Bonneville Salt Flats

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* Day  1 (Wed 08/30): 438 miles - Gaithersburg, MD to Columbus, OH

I left NIH at 3pm and headed through the light traffic on 270, up to 
Gaithersburg, where I met Todd at his house.  Todd and his 2005 BMW R1150R 
were ready to go, his top and side cases packed, plus he had a tank bag 
and some extra items bungeed to the back of his seat.

As for me, I had full side cases (41 liters each), a small tank bag, and a 
duffel bag strapped to the passenger seat of my 2006 Triumph Sprint ST.

We gassed up, Todd activated his ever present I-Pod, and we hit the road 
at 3:50pm (Eastern), heading north on 270, west on 70, then east on 68 to 
reach Morgantown, WV at 6:50pm (Eastern).

Brian was finishing the last touches to his packing job when we arrived, 
which included full side cases, a large canvas top bag, a tank bag, and a 
fishing rod mounted off the back of his 2003 Kawasaki ZZR1200.

The fishing rod held a tiny "Jolly Roger" flag to help us get into the 
spirit of our adventure.  It was the cousin to a much larger flag, which 
Brian packed away before our dinner and departure from Morgantown at 
8:20pm (Eastern).

At 11:30pm (Eastern) we reached Columbus, Ohio, for a total ride of 6 
hours and 10 minutes for the day.  We had good weather all day, and with 
the break in Morgantown I was feeling alright after a 400 mile day, a new 
personal best.  We saw four states the first day, going from Maryland to 
West Virginia, to Pennsylvania, back to West Virginia, and then into Ohio.

While unpacking at the "Best Western" I found out that contact solution 
shouldn't be stored open, on it's side.  The top was on when I started the 
trip, but it worked a tiny bit loose during the first leg of our journey.  
By the time I reached in to grab it that night, contact solution was all 
over my bathroom bag and pooling at the bottom of my side case.  Luckily 
the clothes that were also packed in that case were in plastic bags and 
did not get wet.  For the rest of the trip I kept the solution separate 
from the clothes and upright so it could not spill.

* Day  2 (Thu 08/31): 784 miles - Columbus, OH to Council Bluffs, IA

After a quick continental breakfast at the hotel, we hit the road at 
10:00am (Eastern) in cloudy but dry weather.  The first thing we ran into 
was traffic during a long stretch of construction outside Columbus.  
Trucks were instructed to stay to the left of the two lanes, but many 
would ignore this, or cars would sit in the right lane next to a truck, 
impeding our progress.

Luckily we reached open roads after a little while, and spent the day 
crossing the rest of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and most of Iowa.  Past 
Indianapolis the scenery changed from an East Coast mix of trees and 
cities to a Mid West picturesque series of farms and rolling hills.

The sun came out around 3:30pm while we were in Illinois, and the rest of 
the day was beautiful weather with clear skies.  Oh, except for the point 
where we were stuck in a huge smoke screen generated by a mid-90's Toyota!

A woman was driving down the highway with some huge problem with the 
engine, seemingly oblivious to the fact she was creating a traffic hazard 
behind her as she went.  Luckily nobody panicked and we got through the 
smoke unscathed.

The only other adventure of the day was another incident with my side 
cases, this time a problem of carelessness.  I took off from a gas stop, 
second in line, behind Brian and ahead of Todd.  As I reached the 
entrance ramp onto the highway, I thought I heard a horn honking, but it 
sounded far away and faint.  It turns out Todd was trying to get my 
attention and warn me that I left a case open!  I must not have latched it 
fully and it opened as I entered the highway at 60 mph.  Luckily I noticed 
it before too long and pulled over to the side of the road.  My warm 
gloves were on the verge of blowing away, but I didn't lose them, and 
somehow managed to keep everything else in the case as well.  Shew!

Around 6:30pm that evening we crossed a large bridge into Iowa, spanning 
the Mississippi River.  It was exciting to have traveled so far already - 
further west across the United States than I'd even been.

Our goal for the day was to reach Omaha, Nebraska, but two miles from the 
Nebraska border there was a huge night time traffic jam.  The road was 
closed due to a large accident and vehicles were piled up for miles.  
Rather than fight the traffic we found a "Days Inn" in Council Bluffs, 
Iowa, happy we made it almost 800 miles in one day and ended up only five 
miles short of Omaha.

We rode until 11:00pm (Central) for a total of 14 hours, our longest day on
the trip in terms of miles and time.

