Coast to Coast to Coast in 100 hours

April 2010

By Jim Sullivan

(Notes by Dave Harper in Blue)

The Plot!

Dave Harper, Paul Morgan and I started talking about a coast to coast to coast ride within 100 hours (CCC-100) in October 2009 when we rode our motorcycles to NC to camp in Pauls cabin.  The more we talked the more realistic the ride became.  Our original timeframe for this adventure was the week before the Ironbutt annual dinner, March 5, but our schedules could not manage that window.  I then planned to ride it by myself but my wife didnt cotton the idea much.  Finally, Dave said he could get 2 days off the 2nd week of April, Thursday and Friday. Great!  All the time we needed to go to California and back.  Paul was going to be out of town during that time but told us to go ahead.  Paul has finished a CC-50. 

The Strategic Plan

Dave and I had a simple plan.  Ride to Ormond Beach, FL from my house in Orlando, get our container of sand and seawater from the Atlantic Ocean and start the Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast in 100 hours leaving Ormond Beach with a timed gas receipt.  Wed go through Jacksonville, FL get a gas ticket to show the left turn and head toward San Diego.  We would make our way to the beach in San Diego for a sample of Pacific Ocean sand and water, and return via the same route.

By starting at my house, which required a timed gas receipt, we could ride our route to Fort Stockton, Texas, which would be 1500 miles of riding in less than 24 hours, qualifying us for a BunBurner Gold Certificate.  We planned to stop in Fort Stockton to sleep in a hotel and then continue the next morning on to San Diego to finish the first half of the CCC- 100.  In San Diego we needed to get our witness forms signed, a timed gas receipt and rest until the first 50 hours were finished.  If we leave CA before the end of the first 50 hours then any remaining time is forfeited.  The second half of the CCC-100 is 50 hours long!

After our break in San Diego, we would head back to Ormond Beach to complete the CCC- 100, Coast to Coast to Coast in less than 100 hours.  Then it would be on home with our final timed gas ticket to claim a  5000 miles in 5 days or less certificate.   To help with our time we planned to eat food that we carried with us, and limit stops for food to a minimum.  Both of us have ultra running experience and carrying food that we would be happy with was easy for us to do.  The rules that pertain to our certification can be found at the link below.

 http://ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=5

BunBurner Gold 1500 miles < 24 hours

Dave ran a foot race at work before he came on out to my house around 8 PM.    (DAVE: At Tupperware, we had a corporate 5k run after work, in conjunction with a worldwide corporate challenge for all of our associates to  walk/run enough combined miles to circumnavigate the globe.  To add to that total, I ran another 9 miles after the 5k to total 12 miles, before heading over to Jims house for the night.) 

We put the bikes under the barn and Dave stayed in the back garage apartment. We got an early start, 4:41 AM for the first gas receipt near my house.

 

Dave at Jim's house getting ready to get started

Jim at Gas Stop in Jacksonville

 The ride from Orlando to Ormond went smooth and we parked on the entrance ramp to the beach to get our bottles of Atlantic Ocean sand and water. I had made arrangements with the BP gas station the previous Sunday to sign the witness forms.  The manager was on duty Thursday morning and signed our forms, witnessing we were there at the time on the form and on the gas receipt.  It was time to get going and put some miles behind us.

I-95 to Jacksonville was congested but we were able to make good time without taking any chances.  The turn west in Jacksonville required another timed gas receipt to prove the corner.  We chose to stop in a place on I-10 where the exit was under construction and the traffic was bad.

We left the construction and traffic behind in Jacksonville.  The miles were clicking off as we headed west.  It would have been easy to twist the throttle but we were disciplined enough to run about 5 miles an hour over the post limit.    (DAVE: Jim and I agreed beforehand that we were going to keep the speed reasonable, within 5-10 mph of posted speeds always.  We also agreed that if either of us needed to stop for any reason, wed stop, no questions.  If one was tired and needed to rest, wed stop until the other was ready to continue.  We both have run multiple ultra-runs and athletic events requiring 24 to 60 hours of racing type effort, and know each other well enough that if one of us says we need a break, we need it.)

Around I-75 there were several police officers giving out tickets. (DAVE: Our strategy of blending with traffic worked perfectly.  No tickets the entire 5,000+ miles).   The next gas stop was Marianna, FL and we fueled both our bike and bodies.  We both were eating and drinking a variety of things.  I like drinking Boost, 240 calories, to keep the fire burning and Dave had some nuts and energy bars. (DAVE: It was a great advantage to have our ultra-running experience and the knowledge of what types snack foods and calories we would to like for 4 days.  Its so easy to get sick of these simple foods when youre used to 3 full meals a day.)

