Ahmet's Comprehensive Ride Report

 

Buttlite II: 7000 miles in 7 days .

What a long and interesting trip it has been

 

1- Pondering..

 

This Buttlite started in a strange way. Hours before I was to leave, I got

news from Joan that Corky was hospitalized, and in very serious condition.

Now when a man his age is in the hospital in serious condition, that is

serious.

Then, on the road, I heard from Jane about Steve Yaeger. That put me in an

even more deep, sort of strange mood, which I can not really say was foul,

just tranquil, cautious and pondering.

Little was I to know of what was to come.

 

 

2- Competition Accessories, and Pauline:

 

I had made arrangements with Competition Accessories to have my oil changed

before the rally. I figured that I could run the 7000 miles without oil

change if I used synth. I already had 16,000+ miles on the GS, so synth

would be good.

So arriving at Comp Accessories on Friday afternoon, while I was waiting for

my oil change, I met Richard and Pauline at the store. They were getting a

new tire for her bike. We walked over and admired her bike, and the miles

she already had put on it (30K+ if I remember correctly) since April.

We decided to ride back together, and as we were riding back, at one point,

the traffic in front of Pauline came to a sudden stop. She had to brake

really hard, fishtailed the Harley very seriously up to about 45 degrees,

put her feet down, and recovered, continuing to ride. I was watching all

this right behind her, saying to myself, " Oh no not again.." Thinking

that she might be startled and perhaps stop for a few minutes (I would if I

had such a close call) I pulled next to her and asked her if she was o.k.

She glanced at me, smiled and said: "Oh yeah ... btw ... I will need some

gas."

I was impressed on how well she could keep her cool and act as if nothing

had happened. Throughout the rest of the day we joked about that. I guess

besides many more times I had seen her, that moment will be what I will

remember her most with.

 

 

3- First Leg, Planning:

 

Right before the beginning of the rally, I had decided that I would pace

myself, and enjoy this run. I love rallies, but what I hate most is the long

runs at way past midnight, in a cold rainy night, without sleep. When we got

the first set of bonus points the night before, I decided that I would stick

to those. It was unfortunate that Corky's place was not there, since I would

have loved to see Reed's Landing.

 

My plan for an "easy" leg is simple. I figure out the fastest route to the

next checkpoint, and then see how close (in time, not mileage) the bonus

locations are to my route. As we saw later, sometimes 10 miles might mean

another hour. Then, I divide the value of the point by the time. As a rule

of thumb, and this may change depending on the leg, if I got a ratio of 2-3

points per minute, I would do it

 

Terry and I had decided to loosely ride together, if our goals matched.

Having DNF'd last year at the first checkpoint due to a last minute route

sheet change he made, Terry agreed with me on taking it easy on the first

leg. Allan Dye decided to join us too, so we took off at around 07:30.

 

 

4- First Leg, Run:

 

Although the traffic was heavy, we decided to stick with it, hoping that it

would lighten up on the southern loop, and it did.

We had decided to make the points on the road, decide on Quito if we

everything went according to plan, and not stress ourselves too much. The

most important points were Hot Coffee, the gas log and the sleepover for

this leg. Yours truly left the towel hanging on the park in Hamilton, and

Terry almost got arrested for (ahem) relieving himself in public.

 

We had originally decided to skip Rome to increase our chances for Quito,

but Allen wanted to do it, so we went to Rome, it was a wonderful road going

down along the river.. I enjoyed it tremendously.

From there we did Superman and met, just by coincidence, Bubba's wife right

next to the statue. There were several other riders with us. In retrospect,

we should have taken a picture with all of us and Bubba's wife, to present

to Eddie. I am sure he would find some ammunition there, but, oh well, I did

not think about it there.

 

Somewhere along the way, Rick Snyder joined us for most of the first leg,

and he was keeping up pretty well with our 11 gallon tanks, even though he

had no fuel cell. Congratulations, Rick, for your eventual excellent finish.

