Dropping the bike? That was nothing...
I managed to convince myself that the only possible way to ride 1500 miles in 24 hours was to eliminate fuel stops.
Of course, this is impossible.
So I must find a way to REDUCE the fuel stops. (I already committed to eliminating all other stops. If anything needs to be done, or a drink needs to be purchased, it must be done at the gas station after the little needle is pointing to "E". 24 hours worth of sandwiches and protein bars & bananas were in the luggage, and a drink tube feeding out from the Platypus in the tank bag)
I had verified my fuel capacity last year: at around 220 miles, it sputters and I switch to reserve. Then I can go about 60 miles before it dies.
There's the secret!
If I can extend my fuel stops to just over 250 miles, I can eliminate one stop, leaving me with 7 instead of 8 for 1500 miles.
I was in awe of my own ingenuity.
After getting the signatures I mentioned before, I filled the tank and left Raleigh.
Around Asheville, NC, the bike began to sputter and I reached down and managed to switch to reserve.
Then a mile later the bike instantly, completely, summarily quit while I was in the left lane. When I got it off to the right side, I worked the switch around enough to prove my suspicion: I had ALMOST switched to reserve, but not completely. :-p After a few cranks, it fired up again.
I started doing the calculations in my head (big mistake) trying to decide where would be the absolute best place to stop for gas.
Around the Maggie Valley exit, I saw a sign indicating fuel was available, and noticed that the station was A MILE away from the highway.
"HAH! I'm certainly not going A MILE out of my way for gas - I'll just go to the next exit. I can still go another 20 miles on these fumes."
As it turns out, there is NO next exit (with fuel) in North Carolina. The next opportunity for fuel is in Tennessee - another 30-40 miles. I stretched it as long as I could, and when it began to sputter, I took a quick right and coasted down an exit ramp that might as well have been outer Mongolia.
Nothing at the bottom but a tiny sign saying "Cold Springs Creek Rd".
So I called the Progressive Insurance Roadside Assistance number. I spent the next 30 minutes with the nice lady (Not Flo) trying to explain where I was. The only things she understood were Mile Markers, and they would be up on the interstate, not down in the valley where I coasted to. Finally, after putting me on hold a couple of times, she was able to follow my repeated instructions about it BEING THE FIRST I-40 EXIT IN NORTH CAROLINA! (Even if I didn't know the number of it.)
She said the service folks would be there in one hour, and I would have to pay them for the fuel.
One hour and 5 minutes later, the tow truck operator called me from his place with the following question:
"Where exactly are you?"
So I got to replay all the directions I told the dispatcher... :-)
BTW, if you zoom in on the SPOT map at the NC/TN border, you can see where I was.
I knew that after having lost 2 hours, the BunBurner Gold was out of the question.
But wait!! There is another way - I haven't lost 2 hours, I've only thrown away 285 miles and the 3.5 hours that it took to do them.
All I have to do is wipe the slate and start over!
So I got the tow truck driver to sign another witness form and I went to the next station to fill up, get a receipt, and start the 24-hour clock again, only the starting point will now be Hartford, Tennessee instead of Raleigh, NC.
Right now I'm sitting in Spearfish, South Dakota, after riding 1582 miles in 22 hours and 48 minutes.
(Not counting the 285 "practice miles" in NC) :-)
There is no way this could have happened without the midwest states having long stretches of interstate with a 70mph limit and the fact that I got to ride them in the wee hours when traffic was very light.
I40 in NC and TN was like a long funeral procession.
Now that the ordeal portion of the trip is over (Dear God, I HOPE that was the hard part!), I'm planning to enjoy the rest of it on my own schedule.
But for now, I'm going to take a nap.
The little GoPro Hero2 HD apparently wasn't up to the task of being mounted to my highway bar.
I took it out of the housing to look at it, and the camera looks like someone beat it with an axe.
I think the housing and the camera were vibrating against each other for hours & hours & hours, and dug deep gouges in the camera. Thank God I removed the camera from the housing and put it in my luggage, because when I arrived in Spearfish, I looked down and saw that the waterproof camera housing is gone.
It completely broke off at the mount, without the camera being inside!
I don't yet know if the camera is in operating condition or not.