MN2010 Ride Report
Having been drawn for the IB5000 I was really hoping to find a 2 or 3 day rally earlier this year to test the waters of multiday rallies prior to going into a 5 day. I was ecstatic when I heard the MN1000 was going to be a 2 day event this year Perfect! Then we find out Bart is going to be giving us the bonus locations in the same format as the IBA even better I get to try out ezBake on the clock!
I got to the Liars Banquet Thursday evening and got to hang out with some familiar faces before the madness ensued. Rally packets were distributed after a toast to Eddie and I was back home a little after 9 pm to start planning. Got everything into ezBake and dumped into Mapsource (I still hate S&T) without a glitch. Here is what it looked like in MapSource before I started planning color and shape coded for points and availability. Green is low, Blue is medium, Red is high and Purple is very high.
1st thing I saw was some big points in Niobrara, NE to get a photo with Arlene Liska. I had never met her before and it was worth big points, but only available for a 2 hour window on Friday afternoon so Im deffinitly going there which means my 1st leg will be a southern route and Id have to drive pretty much strait there to make it on time. I had to be at the checkpoint the next morning in Hill City so my plan was to drive west from Niobrara and pick up as many things as possible before having to turn back NE to Hill City.
Since I had never done a multiday rally I wanted to take it easy on day 1 then work hard on day two, however, the 1st leg was 26 hours and the 2nd was 22. The big points were in WY and Id have to ride hard and efficient to get there so taking it easy on day 1 was not going to work if I wanted to compete. I have also never had my bike out in that area so I didnt know what to expect for average speeds. I decided to plan my route around a 50 mph average and Id add the two big bonii in southern WY if I had time but I wasnt counting on it. With my day 1 leg set I turned to day 2 and I could not find a decent amount of points based on the number of miles I thought I could do. I found a route that was possible but the points were about half of my day 1 route well it is now almost 2 AM and I need to get some sleep as I know I wont be getting much for the next couple nights.
Leg 1 26 hours
I arrived at Leos South for the start at 7:20, I think I got about 4 hours of sleep, I bet that is going to bite me later but Im assuming many of us are in the same boat. The weather is looking great except for the wind. My bike does not like the wind. Being 64 to start with and having raised my seat enough to fit my legs I had to put a windshield on 6 higher than stock with a flip to get a decent air bubble behind it. When it is windy that wrecks havoc with my fuel economy good thing I have my new fuel cell. Here is my bike looking all nice and clean which wouldnt last long.
Rally started at 8 AM and we left in packs broke up by the stop lights on our way to I-35, some of us heading north and some heading south, I broke south to take the back roads to get to US 169 then on to New Ulm. As I turned off I see one other bike following me, a bright yellow wingabego wearing a black suit that I didnt recognize but looked like a giant bumble bee. He pulled up next to me at a light with a big stogie hanging out of his jaw I told him I liked his style and we took turns leading the way to New Ulm where we grabed a photo of the Herman Monument historical Marker. He noticed I had a CB antenna and we turned to the same channel and proceeded to have a great conversation enroute to the next bonus. Turns out it was Rick Miller a seasoned rider from Maryland. He told me of his experiences in multiday rallies since I was new to this scene and gave me several tips I will use in the future. Thanks Rick!
Rick and I were both heading to Walnut Grove for our serving of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jasper for something I cant remember, Irene, SD for a picture then to Niobrara so we kept the conversation moving. Our fuel schedules interrupted our conversation but I pulled into Niobrara just behind him. There we had to get a photo taken with Arlene Liska at the Two Rivers Bar. I hear she has some great stories but this was rally time so I introduced myself, grabbed the photo below and hit the road.
Jack Sleddog and Marlene were behind us for a bit but took a different route and beat us to the Walnut Grove marker, Id see them quite a bit on and off on leg 1 and it turned out to be a good thing as youll read below.
