Revised 27 September,2010
How I Got SPANKed for My 60th Birthday
Last year after the 2009 Iron Butt Rally (IBR), I had rode in the 2007 IBR, I was looking for a multi-day rally to ride in. Besides just wanting to do some traveling by motorcycle I wanted to get back in riding shape in case I got selected for the 2011 IBR, which is being run in June instead of August/September as in the past 26 years. The IBR occurs on odd number years. p.s. I was not selected.
A few multi-day rallies were being discussed but dates were not fixed. Finally the dates were set, a 10-day rally starting August 26th in Salt Lake City called the 10'n 10, and a 5-day rally, the SPANK, starting August 7th in Amargosa Valley, NV just over the state line from Death Valley National Park (NP).
Then the Iron Butt Association threw a money wrench in the mix and announced a 5-day rally starting August 16th in Denver. Like the IBR the IB5000 Rally selection was by a drawing. I put my name in the hat, because if you qualified as a finisher you automatically got a spot in the 2011 IBR if you desired, Uh! You Bet I Desired.
Will I didnít get selected for the IB5000 so I immediately sent my application and down payment in for the SPANK. I didnít feel I wanted to do 10-days at that time. Both Rally Masters have excellent reputations for the rallies they put on and I have never met either one.
So over the winter I started planning my trip out west. George Zelenz, the rally master didnít provide much information until the last few weeks before the rally started. The starting location was described as within a 150 mile radius of Las Vegas but not in California. He had to give us hotel information so we could reserve rooms at the Longstreet Inn and Casino in Amargosa Valley and the Marriott in Denver where the rally ended.
The rally would end on August 12th at the same hotel were the IBA was having its National Meet and the start of it's IB5000 Rally.
I didnít want to make a mad dash out and be tired for the start, my plans changed from leaving 4 days early with a direct route to leaving a week early and collecting National Park stamps for another National Park Tour IBA certificate but I could go for a Silver cert this time by getting a stamp from Washington and California, I already had the Castillo de San Marcos NM in St. Augustine, Florida and would need to make a trip to Maine for that corner of the lower 48, and of course 46 more stamps from 21 other states.
So like a rally I laid out a route for getting stamps, on Day 1 I got Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio (3 stamps) then off to Indiana Dunes in Indiana but could not get there in time, stopping shorter them planned near Gary, IN for the night. Next were Effigy Mounds National Monument (NM) in Iowa and Pipestone NM in Minnesota on Day 2, both dealing with Native Americans. I tried to call home from Effigy but had no cell service; it would be two more days before I had cell service again. On Day 3 I had not planned on going to the Badlands NP in South Dakota but timing was perfect and I got there before the Visitor Center (VC) opened, waiting only 15 minutes. While at the VC I saw a Mennonite family and when I talked to them they were from Lancaster, PA. The Badlands turned out to be one of the top 3 places I stopped at, the scenery was fantastic. I also stopped at Walls Drug Store in Walls, SD; itís not as tacky as ĎSouth of the Borderí in North Carolina but still a tourist trap.
My plan was to go to Mt Rushmore then Crazy Horse. Mt Rushmore was a madhouse and it was getting very hot by then, so a stamp and touristy picture and I was on my way to Crazy Horse Monument. I had never seen or heard of viewing the profile of George Washington at Mt. Rushmore but there it was as I rounded the corner from the Mt. Rushmore entrance, but no place to pull over in the direction I was going, there was a spot if you were heading towards the entrance.
Crazy Horse is a privately own project not a NP, $5.00 for a motorcycle same as at Mt Rushmore parking. Somewhere between these three stops I lost my National Park Annual Pass after I used it to get in the Badlands and not securing it in my National Park Passport, this would bite me another time also.
After a walk around the Crazy Horse VC and a couple of pictures I was off to the Agate Fossil Beds NM in Nebraska. Now Streets & Trip did not show me going through Wind Cave NP but there I was going directly through the park, a quick stop for a stamp and back on the road. Agate Fossil Beds is out in the middle of nowhere, a stamp and some cold water as the temps were still high and I was heading North to Devilís Tower NM in Wyoming. The GPS showed I only had 20-30 minutes to spare to get to Devilís Tower in time for a stamp, when I notice my speedometer and odo was not working, a quick stop to make sure nothing came loose, everything was connected so off I went. I had reset the GPSís before leaving home so I was now on GPS mileage and speed.