We decided to skip Quito. It would be more than an hour, and I did not think

that it was a sure bet to get the points even if we made it there. Instead

we decided to sleep 2 more hours.

Sleeping for more than 5 hours just south of Jackson, we woke up refreshed,

went to Hot Coffee to get our mugs, and arrived at the checkpoint 2 hours

before it opened.

In retrospect, we could have easily gotten a few hundred points more, but

this was the first leg, and being fresh was the most important part.

 

 

5- Texas, Leg 2 And My First Flat:

 

This was Allen's turf. He knew Texas, we all agreed that we liked the heat,

especially me with my electrical watering/cooling system, so we were to

follow him.

We got the bonus listing, and it was obvious that the thing to do was to

skip the islands (too much traffic) and head straight down to Live Oak

Resort and continue planning there. Tentatively we had decided to do South

Padre Island. This was a leg good for getting big points, since it was a

2-day leg, we had flexibility in our layovers, and any advantage gained here

could be long lasting.

Well that plan did not last long. Right after entering Texas, I felt the

rear of my bike sliding out. I thought that I had hit a tar patch. Then as I

accelerated a few minutes later, the bike was completely unstable. That's

when I realized that I had a flat in the rear. I pulled over to the side,

Allen stopped, so did Terry. I told Allen that I had a flat, and that they

should go on, I'll try to hook up with them later on the leg.

Well, I wasted nearly 3 hours there trying to find a new tire and pondering

what to do. Only after more than 2 hours had passed did I remember that I

could actually try to plug the tire. I had never done that, and did not

trust the plugs. Well, after the second try, it actually worked, and I

called and located a new tire both in Houston and in Austin. It seemed to me

to be the better strategy to spend the night at Live Oak:):) then go on to

Austin, get the new tire and continue bonus hunting.

 

 

6- Live Oak Resort; Fun Fun Fun :

 

I arrived at Live Oak around 8:30. On the way in I saw Allen and Terry

leaving . Allen said: "Come on, let's go", but I told him that I had to get

a new tire in Austin. I figured, if they make South Padre, and rest for a

while, I would catch up with them in Luckenbach.

It was too late for the day for the Live Oak bonus, but I knew that, so I

enjoyed a nice Hamburger, chatted with Adam and Eddie, and the personnel at

Live Oak. Very nice people I got myself a cabin, shed my clothes and jumped

into the pool.

Hanging out in the pool and the hot-tub for about an hour, I kept on telling

the "regular" guests (two young couples and a middle aged woman) how sorry !

I was to have to hang out here in the pool while my buddies were on their

way to South Padre tonight.

Later that night, Eric Jewell decided to share with me the cabin. He did his

planning, slept for a few hours and went off.

I figured that I would be leaving the dealership in Austin by 1 p.m., made

myself a relatively conservative plan, which included seeing Ira, whom I had

not seen since the Ironbutt, and went to sleep around midnight.

Next morning, I woke up by myself around 7 am, all in the buff, opened up

the door . and nearly stepped on Howie, who was lying right across my

doorstep with his helmet on, and sleeping.

I don't know what he though when he saw me, like that, but it must not have

been a pretty sight.

I invited him to come in and sleep in Eric's bed till 8, and went swimming

and hot-tubbing again.

Boy, do I love these rallies :):)

 

 

7- Austin and Lone Star BMW:

 

Well, eventually I left Live Oak, dragging my feet, and went to Austin to

Lone Star BMW. The manager there was very very nice to me, pulled my bike

in right away, and they started working on it. The mechanic pointed out that

I should replace my rear brakes, and without any hesitation put in the brake

pads which I was carrying with me. Many times shops are apprehensive about

installing customer-supplied parts.

I also found a GIVI windscreen and bought it, asking them to ship my

original windscreen home.

Many thanks to all guys at Lone Star BMW. They did a terrific job of getting

me going again.

