ButtLite 5000 Intelligence Reports

News and Views from Rallymaster Adam Wolkoff

July 5, 1999

We're Bad, We're Nationwide...

Greetings from the TeamStrange Mobile Unit, transmitting from the cockpit of the Supercharged Buick Park Avenue Ultra staff car somewhere between sanity and Checkpoint One in Denver, Colorado. The last time we saw all of the BL5K riders together in one place was at 0800 this morning, in the parking lot of the Country Inn back in St. Paul.  Since then the riders have scattered to the four winds on the way to Denver, and exact details of their activities remain sketchy, but we have been able to glean some information, which we will pass along herein.

In general terms, riders could strike out for big points by heading straight south to Deeley Plaza in Dallas, then up through Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico.  Other routes led through North Dakota in to Montana, or zigzagging through South Dakota.  Those in search of the direct route would simply collect bonuses south through Iowa, then straight west on I80.

First contact came at Zan’s Mexican restaurant in Mankato, Minnesota, where Eddie and I enjoyed tasty hot cheese chillitos.  There we encountered Dennis Kesseler, rider #53 from Windham, Maine, whose chilito came with a side of bonus points.  Dennis was so excited to get back on the road that he left his chillito behind, electing only to take the register receipt as a souvenir of his visit.  Since Eddie and I know how tasty and nutritious a Zan’s Hot Cheese Chillito can be, we made sure to toss Dennis’ order in the trunk of the Ultra.  I’m sure he’ll be happy to see it again in Denver.

A short time later we called the Rally Hotline, and found a message from Rider #28, Dan Stephans II.  Dan was calling to report that at 1008, barely two hours into the Rally, he had lost his rally towel.  This would prove a costly mistake.

The ButtLite 5000, like the Ironbutt, offers riders the opportunity to collect photo bonuses.  Each rider is issued a unique Rally Towel.  To earn a photo bonus, the rider must photograph the item specified in the route sheet, along with his rally towel.  It naturally becomes difficult, if not impossible, to collect photo bonuses without the rally towel.

Dan’s blunder was foreshadowed the evening before, when Bart Bakker lost HIS rally towel less than one hour after it was issued to him.  Luckily, Bakker discovered his error and recovered his towel before the hotel waitstaff sent it out for cleaning.

Dan was less fortunate.  He had apparently gone too far down the road to backtrack for the towel, as he advised he was heading on without it.  Dan’s loss, however, is not without a silver lining.  We have made ten “extra” towels to allow for these circumstances.  The extra towels can be obtained at checkpoints, in trade for a $100 check made payable to the Tony Munich fund.

Ahmet Buharali’s FJ met some mechanical trouble, in the form of a failed speedometer cable.  Ahmet’s initial message advised he was heading straight for Denver, “Since it was Sunday and no bike shops would be open.”  Rally rules prohibited our advising Rider #25 that July 5 fell on a Monday this year.  In any event, it seemed as if Ahmet reached the same conclusion, as a subsequent message indicated he had obtained a replacement cable and was back in the bonus hunt.  Rally rules prohibit collecting bonus points without a working odometer.  However, after documenting the failure and subsequent repair, riders can again collect bonuses.  Poor Ahmet must not have consulted his copy of the rules. His message disclosed his mistaken belief that he had to backtrack to the point where the cable broke before he could again collect points. The true cost of the broken cable won’t be calculated until check in at Fay Meyers tomorrow.

As the drama unfolds, your Rallymasters are steering the supercharged Buick straight for Denver.  The stereo system is serenading us with the Simpson’s “Songs in the Key of Springfield.”  We’re playing with the power seats, and adjusting cabin temperature to our individual comfort.  Our trip computer discloses we have to date used 46.4 gallons of gas, our fuel economy is averaging 21.2 mpg, and while our operating range stretches to 464 miles, we have depleted over 20% of the engine oil’s useful life.  Yes, there is a gauge for that last bit of information.

By Noon on July 6, the riders will know just how unkind the first leg of the rally was to their shot at a first place trophy.  Soon after, so will you.  Stay tuned.

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