Now Devils Tower is used in many rallies as a bonus location so this stop was good information to have, the last few miles to the VC is 25mph inside the park. With 15 minutes to spare I got the stamp. Now I had been pushing myself and the heat was getting to me so I made this into a hydration stop as will. The vending machines only had water in them but both were empty, there was a couple of water fountains so I was able to get some cool water.
I rode until I got tired, staying in Belle Fourche, SD. I had a very productive day collecting stamps, 3 states and 5 stamps. I had two issues with the bike, one being the speedometer inner cable which turned out to be broken about 2Ē from the drive end at the front wheel. Also that morning my headlight just didnít seem to be doing the job, duh it was burned out, I had a spare HID lamp with me. The hotel I stayed at is about 30 miles from Sturgis and the bikers and vendors were already starting to pour into the area for the big Ďbikerí rally the next weekend.
The next morning I headed for North Dakota, the clouds were dark and before long it was flat raining, there is no places to get out of the rain for miles so at one point I just pulled over to the side and waited for the rain cell to blow by.
I made the decision to just go to North Dakota and get a gas receipt; the NP was another 75 miles north after the first gas station I got to. I then turned west for Little Bighorn Battlefield NM in Montana. I had to stop and put the electric on it got so cool.
By the time I got to Little Bighorn the sun was out and it was getting hot. I was also having problems with pains in my right lower back and the right side of my neck. I had been riding in cross winds for two days leaning into the wind and by the time I got to Little Bighorn I wasnít walking very straight. I walked through the visitor center display but skipped the cemetery near by. Custer is buried at West Point anyway and I had no relatives involved.
Next NP on the list was Nez Perce National Historic Trail in Idaho; this was going to be a long leg. I had planned on dropping down and ride the Beartooth Pass but I was not feeling I could do the twist and turns and just stayed on I-90.
In the GWRRA (Gold Wing Road Riders Assoc) Gold Book there was a Honda dealer in Billings MT, Montana Honda, and I wanted to stop and see if they had a speedometer cable, I got there about 15 minutes before closing and sure enough they had one. I had the address plugged in the GPS looking for Grand Ave when I noticed a billboard for Montana Honda, with in large print, directions to their place, turns out they were no longer on Grand Ave and had a nice new facility. Honda dealer hardly if ever have billboards like HD dealers but this one did and it worked for me. I replaced the broken cable in their parking lot and was on my way again.
I stopped for the night in Bozeman, I was talking to a couple who checked in about the same time and they told me about having a couple of 1-hour construction delays going into Yellowstone NP which I would have done taking the Beartooth Pass road.
The next day, Day 5, I continued on, Montana is a long state and after abit I needed a dehydration and rehydration break and gas while I was at it. Now riding rallies you only pull off of the interstates when you can see the gas station next to the ramps, but with gas being far apart in this part of the world I headed into the little town of Deer Lodge, found a gas station with a nice convenience store. I then headed west out of town to get back on I-90 when I came across whatís got to be one of the smallest NP I ever came across, Grants-Koshers Ranch NHS, into the log cabin VC for a stamp and look around at the ranching paraphernalia. Never turn down an easy stamp.
Finally I got off of I-90 in Missoula taking US-12. About 40 miles later I crossed into Idaho, about another 80 miles I finally found a diner to go in and cool off in Lowell, when you sat down they bought you a pitcher of ice water, a good TIP was ensured. I continue on to Nez Perce NP.
In the last 15-20 years the helicopters from work have logged and fought wild fires in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California but I never got the chance to see them in operation before we shut down that part of our business. On US-12 I got to put boots down in Missoula, Lolo Pass, Bitterroot Forest, Kamiah, Orofino, Lewiston, Walla Walla and the next day John Day. It was putting the period on the end of a part of my working life; that was cool.
Before getting to Walla Walla I stopped at Nez Perce NP for a stamp but again the heat was getting to me, I think the Park Rangers knew I was a bit overheated and made sure I saw the water cooler and told me the display area was cooler then the lobby, since I could not take water in there I sat in the lobby for a bit before finding a hotel in Walla Walla for the night. The Olympia AST jacket I wore is great because it's water-resistance, I won't say water-proof but you cook in it in high temps, it's full lenght and has great watreproof pockets, but next time I'm going to be in this kind of heat I will wear the other Oylmpia jacket I have, it's only waist length and you need a rain jacket or the liner to stay dry but you don't cook so bad in it.
