Bob L's

2009 IRONBUTT RALLY


DETAILS - Assorted details about the trip. More detail than you probably want to see. Daily miles, bonuses visited, MPG, number of trips to the bathroom, that sort of thing. Some info on bike prep etc.
IRONBUTT.COM - The IronButt Association
2009 RALLY INFO - A link to the 2009 IBR specific info page. Usually great stories here.

PHOTOS
SLIDESHOW


INDEX

2009 IRONBUTT RALLY - Introduction
TOO EARLY? - January 29, 2008
GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS - April 14, 2008
Rally Discription - May 11, 2009
REAL TIME RALLY INFORMATION May 11, 2009
TECHNOLOGY - May 12, 2009
IBA PREP - June 20, 2009
IBR DETAILS - July 25, 2009
ONE MONTH TO GO - July 26, 2009
WHY THE IRONBUTT? - August 8, 2009
MORE INFO FOR YOU - August 11, 2009
THE BIKE IS READY. Me???? - August 22, 2009
Ummmmmm How Much???? - Tires - August 21, 2009
2009 IronButt Rally
DEER STRIKE
ROUTE MAPS
YOU TUBE VIDEOS
SECOND PLACE
AUXILIARY FUEL TANK


PHOTO PAGES

BIKE PREP
RALLY BIKES
LEG 1
LEG 2
LEG 3
PICS OF ME


2009 IRONBUTT RALLY

July 22, 2009

Well, I am in another IronButt Rally. I know, the last one did not go exactly as planned, but I wanted to try again.

I am planning on keeping in touch as much as possible through my web page. E-Mailing my stories to a long list of people is a bit of a pain. So I have created a better way to do it.

For stories etc while on the road, I will use my Blog at whereisbobl.com/journal This will include quickie notes as well as my final stories. This is where you will find all new material. You can leave comments on individual posts, but I will not be able to moderate them until I am finished, so no one will see them until then.

More importantly, you can subscribe using the link on the right side column. You put in your e-mail, it asks you to enter a hidden code, then it e-mails you to ask you if you are sure you really want to do this. Click on the link in the e-mail and you will now receive an e-mail every once in a while to let you know there is new content. It does not happen immediately so if you want immediate gratification, you will have to go to my page.

Over the next few weeks I will be putting up posts that I have written about the rally over the last two years. I will also be testing the system, so there may be a lot of drivel that will probably be removed at some future time.

You can also go to my home page for older stories. whereisbobl.com I am in the process of updating it, so please excuse the mess.


What follows is my story, including preparations, from two years prior to the rally.


January 29, 2008

TOO EARLY?

As I write this, it is January 29, 2008, 20 months before the 2009 Ironbutt Rally. Is it too early to be writing about a rally that will happen next year? - NO!

I just received the application for the rally. The rally will start August 24, 2009. That's 20 months from now. Better hurry up and start planning.

Those selected to be in the rally will be notified in April of this year.

This will be my third IBR. The first one I did pretty well on, and the second one I did not finish. I can't even dream of winning, but my main goal is to finish safely, preferably in the top 20.


My bike, a 2004 Harley Davidson FLHT. Hopefully it will still be in good shape in 2009. Here, 20 months before the ride it has 64,000 miles on it. I don't think I will have 100,000 miles on it by the IBR, but I might.


April 14, 2008

GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS

The day before the Dreaded Tax Day I received some good news and I received some bad news. The good news was that I was entered in the 2009 Iron Butt Rally.

The bad news was that I was entered in the 2009 Iron Butt Rally.

What was I thinking? This is insane. I can't possibly actually want to do this again.

11 Days of riding to nowhere in particular for no apparent reason. High heat, Rain, Snow???? What is wrong with me? And what do I get if I finish? A small plaque that will sit in a drawer with the rest of them. And IF I win? Most unlikely, but what IF? Then I get a small plaque that will sit in a drawer with the rest of them. And maybe a small trophy to sit with it. This is just plain Goofy.


April 15, 2008

WHAT IS THE IRONBUTT RALLY?

What is the Iron Butt Rally (IBR)? It is sort of a scavenger hunt on steroids. As the letter of introduction says, if you are in the Iron Butt,

"...you can expect to ride through blistering desert heat, numbing cold, pounding rain, painful hail and blinding snow on some of the worst roads North America can offer." The rally is eleven days. Riders in the top half of the finishers can expect to have ridden at least 11,000 miles. Some will ride thousands more than that."

Although the rally changes from year to year, the basics are as follows: At the beginning of the rally, riders are given a list of bonus locations throughout the US and Canada. Each of these locations is worth some number of points depending on the difficulty of acquiring the bonus. The rider will plan a route that will give the highest possible points total. The boni could be simply to take a photo of the location with your rally flag. Or it could be answer some kind of question. Often the boni are time sensitive, only open at certain hours or daylight or on certain days. Most of the IBR's have had multiple legs, with a different route sheet for each leg. Planning is critical, and in some ways, the most difficult part. Rest is also critical. Successful riders plan in plenty of sleep during their routes. The saying is "You have to take time, to make time." If you do not get enough rest to be sharp, you will make mistakes. These mistakes will cost you bonus points, at the least.

Sleep is gotten anywhere, anytime. Cat naps in rest areas are popular. This is called the Iron Butt Motel. Personally, I have slept in public restrooms, picnic benches, on my bike in public parks, and even gotten $90 hotel rooms that I slept and left.

Food is also gotten at odd intervals. Most of it is eaten while riding, shoving sandwiches and beef jerky under your helmet's chin guard. Drinking water through a tube attached to a bottle or using a hydration bottle like some hikers use.

Some riders have gone as far as using a "Stadium Pal" to go pee in. This is a strange device consisting of a condom like end that is glued onto your, uh, well, you know. There is a hose attached to it that normally goes down your leg to a bottle like those that they administer saline and blood from in the hospital. This bottle is normally strapped to your leg so you can go to Soccer matches and drink all the beer you can without having to find a bathroom. Riders don't bother with the bottle. For them, the world is a toilet. If you are riding behind a rider and start getting wet, back off.

So.... Who would want to do something like this? Me for one. Thousands of riders send in entries to be selected in the rally. Only around 100 get in each time. You first have to meet certain criteria, which basically shows you know what you are getting into. My criteria at this point are a number of documented rides. Two BBG's, which are 1,500 miles in 24 hours. One BBG3K which is 3,000 miles in 48 hours and one 50CC (50 hours from coast to coast), which was combined with the BBG3k. That combo ride was from Kittery, Maine to Los Angeles, California then down the coast a little ways so that I would have a total of more than 3,000 miles. I have also completed two ButtLite (BL) competitions. The BL is a seven day, seven thousand miles ride similar to the Iron Butt Rally. The BL is put on by Team Strange www.teamstrange.com I have also completed the 2001 IBR and participated in, but did not complete the 2003 IBR.

