Heaven to Hell Pictures

I did my first Iron Butt Ride on April 11th, 2015. It was a group ride with our local Harley Owners Group chapter and it was a back and forth route from Las Vegas, NV to Grand Junction, CO; back to Las Vegas.  Officially we had 16 people turn in documentation to the Iron Butt Association for their certificates (My first time documentation included), unofficially, we had at least 19 bike in the group. I was told that a successful group ride of this size was impressive and as a Road Captain in our local HOG group, I have always been proud of the effort and the way the ride was handled, and that we started and ended together as one group.

Ever since that ride though, I was always thinking of my next Iron Butt Ride. I would go through the list of Certified Rides and think about this ride or the next, but the one that always grabbed my eye was the Heaven to Hell Gold. Maybe because I live in Las Vegas, I was drawn to the fact that it ended near me, or maybe it was the fact that only 27 people had completed it. Hell, more people finish the Iron Butt Rally every year that its held than the total amount of riders that have completed this certified ride in the last 17 years. I slowly became obsessed with it.

In April of this year, I completed my second Iron Butt ride, the Kactus Kilo Tour of Honor SS1K that coincidentally occurred almost two years to the day from my first certified ride. Though it took two years to get going, I’m hooked now.

There is a charity that I am involved in and ride with. This charity deserves it own separate post but this year I found myself capable of completing the Heaven to Hell Ride as my ride with the charity would bring me within range to setup for it.

From July 10th through the 19th I rode with my charity from California to Texas and on July 19th, I rode a Tour of Honor Saddle Sore 1,000 from Abilene, TX to Colorado City, CO via Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Finishing on my birthday, July 20th.

My facebook post that day was this:
{BEGIN SNIPPIT}
“For my birthday.. I rode 1,100 miles in 24 hours, across 5 states. Visited 4 Statue of Liberties and several veteran memorials and picked up a couple of pics for the HOG ABC’s of touring. It was a good day. I ate B-Day Cupcakes that were delivered to my hotel room from {my girlfriend} Christine and I am staged to crank out out a bucket-list Heaven-to-Hell ride that will get me back home. This is just the last 24 hrs!

Leading up to this day, I rode over 2,500 miles… of which 1,200 miles were escorting an american flag across CA, NV, AZ, NM and into TX for the Nation of Patriots “Patriot Tour”. I Ieft TX without my flag pole as its now flying the Nation of Patriots flag proudly acoss the rest of it’s tour.

I made new friends, thanked veterans, and stood in front of greatness time and time again. I have attended cermonies that brought men to tears and seen patriosm that others can only imagine.

It been a pretty damn awesome 2 weeks! … I only have a couple of days left before I return to normality, but it aint over yet!”
{END SNIPPIT}

It was a pretty damn awesome two weeks! but the next day… July 21st, I started my Heaven to Hell ride. I even had a friend ride out of Las Vegas to meet me in Colorado Springs because he wanted to do the ride as well! Awesome!

Leading up to the ride, I planned everything I could. I went over the route and the IBA description time and time again. I adjusted gas stops and went over it yet again. I read and re-read the IBA Requirements for the ride and signed up for Premier Membership. When I met my riding buddy in Colorado Springs, I went over the fact that this ride is important to me and there will be no screwing around on this trip. No ABC’s of Touring Stops, no Tour of Honor Stops, nothing but business from beginning to end.

July 21st, Start, Pike Peak, CO – Plan your ride, ride your plan ( see, I learned )
We leave the hotel and head up to Pikes Peak, the pre-ride to the entrance the day before payed off and we knew exactly how to get to the entrance with out any additional stress. We left the hotel on schedule at 8am and got to the entrance of the park soon after and we had a nice no-stress ride to the top. I was worried about the weather given all the rain they had been having lately but on this day, the morning was perfect. Clear blue skies, and it was even t-shirt weather at the top of the mountain.

We parked our bikes, took some scenic pictures and took in the sights. We ended up at the gift shop and bought a “I Rode The Peak” patch. With the purchase of that patch, the ride was on! I went straight to the bike, went through my checklist, zero’d out parameters on the GPS, hit the SPOT OK button, and we were off!…. then within minutes later we were stuck behind traffic as a Road Grader that just finished leveling the parking lot at the peak, started to make its way back down the mountain.. F’Really! Come on!  GOOSFRABA… Goosfraba…. goosfraba.

We got around the grader in pretty short order considering the switch backs and make it down the mountain without further incident.

