2018 Makers Mark Mini Man Camp

~7 years ago, on another motorcycle trip, Alan (Dad), Kyle and I stopped at Makers Mark for a tour.  We were introduced to the Ambassadors Program, became ambassadors, put our names on a barrel, and followed it from birth to maturation.  

Fast forward to 2018 and our Bourbon was ready to be picked up.  It had probably been almost 4 years since I’d had a motorcycle trip that was more than a simple day ride so I was well overdue.  We put together the group, and added another friend (Carter).

Dad planned the weekend routes starting in Cincinnati, OH down to Lexington, a good ~400 mileish loop for Saturday in KY back to Danville, then Sunday to Makers Mark, then back home.  All via back roads.

Sadly when we departed on Friday the 20th the weather essentially consisted of this:

So, while maybe not the smartest thing we’ve ever done, we decided not to wimp out and went anyway.  Pretty much our entire ride from Cincinnati to Lexington on mostly back roads was completely wet.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “That’s just dumb”, and “That had to suck”, and it was, and mostly did.  However.  Riding in the rain on a motorcycle isn’t nearly as bad as people think provided you can stay dry with good rain gear and have good tires.

We made it to our intended destination only to find that a large majority of the area was without power, including the hotel we we intended to stay. We didn’t check in, headed for dinner hoping that maybe they’d have power in an hour or so.  That turned out to not be the case.  We moved our accommodations to a Marriott on the north side of Lexington.  Everywhere was busy as lots of travelers were seeking alternate accommodations.  Marriott Platinum status won the day, though all-in-all the Marriott folks were more than accommodating for a large number of folks considering they had no internet, an no way to actually confirm reservations or charge credit cards.  As far as I witnessed, no one was turned away.

So Friday evening we spent drying out our gear, drinking bourbon, and catching up.

Saturday morning started our dry with a Ferry ride across the Kentucky River, on 169. Weather for the day was 80 percent chance of rain and it lived up to that expectation.

We spent the rest of Saturday around various back roads in KY, all of them great motorcycle roads, and some were even dry.  A Video of some of the excitement is below.

Full disclosure, I only spent about 15 minutes cobbling this together.  The audio sucks and watching people ride in the rain isn’t super exciting.  You’re about to lose 12 minutes of your life you will never get back.

Footage was captured with a GoPro Session and GoPro 4 mounted to my helmet.  This was sort of a test as I purchase these for use while scuba diving in an upcoming Grand Cayman trip.

Did I mention we got rained on? A lot? During one downpour we did embrace our inner Harley rider and hid out for 15-20 minutes.

More Video (if you’re willing to lose another 14 minutes of your life) of some of the smaller back roads, and mostly a dry section:

We finished up in Danville, and had a great meal at Guadalupe Mexican restaurant.  Saturday evening was filled with more bourbon drinking and story telling.  We of course evaluated some Jefferson Ocean that was quite good.

Sunday we slow played it trying to avoid the rain but that didn’t work out either.  Our trip from Danville to Makers, while short was also completely wet.

But we made it, took our tour, collected our bourbon, dipped our bottles and were happy ever after.

The rain stopped about long enough for us to take the tour and walk from building to building.

The tasting room, from left to right: White Lightning (pre barrel Makers), Makers Mark, Makers 46, Makers Cask Strength, and Makers Private Select, recipe #3.

The dipping of the bottles…

And More Rain…

All in all a very successful motorcycle trip and we’re looking to put together another one for the fall.  Hopefully a little drier.

 

2013 Trip out west

I am currently out riding out west, in somewhat of a repeat of the ride we did in 2008. Riding with Dad, Kyle Hayes Sr, Joe and Steve. We’re traveling a more northernly route, and Joe and I will turn around somewhere after Montana, while Dad, Steve, and Kyle Sr. will ride out to Salem, Oregon to the BMW MOA Rally.

I”m not blogging and posting like I used to but our location should be tracked below using my iPhone and Google Latitude which is about to be kicked to the curb by Google in August. Which is sad.

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As I write this we’re in day two of 10 or so days. Currently in Buffalo, MN.

We’re headed to Bismark, ND then on to the good riding.

