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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, I'm sorry. This is going to be a long one. It might also end up being pic heavy. You have been warned!

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Hello! I’m Red, the Rooster. I’m the only rooster in the world who can ride a motorcycle. It’s good to meet you. I’ve got a Triumph Street Triple RS. It’s a great bike! More power than I’ll ever need, extremely agile, nice and light, and has an intake sound that is absolutely intoxicating. It’s a real shame she only sounds that great when under load or going way faster than I should be. She is far more capable in the canyons than I am and loves to stretch her legs on a long straight interstate. (The speedo reads in kilometers per hour, right?) She is more than capable of doing speeds that the local sheriff calls “reckless” all day long. Sadly, she’s not exactly a great choice for touring. There’s no windscreen. She’s only good for about 125-150 miles between fuel stops. The seating position is not as bad as a dedicated sport bike, but it’s certainly no cruiser. The pegs are high enough to get a good lean and not have to worry about hitting them, but that makes it a bit cramped when spending all day in the saddle. The seat is more oriented to quick rides through the canyons rather than putting down miles on the open interstates. And she’s very light so not the most stable in high winds. That’s why I decided to take it on a nice long solo trip. I know, I know! A Gold Wing would be a much better choice. They have plenty of wind protection, big cushy seat, floor boards, a very relaxed riding position, and a range that rivals commuter cars. But no, that’s not for me. I prefer to do things my way. What’s the point of living of you take the easy way out of everything? Besides, I’m a rooster, I don’t know anything about big touring bikes…

If long distance touring on a motorcycle poorly suited for it interests you, keep reading. You might enjoy my story. It all started long before I actually got on the bike to ride. There was a lot of preparation involved. Feel free to skip around to the sections that interest you the most. I’ll try to keep it easy enough to navigate, but detailed enough for anyone interested in those details. I’ll be updating the story as I ride. I can’t promise an update every single day, but I’ll do my best to keep up with things. It’s a lot of riding and roosters aren’t so great at typing. We really just hunt and peck.

FIGURING OUT WHERE TO GO:

The first challenge I faced was where to go. Every minute doesn’t have to be planned out, but I do need a general idea of where I’m going. Hmm, I was looking for a long ride, over more than a few days, but the international borders were still closed so I needed to stay in the contiguous US. Heck, that sounds like an Iron Butt ride. I’m an IBA rooster, so that’s right up my alley. The usual Iron Butt ride you hear about is a 1,000 mile ride in less than 24 hours. Meh, I’ve done that a few times, so I needed something different. I took a look at the big long list of rides available to find a good one. I wanted one that hasn’t been done to death. If thousands of other people have done it, it wouldn’t be a Red the Rooster worthy ride. No no, old Red needs something special. So I started looking through the rides and found some interesting ones. The first one that caught my attention was the 48/10. You ride to all 48 of the contiguous states in less than 10 days. It’s about 8,000 miles in total. It’s one of the harder rides, but still fairly popular. I also did some planning for it last year, but COVID happened and it never fully panned out. I checked the big list of all certified IBA rides and noticed that quite a few people have done it. Seriously, there’s like 5 dozen people that have done it or one of its several variations. That’s not as special of a ride as I’d like.

I looked around more and found the National Parks Tour! One must visit at least 50 National Parks in at least 25 different states to qualify. Hey, that’s right up my alley. I love the National Parks and even have an Annual Pass so I get in free. Sadly, more people have done it than I can count, so that’s out.

My search continued and I found a ride called “Sunrise to Sunset”. It goes from East Port, Maine to La Push, Washington in less than 3 days. Basically the first place in the US that sees the sunrise, to the last place to see the sunset. It’s about 3500 miles. That would be a good trip. It looks like 20 people have already done it, so not too many people. It would require about 7,000 miles of riding for me to do since I’m currently in the Black Hills, nowhere near the start of the ride. It’s about a week of riding and a certification that not too many people have. Not bad, not bad.