 

 

8- Leaving Texas:

 

From there I did Luckenbach easily, since it had been a bonus point during

the Waltz, and headed through the intense heat through Pecos up towards

Roswell, NM, and to Santa Fe.

On the road I called Terry. He was somewhere in Colorado, checking in for

the day, since most of his points were to be collected next day. He informed

me that Allen had hit something on the road, and bent his wheel. He was

hobbling to Austin, he said.

That was curious, since if he had gotten to Austin, I would have seen him at

Lone Star, I thought. It turned out that he also suffered from an ear

infection, and decided to withdraw --too bad, we had a fun first leg.

As I was leaving Texas, I could see the lightning and dark clouds in front

of me. It is somewhat interesting to see the clouds, try to figure out on

the GPS where they are, and see if you will run into them.

 

 

9- "Thou Shall Not Leave Carlsbad":

 

As it turns out, I was going to run into the storm. As I left Carlsbad, I

was listening to the weather radio. They were talking about hail, very heavy

rain and lightning. The radio kept on saying: "If you can hear thunder, you

are too close and in danger, take cover, don't be under a tree or in a

convertible automobile"

I said to myself . Well I am glad I have my earplugs on, I can't hear any

thunder, I should be all set

 

Not really !

 

By the time I left Carlsbad it was dark. I found myself the only vehicle on

the road. At that moment, it was as if a divine voice from above said, "Thou

shalt not go further." The skies opened up, with driving horizontal rain,

lightning at the rate of about one per five seconds, in total darkness; and,

the worst: heavy wind gusts of more than 50 miles per hour. The cartoon

Kudzu came to mind.

I was totally drenched in about 30 seconds, and the bike had the

controllability of a wild steer in a rodeo.

After about 1 mile, I stopped. I had to lean the bike heavily into the wind

just in order to prevent it from being tossed over. Although it was night,

visibility was pretty good just from the lightning.

I saw a crossover in the divided highway, and assuming that that was another

divine sign, I turned around.

As soon as I entered Carlsbad, the rain stopped, the wind continued. I

looked back, contemplating continuing, but I could see all the lightning

north of Carlsbad, as if it was telling me, "Don't even think about it."

Oh well, it is 9 p.m., I am not tired, but nonetheless I checked into a

motel, and had to pull the bike up next to the wall of my room, with the

sidestand facing towards the wall so that the winds would not topple it

over.

That was a pretty low moment. Gone were all the bonus points I had hoped to

gather, even the hopes of seeing Ira.

I tried to get to sleep. After rolling around for an hour, just as I had

fallen asleep, I was woken up by the hotel manager who was asking me to move

my bike since it was covering the air conditioner.

I told him that I would turn off the AC, slammed the door and tried to go

back to sleep.

Finally, it was around 1 am, and I decided if I wanted to get anything done

in this leg, I had to get going. I had no choice. It was now raining

heavily, and still lightning everywhere.

 

 

10- Ira Agins:

 

I donned my rainsuit and hit the road. It was heavy rain, but not too bad.

So I punched through it and about 30 miles north of Carlsbad, I was clear. I

quickly collected the Roswell bonus. Now I had to make it to Ira.

I figured that if I kept my average speed up I could make perhaps it The

only unknown was how difficult it would be to find his place.

Well, it turned out to be fairly easy, and I signed in at 5:58. Tom Austin

had just come from South Padre and was sleeping. So I took the picture,

signed in, chatted a bit with Ira, who had been up for 24 hours by then, and

had to go to work next morning I set my alarm to 11/2 hours, and fell

asleep in the bed Ira so generously offered.

Waking up in time, I chatted a bit more with Ira about computers and our

jobs, and then went on. Many thanks to Ira, he had all kinds of stuff,

bananas, cereal, Power Bars, drinks, water ready for everybody, offering to

make sandwiches. What a great guy.

 

 

11- On To Salt Lake City:

 

There were still some bonuses to be collected, but time was now very short.