From Marianna to Moss Point, MS the miles went smooth.  Across north Florida and across Mobile Bay the riding was scenic and the temperature was comfortable.  We stopped at one rest area to make some business calls.   The temperature was in the 70s, nice, but it was warming up.  We put Mississippi in our back pocket and started through Louisiana on the north side of New Orleans, I-12.  I cautioned Dave about leaving Baton Rouge with enough gas to make it across the Atchafalaya Bridge, 20 miles.  (DAVE: This is where Id bought my FJR1300 a year prior.  Id flown to New Orleans with cash in hand, (yes, $9,000 or so cash!) to be picked up at the airport by the seller, who took me to his house in Baton Rouge where I bought the bike, site unseen until that point.  I strapped my duffle bag on back, and started the ride back to Clermont, FL that afternoon. (which is a story in itself.) 

We were carrying about a gallon of gas each in a container.  This was for emergency use possibly in west Texas but I still didnt want to use it on the bridge.  As it turned out we had plenty of gas to make the bridge before refueling.  (DAVE: We both can easily go 200-275 miles per tank of gas, but also knew we might get in a situation where we were pushing the limit to go a little farther before having to stop.  Each of us having an extra gallon with us would firstly let us be a little more comfortable pushing that limit, and also it would save us a HUGE amount of time were one of us to run out of gas short of the next stop. That gallon would get us another 40 miles or so down the road right away.  Turns out we never had to use it, but it DID provide a lot of comfort to me, especially on one stretch out West when were cutting it pretty close.)

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was our next fueling stop.  It was my first problem.  My credit card would not work.  I had to switch cards in order not to delay our progress.  The next 200 miles proved to be tough.  The road was not the best, the traffic was heavy and the sun was coming in our face so bad you couldnt see sometimes.  I was wearing a tinted shield with sun glasses but Dave only had sunglasses.  We would pull alongside a tractor and trailer and it would be temporary relief from the sun in their shadow.  Finally in Houston, it was time to get off and give the sun a chance to go down while we refueled. (DAVE: Longest, biggest trip Id ever planned on a motorcycle, and I forgot my tinted face shield!  The face shield that is otherwise stored on my motorcycle 24/7, as I switch between it and my clear shield almost daily on my commute to work.  This turned out to be even a bigger issue for me later.)

It was in Houston that my credit card dilemma came to fruition.  I had to call the fraud service and spend 20 minutes on the phone getting them to release my credit card.   By the time I was

Houston Gas Stop - FJR Lights On

finished, Dave and I both were ready to ride.  The setting sun sure made a difference in our attitude.  We were able to come alive again. I put some eye drops in my eyes to keep them wet.  As the humidity goes down they have a tendency to get very dry.

(DAVE: Crossing Louisiana and into Texas brought back a lot of memories, from camping/fishing/crabbing trips to South Louisiana with my Grandparents when I was a kid(Cameron/Holly Beach), to triathlons and bike races in Houston when I was in college.)

Leaving Houston and heading to San Antonio the terrain starts with rolling hills.  This was nice after running from Mobile to Houston in the flat Bayou country.  From San Antonio toward Fort Stockton, the terrain changes from rolling hills to high plateau, then to mountains and finally back to desert in El Paso.  The Brazos River seems to be the dividing line between East and West Texas.

From Houston to Schertz in 3 hours, the temperature started dropping and we add more clothes.  From Schertz to Junction, 135 miles, it got down right cold.  Daves temperature gage on his bike said about 40 degrees.  I only had a few more layers and an electric vest that was borrowed from Paul Morgan.  The stop at Junction was not necessarily for gas but we did fill up.  It was time to put on everything we had.  I was having my doubts about making the next 200 miles within our goal as cold as I was.  I added a medium weight polypro shirt and the electric vest.  Dave added clothes too, including a bandana over his face.  (DAVE: IT WAS COLD!  I was seeing 38-39 degrees much of the time, and had on all the clothes Id brought along.   Bandana over my face and neck, Grip Heaters on high, everything I could do to stay warm.  It didnt work, partly because we were just flat tired, by now it was late at night and wed been riding for 1200-1300 miles at this point.)

The time and temperature were certainly adding a challenge to this section of our ride.  Both of us were running our big lights looking for the many deer and other critters wanting to dart in front of us.  (DAVE: West Texas is well known for its large  populations of huge deer and now I know why.)   After a stop to add more clothes, we just got started riding when I started praising the vest.  Once my chest got warm my whole body started warming.  I was happy!  I notice the speed limit was 80 during the day and knew we needed to hold near that speed if we were going to make Fort Stockton in 24 hours.  There was almost no other traffic on the road.  We rode in both lanes nearly side by side in order to flood the road with the most light we could generate.  Riding at night in west Texas is not a good idea due to the amount of deer lingering on the road sides.  We finally pulled into a gas station in Fort Stockton hurrying to pump gas and get the timed gas receipt.  We had 3 minutes to spare!

