The New England 1000
The Iron Butt Association has a 1000 miles in 24 hour ride called the Saddle
Sore 1000. A variation of this ride is the NE 1000. It covers 1000 miles, all
six New England states, and can be done in 24 hours. An Iron Butt member has
plotted out the route, and made various calculations so all you have to do is
follow his route. Just follow his route.
David was a planner. He could take about five minutes and come up with
everything you would need to know, take, expect, and which roads were better for
scenic riding and which ones were for making time.
I on the other hand, was an adventurer. Let’s go this way, is one of my favorite
lines. All I am concerned with is “how long before the next gas stop,” and “what
time did you tell Alicia we'd be back?” And sometimes those were just
David called and told me about the New England 1000. An Iron Butt approved long
distance riding event. What this meant was, the route was planned out. All we
had to do was follow the route. David made map sheets, complete with turn by
turn instructions, gas stops, rest stops, and times we could nap if needed. He
included start and stop time and mileage for each stop. Mileage at each turn and
at what time we should be at each point. All this took about three weeks. He was
serious. He wanted to do this, and he wanted to complete this ride. After he had
it all laid out, and we made changes, and changes again, we finally had the trip
locked. We could do this easily, if we just followed “the plan”. Now came the
biggest hurdle. Getting the time and permission. The permission was easy. Alicia
hardly ever said no. David made sure that every thing he needed to do was done.
He made sure Alicia didn't need him around the house that particular weekend for
children’s things or other family events. We were set.
He called the Rally Master, that’s the guy that signs you and in and out to make
sure you did 1000 miles. First stumbling block. He wasn't going to be available
that weekend. After a few emails, and weeks, we were ready to go. A couple of
weeks before we were to set out on this adventure, the tragedy that was 9/11
happened. In the few weeks of uncertainty that followed, David and I both
thought of waiting till another time to do this. What once seemed to be a huge
event for us now seemed insignificant. But, hearing the words “if you are
scared, the terrorists win” made our minds up for us. We were not going to let
this change our plans. We were going to do the New England 1000 with one
addition. On the back of my bike I attached a six foot tall pole and a 3 foot by
5 foot American Flag. The time has come and we are ready.
The day of the ride, we ventured out to where we were to meet the rally master
to sign us in. We were going to be starting at 4:00 am and didn't want to be
looking for his house and waking his neighbors at the hour of the morning. After
finding his house, and getting some of the paper work out of the way, we headed
back to David’s for a nap.
I woke up around 3:00am. David was moving around in his room so I headed right
down stairs for the coffee. We were off in a matter of minutes. We didn't want
to take the chance of waking anyone else at this hour of the morning. I pushed
my bike to the top of his driveway, a disadvantage of owning a Harley, and he
rolled his Valkyrie out of the shed.
We pulled into Ed’s yard around 3:45am. As soon as we pulled in he was out to
check our odometers and start the clock. We were running. When David and I ride
together I am on the right he is on the left. We ride side by side if conditions
are good, if not he is one bike length behind me, and still to my left. As we
headed out to the highway it started to rain. Nice start. Dark, wet, and 24
hours to go. We made Bangor with no trouble. The rain had actually turned into
just a mist. Enough to be a bother, but not enough to fret over. He and I had
both ridden in worse conditions. As we made Skowhegan we stopped for gas at a
gas station I knew. I lived in this area years ago. I checked the time and
mileage chart. Already twenty minutes ahead of schedule, miles right on the
mark. This is easy, just follow the plan. We saddle up and head out. The sun was
coming up, and we could see the cloud line out in the distance. We had been
through this piece of Maine before so we just took in the sights and made some
time. No traffic, no cops, no worries. We made the New Hampshire boarder and
stopped again for gas. Now the fun begins. David uses a speed pass for fueling.
He tried talking me into getting one to speed things along, but I said
“Yuppie”, he smiled. A quick check on time and miles, ahead of schedule, right
on miles, too easy, and we were off again. The northern part of New Hampshire
is beautiful. We have since been back a few times. He would point out things
along the way, I would look and no matter what, shake my head. Minutes would
pass and I would point at nothing and make like I was looking at the Grand
Canyon or something. Man I loved riding with Dave.
Crossing into Vermont, traffic started picking up noticeably. The weather had
cleared, and we were in light jackets and jeans. Another gas stop. David decided
it was time to call his wife, too. For those of you that have never ridden with
David, he was one to make the most of every stop. Never pass the opportunity of
using the bathroom he would say. So, while he was in the bathroom, I waited a
few minutes and called his wife. He came around the corner of the building phone
in hand with a puzzled look on his face. What’s the matter, buddy? I asked
trying not to grin. He said the line was busy. I took the phone from my ear and
said here, talk to your wife. Jerk. I knew he didn't mean it, but it did mean,
let the games begin. A quick yes everything is fine, I love you, and we on our
way again. Ahead of schedule and on miles. What a plan.
As we made Burlington, Vermont, it was getting quite warm. I was now in a short
sleeve shirt, David a jean jacket. Traffic was at a normal Saturday pace, too.
