For the ninth time in a row, and fourteenth overall, I rode 1000 miles on the first day of a new season. The Iron Butt Association will send you a "SaddleSore 1000" certificate if you document a ride of 1000 miles or more in 24 hours with receipts from gas stations and witnesses at the start and end of the ride.
Starting with Spring in March, 2010, my buddy Doug and I did 1000 mile rides on five straight season days, but then I had other commitments and wasn't able to do the Summer ride in 2011. I took a few seasons off, but started again with Fall in September, 2012. I haven't missed one since. The goal/plan is to get 18 in a row - which would give me four straight calendar years with all four seasons, like a 4x4.
I'm also doing this year's Team Strange Grand Tour. I have to spell out the phrase "Team Strange Airheads 30" by visiting cities whose names start with the letters in the phrase. (Temple City for T, El Monte for E, Arcadia for A, Monrovia for M, and so on.) You take a photo of your bike, your rally flag, and the name of the city on its US Post Office building to show you visited the city.
For the "30", you have to take a photo of your bike in front of a sign for a state or county highway numbered 30.
Since I was going up north to visit with Justin for my Fall Season SaddleSore, I came up with a route that would get me a bunch of the cities I needed for the Team Strange tour, and even found Tulare County Hwy J30 in Exeter, east of Visalia. (I checked with the Team Strange folks, and they the "J" in the highway designation was okay by them.)
I left home around 6:30am, and headed north to Exeter for gas, the Post Office, and the J30 sign. From Exeter you go through Visalia on the way to SR-99, and then it was just a short run up to the Goshen Post Office. (I had been chatting with my buddy Cory about my ride plan, and he's the one who mentioned Goshen. He grew up in nearby Lemoore.)
On the way north I stopped in Elk Grove, and then met Justin for lunch at the Claim Jumper in Roseville. We caught up on his job and housing situation.
There were huge wildfires east of Sacramento that were generating a lot of smoke, so my original plan to head north-east on I-80 had to be changed. In a car, the smoke is manageable, but on a motorcycle -- even with a helmet -- my eyes were watering, and it didn't make sense to ride into the heavier smoke further east.
So, I consulted with Justin, who knows the Bay Area traffic situation really well, and we came up with an alternate route. From Roseville, it was south on I-5 to Santa Nella, then west on SR-152 to Gilroy. (We needed pomegranate juice back home for Carole's protein shakes, so I stopped at Casa de Fruita and picked up 4 bottles, which is all I had room for in my side bags.)
From Gilroy I went south to Paso Robles. Along the way, my buddy Ted hunted me down using my SPOT track, and pulled up along side me on his Gold Wing. We pulled off US-101 just before King City and had a nice roadside chat. Based on his suggestion, I decided to head east from Paso Robles on SR-46 and head over to I-5.
Because of the route change in Roseville, I was short of the miles I needed to get to 1000, so when I got to I-5 I headed north towards Harris Ranch, then back south. The stint from there back home was quick and painless, with very little traffic.
I pulled in around 1:30am, with more than enough miles, and a few post offices to use for my Team Strange tour.
A fun day all around.