My high school, Hopkins, is a prep school in New Haven, CT. It celebrated it’s 350th anniversary this year (yeap, it was founded in 1660, 50 years after Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter making the sun center of the solar system and 1 year before Newton entered Trinity College at Cambridge and 27 years before he published his laws of motion and gravitation in 1687) which coincided with my 40th reunion. So, I took advantage of too much vacation accrual, and planned a ride out and back. By adding a few jogs to the route, I could try an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 2000 ride. The SS2000 is 2000 miles in 48 hours, or less. I’ve done a couple of SS1000 and one Bun Burner 1500 which is 1500 miles in 36 hours. So, I figured this wouldn’t be too tough a challenge.
My departure was set for Wednesday, June 9th with a target of being in New Haven no later than Friday afternoon to attend our class get together at a local pub. The formal reunion would be on Saturday. I had three days to get there with a plan to do it in 39 1/2 hours including sleep at the 1005 mile mark, almost exactly half way. I had planned 8 hours of sleep with some time to eat dinner and get some breakfast before starting the next day’s 1000 mile ride. The total distance would be 2021 miles according to Microsoft Streets and Trips.
The route went north from my home in Arvada, CO on I-25 to Cheyenne where I took I-80 through Nebraska, Iowa, and then I-74 to just south of Peoria, Illinois the first day. I budgeted 9.5 hours for sleep and a dinner stop that night. The second day the route continued on I-74 picking up I-70 at Indianapolis, then across Indiana to Columbus, Ohio where I picked up I-71 to I-76 just outside Akron, Ohio. From there, I would continue on to the intersection with I-80 in Pennsylvania to I-287 in New York and finally to I-95 to the final destination in New Haven, CT. Here’s a map of the route showing planned gas and sleep stops.
I planned to do the trip from twilight to dusk avoiding night driving. Since June 9th is close to the summer solstice, I would get maximum daylight – 5:15 am to about 9:00 pm.
I got my starting gas receipt at 5:20 am and my start witness, my youngest son, signed off in time to roll out of the station at exactly 5:30 am. The ride to Cheyenne was uneventful. I did encounter some light sprinkles just before getting to Cheyenne, but the sky cleared off as I headed west on I-80.
I had a list of stops with times that I created on a spreadsheet and at Cheyenne, figured out I had an error in my time arithmetic so the sheet was about 30 minutes ahead of my real arrival times at gas stops. As in past long distance rides, my stops alternated between 10 and 20 minute stops. 10 minutes is about right to get gassed and visit the rest room and may be grab some munchies out of the saddle bag. The 20 minute stop allows more time to get coffee if I want and to eat more and stretch out and exercise any tired muscles. Each stop is timed at about 200 – 220 miles, so depending on speed limits, that’s about 2.5 to 3 hours between them. I’ve found I can maintain that rhythm for 18-20 hours at a time if need be.
The only problem on day 1 was a detour in Davenport, IA due to the I-80 bridge over the Mississippi being closed. The detour took I-280 over the river which added about 15 miles to the trip. I hit the hotel about 20 mins late, grabbed a Burger King #1 meal, ate in my room and arranged for a 5:00 am wake up call for the next morning. Here’s the GPS record of Day1. You can ignore the “Maximum Speed” as that’s an artifact of the GPS. It frequently records an unobtainable maximum speed when it can’t get a satellite lock. The GPS gets turned off when the engine is off, so total time was a bit more than 15 hours.
On day 2, I had to add air to the tires as the elevation had dropped from 5300 feet to about 800 feet. So that added a few minutes to the moring preparations. Oil consumption at 1005 miles was about 1/16 of a quart.
As I headed out, I enjoyed the sunrise and cool temperatures on my way to Champaign, IL. Then on to Indiannapolis, IN.
I hadn’t expected the sad state of the freeway system in Indiannapolis. It was a huge mess and I got lost at one point due to construction detours. At the gas stop outside town, I could hear an unusual sound. I checked the bike and found the front fender was rubbing on the front tire. The two rear bolts that attached to the forks had both come out. I had mounted new tires the day before I left and I guess I managed to not get either bolt tight. I grabbed duct tape and tried to secure the fender adding a good 15 – 20 minutes to a planned 10 minute stop. As I got to each successive gas stop, I found the tape had not held and tried adding more. This is the final duck tape kludge I ended up with at the 3rd gas stop.
Toward the end of the day, I remembered I had some wire in my tool kit and ran some through the bolt holes and the fender which took the strain off the duck tape and kept the fender from tipping forward toward the tire. Lesson learned. Use bailing wire for this kind of repair.
When I got to the Tappan ZeeBridge over the Hudson River in New York, I was about an hour behind due to the multiple 20 min gas stops to futz with the front fender. When I took the exit to I-95 just before Greenwich, CT, all traffic stopped. All lanes, but one, on I-95 were closed for construction. And, they did that two more times in 40 miles. Each time there was a large traffic jam which added another 30 minutes or so lost before getting to my final gas station … which was closed by that time. I found one open about 5 miles up the road and clocked out at about 11:30 pm, June 10. The second 1000 miles took a bit more than 17 hours. Total time for the 2021 mile trip including sleep was about 40 hours 30 minutes and the average speed for the entire trip was 40 MPH. I slept quite well on Thursday night 🙂
The Return Trip
For the return trip 2 days later, I visited the family cemetery on my mother’s side north of New York City where my mom and dad currently reside, then headed south through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and then home. That route was about 2100 miles and I took 3 days to complete it riding about 700 miles a day. Here’s the route and some pictures along the way.
My Prep School – Founded 1660
Yeap, 350 years old, and I was a member of the 1st graduating class 🙂
Replica of the original school building originally on the New Haven green.
My mother’s side of the family is buried in Phillipsport, NY which is just a street sign these days.
The “Sherwood” plot and Cookie Monster, my BMW R1150-RS. The Sherwoods are decended from the “Sherwood Forest” owners in England.