People were waving as we went by. At first I thought this has got to be the
friendliest state ever. I was lost. Not geographically. Spiritually. I was so
in tune to this ride, everything was as planned. We made the turn for the
highway south. We were ahead of schedule, comfortably, and the miles were right
on. As we hit route 89 south we let the bikes roll. Cars we passed waved, cars
that past us waved. Every body was waving. About a half an hour out of
Burlington, route 89 gets pretty barren. As in not many exits. As in, I just
went to reserve. Holy cow I need gas! We had planned on gas every 150 miles. We
have been 180. I run empty at 200. Did we miss a stop? What if I run out? How is
this gong to affect our time line? I was now in a 90% panic. I pointed to the
gas tank. David nodded. I pointed again and made a choking sign. David nodded. I
don't think he understands. 190 miles on the odometer since last gas, and not an
exit in sight. Finally, 192 miles exit two miles ahead with a gas pump sign.
SWEET! We grab the exit, and follow the sign to gas. We go about three miles.
198 on the odometer. Finally we see a hole in the wall gas station. We pull in
to get gas. 203 miles on a tank of gas. Way further than I wanted to go.
David grins the whole time as I explain everything that could have gone wrong.
He just said relax, it didn't. This time we both use the bathroom. We are
standing by the bikes and without saying anything, we both grab for our phones.
HA! I have speed dial. Hi Honey, yeah David’s right here. Jerk. I know he means
it as an endearment. I check time and mileage. Not making up much time anymore,
but we are still way ahead. Miles are right on. I hear some of the conversation
with Alicia. “You should see everyone waving at Paul with the flag on his bike.”
Well, I guess that figures that out. I yell “seeya Honeeeeeeey”, Dave hangs up
and we are gone.
The trip through the rest of Vermont and Mass is pretty uneventful. That’s not
to say it wasn't great. Riding along the river in Vermont, smelling Yankee
Candle in Mass, all the hills and valleys. We were able to keep the time we had
made up and the mileage was right on. Gas stops now were a call to Alicia, call
to the restroom, and a power bar.
We hit Connecticut and the traffic on 91 was heavy. Going through Hartford was
especially different. I hadn't been through Hartford many times. The times I did
go I just stayed on the same route and drove. I don't know if it was that we had
been up for so long, or if the highway signs really do stink, but we ended up
off the highway. I knew I had made a wrong turn when there were no more street
signs. I don't mean direction signs, I mean no street name signs. Oh boy, Dave’s
not going to let me live this down. As I said before, David is a planner. He
didn't like taking the lead though. I think that is why he and I rode so well
together. He made the route, I made the ride. After some quick conversation,
which started with “are you sure this is the route?” There’s that grin of his
again. We found our way back to route 91 south and we were on track again. Just
follow the plan.
As we were coming into New Haven, I made it a point to check the page maps David
made for me. I kept them in a windshield bag so I could get to them if I had to.
Right on track. As I was putting the map back I noticed David right behind me in
my mirror. Before I could think something was wrong, I realized there was a
pickup truck right next to me. I mean I could have reached out and touched the
door. As if that wasn't bad enough, there was a girl hanging out of the window
taking a picture! I first thought, what is she taking a picture of, my nostrils?
I then saw the camera wasn't even pointed at me, she was trying to take a
picture of the flag. After a couple of minutes of this foolishness I moved over
one lane and gave the peace sign. I think she caught on because she leaned out
the sliding rear window and took a picture. David rode up after this with that
smile and yelled something about a chick magnet. I just shook my head and
We made Providence as the sun was setting. Stopping for gas as needed, and
calling home each time. Most of the time I would call before I started getting
gas. After all if he was going to call me a jerk, I was gong to live up to it.
We stopped checking time and miles. We were so far ahead of time that it would
take a major screw up to fail now.
We cross the bridge into Massachusetts on route 195. Make the turn on 24 north,
headed for route 95 and what we considered the toughest part of the ride. Boston
traffic. Even though the plan takes you around Boston on route 95, we both knew,
everything inside 95 is Boston, and Boston drivers are the worst.
Traffic on 95 was busy right from the start. It was moving at a great clip. We
weren't losing time, and the weather was still warm. We were back into leathers
by now. The sun had set, and the temps dropped to about 60 degrees. We swept
through what we thought was going to be the hardest part of the journey like we
were out for a Sunday drive. We got to the northern part of 95 where 95 and 128
split and decided to stop for something quick to eat. Pizza sounded pretty good.
We sat at the pizza place and checked our times and mileage. We were way ahead
on time. Like it made me nervous that we were so far ahead. I double checked the
plan. The calculations were right. We were where we were suppose to be, just
four hours ahead of schedule. This made me nervous. We couldn't be doing that
well, but everything checked out. I also realized we have been waiting for this
pizza for about a half an hour now. David went to check on it and came back with
the pizza. We didn't hurry but, we didn't do much talking once the pizza showed
up. By the time we were done, we had lost fifty minutes of our four hour buffer.
Not cool. We got gas and made our back onto the road.