Day 6 I didnít have to get up early, the Whitman Mission NHS was only a few miles from the hotel. This marked my required Northwest corner for the NPT Silver Certificate.
The new speedometer cable I got in Billings lasted about 600 miles, the drive end came off, poor swage job I guess. There was a Honda dealer in Walla Walla that opened at 8:30 so I got the stamp soon as the VC opened and headed to the dealer. No luck this time, back to the GPS's for mileage and speed.
Southern Washington was beautiful, thousand of acres of rolling hills of golden wheat, some being harvested. Next stop was John Day Fossil Beds NM in Oregon. While heading south a rider passed me, differently a LD (Long Distanced) rider. After a few twist and turns the rider was on the side of the road waving me to stop, it was Matt Watkins, I had never met him but we were both heading for the SPANK. I could not stay up with him anyway and I was heading for the NP so we parted our ways soon after.
It was darn hot again, I came across a country store/gas station/Post Office combo and stopped for some cold water and a cold prepackaged sandwich.
The VC was pretty cool and air conditioned too. I talked to some of the Park Rangers, the youngest one was impressed when I mentioned that Oregon was the last state I needed to have ridden in to have boots down in all of the lower 48 and D.C. I found out John Day was not some big wig in the area but some merchant who got ďrobbed and humiliatedĒ near the mouth of the river, the area got to be known as the area John Day was robbed at, it became so embarrassing that he moved to Idaho. He was thought to never have seen the town and NP area known as John Day Fossil Beds.
After another rehydration and gas break in the town of John Day I headed south. Back in 1980 I worked in Portland right after Mt. St. Helens exploded so I only knew the lush, wet, sunless green side; the Eastern side is arid high plains. I could see a line of rain on a mountain range ahead, at times I thought I would miss them but no, at first the rain felt good, then I realized I was in a hail storm and suddenly I was cold, I looked at my thermometer, the air temp had dropped from 92 to 62 degrees in about 2-minutes. Coming back down the rain stopped and the temps climbed back into the 80ís.
Every since I selected Longstreet Inn on the GPSís, the host hotel for the rally my two GPSís showed a 45 mile difference in distance, I have never seen more then 3 miles routing choices between the two. I got to Winnemucca, NV and the 2730 is telling me to turn right, the 2720 is showing a left turn. Both are showing me to turn on I-80, not familiar with the west, one reason for this trip, I thought I should stay on US-95 since it goes near the hotel. US-95 actually joins I-80 East which is the way the 2720 showing me, but the 2730 was telling me to go West, but about two miles down the road it has me get off then back on going east and back off at the intersection I had the two choices at and telling me to make the same wrong turn, Melarkey St. So this time I followed the 2720 East on I-80, after numerous u-turn request from the 2730 it finally recalculated to match the 2720. I asked about this at the SPANK pre-rally banquet and was told there is a GPS glitch at Winnemucca and a few other areas.
Matt Watkins had said he was planning on staying in Tonopah, a town that is mentioned a lot by the west coast people on LDRider email list. I was trying to make it there but I only made it to Battle Mountain, NV where I got off of I-80 back on US-95.
The next morning, Day 7, I got on the road about 4am, within a few miles in the plains of Nevada the temp was 45, I was expecting the sun to come up soon and tough out the cold instead of stopping and digging out the electrics. Well it stayed cool a lot longer then I expected, I stopped in Tonopah for fuel and by the time I got going it had warmed up in the 70ís. My next stop was Scottyís Castle in Death Valley NP.
The road into Scottyís Castle winds thought some cool rock formation, not granite type rock but a porous rough surface tan colored material. It was getting warm when I made it to the castle and VC. I was the only vehicle in the parking lot about 9:30am. The young lady, a Park Ranger, in the VC asked if I wanted a ticket for the tour of the castle but I passed. I did look at some of the displays after getting my stamp, thus marking the southwest corner for the NPT Silver Cert. When I was walking back to my bike, parked in the only shady spot in the lot, I noticed a couple of large crows on my bike. One had eaten all of the candy including the wrappers in my candy dish and the other was eating the Comboís in the opened right tank pannier.
I then rode in the park for 30+ miles until I saw the exit sign for Beatty where I planned on getting gas since George said there was no gas in Amargosa Valley, he lied. The temp had gone from 45F when I left the hotel to 105F in Death Valley, I didnít look at my thermometer when I got to the hotel but it was just hot, windy, dry and boy was I ready to get into the hotel. About 16 miles from the hotel where you turn off US-95 on NV-273 there was a gas station, George didn't mention that. So I had some 50+ miles on my tank when the rally started.
