George Fetsko


Hopefully you like this as I write for the feeling not the mechanics of the ride.


Geez…it seems as though the Minn1k was only a few days ago. Now I gotta go back to those Jokers (please notice I capitalized joker as to show my utmost respect for the jokers). The Minn1k was fun, and now I know some of that crowd so I was actually looking forward to the event.


Well, Friday the 27th came around, I was planning on meeting Rick Miller and Todd “Harley Trash” Witte at the 2nd to last exit in Pennsylvania to roll onto Columbus.


Ya see I don’t not consider myself one of these free wheeling Ironbutts cross the freaking country riders….in fact I hate getting there. I am an Endurance Rally rider. I like the competition and the hard riding….repeat I hate getting there. Whoa Nellie! I did not say there was something wrong with you guys and gals, I just like to stop and smell the roses…unless I’m going for a prize…then screw that!


Any hooo. Rick and Todd had along a buddy Steve….ahhh a newbie to this game. I was there once so I wanted to help Steve as much as possible…plus he was a good guy, something Rick and Todd are often ohhh ahhh ARE oh yes sure they are.


Ok ok back to it. They arrive Todd has a new bates leather jacket he was telling me about…he is into the chopper thing now. Todd wants to live the Harley Davidson and Marlboro movie. If ya know Mickey Rourke and what he is famous for hell go for it. I think every movie Old Mick has been in has had some major STEAM in it…I’m not talking overheating Harleys I’m talking SEX….you go boy!


Ooops, ok after looking over each bike’s new toys we head out. Guess who leads…Trash but what is this he is taking it easy….must be Yellow…scared of those Ohio smokies. Ok by me lets get there…suddenly Todd hits the (named by Mr. Miller) “I must get there” phase. We pick it up and reach the Lenox Inn.


We check in…nice place for the buck! Everybody splits up. Todd is playing fishboy..who the hell knows what miller is doing and I go to Wally World for a Blender.


I get back, set up the computer, go for a swim and prep for the odo check. Rick and myself leave a bit early and hit the Kroger for Rum….are ya seeing where this is going? BTW I got Capt. Morgan’s spice in a travel bottle…how convenient!


We’re off the Uncle Eddies place for the odo check….its freakin hot and we have to wait and wait and wait….my bike starts to heat up…and we wait. I later here I should have checked out Uncle Eddie’s place, I know he has bikes but I now here they are his furniture….Maybe Uncle Eddie will invite me down again. Of course he did not get the hint about the giveaway GPS this time so why the hell will anything change.


Oh Oh back to it. I get the route sheet for the odo check…what the fu…is this. Seems we need to follow some drunken snake though the flat lands of Ohio. Crap! Remember I like the race part not the getting there! So I take off following the sheet, its not bad the guy in front of me has issues ….I pass him. Suddenly I have a small train behind me…huh. I turn on to Palmer the second time and need to flip my sheet in the map pouch…being the safe rider I am I stop. So does the train behind me….hmmmmm and a big smile comes over my face…a test. I could lead all these dudes off into the woods and show them where the bear shits in the buck(eye)wheat…hehehe. No don’t do it, but if it was cooler and I did not want to see the AMA place so much those poor suckers would have realized they were worse off following me than leading me….heck I could not find the stairs at the Lenox let alone follow a route or even think about finding a boni…errr boney oppps bonuses location. (Go ahead kick me out Bubba).


Ok Ok moving on. I get to the AMA check in, look around. Nice place. Got the woman of my dreams a shot glass as a gift…..no no she is not a hard core drinker just collects the glasses. Got some pics. And went to eat. Wow, food was great…CHICKEN and ribs. This is not the last time I had CHICKEN…more later. Sat down, got to talk to the gang, including Don Author. Don finished 2nd at the Mason Dixon in May. Did I mention that I was third? Plus Don can get around on a bike…a good guy, I’m glad I got to know somewhat this year. We all shoot the bull and laugh.