But I’m a persistent rooster and wanted to find something even better, so I kept looking. Maybe I would find one better. I’m glad I kept looking because I found a gem called RAT48. It stands for Ride Around The 48. You ride around to the far reaches of the contiguous 48 US states in less than 30 days, without leaving the US. That’s right, no cutting through Canada even though it would save quite a few miles and hours. It’s 11,000+ miles and requires you to visit certain cities in order. You have to hit Key West, FL, Venice, LA, South Padre Island, TX, San Ysidro, CA, Neah Bay, WA, Warroad, MN, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, West Quoddy, ME, and Outer Banks, NC. You can start at any one of them, but have to get them in order and return to the starting location to prove you made a full lap around the 48. Hmm, 30 days seems like plenty of time, but there’s a Gold version of the ride that requires it in less than 20 days for more of a challenge. Basically, 3 weeks, 11,000+ miles, and I get to knock a few rides off my bucket list in the process! And Warroad, MN is less than a day’s ride from me. I wonder how many people have done this ride before, so I checked the list. Sadly, that was a miserable failure. I used the search feature and couldn’t find anything for “RAT48”, “RAT 48”, “R A T 48”, “Ride Around The 48”, “R.A.T. 48”, “RAT-48”, "RAT Forty Eight", or a few other variations. I did find “Forty-Eight” a few times, but it’s just guys who were riding a Harley Davidson “Forty-Eight” branded motorcycles. Hmmm, maybe there aren’t any certifications for that ride, and that’s why I can’t find them. WHOA! Wait a minute! Could that be right? Has nobody ever managed to do that ride? Well, that’s definitely the ride for me.

This is what the route looks like:


And so it was decided. Summer of 2021, Red the Rooster is going to take his Street Triple for a Ride Around The 48. According to the basic route in good ole’ Google Maps, it’s 170 hours and 10,875 miles in total. That’s not bad at all! If I add a few miles here, and a few over there, and reroute this little section a tad to the south, and stick to the Pacific coast instead of taking I-5, I’m at 11,750 miles and 183 hours. It amounts to about an additional day worth of riding, but I get to take Highway 101 and 1 completely down the Pacific coast, see the famous Golden Gate Bridge, cross over the northern part of the Continental Divide, and stop by a few friends places along the way. And I only have to average 600 miles a day. That’s only a couple of tanks of fuel a day. I can totally do that!

MOTORCYCLE PREPARATIONS:

In order to do it, I’m going to need prepare the bike. First of all, there are toll roads. I did some research and North Carolina’s QuickPass is accepted everywhere I’ll be going. It’s good all along the Atlantic coast from Florida to Maine, which is where I’ll be. I called them up and got my QuickPass setup and shipped out to me. Then I took a good look at the bike. A windscreen would really help with the fatigue from wind blast on those long interstate days. So I went to trusty Amazon and found a generic handlebar mounted windscreen. It had okay reviews. Some good, some bad, but the price was cheap so I took the risk. It arrived and seemed fine so I got it installed. I also need a good luggage solution. A trip that long will require some clothes and supplies. I got a nice big GIVI top case and the official GIVI support brackets to go with it. I can splurge once in a while so I did. It’s a nice Monokey system. It’s water tight, locks securely, and doesn’t look home-made. I got it all loaded up and went for a test ride. Everything worked as well as can be expected. I definitely notice the added weight up high and far back, but it’s easy enough to manage. Then I realized that my rear tire was nearly squared off. It wasn’t at the wear bars yet, but it wasn’t far off. I decided it would be easier to replace the tires before the trip rather than trying to find a place to do it while on the road. They definitely wouldn’t make 12,000 miles and I don’t want to try to find a place to change my tire while on the road, so I bit the bullet and got a set of Road 5s installed. I’m not 100% certain that the rear tire will make 12,000 miles, but Road 5s last a long time and it will be a lot of highway miles so maybe I can get the full trip out of a rear tire. Only time will tell.

I also changed the oil and filter, and bled the brakes, and changed the air filter, and gave the chain and sprockets a good inspection. Everything was in good running order. There were no loose bolts, or anything like that. I already had an AirHawk seat cushion so I was good there too. It looked like everything was ready to go, so all I had to do was pack up, and hit the open road!

Then it hit me. The IBA requires the use of a GPS tracker for this ride. My iPhone can do it, but it requires a cell phone signal, and I might forget to turn it on one morning, or I might let the battery die, etc. I decided to bite the bullet again and get a dedicated SPOT GPS tracker. I looked them up online and found out that they were on sale over at my local Cabelas. $50 for the current base model. That ain’t bad at all. I drove down there and got the last one they had. It was the display model. I got it home and linked it to my Spotwalla account, then took it for a trip to make sure everything was working with it. As suspected, it worked flawlessly. Spotwalla showed my tracking information and can be set up to update in real time while I ride. That way, people can watch my progress. That will be a cool feature for sure! I’ve even got it set up to send me a text message if the batteries get low. That way, I can stop and replace them without any GPS tracking interruptions.