We had made our first goal and headed to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.

The Days Inn was about a mile away.  After check-in, it didnt take us long to unload the bikes and get in the room.  Five hours later we were up and getting our gear ready to go.  The hotel had a breakfast bar and we ate hardily for it may be a long time until we set at a table again.

Jim checking in at home and Dave chilling before starting the 2nd day from Fort Stockton

Onward toward the first CC -50

1500 miles down, 1000 miles and 21 hours to San Diego. About to leave Fort Stockton.

It was 10:45 AM EST when we rolled out of Fort Stockton with 1,000 miles and 21 hours to reach our goal of San Diego and make the CC-50.    The day was beautiful with perfect riding conditions.  The 80 mph speed limit had us running around 85 most of the time to keep the trucks from running over us.  When I-10 and I-20 came together the traffic picked up and so did the temperature.  Both grew as we approached El Paso.  We made our first fuel stop of the day on the east side of El Paso.

We entered NM and I pointed out to Dave the mountains on our left where I have run several races.  I-10 was under construction for what seem most of the state.  Then where it wasnt under construction, it needed to be.  We stopped and stretched one time before making the Arizona state line.  We stopped at the first gas in Arizona only to find their computer was down and we couldnt pump gas.  We drove on to the next exit to get gas where they only had regular gas, 85 octane.  To the north of I-10 we could see snow capped mountains.  The temperature had climbed but the humidity was nothing which kept me using eye drops and Chap Stick. The traffic picked up as we approached Tucson.  I had been there several years ago but nothing looked familiar. 

We split off I-10 about 60 miles west of Tucson onto I-8.  The road surface was new and riding was smooth except for the bugs.  A stop at Gila Bend for fuel revealed just how bad the bugs were.  The gas station had a special place to wash windshields.  Our bikes had bugs all over the fronts but we managed to have very few on our face shields.

Yea, there were just a FEW bugs!

 

Dave started using electrical tape as a visor to help block the sun.  Also, wetting the bandana and tying it on your face offered a cooling effect.  (DAVE: It was getting hotter, and the desert sun beating into my clear visor was like being in a greenhouse.  I was cooking and worried about sunburn.  A couple strips of black electric tape across the top of my visor cut out much of that effect.  Then a wet bandana pulled up high around my face was like air conditioning.  Made things SO comfortable.  Occasionally, I would raise my faceshield and squirt some water from my water bottle on the bandana.)

We rode into Yuma just at dark, 10:50 PM EST, for our last fuel stop before San Diego.  I stopped at the pump and didnt get my side stand all the way down and dropped the BMW.  Dave and I stood it back up to find only a minor scratch.  It got my attention and picked my focus up.  We talked about crossing CA and then stopping when we got to the Coastal Mountain range to add clothes.  Although it was around 90 degrees in Yuma at sea level, we expected going over the 4000 foot climb to the coast it will get cool and possibly windy.

The ride across the central valley was nothing but HOT!  This all changed as we started the climb up the mountain out of the valley.  We didnt stop for clothes until after the first 1000 foot of climb.  We pulled over at a water hole, where cars getting hot could get water for their radiators.   The wind was blowing so hard I was concerned about the bikes staying up while we dressed.  The traffic had slowed to about 40 due to the gusting winds.  I dropped a glove and had to chase it into the first traffic lane before stomping down on it.  Thank God there were no cars coming.  I NEEDED THAT GLOVE!  (DAVE: The winds here were unbelievable.  I actually thought they might blow over my 600+ pound motorcycle.  With the continual direction changes on the mountain road, and gusting winds, it was rather nerve wracking trying to ride.  This has to be the worst wind Ive ridden in, and my always stable Yamaha was getting blown all over the place.  As the night before, being tired cannot have helped the situation.)

After dressing in warm gear we continued on toward San Diego.  Every curve and every turn around the mountain took us into a different temperature and high winds.   We reached the top at about 3000 feet above sea level and started riding the mountain range.  This range is about 30 plus mile wide and at the highest point is 4000 feet above sea level.   The wind slacked some but continued to blow.  We had to go through a traffic check by the Border Patrol.   They flagged us on through after coming to a stop.  At around 2000 feet going down we ran into fog.  My imagination went wild because the fog in this area can get bad!   My first reaction was to wait on a tractor trailer and follow it.  But the fog didnt get too bad and it cleared just as we started entering the outskirts of the city.