That afternoon I meet some of the other riders in the restaurant in the lobby area and winding down including washing clothes. George emailed everyone the coordinates for the bonuses before the starting banquet but I had not been able to access my gmail account since I left home. Matt Watkins was in the lobby when I was explaining my problem; he did some magic on the keyboard and got rid of the virus I must have picked up on the road or at home, Thanks Matt. I gave George my hotmail account address too just in case.
At 4PM we were to meet outside Georgeís room ready to ride the odo check. We were called in 3 at a time, got our swag, signed another wavier and was sent out to do the odo check, I mentioned to George since I was using my GPSís for my odo was it necessary for me to go out in the HOT windy weather, I was given a wavier. It was 10.9 mile to the turn around point so youíre talking 25 minutes and it was HOT. The wind was so bad we had trouble keeping the bike covers on.
The pre-rally banquet started at 6PM, a good meal, some good conversation then down to business. The normal items, flags and rally book were passed out, the rally flag was a tan colored nail apron with the SPANK logo silk screened on it and our rider number painted on using stencils, some more talk from George then he dropped the Ďbombí, he had never gave a start time for the rally and I even asked in an email once, he then told us we had been on the Ďclockí since 6PM and we were free to go, he did give us one wild card bonus worth 5,000 points, which was a good size point value, to sing karaoke in the casino lounge before 9PM.
I went back to my room like everyone else to work on my route; I was not planning on leaving until 6AM the next morning. Now here is where I made my first two mistakes, the call in bonus was 3,000 points for each day and there was a combo bonus worth 25,000 points if you called in each day except it said Ďcalendar dayí not thinking I did not call in that night. I did not think about the 6-hour rest bonus, it could have been used that night instead of some night during the rally. The next morning when I was packing up, Tom and Rosie Sperry was parked by me and I heard Tom tell Rosie when she went in to check out, he mentioned something about the time was needed on the receipt. Actually I had no problem stopping the first night for 6+ hours; I just would not have needed the start-end receipts.
After thinking about it for awhile I did go down to the lounge, I had never seen karaoke and did not realize they put the words on video screens for you to read, good because I could not think of a single song I knew the words too. So I picked Johnny Cashís ďRing of FireĒ, letís just say I have been black balled from every karaoke joint in the world, I did wear my rally flag.
The rally book was loaded with combos, way too complicated for me so I just set up a route based on individual bonus point value and places I wanted to go too, the comboís will just have to fall into place, Iíll take the time on the second leg to match up what I can.
So Brunoís in Gerlach is a must do for LD riders and I had to drop Redwood NP in northern California coming to the rally but they were both on the list, both were timed daylight bonuses. There was another timed bonus south of Death Valley that I wanted to do so my route was based on those 3 before going to the mandatory Check Point in Bluff, UT on Tuesday.
It had been HOT so I gave myself extra time to get to Gerlach and skipped the bonuses in Death Valley to get going. I have been collecting photos of 'Aircraft on a Stick', so my first stop was the Amargosa Valley VFW. Soon after getting on US-95 North I came across a little place I have heard about. At my first gas and pee was at Goldfield but the gas station is closed on Saturday. So at Tonopah while I was getting gas Tom and Rosie showed up, they must have gone to Badwater in Death Valley for that bonus. Then just before I got to my first bonus. Sand Mountain, 333 points, on Hwy 50 Heidi Stills came blasting by, I followed her to the bonus, we got our pictures and she was gone.
Next came TJís BBQ in Reno for a bottle of their BBQ sauce, 745 points, it was hot so I had a cool Sprite while cooling off, then it was to Gerlach. I saw Dennis Powell and Mark heading for Reno on I-80 when I was heading for the Fernly exit. Now the 75 or so miles to Gerlach was a less then inspiring ride, a couple scenic areas but the rest boring and long.
I got to Brunoís a few minutes before 4PM which Streets & Trips had estimated, so I got my bonus of a picture of the bike in front of Brunoís, 5,850 points, then waited for 6PM for RenoJohn to show up for Ravioli, a picture with RenoJohn, yourself and plates of Ravioli was required, and then a trip lead by RenoJohn to Guru Lane and the IBA Shrine for a picture of your apron with Coni Fitchís stone in it, 17,487 points. Actually he got there early and the 11 riders had their Ravioli ready, checks paid and pictures were snapped starting at 6PM sharp with riders sitting on each side of RJ.