Stop 1: Hartsel, CO (74 Miles later)
Why did I plan this stop? I think I was worried about gas mileage after reading all the warnings about mileage when going up the Pikes Peak. None the less… stick to the plan.
City/State on the Receipt … Check.
Date/Time on the Receipt … Check.
Gallons/Price Correct… wait… Date/Time are an hour off! Double check the receipt to the Garmin and the onboard GPS. Yup, one hour off and on the first gas stop and there are no other stores in this middle of no where. So I make a note of it, hit the SPOT OK button and hope for the best.

Stop 2 : Independence Pass; 12:56pm MST (146 Miles)
This is a required stop and we started to get into some rain on the way up the hill… cold, wet rain. Took me about an hour before I remembered that I have heated grips on the Harley. The pass was beautiful and we got our required pictures, plus pictures of the GPS, odometer, etc… just in case we need it.

Stop 3 : Wood Creek, CO
Even though I told my riding partner that there was no screwing around, I made plans for this one stop at Woody Creek Tavern. Famous for their margaritas and local bar to the writer and gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. We had some lunch, drank some water and I bought a t-shirt. We seem to be on time and maybe even a little ahead as our stops were going quicker than I had planned.

Stop 4 : Glenwood Springs, CO; 15:37pm MST  (211 Miles)
Aspen sucks! Well.. when you are on a bike running a timed road trip. We finally got out of Aspen and into Glenwood. I had to fight the urge to be drawn into the siren song song of the local Harley dealership but we managed and we were off without further delay. I’m starting to worry about time though… we spent allot of time in CO so far and still have Utah and Nevada to go through. The schedule says we are OK though, so I relax… the plan is good and we are still riding the plan.

Stop 5 : Grand Junction, CO; 16:58pm MST (294 Miles)
Nothing to say about Grand Junction, got fuel, checked weather and moved right along. There was some rain ahead of us but it looked like most of it already moved off.

Stop 6: Salina, UT; 20:15pm MST (502 Miles)
We just rode through a long section of highway miles. We got some light rain but we barley managed to ride the edge of two major rain cells. One was probably 1/2 mile away and you could see the curtain of rain off to the left in the desert. We got a couple of occasional rain drops from it, but nothing major.

At the gas stop, I even ran into a an ex-worker from back in Las Vegas. We talked for a bit, got caught up and remarked on the fact, that of all places to run into someone, who would have thought it would have been in Salina, UT.

Recognizing the fact that I haven’t had a cigar yet on this trip, I go to my tour pack and start to light one up for the next segment. as I am in the process of setting my cigar going, my riding buddy comes out of the gas station, looking and pointing at a huge rain cloud,
He asks, “Are we going that way?”
Me, “Yup, right through the middle of it.”
“Should we put our rain gear on?”
“Nah. Why start now? Lets go!”

For future reference, if you are ever on a ride and someone says “Why start now?” in reference to rain gear…. put the rain gear on.

Oh we got rained on. This storm probably ranks as one the worst storms that I had been through. The rain was so bad that the road way could not clear it fast enough…. rain so bad that you can not see the lane markers any more…. rain so bad that there are puddles of water in your boots. Rain so bad that you can’t keep your cigar lit anymore!

Stop 8 : Delta, UT; 21:49pm MST (576 Miles)
Delta Utah…. go the speed limit! The presence of Sheriffs is strong in this town. The original gas stop that I had planned had us going through town and getting gas just before we left Delta but when we got to the station, it was closed. Though the pumps were open, there was no attendant in case of a receipt issue, so back to the beginning of town where we saw a manned gas station. Locals were setting off fireworks in the middle of the night and I remarked that it was a nice ‘Welcome to our town’ celebration that they put on here.

Stop 9 : Ely, NV; 23:27pm PST (728 Miles)
Oh my god what a boring ride! 152 miles of riding in pitch black, no moon, no oncoming cars, no cars in front of us, no cars behind us… just you and the what ever small patch of desert that your headlight can light up in front of you.

This is another required stop so we get our pictures of everything that we can, then go inside to buy some water and snacks but the attendant is no where to be seen. We head back to the bikes to find them covered in Stink Bugs. They seemed to be more drawn to the warmth of the tires and they are covered in bugs.

We go through the now normal routine of checking the receipt and hitting the SPOT OK, and we are off again…. while squishing hundreds of bugs on the way out. Seriously, you had to shake out your jacket before putting it back on, it was nuts!