We crossed I-5 and pulled in for our last fuel stop west bound.  After fueling we headed north on I-5 to meet our witness that would sign our forms.  It was a San Diego police officer.

No we weren't being arrested! Dave had arranged for a buddy who's a San Diego Police Officer to meet us to be our witness at the turnaround point.

 

Now we were off to get our sand and some rest. We drove back to I-8 and headed for the beach.  We stopped at Sunset Cliffs.  It was a climb down to the water and it was breaking on the rocks.  There was plenty of sand on the way down but water was at the bottom.  Dave braved the elements to collect our water.  (DAVE: Probably not the best place to try to get a water/sand sample from the Pacific, but it was close.  I had to climb down some pretty treacherous rocks, that were wet and getting blasted with every 3rd or 4th wave.  It would have been mess had I fallen in, and I did get SOAKED with a couple waves, but water and sand we got!)

Dave braving the waves and rocks to get some Pacific Ocean water.

Next it was to a cheap hotel for some rest.  It was 4:10 AM EST when we got in our beds.  We had made the trip from Ormond Beach Florida to San Diego California in a little short of 46 hours.  Now we had to rest at least 4 hours before heading out or forfeit the remaining 4 hour left of our 50 hour window.  I set the alarm for 5 hours sleep.

The Return Trip

Jim at Motel 6, San Diego geared up for the return.

Dave getting ready to start back across the US.

In San Diego we stayed in a Motel 6 on Motel Circle just off I-8 a few miles east of I-5.  In the bed and asleep at 4:50 AM EST.   I was awake at 8 AM EST and ready for some coffee.   I got ready to go before disturbing Dave.   I left the room with a load to put back on the bike and then to the office for my morning coffee.  I was shocked when the office was closed.  I pecked on the window and the guy behind the desk said it would be an hour before coffee was out!  I told him in an hour I maybe be halfway across CA. I complained as I stomped off to tell Dave.

When I got back, Dave was ready to go and packing his bike.  I told him about my affinity for my morning coffee and we both agree to get our gas timed gas receipt and ride.  But with the idea to get coffee ASAP! (DAVE: Jim and I think alike when it comes to coffee.  NOTHING else in the world matters until weve had at least that first cup of Java.  I remember when at Western States 100 training camp when he, Paul Morgan and I were camping, Jim had made a morning run to get us all coffee before Paul and I had got out of our sleeping bags.)

We jumped on I-8 east bound for a few miles before stopping to fuel. After fueling, I sucked the bottom out of a cup of coffee that I had cooled with some ice before we pulled out east bound. 

The next stop turned out to be a Border Patrol check in the Coastal Mountains.  Dave was waved through but the guard wanted to talk to me.   I was wearing my full face helmet and had ear phone playing music in my ears.  I could see his lips moving but could not understand what he was saying.  I started unplugging my earphone and then thought he said where are you from?  I naturally answered Florida as I continued to try to hear.  He then repeated What country are you from?  I guess my previous answer was not good enough so I told him the USA.  He grinned as he flagged me on through. I think he was from New York!

We keep the throttle twisted across the mountains and desert to Yuma.  There we made our first fuel stop and I observed that across the drive was a Carls Jr, fast food place.  Coffee, coffee, coffee and maybe a sandwich to help slow down the caffeine rush.   Dave and I both ordered coffee and an egg sandwich.  I had 2 cups of coffee while they made my egg sandwich. The sandwich was so good I ordered another and ate it while getting the bike ready to ride.

We left Yuma ready to make up some of the time lost eating.  But as most people know, coffee only stays in the body a very limited time.  I was paddling hard when Dave flew by me to pull into a Rest Area.  We went to the bathrooms without even taking our helmets off. We were fast and saving time until I couldnt find my key.  It is hard to start the bike without a key.   I started back toward the bathroom searching the ground for my key.  About the time I made it to the bathroom, a couple walking out of the bathroom wanted to know if I lost a BMW key.  I figured they could read my mind or they had found my key!   Wrong!  They told me it was in the urinal.  I went into the bathroom and sure enough there is my key caught on the plastic filter.   I quickly retrieve it and do a fast wash job in the sink.  I hurried back outside ready to ride while Dave had a good laugh about my plumbing skills. (DAVE:  Oh man, how many miles did I laugh about this?  Actually, I STILL laugh about this every time I think about it.  Note to self: if I ever buy Jims bike, make him provide a newly made key.)