Speaking of GPS trackers, here is a link to my ride. There is a small delay between when I move and when it updates the map, but it should be small enough to not really matter. If it shows me just getting to Houston, I'm probably in the middle of Houston or heading out the other end. It's not 100% perfect, but it's close enough.


I'll be hopping on the bike and heading out tomorrow morning for Warroad, MN to officially start the clock. Today, I'm packing and double checking, and triple checking, then checking again to make sure I have everything I'll need. If I don't have it when I leave, it costs me money when I have to buy it on the road. I can honestly say, I'm a bit nervous. So much can happen on a ride that long. That's okay. I'll be fine once I hit the road. Stay tuned for updates!
 

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May the pavement be smooth, traffic be light, and the constabulary distracted!
 

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And so it begins! Have a great trip and good luck! Looking forward to following the adventure.
 
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So you are going through Canada? Montreal worth staying a couple of days. And if you have time ride out to LaPush and try deep sea sport fishing. They will freeze your fish and ship it to your home.

Post some pictures periodically. I have been waiting for a part for my Daytona for a month and fear summer will be half done by the time I am back on the road.

I have always had sport bikes and taken some long trips on them - but this is way out of my league. Good luck!

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Day 0: A Mixed Bag

Yes that's right, Day 0. Today wasn't actually the first day of the ride, so I can't call it Day 1. Today was a "get to the start of the ride" day. You know, like when you go to ride the Tail of the Dragon, but don't live at Deal's Gap. That kind of thing. Overall, it was a good day, but I do have some very unfortunate news to disclose. More on that later.

I got up this morning and was ready to go at about 7:00 am Mountain Time. We jumped on the bike and headed down to the World's Smallest Biker Bar to get a picture and commemorate the beginning of our journey. I can't think of a better place to start a ride and it was almost across the street from where I was staying.

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My chauffeur took a quick pic and off we went! It was a long road through gentle rolling hills. There were a few long sweeping curves, but nothing technical to deal with at all. Heck there wasn't even traffic to worry about. I had nice clear roads ahead of me and a full tank of fuel. Temps were right around 70 (21 for all the non-Americans) and the sun rising. There were cows in the surrounding pastures. There were even some deer out in the morning. Luckily they kept a little distance from the road. I kept a close eye on them to be sure! There was some rain in a few spots, but I was able to skirt around it all. I barely got more than a few drops the whole time. The roads were wet in places so the bike and gear got a bit dirty. I guess that's a fair trade off for riding through easy rolling hills like these all morning long:

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That was the scenery I got to enjoy all the way through South Dakota. Sadly, a few miles farther down from that particular picture stop, I encountered some of those adrenaline junkie birds who like to dart out across the road when traffic gets close. One of them zigged when it should have zagged and didn't make it across the road in time. The poor guy got hit so hard, I felt the impact through the handlebars. He got stuck under the brake fluid reservoir for a few seconds before falling off. I still feel bad for the poor little guy. Not sure what kind of bird he was. I just saw a small brown bird-ish blob, then he came off and was gone. Maybe the size of my fist, at most. I named him Siegfried. Please remember him and his sacrifice.

I eventually got into North Dakota. There, the hills flattened out a bit and made farming a more viable option. The roads were basically the same; mostly straight with gentle rolling hills and sweeping turns. Plenty of cute farms and fields to ride through. I don't know what kind of crop that is, but it was all over the place. It must be tasty!

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Once I made it up to Bismark, I stopped for lunch. Nothing special, just a quick burger and fries before hopping on the interstate. It was exactly as you'd expect an interstate to be. Long, straight, and flat. I managed to see about 5 cops just outside of Bismark! Each one was preoccupied. Clearly, they like giving out performance awards there. I will have to remember that when I head back through there tomorrow. The remainder of today's ride was just interstate travel through nothing interesting at all. After a few of those boring hours, I made it to Warroad! It's not a big city by any means. It does have a small town charm though. I got a room at the Can Am Inn for the night. I know, my bike is a Triumph, not a Can Am, but it still seemed fitting. It's also not expensive which helped get me there. All I really need is a shower and bed.

Anyway, welcome to Warroad!
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And in case you were wondering, this is a really good reason to only use a modular or full face helmet when you ride. Imagine that, all over your face and hair and beard.... YUCK! How do squids do it?

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Tomorrow, I'm going to try and make it to Missoula. That's a long way off, but it's interstates the whole way, so I'm going to try it. Probably going to be a late night!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So you are going through Canada? Montreal worth staying a couple of days. And if you have time ride out to LaPush and try deep sea sport fishing. They will freeze your fish and ship it to your home.