2013 Mason-Dixon 20-20 Rally Report

If you already know what a Motorcycle Endurance Rally is.  Maybe because you read my report from last year (2012), or (2011) or (2010) or (2009) you can skip this section and go straight to the Ride report.   Otherwise, the basics are explained in the (2010) report.

This years theme was the Battle for Lexington.

Mason Dixon 20-20 2013 Info

Unlike previous years, this rally would not be a Photo-Bonus Rally.   Meaning you don’t go somewhere, with a flag, and get a picture.  Instead you’ll be answering questions about what’s at the location.   The very first Mason-Dixon I did was mostly this.   You show up at a place, read, for instance the historical marker, and answer a fill in the blank question about the content.

This year however it was worse, way worse and we’ll get into that in a minute.

Also unlike previous years, there were very few boni compared to previous years.

48 to be exact.

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Starting in Martinsburg, WV

We had the opportunity to visit lots of great places.   In order of importance, the Purple values are the highest, followed by Red, then Blue, then Green.

On the map the circles are available 24 hours, the Squares are defined as daylight ONLY bonuses, and the 3rd type as some sort of time availability.  There were few of these, but they are something like only available Sunday from 10am to 12pm.

Almost all of them have some sort of ‘”Lexington” Tie in.   Maybe they all do but it seemed to me only about half did.

This was the fewest number of boni that I can remember.   After reviewing the data, it became pretty clear, there’s really only one route:

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Now one of the things that’s always amazed me about rallying is the different approaches, and different views, and the different ways people get things done.   What I feel is the best route usually isn’t that far off from (quote)The Best Route(unquote).   I said usually.  There have been rallies where we completely missed the obvious, or didn’t think something was possible, yet it got done.

This year the ‘Clear Route’ is what you see above.   You could choose to run it clockwise or counter clockwise.  Each had it’s advantages and disadvantages.   We ran it clockwise.

*Disclaimer:  Clear route to me, is the highest points I could obtain within my riding parameters.  Including MPH average over roads and with the knowledge of the areas we’ll be riding in that I have.  That might not be the same for you, or anyone else.  If you chose a different route because this one wasn’t obvious to you, that’s perfectly acceptable   I’m not saying or trying to say that everyone should have chosen this but cause that’s never the case.

The obvious “wild cards” in my mind off the base route are highlighted.  The winning route got two of them, the upper two.  Because we ran the route the direction we did, the highlighted red Square (Daylight Only) bonus wasn’t available to us as it was the middle of the night when we were riding by.

We ran the route the direction we did for a couple reasons.

1) Riding good twisty roads, the kind we we like, is best done in the daylight hours.   Certainly traffic might slow you down but even with big ass lights, we prefer to ride these in the daylight.

2) We double-stacked the bonus at Jim’s grave.  The winner went there 2nd, then did the loop, then went back to get the second opportunity at the same location.   He rode 1640 miles in 29 hours, we rode 1440.

We both slept for about 3:20 so really we had 28.67 hours available to us.

Now it may not be the right approach, but that’s how I’ve learned to do this.   Take the available riding hours, in this case the rally is a 32 hour rally, minus the mandatory 3 hour rest and you get 29 hours to work with.

Take an average that you’re comfortable riding, knowing the roads, and locations, traffic, times of day, all that stuff, and you get something like this:

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For us, that 50MPH average, that’s TOTAL average, including stops, not just riding average.   For us (me) 50 is a good number.   It represents driving at or about ~5MPH over the limit in the ‘safe zone’.  It’s not crazy.  We know we’ll spend 3-7 minutes per stop.

The Top rally rides don’t spend that much time.  If it’s a photo bonus, they may not even get off the bike.

So we built our route based upon that number 1450 miles was in our “Wheelhouse”.

The winner rode 1640  miles, while we rode that many miles in 2011, it was 97% highway miles.

Given that this was a non-photo bonus rally, meaning you had to read, interpret, think, and write, we expected each stop to take longer, and take longer it did.

The other monkey wrench, is “usually”, when you complete the rally, you have a few hours to get your ‘crap together’ and organize your paperwork.