All this did not mean I would get in, only that I could get in. The riders are selected by lottery. To get in is extremely lucky. Or unlucky, you decide. Be careful what you wish for.

So now that I am in, what do I do? Well, it is not too early to panic. It is always better to get the IBR panic done early. After that is bike prep. My bike will be pushing 100,000 miles by then. In general, prep consists of general good maintenance. Also, replacing parts that might be pushing their life. For this bike, that would be the Drive Belt and maybe Cam Bearings. My bike will have a 5 gallon fuel cell on the back seat for some extra range. Other than that, my bike is mostly stock.

Other prep will be modifying the loose nut on the seat. I need to lose weight, get more fit, re-learn how to function on minimal sleep, re-learn how to get my catnaps, practice my quick mapping skills, and generally significant self improvement. *Or not.*


May 11, 2009

REAL TIME RALLY INFORMATION

You will probably know more about what is going on during the rally than I will. The Ironbutt Association will put a ton of information on the official site, including stories and how riders are doing. Some of these stories might even be factual. As a rider, I will probably not have a chance to hear any of these stories until the end, if even then.

I am experimenting with ways of keeping everyone informed by either using my phone to text message information to a BLOG which can be accessed by anyone or having someone else do it for me based on phone messages. But don't count on it. I take two and three week vacations and never call home, so.....

Some riders have tracking devices showing where they are on a web site. I don't. First, they cost money and I am cheap. Second, they are not always accurate. Having a loved one at home see your location unchanged for days makes them very nervous. This could just be because the device failed. Other failures are errors in location that could say you are not where you are, or even that at one point you were traveling at a thousand miles an hour. Plus it is one more thing to break.

IRONBUTT.COM - The Iron Butt Association.

2009 RALLY INFO - The link to the 2009 IBR specific page.


May 12, 2009

TECHNOLOGY

So, what kind of Gizmos will I be bringing? Some riders have every electronic gadget imaginable. Me? I want nothing more than a basic GPS. But.....

This year I was going to bring a laptop and a GPS. Well, that was the plan. But, this year they are not going to hand out a paper list of all bonus locations and directions. This year, they are handing you a memory card with all the locations on it for your GPS or mapping program. That means, basically, that if a rider does not have a WORKING GPS, he is practically out of the rally. Certainly out of the competition. It also means that if you have a WORKING computer, you have a SERIOUS advantage over paper map people. I have always been a paper map kinda guy. A GPS is great, as is a laptop, but they have always been unnecessary to do pretty well. This year, they are indispensable. SO.... I will have a Laptop, AND a GPS. And a SECOND GPS. And Maybe a SECOND Laptop. Plus a digital camera, AND a BACKUP digital Camera. Plus backups of all the software. And a CELL PHONE. Imagine that, ME with a cell phone. Heck, one of my GPS's has the ability to get weather and traffic. But that costs money, and, as you know, I am cheap.

Some riders have their bike wired so that while riding they can make telephone calls, and receive them. They have XM Satellite radio. They have Instant weather, and traffic. Some have IPODS and CB's and just about any other electronic doo dad you can imagine. At least one rider has a full computer screen on top of his fuel tank with a touch screen and wireless internet. This is connected to a GPS antenna and has a powerful mapping program on it. I suppose you can play solitaire on it also.

One rider has his bike so well programed that if he makes a telephone call, the system decides which of the systems would be cheapest before dialing. This includes, if I remember right, cell phone, internet, satellite, WIFI, and probably Star Trek Communicator.

Did I mention that I have a cell phone?


June 20, 2009

IBA PREP

There are many things that need to be done to prepare a motorcycle for the Iron Butt Rally. I ride a Harley so here are the preps that I have done so far.


The IBR is ALL about time. Ya gotta have a good timing system.



A solidly mounted GPS is very important! That's a Streetpilot by Garmin. It has a color screen. Both Black AND white.



There is very little time to take care of the essentials while on the 'Butt, So... I have packed plenty of Oil. It is a Harley after all. Note the special tool to remove the transmission sprocket.



And speaking of tools, the green box is full of them. Plus a few that would not fit. And, don't forget the battery. Ya' never know how long the stock one will last. And at least one roll of duct tape.


July 25, 2009

IBR DETAILS

Details, Details, Details.

I received a number of responses asking When is the rally, and what is the route? Yeah, I suppose it would be good for you to know that.

The route is not known until just prior to the start of each leg of the rally. At that time, bonus packets will be handed out to each rider and everyone will open the packets at the same time. These packets will have a booklet with a list of bonus locations. Each location will be worth a different number of *points*. The riders job is to plan a route using these locations that will give the rider the best overall score possible. This year, the locations will be given to us in a computer file for us to plug into our GPS or computer mapping programs. Besides bonus locations, there will be points given for rest stops, logging each fuel stop in detail, and other events to be detailed later.

This years rally Will start in Spartanburg, SC at 10am on Monday August 24th. The first bonus packets will be handed out the night before at the banquet, giving you all night to plan, replan, fret, worry, replan and try to sleep. The first checkpoint will open two and a half days later on Wednesday August 26th at 9pm near Chicago in St. Charles, IL. The rider must be at the checkpoint no later than 11pm to continue the rally. The bonus packets for the next leg of the rally will be handed out at 4am on Thursday. The second checkpoint in Santa Ana, CA will be open from 9pm to 11pm Sunday August 30th with the rally packets being handed out at 4am Monday. The rally will end in Spokane, WA at 7am on Friday, September 4th although riders have until 9am to arrive and still be considered a finisher.

That is 11 days of riding. Normally, the majority of the finishers get close to the 11,000 mile mark, with the top riders rolling in with many more. This year, with the way the checkpoints are laid out, there may be fewer riders getting near the 11k mark. But, that all depends on what the bonus locations are. For example, there are over 4 days between the Santa Anna and Spokane checkpoints. If you added Jacksonville, FL into the route, it is only 5,200 miles, or a little over 3 days. Going to Tok Alaska instead is just about 4 days, although that leaves little time for sleep unless you make *really* good time.

This year, a gentleman by the name of Bob Higdon is rumored to be the man behind the bonus selections. Bob is a retired Judge. Bob is smart. Bob is clever. Bob is creative....... Bob is evil. When veteran rally riders found out Higdon (as he is affectionately known) was involved, they quaked in their boots. I rode for a little while in Turkey and the Balkans with Bob. I am beyond quaking in my boots. A while ago, Bob was trying to take a photo of every county courthouse in the US. He had a story or two of being questioned by the police, including one incident where, apparently, he was accosted by a SWAT team or something like that in Corpus Christi, Texas. A very interesting man, who will likely plan one heck of a rally.