I was about 4 hours behind schedule. I decided to skip on 4 corners, in lieu

of similar points to be collected towards the end of the leg.

If I have to decide between 2 bonus points, other things being equal, I will

go for the later one. Because if I go for the earlier bonus, and something

screws up, I have no more margin to correct, whereas if there are bonus

points pending, I always have the option of skipping them, if need be. I

went through Durango, and headed for Utah.

Just around Price, UT, where I got a bonus point, I got really sleepy. I

decided to pull into a McDonalds and rest for hour. That felt good because

I was fresh again, although any hopes, however slim they were, for

Canyonlands were gone.

As I headed into Salt Lake in the late afternoon, I was joined by our two

Triumph fellows, Bart Bakker and Jed Duncan. We kept on playing cat and

mouse with the rush hour traffic, using each other as rabbits.

Right before the checkpoint there was what seemed to be an easy bonus point

at the open mine about 8 miles outside of Salt Lake City. I had another

hour before the penalty points would kick in, so I took the exit and headed

for the place. Well, as fate would have it, there was an accident right at

the intersection halfway up, and the Police had blocked the road. They were

trying to get some tow-trucks in, and they were not letting anyone through.

After sitting for about 10 minutes in dead traffic, seeing how slowly the

things were progressing, I decided to skip the bonus. It was a fat one, but

would be only worth if I was not more than 10 minutes late. It was 15

minutes to checkpoint open, so I used the off-road abilities of the GS to

skip over the median, and turn around.

Eventually I made it into the checkpoint with 5 minutes to spare. By this

time mostly thanks to the rains and the tire, I had dropped to 34th position

from 24th, but oh well, it was only halfway, and I was feeling in pretty

good shape.

 

 

12- Sad News To Come:

 

Eddie and Adam relayed to us the news that Pauline had a fatal accident on

her way to Salt Lake City around noon today.

 

What can one say at this point.. Whatever could be said has been, by me, by

others.

 

You could see how shaken Eddie was, as he was asking us all please to be

careful.

Everybody was quiet. Airyn was in a corner with Lance, tears in her eyes. I

hugged her, part consoling each other, part saying good bye, sort of

acknowledging what we were doing.

She tried to smile behind her tears and said: "Be careful .. Ok ?"

After all, a year before that Pauline, Airyn and I were together at Ojai,

and some time before that we were all together partying at the end of the

last Cap 1000.

I was in a state of disbelief, sadness, shock. I don't know.

Pretty much everybody in the rally ended up at a bonus point at a hamburger

joint a few miles north. I was in automatic mode, just doing whatever had to

be done.

It had not sank in yet that Pauline was dead.

Terry was in at least as bad shape as I, if not worse. Everybody was

wishing each other, in quiet, almost whispering voices to be careful please.

Gone was the whoopla, the energies, the enthusiastic expectations for the

upcoming bonuses.

We checked in into a hotel outside of Salt Lake City, to decide what to do.

Norm Grills and Bill Thweatt ( I think) had also checked in there. We

chatted for a few minutes and went back to our rooms. We had options: Go

home, go to the next checkpoint, or continue rallying. We were trying to

make sense out of all this. Was it really such a dangerous activity? Was it

all just coincidence? What the hell are we doing 2500 miles away from home,

tired, anguished, sad.

We decided to sleep on it and see how we felt next morning.

 

 

13- Wyoming, a Mythical Prairie:

 

Again, in an almost automatic mode, I decided to plot the next route. It was

something to do, to get my mind out of things. I decided, again to take a

conservative, relatively direct approach without going too much out of the

way. We were going to do Casper, then Mother Featherlegs, which was a big

bonus, Aladdin, skip 16A, go on to Mud Butte, and Salem Sue.

