Wednesday, November 2nd through Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.

Six and a half days, five states, 3,600 miles and membership in the Iron Butt Association.

Ever since I first heard of the Iron Butt Association in the 90s, one of my life goals has been to earn the right to membership. To qualify for the IBA, you have to ride at least 1,000 miles in 24 hours or less. But it's not enough to claim you've done it; you must prove it. You have to provide the IBA verification staff with a detailed trip log, along with time- and date-stamped gas receipts and signed witness statements from the beginning and end of your ride. Only after they have certified this evidence do you get to call yourself a member of this exclusive club.

So after years of daydreaming and saying "someday," I finally resolved to do it.

This was not my longest ride, nor did I add any new states to my collection, but it was nonetheless a fun, scenic road trip and a much-needed mental health break. (All photographs are by me.)

This is Charley, my Honda CTX 700.

In the background is the point of departure for this trip, the marina where my wife and I live (for the moment) on our Island Packet 31 sailboat.

Gathering my gear and preparing to leave.

I headed out late on Wednesday afternoon on a short repositioning leg up to Lake City, Florida, which would serve as the staging point for The Big Ride. After organizing the necessary paperwork, I went to bed early so that I would be well rested for the following day's ambitious itinerary.

I woke up at 5 a.m. and was on the road by 5:45. There was no time to dawdle, so I didn't stop to take any pictures on the Iron Butt segment of this journey, except for this one, to commemorate the moment: crossing the Texas state line about an hour before sunset.

After riding through torrential rain for hours between Houson and San Antonio, I tried to dry out my gear in the hotel room overnight.

All of my required ride documentation laid out on the hotel mattress.

With that accomplished, now I can relax and enjoy the rest of the trip!

I-10 runs east-west across Texas for more than 880 miles.

There is probably an essay about the future of national energy policy in this picture, but I'm too lazy to write it.

My local host, Laura, informed me that this figure is a gross overstatement.

The interior and exterior of my accommodations in Dell City: a guest room called the West Room.

(The West Room guest room's best room's the West Room guest room's restroom.)

Want to stay here? Here's the airbnb link:

Another one of the guest rooms on the property.

The giant rooster.

The view looking east from the patio. Note the ancient volcanic cone with the letters "DC" (for Dell City) inscribed on the slope. I climbed to the top on Saturday, and the view of the town and surrounding landscape was marvelous. (It's a lot bigger than it looks from here.)

At the foot of the water tower is the general store. The sign on the left reads:
SHERIFF S OFFICE (no apostrophe, just a space)
(The building it refers to is a single-wide trailer out of frame on the left.)

The one and only restaurant in town: Spanish Angel's Cafe. I had the cheese enchiladas with red sauce, rice and refried beans. Delicious!

The road beckons.

The spectacular monolith of El Capitan, the southernmost extent of the Guadalupe range, its pinnacle shrouded in the ever-present November storm clouds. Behind it, invisible in the mist, stands Guadalupe Peak, at 8,751 the highest natural elevation in Texas.

Heading out to explore the area on Saturday.

Full cruising mode: ON

As a general rule, I don't like to take street bikes off road, but I will certainly make an exception if it gets me to a spot like this.

The exciting—occasionally a little too exciting—highway through Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Heading south along Texas state highway 54 through the Sierra Diablo mountains.

At the Florida state line welcome center, Charley flies in formation with a U.S. Navy F-9 Cougar.

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