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10 Days. 9 States. 4200 miles.

Texas T

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Location
Sun Lakes & Show Low, Arizona
Ride Report - August 2012 - AZ - NV - ID - OR - WA - MT - WY - CO - NM
Includes a recap of the Iron Butt Association International Meet in Denver

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed riding it. Let me know if you find any typos. I didn't spell check this.

The planning for this began many months ago when the Iron Butt Association announced that once again their biennial International Meet would be held in Denver CO. "Why that's just a couple of hours up the road" I said to the wife so we agreed to start talking to our respective bosses to see if we could get the time. Being in retail, that's not always an easy thing to do but we persevered and both got our vacations approved.

Since I had not ridden in Idaho, Oregon, or Washington state I made plans to head that way before heading to Denver so I could color in those states on my "states ridden in" map. Heck, as long as we were going that far out of the way why don't we just ride up to the Canadian border and hit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons on the way back down? Ambitious plans, eh? A little too ambitious as you'll read later, but hey, what's a ride without some adventure? It's just a ride, right? And we can do those any day of the week.

Adventure number one... job change. I'm still working for Walmart but I have changed positions and I would be in the middle of my four week training when my vacation hit. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to sacrifice one week of training before I jump into the new position. The instructor knew of my plans so he was kind enough to kick me out of class early on Friday so I could get home and get started. I had not anticipated leaving the house until about 7 pm but now it looks like 3 pm is possible. The bike was pretty much loaded up the night before and I was assured by Brenda that whatever she had left would fit in the right saddlebag. Well, reality is never as good as what was anticipated and I came home to not one, but three more bags that needed to be loaded. Investing in a trailer looks better and better every year, but using it just 1-2 times a year just isn't justified from a cost standpoint. Anyhow, everything got loaded with nothing left behind and at 3:15 pm we rolled out of the garage in Chandler (SE of Phoenix). Now keep in mind that it was 109 inside the garage so I was looking forward to getting into the wind.

Adventure number two... it was 111 as soon as we hit the streets and 113 as soon as we hit I-10 going north/west. As we reached the outskirts of Phoenix the onboard temp hit 115, and then as traffic slowed (why now?) the gauge was reading 117. The water temp gauge on the Wing began creeping up and up but never got to the top and as traffic started moving again the gauge began moving down again. It never got below the middle mark but as long as we were moving I was okay with that.

First stop, the Chevron at Carefree Highway / 74. We stopped to top off the tanks - fuel and water. Although we had only been on the road for about an hour my Butler Cup was empty and my LD Comfort shirt (soaked when I left the house) was now dry. We filled up on water and gas and with soaked shirts we headed for Wickenburg. This was just another short ride of an hours but when we hit the Exxon there the shirts were once again dried out. The temp had dropped from 117 but never got below 113. Since they also had a DQ there I thought some ice cream in our bellies would be good in reducing our core temps a bit. After indulging in the cold treats we once again headed north on 93, destination Eat At Joe's in Wickieup. There are only two decent places to eat in Wickieup (in my opinion) and the BBQ at Joe's is the best. Since we arrived 15 minutes before they closed and they were already sold out of the pulled pork, it was brisket sandwiches for us. Brenda couldn't finish her's so we packed it up and I gobbled it down once we got to the hotel in Kingman.

We left Wickieup just as the sun was starting to hide behind the mountains and the temps dropped to a cool and balmy 105 from there until we hit I-40 at which time we saw a low of 91 for the evening. There was a storm rolling in from the east with a lot of lightning and fortunately it never caught up to us but the cool water would have been very refreshing at that point.
Gas in Kingman, check into the hotel, finish off the brisket, and off to bed as we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.


Saturday morning's alarm went off at 0330 and we were on the road by 5 am with Vegas being our first destination that morning. Somewhere around North Las Vegas we found a Micky D's and wolfed down some chow before once again hitting the road. We stopped for gas next to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which incidently is where the Shelby Museum is located. I wish I had added in some time to allow us to view the cars, but I had been too focused on just ride, ride, ride instead of stopping to smell the roses.
From I-15 we continued north on 93 with the Idaho border as our next destination. Now... if you look up the word "Desolation" in the dictionary you should find the Nevada landscape alongside Hwy 93 pictured in the book. There is N O T H I N G out there. Being a weekend, we didn't even see any flyboys from Nellis or Groom Lake out harassing the mountain goats. It was a long, boring ride. 318 wasn't much better but it was still pretty desolate. We were back on 93 soon enough, crossed I-80 and then at about 4 pm we reached the NV / ID border, continuing up to Twin Falls and I-84 westbound. You may have read about all the forest/brush fires in Idaho, well, we're here to tell you that there was a lot of smoke and haze all the way across Idaho and even a little into Oregon.

Sunrise as we ride into Las Vegas
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Sheer desolation on Hwy 93
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Hitting the state line of Idaho
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Some of the smoke and haze we had to deal with all the way across the state
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We rode through Boise (I hate those grooved concrete interstates) until we hit Ontario OR where we stopped for the night. A quick bite to eat at the local Carl's Jr and once again our heads hit the pillows after a long day, but tomorrow's ride promises to be much better.
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Too tired to be on the road at 5 am, we slept in on Sunday and left Ontario at about 7 am. Even at that time it was about 51 degrees and we had to stop up the road to don the heated gear. This day of riding was going to be good. Leaving Ontario we took 95 north through some great farm and ranch land. The only downside was slowing to 35 and 25 mph through the multiple small towns along the way. A lot of the northern portion of this route was alongside a river and we were able to stop and watch rafters negotiating the rapids. There were some great sweepers approaching the Nez Pierce monument so all in all, a great route.

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We rolled through Lewiston ID into Clarkston WA and stopped for lunch at Micky D's so I could use the WiFi to check the weather and see how everything ahead of us was looking. With my state of Washington under my belt we turned east with our destination of Kalispell Montana many hours away. This provided many more great miles of scenery and riding along the Lewis & Clark Trail on Hwy 12 next to the Snake River, and then on to Lolo Pass and Lolo Summit. The portion from Kamiah to Lolo Summit by itself was a terrific road to travel.