While in Niobrara I noticed some gas slowly bleeding from a bolt in my fuel cell filler neck. I thought the nylon washer was cracked so I plotted a course to the 1st hardware store along my route which was after a couple more stops. I picked up a photo at Fort Randall where I saw a few riders driving in and out then headed to a little picnic area north of Springview, NE to find out whos name was on the mailbox. I was making good time and was starting to think I might be able to make it to one of the big bonii in WY I wanted to I cut a 553 point bonus in Thedford out of my route to save a few more minutes. When my GPSs recalculated I didnt realize they were about to send me down twenty some miles of really nasty gravel, parts of it were that fluffy white sand that street bikes like so much. I bet I could have kept Thedford in my route and still made it in the same amount of time, oh well. I then found another hardware store along my new route and stopped. They didnt have any nylon washers but they had some O-Rings, I went outside to get my tools out while the clerk got some O-Rings to try. When I looked at the cell, it was no longer leaking from the bolt it had been, but now appeared to be oozing out from all around the gasket huh! Since it was new I wondered if it was just wearing in, so I tightened up all 12 nuts a turn and decided to see how that worked.
The next bonus was the historical marker for Mari Sandoz out in the middle of nowhere Nebraska then onto one of the highlights of the trip, Carhenge, which I had been told about from many others but had never been to. A guy made a replica of Stonehenge out of old cars as a memorial to his dad I believe on 87 north of Alliance, NE.
On my way to Carhenge, I had passed the guy responsible for getting me into this money pit of a sport, BrianJ. He was riding really slow so I assumed something was wrong, I pulled up alongside him and gave him a thumbs up to see if he was OK and he gave me the nod so I proceeded. When I backtracked to Alliance I saw him getting fuel so I pulled in. Turns out he had run out east of town before I passed him and Rick Miller had stopped to let him siphon some out of his tank. I asked him why he didnt say anything when I passed and he said he didnt want to wreck my ride Wow, I would have felt bad if he didnt have enough to get to town and he let me pull away without giving him any.
The next stop was Scotts Bluff National Monument. While running up to Carhenge I had passed Luni and Hootis as they were coming back into town. I passed them again as they were getting fuel in the Flying Breapan as I know know it was accidentally originally named I can hear Luni now when he first saw the artwork, uh. Whats a breapan? Aint there sposed to be a d in there? I gave them a honk and a wave as I road past. I was making good time so I relaxed the throttle a bit and was looking to see how much I could add when I saw the tell tail headlight of the breadpan closing in fast. Im thinking to myself that has got to be them, but that thing is really moving, that thing cant go that fast, can it? Sure enough we were on a long strait road with no other cars in sight and I see Luni reaching for his camera so I grab mine too and snap this photo. Im pretty sure no one had as much fun on this rally as them look at the smiles on their faces, or is that a cringe on Hootiss face from trying to hold that beast strait?
We ride together for a bit but decide to take alternate routes on the last couple miles, turns out they chose better as they went under the overpass as I was coming up on the interchange and pulled out about a half mile after them. We pulled out of the bonus at the same time when the Polaroid they took became a victim of the wind and went for a ride of its own I pulled away as they chased it down hehehe. Another reason to go digital???
Next I was heading to the Ames monument off I-80 south of Laramie, one of the big bonii I got to add in since I was averaging way better than the 50 mph I had used as a baseline. Night was falling fast and it was a long way to the monument on the interstate. I pulled off the Interstate and crossed the cattle grate onto some washboards that tried to shake my bike apart passing Spanky on his way out, Id later learn that 15 minutes prior he had got up close and personal with a forest rat that took off his mirror and he shoulder chucked to save the rest of the bike. He had just got done duct taping the mirror on and was riding again as I came in. I also later found out when he hit the cattle grate the duct tape let go and he had to do it all over again what great timing for me and bad luck for him. I tried to position the bike to light the monument up with the solteks but that wasnt in the cards so I pulled out the flashlight and snapped the photo. It was getting cool as I know know I was above 7000 feet there so I was putting on the heated gear when I saw some lights in from a bike trying to find the path to the monument, I ran up the hill and signaled them with my light but I dont know if they saw me or just figured it out on their own. It was Jack and Marlene again, I held the light as they snapped the photo and we decided to ride up to Medicine Bow together, another of the big point bonii I added in.