Jim and Dave at a rest area in Arizona. And one I'll NEVER forget! :)

Jim on the road in Arizona, cranking out the miles.

 

This section of I-8 in Arizona is a smooth ride.  We are twisting the throttle about 5 to 7 over the posted speed limit of 75mph. Our plan is to run close to Tucson before stopping for fuel and we made it to Marana, AZ, just west of Tucson.

Dave in Marana, Arizona

 This should give us enough range to make it nearly across NM.  It was getting hot but no humidity.  Dave needed a picture by the prospector on his mule.  He rode his FJR over to it while I stayed on the pavement taking pictures. 

It was nice to take a break!  We were both eating good to keep our energy up.   I had started mixing raisins and beef jerky.    When you are using a lot of energy it makes the taste bud sensitive.  Both our motorcycles have been performing great.     They are mileage eating machines!

Dave HAD to climb this rock in Arizona before we continued on our way.

We rode on heading East with very light traffic.  East of Tucson the mountains are both on the north and south side of I-10.  We had to get a few pictures in a Rest Area that was entrenched in boulders.   It is easy to get caught up in pushing forward but every once in a while we did stop and smell the roses/rocks. We discussed our time window, 50 hours and decided not to plan any hotel stops but just to nap on the road.

(DAVE: This decision to operate on the fly was made easier with Jims and my background together in long distance events.  We both knew we could depend on each other to know our own limits, and to respect each others need to take breaks when necessary.)

Heading east again after taking our pictures, the riding was great.  The wind was at our backs and my fuel mileage was so good I started thinking there may be something wrong with the gas gage.   It was Denning New Mexico before we stop for fuel.  Dave said he was seeing 70 mpg on his computer for several miles at a time this past stretch. (DAVE: The tailwind and the slight elevation decline was awesome.  70 mpg at 80 mph, cool!)

I needed a coffee and something solid to eat.   This area of New Mexico is famous for spotting UFOs.   We rode across the street avoiding the aliens and stopped a Burger King.  The coffee went down smooth on top of the Whopper.  We were as happy as if we had good sense.  We rode on through Denning before getting back on I-10.

It was about 45 minutes before we crossed the Rio Grande and picked up I-25 toward El Paso.  The traffic picked up to the point that Dave and I got split up.  Then in a few miles we were able to get back close to each other.  This continued through heavy construction all the way to El Paso.  The sun was setting to our west and I had on both my tinted shield and my sun glasses.  I need to stop and change glasses and shields.  Dave was leading as darkness crept down on us.  I flipped my shield up and took off my sun glasses only to find that my eyes were so tired, that I was seeing double.  Instead of one tail light I could see two or three sometimes.  Dave was lost in the traffic and the only thing to do was stay in my lane and ride, as defensive as possible.  I must have rode 15 miles this way before spotting Dave a few cars ahead.  I pulled alongside him and signaled we need to stop.  It was just a few miles before we pulled into a Rest Area. It was full and we double parked behind a travel trailer. 

The lights across the Rio Grande from us are strung out for mile.  Juarez has to be three time the size of El Paso.  From a picnic table near the bathroom you can see miles of lights. I explained to Dave my dilemma with the double vision.  I took some clothes into the bathroom and washed my face and hands.  Then I changed into warmer clothes for the night.  I returned to the bikes and Dave went to the bathroom and did the same thing.  We ate some and changed out my tinted shield for clear.  I told Dave we need to get gas before we start climbing up in the mountains.

Back on the road again headed for the hills of west Texas, I figured it would be 100 miles before we started climbing.  We stopped for fuel in Van Horn, Texas and added some calories.  The traffic continued to be heavy until I-20 split off.  It was a relief for the traffic to lighten.   The tractor trailer traffic is very heavy in this area.  We stopped for a stretch at Fort Stockton.  I could have lain down but we couldnt find a picnic table or a good place.  We pulled back on I-10 east bound looking for a rest stop. 

It was a few miles before we stopped at a Rest Area.  The wind was blowing and it was cold, 40 something degrees.  I picked out a table with a short rock wall to sleep beside, hoping to be out of the wind.  I didnt take off any gear including my helmet.  Dave was still awake when I closed my eyes and he was awake when I woke up after sleeping soundly for an hour.  I could have sleep longer but I was too cold to keep laying still.  I figured get back on the road and plug in the electric vest for warmth.  It took a few minutes for us to get ready but we started east again.  