Bob's Article: www.kawiforums.com/off-topic-discussion/40036-patriot-acts-freedom-flees-america.html


AUXILIARY FUEL TANK

The question keeps coming up ďdo you run an Aux tank and how is it mounted?Ē.

Yes, I use a 5 gallon Jaz Cell from Summit. This cell is (was) mounted on the back seat and plumbed into the fuel line that crosses at the front of the main fuel tank using a brass ďTĒ. This crossover tube is not on the 6 gallon tanks of later models. The fuel comes out of the cell on the left side of the bike. I used a plastic fuel shutoff valve from John Deere to cut off the flow. The main fuel tank normally has two vents. One is in the fuel cap, and only allows air in. The other is a vent line at the top of the tank and only allows fuel and vapor out of the tank. I plumbed this vent, without a check valve, into the vent on the fuel cell. This keeps me from spilling gasoline all over the ground if I forget to turn the cell off. The only problem this causes is if it gets fuel in it, it creates somewhat of a vapor lock. No vapor will go in either direction. If this happens and you have your cell off, then turn it on when you have, say, a half tank in your main cell, it will stay at a half tank until all the fuel is out of the cell. There is no easy way to stop this other than eliminating the fuel in this vent line. This often clears itself if you stop, as pressure builds up in the main tank, blowing the gas out of the vent line into the cell. If this is confusing, donít worry about it, it is not important. The fuel cell itself is vented out to the ground behind the rear wheel. I used a small check valve that easily allows air in, but I ďdamagedĒ it just enough to also allow vapor out, but slowly. In this way, the cell will not build up pressure, but it will also not splash gas out every time I accelerate. It will still allow pressure to push fuel out if you over fill and just leave the bike there, so careful.

As far as mounting, for my application I first had to remove the passenger grab rail. I put on a Tour Pak (trunk) relocation mount to move the Pak back a little so that I have more room. This is not necessary, but without it you will be leaning back against the tank a lot. You may like this, I donít know. Iíve run it with and without moving the pak, and having more room is a nice option. I used the steel band mounts that wrap around the cell. These can be purchased with the cell. Instead of bolts, I used screw eyes from the hardware store to secure them. I used four ratchet tie downs. The pin on the end of the ratchet that normally has a strap with a hook was removed. I then used a hitch pin through the hole and the screw eye. For the front ratchet I used a length of strapping around the engine guard and to the ratchet, putting both ends through the ratchet device. For the back ratchets, I just used a shortened length of the tie down with a hook on the end which I attached to the lower part of the tour pack mount. If you donít have the permanent version of the tour pack mount, something else will need to be put here. This all worked very well, but it is very close to the saddle bags. If you are concerned about damaging the saddlebag lids, you will want to modify the mount somehow. I suppose if you put a bar along the side of the cell then using screw eyes out at the end of this to move the location of the mounts. If I did a lot of rallying, I would come up with a more permanent mount, or just make the main tank much bigger. A real plus here would be to have a two piece seat. With a one piece seat the cell must be removed to get at the battery or any of the electronics down there. It comes off easy, but is still a PITA to do.

The IBR rules require the filler neck to be grounded. I just grounded this with a wire and a connector to the ground of the bike. If I were to do this again, I think I would pick a different style filler, one that is high up and would allow me to add a little more fuel. I would get one with a vented cap or I would vent this fill extension. The way the bike is set up now, to get maximum fuel into the bike, the bike needs to be standing. This is easy enough for the main tank because you can do it while you are sitting on the bike, but for the cell, it is a b**ch. You have to stand next to the bike, holding it steady. I usually stand on the side stand for added stability, but in the end found a 2◊4 and put that under the sidestand before I got off the bike. The difference between having the bike standing up and having the bike on itís sidestand is a quart of fuel. That may not be much, but every little bit helps. That is 10 more miles before empty. Donít forget about the foam. The rules require the special foam in the tank to prevent sloshing. I had thrown mine out as it uses up a decent amount of fuel and was unnecessary. I ended up having to purchase some.

I hope I explained this well enough. I do not have any detailed pics of the mounting. Feel free to ask questions if something is not clear.


July 26, 2009

ONE MONTH TO GO

Here it is, one month before the Rally. A week ago another rider was panicking since his *Sponsor* had his bike all apart. It looked to me like he was just changing the fork oil. This got me thinking. Maybe I should start preparing.

Up to this point, preparations have included acquiring a cheap, almost disposable laptop computer. A second GPS to backup my old ailing one, and, uh, that's about it. Well, documentation such as insurance and the goofy MedJet insurance have been finalized. But that is about it.

So, what needs to be done.

Well, the bike needs a new belt and sprockets, rather a long chore on a Big Twin Harley. A lot has to be taken apart, and a lot can go wrong. Best not to leave that to the last minute. I will do that next weekend. Maybe.

I have almost new tires on the bike. The problem is, that if I don't want to change them on the rally (I don't) I will need NEW tires before I leave. The Dunlop E2's that I had been using would last just about long enough to leave home, do the rally and get home. I just switched to the Dunlop E3's. Supposedly these will last longer. I hope so. I don't want to have to change my tire at the end of the rally on a holiday weekend just to get home. Or worse, have to change them during the last couple of days of the rally. They say to never try out new items on the rally. Oooops.

My 5 gallon Fuel Cell that I will put on the back needs a new mounting. The mounting I currently have is *almost* identical to what I have used in past rallies, but the tech inspectors are being more critical, so I better get started inventing a mount for that. Maybe duct tape will do.

A radar detector has been ordered, and will be wired in. I will be getting a Frogg Togs Rain Suit to go over my riding suit just in case we are deluged from morning to night.

I have bought a camera especially for the rally. And returned it. And bought another, and returned that one, again and again, trying to find just the right one. I have now decided that I will use my old camera and just get a newer, nicer camera for non-rally pics.

Other things needed? Riding suit as the old one is all worn out. New electrically heated jacket and gloves as they are also worn through. My helmet visor is completely scratched up, which is OK as I need a new helmet anyway. The liner is gone, the hinges are gone, and it rattles. I need a new set of riding boots. The plan is to exercise, eat right and lose a ton of weight. Eliminate coffee and beer from my diet. Wash the bike. Stir up trouble on the IBA website. Practice with my computer mapping programs. Mental preparation for traveling 20 hours a day, all the while thinking and planning. Well, I stirred up trouble on the IBA website. The rest did not get done, and likely will not get done.

While other riders are spending a ton of time and money prepping their bikes, I am putting things off. Maybe if I put them off long enough, they won't need to be done?


August 8, 2009

WHY THE IRONBUTT?

Because!