Post some pictures periodically. I have been waiting for a part for my Daytona for a month and fear summer will be half done by the time I am back on the road.

I have always had sport bikes and taken some long trips on them - but this is way out of my league. Good luck!

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Sadly, no, I won't be going through Canada. One of the requirements of this ride is that you stay in the US. Cutting through Montreal and Ottawa would save a whole lot of time, but then you'd be riding around the 48 and parts of Canada. I can leave the US for safety reasons, but I would have to return to the US in the same location, or as close as possible that is safe.

And I bet you could do this trip too. As with most IBA rides, it's more about planning than anything else. The actual riding doesn't look to be difficult. 750ish miles will be a typical day. I did 675ish today, and I left well after sunrise, lost an hour due to time zones, got food and ate, wrote that big long Day 0 update, showered, and the sun still hasn't set here. Lots of people say there is no way they could do it, but everyone that does it says it's easier than it seems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
DAY 1: A Cold Wet Start

I woke up nice and early this morning, as roosters always do. Then I took a peek outisde at the weather. 53 degrees with a north wind in Warroad. A light shower of rain too. Ha! So much for hot July summer days. The adventure has just begun, and I'm suiting up in rain gear and the electric jacket. The weather was basically the same thing in every town I was going through up until noon. That north wind brought storms with it. I took a good look at the radar and was going to be stuck riding right through it if I left early. Instead, I waited a little longer so we could ride between the storm cells and not get completely drenched. The rain doesn't really bother me, but that chauffeur of mine is a bit of a pansy when it comes to rain. Something about hydroplaning and road rash. I didn't really listen to what he had to say, but agreed that we could wait a little while for the rain to move along. It makes no difference to me. This is what he was trying to avoid.

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He timed it well. We got a little damp, but missed that big blob east of Fargo, and the one down by Watertown. Had we left on time, we would have gone straight through them! The weather was moving south east so we were just behind it. The bad part is leaving later than planned for Day 1. I suppose it will work out in the end. I was directing my driver around all the showers we saw on the way to Bismarck. Once we passed through Bismarck, the weather started getting better. It was still cold, but at least there was no more rain to worry about. That heated vest did a good job of keeping my driver warm. I'm glad he packed it!

North Dakota was no different this time through. There wasn't much point in getting pictures since they would just look the same as the ones on the ride up to Warroad. Just farms and fields. Pretty, but I've seen a few farms in my day. There was one almost incident. Somebody's dog got out of the yard and was trying to meet all the cars going down the road. Clearly, the dog didn't have enough sense to stay out of the road, so it had to be a pet. We slowed down as we passed him but he quickly ran off towards one of the farm houses. I hope he stayed there. Roads aren't safe for dogs.

Once we made it to Montana, things started looking up! The weather warmed up considerably. It went from the 50s, to the 60s, and into the 70s after lunch. My half frozen chauffeur finally thawed out and took the electric vest off. He picked a nice pretty place to stop.

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It was nice and warm and we had the sun on our backs riding through the foothills up to the Continental Divide. There wasn't much of a shoulder so we couldn't get many pics, but here's a few I managed to get when traffic was light enough to not be a danger.

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And to prove we made it to the other side of the continent, this sign marks the divide! It's 6393 feet above sea level.

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One final picture for good measure. I noticed the sun setting behind a mountain in the background and made Mr. Chauffeur stop to get a picture. It's pretty good for a cell phone pic.

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Sadly, the rain delays meant that I didn't make it all the way to Missoula like I planned. I was 100% in favor of just getting a little fuel, but Mr. Chauffeur kept saying something about wildlife after dark, and that we already went a little over 1,000 miles today, and some other nonsense about wanting to take a shower. I mean, seriously, he got rained on. He should have just soaped up then and he'd be fine, but no... Anyway, I had him just find us a hotel for the night in Butte Montana. It's not far from Missoula, so it's good enough for second choice.

I know what you're thinking. finding a hotel is easy. Just stop by Motel 6 and get a cheap room. But no, we couldn't do that. He had to call them first and make sure they had a room available. Well they didn't. Neither did the next 4 places he called. What the heck is going on in Butte? He did some internet searching and found that the Days Inn was the cheapest place that actually had a room available. It was $200 a night! That's insane! So we got a room at the Days Inn, but it wasn't $200. You see, Mr Smooth Talker there managed to schmooze the cutie at the front desk and score a room for much less, only $125! The only catch is that the TV doesn't work in it. That's not really a problem for us. I'm a rooster and don't care about TV, and he's just going to shower and go to bed. No TV required. Even $125 was more than we wanted to spend, but the other options were $200 and up, so we took the deal.

