Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter Solstice SaddleSore 1,000

On Sunday, December 21st, the winter solstice, I will ride another IBA SaddleSore 1,000 miles in under 24 hours to qualify for the Four Seasons certificate. 

Full SpotWalla MapsSPOT Gen3 and BubblerGPS (pictured below)

The winter solstice occurs at 5:03 PM for us here in the Central Time zone.  So, in the true spirit of the IBA Four Seasons challenge I will be riding my motorcycle during the exact astronomical moment the northern hemisphere of the earth is tilted the furthest away from the sun.

Epilog:  The riding was great.  The motorcycle performed flawlessly.  There were no close calls.  As usual, the FLIR PathFindIR thermal imaging system made riding dusk till dawn less stressful and much safer.  I am liking the new Garmin 590LM motorcycle GPS.  My preparations for the 2015 Iron Butt Rally are coming together nicely. 

Sun, Dec 21:  I will get my starting DBR (dated business receipt) at 0500 before ride east to the Sabine Turnaround for the beginning of I-10 at the Texas Information Center.  First stop will be just west of San Antonio for fuel.  Then Fort Stockton, Anthony and finally finishing in Van Horn, maybe Alpine..  

The ride from Orange was a little chilly.  By the time I got to Houston the sun was coming up but it was still cloudy.  Traffic was light through the big city and I made good time.  By the time I got to the Loop 1604 turn off to go around the northern part of San Antonio the clouds had landed producing wet riding.  No rain, just wet fog with good visibility ahead.  That cleared up by the time I got to my first pit stop at the Ralph Fair exit west bound out of San Antonio. 

Just past the Kerr County line the speed limit picked up a 80 MPH.  The clouds broke and the sun was shining between Ozona and Fort Stockton, my second fuel stop.  By this time, early afternoon, the sun had warmed things up to a cozy 65f.  It was clear riding all the way to Anthony and my third fuel stop.  Just a couple hundred miles left to complete the ride but I decided to finish in Alpine instead of Van Horn.  Alpine is a much more friendly place to stay and it's closer for the ride home in the morning.

Well, three down and one more SaddleSore 1,000 to complete the Four Seasons requirements. 

Sat, Dec 20:  Started from home around noon heading for the starting location in Orange, TX.  I will be using the same route I used for the Texas I-10 Solstice Day Ride and Fall Equinox SaddleSore 1,000 rides. :  Orange - Anthony - Van Horn.  It's I-10 all the way and on the weekend.  The weather is going to be chilly but clear for the weekend so, I will be sure to take along my heated electric riding gear. 

The ride to Orange was smooth and uneventful.  Except for a little traffic jam through Houston.  Five lanes scrunching down to one lane due to construction.  Got to Orange about 17:10 and stopped by Subway for a sandwich before going to the Super8.  I got the desk clerk to witness my IBA form so I'm ready to head out first thing in the morning. 

This will be my first "on the clock" ride using the new zumo 590LM GPS.  Back in October while riding the Big Tex Rally my backup zumo 220 died.  So, I purchased the Garmin's newest motorcycle GPS with all the latest bells and whistles, including the built in tire pressure monitoring system, TPMS.  At first I was using the 590 as the backup unit but liked its feature so much, and the new user interface, I decided to swap the units around.  I spent some time farkling the new setup for the 590 and 665 zumos to get the mounted as stable as possible.  I used a piece of 2 inch by 1/8 inch aluminum stock to fabricated supporting mounts.  This gives each GPS unit the anti vibration and stable mounting.  The "FarkleBar" I purchased at the IBA International Meeting back in August provided the ideal mounting platform to provide a clean setup.