Stop 10 : Tonopah, NV; 02:10am PST (897 Miles)
Another boring stretch of road in the middle of the night, only punctuated by the occassional Jack Rabbit that would dart across the road right in front of you. I swear, one had antlers on his head.

Stop 11 : Beatty, NV; 03:41am PST (991 Miles)
Those damn Jack Rabbits are out to kill me! You kind of get freaked out on the first couple that run in front of you, then I remembered a story that was told to me that basically went like this, “Is it bigger than a small dog?”, “No'”, “Then why the hell are you trying to swerve around it!?”. So I stopped worrying about it and just started counting the number of suicidal bunnies in the desert… sorry, it was 3am… I lost count and lost caring about it, but there was a lot of them.

I also remember how unseasonably cool the entire trip has been. Pikes Peak was nice and warm, but the rest of the trip was rather cool.. and sometimes very wet and COLD. So far though, it has not gotten hot.

Remember earlier when I said, when you have that moment when someone tells you “why put on your rain gear now?”.  The same goes for when someone says, “Hey it hasn’t been hot really at all.”.

Stop 12 : Bad Water, CA; 05:16am PST (1049 Miles)
111 Degrees and the sun isn’t even out… but at least the sun isn’t out… just as I planned it! We ride to the ticket Kiosk and it’s Out Of Order. Thats OK, I have this planned out just in case. Do another SPOT OK, take more picture of the GPS showing the location and time. Take more pictures of us and the bikes and even of the broken kiosk.

It’s done! We made it! It’s Over!… nope… we still have to get home to Vegas… another 2 hours away. but the time seemed to click off effortlesy and before I know it I was back home in my bed. The next day I organized all the receipts, paperwork and pictures and sent it off to get my certificates.

After two weeks of riding and nearly 6K miles in 12 days, I rode in 10 states and completed two Iron Butt rides and as I sit here typing this ride report, in my other browser are plans for a Solar Eclipse 1000 on the 21st of August.

Mile Eater, here I come!

 

 

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Honor Memorial Day

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

– The Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln, Thursday, November 19, 1863

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Nation of Patriots 2016

The Nation of Patriots is a charity that I was lucky to find out about right when they began.  The organization raises awareness and funds that is distributed directly to the families  in need who have or still serve in our Armed Forces. The organizers themselves are all volunteers which makes them able to give out 100% of all the money that is raised.

Once a year there is a national effort to move an American Flag across the United States of America. The Patriot Tour starts on Memorial Day and is escorted by motorcycle between groups of individuals who receive the flag, then move it to the next group of riders, each group advancing the flag across this great nation and eventually arriving back where it started on Labor Day.

For what ever reason, this specific charity has sparked something in me and I have been 100% behind it since they started in 2009. My personal goal is to ride escort to the flag a little further each year. In 2015, my riding buddy and I rode with the flag through three states and we witnessed it’s passing between five different groups of riders for approx. 500 miles. In 2016 I rode with the flag through four states and nearly 800 miles.

My 2016 Nation of Patriots picture gallery

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1,500 miles in 24 hours

Last weekend, I attempted 1,500 miles in 24 hours. Think about it for a second… if your total moving average speed was 60 mph, you would only complete 1,440 miles in a day. We had to average at least a 65mph speed for entire day.

We planned, we prepared, we failed. Mother nature was not on our side. We planned to leave Las Vegas and go Lake Elsinore, CA and back to Vegas which would be 500 miles. We then would pick up additional riders who wanted to ride 1,000 miles in 24 hours, and the group would leave las Vegas a second time and go to Grand Junction, CO and back for an additional total of 1,000 miles.

Five riders attempted the first 500 miles and as we got back into Las Vegas, one of the riders was feeling more fatigued than what he thought he should of. We also looked at weather in Grand Junction which was a high percentage of rain with thunder and lightning. Putting our judgment on the side of caution, we aborted the ride and only completed the first 500 miles.

Lessons that I learned:
1) You can not ride 1,500 miles as a group. You can leave as a group and arrive as group but managing traffic must have a “every man for himself” mentality.
2) Don’t have a midway stop in your home town, it gives people the mental option to quit and some will take it.
3) Don’t start your ride in the late evening. if you start your ride at 8pm,your body is already telling you it’s bed time and that you should stop. It’s not a great way to start a distance ride.

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A current picture….