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Hwy 12 - Lolo Pass
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Close-up of some of the best areas along Hwy 12
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Coming down off the summit brought us into Montana and the town of Missoula where we fueled up, grabbed a hot dog and a soda, and then as quick as possible we mounted back up to continue on to Kalispell. We rode up 200 to 93 and then into Polson and rode counter-clockwise around Flathead Lake. What a beautiful place! We were arriving right at sundown and with the temps dropping and animal activity increasing and at least another 50 miles to go we did not spend any time playing tourist. About an hour later we arrived at our hotel and parked with the other 20-some bikes out front with plates from all over the country. A Papa John's delivery pizza and soon enough we were cutting ZZZZZ's.

North of Missoula
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Snow still on some of the mountains
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Flathead Lake (huge)
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Up at 5 Monday morning, breakfast at 6, and on the road at 7 brought us to the entrance of Glacier National Park about 8 am. This had been on my Bucket List for several years and the three hours that we spent there was not nearly enough. This is definitely a place to return to and spend a few days. It is absolutely gorgeous. One of the highlights of the ride through GNP came near the visitor's center when a mountain goat and her kid walked onto the road behind our stopped motorcycle as if we didn't even exist.

GNP
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Yes, it was chilly. McDonald Falls(?)
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More deaths from drowning than any other cause in GNP every year
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Snow? In August? You bet!
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Road construction. Two vehicles ahead you can see one of the park tour buses, and a waterfall beyond that.
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They didn't pay any attention to us and we were at a full stop
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We exited the east entrance of the park and turned left onto Hwy 89. Very quickly I realized that we were northbound to Canada instead of going southbound. Although I had originally wanted to hit the Canadian border (just because), we were under some time constraints to head south. We had hoped to hit Yellowstone late in the day and the Tetons the next morning but it wasn't looking good at that point. So we turned around and headed south on 89. The speed limit jumped to 70 and then we had a 35 mph corner, then back up to 70, then three 30 mph corners back to back to back, then up to 70, then a 45 mph corner, and this continued for miles and miles. Not your standard Montana / Wyoming / Nebraska "straight to the horizon" type road. It eventually did straighten out, but it was a wonderful ride for many miles. It was also the only time along the route where we saw Bison off to the side but the camera battery was dead from all the photos we had taken in GNP so we didn't get a shot of them. From there we continued down to Butte for lunch.

89 south of GNP
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Adventure number three... returning to the bike from lunch I couldn't get the key into the ignition switch. It would go in a little bit but not far enough to turn to the right and start the bike. After fiddling with it for a few minutes and moving the forks to the far left I was able to get the key all the way in, and it did turn to the right to start the bike. Great! But then what happens the next time I turn the bike off at a fuel stop? Will the key still turn to the right again? Only time will tell. Because of this new found dilemma I adjusted our plans for the day and instead of heading to our reservations in Alpine WY (which I lost the money on) I headed for the next largest city in the area, Idaho Falls. This meant a greater likelihood of finding a dealer that could deal with this and get me going again.

At each of the next fuel stops I just kept the bike running, not wanted to take a chance on getting stranded in Tweedle-Dee Montana. We continued down I-15 and about 150 miles north of Idaho Falls we ran into the smoke and haze from the Salmon River fire in Idaho. This was really bad and it reminded me of the Haboobs that we have back home in Arizona. We just saw a wall of smoke and soon we were in the midst of it. Although it was mid-afternoon, it was just like riding at dusk. We both donned our surgical masks and continued on our way. At our next fuel stop in Lima I took the time to post up my situation on GL1800Riders and asked for dealer recommendations in Idaho Falls. The forum really came through for me with not only dealer names and recommendations, but also identified the specific part I would need to have replaced. By the time I got into a Best Western in Idaho Falls there were at least ten positive replies to my problem, and one of the higher recommended dealers turned out to be just 3 miles from the hotel.

Entering the smoke and haze from the Salmon River fire
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The road ahead. We went through 150 miles of this
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Yes, that's the sun you're looking at
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I turned the bike off in the hotel parking lot and I was able to turn the key back to the right and start it again, so at least I wouldn't have to be towed to the dealer. We unloaded the bike and I covered it for the night until a light in the parking lot and hoped it would still be there in the morning. I also posted up my dilemma on the LD Riders list because we would be headed to the Meet in Denver the next morning. Several riders recommended Fay Myer in Denver which would also be just a couple of miles from the hotel when we arrived. Things were starting to look up. I got in touch with them and through various voicemails and emails we determined that they could get me in but it was going to cost an arm and a leg. Various comments from the GL1800Riders also urged me to keep on riding. As long as the bike ran, ride it. So we did.

Tuesday morning we got up and packed and then had breakfast at the hotel before heading on to Denver. After about 90 minutes of riding we got to Alpine which was our destination for the previous evening. Even if we hadn't detoured the prior day it still would have been late at night before we arrived. The downside is that we had planned to ride from Alpine past the Grand Tetons into the south side of Yellowstone on the way to Denver but that plan was now out the window. After filling up in Alpine and removing some cold weather gear we then headed south on 89, thus beginning Adventure number four... we should have gone north on 89 as it quickly turned east and became 189/191 which is the road I should have been on and I should have paid attention to the GPS witch that kept telling me to U-turn. Instead, we rode due south for an hour and a half in ignorant bliss. When suddenly we headed west and wound up back in Idaho I knew something had gone wrong.
Pulling to the side and grabbing my Butler Motorcycle Map (yes, they are great) I quickly understood my mistake. With the help of a truck driver that was in the field picking up hay bales I determined that I only had to turn around, take the next turn that was about a mile back up the road and I would soon be back in Wyoming and headed southeast to I-80. Once we reached I-80 a stop at the Little America truck stop just up the road was needed for fuel and food. While eating I checked my emails and voicemails and confirmed that Fay Myer in Denver was ready for me should I still need their services. But since everything was still working I figured I could just put off the repair until I got back to Phoenix.

The long ride across Wyoming brought more views of desolation and our first exposure to less than perfect weather as we battled cross-winds across much of the state. Once we reached Rawlins and continued to the southwest the winds became more of a tailwind for us. We had planned to cut across the bottom right hand corner of the state once we reached Laramie, but the smoke and haze in that part of the state was worse than anything we had seen so far so we stayed on I-80 all the way to Cheyenne before heading south on I-25 to Denver. Since it was at the tail end of the evening rush hour traffic was not bad at all and soon enough we reached the Marriott Tech Center, checked in, unpacked, got a bite to eat and slept, slept, slept.

