Iron Butt Ride with Jerry Gilbert
September 16th - 18th
As many of you know I have an affinity for long distance riding. Given the chance I am willing to venture to parts unknown. Not too long ago the Ironbutt Association opened up some new rides – End to End (E2E) Interstate rides. Earlier this summer, I started looking at which interstate would be close by and easy to do. As I was looking at the website, I found that the I-25 wasn’t too far away and it was just over a 1000 miles, no different than any other SaddleSore 1000 I had done in the past. This was going to be the one. Now, these E2E rides come in different flavors – Standard and Gold. My plan was to go for the Gold.
I started looking at the route, finding places that offered gas as well as food options. With COVID-19 still hanging around I wasn’t sure what options there would be available, so I planned my stops in such a way that there were multiple food options available, just in case. After studying the route and planning the stops, I decided that I would open the ride up to anyone that wanted to go. had a few takers right off the bat. As time approached I reached out to everyone to see if they were still ready to ride, the list of those that wanted to go dropped down to 1, and Tom wasn’t sure he was going to go all the way. He figured he would just go as far as he thought he could and find his own way home the following day.
In order to get a jump start on the day for the ride, we rode out to Las Cruces the day before and spend the night at a local hotel. We woke up early the next morning to get out on the road and try to make good time. As we were leaving the parking lot, Tom had a slight mishap – there was a wonky angle by the storm drain where he parked and in the wee hours of the morning as we were getting ready to leave Tom lost control of his motorcycle and guided it slowly to the ground. I swung around and parked my motorcycle, hopped off and helped him right the wrong. Hopefully, this wasn’t going to be the view of things to come. We headed off to the gas station to get our start for the day. The ride along I-25 wasn’t eventful, especially in the early morning hours.
As we approached Albuquerque, the sun started to rise over the horizon and with the haze of the wildfires we had a wonderful view. We hit Santa Fe for our second stop and breakfast. Wendy’s was only open for drive thru and Tom decided to walk thru. He got a bit of breakfast, I on the other hand came prepared with some snacks just in case our food options did not pan out as we wanted. After a bit if rest from riding and with food in our stomachs it was time ot head out. The miles rolled on as we continued through New Mexico and stopped for lunch in Colorado Springs. Lunch at Arby’s was nice since we could sit down and relax while we ate. Tom started thinking that he just might make it.
As we were about to pull out a passerby asked where we were headed. I mentioned that we were headed to Buffalo Wyoming and that we were doing an I-25 challenge. If started offering all kinds of options to avoid the traffic in Denver, but I had to remind him that were on an I-25 challenge and we couldn’t take alternate routes, we had to stay on I-25 despite any traffic. He like many we came across thought we were crazy but admired our spirit.
We pulled out of Colorado Springs, made our way to Cheyenne, it was at this point Tom changed his plans of pulling off and spending the night elsewhere and decided to go for it. It was also at this point that I did a bit of calculating and found out that if we skipped dinner in Casper, we would find Gold in Buffalo.
If you didn’t already know the speed limit in Wyoming is 80 MPH. Increased speed causes a an increase in gas flow, thus our gas tanks started flowing a bit more than we thought. So, to compensate for the loss of fuel, we pulled into Wheatland Wyoming to fill up and head off to Casper. I noted we were making good time, but still, no dinner in Casper, we had to make it a gas and go if we were to beat the 17-hour time limit for Gold. As we pulled into Buffalo, Wyoming after going 16 hours and 21 minutes, Tom was a little worse for wear, but you could tell, he was happy that he was able to complete the 1000 miles.
As we were filling up with gas and taking a few momentous photos, a nice lady asked where we were going. I turned around and pointed to the Hampton Inn and said “Right over there”. She said “Good, because if you go 20 miles up the road there are a lot dear”. Apparently she had just received a call from her brother who happened to live just north of where we were, and he had informed her that there were a lot of dear roaming around all sides of I-90, which if you didn’t know I-25 ends in Buffalo and connects to I-90. I thanked her for watching out for us, and she was grateful we had finished out trip.
We strolled over to the hotel and checked in. Tom and I said our good-byes and went our separate ways. Tom was planning on heading through Colorado, over to Utah and through Monument Valley, I on the other hand was crusin’ for a bruisin’ and was planning on riding the I-25 back the next day.
As morning rolled around, I was not feeling up to riding another 1000 miles. I slept in a little longer than I was expecting to, but the extra sleep did wonders. I pulled into the same gas station as the night before to fill up and venture down the road to Las Cruces. As I was on my way the sun was coming up, I decided to pull off and take a quick picture.
On the plus side the way back was well know, because all the stops were the same stops as they way up. No need for breakfast because I had that at the hotel before leaving Buffalo. Rolling down the road through Wyoming and into Colorado. Stopped for a little lunch again in Colorado Springs, just like Tom and I did on the way up. It was nice to stretch out and relax for a few moments before heading back out on the road.
I Continued on to New Mexico where I came across a fellow rider along the way. We both pulled into Raton New Mexico and had a little chat. He was headed from Oregon to Virginia for a job. He had already moved all of his stuff, except his motorcycle. He decided to have an adventure, so he flew back to Oregon and decided to ride to Virginia. We parted ways and I continued on to Las Cruces.
As, I was pulling into Las Cruces, I did a bit of calculating and noticed that I was about to beat the time Tom and I had set the day before. After filling up with gas, I looked at my receipts and found out that I had completed I-25 North to South in 15 hours and 30 minutes.
I headed to the hotel, ready for a good night’s sleep. I asked when check out was, because I didn’t know how long I was going to sleep. They told me 11, but I they could extend it for me if I would like. I let them know that 11 was good enough. After getting a good night’s sleep, I was ready to head back to Tucson. As I headed back across I-10, I started to reflect on many things, but one thing stood out - If you pace yourself and know your limits you can accomplish anything. If you have a friend with you along the way, it makes life easier. Adventure is out there; you just have to get out there and enjoy it.