I get a call from my boyfriend as I’m taking off my helmet to go inside to get food and take a break, finally without needing to run.  I tell him I made it and he was so proud of me.  His calls to me in the early morning made the wee hours far more cope able than they would have been with music alone.  I decide to just press on to the hotel so I can finish up and sleep

Bunny Burner Gold

Sometime later Minna radioed me and informed me that the strap that connects her “Camelbak” shoulder straps together had broken and she felt like it was going to fall off; we stopped again to attend to it.  She used a Rok Strap to tie the 2 shoulder straps together… problem solved.

Around our second or third stop, I needed to use the pooper.  This was a surprise as I can usually not need to use the bathroom except for once during a 24 hour rally.  I went in and came out.  Minna was fixing some other items on her bike and taking off her rain gear.  Once we finished that, we were back on the road again, still heading in to strong headwinds.

Enter Tennessee: Known for major highways with many twisties through mountains….with trucks.

We hit Nashville around 1:50 am, since we were behind we had to search for a gas station to be open.  We pulled into a Shell and stopped to see if it was up and working.  The gas pump took our credit cards but then told us to see the cashier.  Strike. We go to get on our motorcycles to head off to an Exxon but Minna’s motorcycle wouldn’t start.  She immediately called her insurance company for a jump.  I called my boyfriend to see if he knew anyone in the area.  He sent out a post for help on Facebook and Jason Jonas replied that if we needed help, he would oblige.  After I spoke to my boyfriend, I saw an innocent bystander walking towards the gas station.  I immediately walked out to meet him and asked if he lived in the area.  He said he did, so I asked him if he had a car that he could jump start Minna’s motorcycle with.  He DID!  Awesome!  He told us he lived approximately a mile away but would get his car and come back.  While we were waiting, Minna was still on hold with her insurance company.  The guy came back and jumped her motorcycle.  We let it run a while before heading off to make sure it would stay running.  We went to the next gas station, which didn’t exist, and then the one after that existed AND was open. Score!  We got our gas and headed off.  Minna was using minimal accessories because the alternator in her motorcycle seemed to be the culprit for it not starting.  At this point we decided to take the 5 hour energy drink, Breast Cancer Awareness flavor to get us through until sunrise.  Approximately an hour later, we were on the road again, still heading in to strong headwinds. 

In between stops was a lot of twisty highway.  At one point I encountered my first “holy crap” moment of the trip.  The highway had 2 lanes and I was speeding up to get around the slowpoke in the right lane.  The car in the left lane had been steadily going the same speed as the slow poke for quite some time.  As I speed up, so does he, because if you didn’t get the memo, he is the most important person and must get there first.  Meanwhile the car in front of me suddenly slows down.  This would be much more noticeable if the person wasn’t driving a stick.  But they were, there were no break lights and I swerved out of the way and avoid an accident.  Way too close a call for my tastes. 

Around 4 am Mr Rick Germain called me.  That was so nice!  My 5 Hour Energy drink had kicked in and I was pumped beyond normality about the ride I was doing, bouncing off the walls is perhaps a better descriptor.  He talked with me a bit but I had to cut it short because our next gas station was approaching….so begins the curse of Rick Germain…

Around 4:30 am in Stanton TN, our gas stop is approaching.  We go to the exit and I see that where a normal exit should be is in fact an unpaved road with small moguls on it.  3”-6” to be exact.  This is the point in the story where I thank Max BMW for holding off-road classes and teaching me the ways.  With my training, I was able to easily navigate the off-road conditions and get to the road with the gas station on it.  We turn left as Ms Garmin tells us to, and Minna tells me she saw the gas station to the right a while ago.  We turn around and head down the road.  I’m leading and see the Pilot gas station.  I pull in to what I think is the Pilot parking lot for trucks and head towards the gas station.  Low and behold, this is not the Pilot gas station parking lot and moments before hitting it, I see a 6” divider/curb.  I can’t stop at this point so I would once again like to thank Max BMW for holding off-road classes and teaching me the ways…. I jump the curb in a manner of speaking and let the motorcycle do its thing and land successfully.  Please keep in mind this is the first time I’ve ever been airborne on a motorcycle.  Not something I will willingly choose to do again anytime soon. HOLY COW! That just happened.  Adrenaline pumping, we pull into the gas station, Minna using the actual entrance, and we get gas.  At this point in time Minna notices that her top case is no longer there.  Wow, this “stop” just keeps getting better and better.  We try to think of where it could have come off and determine that the exit ramp is a very likely place considering the dirt moguls we rode over to get off the highway.  We park our motorcycles on the opposite side of the ramp where there isn’t anything, traffic or destination wise and walk down the ramps with flashlight in hand to see if we could find it.  We could not.  We looked for approximately 15 minutes.  When we return, we see a truck of the “special” nature attempting to turn on to the exit ramp.  The truck made a particularly extra wide turn and almost hit our motorcycles.  We decided to press on at this point, still heading in to strong headwinds.

…end the curse of Rick Germain.  He said he called to wake me up, what followed certainly did! 