To a previous post, Wade of www.vagabondjourney.com commented:

......why do you like these Iron Butt rides so much? What makes you do them? Why is it about sitting on a motorcycle all day long for days on end that you love?
This is a question that many have tried, unsuccessfully, to answer. The old saying "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand" comes to mind. As does Wade's suggestion "Because I want to". But that is not something that satisfies the question. I like to tell people it is because I am not normal. THAT they understand.

I will start with the last question. What is it about sitting on a motorcycle all day long for days on end that you love?

This is an easy one. Because I enjoy it. I enjoy the control. I enjoy the smells, the wind, the curves, the scenery, the sound. Just about everything, except maybe the bees in my helmet. BUT, (there is always a BUT) I don't really like JUST sitting there on an MC all day long for days on end. There has to be something more. If the roads and/or scenery is good, then that is enough. If I am heading towards a favorite destination then that is enough. Heck, even battling traffic or bad weather can be enough. I started doing long days as a way to maximize my vacation time. If I took an average riders pace, it would take me 4 days or more each way to get to the Rocky Mountains. That eats up a week or more of vacation time without even vacationing. Yes, the ride out and back is not bad, but it is not excellent. Turn that four or five day trip into less than two days each way, and I have almost an extra week to *play* in the mountains. Sure, I could fly and rent a bike, but I really hate flying, and I am too cheap to rent. Plus, I kinda' like riding across the country. I also find riding to be relaxing, even if at the same time tiring. Quite the contradiction.

Now the tough question, Why do you like these Iron Butt rides so much? First we have the "certificate" rides, such as the BBG3K, which is two consecutive 1,500 mile days. You do these on your own, then after proving you did the ride, you get a certificate saying you did them. The certificate is not worth anything. I don't even know what I did with mine. The only people, besides yourself, that are likely to hear about the rides are other long distance riders. A certificate does not impress these people. Yes, they understand, but it won't make you a hero. I do these rides as a personal challenge as well as a learning experience. I learn a little bit more about my limits each time I do one.

As for the Competitive Rallies, that is a different story. Finishing something like the IronButt Rally does not make you famous. Even the one to score the most points in the rally is only known in a small circle of riders. Even these riders do not stand in awe. They understand the difficulty of such a ride and the sacrifices made to achieve them, so there is a certain respect given to a finisher, but this is not the goal of most riders. There is no real prize, just a plaque or inexpensive trophy. Other Long Distance riders might say "Great Ride" but almost everyone else in the world will just think you are an idiot.

So what is it? What makes a person sit on a motorcycle through all kinds of weather for twenty hours a day, heading to all kinds of places, sleeping on picnic benches or public restrooms, dealing with traffic, animals, road debris, and everything else that goes along with this kind of ride? Heck, I don't know. It is a personal challenge, above everything else. It is an adventure in a sense. It is not just seeing how long you can sit on a motorcycle without getting too tired to continue. The rider is working against the clock both in the normal sense of there only being so much time available to finish the rally, but also in the physical sense in that the rider only has so much time available before the rider must rest. These rallies combine a physical endurance with a mental endurance. Planning a route is complicated enough when you are rested, but if you are too tired, it is impossible. The rider must keep rested enough to be mentally sharp, all the while trying to get as many bonus points as possible. Many of these boni are time sensitive, being open only for a specific time. Traveling at high rates of speed will not work, as time is wasted at the side of the road receiving performance awards (or much worse). Going without sleep is not only dangerous, but it makes for mistakes that can keep you from completing the rally (at a minimum). No amount of technology will make the ride easy. No one but the rider can decide what boni are possible, and when rest is needed. Or, even, when to quit the rally. Every decision the rider makes has an effect on the entire rally.

The rider must know himself. Expanding limits of endurance IS important, bit it is more important that the rider be able to read his own condition at all times. Stopping when rest is needed is key. Also important is efficiency of movement. Gas stops, or any stops must be made in the shortest amount of time possible. Eating is done either while filling the gas tank, or while riding down the road. Good consists of whatever can be grabbed quickly and eaten while moving and wearing gloves. No wasted effort is allowed. For most riders, this does not sound like fun.

Maybe the allure is that, for a large majority of us aging, "slightly" overweight riders, it is the only "endurance" sport we can be competitive in. I am currently sitting here, working out my Gluts. A tough Gluteus Maximus is is important for the IronButt Rally! Having a desk job certainly helps.

So what is the answer to "WHY"? Uhhhh, damned if I know. Maybe Wade answered his own question in his post entitled Anatomy of Adventure:

Why does Motorcycle Bob choose to ride a full thousand miles each day rather than traveling across countries at a more leisurely, common sense pace?

I have no idea. Perhaps it is because these Iron Butt rides are challenging: they require thought, deliberate living, attention to detail, endurance ó they are exciting.

Sure, maybe that is what Thoreau meant by the term "deliberate living". Or.... Maybe I better just stick with "They are exciting".


August 11, 2009

MORE INFO FOR YOU

To read past rally reports, go here: http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/default.cfm and look at the past years. I rode in 2001 and 2003. Any report by Bob Higdon should be interesting. When the 2009 link shows up, watch that. That will contain the most current *official* info.

OR, for information overload, sign up to: http://ibdone.org/mailman/listinfo/ldrider_ibdone.org This e-mail list tends to BUZZ around the rally. There is more info, and mis-info on there than most want to know. BUT, the info may be the most current, if not the most accurate, available.


August 22, 2009

THE BIKE IS READY. Me????

Last minute, sure, but the bike is ready.

The 5 gallon fuel cell is on. It took many iterations. What I used for personal use would not have passed technical inspection, it was plenty strong enough, but it looked jury rigged. Each iteration either was risky as far as passing inspection, or not satisfactory to me. Back and forth, trying to get the right setup. I think everyone will be happy now.

The GPS is mounted, programs set up and well practiced, software loaded, computer prepped, tires changed, new battery, drive belt and sprockets swapped, new helmet, new radar detector etc, etc.

I chose not to get a new riding suit. Well, OK, I didnít exactly CHOOSE not to get one, I just procrastinated so long it became too late to get one. My suit works well enough, the zippers are a little screwy, and it is not 100% waterproof, but I will carry a rain suit that sort of fits over my regular riding suit, incase it rains a LOT. Of course, that only happens in New England, right?

Water Bottles are plumbed for use while I ride. My bag of tools is setup with everything I will need and the tire patch glue is fresh. Some spares are packed. There are some things that seldom fail that are easy to fix and could kill my ride. An example of this is the speedometer sensor. I brought one on the last IronButt I was in. Back then they failed often enough to really make sense to carry. At around 2am my cruise control stopped and just a foot or two before I got the bike stopped my speedometer went to zero. I pulled over and changed it. Ready to go. There are a few parts I would have loved to carry as spares, but they are too expensive or too bulky to make sense. I am assuming that if something fails, it will be something I did not bring. Just the way things happen. In all my years riding bikes, I have not YET had a failure far away from home that stopped me in my tracks that I could not fix myself. Well, except for when I rode a BMW.