(DAVE: This was familiar territory now.  The Fort Stockton area at night, it was cold again, in the low 40s, winds were high and I wasnt real comfortable.  We were both very cold and tired.   Jim laid down with his helmet on, a wise choice, he slept.  I couldnt get warm, and the super loud tractor trailers were very annoying. Jim was out quickly.  I laid there, dozed very little, then finally got up and started preparing my gear to leave for when Jim woke up)

The deer were plentiful (DAVE: SO many deer!)  and we were very cautious.  (DAVE: Huh? Yea, we were cautiously riding 80mph at night in West Texas dodging herds of deer.)  While watching for deer I almost hit a skunk.  I lifted my right foot because I was sure my right foot peg was going to hit it.

We stopped in Ozona for fuel, coffee and a bathroom stop.  It was 6 AM Florida time and we were starting to wake-up.  (DAVE: At the beginning of the trip, we agreed to just stay on Florida time the whole way.  So we didnt have any issues with communicating or calculating hours.  Our clocks and watches all stayed on the same time, I logged everything in Eastern time, it could be converted later.)   The next several miles we rode on edge looking out for critters and using our high beams and auxilary lights.      As it got daylight, and we were aboutle to relax our deer surveillance, a light rain started. We rode until just after daylight before our next stop in Kerrville, TX for fuel, coffee and an egg sandwich.  The stop refreshed us but when we got back on I-10 it continued to rain lightly.

The next big town was San Antonio, which we routed around on the west bound trip.  As we approached the turn for the by-pass, Dave kept going straight!   I followed but wasnt sure why we were going the long way into San Antonio.   Downtown Dave exited I-10 and I pulled beside him at the first red light.  He wanted to see the Alamo?  What a great idea and I was ready for an adventure.

(DAVE: I remember I wasnt that happy with our route around San Antonio on the outbound trip, there was some two lane, and stop lights that had slowed us down quite a bit.  My experience with cities is that depending on time of day, going through downtown is often better then taking the loop around.  Since it was Sunday morning, and we werent seeing any traffic, I made the executive decision to go straight through San Antonio.  THEN, I thought, Hey, How cool would it be to stop and get a photo at the Alamo?.  Id been there as a kid, and love that story of Jim Bowie and Davey Crocket.   Soooo. When I saw an exit near downtown, off I went, know Jim was wondering what the heck Im doing!   At the stop light, he was game for the idea, so I asked the people in the car beside us at the stoplight where the Alamo was.  They laughed, and werent sure.  I swear, we asked 3 or 4 folks and no-one was sure, but they pointed in a general direction.  Finally we found it, got some photos, and were on our way.

We toured the all the downtown area, looking for the Alamo, before finding a parking place for the bikes near the Alamo.  We parked in front of the old hotel across the street from the Alamo.  It was time to lose some coffee before we could get our picture taken in front of the famous wall.  There was tour group taking pictures of each other when we reached the wall.  After they finished one of the students took our pictures using our phones.  It was still rainy and dreary.

Jim and Dave taking our turn in front of the Alamo!

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

We left the Alamo and toured the downtown some more before heading out on the interstate.  Even though we were on an Interstate we still had to miss I-10 once more before doing an exit turn-around to take I-10 east.  I am sure sleep deprivation may have contributed to our directional challenges. Finally, we were heading east toward our destination and both of us were rejuvenated after our detour.

(DAVE: Jim is being VERY generous with me here.  I cost us a lot of time with this side trip, especially after leaving the Alamo, I was taking us in circles on 1-way streets trying to find our way back to interstate.   Eventually we go on the main thouroughfare, and I COMPLETELY passed the exit to get on I-10.  Jim had to chase me down and get us turned around and back on track.  It was fun, and Im glad we did it, it added something to our trip, but it was also risky to make such an unscheduled and un-researched detour. )

This was the nicest nap. A great Rest Area in Louisiana with great weather, quiet and nice scenery, and they had good strong coffee!

We traveled about 110 mile to Columbus before we fueled again.  Then it was east to Houston where we took a few minutes to check the rear drive on Daves FJR.  He was showing some oil off the rear hub.  While he checked it, I picked us up a drink for inside the store.  Dave had several visitors while he was working.  Everyone wanted to know where we had come from and going.  They all had questions.  The stop extended a little longer than we expected.  There was nothing wrong with the rear-end when he check it.  We finished our visiting and were back on the road east bound.

(DAVE: The FJRs rear hub looked like there was some oil weeping around the hub.  It wasnt bad, but if had been going on all trip, it might be an issue.  I decided better to take 10 minutes and check it, than have a major failure.  Turns out it was nothing at all, just some grease from where Id lubricated the splines during the rear tire change just before the trip.  I was a magnet for people wanting to talk and ask about motorcycles at this stop.   I guess by this point Jim and I looked like world travelers!  We finally broke away and started moving again.)