This is how Carley stands now. Starting to look pretty damn good.  🙂 The new pipes are great, it moved the power band to where I like it, starts to kick in in about 3,000 RPM and really gets boost of power at 3,500 RPM. I even got to plat with a 1200 Sportster on the way home through Lake Mead today… poor guy backed off at 100 MPH. There are more pictures in the gallery.

 

Oh speaking of the exhaust…. I got some MP3’s… recorded with a professional audio recorder, mic levels, distance from bike etc stayed the same between the two recordings.

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FLHTK w/Stock Pipes

 

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FLHTK w/ Screaming Eagle High Flow Exhaust

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1K Service

I took Carley II into the dealership on Sat. They called early to tell me that my exhaust has arrived. When I dropped the bike off I also asked them to do the 1K Miles service, install the LED Fog Lights and Fairing Switch, programs the Spot Lights to stay on with the high beam and to install Fairing Mount Mirrors. As part of the deal with the new bike, the dealership was to also move my JRI Shocks from the Street Glide over to the Limited.

Later on Saturday afternoon, I get a call from the dealership asking what kind of shocks were installed on the Street Glide, I relayed the information then asked why he was asking.  It seems the dealership has already sent my bike to auction along with the shocks that there were supposed to put on my new bike.

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Front Fender De-Badge

I ordered and received the Harley Front Fender “Name Plates” though they aren’t actually name plates. There were needed to de-badge the front fender. The “Limited” logo on the front fender is held on with 3M Double Sided Tape, but it is aligned using three holes on each side of the fender. The de-badge process is the same just heat up the area with a hair dryer of heat gun and run a fishing line or dental floss behind the emblem to remove it. Once removed you can use 3M Adhesive rover or in my case, Goo Gone to remove any access tape residue.

Before:

After:

During:

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My new exhaust is in!

Its *IN* not *ON*…. I go the call from the dealership today they got my exhaust in and they wanted to schedule a time for me to bring the bike in. I told them that they can expect me on Saturday and that they will be performing the 1,000 mile service as well. I only have 800 miles on the bike and I just went on-call… so I have some late night rides ahead of me. I’m also having the LED Fog Lights moved over from my Street Glide, along with my shocks and new set of fairing mounted mirrors.

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Carley II : Day-3

I got off work last night and accidentally made a wrong turn, I ended up in Nipton, CA because traffic wouldn’t let me over to get an earlier exit. Click the image to open in full size. I ended the day with 438 miles on the odometer.

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Carley II : Day-2

At my dealership, they like to play the customers favorite song over speakers inside the dealership when someone buys a new bike. They get to ring a brass bell and all the employees will come over and thank the new owner, etc… etc… I pretty much know everyone there already and told them I can dispense with the hoopla but asked if they would play my song for all to hear. I was curious if they would do this… apparently they had second thoughts when I told them it was “Fuc|< the Pain Away” by Peaches. I told them it was OK, that I was just more curious if they would actually do it or not than actually hearing the song…. besides it was already on my playlist, I can listen to it any time.

Its not my first time on a >2014 Limited but somehow it does feel different. Because this one is mine. The bike was turned over to me just outside the front door with of the dealership, with 6 miles on the odometer… where I immediately drove it out like 50 yards and started doing tight figure-8’s in the parking lot… my salesman was cheering me on.

The hard part was the initial engine break in, I was told to keep it under 3K RPM for the first 50 miles and 3.5K for the next 500 miles. So, I ran up to the Valley of Fire to re-create my profile picture from my Street Glide. Varying engine RPM’s through the ride. Once I got to the Valley of Fire the first 50 miles were done so I could now hit 3,500 RPM. I would now be in gradual twists all the way home, so as long I shifted earlier than normal I should be OK. Id did find myself going through the turns at a pretty good clip though.

I have basic familiarity with the stereo already but I forgot to bring a sync cord for my phone… which as it turns out won’t fit in the little “phone box” anyways, so I was listening to my playlist via bluetooth. While going through a function tests of the stereo I found that every time that I keyed the CB, my song would get paused. A quick tap on the “press-to-talk” would un-pause it. But as a Road Captain in our HOG Chapter, we use CB’s a lot… this will get annoying very quickly if I can’t get it to stop.

Got home with 140 miles or so on the odometer, put my highway pegs on, my Hardbagger Top Shelf tray and the Custom Dynamics Dynamic Rings front LED indicators.

I then decided that I wanted to de-badge the bike, I wanted to do it on my Street Glide but never did it. This time… what the hell.

I took some measurements on the current placement just in case I didn’t like it. I used the pin stripe line as a reference.



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