We all jumped on our bikes and followed RenoJohn at a spirited pace to Guru Lane, the ditch as you left the road was the fun part especially coming out. As normal at a bonus site you donít have time to take it all in like you would like.
That took care of two places I wanted to see and RJ was a hoot to meet.
Next bonus was Lassen Volcanic NP, 6,270 points, for one of those stupid questions that you can get wrong by miss reading or interpreting the question wrong, I would have gotten it wrong unless I took the time to think about it later, I took pictures of the interpretation boards that the answers were on to review later. I had stayed at Alturas, CA the night before and took my 6-hour bonus there, 30,000 points. The deer were not just out but in herds along the road. Some fireman staying at the motel told me that road was heavy with deer. So I slept in a little longer then I should have.
After Lassen I headed for Redwood NP, 19,089 points, Iím several hours behind schedule but I got there with time to spare, you had to sign in with the park rangers, Tom & Rosie was mounting up heading to the bonus picture site. Then there was that 10 miles to the 6 miles of gravel road. When you signed in you got the combination to the gate at the gravel road, the lock took some time to figure out. Then there was that 6 miles back down the gravel road, I hit one rut real hard, the bike bounced into the other side of the one lane road.
When I was going to the VC there is a stretch of beach on the Pacific Ocean that you see a small building on a very small island maybe a quarter mile off shore. I stopped there to get a picture; the island was no longer visible because of the fog. I then headed down US-101, I stopped in Santa Rosa for the night, I knew I was behind schedule so I got out the laptop to check my routing choices; well I blew the timed bonus in Cima, Ca, 18,000 points south of Death Valley. There was a much bigger bonus north of Redwood NP that I had not looked at but now I was too far south to go back and get to the CP. So I stayed on course bagging the Vichy Spring Lodge bonus, 13,873 points, the Glory Hole bonus, 1,100 points, at Lake Berryessa, CA, then another big one, 19,008 points at Mark Twain Cabin in Sonora, CA. I then had to get to the mandatory check point in Bluff, UT but I could get that bonus at Badwater, 5,150 points. With a trip to the top of Mt Evans near Denver, 18,486 points would make the only combo, another 7,908 points, that I had a chance at, but not to be.
When I plan my routes on S&T I write my bonus list on index cards by days and sometimes I may note a road or other place I want to fit into my route, nothing was noted for this day. I didnít remember that S&T had me going through Yosemite NP on CA-120 on the way to Death Valley, but the 2730 sent me on CA-108 over the Sonora Pass. Now one goal of this trip was to familiarize myself with the west coast and CA-108 is one heck of a road, heading east there was some mild twisties, switch backs and drop dead beautiful scenery then came Sonora Pass, the hint was a warning sign to truckers about 26% steep incline and tight turns and no trailers over 25 ft from king pin to axles. Then all of a sudden you come out into a couple valleys with a long swiping curve around the edges, almost forgot about the pass, almost. A hamburger and cold drink in Bridgeport on US-395 and it was back to sit there, twist that.
After a rehydration and gas stop in Bishop I was heading towards Death Valley again, a left turn at Lone Pine and a 104 mile ride to Furnace Creek VC where I got a bag of ice from a vending machine, I made the trip to Badwater at 282 feet below sea level.
Now my vision of Death Valley was Ronald Reagan standing in front of the Borax 20-Mule Team wagon on TV, but wow was I wrong. The road from Lone Pine went though a section of huge switch backs like you see in pictures from the Alps, just not as steep, then a couple of white sand maybe borax covered valley floors then more arid regions. I got to Badwater just before sundown bagging 5,150 points. I would love to go again either in Spring when there are wild flowers or in an air conditioned car, over 100 miles of dry 100+ temps was getting to me especially after leaving Badwater when the sun went down and my headlight was not aimed correctly anymore after the bouncing trip on that gravel road back at Redwood. I had adjusted it down in Santa Rosa but I went too far.
I stopped at a so called resort for 3 hours, $50 cash near Shoshone, CA. I needed the sleep and that was all the time I had to give myself with a 2-hour cushion to get to Bluff, UT for the mandatory check point.
