a half-mile after we pulled out of the gas station, we saw the headlights flip on in the almost empty parking lot on our right. Red and blue lights followed shortly thereafter. With no one else on the road at 3:00 a.m., it was pretty obvious who the trooper wanted to talk to. We immediately pulled over. Our crime? Traveling at 47 mph in a 25-mph zone. I was so busy adjusting my gear to stop a pesky draft around one sleeve that I hadn’t paid any attention to our speed.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

What started out as an “I can’t freakin’ believe this!” ended up being a nice conversation on the side of the road at 3 a.m. with a couple of officers, who, as motorcyclists, were concerned about our safety over the mountain passes into Bishop, CA and Owens Valley.

After the usual song-and-dance about why we didn’t actually own the motorcycles we were riding, we ended up having a quite pleasant conversation with the officer – and his supervisor, who showed up a few minutes later. After some pretty pointed questioning about our route and repeated statements that, yes, we were planning on taking US 6 over Montgomery Pass to Bishop, CA and not going further north to higher altitude passes, the officers sent us on our way with a warning and good wishes. Once we had the speeding issue resolved, their primary concern was that we’d be taking a route that wouldn’t have us encounter ice. Nice guys. Of course, both of them were motorcyclists.

Open Range

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

This sign is a reminder to expect the unexpected. Personal experience has proved to me that it is true.

Ever since my early travels in the Southwest, one sign has consistently given me pause. Open range, for folks who don’t know, is where there are no fences separating critters from the road. While it’s usually cattle, wild horses can also be found in open range. Instances of almost being taken out by a cow and her calf when rounding a blind turn or the time I encountered a cow pie in the middle of a corner have made me wary of open range. So, when we started seeing these signs, my internal governor brought our speed down several notches. I spent the next hours with my eyes straining against the darkness, trying to make out any shadows in the middle of the road that might spell disaster.

As we moved into and out of sections of open range, the road climbed. Shortly before we reached the 7,167 ft high-point of Montgomery Pass, it began to rain. This was actually good news since it meant we were less likely to encounter ice on the roadway. We slowed further as our visibility lessened. Still, we marched on since we knew that a Denny’s awaited us in Bishop, and I had a powerful hunger building in my belly.

With the altitude dropping down the western side of Montgomery Pass, I began to relax again. The rain wasn’t stopping, but the temperature was climbing, further alleviating our concerns about encountering ice on the road.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

After 825 miles and a (at times) harrowing trip over the wet, cold Montgomery Pass, we felt we deserved a sitdown meal – with some hot Joe to warm our innards.

The Home Stretch

With full tanks and stomachs, we rolled out of Bishop, CA in the rain and the building dawn. We would cross over the 1,000 mile mark just before we arrived in Mojave, CA for our next fuel stop. Highway 395 bisects the Owens Valley from Bishop down past Lone Pine to Owens Lake (another place we visited on our Baggers Brawl). To our west, the snow-covered Sierras towered above with the snow line reaching down to the fields beside the highway. We pushed on, but now we were feeling the weight of 18 hours in the saddle.

American Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000

Success! 1,000 miles with over three hours to spare!

Tom’s Notes: Compressing 1,000 miles into a 24-hour timeframe didn’t appear that challenging until daybreak. Having ridden through the night with no more rest than what a gas station provides, it wasn’t until 5 a.m. that I felt the weight of what we were trying to accomplish. A meal at Denny’s and a chance to relax helped, but the next two hours were the hardest of them all. By 8 a.m. with the sun fully up, I was feeling refreshed, but also looking forward to the finish line. We hit the 1,000-mile mark with about three hours to spare. Next time I’ll schedule a short nap.

The clarity of sunrise raking across under the rain clouds could only lift my spirits for so long, and an hour from Mojave, despite the full sun after having ridden out from under the rain, I found myself fighting drowsiness. I radioed Tom that I needed to take a leak, hoping that walking around for a couple minutes would wake me up. It did, and we trundled on towards the 1,000-mile mark.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Paperwork may be the bane of modern existence. However, nothing could suck the fun out of completing our SaddleSore 1000.