Wednesday morning brought us a casual buffet breakfast, registration for the IBA Meet, a Spouses Only luncheon, and then at 1:30 we attended the Rallying 101 seminar, a three-part workshop for Rally Rookies such as ourselves. This provided us with photography tips, tech inspection tips, scoring tips, and most importantly, how to properly route for a rally. Some of the information was over my head but I took a lot of notes and did my best. When I showed my initial plan to routing expert Brian Roberts, he said it was a good route and asked me what we rode. When I told him a Goldwing, he asked me how comfortable I was riding that two-up in dual sport territory as one road I had selected was a dirt/gravel mountain pass. Recognizing my error I re-routed to the south and then back to the northwest, more miles, but all paved highway miles. We then returned to our room to work on the fine details of the route and we even took the GPS with us to dinner so I could enter waypoints into the magic box as we ate. Refinements continued until about 9:30 pm and I knew I needed to get some rest so I shut down the laptop and grabbed some shuteye.

Just like a kid on Christmas Eve, I slept sporadically throughout the night finally waking with the alarm at 3 am. While Brenda began getting ready in the room I headed down to the bike to move it to the staging area. The bike had to be in place and we had to be standing next to it no later than 3:30 for final inspection. After getting the bike moved I hustled back upstairs to get the last few things and then headed back to the bike. Dale "Warchild" Wilson came down the line confirming our Emergency Notification Cards were worn on our neck lanyards and our contact information and our bike descriptions were recorded and valid. Then it was all over but the waiting... 25 minutes to go... 20 minutes to go... 15 minutes to go... 10 minutes to go... 7 minutes to go... and everyone began mounting up and making final preparations... 5 minutes to go and we looked around at the other 24 bikes ready to leave the parking lot right at 4 am... 2 minutes to go... all bikes fired up and got ready to leave... 1 minute to go... nerves and anticipation were at an all time high and then suddenly it was 4 am and time to leave! Dale began waving the riders off one at a time, just like he does in the Big Show, the Iron Butt Rally. Praying that I wouldn't stall the bike, Dale pointed, I released the clutch, and we were off. Slowing to make the turn out of the parking lot onto the street I lowered the chin bar of my modular helmet and my hand slipped, leaving the chin bar blocking my vision. Quickly grabbing it and pulling it closed I also had to nail the brakes to prevent from running into the rider in front of me. Whew! Not a good way to start. Time to calm down, back off, take a breath, and just ride easy.

The group made its way to I-25 just around the corner from the hotel and we all began the ride north to Coors Field to get our first bonus location, a photo of the Branch Rickey statue on the SW corner of the stadium. The reason we all went there at once is because the bonus location was only open from 4 am to 5 am. One of the things you quickly learn is that when participating in a rally, attention to detail is the key to finishing well. Being efficient in your planning and the execution of your ride is properly the most important part of having successful ride. Since we were riding two-up, one of us had to be in each rally photograph along with the rally flag. For those riders riding solo, they only had to have a photo of their rally flag with whatever the bonus location required. Brenda and I had determined that when she did not have to get off the bike, she wouldn't, she would just take the photo from the back seat of the bike.

Upon reaching Coors Field we parked upstream on a one-way street as others parked wherever they could, and several riders just rode up on the sidewalk with their headlights pointing at the statue. I grabbed the Rally Pack and recorded our time and odometer reading and then stuffed it back in the pouch that is on the backside of my driver's backrest. I then grabbed the rally flag as Brenda dismounted and we made our way across the street to the statue.

Lesson 1 learned... when you know everyone is going to the same spot at the same time, just wait a couple of minutes. It was a major cluster of riders, flags, and photo flashes as Brenda tried to get a decent photo of me at the statue holding the rally flag. One of the best photos we had was ruined by another rider walking in front of her just as she took the picture. Finally after about 5 tries we got a photo that I thought might pass scruntiny and we headed back to the bike, loaded up, and set up for bonus location number two.
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Lesson 2 learned... know your route. During our training the instructors had stressed to use Google Earth to review our route and I had failed to do this. Following the instructions from the GPS Witch we finally found ourselves on 285 southwest out of Denver and on our way to Fairplay. It was now almost 4:30 am and although it had been chilly when we started it seemed to be getting colder and colder. Nudging the screen on the GPS I realized that we were over 10,000 feet and the tempurature readout on the dash was showing 37 degrees. I had left the heated gear in the saddlebag thinking that I would not need it until I got to Independence Pass, but now I was certainly regretting that decision. Brenda had put on her Gerbing liner before we left the hotel, but she had not hooked it up to the bike so while she was a little better off than me, it wasn't by much. I made a quick stop at an underpass and threw on my rain jacket because I knew it would do a great job of cutting the wind, and it did.

Riding through the mountain passes was slow, but fortunately there was another rider ahead of me on a GL1500 that seemed to know his way pretty well so I just kept a reasonable distance from him and let him guide us. Once dawn broke and I could see better I was able to wick it up a bit if there was just grass by the side of the road, but if the trees were close by I kept the speeds lower due to the amount of elk in the area. Right on schedule we hit the town of Fairplay and Lesson 3 was learned... know what your bonus location is at the next stop. I knew that whatever we were looking for was in Fairplay but I couldn't remember what it was. The rider ahead of us turned on a different street but I continued to listen to the GPS and it brought us to the same location where he was already parked... Prunes, A Burro monument. Prunes was a burro that the gold miners would send into town to get supplies by just sending him in with a shopping list. The townspeople would fill the orders and Prunes would return to the mining camp.
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A third rider showed up (on a Ninja 250) and got his photo while Brenda and I took a few minutes to fully gear up and start getting warm. LD Comfort undergear, IBA long sleeve t-shirt, Gerbing jacket liner (hooked up), full textile jacket, and a Stern rain jacket over the top of that. With the Gerbing set at about half I was VERY comfortable and we began our trek with Independence Pass being our next location. Now I was in my stride because I had ridden this area while on vacation last year. A quick stop for fuel in Buena Vista and then on to the pass. Lesson 4 learned... take a second camera with you on a rally ride. You are not allowed to have any "vacation" photos on your memory card when you turn it in for scoring, so the easiest thing to do is to have a separate camera you can use for scenery shots as they happen. We missed a lot of good photo opportunities on this ride because of this rule.

