I left Birmingham for Goodland, Kansas on June 11 with a plan to ride my motorcycle 1005 miles of dirt roads through western Kansas and Nebraska, through Colorado and back to Goodland. Technically is just a Saddle Sore – but more affectionately called a Dusty Butt. Only a handful of people have completed this ride. This area of the planet is a special place where wide open spaces and lots of dirt roads come together. There are very few places where such a ride could take place.
I left the gas station about 3:55 a.m. with 5 people I had just met the day before - 3 BMW GS liter-or-better bikes, one KLR 650, one DR 650 and my KLX 250S. The days are long this time of year and the sun turned the sky pink about 4:15 so we didn't spend much time in dark.
This ride has to be ridden dry so it was ultra dusty. At times we were 1/4 mile apart just to minimize dust consumption. When the constant wind was blowing across the road, it cleared the road a little more readily but when we rode into to the wind, it was almost unbearable. The roads are in the middle of nowhere -no houses, buildings, cell service, police patrol, emergency service - nothing. There are 8 legs, from 50 miles to 180 miles, each. The air is so dry my nose was bleeding during the ride.
The wild life presents its own set of challenges. I was charged by an antelope, dodged more rabbits than I could count, played a game of chase with a calf and killed a bird that couldn't figure out if it should fly left of right of the bike. The big, juicy insect guts covered my shield so wiping dust meant smearing bugs.
We had experienced 2 flats on the DR650 and some other issues that killed some time. At about mile 850, the ride leader decided he was too tired to finish in the dirt so we took pavement back to Goodland. That was it for me. It was too dangerous to go on by myself. I was disappointed, to say the least. Looking back, he did the right thing to call it off if he was too tired to continue. According to his GPS, we went 957 miles in about 21 1/2 hours - close but no cigar.
Even under the best circumstances, the ride is hard to complete. There's talk about doing it again the same time next year. We’ll see.