Now its time for the prerace meeting…scratch that prerally meeting. This is where all the disclaimers and bs are passed along. Plus someone gets to be the butt of all the jokes…it was Bubba turn. Now just to clear the air…I did not know Bubba before this day. I only knew of him as the guy who signs up for every rally and attends none. Heck he actually did not make it to this one as a rider…..but hey at least he was not Mr. Wolkoff. Seems the afore mentioned person chose to be taped and gave the rules that way…..well thank goodness he was not there…Adam, I would toss some of those guys in the room they are YELLOW! They said things they would NEVER say if you were actually there. Thanks goodness for fast forward.


Geez this is going to be a gillion pages long if I don’t speed it up. Actually it won’t because I’ll talk about the bonuses or boni whatever now. There was 15…yep 15. It was clear Bubba and team wanted me to drink all night. So after some name calling and everybody (but me) taking a shot at Bubber…we go back to plan.


It took all of 20 minutes to plan a route….in fact it took longer to plan how to make Pina Coladas than it did a route. I got every thing in the laptop we had a plan and Rick and I start sipping PCs. Rick and I plan to ride together and with so few stops we knew more was coming so we did the basics. Remember Steve? I wanted to help him but with what we got Friday there was nothing I could do. Steve I hope you understand…


So for the remainder of the night we finished off almost the entire 5th of rum….hey I know Pina Coladas are not whisky and water….but you drink the night before riding about a thousand miles in a day. Plus it was sort of a beachy weather day…


Saturday comes and time to ride. First breakfast then pack the motors and wait for the post prerally meeting but still a prerally meeting. Otherwise know as a Rider’s Meeting, same stuff be safe yada yada. Being honest this hits home this time due to a loss of a friend and coworker a couple of weeks ago. But I’m a man and I’m here to ride.

We are all waiting for one thing. The real bonus locations, Friday’s was just a tease today we get the real thing. Finally, we get them another 52 locations. Its going to take some time to plot and plan we head for the room and the computers. Street and trips is my choice of programs we work fast for the first half-hour. Realizing the time is ticking we take our rest bonus at the beginning, we now have an additional 3 hours to plan a route. This sucks in one way, having a rest in the middle would be great but the planning is important. During the Minn1k I took my bonus at the end…after all the riding, just the opposite this time. Got to admit Team Strange keeps you hopping, course one must be wiser to play at the top. So we get kicked out of the room and hit the bar the Lenox people are really great we get done planning and clean up. Not much time left about 10 minutes and we are out of there.


During our planning Rick comes up with some strong numbers and a good idea. With a bit of coaxing and manipulating we hit a bingo. I feel real good about the route, Rick and I have only been riding together for a year but our styles are compatible. Most of the riding is around the Pennsylvania area in-groups but last year I did follow him around at the Feast in the East. Since then I have been working to become a better rider in the rally sense and he has been fooling around with his Mason Dixon rally….which I would suggest you all hit next year. Great event…lots of fun riding.


I’m not going to tell you all of our secrets…in fact I’m not going to tell any of my secrets. We did however plan a route shaped like a figure 8 around Ohio.


Our first stop is for the oil. I’m going to plan a rally someday…and I’m going to load all the bonus points on stuff I need too. BMW GS = 1 million points, Gary Egans Duc (without Gary) 2 million points. You get my point. Any whooo I got oil. Next to Sonic for a burger…done. Hey there’s Todd, he waved…where is he going??? I hate that.

I hate seeing someone going the entire opposite direction…make me think I was thinking wrong. I know I know….your doing fine. Still I hate to think! I mean I hate think I’m going the wrong way.


Zippy a do da…we head off for 555. Mr. Miller has had his eyes on doing 555 for some time now so it was a must do…to hell with the points we’re here for the fun! Let’s go to 555! It took longer than than I thought to get there but we did. Mr. Miller took the lead on 555, Rick has excellent feel for my moods and I think he knew I did not really want to be there. More on that at the end. Sooo we take a very easy pace up 555 and about an hour a 10 later we are in Zanyville. Gas up and figure we must opt out of the Morristown bonus. We were way late in my mind but I knew highway was on the way.


