Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Saddle Sore 1000 -1 and Iron Butt Certification!

I had wanted to do the Iron Butt ride for a long time, but the time never seemed just right.

Now it did.

The Iron Butt Association had the required forms on line and I printed them out. A Helena, Montana Certified Iron Butt Rider, Barry Reddick, agreed to serve as my Start Witness and my twin brother who lives 1,040 miles away in Monticello, MN would be the End Ride Witness.
Sidecar Bill Ryder gave the Yamaha and sidecar a final check and the ride was about to get underway.

We meet at 3:30am  on Saturday morning September 27, 2014 at High Country Travel on highway 12 east of Helena. It was raining. The temperature was 51 degrees with an east wind. Barry signed the Start Ride form, Bill did a final check, my son Roger took pictures and with their shouts of Good Luck ringing in my ears, I roared off into the moonless night.

The first sixty rain slowed miles were two lane highway and as expected 55 MPH was what I was able to run. Pulling into Three Forks I filled the tank and rolled over the steel rails of the cattle guard and on to the interstate. Now what I expected to be the easy ride was beginning.

Interstate highways would take me the 1,041 miles to Monticello, MN. and the coveted membership in the Iron Butt Association. The Euphoric feeling lasted all of thirty minutes. That's when I reached the base of Bozeman Pass.

As I began the run up the pass the wind began swirling around me from all directions. Rain began falling again and I was beginning to feel cold and wet. Half way up a misty fog began drifting with the wind. Near the top snow began slapping the wind screen. More like hard crystals of frozen rain than flakes.

Around that last long bend at the top and the rain was gone, the wind slowly died down and the road was clear. It was then that I realized why I was feeling cold and wet. When I filled the gas tank at Three Forks, I had failed to zip my rain coat up all the way and the leathers under it were soaked.

In the east I saw what appeared to be light filtering through the clouds and I knew I would soon be out of the inclement weather and might even have some sunshine to help dry things out. And that's what happened.

The ride through the early morning to Billings was relatively uneventful. By then the sun was up, I was drying off and it felt good to be warm again. I seemed to be having a problem with mileage which I attributed to the ENE head winds I was running into. I was stopping for gas every 75 miles. This continued as I made the run across North Dakota.

Gas stops were meant to be short, but the inevitable visits with people who wanted to learn all there was to know about sidecars made them longer then planned. I can sometimes make these visits shorter by giving them an old copy of The SideCarist, the official magazine of the United Sidecar Association. Alas, my few copies were soon gone and I was loath to give up the latest issue. So I visited and met new friends.

It was a great ride across the rolling hills of North Dakota. It was I dark by the time I rode past Bismarck, the state capital and past 11pm by the time I crossed the state line into Minnesota. Now I was facing a new challenge.

I had invested $240.00 in a new LED headlight for just this eventuality. This was Minnesota deer country and this new headlight would shine far down the road giving me a clear view of any animals joining me on the highway. Unfortunately, thousands of Dakotans had attended a huge entertainment event in Minneapolis and were now on the way home. An endless line of cars traveling the other way kept me from taking advantage of this modern miracle of headlights.


That's what I felt like shouting as I pulled in to the Holiday gas station in Monticello. It was 1:50am Sunday morning. I had left Helena at 4am MDT Saturday morning and now, some 21 and a half hours later I had completed my FIRST Iron Butt Ride.

Despite the late hour and the lack of sleep I was elated.

For over two and a half years my wife Lois and I, with the help of our six children, had journeyed through a terrible disease called Alzheimer's. The journey had ended in March and now this remarkable family and I were proving that there was indeed, life after Alzheimer's Disease.

The Iron Butt Ride then, was an expression of faith. Faith in a life rich and full. It was a great ride, one that I might just try again.

Look for me America, I'll be in the right lane.

Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The National Long Distance Motorcycle Tour continues

Hi Everybody,
I'm sorry to be so slow with updates. New Tablet computer and much too high tech.

The National Long Distance Motorcycle Tour continues, following the adventure called The Saddlesore 1000 -1. The Iron Butt Association web page had all the forms I needed to qualify for the Iron Butt ride. Sidecar Bill Ryder had the Yamaha and sidecar tuned up and ready to go. Barry Reddick of Collision Pro Auto Body service in Helena, MT  agreed to be my official Start Witness and my twin brother Dean Lonnquist  agreed to be my End witness in Monticello, MN. Monticello is 1,041 miles from Helena.