Arriving at the Independence Pass sign we found rangers from the US Forest Service unloading mules from a long trailer. We managed to get the bike near the sign and I hopped off, once again recording time and mileage on the rally pack and then grabbing the rally flag to go stand in front the sign as the mules looked on curiously. Total time for this stop was well under five minutes; another example of why it pays to be efficient as you never know when you might need those extra minutes. Next stop, the Hot Spring pool at Glenwood Springs, right on I-70 and the beginning of our trip back to the east.
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It wasn't hard to find the location and the Pool Entrance sign, but as we were leaving I noticed another Pool Entrance sign so to be on the safe side I jumped off the bike to get yet another shot. Better safe than sorry. There is no penalty for having extra rally shots so we took as many as we thought we might need. Since the pool was only about 100 yards from the freeway we were quickly on our way and heading for Breckenridge and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company were we needed a photo of the round sign in the front of the restaurant. In hindsight, this is a bonus opportunity we should have passed on. Due to the amount of tourists and the slow speed limits getting to the restaurant and back, this really ate up our time but soon enough we were back on I-70.
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Next stop, Idaho Springs and a signature on our rally flag by Mike Kneebone, president of the IBA. Suddenly I saw a sign for Loveland Pass and quickly checking the GPS on the fly I figured we could get this sign too and not lose too much time. If need be we would sacrifice the Kneebone signature in order to get this bonus. The GPS said that it would only be 1.5 miles out of the way but that was according to where I had placed the waypoint, and when I had entered them into the GPS the night before I had rounded off the Lat/Long numbers. In reality, it was about 7.5 miles to the summit but I only had one car to pass on the way up and one semi truck to pass on the way down. Once at the top we followed our routine - dismount, fill out the rally pack, get the rally flag, move to the location, get the photos, check the photos, repack the flag, mount up and and head for the next location.
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Idaho Springs was just another short ride down the freeway and the pizza joint that Mike was hanging out in was quickly found, although I do have to note that this was the third location where the GPS had told me the place was on the other side of the street. Leaving Brenda on the bike I filled out the form, grabbed the flag, ran inside and found Mike's substitute, Ira Agins. Mike had been laid up all week with the flu and still wasn't able to make an appearance so Ira signed the flag in his place. Back to the bike, back on the freeway and making tracks for the hotel. We had a thirty minute cushion according to the GPS so I wasn't too concerned at that point but my hopeful feelings for a good finish were about to be dashed.

Shortly after reaching I-25 south we ran into a massive traffic jam due to both road construction and an accident. Lesson 5 learned... check your route for road construction before you start, and when the funds are available, invest in an XM Traffic subscription for the GPS. If I had done these things I could have planned ahead, or known ahead of time of the problem and routed around it. Now I was stuck in the middle of it. I hit the detour button on the GPS and it took me off at the next exit, shortly behind half a dozen other riders who appeared to be doing the same thing. However, now we were in the middle of a pack of cagers who probably knew their way around Denver and we were all going in the same direction to the same place. My cushion of 30 minutes was now down to 25, and after a few miles of stop and go traffic lights it was down to 20 minutes. With the entrance to I-25 looming ahead I felt better when suddenly we were on yet another construction detour and my time continued to tick away.

Finally! Finally, we were on I-25 south, the GPS gave me a 15 minute cushion, and the hotel was but 5 more miles down the highway. After taking the exit and hitting the stoplight we formulated our final plan. Since my guest parking lot pass was tucked away in my wallet we would just roll up to the gate, Brenda would hit the button and grab the parking ticket, and we'd deal with the costs later. We'd forego parking in the lot but would stop right up front, jump off the bike, grab our stuff and run inside. Lesson 6 learned... when they tell you ahead of time where the scoring room is, go find it for yourself so you know where it is. If we had done this the day prior we could have ridden to the normal bike parking area and then strolled in the side door of the hotel, saving us a couple of minutes. As we hustled down the final hallway we saw Lynda Lahman motioning us to hurry up. We reached the scoring table and stopped the clock with SIX minutes left to go. If we had arrived in another six minutes and ten seconds later we would have been DNF'd as were several of our fellow rally riders.

We were given one hour to get our paperwork in order and ready to present to the scorers. Once you walk into the scoring room you can't change anything or leave to get anything. Brenda headed to the room while I went back out front to move the bike to parking and bring in the GPS/SPOT/etc. Once I got to the room we both reviewed all the rally pack documentation. We ensured that everything was written on the correct line, the date, times, and mileage were all correct, the SD card had nothing on it but the rally photos, and we had our rally flag. Quickly changing clothes we headed downstairs with over 15 minutes to spare and got prepared to get scored.
Anxiety attack number one... will the early morning Branch Rickey have enough flag detail in it to pass muster? As we suspected, this was their concern as well and they had to call Rallymaster Terry Lahman over to make the call. His decision... pass! Yay! We had no concerns about any of the other photos and we were within time guidelines on everything else. If we were to get penalty points for anything it would have to be something we completely overlooked. Final tally... 9H 54M, 435 miles, 4022 points, 0 penalty points. Since this was a training exercise and not an actual rally they wouldn't tell us how we compared to everyone else, but Rallymasters Terry and Lynda both said our score was "very" good.

Our Rally route
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With that out of the way, and feeling pretty good about ourselves we decided to grab a shower and then head to dinner. We were going to ride to Chili's for a steak, but I wanted a beer so we stayed at the hotel and had a very so-so steak. But I did get my beer! Then it was off to bed and some well-needed rest.

Friday brought more seminars, shopping with the vendors, and general BSing with the other IBA folks. This was our first meeting so we were the consumate newbies, keeping off the radar screen, and getting to know a few people here and there. I had hung the Two Wheeled Texans banner from my balcony fence and that opened up a few conversations here and there with other members who saw my TWT t-shirt or hat. We missed the morning seminar entitled First Responder by Don Arthur (retired Navy Vice-Admiral) but we were able to attend the "50 Ways To Screw The Pooch" breakout which featured three riders in the 2011 IBR that were not able to finish for various reasons. It was very enlightening to listen to their stories.