The rest of the ride was sort of anticlimactic. We took a photo of the tripmeter at 1,000 miles, but to account for speedometer error (and the fact that we were still 80 miles out from our meeting place with the photographer), we didn’t make our official last gas stop for the final receipt and witnessing document until we were back in the San Fernando Valley.

While our accomplishment in no way compares to those of the mountaineers quoted in this article, they do capture the essence of explaining the inexplicable. I know we’re both happy to have performed this foolish feat. Will we ever attempt another Iron Butt ride, a Bun Burner (1,500 miles in 36 hours), perhaps? Never count out a MOron when it comes to a harebrained activity.

American Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000

Nothing can beat the sight of the sun peaking over snow-capped mountains – after riding all night.


    Great going gentlemen. I thought you were going to do the ride on Groms. I guess Harleyswill have to do. Congratulations.

    • DickRuble

      1000 milles/day on Groms? Now that’s something I would support. EIC Duke, do you hear us? We’re volunteering Burns and Brasfield.

      • JMDGT

        I heard Honda is developing the Gromwing. It has been spotted making the rounds at the Nurburgring.

      • Starmag

        How about all editors on a round trip Grom “tour” to Palm Springs (Pacific Coast Highway South to San Juan Capistrano, and then east on Highway 74 through the Cleveland National Forest.), for a lap times throw down at Apex go cart track? Pictures of the winner with an impossibly small trophy spraying unsuspecting nearby women with a 2 liter of Mountain Dew like they were umbrella girls and the resulting beat down would be nice too.

        • DickRuble

          2 liter of Mountaindew would be splurging.. and disproportionate.. An 8 oz bar mini-bottle should suffice.

      • Starmag

        How about all editors on a round trip Grom “tour” to Palm Springs (Pacific Coast Highway South to San Juan Capistrano, and then east on Highway 74 through the Cleveland National Forest.), for a lap times throw down at Apex go cart track? Pictures of the winner with an impossibly small trophy spraying unsuspecting nearby women with a 2 liter of Mountain Dew like they were umbrella girls and the resulting beat down would be nice too.

    • DickRuble

      The article didn’t mention the riding differences between bikes. Handle bar mounted or frame mounted fairing? Does it make any difference? Not that I care but it would provide a pretense of a purpose for the endeavour..

      • Evans Brasfield

        Patience. All will be revealed…

      • JMDGT

        The right bike is important. How true. I rode up to Death Valley from Orange County through Big Bear to meet some friends a few years back. They all had Road Kings for the most part. I rode my Roadster with the speedster windscreen. The wind was horrible. They cut through it on their 800 lb. fully faired bikes like butter. I was blown all over the place. I’m not sure how much of an advantage a larger fairing would have been but I’m sure I wouldn’t have been brutalized by the wind as much as I was. I’d like to hear what they have to say about these bikes in comparison.

  • howard kelly

    Nice Evans, you did what I should have. In 2000 I left the H-D model intro in Denver, which happened to be 1017 miles from my front door in Anaheim (at that time). I left at 6 am and rode and rode and rode the heart out of the 88ci twin cam Heritage Classic. Reflecting, not the bike I would do 1017 miles on again. But I did an unofficial Iron Butt just to say I rode 1000 miles in a day. I drove my truck to the office the next day…..

  • JWaller

    I’m looking forward to doing a SS1000 at some time. Maybe this coming up week, Spring Break. I’ll keep it boring, though. San Antonio to El Paso and back.

    • Barry_Allen

      US90, US62, & US87. Del Rio, Alpine, Marfa, El Paso, Carlsbad NM, San Angelo.
      Not boring at all.

      • JWaller

        Chico’s Tacos. The only taco you can drink through a straw. Wouldn’t be able to do that in 24 hours as I’d have the squirts all the way back after the tacos!

  • RevD

    I’ve been looking forward to this story. Well done! Best read in quite some time for these eyes. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the differences between the two bikes, or rather fairing designs – Both of which are vying for my hard earned cash.

  • Starmag

    Congratulations. While I certainly understand the satisfaction of accomplishment, droning at night and in the rain for 24 HRS on a Harley proves there’s a wide diversity of opinion when it comes to the definition of “fun”. For me that’s more like three hundred mile days in the Rockies or northern PCH with a Multistrada or a track day. Congrats again on clearing the bar.