The bike is ready, I am ready, sort of. The bike has 85,000 miles on it. I have many more. Caffeine is out of my system. Well, it will be by the time I start the rally, as will alcohol.

Just over a week to go to the start of the rally and I am ready. Well, except for packing the bike. Oh, and deciding whether to take two computers. And what day I leave. And whether the rear tire will last the entire rally. Oh, and what about oil changes? Worth stopping or do I just want to run the synthetics ítil the end? Food?

Yeah, Iím ready. Or, as ready as I could ever be. The bike is ready enough. The bike might turn over 100,000 miles by the time I get home. That is not really a problem for a modern bike, but things do go bad after a while, and even something as minor as a high beam switch can really screw up a ride. Wish me luck.

Below is a pic of the bike, prepped and ready to ride. NO!!!!! I did NOT wash it.


My bike, prepped and ready to go.



Click here for more pics of the bike preps: BIKE PREP



August 21, 2009

Ummmmmm How Much????

So, there was a change in plans, tire plans that is. About 50 miles from home I checked the tension on my drive belt, since I always like to a short while after changing a tire or whatever. The belt was a little tight, not bad, so I stopped to loosen it. I noticed there was a polished mark all around the sidewall of the rear tire, on both sides. This looked like something was rubbing. I could not find anything was rubbing. This was a mark I noticed on my last tire, but I attributed it to a wire tie that was loose in that area. On the last tire, it did not look bad, but I never really inspected it. Just plain did not think too much about it.

I continued to ride south, stopping once in a while to look at it. It did not change much. I tried marking it with duct tape, to see if that would get worn off, but the tire was too hot and the duct tape slid off, leaving a gooey mess with the adhesive. This gooey mess showed, eventually, that there was something rubbing or whatever. The strange thing was, that the glue did not rub off. There did not seem to be any real damage. I chose to head straight to Spartanburg rather than take the leisurely route down the Blue Ridge or some other fine route.

The Spartanburg Harley shop took me in right away. Putting the bike on the lift showed that there was NO rubbing. The only thing we could guess was that it was the tire flexing. I went to the hotel and contemplated the situation. On a normal ride, I would just ride and check it often enough. On this ride, I will be riding 400 miles between gas stops, and not have any time to check the tires when I stop anyway. On a normal ride, getting a tire is not a problem. On the IBR, an unplanned tire change can destroy your ride, possibly making you a non-finisher.

On a ride like this, ANYTHING that increases your stress can help tire you out, or distract you. I decided to get a new tire. The stock tire SHOULD last just long enough for the rally. That means I will need a tire when I get to the finish. There is still the risk that the tire will not quite make it to the end, but at least I will be able to plan ahead as I watch it wear.

I was hoping that the dealership would have people working on Saturday. They did. The cost of the tire? Well, I will have nightmares about this. Normally, I mail order my tires for about $120 delivered, at most. My mechanic works for beer. That mechanic would be ME. The cost of the EXACT SAME tire at Harley Dealer? $175 for the tire plus labor etc to the tune of $224 before tax. Tax? What's that? That's over $100 more than what I normally pay. Holy Crap! It is generally the same at any dealership, so you can't blame Harley.

Well, in the grand scheme of things, I guess this is a minor expense. I will still have the old tire, which I will put on when I get home. But wait, there's more. Since I have to get a tire in Washington, that will be another $200 plus for a tire. CRAP!


The mark on my tire. Is this an issue or not? I decided not to take the chance. This is the left side, w/o flash



This is the right side. w/flash


August 22, 2009

UPDATE

The tire got changed early this morning. Actually, I wanted to start with a known quantity so I changed both tires.

Last night I took a walk around the parking lot and could find no bikes exhibiting the same marks as my bike. This morning, AFTER the tires were changed, I looked at some more. None of the bikes had a wear strip as pronounced as the one on my bike, but many of the bikes had a similar strip. My guess is that the cause is the tire flexing is slow tight turns causing it to sort of rub against itself. Maybe this happens while riding the highway too, I don't know. All I know is that it appears to be a normal phenomenon and I did not have to take of my long lasting tires and put on tires that Might not even make it through the entire rally.

Oh Gosh Darn It.......


2009 IronButt Rally

Now that the ride is over, I can let you all know how things went, while it lasted. I have trouble remembering details, but I will relate them as well as I can.

DAY 1 - Monday, 24 August 2009

The rally started at 10 AM with an organized departure from the hotel. The Suzuki rotary motorcycles left first, then Dale *Warchild* Wilson directed us one at a time to leave. The first bonus was the headquarters of BMW North America. This was a short trip, and my first chance to screw up with these newfangled navigation devices. Every other rider was turning left at the first intersection. My GPS said to turn right. While in the parking lot, waiting for the start, I *practiced * with my GPS. I guess I left it set to go to my second bonus location, instead of the BMW boni.

The theme of this rally was *Crime Scene Investigation*. The crime here was the failure to continue to make one of the most reliable Ironbutt Motorcycles. We all crowded around one motorcycle to take a photo with our flag in it. A few riders had gotten there and took there photos before the 10:30 time listed on the bonus sheet, and most likely did not get the points for this one.

From there, I headed north and east, getting bonus locations along the way, including in Washington, DC. By nightfall I was in Connecticut, stuck in heavy traffic in high heat. My bike took to smoking some, which from my experience, usually means oil is leaking past the valve guides. Never a good thing. Stopping in a rest area off of I-95 I was able to get an hour or so of sleep. I prefer to always get hotel rooms but I felt I would be too keyed up on this first day of the rally to get much sleep so I decided to check into the *Ironbutt Motel*, in this case just laying my head on the tank bag on the bike while sitting in my seat.

DAY 2 - Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

The biggest doable bonus on this ride was the Ted Kennedy Car Wash, also known as the Dike Bridge at Chappaquiddick on Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. This required two ferry rides on one of the busiest times of the year. Oh, and president Hussein was there vacationing with his family as well. This went very smoothly and I was able to get some more sleep on the ferry. This was actually the last time I did any of this napping stuff. As I said, I prefer to get hotels daily. Every other day of the rally I found a hotel, set my alarm to get 5 hours of sleep. Each time, I woke before the alarm went off feeling great. I figure that I got more *real* sleep on this rally than I do at home. When I got tired, I slept, and slept well indeed. At home it takes time to fall asleep, I toss and turn during the night, wake up to go to the bathroom etc etc. Not during the rally. I expect that I went through two full REM sleep cycles, which is all most people really need anyway.