TWT banner hanging from my balcony
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View from the balcony looking down on some of the vendors
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New riding shirts
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Lunch featured a lot of awards for people that had ridden an SS1K, a BB, or a BBG to get to the meeting. The certificates were presented by Mike Kneebone who had recovered enough to make it downstairs and read off the list of successful riders. After lunch we attended a session on packing light by UK IBA President Phil (Fazer Phil) Weston. You would be surprised at how little he carries on the bike for an 11 day rally. This was followed by a recap of our rally the prior day in which all participants gathered in a room with Lynda and her husband Terry and related our successes, our opportunities, our challenges, what we learned the most, etc. Considering that Lynda is a therapist and has written a book entitled Two-Up: Navigating a Relationship 1000 Miles At A Time, she was well-qualified to oversee our "therapy" session. It was very worthwhile to have everyone share this info, and Lynda will be providing all of us the email address of everyone else so that we can share our own scores, what worked well for us, and find out what worked well for others. I'm looking forward to seeing how we ranked overall, but I'm more interested in knowing what others did that outscored us so that we can do better the next time.

Mike Kneebone - Lord and Master of the IBA
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Next up was dinner with keynote speaker Lee Parks, owner of the Total Control training system. He was there as a vendor selling his training program, books, Air Hawk seats and his own line of deer/elkskin gloves. I think he bought the glove business from Thurlow as they look to be very similar. I bought a pair of outseam (meaning the seams are sewn on the outside of the glove) short gloves and have been wearing them ever since. Very comfortable. Also at dinner was the announcement that UK IBA will be hosting a version of the Iron Butt Rally in Europe in 2014. They will call it a "Tour" so as to avoid the authorities as the word "rally" brings you a lot of unwanted attention in Europe. They are going to limit the first Tour to just 30 riders but it will take you through many of the major countries and it will last six days.

Saturday brought more seminars but we passed on the first one "Intro to Base Camp" as I'm comfortable with MSFT Streets & Trips and didn't want to take the time to learn something new. In the meantime we wandered the vendor area again and watched the Build-A-Bike which was a two day session to take a bone stock V-Strom 1000 and make it into a Rally-capable bike. There is a time lapse video of this at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cIzz6k3BsI&feature=youtu.be At the 1:20 mark you can see Brenda and I (very fuzzy view) as we are gathering for the group photo. As the photo is being taken we are standing just to the side of the bike's left handlebar.
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We then attended a panel discussion of 2011 IBR finishers (and winner) as they discussed what had gone right for them and what had not. Kirsten, riding in her first IBR finished in 6th place which is an outstanding result in and of itself. The panel was moderated by former IBR winner Jim Owens who we later had lunch with. Jim is a pilot for Continental / United and flies the 757. He is very personable and was great to talk with during lunch.

The afternoon wrapped up with a session of Wiring (since we all love to add farkles to our bikes) and then a session on fatigue, again presented by Don Arthur. Both were great and good learning events for us. All that was left was dinner and a presentation by two of the UK IBA guys, Paul Allison and Chris McGaffin. A good portion of the presentation was about their experiences riding in the IBR in this country... very, very funny when you consider that neither of them really knew even one state from another.

And then, just when you think we were done for the evening, a surprise was dropped on us. Eric and Cleatha, two of the association's riders appeared in the ballroom. Eric in a tuxdo and Cleatha in a wedding gown. We had all known that they had moved in together last year, and I had actually bought some parts off of Eric in the past couple of months, but we didn't know they had planned to tie the knot. So with Lynda Lahman officiating, Eric and Cleatha spoke their vows to each other in front of 300 of their closest riding friends. It was really cool. By the way, Cleatha rode in last year's IBR.
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And then THAT was the end of the event. Now it was time to pack, load the bike, and get ready for the trip home on Sunday. I loaded everything into/onto the bike so that all we needed to load the next morning would be a few clothes, some meds, our water supply, and we would be on our way.

Various photos of bikes in the parking lot. There were 300 registered riders from the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, and South Africa.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631199866566/

Various photos of cockpit farkles
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631199901596/

Various photos of bike Lighting, Hydration, and Fuel systems
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631199948834/

Various photos of unique and obscure license plates
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631200035546/

Unedited Photos - by unedited I mean that the majority of these were taken from the back seat of the bike and many will be blurry, over exposed, etc. I have not yet had time to delete all the lousy ones but you're welcome to peruse what's in there.

Glacier National Park: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631216445780/

AZ-NV-ID-OR-WA Riding photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631215962168/

Washington to Flathead Lake via Hwy 12 Lolo Pass: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631215745816/

GNP to Idaho Falls: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631215671598/

Idaho Falls to Cheyenne to Denver: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631215607452/

Denver to Phoenix: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethorn/sets/72157631215532370/



Sunday morning the alarm went off at 3:30 am and we were geared up, loaded up, checked-out, and on the road by 5 after 5. It was 51 when we left the hotel and we were dressed appropriately for it this time. Before we reached Pueblo the temps had dropped to 42 but in our heated clothing environment we were doing just fine. Since we weren't on a tight time schedule (just had to be home that night) we stopped in Pueblo for breakfast at an IHOP and killed about 30-45 minutes. From there we continued on into New Mexico and kept our eyes peeled for antelope. The last time I came through this stretch all the antelope were on the right side, but this time the majority were all on the left side. I'm just glad I wasn't going through there when they decided to change sides.

As we reached Santa Fe the effects of the past week were really taking a toll on me, and Don's talk yesterday of Fatigue and Microsleep was really hitting home for me. I found a rest area south of Santa Fe but it was closed so I had to backtrack on the north side to the open rest area and took advantage of the Iron Butt Motel. While the Wing rested in the shade of a tree, Brenda sat guard over me as I crashed for a nap on top of a concrete picnic table inside a covered pavilion. I slept for about 20 minutes but that was all I needed as I was "good to go" for the remainder of the day. It is amazing what a good power nap can do for you.