We rode to the Louisiana state line before our next stop.  I was getting very sleepy and needed a nap.  We stopped at the Welcome Station Rest Area and selected the closest picnic table to sleep under.  I sleep great for about hour but then got up.  I visited the Welcome Center while Dave continued to rest.  It was around 3 PM CST when we stopped at the rest area.  I found some medium roast Community Coffee in the Welcome Center.  The coffee put sleep on the back burner!  Dave was awake when I got back to the picnic table.  It was time to get rolling but we needed fuel.

 We pulled out of the Louisiana Welcome Center and stopped at the next exit for fuel.  It was almost 5 PM Florida time.  I figured this tank should get us well into Mississippi.  East bound again we crossed the Atchafalaya Bridge, 20 miles, and made Baton Rouge well before dusk.  We took I-12 out of Baton Rouge and near Hammond the traffic got very thick.   We stopped for fuel in Hammond. When we pulled out on I-10 both lanes were running at 80 mph plus and everyone was trying to get one more position in the line of traffic.  If you left a car length of space between you, someone would pull into the space. It was getting dark and I was a little on the tight side riding this close.  We finally intersected I-10 and the traffic calmed down and thinned out. 

We entered Mississippi just as it got dark.  The riding was good now that the traffic was lighter.  As we made miles across Mississippi, I decided we should stop at the Welcome Station entering Alabama.  I need to stretch and go to the bathroom.  I figured as soon as we cleared the tunnel in Mobile we should have some good running to the Florida line, our next fuel stop.

I lead the way out of the Alabama Welcome Center heading east to downtown Mobile.  Traffic was light and it was interesting riding through the tunnel.  On the I-10 bridge over Mobile Bay, I was ready to twist the throttle a little.  I turned it up to 78 and lock the throttle and checked for Dave following.  He was not staying as close as before.  I continued the 10 miles on the Bay Bridge and then I knew it was about 40 miles to the state line.  I could smell the barn, almost back in the Florida. I picked on up to about 80 mph but I was losing sight of Dave.  I know sometimes he is doing something with his phone and will catch-up when he is finished.  I slowed down and waited for him.  After about 25 miles and no Dave I started getting concerned.  I finally pulled to the side of the road just before the Florida state line waiting on him.  It seemed I had waited 15 minutes before he showed up and stopped, time is slow when waiting.  It turns out his fatigue level has hit the wall and the road seem to be running all downhill and he was riding through a tunnel.  (DAVE: I was happy to finally see Jim waiting for me ahead.  For whatever reason, the stress of some of the high traffic areas wed come through, the flat terrain, just the general fatigue of so many miles over such a short timeframe, but I was done.  I couldnt comfortably maintain the 70-80 mph speed.  It just felt too fast.  I badly needed to stop and take a break, but couldnt do that until I could get back with Jim.)

We pulled back out on the Interstate and head straight for the next rest area.  It was the Florida Welcome Center.  The security guard came over to us as soon as we stopped.  I was sure he was going to tell no sleeping but he just want to talk about riding motorcycles.  He couldnt believe we were coming in from California.  When we had satisfied his curiosity, we told him we had to go to sleep.  We chose a picnic table away from the traffic and lay down.  I set my phone for 30 minutes but when it went off I reset it for another 30 minutes.  I need the additional sleep and so did Dave. 

When my alarm sounded the second time we started getting ready to ride.  The temperature had come down in the 60s.  We only rode a few miles to the first exit where we fueled up.  I decided to put on the electric vest even though it was not cold when we were stopped.  I knew running 70 mph plus my body would get cold. 

Pensacola Bay Bridge

Out on I-10 again we crossed Pensacola Bay, and then it was open road until Tallahassee.  The miles were clicking by and in about 110 miles I pulled into a gas station.  I wanted to stretch and see if everything was good with Dave.  We didnt need gas but fueled anyway.  It was 3 AM EST and our bodies were in our usual sleep mode.  We figured this fuel would take us to I-75 and one more stop would get us to the Daytona/Ormond Beach.

We made about 100 miles again before fatigue took over and we had to stop for some more sleep.  We stopped at a truck stop maybe 20 miles east of Tallahassee.   When we went inside they thought we were after coffee but we said we were looking for a flat spot to lie down.  They quickly offered us the truckers lounge which was an area with table and chairs.  We moved a few out of the way and lay down on the floor.  I went out like a light while Dave was still grooming his spot on the dirty floor.  (DAVE: Lounge is a nice way to put it.  I remember a pretty dirty place with a few tables/chairs and video game machines, and hoping we werent going to be murdered as we slept!  All my imagination :)  The folks were super nice and all was well.)