It seems as if riding in Wyoming was the perfect way to be by myself the day

after losing a friend. It was wide open, no real speed limits enforced, and

with tranquil, but still interesting scenery. For the next few hundred miles

I was able to just digest things, and try to just go on. There were no real

incidents besides a quick stop by a fellow rider whose Givi bag had decided

to part with the bike, but he did not need any assistance. Although I talked

to him at the finish point, I don't remember who it was.

For the Featherlegs bonus point, I enjoyed the 10 mile back road

tremendously on the GS. The road went deep into the country, at one point

through a group of cows on one side, and on the road, and a bull on the

other side. The bull was looking at the GS, totally un-intimidated, unlike

the cows, and probably contemplating if and how to mount this strange noisy

thing that was passing by.

Standing on the pegs, I made the road back out in about 15 minutes, passing

a totally frustrated fellow rider who is also a friend of mine, who at that

point told me that he decided to just leave. He was close to home, and I

suspect the bad news the night before were very influential in his decision.

He later on told Adam that his heart was just not in it anymore.

 

14- The Second Nail:

 

As I was waiting for Terry to come back from the dirt road, I decided to

clean up my tires of any gravel that may have stuck between the threads, and

what do I discover? ANOTHER &^%$ NAIL. in this new tire that had just been

mounted in Austin. I carefully played with the nail, and it seemed to be in

pretty deep, but was not losing any air. So I decided not to touch it and

continue on.

In Aladdin we met Norm and Bill again, as well as Eric Jewell. I had chatted

about the flat with Eric when we were sharing the cabin a few days ago, so I

showed him my sparkly, brand new nail. He suggested to leave it alone too.

 

Well, as fate has it, the road to Mud Butte was under construction. It was

alternating gravel, loose pavement, pavement and gravel again. I was keeping

the pace slow since Terry did not want to go too fast on his K12, and I was

babying the nail. Mike Hutsal on his ST just passed us as if we were riding

on normal pavement. Oh well, I figured, from what I heard about the

Blackfly, that's how all their roads up there in Canada are, so he is used

to this !

By the time we arrived at the historical marker in Mud Butte, around dawn, I

thought that the GS started to feel a bit unsure again. Our two Triumph

guys, Bart and Jed were there too.

After the pictures, I checked the tire, and -- it was soft. I rotated the

wheel, and I could hear the air hissing out.

Damn !

 

 

15- Fixing The Tire.. 75 Miles From Anywhere . in Nowhere

 

I told Terry that I had to plug the tire. After inquiring if it was possible

to just pump up the tire, he conceded that we had to.

By that time, Bart and Jed had left for Bison, and we started working on the

tire.

Now Terry had never plugged a tire, and this was my second attempt.

Fortunately, back in Austin, I had basically bought off all the plugs and

glue they had at the dealership . just in case.

It appeared to me as if Terry was very pleased to hear that I did not have

to take the tire off to plug it. I guess he had envisioned a 3-4 hour job of

mounting and dismounting of the tire.

However, things did not go exactly as planned. It was now dark, we are about

75 miles away from the nearest civilization, in the middle of the prairie,

and the wind was howling. Not only was it howling. but it was also

immediately drying up the cement before I could insert the plug, hence

ripping off the plugs.

I had a total of 6 plugs, and 2 tubes of cement. By the time I got to the

4th plug, and second tube, I started to get worried. At that point I had

forgotten that I also had a can of fix-a-flat with me, although I had never

used that one either.

Well, with some quick action, squeezing in the cement directly at the hole

etc, finally the 4th plug worked. By the time I pumped up the tire to about

37 psi, we had lost a total of about an hour.

I took the lead, since we were not sure how well the plug would hold, and

hit the road towards Bison, which is next to Buffalo.

 

 

16- How My Mistake Saved Our Butts

 

We had originally decided to take 212 up to 73 in order to avoid backroads

and have a nice solid road under us. Well, with me in the lead, I actually

followed signs to Bison, and we found ourselves in some backroads,

nonetheless made it to Bison around 10 p.m. As we were fiddling with the

automatic gas dispenser and credit card machine, Bart and Jed arrived. !