As noted earlier the weather had been great on the entire trip. We had a couple of sprinkles coming down off of Loveland Pass the prior Thursday, but probably less than 50 drops hit my windshield. Now as we continued south on I-25 I could see large rain clouds in the North Valley area of Albuquerque and the weather band was reporting rain and wind throughout northern and western New Mexico. We made it into Albuq and headed west on I-40 leaving the rain behind us, but then as we were approaching Grants I could tell that we were riding right toward the worst of it. We stopped into the Micky D's so I could fire up the tablet on their WiFi and see what laid ahead. It didn't look too bad on radar. Some cells to the west, some to the southwest, some to the northwest and it looked like at least part of that was going to hit us.
As we headed west to Gallup we encountered sporadic showers but nothing real bad.

When we hit the Arizona border it was as if Governor Brewer had flipped a switch to welcome us home. The rain stopped, but the temps that had hit a low of 67 were now creeping back up. 75. 80. 85. 90. 95. 97. Groan... bring back the rain and the cool temps. Take me back to Colorado. I love my home state, but I sure was missing those cooler temps up north. Upon reaching Holbrook we turned south on 77 and I could see some serious storms on the horizon and the weather band was full of nothing but warnings for the Rim Country which is exactly where we were heading. Perhaps we should have turned around and taken I-40 to I-17 and then south to Phoenix, but I was comfortable that once we got to civilization around Heber we could get under shelter if needed. As we approached Heber I could tell that it had already rained there, but as we turned west on 260 to ride to Payson I saw that the storms were still in our path and the weather band warnings were still strong.

We picked up a DPS trooper behind us in Overgaard and were forced to ride the 50 mph limit all the way through the forest until we reached the Mogollon Rim. This was fortunate in a way for it caused us to slow down and miss the majority of the storm. As we approached Woods Canyon Lake on 260 we saw inches and inches of hail on the side of the road that had not melted yet. The storm couldn't have been more than 20-30 minutes ahead of us, and from what we could see it was very lucky for us that we were not caught in it.

All too soon we were riding down the rim into Payson and then girded ourselves for the final push into the Valley Of The Sun. From a low of 42 that morning we had to endure 102 temps for about the last 90 minutes until we pulled into our driveway roughly 12 hours after leaving Denver with 800+ miles under the wheels. We unloaded just what we needed for that night or the next morning, got a bite to eat, got a shower and hit the rack as I had to be at work in less than 12 hours.

10 days.

9 states.

4200 miles.

Priceless.

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Texas T ,

I just found your post about your great ride. I see your stuff on the GL1800 board as well. It looks like yall had a large time, with lots of ups and downs, but all of it will be a great memory that the two of you will share and relive for years and years.
I would love to be able to make a trip like yours, but work prevents it for now and I figure that money will prevent it when I don't have to work or should I say whenI can't work anymore <G> !
What year is your wing? What brand of heated gear and which garments do you have? There are only a few days a year when I have need for something warm to wear, but when you need it, you need it.

Dale
 

Duke

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Brian, great write up and pics! I envy your an Brenda's stamina, and wish that my career afforded me more time to hit the road like you do.

Has your ignition key issue been resolved? What was the culprit?

Thanks for taking us along with you.
 

Texas T

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Texas T ,

I just found your post about your great ride. I see your stuff on the GL1800 board as well. It looks like yall had a large time, with lots of ups and downs, but all of it will be a great memory that the two of you will share and relive for years and years.
I would love to be able to make a trip like yours, but work prevents it for now and I figure that money will prevent it when I don't have to work or should I say whenI can't work anymore <G> !
What year is your wing? What brand of heated gear and which garments do you have? There are only a few days a year when I have need for something warm to wear, but when you need it, you need it.

Dale
Thank you Dale.

We only do one big ride a year and we save all year to afford to do it. We both work full time in retail so it's hard to get the time off. Last year's ride was partially solo and then I flew Brenda into Denver so we could ride SW Colorado for three days before heading home.

My Wing is a 2002 purchased May 1, 2010 with approx 58K miles on it. As of the first of the month I'm now at 106K+. We wear LD Comfort undergear and Gerbing heated gear. We use Sterns rain jackets for water protection or to cut the wind chill on really cold rides. The rain jackets go on over my Kilimanjaro textile or her Joe Rocket leather jackets and they really do make a big difference. We also have Gerbing gloves and socks but I've yet to use the socks and I've not yet plugged in the gloves but I have worn them.
 

Texas T

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Brian, great write up and pics! I envy your an Brenda's stamina, and wish that my career afforded me more time to hit the road like you do.

Has your ignition key issue been resolved? What was the culprit?

Thanks for taking us along with you.
Thanks Duke. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was willing to wade through everything that I had posted. :doh:

Brenda is indeed a trooper when it comes to pounding out the miles. We have both read the book "Two-Up: Navigating a relationship 1000 miles at a time" and we met Lynda while in Denver. She and her husband Terry were the Rallymasters for our Rally 101 experience. Perhaps Brenda and I will someday ride the IBR as a two-up team?

The key is still in the ignition. I took it to my usual guy on Friday for him to look at and he thinks that somehow one or more of the tumblers got kerfluggled. He's backed up so I'll drop it off to him in a couple of weeks. Until then I just cover the ignition switch with my helmet / gloves / jacket when I'm off the bike and keep an eye on it.

I commute on the Concours so the Wing only comes out for a dedicated ride.
 
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Awesome. I hope to do at least 10%of that trip with the wife soon. My Vstrom is ready to roll when she is!
 
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Thank you Dale.

We only do one big ride a year and we save all year to afford to do it. We both work full time in retail so it's hard to get the time off. Last year's ride was partially solo and then I flew Brenda into Denver so we could ride SW Colorado for three days before heading home.