    • JMDGT

      I hear you. A long day trip for me is 400 miles round trip at the most. Even on a comfy bike I get cranky if I ride any longer.

  • Old MOron

    Well, you may have gotten saddle sore for this story, but judging by your leisurely timing, you certainly didn’t get writer’s cramp busting it out. Oh well, I suppose it was worth the wait.

  • John B.

    Great article Evans! I’m impressed with your meticulous record keeping, attention to detail, and food supply. The Iron Butt Association’s “Archive of Wisdom” provides good advice for safe long distance rides. http://www.ironbutt.com/aow.cfm I read somewhere, the Iron Butt is easier if you leave in the evening and sleep in a motel from midnight to 4:00 A.M.

    • Kevin Duke

      Sleep? I don’t give my guys time for sleep!

  • novemberjulius

    This was a great read. I glad the encounter with the police went smoothish, and that the weather treated you reasonably well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • vastickel@gmail.com

    Count me in on curiosity! Bought a Milwaukee 8 with a batwing. Hope I made the correct choice. By the way, couldn’t find the switch for the heated grips?

  • I have a 12, maybe 14 hour ass. If I can’t do it in that amount of time, I can’t get it done. So far, the best has been 780 miles in 11 hours with stops. I guess I should have kept going that day, but I was shot.

    • JuanFrancisco

      Same here, I did 750 miles on a Hypermotard 821. 8am – 12am, Included a border crossing and quite a few stops. I was beat! I can probably do it If I cross Nevada and Utah, where the speed limit is somewhat flexible..

      • Evans Brasfield

        Flexible. I like that.

        • JuanFrancisco

          I’m actually picking up a new V7 Stornello in Vegas in a couple of weeks and riding it back to Chicago. Not the best machine or time to try to cross those states and attempt such a feat. So, I will meander as far south to avoid colder weather and take it easy (300-450 mile days). Based on your review, that might even be too much for that little bike? I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • Clay Nicolsen

    I did mine from 4 am to 10 pm. 1,080 in 18 hours flat. If you stay away from the midnight to 3 am time period, it’s a lot less dangerous. I’m going to do the 1,500 this summer!

    IBA 61931

  • Danielle Pinky Hartley Duffiel

    I did 1,059 miles with a small group a few years ago on a 1993 GSXR 750 in 21.5 hours. Santa Rosa to Long Beach rt 101 there and back. Don’t think I’d ever have the strength to do it again but it was a blast and a true test for me.

  • SteveSweetz

    Tom is not wearing an Arai helmet, they don’t make a modular. That appears to be a Klim TK1200.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Right you are! Some of the photos were taken after the ride itself because we didn’t have time to do it during the ride. Unfortunately, at the end of the ride, Tom’s Arai fell off the trunk of his bike and scratched the visor so badly that it was unusable. Since he didn’t have time to get a new visor for the shoot, he wore his Klim.

  • RDY2GO!

    Congratulations! Welcome to the insanity! For most riders this is a one and done thing; heard about it, did it, got the bragging rights. For others it’s just the first rung in a very tall ladder that takes them and their motorcycles to the world of endurance riding and rallying.

    I wrote a similar article after my first SS1K and the final few sentences were very close to yours. In my case the hook was set though and many more certified rides, then competitive rallies followed. Not every ride is a cert ride and I don’t get to rally as much as I’d like to, but my riding and mentality towards it was fundamentally changed that day forever.

    Hope to see you on the road one day. Ride far.

  • GS1100GK

    Did an Iron Butt Saddle sore a few years back. 3 of us riding a Kawasaki ZZR1200, Kawasaki Vulcan 1500, and a Kawasaki ZX11. Did 1183 miles in less than 24 hours and had a blast. The longest leg was only as far as the smallest gas tank (Vulcan) where on one leg the Vulcan coasted into a gas stop! No offense, but you guys on HD tour bikes is like riding a couch!