* Day  3 (Fri 09/01): 777 miles - Council Bluff, IA to Rock Springs, WY

We ate breakfast at Hardee's and were ready to go a little later this day, 
entering Nebraska around 10:30am (Central).  The day's weather started out 
nice, a little overcast but without rain and temperatures in the low 70's.  
So far the trip had been cooler than expected for this time of the year.

Before the trip I read a motorcyclists account of crossing Nebraska.  He 
said that if the wind stops blowing or you see a tree, stop and take a nap 
because you are hallucinating.  During the first 200 or more miles of 
eastern Nebraska I thought the writer must have been hallucinating 
himself, because although it was flat and sparse terrain, there were still 
occasional trees, and no wind to speak of.

Wrong!  About 200 miles from Wyoming, just when I was going to call the 
other motorcyclist a lier, we hit a cold front that brought rain and 
nearly freezing temperatures.  I believe it was in the 40's.  Dressed in a 
t-shirt and a summer mesh riding jacket, I was not prepared for the cold.

The same front brought wind - lots of wind!  Suddenly there were no more 
trees or hills.  Nothing to break the wind, meaning we were fighting gusts 
going from north to south across the road.  With the Sprint's full fairing 
I spent many miles struggling to fight the wind and stay both upright and 
on course.  Luckily the roads were straight, making the task easier in 
that regard.  I must have worn a grove along the right side of my tires, 
leaning sideway for miles and miles, just to go straight.

The hardest part was passing trucks or overpasses, because there would be 
a wild swirling burst of air as you first came up on the obstruction, then 
a calm spot for a few seconds, and finally the full slamming force of the 
legendary Nebraska wind as you moved out front to the open road.  It took 
a lot out of me and those 150 to 200 miles were more tiring than the 
entire day before it.

Nebraska is a huge state, especially when you are crossing it from right 
to left.  By lunch time we were about 3/4 of the way across and stopped at 
a diner in Ogallala.  After a good meal and lots of hot chocolate, we went 
out to the parking lot where Brian jumped on his bike and quickly headed 
across the street to a gas station.  Without thinking or saying a word to 
Todd, I did the same, leaving Todd in the restaurant parking lot but 
believing he was right behind me.

The gas station was down on the other side of a slight rise, so you were 
not able to see the gas station from the restaurant, and vice versa.  
Brian and I bought gas and got ready to cross the last 150 miles of 
Nebraska.  I even took the time to hook up my heated glove liners, 
considering how cold I was after our last stretch through the rain.

We were all ready to go, but still hadn't seen Todd at the gas station.  
We waited a few more minutes, then decided to go back across the street to 
the restaurant and see if he was over there.  A couple minutes later we 
were there, and still no Todd.  We were so confused!

After a brief discussion, the only thing we could think was that Todd 
didn't see us at the gas station and took off down the highway to catch 
up, thinking we'd left him behind by mistake.  So we took off ourselves, 
traveling ten miles to the next exit without seeing any sign of Todd.  I 
checked my cell phone, thinking maybe he went to the gas station or 
restaurant for a phone and tried to reach us, but I had no messages.  We 
remembered the old adage that you should stay in one place when lost, so 
we got back on Rt 80 in the other direction and went back to the original 
exit where we last saw Todd.

About two miles from the exit, there was Todd, heading the opposite 
direction!  We all made some frantic motions but weren't certain what 
message came across.  Hopefully Todd would stay put and we could turn 
around at the exit once again, and head back to meet him.  I was worried 
this would turn into a true comedy of errors, with Todd going one way, and 
us going the other, over and over, but luckily Todd is wise and waited on 
the side of the road for us.  After a few more minutes we caught up to him 
and were on our way, all together again.  Shew!

We reached Wyoming and made a brief stop soon after crossing the border.  
The scenery was more interesting by this time, with the start of some 
mountains, and more animals than farms.  There were goats on occasion, but 
mostly cows.  Whole pastures would be filled with them, munching away at 
the small shrubs and grass.  We were rising in elevation by the minute and 
finally beyond the flat land of the past day and a half.  All three of us 
agreed that Wyoming was the most scenic state we'd been through, and the 
pictures we took did not do the state justice.

Early that evening we crossed the Great Divide at 7000 feet in altitude.  
It was pretty exciting to have crossed the Eastern Continental Divide only 
a few days previously and to know we had gone so far.  But we weren't done 
climbing, with evening approaching we reached an 8600 foot mountain pass, 
complete with light rain, dense fog, and construction.  Besides the fog, 
it was quite cold at this altitude, but we took our time, made it through 
the pass and stopped for some gas and a discussion on whether to proceed 
or stop for the night.

