It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that we had some decisions made and guidelines in place. First and foremost, we decided this would be an all Harley-Davidson ride. While some friends had other bikes, we decided to stay with Big-Twins from Harley based on their reliability and relative comfort. When compared to a Honda Goldwing, the Harley might not win the comfort crown, but when compared to many other American V-Twins, the Harley takes it hands down. By this point we had an objective and a basic route in mind. We would be attempting to complete both the Saddle Sore 1000 and Bun Burner 1500 concurrently. The IBA allows you to complete the Saddle Sore 1000, then an additional 500 miles in the next 12 hours, thus qualifying for both rides at the same time.
Keeping the group small would be another issue. Our original group had suddenly swollen to 11 riders, more than what we planned on, but we would deal with it. We decided on a route that would take us from SoCal to the outskirts of Albuerque, NM, and back, with a stop for the night as we hit Flagstaff for a second time in the day. We would then get some shut-eye and head back to Cali to complete the Bun Burner 1500.
Things were really starting to come together, but we wanted to be sure we had everything we needed to make the ride a success. Out came Harley's P&A and apparel catalogs. We ordered multiple items that would make the trip easier on the bikes as well as our bodies. Our first concern was for the bikes, especially in regard to maintaining high speeds over a route that consisted of many miles of hot desert landscape.
Items on our list from the P&A catalog included things such as oil coolers to keep temps down and pushbutton gas-door releases to free us from the hassle of fumbling for keys at gas stations. We made sure we all had proper windshields to keep the fatigue factor as low as possible; a Sundowner seat complete with a backrest was also helpful. We also ordered a radar detector, which came in handy when alerting us to the "Boys in Blue" on more than one occasion.
Other items we picked up were H-D's compact tool kit, an emergency drive belt in case someone trashed a belt in the middle of nowhere, and a cable lock to ensure our bikes were still at the hotel when we got up Sunday morning. We even picked up one of Harley's fire extinguishers to bring along, just in case.
As far as outfitting ourselves with Harley gear, we tried out an FXRG carbon-Kevlar-fiber full-face helmet, which worked really well due to its light weight and quiet design. Since we would be riding in a variety of temperatures, we made sure we had outerwear for both hot and cold weather. One combination that worked great was Harley's leather shirt for the hot spots, with one of the company's windproof fleece jackets worn under it when the air got cold. We also tried a variety of Harley chaps and jackets, including a Willie G. leather jacket and a traditional men's race jacket. Other pieces such as men's Mega Conductor boots, waterproof gauntlet gloves, light gloves, and Broady goggles also made for comfortable riding.