Stay tuned for Day 2!

Day 1 totals:
1,026 miles
3 states (Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana)
 

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What a start to your moto adventure! $200. A night for a budget hotel room, What The Florida!
thnx for the update and pics!…. FTG
 

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Thanks for the post - will ride vicariously through your trip until part for my bike arrives.

Same hotel thing has happened to me on recent trips. You expect a Motel 6 or Days Inn or whatever in a small town to be in the USD low 100 or less range. But if something is happening in the area and it's 250 for a night somewhere sketchy. I was in Watsontown PA a year ago and they wanted (and got from me) 175 to stay in what were basically rooms above a dive bar and grill. There was a Little League tournament in the area and rooms in nearby and tonier Lewisburg were over 300 a night. On a trip to see an eclipse a few years ago a Motel 6 wanted 400 a night still 100 miles outside the observation area.

They most employ clever lawyers to evade antitrust laws that would seem to prohibit sharing demand for bookings in order to set room rates.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well ummm time to stop for breakfast. I guess I should expect rain in the northwest.
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Some nasty rain systems to avoid for sure, stay safe!…FTG
 

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First of all, I'm sorry. This is going to be a long one. It might also end up being pic heavy. You have been warned!

View attachment 759115

Hello! I’m Red, the Rooster. I’m the only rooster in the world who can ride a motorcycle. It’s good to meet you. I’ve got a Triumph Street Triple RS. It’s a great bike! More power than I’ll ever need, extremely agile, nice and light, and has an intake sound that is absolutely intoxicating. It’s a real shame she only sounds that great when under load or going way faster than I should be. She is far more capable in the canyons than I am and loves to stretch her legs on a long straight interstate. (The speedo reads in kilometers per hour, right?) She is more than capable of doing speeds that the local sheriff calls “reckless” all day long. Sadly, she’s not exactly a great choice for touring. There’s no windscreen. She’s only good for about 125-150 miles between fuel stops. The seating position is not as bad as a dedicated sport bike, but it’s certainly no cruiser. The pegs are high enough to get a good lean and not have to worry about hitting them, but that makes it a bit cramped when spending all day in the saddle. The seat is more oriented to quick rides through the canyons rather than putting down miles on the open interstates. And she’s very light so not the most stable in high winds. That’s why I decided to take it on a nice long solo trip. I know, I know! A Gold Wing would be a much better choice. They have plenty of wind protection, big cushy seat, floor boards, a very relaxed riding position, and a range that rivals commuter cars. But no, that’s not for me. I prefer to do things my way. What’s the point of living of you take the easy way out of everything? Besides, I’m a rooster, I don’t know anything about big touring bikes…

If long distance touring on a motorcycle poorly suited for it interests you, keep reading. You might enjoy my story. It all started long before I actually got on the bike to ride. There was a lot of preparation involved. Feel free to skip around to the sections that interest you the most. I’ll try to keep it easy enough to navigate, but detailed enough for anyone interested in those details. I’ll be updating the story as I ride. I can’t promise an update every single day, but I’ll do my best to keep up with things. It’s a lot of riding and roosters aren’t so great at typing. We really just hunt and peck.

FIGURING OUT WHERE TO GO:

The first challenge I faced was where to go. Every minute doesn’t have to be planned out, but I do need a general idea of where I’m going. Hmm, I was looking for a long ride, over more than a few days, but the international borders were still closed so I needed to stay in the contiguous US. Heck, that sounds like an Iron Butt ride. I’m an IBA rooster, so that’s right up my alley. The usual Iron Butt ride you hear about is a 1,000 mile ride in less than 24 hours. Meh, I’ve done that a few times, so I needed something different. I took a look at the big long list of rides available to find a good one. I wanted one that hasn’t been done to death. If thousands of other people have done it, it wouldn’t be a Red the Rooster worthy ride. No no, old Red needs something special. So I started looking through the rides and found some interesting ones. The first one that caught my attention was the 48/10. You ride to all 48 of the contiguous states in less than 10 days. It’s about 8,000 miles in total. It’s one of the harder rides, but still fairly popular. I also did some planning for it last year, but COVID happened and it never fully panned out. I checked the big list of all certified IBA rides and noticed that quite a few people have done it. Seriously, there’s like 5 dozen people that have done it or one of its several variations. That’s not as special of a ride as I’d like.