We drove through Laramie, WY on the way there and I checked my fuel, I had 3 bars which meant I had easily another 100 miles, maybe more before I needed to think about fuel so we blew through town and got on this nice long raod up to Mountain Bow. Im guessing the scenery to the west was awesome, but it was too dark to tell, however parts of that road was 4 lane divided highway and we were the only ones on it so Jack crept up next to me and we flipped on every light we had WOW!!! Let there be light! I have 3 sets and Jack must have at least 5 I could see the deer and pronghorns coming from a mile away! That is the scary part of these flamethrowers sometimes it was better not knowing what was on the side of the road. About 10 miles from Mountain Bow, my fuel gauge started flashing, which means Im down to 1.5 gallons and I had not seen an open gas station between here and Laramie and the route I was taking had me backtracking all but about 15 miles to Laramie to catch the next road, so Im getting nervous and hoping the station in Mountain Bow is open. We drove past in on our way to the hotel with the sign we had to write the 1st sentence of something down.
After recording the bonus, I walked up to Jack and told him about my fuel problem thinking I couldnt make it back to Laramie. There were a couple guys in their truck and looked to be locals, so I walked over and asked if they were. BIG MISTAKE! The passenger hops out of the truck and is being very helpful and was going to call see if he could get someone to turn on the pumps. While that conversation was going on, the driver opened the door and some liquid fell out, at first I thought he was puking, then as he started stumbling over to me I realized these two were having a raw egg fight inside the cab of the truck and the driver was wasted. He pealed some of the egg off himself and chucked it at me hitting me with it in the left shoulder. The passenger was in a sound enough mind to realize that was a bad idea. So he starts apologizing as Im deciding what I want to do about this. These two were not very big, probably why the passenger was so apologetic, so I was very tempted to turn on retaliation mode which involved a fist to his mouth. However, I was in rally mode and needed fuel bad. That combined with knowing I could have crushed him if I cared to made me turn face and get back to business I could really do without a court date in WY in a couple months and a DNF on my 1st multiday because I was in jail too. I started driving back to Laramie with Jack following, Id have just shy of 70 miles on my reserve tank by the time I made it to town and I didnt think I had any chance of that so Jack offered to tail me all the way back at below the posted speed limit to conserve fuel. Jack, you are a great competitor and sound person and I thank you. I feel really bad for having to drag you out of your way on a rally especially since I actually made it back. I know that cost you points. I pumped 11.2 gallons of fuel into my bike there, I must have been within a couple miles of being below the pump suction. I will be adding a siphon hose to my rally kit after this ordeal.
The three of us decided to call it a night and start our 3 hour rest bonus in Laramie as it was. We pulled into the KOA behind the gas station and pulled up some picnic tables for the Iron Butt Motel and I set my Screamin Meanie. I woke up on the ground, I must have decided at some point the grass was a better option and looked at the screamin meanie that had not gone off, but Jack and Marlene were gone OH SHIT!!! Im late, so I jump up to check the time and it is 4:45 on my bike Im over a half hour late oh wait, my bike is on central time and Im on mountain time, I woke up early??? I check my alarm and I have 17 minutes left huh! Jack and Marlene must have decided to find somewhere else to sleep. Well, Im wide awake after all of that so I head back to the gas station to get a receipt to stop my rest bonus exactly 3 hours after it stated and Jack and Marlene are inside having breakfast. That explains it How deep was a I sleeping that I didnt notice them drive away? Well, we are going to the same next bonus lets ride.
That was a beautiful sunrise on the way to the next bonus, I snapped the photo below with Jack off in the distance. As we were pulling into Register Cliff south of Guersey, WY we see John Coons leaving wonder where he has all been cuz I know he is beating me.
From there it was up to a rest stop at the intersection of 85 and 18 to do something, cant remember what and ran into Greg Anderson who said it was great to see someone else, Jack talked to him for a bit but he thought he had time to pick something up I knew I couldnt so we parted ways for about 30 seconds, I look back to see Jack and Greg following me. I guess, his GPS told him the same thing it told me. Greg turned off and Jack and I headed to Wind Cave National Park to get their stamp. I was tempted to get my Nat. Parks Passport stamped, but I decided it would be motivation to come back another day when I have time to actually learn what the park is about.
That would be my final stop for leg 1 I had planned on hitting the needles highway but the clock was ticking hard Made it to the checkpoint with 6 minutes to spare, good call, but I really wanted to ride that road.