    Would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Buzz

    Good job men. Most likely something I’ll never do. Back when I was young, I did a few 600 milers on my Ducati ST4 and wasn’t yearning to do another 400 when I stopped.

    My question is: why did you choose that particular route? I think LA-Flagstaff-Phoenix-San Diego-LA would have gotten it done and been interstate the whole way.

  • kenneth_moore


    I have a question about your experience with the Sena 20S on your Neotec. I have the same setup, and it’s worked great solo. But, when I went to Bike Week this weekend and used the intercom, I had an issue. Once it’s synced, the intercom is voice activated. On surface streets it worked great, but on Interstates there was enough helmet noise that the voice activation stayed on, which cut off my Bluetooth music.

    Were you able to listen to your Bluetooth media and use intercom simultaneously? My buddy said he frequently disables his Sena’s voice activation because of this problem.

    • Buzz

      Is there a sensitivity setting kMo? Not for you but for the Sena. I’ve had BT units where it could be adjusted to account for road noise.

      • kenneth_moore

        That sounds like a good idea Buzzly, but I can’t find anything in the user docs about it. I’ll ask Sena tech support. We’re going to NC in May and I’d like to use the intercom. It’s one of those m/c accessories you don’t think you need until you try it, but once you do it’s a “must-have.”

        • Buzz

          I use mine for the tunes but never the intercom. The girl and I just communicate the old-fashioned way. She smacks me in the back of the helmet.

          My riding friends don’t have com systems and they ride HOGs so they couldn’t hear them anyway.

          • kenneth_moore

            Do you take phone calls on it? I’ve gotten a few while riding and it works pretty well. Especially since I got a Neotec; the N104 I used for years was so noisy the 20S was only useful at low speed.

            I emailed support@sena.com about the intercom issue.

          • Buzz

            I have taken calls on it but I ride to get away from that so I always have my phone in Do Not Disturb mode when I ride so the calls and texts get muted.

            I”m an empty nester now KMo. My kid can solve his own problems.

          • kenneth_moore

            Your kid actually called you? I wish…

            Mine is heading for FSU next Fall. He could have been a 3rd-generation legacy Gator and he decides to go to FSU. At least he’s going somewhere.

  • Sean Burke

    I did a Saddlesore 1000 from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles about a decade ago, and ran 1100 miles in 16 hours on a CBR1100XX Blackbird. Great bike for the ride with an ultra-smooth engine, and semi-decent wind protection. East coast riders who haven’t experienced the desert SW may have difficulty understanding the vast open spaces on this ride.

    I flew out to pick up the bike from the seller, and the TSA thought poorly of a person with a helmet, jacket, gloves and boots in their carry-on traveling on a one-way, cash ticket. The other low point was 100 miles from home, when a near-freezing rainstorm began approaching the Cajon Pass at 2AM which did not let up the rest of the way.

    The next day, my forehead ached badly from windblast pressing the helmet rearward.

    • JuanFrancisco

      All my future bike purchases will be on the coasts. (I’m in Chicago) This way I get a little adventure out of it. I will take my time though.. 🙂

  • Bill Foster

    As IBA member #8565 your story brought back many memories! Thank you! Also, what about the comparison between the two bikes? Where can it be found?

  • bvail

    I did an SS1k (always on the bucket list) during a national FJR1300 rally here in Denver. It was either the ride or a BBQ with the troops. I chose the ride. 1062 mostly technical mountain roads in 22 hours and 58 minutes IIRC. There were 25 FJR riders and me on my GL1800 Goldwing with a brand new car tire on the back. It was quite a ride and little chance to get tired. You can read about my adventure here:


    I have done other endurance rides over the years such as the USA 4 Corners ride (13k miles in 27 days of riding) and also the Great Lakes Challenge (mine was the woosy one in under 100 hours). 2700+ miles. A bunch of riders did it in under 50 hours, one on a 250cc Honda.

    One fellow on the motorcycle tourers forum has completed 40 Bun Burner Golds.

  • vtwinsrbest

    OK, I think a reasonable amount of time has elapsed fellas! So where’s the comparo update between the Electra and Road Glide for the title of best long haul limo?

    • Evans Brasfield

      It’s scheduled to go live on Friday! At long last…