Days 9 and 10 were easy to plan: Get up to Vancouver to check out the city, then start my Border to Border run! Would I be able to get from Canada to Mexico in less than 24 hours?
Days 9-10 – Seattle, Washington to Surrey, British Columbia, then to Tijuana, Mexico, ~1,400 miles
I can’t help myself – bike trips and brew pubs just go together. A friend recommended STEAMWORKS so I decided to give it a shot.
The last time I tried an Iron Butt ride, I made the huge mistake of starting it (1500 miles in 36 hours) after a day of work. This time around I decided to get some sleep beforehand, so I found a hostel to crash at for a few hours before taking off.
One of the main streets downtown (Granville, I think?) Anyway, what’s cool is you just park on the sidewalk, then pay for your space based on your license plate number. It had no problem accepting my California plate.
After a four hour nap, I got out of bed, nervous about what was to come next. Picking a start time for the trip was a bit of a crapshoot – all I knew was that in about 40 hours, I had to be back at work in Los Angeles. Around 10pm, I left the hostel and Vancouver, which got me to a gas station just shy of the Canada/USA border at 11pm. There, I filled up the tank of my K75C, and got the gas station attendant to sign off as a departure witness.
I apologize in advance, as I did not take many photos while on the road. You can probably guess why. Despite that (and the fact that this trip happened almost 6 years ago), I still vividly remember my late night start. I had a pleasant chat with a US border agent who did not understand why I was about embark on such an odd trip, and then I headed south on I-5 into an impending rainstorm.
Around 3:30am, after 3 hours of riding through constant rain, I had the misfortune of discovering my boots weren’t waterproof. I pulled into a gas station/convenience store to try and warm up. About 25 minutes later I had feeling back in my feet and I got back on the road. Thankfully, I only had another hour of rain to contend with before the sun came out – it would be dry the rest of the day.
The worst part of this ride is that I had to ride past my place on the way to the border. Riding through Los Angeles was torturous – I was tired and sore and just a few minutes away from my own bed. But I didn’t think I was going to enjoy telling people that I almost rode from border to border in 24 hours, so I pressed on.
Fast forward several hours and I’m in Mexico. I thought I’d have good luck finding a gas station (you need an official receipt with the time to prove you did it in the required timeframe) in downtown Tijuana but I got hopelessly lost. This is the back of the arch that announces you’re in TJ. I had to break out my barely passable Spanish with la policia to find a place to get gas.
After killing nearly 20 minutes in town, I found one at 10:15pm. Final tally – Surrey, British Columbia to Tijuana (1,392 miles) in 23 hours and 15 minutes (works out to an average speed of just under 60 miles per hour). I did it! And just like that, I had to turn around to get back to Los Angeles – about another 3 hours.
Filling out some paperwork for the IBA while I’m waiting in line. I got a witness signature at the gas station to conclude my trip, but I was surprised when the US border agent wouldn’t sign as a co-witness. Oh well.
That’s it! Took me another three hours to get back home and finally fall asleep in my own bed. A couple of weeks later, I got my Iron Butt certificate. As of today, just over 200 riders have completed this ride through the IBA.
I know the photos got sparse by the end of this, but I hope you enjoyed and that it gets you inspired to try something similar. I’m just trying to find an excuse and enough time to get out east to try the 50CC Quest (coast to coast in 50 hours)…