Checkpoint 1 hour
Got checked in by the rally crew and told them hurry up, I had to pee to break the ice which was true but I thought they might find it amusing nope, not even a smile, Ill have to work on my comic relief. I usually say lets do it again, but in this case we were about to so I had to change it up. We had one hour to BS before we could leave and I wanted to completely change my route based on my average speed on leg 1. I put on 1425 miles on which worked out to be 62.4 mph. I had a lot more strait freeway ahead of me so even though it was a 2nd leg I thought 60 mph was doable. So I plugged in a new route that took me up to see this lift bridge and really long rail tunnel in Western, ND that sounded cool and from there would head back east mostly on I-94. I had troubles getting the routes into both of my GPSs that Im going to blame on them being worked to hard on leg 1, cuz I couldnt have been doing anything wrong I got a whole 2 hours of sleep last night!
Some photos at the checkpoint
A view from the road
Darryl holding up BrianJ’s jacket that has been freshly ground into the mud
Leg 2 22 hours.
There was a decent sized bonus called Mystic just north of the Hill City checkpoint that I blew off because if it is close and worth a lot means it is hard, but at the checkpoint we were told the 13 miles of gravel was in great shape and a lot of people were going to go for it what the heck, Ill follow the crowd. They were right, the road was in great shape, but it was also twisty as hell with Cruzin pushing me the whole way, I would have let him pass but there was a line of bikes in front of me too. We all Arrived at the marker to find out where the original mining equipment had been moved to. I had a hard time reading the question, I read it three times and it said the same thing each time, what city was the mining equipment moved to (two words). Since the question asked for two words, I wrote down the two word name of the city and thought to myself, why does he only want those two words and not the state the city is in well, time to move on. Turns out after the (two words) was the words and state which was pointed out to me by Ron Hanson at the scoring table after I argued with him for about 5 seconds. He asked if I wanted to get an appeal from Bart, I said yes, then said, well, let me read the question again. Huh, you are right, I swear it didnt say that the 1st 3 times I read it well, the state is Oregon and 699 points are down the crapper. Very frustrating when I knew the answer but reading comprehension, as Ive learned part of the game.
I had come up 13 miles of twisty gravel and needed to continue north which was at least twice as far This bonus was a bad idea (and I lost the points anyway at the table anyway). My GPS was routing me all the way up to Highway 14 using gravel, but highway 385 was only a couple miles east of where I was, so I blew off the GPS and took the road I thought would lead me to 385. The section my GPS told me to take looked like a cow path anyway. I choose wisely as I ended up on 385 right behind another rider, Kirk, I believe. I wasnt on it long before I spotted another FJR in the mirror. It had an HID kit with only one bulb on. Whose bike is that? He followed us for a couple miles and got tired of our measly pace and passed us on a strait away and here is where the fun part started. Turns out it was Stryg8r, Ive never seen him on a rally before and he always does great it is time to see how he does it. I pulled in behind him knowing the only reason hed be on that road would be to go to the same place I was going. We were headed to Savoy to answer a question and Im heading through some twistys tailing one of the best riders Ive ever seen. We arrived there to find Cruzin Turns out the GPS was right, the cow path was faster than 385 as that is the way Cruzin came up well faster for him anyway, he learned on the dirt and then got a street bike, I did it the other way around, Im still saying 385 was faster for me.
I left right behind Stryg8r and got to ride Spearfish Canyon, the best section of road on my route. There was a moderate amount of traffic for the 1st couple miles but that didnt slow us down, we were in a groove, the traffic eased up on the northern part and I could no longer keep up, that would be the last I saw of him in a while. What an experience that was.
The land flattened and the roads straitened for the next few bonii. Next bonus was Belle Fourche, SD, the geographic center of the nation to get a picture of the marker. Where I ran into Erik Stenemann who started the rally, then went to work on Saturday and burned it out to Hill City for the checkpoint Dedication.