I looked around more and found the National Parks Tour! One must visit at least 50 National Parks in at least 25 different states to qualify. Hey, that’s right up my alley. I love the National Parks and even have an Annual Pass so I get in free. Sadly, more people have done it than I can count, so that’s out.

My search continued and I found a ride called “Sunrise to Sunset”. It goes from East Port, Maine to La Push, Washington in less than 3 days. Basically the first place in the US that sees the sunrise, to the last place to see the sunset. It’s about 3500 miles. That would be a good trip. It looks like 20 people have already done it, so not too many people. It would require about 7,000 miles of riding for me to do since I’m currently in the Black Hills, nowhere near the start of the ride. It’s about a week of riding and a certification that not too many people have. Not bad, not bad.

But I’m a persistent rooster and wanted to find something even better, so I kept looking. Maybe I would find one better. I’m glad I kept looking because I found a gem called RAT48. It stands for Ride Around The 48. You ride around to the far reaches of the contiguous 48 US states in less than 30 days, without leaving the US. That’s right, no cutting through Canada even though it would save quite a few miles and hours. It’s 11,000+ miles and requires you to visit certain cities in order. You have to hit Key West, FL, Venice, LA, South Padre Island, TX, San Ysidro, CA, Neah Bay, WA, Warroad, MN, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, West Quoddy, ME, and Outer Banks, NC. You can start at any one of them, but have to get them in order and return to the starting location to prove you made a full lap around the 48. Hmm, 30 days seems like plenty of time, but there’s a Gold version of the ride that requires it in less than 20 days for more of a challenge. Basically, 3 weeks, 11,000+ miles, and I get to knock a few rides off my bucket list in the process! And Warroad, MN is less than a day’s ride from me. I wonder how many people have done this ride before, so I checked the list. Sadly, that was a miserable failure. I used the search feature and couldn’t find anything for “RAT48”, “RAT 48”, “R A T 48”, “Ride Around The 48”, “R.A.T. 48”, “RAT-48”, "RAT Forty Eight", or a few other variations. I did find “Forty-Eight” a few times, but it’s just guys who were riding a Harley Davidson “Forty-Eight” branded motorcycles. Hmmm, maybe there aren’t any certifications for that ride, and that’s why I can’t find them. WHOA! Wait a minute! Could that be right? Has nobody ever managed to do that ride? Well, that’s definitely the ride for me.

This is what the route looks like:


And so it was decided. Summer of 2021, Red the Rooster is going to take his Street Triple for a Ride Around The 48. According to the basic route in good ole’ Google Maps, it’s 170 hours and 10,875 miles in total. That’s not bad at all! If I add a few miles here, and a few over there, and reroute this little section a tad to the south, and stick to the Pacific coast instead of taking I-5, I’m at 11,750 miles and 183 hours. It amounts to about an additional day worth of riding, but I get to take Highway 101 and 1 completely down the Pacific coast, see the famous Golden Gate Bridge, cross over the northern part of the Continental Divide, and stop by a few friends places along the way. And I only have to average 600 miles a day. That’s only a couple of tanks of fuel a day. I can totally do that!

MOTORCYCLE PREPARATIONS:

In order to do it, I’m going to need prepare the bike. First of all, there are toll roads. I did some research and North Carolina’s QuickPass is accepted everywhere I’ll be going. It’s good all along the Atlantic coast from Florida to Maine, which is where I’ll be. I called them up and got my QuickPass setup and shipped out to me. Then I took a good look at the bike. A windscreen would really help with the fatigue from wind blast on those long interstate days. So I went to trusty Amazon and found a generic handlebar mounted windscreen. It had okay reviews. Some good, some bad, but the price was cheap so I took the risk. It arrived and seemed fine so I got it installed. I also need a good luggage solution. A trip that long will require some clothes and supplies. I got a nice big GIVI top case and the official GIVI support brackets to go with it. I can splurge once in a while so I did. It’s a nice Monokey system. It’s water tight, locks securely, and doesn’t look home-made. I got it all loaded up and went for a test ride. Everything worked as well as can be expected. I definitely notice the added weight up high and far back, but it’s easy enough to manage. Then I realized that my rear tire was nearly squared off. It wasn’t at the wear bars yet, but it wasn’t far off. I decided it would be easier to replace the tires before the trip rather than trying to find a place to do it while on the road. They definitely wouldn’t make 12,000 miles and I don’t want to try to find a place to change my tire while on the road, so I bit the bullet and got a set of Road 5s installed. I’m not 100% certain that the rear tire will make 12,000 miles, but Road 5s last a long time and it will be a lot of highway miles so maybe I can get the full trip out of a rear tire. Only time will tell.