My Wing is a 2002 purchased May 1, 2010 with approx 58K miles on it. As of the first of the month I'm now at 106K+. We wear LD Comfort undergear and Gerbing heated gear. We use Sterns rain jackets for water protection or to cut the wind chill on really cold rides. The rain jackets go on over my Kilimanjaro textile or her Joe Rocket leather jackets and they really do make a big difference. We also have Gerbing gloves and socks but I've yet to use the socks and I've not yet plugged in the gloves but I have worn them.
Thanks for the reply. I have an '07 wing that is about the same color as yours I bought it new at the end of May '07 with .4 miles on it. She now has more than 94,000 on the clock. I was averaging about 20K a year until the last couple: my wife has had some health issues and while I still get to ride, I haven't ridden quite as much as I used to .
We've got the mesh jackets, too, both winter and summer, as well as the cooling vests. We use our Frogg Togg Road Toads for both rain and exfra warmthe in the colder temps. It is surprising what a help those light weight Toggs are when the temps drop. I haven't gotten the LD comfort gear yet
I read about your retail employment. I am a distributor that services your chain as well as others in the Corpus Christi area.
Ride safe and I'll see you on the board.

Dale
 

Texas T

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my wife has had some health issues and while I still get to ride, I haven't ridden quite as much as I used to.
Brenda developed asthma after we moved out here so we have to carry her nebulizer on-board but so far we haven't had to stop to use it; she'll just use her puffer if she feels the need. She's been hospitalized three times so far this year, but aside from that it really hasn't impacted our riding.

I was really concerned about trying to ride the rally in Denver but she handled the entire day fine with just a couple of hits on the puffer.

I can't recommend the LD Comforts enough. I had dinner with Mario one night when we were in Denver and he really understands his market. I preach LDC to everyone that will listen, but some folks still believe that cotton is the best thing to wear. :doh:

:mrgreen:
 
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Texas T

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Thanks Bob. I was beginning to think that I really went overboard on it since there were no comments for over a week but 150+ views. Even though no one has fessed up to say that it was too detailed I think I'll try to be a bit more brief in the future. ;-)
 

Texas T

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Chuck / John, thank you for the comments. It seems to be about 50/50 on who likes the length/detail and who doesn't.

Chuck, what kind of stuff would you have preferred that I leave out?
 
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I liked the report, makes me want to head to GNP RIGHT NOW!
And, also makes me never want to enter an IB competition. Too many rules, etc....reminds me of tournament bass fishing in that (only for me, please understand), sucks the fun out of the activity. I mean no offense with the my IB stance. :sun:
 

Texas T

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I liked the report, makes me want to head to GNP RIGHT NOW!
And, also makes me never want to enter an IB competition. Too many rules, etc....reminds me of tournament bass fishing in that (only for me, please understand), sucks the fun out of the activity. I mean no offense with the my IB stance. :sun:
No offense taken. Everyone is attracted to different things for different reasons. There is a reason that there is only 50K or so IBA members. We're involved in a very small niche part of the moto world.

I *loved* GNP and really do intend to go back for a longer stay.
 
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I enjoyed the report and the detail. It gives insight into what is involved in that type of riding. The miscues and the successes are things that I can learn from , or laugh at. or both.
I am looking forward to my first Iron Butt. I have put in quite a few 650 to 800 mile days, but just trying to make it home for work the next day.

Dale
 

Texas T

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Dale, please read the following...

Iron Butt Association Annual Memorial 1000 Ride
Each year the lives of many of our fellow motorcycle riders and loved ones are cut short. In their memory, a group of the World’s Toughest Riders will participate in a Saddle Sore 1000 on the same weekend, September 29-30, 2012. We hope to have riders participating in all 50 states, in all of the Canadian provinces, and in several countries around the world. This date was selected because the weather across North America is generally good—not too hot and not too cold.
The IBA will issue a special certificate for this event.
To specially honor our fallen brethren, we’re asking each you to find one of your motorcycle friends who is not an IBA member to ride the Saddle Sore with you. This will give you the opportunity to mentor the ‘newbie’ in the skill of route planning, navigation, hydration, and ATGATT before and during the ride. If the two of you ride the same route and submit your documentation together, special pricing will apply for the certification—there will be a $10 reduction for each of you in the normal fee!
The person for whom you’re riding does not have to be a former IBA member, or even a former motorcycle rider. It can be anybody that is special to you; somebody that has had an impact on your life.
What better way to honor our departed friends than to bring new members into the sport we all love. This will be a fun event! IBA will issue special certificates for the mentor and the mentee, and a special patch for the event. A video of the event will be produced. A special website will list all the participants and for whom they’re riding. We’re working on other ideas to make this event special.
So reserve the weekend now—September 29-30, 2012. Recruit a mentee.
Let’s ‘ride the Memorial.’
Send me an email signing up for the ride, with the name of the special person you’re honoring, and a short paragraph of who they were and why you’re riding for them.
Howard Entman
hentmanmd@gmail.com


Howard is the one that put on the Jack Shoalmire Memorial Ride last year. We had riders in all 50 states riding an In-State SS1K on the same weekend. This upcoming ride does not have to be in-state, and it can happen on the weekend prior, the weekend specified above, or the weekend after (Howard sent out an update yesterday).

If you are interested in this I suggest you post up here or any other forum where you know LD riders may be present to see if anyone is able to mentor you (if you so desire). You can also join the forum on the Iron Butt Assoc and put out a request there.

I'll be starting my ride the morning of the 30th and hitting Yuma, Quartzsite, Riverside CA, Barstow CA, Henderson NV, Kingman AZ, Flagstaff, and back home to Chandler. As of yet no one wants to ride with me but that's no problem for me.

If you want to do this solo I "strongly" suggest slabbing it all the way for your first time. Corpus to the I-10 / I-20 merge is 525 miles. Get your turnaround receipt there and go back home with 1050 under your belt. Head out in the morning with the sun at your back and make the return trip with the sun at your back. Time it so you're not in the Ft Stockton area or far west TX in the early dawn hours, early evening hours, or overnight. Just too many darn deer out there at that time.

Shoot me a PM or an email (brianthorn @@@ gmail DOT.DOT commie) if you have any questions.
 
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Nice write up and pics. Reminds me of my days on the road when I was a Rally Rat running all over the country going to BMW rallies. Now, I'm pushed to do a 400 mile day , don't do interstates unless totally necessary and, smell lots more roses. ;-) Enjoyed your travel story .
 