Next up was Buffalo, SD to answer another question that Ive not forgotten. Cruzin had caught up to me again in Belle Fourche and was right behind me coming into Buffalo. By this time we had road a lot of gravel, twisty roads and a bunch of construction. I was realizing my plan for getting around 60 mph average was in serious jeopardy. The 765 that has my full route in it is only giving me about an hour of slop time to get back when I factor in my rest bonus and the big bonus I added was a 1 mile hike. I was not liking this situation. Cruzin was thinking the same thing, while we sat at the bonus contemplating what to do, Mr. and Mrs. Behmer roll up seams like team Yamaha has the same plan for leg 2. They roll out of the bonus a head of us. I can see them off in the distance behind a long line of cars great more construction! The road is down to a single lane for the next couple miles. We finally get our turn to start rolling behind the pace car and just barely get past the paver when the pace car changes lanes. There is a semi heading at us and there is a 4 lip of fresh tar to hop up on this could be bad. Behmer swings wide left and turn hard right and makes the jump, time for me to follow suit, whew no one takes a dive.
I was thinking about heading up to Marmarth for 411 points but after all that construction and the time ticking off my GPS I decided to blow it off and play it safe. Im also going to then blow off the big bonus in Cartwright, ND which kills me as it sounded like a great sight, but it was just going to take too much time. I started thinking I should have stuck with my original plan for leg 1 using a 50 mph average. It would have now been the same # of points and about 100 less miles.
In Bowman, ND, the three bikes split off, The Behmers were sticking to the plan and turned to Marmarth while Cruzin turned with me, but decided to circle back for fuel. I was on my own again heading to Theodor Roosevelt National Park. I had a hard time finding the entrance to the park as I was listening to my GPSs try to take me in the authorized vehicles only entrance. When I did I pulled out my National Parks year pass and got in to realize the bonus was down 10 miles of twisty national park road. I came around a blind corner a few miles before the bonus to see a patch of wet clay covering the entire lane and a group of trikes heading the other direction, had that clay patch been 1 foot longer I think I would have slid right into them. I looked down at my boot and it is covered in a thick clay soup. I take it really easy the rest of the way up to find Mark Koch getting ready to leave. He had hit that same patch of clay. I make the short hike up to the bonus and grab a few photos of Wind Canyon. Cruzin and Stryg8r pull in as Im getting ready to leave and we talk a bit and all go our separate ways. I would not see another rider until Bobs Java Hut in Minneapolis.
I needed fuel so I head back to town and gas up, here is were I notice Im am out of gas myself. Im moving in slow motion and not thinking. I pump my fuel and get back on the bike to head for the next bonus. Im 3 miles down the road when I look at my rally pack to see what I have to do at the next bonus. It is still showing my fuel log and I realize I didnt grab my receipt. I backtrack the 3 miles and grab the receipt still in the pump and head inside for a beverage and collect myself. By the time Im back on the road, that fuel stop cost me a half hour. Good thing I cut that big bonus out of my route to give me an hour back as if I keep this up Im going to need it.
The next bonus is to find a marker next to the longest bridge span in ND over Lake Sakakawea. I get off my bike at the bonus and realize Im really dizzy, I felt fine when I was on the bike but wow, that 2 hours of sleep was not cutting it. I walk over to the marker where I had to write down the names of the 5 Indian chiefs listed on it, my short term memory is not working, it must have taken me 3 tries at each name to get them wrote down. I walk around the bike a bit and get a meal of Cliff Bars and 5 hour energy ready for the next section of the trip and Im feeling ok again so I roll out.
The next stop was to be about 30 miles east of Minot, ND and it is off on some gravel. The instruction in the rally packet tell me how to get there on the least amount of gravel but I cant comprehend what Im reading and figure I dont want to be riding on gravel at night in the condition Im in anyway so I pull it out of my route. About 10 miles west of Minot Im getting really tired so I try something. I have my phone bluetoothed into my GPS then into my J&M comm system. I bet calling and talking to someone will help me stay awake. I make about 5 calls to various people to stimulate the brain which was helping quite a bit, then I get a call from a fellow Feejer rider known as Gramps. He must have talked to me for about a half hour and gave me a weather report. There was rain where I was heading, but it looked to be clearing out just about the time Id arrive. That news woke me up as I had been riding through rain most of the way from Theodor Roosevelt NP until I had turned east to Minot. However, night was falling and staying awake was only going to get harder. Gramps said hed give me a call before he went to bed to check in.