I also changed the oil and filter, and bled the brakes, and changed the air filter, and gave the chain and sprockets a good inspection. Everything was in good running order. There were no loose bolts, or anything like that. I already had an AirHawk seat cushion so I was good there too. It looked like everything was ready to go, so all I had to do was pack up, and hit the open road!

Then it hit me. The IBA requires the use of a GPS tracker for this ride. My iPhone can do it, but it requires a cell phone signal, and I might forget to turn it on one morning, or I might let the battery die, etc. I decided to bite the bullet again and get a dedicated SPOT GPS tracker. I looked them up online and found out that they were on sale over at my local Cabelas. $50 for the current base model. That ain’t bad at all. I drove down there and got the last one they had. It was the display model. I got it home and linked it to my Spotwalla account, then took it for a trip to make sure everything was working with it. As suspected, it worked flawlessly. Spotwalla showed my tracking information and can be set up to update in real time while I ride. That way, people can watch my progress. That will be a cool feature for sure! I’ve even got it set up to send me a text message if the batteries get low. That way, I can stop and replace them without any GPS tracking interruptions.

Speaking of GPS trackers, here is a link to my ride. There is a small delay between when I move and when it updates the map, but it should be small enough to not really matter. If it shows me just getting to Houston, I'm probably in the middle of Houston or heading out the other end. It's not 100% perfect, but it's close enough.


I'll be hopping on the bike and heading out tomorrow morning for Warroad, MN to officially start the clock. Today, I'm packing and double checking, and triple checking, then checking again to make sure I have everything I'll need. If I don't have it when I leave, it costs me money when I have to buy it on the road. I can honestly say, I'm a bit nervous. So much can happen on a ride that long. That's okay. I'll be fine once I hit the road. Stay tuned for updates!
Go Red Roster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
DAY 2: A Short Day

Yes, today ended up being a short day. It would have been ideal to make it all the way to Neah Bay and be on the Pacific coast in the morning. Alas, that was not in the cards. We stopped just past Seattle for good reasons. The first is that Neah Bay essentially shuts down at 8:00. Practically every business there that lists its hours shows it closing at 8:00. The ones that don't close at 8:00 do it at 7:00 instead! That means we had to be there before 8:00 or we could be stuck. GPS wasn't looking promising for beating the 8:00 deadline without risking performance awards. Instead, we got a hotel room early and will just get up in the morning and be there when the general store opens up at 9:00 am. The second reason we stopped early is that it was much cheaper for a hotel near Seattle than one across the street from Olympic National Park. Yup, I'm a cheap old rooster.

Enough of that though! Time to talk about the ride and share a few pics. First, the weather. Once again, it was in the low 50s in the morning. Mr. Chauffeur had to make use of the electric vest again. He's such a pansy! He also noticed some rain clouds in Missoula when we got fuel. That's when he saw the radar from earlier. Yep, he stopped off for breakfast. I had plenty of seeds packed in the tank bag, and enjoyed catching a few bugs and a worm in the grass by the IHOP. He went inside and got some pancakes. Weirdest looking pancakes I've ever seen. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something I don't like about these "pancakes" he had. I'm going to keep my eye on him!

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After breakfast we saddled up and hit the road again. Montana was fantastic! We were coming down from the Continental Divide. We had mountains all around us. The road even followed a small river for a little while. It was so wonderful to ride through! I didn't take many pictures because I was enjoying the view, but I got a few screenshots off the GoPro. I'm still trying to figure it out, so bear with me. Looks like I need to adjust the aim a bit.

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If you have to be on an interstate, there are worse ones to be on. Great views everywhere I looked. Well, until I got into Idaho. Bad news bear was there! Everything was hazy and smelled just like a campfire. Yep, there was a wildfire. This is what most of Idaho looked like. Nothing to see there folks.

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Finally, I got to Washington. It was hot. It was brown. It was amazingly flat when compared to Idaho and Montana. It was just a miserable place to ride through. I thought it was going to be so much better than it was. Then we had to stop for gas. $3.75 for regular unleaded! That's crazy! I'm getting good fuel economy because it's all downhill, literally, but I don't want to pay that much. UGH! The scenery did get better when we finally got over to Seattle, but the traffic got worse. Quite a few people cut us off and tested out our brakes. Mr Chauffeur was paying attention though so it wasn't a major problem. One trucker blew a tire and left chunks of the tire all over the road. That was fun to swerve around. And there was a wreck that caused a 20 minute delay. Lane splitting is not legal in Washington so we certainly didn't do any of that. No sir, no we didn't.