Day 3-1/2 of the rally and my 11th day on the road. I was slowly losing time, dark and winding roads, eventually I could see Las Vegas lights in the distance, itís was pretty cool sight. Some how I managed to go down onto the streets in LV instead of staying on I-15, maybe it was constructions I donít remember now. Just before sun up I exit I-15 on to UT-9 near Harrisburg Junction, stopping for gas for that last push to Bluff, the gas station is closed but the pumps are on, so I picked the pump that wonít print a receipt, the obligatory 3 pictures, pump read out, pump and bike with flag, and bike, pump and station, itís still dark but itís good but wasted time.
As I followed the GPS the sun is coming up and I can see the scenery again. I go through the town of Hurricane and follow UT-9 until I get to Zion National Park, I donít remember S&T taking me through the park, Iím now down to 1:15 to spare to get to Bluff. Then bang, at 6:45am I hit the construction zone on UT-9 just pass the VC. The lady who is manning the stop tells me that it will be at least 8am before a pilot car runs, I asked about a detour, she says there is one but it takes 2-hours longer, also I have to go back to the VC to wait for the pilot car to start running.
Iím screwed; I donít have the time for either option. I break out my cell phone to call George but the battery is dead, I have been up since 2am, Iím tired, I got fixated on the dead phone instead of getting the laptop out and seeing what I can do or taking a short nap, my paper US map doesnít have the detail to show the other route. Finally back at Hurricane I got the phone charged enough to call George at 8:15 and tell him Iím out, he said he thought I still had time but I didnít have the fight in me anymore, I needed sleep.
I tried to get a room at a hotel but it was too early, I had breakfast at the restaurant next door but it was still only 9:30am. There was a old bench out back of the restaurant next to where I was parked, I sat down and tried to take a nap, before long I was laying on the ground sleeping, I could not get comfortable sitting up. The next thing I felt some one kick my foot, the restaurant manager, she said I couldnít sleep there and I should move on before the police, whose station could be seen from were I was got involved. I apologized for not asking first, trying to calm the situation. I was rested now, so I got out the laptop to plan a route to Denver picking up NP stamps along the way.
I made it as far as Cedar City around noon and found a hotel. I had that trip from Denver to my Momís to do and I decided to get a good nights rest.
The next day, Day 12, I headed to Cedar Break NM in the Dixie National Forest for my first stamp in Utah, then over to Bryceís Canyon NP. Traveling through Red Canyon to and from the way to Bryce Canyon was more interesting to me then a big hole in the ground, I should had stopped to take more pictures. Next was Arches NP, that was a stamp and go, I had been in the area before. I then made a beeline to Colorado NM in Colorado, I got there, used my new Annual Pass to get in at 6:35PM, the VC closed at 6:30, I have a receipt from the West Entrance, maybe the IBA will accept it.
I was heading towards Mt Evans next, I ran into thunderstorms near Glenwood Springs so I got a hotel for the night.
Day 13, I made my way to Mt Evans, the sign at the exit on I-70 said the Mt Evans road was open. Again using my annual pass I headed up the mountain. At first I didnít pay attention to the winds but when the pamphlet for Mt Evans started coming out of my LindaT Rally Book I realize I had not zippered it close, when I stopped to put the pamphlet back in I realized I had lost my annual pass and my NP Passport with all of the stamps. I was just past a ranger station; I figured it was gone so I continued up to the top. The wind gust got worst the further I went especially after Summit Lake. About six SPANK rides were coming down; Dennis Powell was one of them. Now the last 10 or so switch backs/hairpin curves were very tight and close together. I made it the top, the wind was blowing about 40-50mph, and I could not even get off the bike it was rocking so badly. A Ranger parked his truck next to me but it did no good. Without looking at the bonus sheet, I just took a picture of the structure at the top just to prove I was there. If I had read it again that was what I needed or maybe not, I just didnít have my flag in it. Now going back down those last 10 switch backs, they were the type where you had to dive in with power going up and dive in with rear brake applied to make the turn going down. The second switchback a gust of wind stopped me dead in my tracks, off the brakes and roll on power and I was on my way again, putting your feet down was not an option with the banked turns.
I knew I had about 10-miles before I got back to the spot where I stopped, so I didnít have to start looking until I got close, there it was on the mountain side of the road, I had to go about 100 feet to get to a flat area and walked back to get it. The annual pass and my receipt for Mt Evens were gone but I got the stamps, my Silver NPT Cert was still on.
