ButtLite 5000 Intelligence Reports

News and Views from Rallymaster Adam Wolkoff

July 7, 1999
The Waiting Game

July 7, 1999 was a quiet day for your Rallymasters.  We kept the TeamStrange supercharged Buick Ultra pointed east, and tried to endure the drive as best we could.  Our happiest moment of the drive occurred just 50 miles from Marietta.  At the time, Ed was driving the Ultra at a slightly elevated and aggressive speed, when we suddenly encountered a Georgia State Trooper.  Happily, he was busy changing the flat rear tire on his squad as we breezed past, laughing and pointing.

Our riders were much busier.  A number of entrants had an opportunity to experience the quiet mysticism of the Mother Cabrini shrine, though unfortunately that was all they took from the place, since they failed to completely answer the bonus question.  At least it wasn't a total loss: one can only imagine the number of times the Lord's name would have been taken in vain that day, had they not made the climb.

Riders were also surprised to learn the true nature of the Live Oak Resort.  While no one skipped and went naked, I understand that T-shirt sales were brisk.  And though Howie Steuber didn't get to enjoy a giant burrito at Baha Kitchen in Altamonte Springs, he felt his time at the nudist colony was fair consolation.  He told Eddie, "That's the second time I've been on a ride with you that I've sat and watched naked ladies while eating eggs and toast."  Neither he nor Eddie would describe the first time for your reporter.

Remember Zan's Mexican Restaurant from Leg 1?  We love Zan's so much that it has been a checkpoint on every single TeamStrange event.  Dennis Kesseler was so excited about going to Zan's that he left his chillitos there.  So, being courteous Rallymasters, we tossed them in the trunk and carried them out to Denver for him.  As we were leaving the checkpoint, I made sure to put the chillito bag on top of Dennis' tankbag, where it would stay warm until needed.  Good thing I did.  Later that day, Dennis realized he wouldn't have time to stop for dinner, so he enjoyed his tasty Zan's treat right by the side of the road.  Thanks to Dennis' efforts, we now know a chillito can be heated to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit on day one, held at that temperature for several hours, cooled slightly by the night air, heated again on day two, then eaten later that same day all without apparent ill effect.

A related note: those who have been paying attention have no doubt noticed that tasty Mexican food has appeared on both legs of the rally.  Wouldn't it be outrageous if riders had the opportunity to eat a lovely burrito at some other point along the way?  You will see this material again.

It is often said that we live in unfriendly times.  The newspaper is full of stories all advancing the general notion that people just don't help out their fellow man anymore.  Well, the riders went to photograph the head of W.C. Handy in Memphis know otherwise.  A statue memorializing the father of the blues sits smack dab on Beale Street, where it can be observed by all the bums, winos, derelicts and BL5K riders that happen by.  In photographing the statue, our riders learned that the spirit of cooperation is alive in America.

The hero of this little vignette, reeking of cheap gin and boasting no permanent address, offered to hold the towels of our riders while they snapped the required photograph.  All he asked in return was for a small donation.  While I have no word on his fund-raising skills, I do believe the man was a skilled conversationalist.  The last rider through there advised that our helpful hobo was up on all the rally gossip, even down to who had dropped out of the rally, and who was in first place leaving Denver.

Other riders found that repeated use of the Polaroid camera released some previously hidden artistic talent.  A personal favorite was the photo depicting the statue of a young George Washington Carver holding a rider's rally towel by a scenic creek.  Ahmet Buharali's photograph of the giant chicken in Marietta took on a surrealistic, Dali on acid look thanks to a very artful delayed exposure.  Pauline Ralston's brilliant, yet simple act of photographing her rally towel upside down  was no doubt an incisive comment on the absurdity of our daily lives.  Or so she claimed.

Unfortunately all was not good news.  Dan Stephans II had an unexpected run in with a Dodge Dynasty.  While Dan survived the encounter uninjured, his bike did not.  Though Dan was forced to withdraw from the rally, he promised to be at the finish line in St. Paul on Saturday.

Oddly enough, the elder Dan Stephans happened to be motoring by the scene of the accident shortly after it occurred.  He observed his son walking by the side of the road, accompanied by other riders, their bikes parked nearby.  He further observed the numerous law enforcement vehicles in the area, blue lights flashing, and decided to take a pass.  "I saw my son and the other rides waving," Dan told me, "of course I recognized him.  But with all those speedy bikes and cop cars around, I wasn't going to invite myself to a party."

We also received sad news from Mark Kiecker, the Seca II rider from Minnesota.  Mark's mad mileage dash on leg one was inspired by the newest Ironbutt Association award, available only to BL5K riders, the Saddlesore 5000. His plan to win the award by riding 5000 miles in five days was placed in jeopardy by what has become the Achilles heel of the Buttlite 5000, a failed odometer.  The voicemail message from Amarillo was not optimistic.  Numerous roadside repair efforts had failed.  We hoped that Mark would put his head down and keep riding, while still collecting the gas receipts that would earn him some points for his run.  We would have to wait until tomorrow to find out whether our hopes would be realized.

And what of the frontrunners, Bakker and Darling?  We knew that Airyn had been with Stephans II when he went down, but we had no word about Rider #13.  The voicemail was silent.  We'd have to wait for Thursday, and checkpoint three, to learn all and tell some.  Upon our arrival in Marietta, we decided to forgo takeout Chinese from the Dong Bong oriental grocery in favor of BBQ from Sonny's and an early bed.  The answers to all of our questions would soon be appearing in Zen Moto's parking lot.

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