Midnight Rider On a Graveyard Run
by Von Frost
The Midnight Rider
Midnight Rider on a Graveyard Run
Story by Von Frost
Moto-Photo Journalist/Blogger www.kozmoto.com
Who’s traversing the dark tarmac at witching hour on American highways? The most obvious answer is of course truckers, working men and women delivering precious cargo to a napping nation. 70% of all freight is delivered by diesel jockeys accounting for 255 billion dollars in trade yearly.
They’re America’s last real cowboys/girls riding the open range.
Secondly are outlaws. Hijackers, thieves, prostitutes and last call for alcohol desperados driving drunk bumps one eyed blind.
Lastly is the Highway Patrol protecting random travelers and Americas cowboys/girls against the outlaws.
What about us motorcyclists? When was the last time you rode all night long? I was suddenly intrigued by these midnight riders on a graveyard run. I love 800 mile rides but never ride all night long and I’m even night-time wired, regularly up until 3am hunched over hot computer.
Writing about, not riding on a dark deserted highway. Who are these night shifters and graveyard tanker yankers? Where do midnight riders eat and sleep when traveling all night…I’m going to find out.
Just how does one prepare to become a Midnight Rider? I asked two-time Hoka Hey first finisher and friend Will Barclay. The consummate Midnight Rider Will Barclay won Hoka Hey 2010, 8,500 miles of secondary roads from the Florida Keys to Homer Alaska.
Will crossed the finish line almost a full day ahead of the pack winning the half-million-dollar payoff. It took him 194 hours and only 10 of those hours his wheels weren’t turning.
He was also the very first to cross the finish line in 2011 after more that 10,000 miles. What does Will Barclay do to prepare for all night rides?
Will Barclays 10 Tips to being a Midnight Rider
1. Light Up Your Ride: Get accessory running lights, side lights, low lights HID lights, reflectors. Add any pair of HID lights and you will own the night.
2. Carry Small Flashlights: “I started The Hoka Hey with half a dozen small led lights tethered to my coat, as zipper pulls on my tank bag, and in my pockets. I finished with one. I particularly like the dim ones so that I can examine an instrument or a map without as much damage to my night vision” Will stated.
3. Wear Reflective Clothing. Today’s technology affords good looking gear that lights up like a Christmas tree when hit by headlights.
4. Expect the Worst Weather: Its gonna get cold, if you need heated gear get it, especially for your hands.
5. Be Mentally and Physically Prepared: Reset your internal clock by staying up all
night and sleeping all day.
6. Have Food and Water Accessible: Keep a tank bag of easily opened snacks and water always easily accessible when riding. “ I carry MRE’s. Meals Ready to Eat, also an apple does more to wake you up than does a cup of coffee” stated Will.
7. Plan Fuel Stops: Some fuel vendors close for the night. In some states it is unlawful for them to leave their self-serve pumps powered unless there is an attendant present. Carry a one-gallon fuel can in a saddlebag.
8. Clear Field of View: “Make sure that you can look over, not through your windshield. crazed, cracked, pitted or dirty windshields that are acceptable in daylight can be a true hazard at night, especially if it rains.
Make sure you can look at the road 50 yards ahead and I carry a microfiber cloth to wipe and clean the top few inches of the windshield while riding” Will said.
9. Full face Helmet and Earplugs: Full faced enhanced aerodynamics, enables phone communications and protects from inclement weather. Earplugs further reduced noise and stress.
10. Use GPS Tracking: Will suggests using US Fleettracking. Their GPS system was used in the last Hoka Hey Motorcycle challenge. It tracks speed and location in real time and is an amazing tool for riders safety and time confirmation. Plus my suspicious girlfriend will finally see if I’m really “writing a story”.
I’m also in cahoots with All Cities Transport owned by the infamous Harry Fischer. Yes the one and only captain of the Victor McLaughlin motorcycle drill team for the last 20 years. Harry has been giving me tips on long haul life. Truckers use the CB (Citizens Band) regularly and suggest I get one for the trip. Pretty cool, “breaker breaker see any smokys Bandit”! I can eavesdrop on the trucker chatter for weather and Smokey’s. He also suggests a deer whistle.
Where do Midnight Riders Sleep?
Hotel/Motels cater to 9 to 5ers, so where will I sleep in the daytime during my six nights of travel? It’s called Early Check-In and hotel/motels can only accommodate you if they have a room that wasn’t booked that day.
Legally they cannot re-book a room within a 12 hour cycle. They’ll only know the very night you need your room if it’s available and will alert housekeeping so you’re not bothered during the day.
Carry good earplugs and an eye mask. Midnight riders lose housekeeping services if you stay more than one night. You better know your route, potential motels and have their phone numbers in your cell phone.
To be continued…Night One: The Lonely Road