Effingham, IN to Dillon, CO.
The gas gauge sat beyond empty, the red 'idiot' light of a gas pump glowed on the dash.
Okay, I am an idiot.
But in my defense, the wind blew so hard that my mileage plummeted. The light (which I greatly feared) flashed on at 120 miles! I've gone 160 before.
So I stop at an exit that indicated gas. Diesel only. Get back on the freeway, wasting fuel by stopping and starting. Try to watch the highway but my vision bores in on the light.
This is my (one of many) Achilles heel. I can remember riding with my mom wwhen I was five, staring at her gas guage in the '55 Chevy.
"Mom, shouldn't we stop for gas?"
"It okay, Kevin. We have a fourth of a tank."
I kept staring at the gauge, my mind whirling with thoughts of walking home. So my paranoia goes way back.
Even now, dirt biking with my friends, my focus switches from the fun ride to the fuel.
Next exit, gas. Pull in. As I break out the credit card, a big rig pull up. "Don't bother. This place's been closed fer years."
Get back on the freeway. Pray. Expect a miracle. Keep reverting to the red light. Fourteen miles to the next town. Thirteen. Twelve.
What if they don't have gas? Oh, stop it, they will.
I draft a big rig. I get right behind him, trailing his rear tires. I can feel the wind abate, and my hand, gripping the throttle, can roll it back a bit.
Take the exit. Cruise in.
They have gas! Hallelujah!
I fill the tank. 5.3 gallons. I had .7 left.
Shoot. I could have gone another 14 miles.
Of course, riding on,there wasn't another station.
Do you ever 'just miss' something, and it bugs you? You just...didn't quite get it right. The ball is going to be a home run, but hits the fence. The team gets to the two yard line, and can't convert. You alllmmooost get up water skiing.
That's how I felt when I missed my 1,000 mile goal, heading east on this trip.
So I planned a little better, and set my will...
And what do you know?
The planning helped. You must find as much open two lane divided highway possible. So Effingham was a good start. The challenges were getting through St.Louis,Kansas City, and Denver quickly and smoothly.
St. Louis and KC were cake. I missed rush hour, and traffic flowed. Denver had a few hiccups, but nothing serious.
The route is key. For instance, Vegas to Reno would never work. Lots of two lanes, so you get held up behind a convoy of trucks. Little towns with 25 mph speed limits and cops looking for revenue quash the deal too.
It turned out to be more difficult than I imagined. 400 miles of shrieking wind through most of Kansas, and two lightning storms in Colorado, with rain.
But I pressed on, and fifteen hours later, I made it!
So here I sit in a hotel in Colorado, reveling in the 'victory'.
What's with me and this competitive gene, anyway? Ask my wife. She'll just shake her head.
Who cares how far you ride a street bike in one day?
I don't know. Can't answer, really. I just always try to push myself.
Once a racer, always a racer, I guess.
But for me anyway, it was worth it.
One more day. One more adventure.