This section of highway out of Mass and into New Hampshire is four lanes wide,
big median strips, and very light traffic. Nice for riding. So long as you
haven't been up for nearly twenty hours and could use some traffic to keep you
alert. We breezed into Maine gave each other a thumbs up and honked the horns. I
know it sounds corny but you know what, I didn't care. Dave and I were almost
super heros at this point. Just a ride through Portland, on to Augusta, and we
As we went through Brunswick, I signaled that I needed gas. David said he knew
of a place at an exit that was open all night if you had a credit card or, you
guessed it, speed pass. As we got fuel, I checked all the markers, time,
mileage, fuel stops, hey, wait a minute, we’re short a fuel stop. What the,??? I
checked again and counted the number of fuel stops we made compared to the
number we should have made. One short. How did this happen? There was little
light at the gas station. David said there was a well lit park and ride place
just the other side of the highway. We decided to go there and do a thorough
check of the numbers. We had plenty of time, so why not.
We got to the parking lot and were getting off the bikes when David said “how
long before a cop shows up?” I laughed, and unpacked the plan and maps. I hadn't
got the map out of the trunk yet when I see a town car rolling into the parking
lot. I'm thinking no way, yep sure enough, a police officer. He rolled up next
to us and asked what we were doing. David being David, started explaining what
was going on. We all made small talk as I was trying to figure out the gas
difference. There was some busting being done. The officer was a Harley rider.
Dave took it all in stride. As the cop and Dave were still talking, I exclaimed
Damn it! David knew I found something. I explained to him that I had found the
problem. We missed one section of the ride. Back in Mass! We got onto route 24
too soon. We should have rode all the way out to 495 north then get on route 24
north. I checked the map and sure enough, 75 miles, my unaccounted gas stop. Now
we were 75 miles short and three hours ahead of schedule. We worked out a plan
to go back almost to Portland, loop around And race back.
As soon as we started talking about making time, the officer said he shouldn't
hear that, and it was time for him to leave. He wished us luck, and to be
careful. He was right. Fog was setting in, and moose love this time of night.
Damn, how could this have happened? David never missed a beat. He knew we had
plenty of time, and he didn't beat me up over screwing things up. He knew I was
doing a good job beating myself up. Like I said David is the planner and I fly
by the seat of my pants. I hate it when it doesn't go as planned. David just
We made the loop. I checked the mileage as we went. We turned off the highway in
Augusta at 1005 miles. According to my odometer we were all set. We got to Ed’s
house at 1:45am Sunday. Twenty two hours after we started. My odometer said 1025
miles, David’s 1028. We weren't in his driveway but a minute when I saw him come
out the door. He checked every thing out. We were good! Shook our hands and said
welcome to the Association guys. We were members of the Iron Butt Association!
We rode back to David’s house grinning like we had just won the lottery. What a
ride. What a trip. What an adventure.
After much needed sleep, David and I went over everything. Ask Alicia sometime.
I think she was sick of hearing us cackle about the same thing over and over
again. We found where I went wrong on the mileage calculations, and why I didn't
pick it up while we were eating pizza. The whole trip, not just the last part,
the whole trip, I had been using the mileage on the plan against the mileage on
the map, instead of against the odometers. So, of course the mileage would be
right each time I checked, the map and plan weren't moving. I also found out why
David wasn't nervous when I almost ran out of gas. He had a one gallon gas can
with him. He figured if one of us ran out, (most likely me), he would go get gas
or just drain some out of his bike. He is such a planner.
In all, this was one of the greatest rides I almost never took. As much as I
could bust David about anything, he never once used the mileage, or the almost
running out of gas mistakes against me. Unless of course there was somebody
I have a plaque that commends the task of 1022 miles in 24 hours. I have a pin
and membership in the Iron Butt Association. I have a great memory of a ride two
guys took that changed them both for a life time. Thanks David.
I met Dave by coincidence when I went
to the Iron Butt Rally checkpoint in
Maine in 2001.
It was a nice day and I blew off work "spur of the moment" to ride up to
Gorham solo. Once there, I saw a guy on a blue IS and said hello, and that
was Dave. I found it he was indeed in the VRCC and we knew each other from
the board and stuff. I was wearing a T shirt that had a logo on it of a
company I do business with in work, and he asked me about that, and told me
a very good friend of his worked for that outfit. As it turned out I knew
the same guy, so we laughed about what a small world it is. I believe this
friend, Tim, was in his wedding but I am not sure about that. I mentioned it
to Tim later and he laughed and said what a great guy and good friend Dave
I spent quite a bit of time hanging with Dave that day and of course kept in
touch on the board and with email. I ride in Maine quite a bit and on two
occasions since then we coincidentally met one another, once at a stop light
in Augusta, and another time I blew by him on Route 95, and rolled back on
the gas as I passed and thought "hey, is that....?" Yes it was!
It seems so strange that we could keep running into one another in odd
places. It certainly is a small world.
He was most definitely a bright and friendly guy and clearly one who was
happy and secure in life, enjoying every minute of it.