Traffic was typical big city urban traffic. With the delay from the wreck, there was no way we could make it to Neah Bay before everything was closed. It was 55 in the morning and darn near 90 in the afternoon. Freakish 30+ degree temperature swings make for an unpleasant ride. And I spotted a hotel just off the main road next to a couple of diners. Perfect spot to stop for the night. I had Mr. Smooth Talking Chauffeur pull into the parking lot and try to get us another good deal on a room. Greg, the hotel front desk clerk, wasn't exactly the schmoozing type so we settled for a regular room at the regular price. It was still cheaper than the Days Inn back in Butt, Montana.

Day 2 Totals:
1664 miles (640 + Day 1)
5 states (Added Idaho and Washington today)
That puts old Red 464 miles ahead of schedule on Day 2. (~600 miles required per day for 1200 required so far)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Mr. Chauffeur here. It's already pretty late and I'm tired. But I know I need to write things down while they are still fresh in memory. No pics today. Sorry.

DAY 3: Definitely An Interesting One

This morning there was fog. The thick nasty kind that isn't really rain, but still condenses on you like rain when you ride through it. Visibility was low and the roads were wet so I was taking my time. The ride over to Neah Bay was slow going because of low speed limits and traffic. I definitely didn't make good time. In fact, I didn't even make it to Neah Bay. There was a pandemic that hit last year. Seattle was hit hard. Neah Bay basically went medieval, closing the gate and lifting the drawbridge. Seriously, if you don't live there, you aren't getting in. It's not just road signs telling you to turn around. There's a guard shack with several people inside who stop you and turn you around before you get there. They were cordial, but seemed pretty serious about the whole "Neah Bay is closed to visitors" thing. I was completely surprised by this. I might have known if I logged into Instaface or those other social media sites more. No worries though. I got a few pictures of the guard shack and Spotwalla shows me as close as you can possibly get to Neah Bay. There is a provision in the IBA such that if you can't do something because of safety reasons, or because the place you need burned down last night, you do what you can to document that you were there, and get an receipt from the next nearest place. In my case, that place was about 15 minutes back the way I came. It was a little place called By The Bay Cafe' in Sekiu. I went there for brunch and a receipt to prove I was there. It's a small place, and they were out of bacon, but the people were friendly enough to make up for the missing bacon. I got an omelette (don't tell Red!) with rye toast and coffee. It was pretty darn good! The waitress there is who told me Neah Bay is closed off due to the pandemic still. If you don't live there, you aren't getting in.

After leaving Sekui, I headed south and went around the west side of Olympic National Park. That west side of the state is definitely prettier than the east side. Plenty of forests and hills and decently roads. Quite a few small towns with low speed limits though. I stopped in Forks for fuel. $3.999 a gallon for regular! As Eleanor Shellstrop would say, What the fork Forks?! Anyway, I took 101 all the way down to Astoria. That's where things really got good! Washington's coast is nice, but the Oregon coast puts it to shame. It's easily one of my favorite places to go now. Lush green forested mountains that suddenly open up to reveal an amazing coast line at every opportunity. What's not to love? My GPS took me off of 101 briefly between Nehalem and Garibaldi. It's a road called Miami Foley Road, and it's tons of fun! Forested mountains all around you and a nice twisted road cutting through it. I wish I didn't have that top case with me. The bike handles well with it, but I can't ride the same as without it. Miami Foley joins back with 101 which then follows the coast pretty much all the way to North Bend (Coos Bay area) where I am now. That's another fantastic stretch of road! Wonderfully twisty, but not so twisty that you have to slow down too much for it. And excellent views if you just look around while riding. I'm so glad I went that route instead of blasting down I-5. Interstates may be fast, but they aren't nearly as nice! Oregon's reputation is well earned. I highly recommend checking it out.

Day 3 Totals:
2331 miles (667 + Day 2)
6 states (Added Oregon today)
That puts old Red 531 miles ahead of schedule on Day 3.
 

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Sounds like your trip is going well - little hick-up at Neah Bay, but trips like this never go off without a hitch here or there.

Thanks for keep us up to date. I rode my Street Triple up to Astoria last year and down some (just a little) of the 101. AMAZING road and views!

Good luck and enjoy!
 
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Wow that’s crazy a town on total lockdown from non residents, sound like a Sci Fi in the making.
thnx for the update!….. FTG
 
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