After Martha's Graveyard, I scored some other boni in the area, including Lizzie Borden's house and a place in Hebron, CT. I had a plan, but timing and bad traffic made me miss my plan some. My bike smoked some more I eventually made it into Pennsylvania, stopping at a hotel for the night. I had a plan for the next day that would give me a relatively easy 2,000 points.

DAY 3 - Wednesday, 26 August, 2009

Plenty of time to get my boni and get to the first checkpoint near Chicago. Suited up, I hit the starter button. It sounded like there was a guy in my rear exhaust pipe with a hammer trying to get out. When I shut the bike down last night one of the valves must have been left in the open position, a normal occurrence. With all the smoking from traffic there was a significant amount of carbon and sludge stuck on the valve stem, which must have delayed it's closing long enough for the piston to strike it. Once struck, the valve bent and caused continuous havoc.

I had 18 hours to fix the bike and get to the next checkpoint if I wanted to continue in the rally. Not freekin' likely. There was a Harley Dealer less than an hour away, but there was no way I could get towed there, get the bike fixed, drive it back to the point of towing (required) and still get there. I opened the pushrod tubes to see what was happening. This turned out not to be a good idea, as with the valve stuck and the tubes loose, the pushrod had a chance to move where it did not belong and quickly broke. This damaged the pushrod tube slightly. I removed the pushrods and bent the tube back into shape but there was a hairline crack in it. Hard to see, but it allowed oil to ooze out on my way to the dealer. Save this information for later. Let me tell you, trying to climb the hills of Pennsylvania with only one cylinder working and the other dragging is no fun. It was emergency flasher city on most of the hills, and slow moving to let the bike cool off on the downhill sections.

I was surprised to find that the dealer opens it's service department at 8am rather than the showrooms 9am. The dealership was Highland Harley Davidson in Somerset, PA. I lucked out on this one. Not only does this Dealership have the reputation of having the lowest labor charges of any Harley Dealer in the world, but they understand the Ironbutt Rally. I may have the titles wrong, but I believe it was the service manager that is an IBA member. My bike became first priority. Yep, stuck exhaust valve. A *take off* head was removed from storage. A take off part is one that is removed from a new or almost new bike because the owner wants the bike modified. I am guessing that someone bought a bike and wanted the larger cylinders installed. My bike was done by noon and I had the fuel cell and all back on my 12:30. I watched some of the work and was impressed with the professionalism and care taken on my dirty old bike. The total cost of the job was $400. I spent more than that for those damned tires at the start.

Twenty miles down the road I smelled burning oil Remember that pushrod tube with the crack in it? Well, since the mechanic did not know it had been damaged and there was no reason to check it, he used the old damaged one. Not his fault, I should have said something. Fortunately for me they gave me the rest of the pushrod kit which included new tubes. I called the dealer to ask them how many turns to adjust the pushrods and to advise them of the situation. I will have to contact them again to explain that I don't blame the mechanic, I know the mechanic did the job right, quickly and even took a later lunch just to finish my bike.

Anyway, this is a painful job on a hot bike in the hot sun, but twenty minutes later I was on the road. Fortunately traffic was light and I got to the checkpoint 48 seconds into the penalty window. Only lost a few points for that.

Although it was rainy in the checkpoint area, I somehow missed all the real rain, only hitting a little mist here and there. They were short scorers and a lot of people came in all at once so scoring took a long time, cutting our available sleep time. There was supposed to be food at the checkpoint, but only if you were there early. Fortunately Jim Frens whined louder than me and the manager felt sorry for us and made us a dinner package of all that was left, Pasta and Green Beans. Never tasted anything so yummy in my life. Well, it was food.

DAY 4 - Thursday, 27 August, 2009

Up at 4am to get the rally packets. Still raining. I spent quite a while preparing a route in extreme detail. I don't think this plan lasted to the first bonus location. I ended up getting boni in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the most amazing things about the IBR is just when you think you have completely screwed up and have planned a stupid route, you stop at a bonus location and 10 other riders show up. You did not see these people on the road. You did not know anyone was going here. But there they are.

I was in 46th place. Had I gotten the boni I had planned on before the bike crapped out I would have been in the top 20.

I stopped for the night somewhere, I think just over the boarder into North Dakota. There was a rest bonus for this rally that was worth a lot of points. It could start anytime on day 5. Since it was day 4 when I checked into the hotel, I was not thinking and did not get a receipt. I could have used this stop as the rest bonus since I was there more than the required 4 hours into day 5. This just means that I will have to stop before midnight tomorrow whether I am ready to or not.

DAY 5 - Friday, 28 August, 2009

As I checked out, the receptionist made sure I had a receipt with a time and date. What, was she reading my mind? Sure enough, there was a Kawasaki Concourse outside with a BIG fuel tank, kinda a Frankenstein head kinda extension of the main tank. Down the road near Bismark, ND there was a rider that needed some help. I stopped and spent some time helping out. This is a rally requirement but most riders would consider it a duty no matter what. Every rider that went by stopped to chat to make sure everything was being taken care of and to offer help. What a great group of guys this is

After this, I went to Why Not Mynot, ND then out to Montana, into Wyoming and stopped for the night. I really wanted to continue on a while longer, but needed to stop for my rest bonus. If I continued on, I would be in the next time zone and would miss the window. Due to my delays yesterday my plans had to be changed. There were some boni that had time windows. Although the actual amount of time I was delayed was not a real problem, it threw me off mentally just enough that I just could not see a good pattern for the next day. I came up with a detailed plan that lasted only until the first planned bonus.

DAY 6 - Saturday, 29 August, 2009

Again I woke before the alarm feeling better than almost anytime I wake at home. The first bonus of the day was in Nebraska. I blew off my second bonus as I felt it would hurt the rest of my plan too much. I actually did great today, although I did not follow my plan much at all. Most of the boni for the day were in Colorado around either Denver or Colorado Springs. I missed a couple of big boni due to timing, but made up some of the points elsewhere.

Then I made my first, er, second technological mistake. I programed in the next couple of boni and let the Garmin Bit... er Garmin Girl tell me which way to go. The fastest way to the boni by almost an hour was to go due west. The longer route would have been due south then west, all on the super slab. I shoulda' looked at my paper maps. The shorter route sent me on some of Colorado's most scenic roads including the Gunnison area and Durango. Scenic roads in Colorado tend to have what we in the East Coast would consider high speed limits. Most 65 and some more. They also have a lot of animals. The majority of this ride would be done at night. NOT a smart choice. On the way I saw many deer, including one that was just standing in the road. I came almost to a stop before it wandered off the road. I was not tired yet by the time I got to Durango, but really needed to do some planning and this was a crossroads that I would either go straight on or turn south. Had I taken the superslab I would have had many choices of places to stop. Durango is a rather expensive area as well. I ended up paying more than $100 for a hotel room I used for less than 6 hours.