After talking to a local who informed us that we had one more mountain to 
cross, we decided it was too early to stop and we'd press on a bit 
further.  It was getting dark, so I bundled up with every layer I had, 
including a sweatshirt, my rain gear, and heated glove liners.  The second 
pass wasn't as difficult as the first, somewhere around 7000 feet in 
altitude, but still cold.  We learned the next day that the temperatures 
were in the 30's - quite a shock considering it was still summer!

We made it two more stops that night before reaching our goal of Rock 
Springs, Wyoming and ate a well deserved hot meal.  A truck stop was the 
only place open at 11:00pm (Mountain), but the Hickory burger was 
delicious after riding for a total of 13 hours and 30 minutes.

* Day  4 (Sat 09/02): 325 miles - Rock Springs, WY to Wendover, NV

We rode from 11:10am (Mountain) to 4:00pm (Mountain), when we reached the 
Bonneville Speedway in Utah, just east of Wendover, NV.  It was a short, 4 
hour and 50 minute day of riding, but the day was far from over.  We'd 
finally reached Bonneville!

Todd rescued guy out for a walk.
Ate at hotel - big shake.

* Day  5 (Sun 09/03): Arrived 10am, salty tour of track, late start, long 

155.377 mph in the measured mile, 155.456 mph in the measured km.

* Day  6 (Mon 09/04): Up at 6:15am, arrived 7:15am, hanging out, storm, 
eight mile walk to the mountains and back.

* Day  7 (Tue 09/05): Up at 6:15am again, arrived soon after 7am, more 
delays, long lines, storm.

157.970 mph in the measured mile, 158.106 mph in the measured km.

Dinner at Pizza Hut.  Casinos/bars that night.

* Day  8 (Wed 09/06): Ride to mountains, storm, helping Brian, wash the 
bike, pack.

* Day  9 (Thu 09/07): 783 miles - Wendover, NV to North Platte, NE

We rode from 10:00am (Mountain) to 11:30pm (Central) for a total of 12 
hours and 30 minutes.

* Day 10 (Fri 09/08): 697 miles - North Platte, NE to Peoria, IL

There was some rain in the morning while we were in Nebraska, but we were 
soon past it.  The Nebraska wind was present as well, but it was much 
milder than what we experienced on the way out to Bonneville.

We rode from 10:10am (Central) to 9:30pm (Central) for a total of 11 hours 
and 20 minutes.  We were making good progress so we decided to stop a 
little earlier than normal, which gave us a chance to relax in front of 
the hotel TV and do some laundry.  "The Fly" with Jeff Goldblum and Geena 
Davis is such a great movie!

* Day 11 (Sat 09/09): 770 miles - Peoria, IL to Gaithersburg, MD

Todd and I arrived home just after midnight.  We took I-70 the whole way 
back rather than go south on 79 and go past Morgantown as we did at the 
beginning of the trip, so we saved a few miles and some time.

Traffic was heavier this day as we got closer to the east coast, but it 
was smooth sailing for the most part, except for a few areas of 
construction.  We rode from 10:10am (Central) to 12:10am (Eastern) for a 
total of 13 hours.

The total miles for the trip ended up being 4732, most done during the 
seven total days we took to get out to UT/NV and back.

* Overall Impressions & Notes on Gear:

I was definitely sore during the long days on the trip, but I've been okay 
since I got back.  I was sore at the end of the first long day, okay by 
morning, then sore even more by the end of the second long day.  The third 
day of long riding was the toughest, because I didn't recover overnight 
anymore and started out sore right away.  But after 100-200 miles I got 
into it again and was able to ignore the aches until about 500-600 miles.  
The last 100-200 miles of the day was always difficult.  I was pretty worn 
out by that point!

I found that my legs and rear hurt more than the rest of my body, when we 
were out for the long, 700+ mile days.  I'd been afraid that my hands and 
arms would hurt, but they really weren't that bad.  The "Throttle Rocker" 
I bought a few months ago helped my right hand immensely, since I could 
stretch and move my fingers on occasion.

Advil took the edge off, and I took them each morning before we got 
started.  I knew it'd be better to take something before the pain rather 
than try to react to it after the fact.  This must have worked, because I 
felt okay most mornings, after a good night's rest.  The third day of long 
riding was really tough though, so the Advil wasn't really having the same 
effect at that point.