In 15 minute I woke up ready to go.  The fresh coffee was ready and we had a cup before heading out.  It I funny how much better I felt after only 15 minutes of sleep but I am sure the time of the day helped.  It was getting close to my regular wake up time.  We rode east to Live Oak, Florida, this time before stopping at Mickey Ds for an egg bagel and coffee.

 From Live Oak we rode to Jacksonville and then started south toward Daytona and Ormond Beach.  It was daylight and the traffic picked up as we approached Jacksonville.  We became separated near the end of I-295 and I saw Dave waiting on the side as I pull onto I-95.  He quickly came back on I-95 and we rode together again.  We made about 45 miles of the 80 miles to Daytona before the coffee was ready to come out.   I pulled off at a small exit that offered a few tree and a wide spot to park the bikes.  It served the purpose.

We were in an elated state now because the barn, Ormond Beach, was truly in site and the plan was coming to fruition.  We pulled back onto I-95 in a cruising state of mind.  It wasnt long before our Ormond Breach exit was there and we were headed back to our starting point.  The BP Station was our last fueling point of the CCC-100.  The manager and one of the employees were inside when we ask about getting our witness form signed.  They remembered us for the previous Thursday and couldnt believe we had been to San Diego, California, and back.  99 hours of staying focused and we were ready to sit down and relish in our accomplishment. 

We drove over to the beach, about a mile, and parked in a shopping center.  Then we walked on to the beach for pictures and more good vibes about our trip.

We are FINISHED! Coast to Coast to Coast!  96 hours!

We strolled back up to the beach and into a StarBucks to discuss our accomplishment.  We were thankful that we had pulled this off with no mechanical problems and no accidents.  It felt good to not be in a rush to drink the coffee.  (DAVE: This was the first time in 4 days that wed been able to sit and relax, without being on the clock.   Of course, wed had plenty of breaks all along the way, but theres something special about that first time after an event is over, when you can sit and relax, and realize there are no thoughts about the ticking clock in the background.  NICE!)

We had a plan to ride from East coast to the West coast and BACK in 100 hours, CCC-100, round trip and were finished!   We planned to capture three Iron butt Certificates in our ride.  We had finished the CCC-100, 1500 miles in less than 24 hours and need to ride home to finish 5,000 miles in less than 5 days.  The last certificate would be accomplished when we stopped for fuel near our homes.   It was just a matter of riding the last 70 miles home now!

We left Star Bucks on a leisurely pace head home.  We rode together until the north side of Orlando where Dave headed West for Clermont and I took the Expressway to the East.  I stopped for my last fuel 8 miles for the house.  The total mileage was 5,212 miles.  It was 11:33 AM!  It was hard to believe that 4 days and 6 hours and 45 minutes ago we started the adventure.  This not something you start without some level of endurance experience and even in the best of conditions it is still risky.   I am thankful the plan came together and we met our goals!

(DAVE:  What a great time.  Really, everything went perfectly.  We stopped more than we thought we would that last night coming back, basically every 100 miles for a while.  But thats what we needed and there was no stress about it.   Its still incredible to me that we could have done that, had so much fun, and been so comfortable on these bikes.  Even after getting home, 5,200 miles in 4 days, I wasnt sick of being on the bike.  In fact, the next day, for my 50 mile commute into work, I gave no thought to taking my car, and hopped right on the bike. )

DAVE: why the sand and water samples at all 3 Coasts some ask? Just because! It's not required by anyone, but heck, if you're gonna say you went Coast to Coast, might as well put a foot in each Ocean! Also, I do now have a few drops of water from both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in our aquarium at home, to go along with the rocks from Colorado, Death Valley, Utah, Arizona, the Carolina's, etc. I have the vial with water sand samples from both Oceans still at home.

DAVE: Comments concerning my Yamaha FJR1300.   WOW!  What a bike.   Ive owned and ridden motorcycles all of my life, but this 2007 Yamaha FJR1300AE is by far the best bike Ive owned.  Ive ridden over 40,000 miles on it now, its comfortable, fast, great mileage and fuel range.  I am using the stock seat and windscreen, have added a top box in back, and some additional brake lights and reflectors, plus auxiliary driving lights in front.   Currently have two GPSs mounted, a Garmin 2610 and a Garmin Nuvi 785.   That gives me MP3 music, Bluetooth connection to my phone, plus all the mapping and routing that I currently need.    I absolutely love the Auto-Clutch of the AE model, and were I to have to replace it, Id buy the exact same bike without question.  Its perfect for what I do, which is daily 100 mile commute, plus the occasional long (very long!) trip.