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Nice write up Texas T - but I wouldn't worry about how others view it ( and that is just my .02 worth) - from my perspective, no matter how you slice it or dice it.....motorcycling is, in the end........ a solo sport . Sure you can ride in groups or with others, but in the end there is only one set of hands on the handlebars. Ride safe and ride far and savor every moment of it. Thanks for taking the time to write and post photos of your adventure to share with the rest of us. :thumb:
 
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Messages
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Dale, please read the following...

Iron Butt Association Annual Memorial 1000 Ride
Each year the lives of many of our fellow motorcycle riders and loved ones are cut short. In their memory, a group of the World’s Toughest Riders will participate in a Saddle Sore 1000 on the same weekend, September 29-30, 2012. We hope to have riders participating in all 50 states, in all of the Canadian provinces, and in several countries around the world. This date was selected because the weather across North America is generally good—not too hot and not too cold.
The IBA will issue a special certificate for this event.
To specially honor our fallen brethren, we’re asking each you to find one of your motorcycle friends who is not an IBA member to ride the Saddle Sore with you. This will give you the opportunity to mentor the ‘newbie’ in the skill of route planning, navigation, hydration, and ATGATT before and during the ride. If the two of you ride the same route and submit your documentation together, special pricing will apply for the certification—there will be a $10 reduction for each of you in the normal fee!
The person for whom you’re riding does not have to be a former IBA member, or even a former motorcycle rider. It can be anybody that is special to you; somebody that has had an impact on your life.
What better way to honor our departed friends than to bring new members into the sport we all love. This will be a fun event! IBA will issue special certificates for the mentor and the mentee, and a special patch for the event. A video of the event will be produced. A special website will list all the participants and for whom they’re riding. We’re working on other ideas to make this event special.
So reserve the weekend now—September 29-30, 2012. Recruit a mentee.
Let’s ‘ride the Memorial.’
Send me an email signing up for the ride, with the name of the special person you’re honoring, and a short paragraph of who they were and why you’re riding for them.
Howard Entman
hentmanmd@gmail.com


Howard is the one that put on the Jack Shoalmire Memorial Ride last year. We had riders in all 50 states riding an In-State SS1K on the same weekend. This upcoming ride does not have to be in-state, and it can happen on the weekend prior, the weekend specified above, or the weekend after (Howard sent out an update yesterday).

If you are interested in this I suggest you post up here or any other forum where you know LD riders may be present to see if anyone is able to mentor you (if you so desire). You can also join the forum on the Iron Butt Assoc and put out a request there.

I'll be starting my ride the morning of the 30th and hitting Yuma, Quartzsite, Riverside CA, Barstow CA, Henderson NV, Kingman AZ, Flagstaff, and back home to Chandler. As of yet no one wants to ride with me but that's no problem for me.

If you want to do this solo I "strongly" suggest slabbing it all the way for your first time. Corpus to the I-10 / I-20 merge is 525 miles. Get your turnaround receipt there and go back home with 1050 under your belt. Head out in the morning with the sun at your back and make the return trip with the sun at your back. Time it so you're not in the Ft Stockton area or far west TX in the early dawn hours, early evening hours, or overnight. Just too many darn deer out there at that time.

Shoot me a PM or an email (brianthorn @@@ gmail DOT.DOT commie) if you have any questions.
Texas T,

Yes I saw this post on the Gl1800 Forum and posted that I was inte family members who either got married or grauduated from college on my ride weekend!.
I have already given thought to the quickest and easiest IB ride for my first one and it doesn't get much simmpler than I 37 and I 10 . Not that I am concerned about covering ground quickly, but most of I 37 from Corpus is now 75mph and I 10 north of Kerrville is 80 mph.
I am a native of San Antonio, have lived in Odessa, Amarillo, and Pampa, and have made many trips to the Tx hill country, Big Bend, and Fort Davis. Consequently, I know about the deer <G> . I prefer to hunt them with a gun or bow!
I am in the CMA and the Rally season is about to pick up. Plus I have Grandparent duty in Amarillo so my weekends are getting filled up fast. I am gonna get it done one of these days.
Thanks for your input.

Dale
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
185
Location
Greenville, TX
I finally had a chance to get through your ride report. Very well done. The pictures and detail were great!

I enjoyed the Rallying101 class as well. Very worthwhile information and experience!

GNP is probably one of my favorite places on earth... To ride and to camp. Not too many places like that on this planet...

Be well and I look forward to meeting in person at some point!
 

greeneggs&ham

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How wonderful was it this morning to be eating breakfast, reading my AMA magazine and see an article written by our own Texas T on page 22. He even included a picture with him and some other TWT'ers holding his TWT banner. I enjoyed both stories, Brian. :thumb: Sam
 
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Out Riding
How wonderful was it this morning to be eating breakfast, reading my AMA magazine and see an article written by our own Texas T on page 22. He even included a picture with him and some other TWT'ers holding his TWT banner. I enjoyed both stories, Brian. :thumb: Sam
This will the first thing I read when I get home tonight.
 

Texas T

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Sun Lakes & Show Low, Arizona
How wonderful was it this morning to be eating breakfast, reading my AMA magazine and see an article written by our own Texas T on page 22. He even included a picture with him and some other TWT'ers holding his TWT banner. I enjoyed both stories, Brian. :thumb: Sam
Cool! I need to go check the mailbox and see if my copy is there. This is my first published article. I have submitted another article based upon my experiences during the Rally 101 in Denver and they have accepted it. It's just a matter of finding out which issue to plug it into. The article you're reading today is from my ride report of last year's ride in Colorado so things don't always happen quickly in the magazine world.
 

Texas T

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Sun Lakes & Show Low, Arizona
I finally had a chance to get through your ride report. Very well done. The pictures and detail were great!

I enjoyed the Rallying101 class as well. Very worthwhile information and experience!

GNP is probably one of my favorite places on earth... To ride and to camp. Not too many places like that on this planet...

Be well and I look forward to meeting in person at some point!
Thanks Kevin. I did find that Brian Roberts had previously written a Rally Routing guide and it is posted on the IBA forum. I read it all this morning and it really helped to put 2+2 together with the information he presented to us in Denver. I sent a note to him and Lynda suggesting that his info be required reading BEFORE the next training class.

If I had read it all first his presentation would have had a greater impact on me in the training class; especially the part about using Excel. That really went over my head in the class but now it all makes perfect sense.
 
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