Off to the picnic we go. Boy oh Boy. This must become a standard for rallies! We get to the Stoner’s place, pull in, check and and are offered drinks and hotdogs! There is ice and water for jugs and a restroom. What can I say??? Thanks to the Will, Annie and Mrs. Stoner for their hospitality, it was very appreciated. Side note here, the bathroom in the Stoner’s house was full of motorcycling history…some great pic and information, kind of like a mini AMA site.


Off the the Rock and Roll hall of fame, park out front get the bonus, off to Canaan.


We search and find the Fight the Pipe sign, loop and back to the highway. We now have the big run south to Paris. Its foggy and drizzly and overall a poor time to be out.


We get to Kentucky. I don’t remember the order, but we get to Paris….the directions read: Find ten historical markers, etc ON the BLOCK the Courthouse sits. So we search out all the markers came up with like 13 ON the BLOCK, not on other blocks, not on the same street. Well, all the effort was for not…seems you could get markers from anywhere in the GENERAL VICINITY so much for reading comprehension, do what is easiest I guess. I got the points and so did many others, right or wrong. BUT Paris is a town time has forgotten. I plan on traveling back to Paris this fall to visit the town, the buildings were restored to what looked like turn of the century. Incredible…thanks for the bonus Buckeye crew.


So after Ky. We head to Cincy for the gas receipt. Got lucky first turn off Mr. Freeze pulled down. It is now raining on and off, had a bunch of rain coming up from Kentucky. I feel pretty pooped. When I hit the wall I normally hit it hard, then something will pull me out of it and I’m good for another dozen hours.


Well, this is the part of hitting wall and coming out of the hole. We are headed for Hamilton for some temple or something, Rick finds it and I’m painfully following along. Pull in to park along the curb, I get stopped, I think, prepare to disembark and well hell I just don’t know what I was doing but I took old Iggy to the ground in one big Pile Driver.

I was toast, I just dumped my bike over and on top of that I jumped on for the ride. Rick I’m sure wonders what the hell is going on but helps me get up and find my bearings. Damage was the normal ZG stuff, peg, peg bracket and mirror all done for, but I’ll manage. We get the bonus and Rick promises only two more. We are off to meet a Beemers club for breakfast, we get there get stamped and have a half hour, eat drink…tell everyone I wrecked on turn four of Mid Ohio in the rain and busted my mirror…it was a great bonus! What it wasn’t on your bonus sheet…guess you had to win the Minn1k to get that sheet. Too bad.


Ok ½ hour is up and we head for the fish mating place, answer the question and by the glory of God it over. We head for the Lenox.


The rain cleared and we went to get scored, we knew we had an ok run but was unsure of just where we would end up. We had dropped about a thousand points that we prepared for “if things are going well”.


So we finish third. Thanks to the rally crew for giving duplicate trophies for finishers. It always seems unfair to beat your partner after being a team for 24+ hours and all the planning. Thank Strangers.


All in all the rally was great from my end, a good value, a good time socializing and some nice bonuses. I hope to soon see what is up for next year.


Oh yeah….that ButtLite thing that’s what’s up…where is that application?


Finally, a few thoughts


Two weeks before the Buckeye, I lost my local riding buddy and co-worker to a motorcycle accident. Being straight with you, he made a mistake and paid with his life.

But this has been the most difficult thing I have ever gone though; sure I’ve lost relatives and all but they were loses that were expected. Every day I come to work and look at his cube next to mine and remember his last few moments. It’s now been a month and nothing has changed, his family continues to grieve and I live with the pictures of a fatal accident burned into my memory.


During the dinner after the Buckeye, Eddie announced the loss of a Team Stranger and only a few weeks later a man so many of us knew is lost when Jim passes. These are losses that we will feel for a long time to come.


My point is… Ride within you abilities, watch your ass and remember it’s not worth that piece for wood as Eddie, Bubba and Adam have said so many times. Please be safe.