Night had come and there was just enough traffic to limit the use of my big Soltek HID lights. Those things turn night into day so there is no way to use them with traffic coming at me unless my plan is to blind them but having them on keeps me awake. Gramps calls me back about 11 pm to see how Im doing and Im a hurtin unit. I tell him Im going to stop for the night in the next town. I had that WWED sticker on my fuel cell and remember Eddie saying that he would stop early in the night for rest then get back up in the middle of the night and have the road to himself, especially in the bigger cities. So I asked myself, WWED? I think Eddie would stop for the night to get some sleep and let the cagers clear off the road, then turn the flamethrowers on. So that is exactly what I was going to do.
I pulled into a gas station in Carrington, ND and grabbed a receipt for a personal pizza. I was also told to help fall asleep it is a good idea to eat something substantial and I had not had anything except cliff bars since Thursday night. At the gas station I spot a Lumbar yard Looks nice and quite so I pull in back and and find a gooseneck trailer for a bed and set the screamin meanie for 2 hours 40 minutes. Im just settling down when I hear something moving around. I look up and notice Im next to a grain elevator and there are a bunch of forest rats coming in for a midnight snack. They kept me awake for a few minutes when the insects find me. I get up to get some bug spray. Not thinking about the consequences of what Im about to do I close my eyes and shoot some spray into my helmet and go lay back down. The bug spray started seeping into my eyes. Between the bug spray and the forest rats causing a ruckus I didnt get much sleep. My alarm goes off and scares me awake (on medium volume, damn those things are loud). I get back on the bike to get my rest bonus end receipt when I think, naw I have plenty of fuel, Ill get more in a hundred miles or so. So Im driving out of town when I realize the reason I was going to get fuel was to end my rest bonus Damn turn around and go get fuel.
There were a few bonii that were definitely in range with the time I had but I decide that Im tired and I want to be back, so Im not stopping for another bonus. My plan of stopping until 2 AM worked well though, there was almost no one on the road so I had the Solteks running for most of the night. It was sure fun coming up on a Semi with them off, getting right next to them and flipping them back on and wondering to myself what that trucker was thinking about the lights I just turned on for him.
As the sun came up I started getting tired again. From Fergus falls on Id start a routine. Id pull off the ramp get off my bike and run around to wake back up, I did this about 6 times until I stopped for gas around Clear Lake, MN. I took a lengthy break there and when I got back on the bike I was wide awake. I decided I had 50 minutes extra to get back to the finish at Leos so Im going to put the 500 point Bobs Java Hut in Minneapolis back into my route. I arrived there to see a host of strangers standing around BSing, I think many of them had been there a while and were in no rush, we had a half hour to make it the last few miles to Leos. Then someone said, remember, the ramps to I-35 are closed Suddenly everyone was gearing up and taking off. Stryg8r and Cruzin were there and left before I had my gear on. I had mine on just in time to take off with Rich and another rider on a BMW. They follow me but I put my hands up to tell them I dont know how to get back on the freeway so they take the lead. The BMW rider is telling me to go left but Rich goes strait. I follow the BMW and he takes me right to an open on ramp, good choice! We make it through the construction of the I-35W and crosstown interchange and I look back to see Cruzin and Stryg8r behind me, guess they didnt know where the construction was either. I slowed down to grab a shot of each of them on the home stretch. Then see Rich behind us and snap a photo of him. Those last few miles of a rally are a great feeling, quite triumphant in fact. Riding in with a host of other bikes that have put on over two thousand miles in the past few days in all different directions and converging for the home stretch is a feeling that I cannot describe.
Me at the finish
My bike back in the garage
My Route was good enough for 16th place overall. I put on 2495 miles in the 48 hours of rally time to collect 15,649 points after loosing the Mystic bonus at the scoring table.
I cant thank Bart and the rest of the MN2010 rally crew enough for an experience I will never forget. The sights I saw and the memories made will last a lifetime. I had not planned on finishing so well in my 1st multiday event. My plan was to test the waters and take it easy, then the competitive side kicked in. I feel very well prepared for the IB5000 and now know have a much better understanding of my limits.