It turns out that they did actually follow 212, which ended up turning into

totally loose sand. By the time they had negotiated the sand and arrived in

Bison, they had lost a lot of time, and we had arrived here before them,

even though we had lost all the time fixing the tire.

 

17- A Cow .. A Really Big Big Cow

 

Well from here it was straight up to New Salem, to take a picture of Salem

Sue. The way Eddie and Adam write the points, most of the time one has

absolutely no idea what the picture will be of. This was one of them.

By about 2 am we had reached I-94 and New Salem. The directions led us up a

gravel road onto a hill where this gigantic 50 ft cow was overlooking the

city. Now it was really dark, rainy windy and cold. And we had to get a 50

ft cow and our towels into the picture.

I tried everything, I leaned the GS up the mountain, adjusted the

headlights.. to no avail..The rain and wind was getting to me. Finally, we

took a few pictures hanging the towels around our necks.

The secret of a good picture here was that as one suffers in the rain and

cold wind one has to, deep from the heart, yell out the words .. "F..ck you

Eddieeeee" .. and if the "ieeeee" gives one the most pleasant smile. but

again .. it has to come from heart.

As we were leaving Sue the Cow, Bart, Jed and Mark Kiecker were coming up. I

instructed them on how to get a nice picture and off we went.

 

18- One Really Nice Hug !

 

Now it was a long haul to Fargo. Terry is a better endurance rider than I

am. Perhaps because of the tire change, the relatively unprotected bike, and

most likely me, I decided to stop in Jamestown to get some coffee and gas.

After I stopped, I called Terry and told him to just go on. The digital

phones are strange. Unless you are 4-5 miles away from each other, they don'

t work. It must have something to do with being in the same cell. The voice

gets totally garbled.

After getting gas, I still felt tired, so I pulled in a rest area, and

slept, with helmet and rainsuit, in the rain, for about one hour. After that

I felt much more refreshed.

 

By the time I reached Fargo, the checkpoint had already opened. As I pulled

in I saw Voni Glaves, with her bigggg s'miles. I got off the bike, tired,

wet and beat, and she gave be this huge huggg. It felt so good. I felt like

a big load was off my shoulders. The emotional burden combined with the

stress of the road had put a large amount of emotional strain on me. Thank

you Voni ! Your help and support at the checkpoint really helped. A few

moments later she took a picture of me. Jane said that I look like the guys

in the BMW commercials .. 2-day old beard, tired, but happy !

Despite the problems, I had advanced to 20th position.

 

19- On to St. Paul

 

Two great guys had overheard Terry and me talking about hotel rooms during

the checkpoint and gave us their keys, for the Motel 6 right next door.

Since they did not have to check out till 11, we had a few hours to use the

room. That was great, thanks guys. I was not ready to do high miles with the

plugged tire, since I was apprehensive, and Terry wanted to go for the big

points south. So we decided to part ways and I headed, after a brief stop

for a bonus point in Fargo, down to St Paul to see an "Animal Shrink." I

heard on the weather radio that very heavy hail and thunderstorms were

headed towards Fargo. I figured that whoever arranged my welcome in Carlsbad

was after me again. So I buzzed away, towards St Paul. I figured that I had

enough time to get a good sleep after St Paul and do my planning then.

 

Arriving in St. Paul, it turned out that it was the Minnesota State Fair. In

this crowd of thousands of people I finally found Team Strange, got them

their Cheese Sticks (got myself one too) went back to my bike to get my

rally towel, and had Eddie take a great picture of me with Team Strange, and

the rest of the staff. I hope to get my hands to that picture one of these

days

 

Leaving St. Paul, I checked in into a hotel around 9 p.m. I spend about 2

hours planning the last leg on the laptop, and finally was so tired that I

put the computer to hibernate, and hibernated myself.

When I woke up around 6 am, well rested, I discovered to my dismay, that my

computer refused to wake up. I ended up losing my beautiful plan and had to

spend another hour to re-create my route.

