Day One – Iron Butt Saddle Sore Run; Cincinnati to Kit Carson CO - 1,089 miles

While we had ridden several 1000+ mile days we never had it documented for the Iron Butt Association.  We certainly weren't looking forward to another trek across I-70 in the heat of the summer, but we thought if we did something like an Iron Butt it might break up some of the monotony.  I guess we succeeded but it was still rather boring.  We made eight stops; five for gas and food, and three for just taking a break.  It took us slightly less than 18 hours, which didn't set any land speed records, but on the interstate we decided not to push it.  We did have an eventful start.  After we used up a good portion of our first tank we decided to stop for gas, get a bite to eat, and suit up for the rain that we were headed into.  As we finished up our McDonalds breakfast in Marshall IL it started to drizzle as we headed west.  No more than four miles on the interstate, a huge wall of clouds ominously passed over us and we were instantly hit with tons of water, and tremendously strong winds.  We continued to ride as we always do thinking we would soon run out of the worst stuff.  Many cars had already pulled over, but we were going to continue; neither of us wanting to ask the other if they were ready to stop.  Pretty soon, we were leaning at a pretty good angle in the wind just to stay on track.  Most of the trucks were still running and this was a growing concern for me.  Then the wind started swirling, in a split second the right lean that was necessary to keep on track was now a recipe for going in the ditch as the wind shifted from the north to the south.  Also, in the back of mind I thought this might be a signal of a tornado, so I broke the silence and asked Steve what he wanted to do.  He said "stop!!".  We pulled over under a crowded underpass and commiserated with a Harley rider who we had bumped into at the last gas stop.  After only a few minutes the wind let up (but not the rain), and we decided to get going.  The lightning we saw afterwards was as amazing as the wind storm.  Later, Steve talked with his daughter who works in Terre Haute IN and she explained that it was indeed a tornado, and they been instructed to go to their tornado shelter.  Looking back we probably waited too long to stop, but it was truly a situation that deteriorated quicker than anything I have ever experienced before.  The rest of the day was very uneventful; there was no more rain, and the temperatures were very reasonable.  We made a couple of rest stops in KS, and made a pretty easy day of it.  We ended finishing up in the darkness, but I think we could have easily ridden longer.  The owners at the Good Sheppard Inn in Kit Carson could not have been more hospitable.  They signed our witness forms for the Iron Butt, and even kept the restaurant open for our late arrival in order to provide us something to eat.  Although we didn't stay in the room very long, it was very nice and well kept.