Big As Texas Party (Ride In SS1K)

Big As Texas Party (Ride In SS1K)

The Big AS Texas (BAT) Party, and my SS1K Hat-Trick, have begun.  Well – the official IBA events begin in a few hours – but my first of three SS1Ks is in the books.

At 7:00pm, Tuesday the 3rd, I was just finishing up my preparations for the next 5 days.  Clothes and rain & cool weather gear were packed and loaded in the bike’s cases.  The GPSs were programmed with all of the relevant routing info.  My Spotwalla trip page was setup and spot tracking was tested and running.  All of my rally and SS1K instructions, releases, log sheets, route plans and bonus sheets were printed and sealed in their respective waterproof folders.  The camera was fully charged, the tank bag map pouch had the first route and gas stop sheets in place, and the clipboard was loaded with the first log sheet.  Everything I have learned and used to succeed on my past long distance rides was ready to go.  I had 2 hours to clean up and wind down before I got a solid 8 hours sleep.  Right…  Sleep…  If only…

I actually got to bed at 9pm as planned.  Then, as is usually the case in these situations, I spent the next few hours tossing and turning and reviewing all of my preparations and plans.  I can’t really tell you how much sleep I actually got.  It’s one of those situations where you’re pretty sure you are awake and thinking about things, then, all of a sudden, it’s like you wake up from a semi-sleep.  All I know for sure is that when the alarm went off, I was sleeping soundly and wished I could continue.

As the morning began, it was quickly obvious that my anal retentive tendancies, this time manifesting themselves as over preparation, were paying “YUGE” dividends – “believe me” (I’m laughing.  Are you?).  In a mere 30 minutes I had gotten up and ready to go, fed the animals, fired up all of the electronics, donned all of my gear, and was rolling out the driveway.  Next stop, the Mobile station just over the intra-coastal and my starting gas receipt. 

10/04/2017  05:46, a mere 46 minutes after the alarm sounded, my starting receipt printed with all of the necessary information.  (City, State, Date, Time, Gallons if it is a gas receipt)  Of course I knew it would have all the necessary information correctly printed because I had been there 2 days earlier to verify that fact.  Murphy is alive and well after all.  Once I had taken the required photo of my receipt together with my odometer, and logged the starting information on the fuel log, I was on my way at 06:03.

A couple of days earlier, Eddie texted me to get more details about my departure plans for the ride to Texas.  Eddie is one of the organizers of, and a frequent ride planner/leader for, my local rider group, Moto17Jax.  He had apparently gotten the basics from my previous posting about the event, but wanted to know more.  As messages went back-and-forth, and details were exchanged, Eddie said he wanted to accompany me on the first leg of my ride.  The first leg being, from where I got my initial, starting the clock, receipt, and my first gas stop, 180 miles west of Jacksonville, on I-10.  A few more messages about the fact that, 30 miles into my ride I will essentially pass his house, it was agreed that I would meet him just off I-10 near his home.  So, as planned, at 06:30 I pulled up beside Eddie.  A couple minutes of greeting and pairing up our Bluetooth helmet communication units and we were on our way.

It was still dark when we accelerated down the entry ramp to I-10, however, that wouldn’t last long.  Since I was actually 38 miles into my first leg, we only had 142 miles to the first stop.  My second gas receipt said 08:39:36.  So I guess we made pretty good time.  The ride over was pretty much as you might expect of a Florida interstate highway.  Straight as the proverbial arrow, pretty much flat as a board, of course it tried to rain on us twice but only managed to put out a heavy mist for a couple of miles, a couple of times.  You know; boring.  But, conversation with Eddie over the Bluetooth and an hour or so listening to the audio book I had downloaded for the trip made the time pass quickly.  Before we knew it we were approaching our exit and our ride together came to an end.  The gas station was located next to a Waffle House.  So Eddie had planned to have breakfast there before heading back to Jacksonville.  He stayed with me while I filled up, shot the required photos and logged all of the necessary information.  Then we wished each other well and went our separate ways.  Me continuing on to the west and him heading back to where we started.  I didn’t know it at the time but he had shot a few pictures of me doing all of my documentation.  Later that day he sent them to me in a text.  Riding together, supporting and encouraging each other as we take on new adventures and challenges.  These things are at the heart of this whole endeavor.

Eddie videoed periodically throughout the ride and gave me copies. I created this short video using his footage from our ride together.

IBA BAT RideIn Leg1 from Changing Gears on Vimeo.

Knowing that my route was going to take me along the gulf coast through several states, I had loaded batteries in my GoPro gimbal at the gas stop.  I had decided to shoot a little video during my trip so I brought the camera along.  I sometimes carry a GoPro Session camera, mounted on an EVO Gimbal, in my tank bag.  If I know something interesting is coming up, or happen to see something interesting, and have enough time, I can pull the camera out and shoot video without slowing down. 

While I spend most of my spare time on the bike now, I still love the water.  Something about water, especially the oceans, just seems right to me.  I think about scuba from time-to-time and all the places we dove.  Great Barrier Reef, ship wrecks of St Thomas, etc, etc.  I guess they are all destroyed or being destroyed now.  Very sad.  I’m thankful that I got to see them in all their glory.  If you’ve never experienced it, would like to, but can’t make the trip, the best advice I could give you is to go see the movie Avatar in 3D.  Then, imagine it is all under crystal clear water.  Most of the plants in that movie, as well as the bioluminescence, mimics things I’ve seen in the ocean.  Lori and I both came out of that movie saying that they got everything in the environment for the oceans.  Anyway, this ride would take me over several long bridges where I would get to see some beautiful water and marsh scenes.  So I wanted to have my camera ready.

My route to Dallas – Allen was a simple one.  Get on I-10 west in Jacksonville and stay on it all the way to Baton Rouge, LA.  Once there, take  LA-190 west to I-49 north.  You have to love I-49.  A pristine interstate with almost no traffic.  It is as if its existence is only known by the people who live or work nearby.  Oh yeah,  I-49 is also where the speed limits first steps up to 75 MPH.  After a couple of hours on I-49, I arrived at Shreveport, LA, where I jumped on I-20 west to Dallas.  You can see my route out to Texas in the banner graphic at the top of the page.  It’s obviously the red line.

The ride out was everything I had hoped.  Other than the brief bit of moisture I mention earlier, it was perfect weather for a ride.  A few white puffy clouds floated in primarily clear skies and the temperature topped out in the mid-80s.  Yeah – perfect.  The water scenes as I rode over Escambia Bay, Mobile Bay, the Pascagoula River and, making special note – considering my roots, the Mississippi River, provided the rejuvenating effect I expected.

When I got my final gas receipt in Allen, Texas,  It was 10/5/2017 00:29.  18 hours, 43 minutes and 1,066 miles had passed.  Over 1,000 miles, less than 24 hours, the first SS1K in my BAT SS1k Hat-Trick was in the books.  2 more and a great event with good people lay ahead.

Here is a sampling of the video I shot during my ride out to Texas.

One Reply to “Big As Texas Party (Ride In SS1K)”

  1. Nice video. Pretty cool how the GO PRO pans back on the blue truck, I hardly believe that one is capable of turning their head while riding.