Woodward, Okla. —
By Brandi Thomas
Have you ever wanted to take a road trip from coast to coast? Not just from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but from where the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean meet to the Arctic Ocean?
But you're not taking the trip by car. Instead, you will be on a motorcycle.
In June, Mooreland resident Jim Judge made such a trip on the Iron Butt Association Ultimate Coast to Coast ride.
Judge, a member of the association, has been doing long distance motorcycle rides for some time now.
"The first trip I made to get an award for was to Ogden, Utah, to see my son and that one was for 1,000 miles in under 24 hours," Judge said. "I've also ridden from Jacksonville, Fla. to San Diego, Calif. in 40 hours."
"I'd been wanting to do the Ultimate Coast to Coast for 3 years, so I finally asked my wife," Judge said.
According to the Iron Butt Association website (www.ironbutt.com) the Ultimate Coast to Coast ride states that you must either start or finish in Key West, Fla., the southernmost tip of the United States and make your way to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the northernmost tip of the United States.
Judge rode his Suzuki, Vstrong 650 motorcycle from Mooreland to Key West to start his challenge.
"I arrived in Key West on June 19th of this year and left the next day for my trip," Judge said. "I grew a beard for the ride, it helps when the bugs hit your face, they don't hurt as bad."
According to the Iron Butt Association, you must fill your bike and get a receipt with a time stamp on it to show your official start time and have your picture taken at a landmark in Key West. As the trip goes on you must keep fuel receipts for the entire trip and stop every 400 miles to refuel. You must also ride the same motorcycle for the entire trip.
Judge rode 6,012 miles to Prudhoe Bay in 13 days, getting there on July 2nd. The rules of the challenge state you have to complete it in 30 days or less.
Judge averaged 462 miles per day.
Stopping every 2 hours as a rule, Judge kept to a strict diet while on his ride.
"To prevent getting tired in the middle of the afternoon, I would have a small breakfast like oatmeal, then an energy bar for lunch and then I would have a full meal for supper," Judge said.
Judge said the worst part of the trip was the Dalton Highway, the road in Alaska that takes you to Prudhoe Bay.
"During my trip I didn't have any hail or snow, just lots and lots of rain," Judge said.
"The Dalton Highway lives up to its reputation," Judge said, "It is mostly large rocks and lots of mud and they had a lot of construction going on along the way."
Judge had to change from street tires to knobbies when he was in Fairbanks just to make it up the Dalton Highway.
"The tires and a few rock and mud guards are the only modifications that I made to the bike," Judge said.
Once Judge made it to Prudhoe Bay and got his pictures and verifications, he then headed back south to Mooreland.
"The entire trip took 28 days and I covered 12,352 miles, alone," Judge said.
Judge called his wife of 34 years, Sandra, every night and she kept a small journal of his travels for the day.
"This was the most time that we had spent apart in 34 years," Judge said,"She usually rides with me when I take the Harley out, she sits up there in her "queen" chair."
They are planning on taking another challenge next summer – the National Parks tour where you have to visit at least 50 national parks in at least 25 states within 1 year.
Being retired from the Air Force, Judge said that he has seen the United States from the air, but really enjoys seeing it from the ground now.
"There were a few times on this trip that I really wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but if it wasn't for the "man upstairs" I never would have made it through this trip," Judge said.
According to the Iron Butt Association website only 102 people have finished the Ultimate Coast to Coast challenge and the oldest one was 73, Judge, 76, now holds this honor.