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June 21st, 2008 A Summer Solstice Saddle Sore 1000

Note: This ride is over a year old but it was suggested that the report be posted here for the enjoyment of those who find such shenanigans entertaining.

Here's the KLR in it's more usual environment

After my first ride on a newly acquired 1994 Kawasaki KLR250, I was impressed at how comfy the stock seat was. It wasnít long before I started planning a few long-ish rides with the intention of eventually attempting a Saddle Sore 1000 on it. Since the stock headlight leaves a lot to be desired, I had the Summer Solstice, June 21st as a target date to attempt the ride, making the most of the extra sunlight.

My intention was to do the ride with as little modification to the KLR from it's more dirt worthy set up as possible. Toward that end, I spooned on a set of more street oriented tires, changed the gearing a bit and adapted a Cee Baily's XR600 windscreen to the tiny number plate on the bike.

Here it is pretty much ready for the Saddle Sore attempt

With several Iron Butt Association rides under my belt, I had zero interest in riding a run-of-the-mill, Interstate route for this effort. I wanted a route that maximized the plethora of twisty, two lane roads that we are blessed with here in Washington State. I also wanted a route that had plenty of bail-outs in case I had overestimated the comfort of the little bike. What I settled on was a loop that crossed the Cascade Range twice, crossed over scenic White Pass, skirted the Pacific Coast and swung around the top of the Olympic Peninsula.

This is the route I decided upon. The red square to the northwest is Clallam Bay but I have no way of documenting this stop so I turned in the route as drawn above.

One of my best friends and frequent riding pals, Dale, wanted to come along as soon as he heard what my planned route was. Although I generally prefer to make my IBA ride attempts solo, Dale is one of 2 or 3 buddies that Iíve ridden enough miles with, including more than one IBA ride, to know that his riding style fits very well with mine. He has accompanied me on IBA rides such as the Border to Border and more than one Saddle Sore. He is just one of those folks who isn't interested in doing all of the paperwork to get a certificate. I can understand and respect that viewpoint but I think I've finally convinced him that there are more benefits to IBA membership than just the certificates. We will be planning an interesting and noteworthy ride for him to get his first and, I'm certain, only IBA cert. For this ride, though, the great lighting on his DL650 would come in handy once the sun finally set.

Here we are, about to set out from Kent, WA.

The day arrived and we left Kent, WA a little before 4 AM. The planned route was to slab it up to Arlington to get a good gauge on whether or not I could put in the miles on this little bike. That worked out okay so we headed east on WA-530 to Rockport. Turning east onto WA-20, we soon arrived at my first gas stop in Marblemount.

Marblemount, WA, on Highway 20 - the North Cascades Highway.

First gas stop, Marblemount, WA.

From there, we continued east, over the North cascades Highway. Dale had never ridden over Hwy. 20 so it was a real treat to be able to share this with him. The little KLR did an admirable job of negotiating the sometimes extreme elevation changes that this stretch of road offers. I had replaced the front sprocket with one that had an extra tooth just for this ride and that allowed its diminutive motor to cruise at an honest 65 mph at 7,000 rpm. That is, as long as the road was level. Pitifully, the poor thing couldn't quite maintain that speed once we started climbing, (2000 feet in 8 miles). But, I could shift down to 5th and keep a steady 55 mph for these short segments and the bike and I were happy.

The next gas stop was Pateros and Dale and I took a few minutes longer than usual, talking about how beautiful the scenery is on the North Cascades Highway. Then, it was back on the road and on to our next gas stop, Othello. The nice thing about a trip of this length on such a small bike is that the 2.5 gallon gas tank ensured plenty of stops.

Soon we were riding west on WA-24, skirting the Hanford Reservation towards Yakima. We had to endure a couple of miles of I-82 before exiting onto US-12 and riding over White Pass. This was another planned gas stop and we took advantage of the opportunity to re-install our jacket liners and switch to winter gloves for the expected colder climes to the west.

WRONG! The weather was just as beautiful on the west side as on the east. So we roasted all the way to Raymond, the next planned stop. In Raymond, we shed the liners and switched back to the summer gloves. As my luck would have it, by the time we got 25 miles north of Raymond, heading for Forks, the weather turned cold and it started misting. So, for about 300 miles, we were in completely the wrong gear for our conditions. Hey, if this was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

I had promised Dale that we'd stop in Forks for a Sully's burger if we were on or ahead of schedule and that is exactly what we did. Mmmm. It was extra tasty towards the end of a day that saw me eating only a couple of cereal bars and a banana up to that point.

Forks, WA on the Olympic Peninsula. Great burgers at Sully's.

The next planned stop was Clallam Bay. I had planned this because I wanted to take the northern route to Port Angeles - WA-113 and WA-112, rather than staying on US-101. Unfortunately, the Shell station in Clallam Bay does not have pay-at-the-pump and the station was closed. Doh! Then we found out it is the same story in Joyce. Now, we've ridden an extra 20 or so miles that I can't document. This is fine because the 101 route is long enough but I wouldn't have ridden so far out of my way if I'd known it wouldn't have counted for anything. I saw no point in even mentioning this snafu in my submission to the IBA as there was nothing to be gained in doing so. It's up to the rider to prove they rode to where they say they rode to, otherwise, credit can only be given for the most direct route. It is certainly a good thing that I had extra fuel along for just such a case.

So, Port Angeles was our first and only un-planned gas stop. From there, it was a dark ride on newly paved US-101 to Skokomish and one last fill up before heading back to the station from which we started.

The Certificate

The final tally:
  • 1062 miles on the bike's odometer

  • 1041 GPS miles - after subtracting the un-documentable miles to Clallam Bay

  • Less than 100 miles on Interstates

  • 22 hours and 4 minutes

  • 2 tired but very happy riders

  • Archives

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