The 1,000 mile ride begaN AT 4am,m Sept. 27th at the High Country Travel Center on Highway 12 on Helena,s east side. A cold rain was falling. It was 51 degrees.

I filled the gas tank, received the required computer generated Time & Date stamped receipt and Barry signed the IBA form. Bill did a final check of the bike, my son Roger took pictures and I rode off into the cold, rainy night. I was well equipped and had read the suggestions for a successful ride on the IBA web page.

Six children offered all of the suggestions and support that an 80 year old rider would need.
The rain eased off after 30 miles or  so, but began in earnest as I left the sixty miles of two lane highway behind and rode across the steel Cattle Guards and onto Interstate 94.

Now, I thought the real ride begins.

The next 1,000 miles would be all Interstate and should be a great, long, but easy fun-filled ride. That thought left me as I passed Bozeman, MT and began the climb up the Bozeman Pass. A lot of traffic was already on the road, despite the early hour. As the Yamaha smoothly climbed the pass, the wind whistling through the mountain seemed like it was coming at me from all directions.

Half way up light fog started drifting across the four lanes of the Interstate. The intensity of the rain increased and soon it was a downpour. It was then that I realized that when I stopped for gas in Three Forks I had failed to zip the rain coat up all the way and the leathers underneath it were getting soaked.

Too late to do anything about that. I was not about to stop on the edge of the road and start rearranging rain gear. Near the top the first snow flakes hit the winbd screen.

Not flakes really. More like hard frozen rain.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two Days To The Ride

And it looks like I could get wet through the first couple of hundred miles.
From Helena to Billings I could see a few raindrops but from there to Minneapolis it looks sunny and warm with little or no wind.
The Yamaha is ready. The Hack is open and ready to load.
Do I sound excited?
Well I am.
What a great ride this should be with clear skies and sunshine most of the way to Monticello, Minnesota and fair weather through the flatlands to Baltimore.
SideHack cruisin' is about to begin.
I'll try and post a couple of times per day on this BLOG and also on the FaceBook group Where In The World Is Grandpa.
Watch for me.
I'll be in the Right Lane America
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Check www.IronButt.com for information on the 1,000 miles in 24 hours SaddleSore 1000

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ultimate Motorcycle Endurance Challenge.

In three weeks I will be launching my fall trip.
From Helena, Montana to Minneapolis, Minnesota where my brother and sister live.
Then to Maryland to visit Jason and Allison,  Orlando to visit Diana and family, Houston to see Joni and family and to go on a hot air balloon ride with Lois’ brother Stan. Next I will hopefully make it to Denver to see Malachi, Ashley and Jared, over to San Diego and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and up the coast to San Jose to see Janis and family.

On September 27th at 4am MDT I will be leaving Helena on the fabled Saddle Sore 1000.

The Iron Butt Association  www.IBA.com will give me the prestigious Iron Butt Rider Award if I can ride my motorcycle 1,000 miles in 24 hours or less! As I was planning my trip to Maryland I discovered that it is 1,041 miles from Helena, MT to Monticello, MN where my twin brother lives. Exactly the number of miles I need to win this coveted award.

Think of it! Of all the millions of motorcycle riders in the WORLD, only 50,000 have been certified by the IBA as a certified Iron Butt Rider. Can a soon to be 80 year old man complete the endurance test required to win this award? We will have the answer by 5am CDT on the 28th.

I will leave Helena at 4am MDT on September 27th and must arrive in Monticello by 5am CDT the next morning. According to my figures I should have 15 or 16 hours riding time and another 8 or 9 hours for gas, food and rest stops. 1,000 miles in 24 hours to start my fall national motorcycle tour. I will keep you all up to date on my progress preparing and completing this epic Motorcycle Endurance Challenge.

Barry Reddick, owner of Collison Pro Auto Body in Helena has completed the 1000 mile ride and is a certified Iron Butt Rider. He has agreed to be my Start Point Witness. He will sign a statement noting the time, date and starting point and is prepared to answer the phone call from IBA to certify the start was in compliance with their rules. From there I save every gas receipt with computer generated date and time and will have my brother as the witness at the end of the ride.

I’ll be in the Right Lane America!
See you on the other end of the ride.