Not getting the extra bonuses handed out at Bluff I was not aware those SPANK riders were heading for breakfast with Mike Kneebone, I knew there was an event with Mike but not a bonus. I arrived at the hotel in Denver, Garmin has no ideal how to get there, you need to find the hotel in the hotel list and use that, the coordinates are too close to a highway on ramp otherwise.
After an afternoon of meeting old friends again, Rebecca Vaughn and her friend Don for two, and putting faces to names, Pete Branson from the LDRider list and others from the MTF. The SPANK Finish banquet BBQ was held in the courtyard next to the parking lot. Eric Jewell won, Matt Watkins came in second and Jayd Lindom was third.
After the banquet I walked back into the lounge area of the hotel and my Pike Peakís riding buddy Tim Tow was sitting there with Craig Vetter, one of the presenters at the IBA Meet. I was explaining to Tim how I managed to make it up Mt Evens, 14,264 feet with a new set carbs compared to 4-years ago when my GL1000 gave up going up Pike Peak at around 12,000 feet. I was saying how my mileage went from 28-32 mpg with the old set to now getting about 38 mpg but coming East on I-70 towards Denver there were areas where I could only do 52 mph in a 75mph zone. Craig ask what was my mileage climbing those inclines, I had to think about it but I was still getting in the 38 mpg range for that tank of gas. He told us how he sold off his interest in Vetter to Bell in 1978, saying when motorcycles got less mileage then cars he got out of the business. He had a Honda Helix he made into streamliner in the parking lot that he gets 100mpg with.
After a good night sleep, Day 14, I headed for my Motherís in Florida about 7am, getting to I-70 via I-25 on a Friday morning turned out to be pretty easy. The weather starting getting warm once I hit Kansas and by the time I stopped for gas it was down right hot. I had to add water to the radiator overflow tank, a fresh bag of ice in the water cooler and the remainder stuffed into my jacket to cool me off. A couple hours later I stopped at a rest area to cool off and drink a bottle of water. There was a big dark cloud off to the North, when I got to Topeka I hit an construction area that cause traffic to come to a dead stop then powered walked a couple of miles before the highway opened back up. By this time I was cooked, a rest area with a McDonaldís came up soon after and I pulled in, one guy who walked by me while I was taking my gear off said I looked like my temp was about 200 degrees, I felt it too.
Next came Kansas City and traffic was backed up, I jumped on I-435 around town. I was passing the exit for US-50 and though about exiting, I didnít and regretted it later. Almost as soon as I enter Missouri, or Misery as the GPS says, that dark cloud let loose with heavy rain and cross winds so bad I had to pull off the interstate into a rest area, there was hotels at the exit within sight but I wanted to travel all night so I could miss out on the heat the next day. I made a pillow with my jacket and laid down, twice the wind shifted and I had to move around the building to stay dry. After a couple of hours I was on my way again but the rain started again so I pulled into a truck stop. I went into the trucker lounge and tried to sleep but nothing. Back on the road and about 6am sleep was needed again.
I stopped at some low-rent chain hotel and told the clerk I needed a room 3-hours, no problem $9 per hour, he put $27 on my credit card and off to my room I went. When I turned on the TV to check the weather channel, Ďporní was on, I guess the clerk was use to renting rooms by the hour.
By the time I reached Metropolis, IL it was down right HOT again, I had always wanted to get a picture of Superman so I exited for the 3-1/2 mile ride to the statue. I then stopped at the KFC for a cool drink and got back on the road. Finally in southern Tennessee the temps lowered into the high 80ís. By the time I hit Atlanta I was hitting a wall again, stopping for gas and a break I was back on the road, finally stopping for the night at Exit 39 north of the Florida/Georgia border.
The next morning I finished the trip to my Momís, it was our birthday, my sisterís and my family had come down to celebrate. A couple of days of being with the family and I headed home. When ever I would set the GPS to my Motherís or home from there it always gives a distance of 1001 miles, I had never gone straight home before, a side trip, a different route to avoid the I-95 Northern Corridor but this time I went straight home, I hit DC and Baltimore after rush hours, I only made 4 gas stops and always at stations at the off ramp and when I got home the GPS read 1001.2 miles.
So after a 5-hour nap off to work I went, everyone was surprise to see me, I had lost count of the days and I came back one day early, RATS! Just think of the NP stamps I could have collected on the way home.
18 Days, 10,154 GPS miles.
Now Back To The Drawing Board,
The Utah 1088 3-Day Rally and Alaska, June/July 2011
Copyrighted 1998-2010 Donald A.Jones