DAY 7 - Sunday, 30 August, 2009

Again, up before the alarm. I had a plan. It was wrong. I missed a boni or two that I did not need to skip as I went to Flagstaff, AZ then down towards Phoenix, AZ and across the most uncomfortable desert towards Santa Ana, California and the next checkpoint. My thermometer was above 110 for many miles and hit 120 for some periods. I went through two gallons of hot water without having to pee once. Later, when I did pee it came out in chunks.

This time I got to the checkpoint early enough to get food. Scoring was much faster and I was in bed early. Being the only Harley rider in the rally I had a small fan club cheering me on.

DAY 8 - Monday, 31 August, 2009

I am currently in 25th place. If I added the boni I figure I missed do to helping out a rider and the boni I missed due to the bike problems I would probably be in the top ten. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Where the heck is that crying towel?

Realistically, I had two plans for the day. I was to choose one or the other when I got to a certain crossroads. One would have had me getting a bunch of boni around death valley and north of there then to a big one in Utah on the second day, the other would have me getting the one in Utah first. Somehow, in the confusion of panning, I did not sit and plan at the crossroads and when I got to the first boni near death valley I somehow was thinking I needed to get to Utah that day. There was not enough time to get all the Death Valley boni and get to Utah, so I bailed on the other boni there. Not really a bad decision anyway, but it would have been better if I had just gone straight to Utah. Then I would not have had to go across Death Valley in the hottest part of the day. 120 degrees of heavy air. The poor bike was not liking it at all. Most of the day was wacky hot. I did get to Utah, along with a bunch of other riders at the same time. Odd how that works.

I stopped at a Motel 6 in Page. As I was checking in, two other riders stopped in the parking lot. I am not sure if they checked in, I didn't notice their bikes in the AM.

DAY 9 - Tuesday, 1 September, 2009

Again, I got up before the alarm went off.

What an awesome sunrise over Monument Valley to the point on the highway that Forest Gump stopped running, then up to Deadhorse Point out of Moab, UT. Great roads, great scenery. Each time I thought I was alone, I would run into other riders. It is funny, I would get to a bonus location, another rider would arrive, I would leave, he would pass me. Then, hundreds of miles later I would arrive at the next bonus location, and the same rider would arrive after me. This happened numerous times with different riders during the whole rally. The next bonus was Doc Holiday's grave, up a long steep hill at high elevation. At least we were warned not even to think about attempting this bonus unless we were in good shape. The last bonus I got was a photo of a stuffed cop in an old police car in Rand, CO. My plan was to go to some Wyoming boni then into South Dakota. After that I had a couple of very good routes to choose from, depending on how much risk I wanted to take. One route was in the wrong direction. Another was into Canada, another was a little safer and more conservative. It was 5:26 PM when I hit the Damned Deer. The following story was written in bits and pieces over a couple of days so some of the time refferences may seem a little odd.

The accident happened just north of Walden, CO but I was towed to Kremmling, CO.

Just to keep you all informed, I am currently in Kremmling , CO and doing OK. SORE but OK.

Last night, Sept 1, I hit a deer north of Walden, CO on Rt. 127 in a 65 MPH zone. This was at exactly 5:26 PM local time, way too early to be expecting deer. This was a BIG mule deer. She came out of a gully from my left at full speed. I had no time to react in any constructive manner. I hit her just in front of the rear hip and killed her pretty quick. The situation was made much worse by the fact that the fender got smashed into the front wheel causing a lockup. Can't ride that out. The bike fell to the left side without really slamming down. My head did not hit the ground hard but did do a little scraping as I slid down the road. From the moment I hit the ground I was swearing at the dear and yelling OW, OW, OW, OW into my helmet. The Aerostitch suit did it's job. I started sliding on my left side, but started getting a burning sensation on my arm due to the suit sliding and scraping the top layer of skin off. I rolled to my back, but remembered I did not have much back protection. I Then tried rolling onto my left side and did a few quick rolls before I was able to stop it and ride out the rest of the incredibly long slide on my right side. A great thing about a textile outfit like I have is that it does not have a lot of friction with the ground so it does not tend to make you roll. The bad thing is you slide pretty much forever. I remember asking no one in particular "when the hell am I gonna stop?".

Editors Note: In 2010 I stopped by the site as I was heading through the area. The exact spot was north of Cowdrey, CO, Just north of the Platte River at GPS coords 40d 56.401m, 106d 20.679m - there was no sign of a crash. BUT..... this was the WRONG spot. I had the pics of the crash on my computer, but there was no battery power left, so I could not confirm I was in the correct place. The correct location is on Rt 127 in Cowdrey, CO on the way to Laramie, WY. N40.916364 W106.274365 or N40' 54.98184 W106' 16.4619. This was confirmed with Google Maps Street View

After stopping I took the time to wiggle toes etc to be sure I was OK. I was conscious and aware of every second of the slide, so I knew I did not hit hard, but I wanted to be sure. If I was not absolutely sure, I would have laid there waiting for the paramedics. I was fine. Getting up I realized that I would have some specific spots that would be very sore. The biggest one was going to be my leg/hip area. The muscles there were sore already, I knew I didn't have more than a few hours left where walking would be a reasonable task.

After I left it, the bike continued to slide about as far as I did, eventually sliding off the pavement and hitting a chunk of pavement that jutted off the road, kinda like a 4 foot long driveway. This gave and extra bit of damage to the left side. The bike rolled over to it's right side just before stopping, just to make sure there was complete coverage damage.

The deer was back where I hit her, never had a chance.

It took a good 5 or 10 minutes for a car to come by. I flagged her down, as a man standing on the side of the road in a helmet and full riding gear, but no bike, did not seem to faze her. This IS Colorado after all. She called the police and paramedics for me. It took a good 20 minutes for them to get there. In the meantime I had the girl take pics of the deer, as there was no way I was walking that far at the moment. I started gathering up my stuff. It was scattered all over. The only things that were left unaccounted for was my brand new expensive Valentine radar detector and my bath bag with my toothbrush and Ibuprofen. I would eventually really miss that Ibuprofen.

In the meantime, and for the rest of my time there until after dark, every bike that went by stopped, both IBR riders and non IBR riders. All offered assistance, all were concerned. What a great community this is.

While the EMTs were checking me out, the Sheriff on the scene poked his head into the ambulance and asked me if I had had much to drink today. I said, I thought I had had enough, I had bottles on the bike that I sip from as I ride. But I haven't had any since I crashed. I told him the EMTs gave me a bottle, but I have not had a chance to drink any yet. Apparently he was not concerned about dehydration.