After about 5 minutes I don’t see Minna’s headlights anymore so I slow down to see if she’s coming.  She is, slowly.  I radio her and she tells me that her motorcycle is not running well at higher speeds.  I ask what she wants to do and she tells me she wants to go slower.  I feel really bad at this point but ask if I can motor on to try to finish the Bun Burner Gold, she tells me to go ahead.  So I do, still heading in to strong headwinds. 

Around 5:30 am I start getting tired and contemplating giving up, I give my trusty boyfriend a call as he’s been up tracking me all night concerned for my safety.  We talk a little bit which lifted my spirits.  I pushed on keeping in mind that the next gas station is approaching.  At 6:30 I reach the next gas station and take a few minutes break to waken myself up.  I drink, use the facilities then insert a clif bar in my mouth and hit the road again, still heading in to strong headwinds.

Enter Texas: Land of the higher speed limits!

FINALLY the sun rises and I get my third wind!  I am wide awake and very excited to be on the last leg of the ride. I know if I can make good time I will make the cutoff time with a little time to spare.  I have a small mental party in my head and I ride like the wind, still heading in to strong headwinds.

I receive a call from Minna letting me know that everything is okay sometime after the sun rose.  That was quite a relief.  I press on, getting more excited as time passes and I pray that there aren’t any traffic issues ahead.

The only thought going through my head right now is get there is be safe and get there in time.  If all goes as planned I’ll have approximately 10 minutes for a buffer. Not nearly what I had originally planned for which was 2 hours.  I turn off the music so I can concentrate solely on riding efficiently.  I head on, still heading in to strong headwinds.

I arrive at the final gas stop with 13 minutes to spare…. THANK GOD! I made it!  I am elated that I was able to complete the ride with all the unexpected events that occurred.   I put a drop of gas into my gas tank to stop the clock.  YAY! I actually screamed aloud in joy startling the unsuspecting driver filling up their tank next to me.  The guy then asked me where I was coming from, and I told him NJ less than 24 hours ago.  His jaw hit the floor.  He asked why I had done that in 24 hours and I told him it was for giggles and a piece of paper.  He smiled then asked about my motorcycle.  I told him I had 3, a dual sport, the sport tour I was riding and an expendable Ninja for when neither BMW would start… once again his jaw hit the floor.

This BBG Ride report is brought to you by Beef Jerky… 

I was so excited to be doing my first Bun Burner Gold ride t​hat I couldn’t sleep well the night before.  I woke up at least 3 times eager to start my ride.  When finally waking at the agreed time, Minna and I looked at the weather and saw storm warnings and high wind advisories.  WONDERFUL…. Great start.  Minna and I decided it would be safest to wait until after the storm passed which was expected to be around 10 am.  Almost exactly at 10 am, the rain picked up and it looked like a hurricane out my windows.  We were both very glad we waited.  We went downstairs to my garage and packed the final items that we wouldn’t pack the night before.  Then my boyfriend signed our paperwork and we went to the concierge in my building to get the second signature for the BBG paperwork.  We took a quick picture and left for the starting gas station.

Kate Johnston

 I arrive at the Big As Texas party hotel and am greeted by Rob Wilensky who is outside… so happy but so tired.  I take off my helmet and my head is buzzing.  Rob had agreed to be one of my witnesses for the finish.  My other witness, Mike Kneebone, would be sought out later.  Rob took a pic of my odo and time for records and we talked a bit.  I unpacked all my gear and head inside eager to get paperwork done and SLEEP.    I get most of my stuff and arrange to have Rob sign my paperwork once I drop everything off in my room.  I get to my room and realize I forgot to take a pic of my odometer…. I go downstairs and do it.  I go back upstairs and look at the paperwork and realize I forgot to grab my GPS​ and get the odo off that as well….I go down and get it.  I then find Rob and he signs my paperwork.  J  I then go find Mike Kneebone and get him to sign my paperwork as well.  He asked how the ride was and I tell him my ride was fine, but Minna had a whole bunch of unfortunate events happen to her motorcycle.  I then head to my room and hit the bed.  Bed sweet bed. Zzzzzz 

Enter Arkansas: known for an absurd amount of abandoned cars on the side of the road and for god’s sake, PAVE YOUR DAMN ROADS ALREADY!!! Jesus!

Around 4:30 am I start cruising between 70 and 85 miles per hour.  I know I have to make up for lost time so go as quickly as I can safely.  I’m starting to feel a little nauseous as this point in time.  I loosen my collar a bit to help, which it does.  About an hour later I’m seriously debating pulling over to throw up.  *Note to self, no more 5 Hour Energy Drink – Breast Cancer Awareness flavor EVER*.  I decide that I do not have the time to throw up so I stifle it and keep on going, still heading in to strong headwinds.

There was work being done on the road so we took local roads to get there.  We got gas and the clock started at 10:54 am.  And we were off….heading in to strong headwinds…. For the ENTIRE TRIP….

We both notice immediately that we’re averaging 10 mpg less than normal as a result of the strong head winds.

Traffic was pretty light since it was after rush hour.  We rode for a while.  After the second gas station, Minna noticed that her hand protector was loose and flapping.  She radioed me and we pulled off on the side of the road to attend to it.  We looked around for a washer to make the screw we had be effective but we were unable to find one. Enter the duct tape….part 1.  We secured it so it would not fall off and resumed our ride, still heading in to strong headwinds.