According to plan, I went down to Nekoosa, saw another fellow LDRider

totally lost in the park across the street, honked at him but he did not

hear me.

 

Leaving Nekoosa, I felt really sleepy. That was curious since I had slept

well the night before. Well, I did what I do when I feel sleepy during a

rally: I go to sleep. I found a nice McDonald with some picnic tables on

their backyard, got myself a diet Coke and a Big Mac, pulled the bike in

front of the table for some privacy, and went promptly to sleep. It was only

for hour, but made me feel much better. I really felt charged, ready to

roll. I did not get sleep again for the rest of the day and night.

From there I made a quick stop to get the price of the pumpkins at a rest

stop .. that was a tricky one and I did not get it. I found later on that it

was a picture on the wall. I called them up and got the correct answer, but

Eddie said later that it would not count since I did not get it while I was

there. oh well, I did all I could !

 

20 - Ed Otto:

 

I decided to get the "tricky" additional 250 points by going to the Burrito

place before I would go to Ed Otto's office, in order not to risk loosing

points by getting stuck in traffic.

I got there in plenty of time, around 3 p.m. and saw with our very own

"Harley Trash" Todd Witte and one more rider (sorry your name does not come

to mind). Apparently, many riders decided to forego St Paul and Chicago,

thinking that they were sucker points. Well they were not. I know that Adam

and Eddie like to get tee-shirts ?

I chatted with Ed Otto for a while .He greeted me ..with .. "It's you

again.. my friend". He knew me from last years Buttlite and when I was

helping him out at the Maine checkpoint during the IBR.

 

(sidebar)

Ironically, it was Eddie James at that point who was on the other side of

the table, and he was frantically looking for a gas receipt that he had

lost. I would be lying if I did not mention that that had been a very

satisfying moment. Fortunately, he found the receipt ..

 

21 - More Thunderstorms

Leaving Chicago, around 5 p.m., after getting the picture of the IBR Mascot,

I went to take a picture of the city limits sign of Danway, IL, population

(15 + 1 + 1 - 1 + 1).I met Todd again there , took a few pictures and went

on towards Lafayette. I decided to take backroads, since it seemed not to be

too populated, and I was trying to save miles. My tire was holding up,

nonetheless there was no need to push my luck.

As I was going south on Hwy 47 towards 24, I could see the lightning to my

left , in Indiana., where I will be in a few hours. The lightning was red,

indicating that it was far off the horizon, and when I turned east on 24,

the color turned more and more bluish. I was getting there ... !

By the time I reached I-65 it was deja-vu all over again. I was surrounded

by lightning, but it was not raining yet. I reached West Lafayette around 11

p.m., when I started feeling heavy raindrops. Throughout the last hour,

the highway had gotten wetter and wetter, indicating that I was actually

catching up with a major thunderstorm. The Gods of Carlsbad are looking for

me !

I decided to check in into a hotel. After checking in, I got into my

rainsuit and decided to hunt down the two points that were around Lafayette.

Following directions and my Street Atlas output, I went north on 43, then

onto CR850N. Now CR850N started paved, then it turned into gravel. Then it

turned into gravel with grass in the center. The it turned into grass with

corn fields on both sides. By the time it reached I-65 which it is supposed

to cross, it was about 3 feet wide. I said to myself, Eddie and Adam are

sick .. but they are not THAT sick.

After examining a radio tower, I turned around and started to look for a way

to cross 65. Fortunately, CR 900 did, and I found the statue of the watchful

family without any further problems. Now, in the meantime, it is still

lightning like crazy all around me.

Then I decided to go back and get the other bonus point, which was about 20

miles south. I found that without any problem, and know now all about the

first successful c-section in Indiana.

I arrived back at my hotel around 1 p.m., still very alert from my nap at

McDonalds, and probably some adrenaline going, but got gas for my layover

and went to sleep.