My Aerostich riding shorts worked okay, but were no miracle cure.  They 
helped some, I could tell, but after so many hours in the saddle a little 
extra padding didn't make a big difference.  They might be better for a 
shorter trip.

Another thing I noticed was that after a day or two of wearing my custom 
ear plugs for 12-14 hours, my ears would swell a little bit overnight, 
making it hard for me to get the plugs in the next day.  But they still 
worked with a little extra nudging, and I was very glad to have them block 
out a lot of the wind noise.

The FirstGear rain jacket and pants were indispensable and served me well 
the whole trip.  Not only did they keep me dry in the rain, many times 
they served as an extra layer to keep me warm - critical since I did not 
bring my regular jacket and pants liners.  Who would have thought it'd be 
so cold!

The Sprint, and all of our bikes handled the trip well.  There were no 
mechanical problems or anything.  I am going to need new tires again soon 
though, even though I just bought a set before taking off for the west.

The trip was a great experience and something I'd recommend to anyone 
interested in land speed racing.  Even if you don't ride out to Utah, just 
visiting the Bonneville Salt Flats is an amazing experience.  The pictures 
don't do the area justice.  Utah and Wyoming are especially scenic, with a 
mixture of both flat and mountainous terrain.  I hope I get a chance to 
visit again some day!


Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 12:08:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: Joshua D. Scott
To: Dennis M. Scott
Subject: Re: Joshua's trip...

Hello!  We're in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and the trip is going well so far.
We have about 300 miles to go and hope to reach Wendover, NV (a few miles
from Bonneville, Utah) this afternoon sometime.

The scenery is great, especially after we reached western Nebraska.  The
last 200 miles of Nebraska was very windy, then we went up into some
mountains after reaching Wyoming, and it was pretty chilly (8600 ft). 
Luckily I brought warm weather gear and heated gloves!

We're in the mountains now, at about 6400 ft, but we still have to cross
the Rockies.  It should be beautiful, as it's sunny and nice weather (a
little cold still - 50's).

We've gone through a little rain, but not a ton, so that's good.  There
was some fog in the mountains, but it only last for about 10 miles, so we
slowed down and made it through.

I'll try to email again once we're in Utah/Nevada!



Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 15:43:25 -0400 (EDT)
From: Joshua D. Scott
To: Daniel Ramagem
Subject: Honda Announces Radical, Lightweight New CBR600RR for 2007

Don't know if you heard about this already?

We're back from the Bonneville trip and went over 4700 miles in 11 days. We
took four days to get out there, three to get back.  Long days, usually
about 13 hours, although I think one or two days were closer to 14 hours of

2006.08.30 - 438 [3] work (NIH - Bethesda), trip to Morgantown, WV, then
Columbus, OH
2006.08.31 - 784 [3] Columbus, OH to border of Iowa & Nebraska

2006.09.01 - 777 [3] border of Iowa & Nebraska to Rock Springs, WY
2006.09.02 - 325 [3] Rock Springs, WY to Wendover, NV
2006.09.03 - 037 [3] Bonneville (155 mph)
2006.09.04 - 059 [3] Bonneville
2006.09.05 - 050 [3] Bonneville (158 mph)
2006.09.06 - 041 [3] Bonneville
2006.09.07 - 783 [3] Wendover, NV to Nebraska
2006.09.08 - 697 [3] Nebraska to Illinois
2006.09.09 - 770 [3] Illinois to home (4732 trip total)

It wasn't as bad as I thought, but it was still pretty difficult!  I hope to
send out more details later, but as you might have seen above, I got two
runs and went 155 mph in the measured mile the first time, and 158 mph the
second time.  It was so much fun!

Todd with the BMW R1150R went 115 at first, then 120 after removing his big
touring wind screen.

Brian went 157 the first time, then 159, 160, and 161.  He kept making
changes with different sprockets, higher tire pressure, and more, but 161
was his peak.  He got to run the course a lot more than Todd and I because
he entered a record class.  We were just "Run Whatcha Brung", and only
allowed two runs.  The old record in Brian's class was around 183, but the
new one is 205 or something.

A lot of records were broken last week!  The fastest was a streamliner that
went over 350 mph, shattering the old 322 mph record.

I have a few pictures I'll try to post soon, but we took a lot of pictures
with Brian's camera, so I have to wait for him to send them to me before I
can post them.  I also have a pro photo of me going through the course
coming in the mail, so I hope to get that soon and scan it in. :)


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Index created on Sun Aug 13 22:11:46 2006 with pix2tn written by Michael Hahsler