Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jack Shoalmire Tribute Ride, by Brion Hase

(Jack Shoalmire was an avid motorcyclist, BMW MOA high mileage rider, Iron Butt Associate, Tour of Honor Participant, etc., etc. from Tulsa, Oklahoma. A heart attack took him from us at the young age of 68 on August 28, 2011. Ed.)

On October 15th I completed an Iron Butt Association certified Saddle Sore 1,000 (SS1K) ride as part of the Jack Shoalmire Tribute Ride. A friend and I road over 1,000 miles in 24 hours within the state boundaries of South Dakota.

One of Jack Shoalmire's goals was to do a certified in-state SS1K in each of the 50 states. Jack was well on his way to meeting his goal when he passed away. His friend, Howard Entman, organized a Tribute Ride for him. The idea was to have motorcycle riders ride a SS1K in each of the 50 US states and some Canadian provinces on the same day, October 15th, 2011, in honor of Jack and his memory.

I don't believe I ever met Jack Shoalmire and I hadn't planned on doing his Tribute ride either, but when a local friend was unable to do South Dakota, he asked me to take his place. I agreed to do it. It was an easy decision. I wanted to make sure South Dakota did not get missed and I liked the idea of the ride being part of something bigger.

Friday afternoon, the day before the ride, my friend Dave "Dreamrider" Weber rode down from Moorhead, Minnesota, to Sioux City. Dave and I have both done certified IBA rides before and we had a good understanding of what was required. Dave initially wasn't overly excited about this ride either, but he wanted to ride with me just to keep me company and in his words make sure I had a good time. Dave is that kind of friend.

Neither Dave nor I are morning people, but Saturday morning we got up at 5:15 AM, finished loading bikes and headed up to Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. The gas station at the Dunes is about nine miles from my home. Dave later remarked that one of the high points of the ride for him was listening and watching me curse and get physical with the gas pump at Dakota Dunes that morning after it refused the second time to give me a date and time stamped starting receipt. To be honest I had been up a little later than planned Friday evening (in no small part thanks to Dave) and my tolerance threshold for stupidity (self-induced, mechanical, or otherwise) was lower than normal on that morning. I was also concerned the credit card company would flag my card. Multiple fuel pump receipts at the same place and time often causes them to put a fraud alert on the card which basically disables it for a while. After my third try I finally received a printed receipt and my credit card was apparently not flagged for fraud. Success!! It’s about 6:30 AM and we were headed north to Sioux Falls.

As we headed north it was a bit cool with a low of 33 degrees. The cold seemed to last a hundred miles, but then the temperature began to rise as the sun rose. Ultimately it turned out to be an excellent day for riding across South Dakota. There wasn't much wind and the temperature reached a high in the low 70's for a short period.

The fall season must have been late in South Dakota's Black Hills because there was a “full fall foliage color show” going on there when we arrived. That show alone made the ride worthwhile and made it difficult to leave the Hills. After picking up a fuel receipt in Hermosa, we stopped at the Mount Rushmore National Monument for photos. (Because of our late start Saturday morning, I was a bit concerned about finishing the ride on Saturday. We skipped the planned photo ops in the second half of the trip due to this.) Next we took a great little road down the backside of the Monument to Hill City. After a receipt in Hill City, it was up Hwy 385 via Deadwood to Belle Fouche the furthest most point of our ride. From Belle Fouche, we road back across South Dakota. We passed Chamberlain just before dark and the temperature fell again. After getting our second receipt of the day in Sioux Falls, we headed north to Watertown. By this time the temperature had dropped back down to the mid 40's and a misting rain had begun, but we managed to stay warm & dry. Watertown was our final destination, we arrived there and picked up an ending fuel receipt shortly after 10:30PM.

Lee "Lunatic" Bruns from the Glacial Lakes Motorcycle Club was our ending witness Saturday evening in Watertown, SD. Lee met us near our hotel and drove us to his favorite burger joint for our first real meal of the day. After a good and filling meal we returned to the bikes where Lee witnessed my mileage and signed my paperwork. According to my Garmin 2610, our total mileage from start point to end point was 1027.5 miles. (I forgot to reset my GPS trip counters at the starting point, so the displayed mileage includes the 8.9 miles between my home and the start point.)

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