1,000 Mile Test Ride

By TJ & Stephanie Thompson

Industrial grey. Blacked-out. 2019 Road Glide Special. Premium features. Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine. Stage II Screamin’ Eagle torque cam. 1,000 mile service. One long, cold 24-hour ride.

We could hear the clock ticking as we filled up the gas tank and gathered our witness signatures for the start of our next adventure; the Iron Butt Association’s “Saddle Sore 1,000” which is 1,000 documented miles within 24 hours. We decided to do this challenge not only two-up but on the brand new 2019 Road Glide Special with Stage II Upgrade.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019, at 12:22pm, we sat in the saddle of a completely new motorcycle for the first time, and off we went. We left Denney’s Harley-Davidson in Springfield, Missouri with the odometer reading 41 miles and six gallons of fuel in the tank. The weather in Missouri and Oklahoma was clear, which made the beginning of the ride nothing but smiles and wind against our knees. We had a destination in mind and a route that would take us through Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Tucumcari, New Mexico and as far as Route 66 would go for our 1,000 mile challenge.

Of course, with a brand new motorcycle we feel the 1,000 mile service is the most important and crucial maintenance for a new motorcycle, considering this is the break-in period. The break-in period on a new motorcycle engine is important or you could risk performance and/or cause damage, so we kept the RPM’s down, and for the first 500 miles we didn’t use full throttle or high engine speeds. The bike rode as smooth as any Cadillac that I had ever ridden in, which made cutting across Oklahoma into Texas effortless.

As the sun set and the clock kept ticking, we found ourselves 536 miles into our challenge with about fourteen hours remaining. This was great! We had ridden over halfway and still had lots of time left on the clock; however, the temperatures started dropping to the high 30’s/low 40’s and then the rain started. Riding in cold temperatures is manageable. Riding in wet conditions is manageable as well. However, riding in cold temperatures while you are wet are not the best ideal riding miles. We both wanted to stop and get a hotel room but doing that would end our challenge as well as cost us more money than we had budgeted.

Agreeing to toughen up and ride farther, we threw on our rain suits. The suits made a huge difference but with several layers, and leathers to stay warm, it is very difficult to move around. Arriving at Tucumcari, New Mexico around 10:30pm we both agreed that food and a quick nap were much needed along with dry clothes for the remainder of our ride. After we grabbed something to eat and lugged our bags into the hotel room, we had three hours to rest.

3:00am Wednesday morning came quick, and our time clock had nine hours remaining with 350 miles left to ride. We departed from the warm hotel bed with a nice outside temperature of 38 degrees. A few hours later the sun finally started to peek up behind us showing the road ahead in Clines Corner, New Mexico. We rolled through Grants, New Mexico along Route 66 about 9:30am with slightly warmer temperatures than earlier. Looking over the route weeks prior revealed our final destination to be around the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

It wasn’t much farther after Grants, New Mexico that our odometer reading on the motorcycle was 1,041 miles. Which would be the 1,000 miles we needed. However, the Iron Butt Association verifies mileage with other sources along with your odometer reading. The IBA’s website does not recommend relying on your own speedometer/odometer readings. Just to be on the safe side, we rode an additional 54 miles to a small town in Apache County– Chambers, Arizona.

Pulling off of Route 66 into the Chambers Mobil gas station at 9:50am, we were finally finished with our challenge and knew that the pressure was off. Our motorcycle odometer read 1,095 miles which would be 1,054 total trip miles and our MapQuest/Google Map showed 1,014 miles. Either way, we completed the 1,000 miles in 21 hours 28 minutes.

What an experience! Without a doubt, the best motorcycle for us would be this Road Glide Special. I can honestly say that Iron Butt Challenges are great and can save you lots of money but we really enjoy sight-seeing and poking along the backroads. Since our Iron Butt Challenge, our odometer reading is right at 5,000 miles.

We are enjoying the new 2019 Road Glide Special with Stage II, and are slowly modifying different aspects to fit our needs. For example, we are running with Custom Dynamics lights all around the bike as well as a Mustang seat and a Memphis Shades 6.5” windshield. To see more of our adventures, head over to Facebook, Instagram, & YouTube to subscribe and be part of our story!

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