One of the bystanders told the officer that he smelled whiskey. When the officer poked his head into the ambulance, he could smell it too. He asked me if I would submit to a sobriety check. He said it was voluntary. Yeah, right. Submit or go directly to jail. Some choice. Anyway, I told him I would submit as long as it did not involve any leg work, as I was in no condition to walk, much less in a straight line. Remember, it is now almost an hour after the crash and this old body was beginning to complain. Once he got me out of the van, he knew I was not the whiskey person, and he told me so. He did a quick eye check for the record and let me get back to being poked and prodded. Later, he told me it was one of the EMTs that had the strong whiskey breath. He was not pleased and was going to do an investigation. There were a number of people there, and I suspect it was the only one that did not actually work on me. She seemed to be having trouble getting the right supplies for the others, and eventually went to stand out side. Hey, it was a volunteer group.

The EMTs did a very thorough job of checking me for injuries, poking and prodding and pushing. They found nothing to be concerned about, and did not recommend I go to the hospital, not that they didn't encourage me to, but they said that there was nothing "that they could find" that would warrant it.

So, the EMTs left, and the Sheriff, his dog, and I sat in the car to wait for the wrecker. It had to come up from Krommley, about an hour away. We waited, and waited, and waited......... Eventually the wrecker came and took me and the bike back to Krommley about 11pm, where I stayed at the Easton Hotel. A nice, 1930's Hotel. While with the Sheriff, we talked about all kinds of things. Nice guy.

Now, imagine this, you are sitting there, injured, you just wrecked your bike, you have no idea how or when you will get home. What does the Sheriff do? He give me a ticket for "Failure to drive properly on a Mountain Road." !!!!! Apparently issuing this $111 ticket is standard practice in this county. He told me he had no choice and that if I was in the next county they give a more expensive ticket. The least he could have done was harvested the venison and sent it home to me. I don't know if I have any recourse in the matter, but I will pursue it. I have a feeling that it is one of those things that it is better to just pay it and let it disappear rather than fight it and have mention of it get back to my insurance company or something.

Now, as far as injuries, I had a pretty good gouge out of the skin of my thumb, right where I already had a hole in my glove. If I had no hole, I would not have had that gouge. I have some minor road rash on my left arm, possibly nothing more than the suit sliding and burning me. Most of the hairs are still there. My leg was the worst part. What I believe happened was that when I first hit the pavement, my knee caught and was pulled to the side, stretching the muscles more than normal. By the time I got to the hotel, the pain when walking was so bad I could barely hobble in and could not carry my bags. Going up the stairs was, surprisingly, not a real issue. By the next morning, things were better. The biggest pain I had was my sister and girlfriend. They got together and started feeding on each others concerns. I was forced to go to the hospital for all kinds of tests. The staff was quite surprised at how little damage I had. ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). Can't say enough for it. I walked around town at a snails pace, but every step got better. By the second day I was almost normal. I have transportation to Denver, and a flight out Friday.

I can't say enough good things about the people in this little town. Everyone was helpful, offering me rides, and all kinds of help. Fortunately I did not need much help. And the riding community, wow. I had all kinds of offers for help. I would have loved to have gotten a bike to finish the rally, but I did not think I could get one in time to get enough points to be a finisher. I kinda regret not trying, but I suppose R&R is better, and it allowed me to deal with the bike and all my stuff as well as the insurance company and everything. And at $47 for a nice room, I am not going broke here.

Someone asked, I don't know who or where it was asked but, yes, this is my first deer strike. Many close calls, no contacts. Earlier in the rally, also in Colorado, I had a deer jump out on the road and just stand there. I had to stop for that one. I looked all over this town for a place that cooks venison, but had no luck in that venture.

DAY 10 - Wednesday, 2 September, 2009

The rally is over, all I can do is read all the reports from the last 10 days and deal with transportation home and the bike. Next time I travel on a bike, I will pack it, then unpack everything and try to carry it. Man, what a ton of useless crap you can cram onto a big touring bike. I had to ship 20 pounds home and still had about 70 pounds of crud to lug around the airport.

DAY 11 - Thursday, 3 September, 2009

This Kremmling is a nice town with great people. I talked to a bunch of Lumber people. The Pine Beetle is killing the trees in mass here, and they are trying to harvest the wood before it goes bad and to clean up the forest some so that the beetle won't spreed so much. This area is also having a problem with smoke from the California fires. When the wind shifts, everyone's eyes start itching and everyone is sneezing.

Finish - Friday, 4 September, 2009

Well, the rally may have been finished for me a few days ago, but I am still watching how everyone else is doing and rooting for a few folks I know. This was a travel day, as I had plane reservations. Left the hotel at 6am and will not get home until after midnight. I would much rather be on a bike. As I was leaving Krommley I saw a Goldwing on the side of the road for sale. I wish I had known, I might have bought it and continued the rally.

I have not decided if I will ride another one of these. I like this kind of rallying, but I don't know if I like it enough to go through the expense again. At least anytime soon. But then, I said that last time too.


ROUTE MAPS

These are the routes I took in the rally, along with a simple finish route that I could have taken had I not hit the deer. I probably would have finished with a much bigger route, but I had not finalized a plan yet. Had I not lost points in leg 1 for the bike issues and leg 2 for delays for helping out a rider, AND had gotten the points that I had in mind for the rest of leg 3 I would have been in the top 20, close, but not quite a top ten position. Of course, woulda, coulda shoulda, I don't know where I really would have finished, but it is nice to imagine a great finish.


My actual Leg 1 route. Yep, Martha's Vinyard. There were at least 2,000 more points on my plan that I did not get due to the bike problems. I made some mistakes that lost me other points, but I think that is pretty standard.


My actual Leg 2 route. This was not my originally planned route. I helped out a rider and it threw me off my plan, psychologically if not actually. I was able to make up many of the points when I replanned, but I still think I lost a good 6,000 points anyway.


This was my actual Leg 3 route, up to the point where the Deer committed suicide using my bike. Again, this was not exactly where I planned to go, but re-planning on the fly made up for most of my errors.


This was the short, basic route that I had planned. There was at least a full EXTRA days worth of time available with this route, so I would have re-planned and gotten more points somewhere. This was just my fallback plan. I had a couple of ideas to get more big points.


YOU TUBE VIDEOS

You Tube video of start

Here are some You Tuber videos of our exit from the start. I am in the first one at about 1 minute 45 seconds. Notice the short scrape of the floor boards.

VIDEO 1

VIDEO 2

This is prior to the start, my bike is at about :50, right behind Warchild.
VIDEO 3


SECOND PLACE

Second Place

I feel so proud. I came in second place as far as points go, of all the people who did not make it to the final destination. I scored more than some of the people that finished the rally, but did not have enough points to be considered a finisher. Some consolation that is.

SOÖ.. What to get to replace the Harley? An FJR? A Goldwing? Another Harley? A 250 Ninja?

Some constructive advice, please.


Last Edit 2009-09-13 ~11pm