 

22- Last Day

For the last day, I could either go north and collect several bonus points,

some of which sounded a bit tricky to me, or go south and do 2 big points,

which actually did not add any mileage from the point where I was.

Doing the south route would also give me the chance of arriving at the

finish earlier, and would give me the possibility to go for the bonus point

in Newark. The total points would have been similar, give or take 100

points.

I decided to do the smart thing, go for the southern route, not risking to

miscount gravesites or whatever, and to breeze in into Columbus without any

penalty points.

 

Leaving next morning around 7 am, I did the grave south of Indy without any

problems with the location or the traffic. From there I did head towards

Idaho, Ohio. Cincinnati was my escape route. I expected to be there 3 hours

after I started. If, for some reason I was at 4 hours or more, I was going

to go directly to Columbus.

Usually, having a good escape route is an important decision in my planning.

 

Well I got to Cincinnati in time, and continued to Idaho. I made a mistake

in my routing. I should have taken 124 directly to Idaho, but instead

continued on 50 and planned to take the backroads to Idaho.

Well after running literally in circles around Bainbridge for about an hour,

I ended up changing my plan about backroads, headed to 41 and then to 123

into Idaho, Ohio.

I took the picture, took my own picture, and that was the last point of the

rally. I felt good.

So, I hit 23 after a few minutes, and ended up not really sailing .. but

sort of crawling in Labor Day Traffic until I got to I-270. I had enough

time, but not enough to make Newark. Oh well, I was happy with my run.

As I was taking the exit off of 70, I saw Rob Nye and Terry Smith passing

me. I called Jane up on the cell phone, so she could "ride with me" to the

finish point, and Rob, Terry and I pulled into the parking lot.

I felt for some of my fellow riders. Howie had ridden 1800 miles and forgot

to take a picture. When I told him that that must hurt, he just said that he

thought it was funny !

Eric was standing in the lot, chewing on his Deer Jerky !. He had collision

with a deer, and bent the A-arm of his bike.

 

23- Results

 

Well I was happy .. I ended up in 16th position, Terry in 15th. With 5683

miles I had done significantly more points/mile than others.

Everybody in the top 30 had done many more miles than me, and most had

collected less points. That is what a nail in the tire does I presume :):)

One just has to optimize their route.

Mark deserved his victory, he was good. So was Bart. WHenever I saw them

they were on the go. They really meant business !

I was happy to see my friends Bob Lystowsky and Todd Witte finish in very

good positions, even though this was their first real rally. Rob Nye, my

fellow Yankee Beemer.(for our southern friends. after being drafted to the

club by Rob Nye, it appeared to me as if the name should have been the Wacky

Beemers, but turned out to be Yankee due to a typo) had a flat too, and

although he got in in the last minute, and told me that he was going to ride

checkpoint to checkpoint, he did earn a good set of points and finished

27th.

 

Great rally, great job by the organizers ! A really good challenge. I will

be there for the next one.

 

24- Epilogue

This rally gave me a lot of time to think. I was in contact with Jane, who

had subscribed to the LDRider list and posted my ride onto the list. I am

grateful to her for that.

I felt the camaraderie, and the competition, had a great amount of fun, yet

at the same time became more aware of my, and everybody else's, mortality.

In my mind, this rally will irrevocably be associated with Pauline. And

indirectly Corky and Steve Yaeger.

There always will be losses. Be it an accident or a heart attack, nobody can

guarantee that we will be here tomorrow.

We should do our best to be here, but not to the cost of enjoyment of life.

 

So we take our calculated risks, do what we love to do. We enjoy the perhaps

bittersweet taste of having challenged our minds, bodies and skills,

accomplishing something that a very small percentage of riders in the world

will ever attempt.

 

Every one dies . but not every one lives

 

Ahmet Buharali

ahmetb@alum.mit.edu

Ashland, Ma, USA

00R1150 GS

Buttlite entry # 225

 

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