Not so this year. The rally ended at 2pm, if you got back at 2:01 you were DNF (Did Not Finish), you had to be in line, with paperwork ready to be scored by 3pm.    Ugh, this meant that your paperwork had to be pristine throughout the rally.  Some guys jumped off their bikes and took photos of the stuff to figure out the Q and A later.   I didn’t feel that was the right way to go, given the small paperwork window we had.   Our route was tight enough (for us).  But that’s exactly what the winner did.

This year there were two wild card bonuses. 1) Get a package of un-opened, Pepperidge Farm Lexington Cookies.   2) Get a business card that had the word ‘Lexington’ on it somewhere.

We killed both of those in one stop at Target in Lexington, both the cookies and the card.

So how was this rally different?

As I mentioned earlier, in previous rallies you might roll up to a Highway historical marker something like this:

In a Question/Answer rally, the book might say something like:

How far away and in what direction is the home of William Gause Jr.?     And you would write in “four miles south”.

This year, our chief rally bastard did us one better.

Instead of giving us the question, we had a double sided sheet of paper with 48 questions.   So we’d show up, check the rally book, find out that we were at a historical marker, hopefully the right one, read it, then scan the page for the question that fit.  The Question for Bonus location X01 was not Q01, they were all scrambled.

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Then scan another page, double sided, with 48 answers and put the two together.

That was bad enough, but some of these bonus locations were simply jacked.  One had us looking for a ‘Sign’, but it turned out we needed to be looking for a Fire Hydrant.

Another was a block away from where the way point that we were provided was.  Yeah, the address was there, but we weren’t provided with a list of addresses to put in our GPS, we were given Lat/Long Info.

Some of the questions and answers weren’t right.  They were close but not right.

I’m not trying to sound bitter, or angry, I’m tired. I recognize the work that goes into this and other rallies and nobody is perfect.  But when we (as riders) are held to a high standard for ‘attention to detail’ and rider comprehension, it’s very frustrating when things that are supposed to line up don’t.

Of course we had the normal Rally bastard Chesedickery, where you’d roll up and there were (4) historical markers you had to read and process at one location, and some of the signs are double-sidded. 🙂   And I know Cheesedickery when I see it because I now have a Masters in Cheesedickery.

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And the best part, we were given this awesome Mug as SWAG:

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A big ass heavy ceramic mug, a mug that you had to carry with you to get signed at a couple of the locations.  Brilliant! Smile

I don’t know how many folks didn’t get their mug signed because the just left it at the Rally hotel but I’m sure there were a few.

Lastly, the wild-cards.

If you obtained the wild cards, you could use them in place of a question or an answer.  If you obtained both, you could plop those in as a Question and an Answer for a bonus that you didn’t ride too.

The highest point bonus was in Toluca, IL.   Too far to ride for 1414 points because you’d sacrifice so many others.   But, getting those two wild cards (as most people did) they were able to claim that bonus (and most riders did).

We took a little different approach.  We scanned the questions and found a question that mentioned the Toluca railroad or mine or something.   So we used that Question and use a wild card for the answer, then we went down the list, and eventually found another ~800 pointer that we felt fairly confident we had the right Question/Answer.   So we used that and rolled the dice.  It worked, mostly.

My failure was that I knew the answer, it was actually a Pancake house who’d been serving food since 1937.   That answer was A20, but A21 was what I wrote down.   That mistake alone coast me 66% of those points and 2 or 3 finishing places.

Kyle didn’t drop any points at scoring, and was awarded with the Jim Young Memorial Rider Efficiency trophy which was pretty sweet.

It was another fun rally, the new hotel location worked out well.  Staff was friendly as always.  Next year’s theme is ‘Get Crabby’ or something like that, which means probably a whole lot of east coast stuff.   But then again, I thought the Mountain Doo-Doo was going to be all mountain roads ;0

I continued to be amazed at what people can “Pull-Off”.   Josh (the winner) is a machine, most of the guys that do win this are machines.   They can sit there and twist that.  They  must have huge bladders or a much better strategy for dealing with waste than we do.

We had a great ride.   We planned our ride and rode our plan, minus my paperwork snafu, we got the results we expected.

So until next year…

Rally The Void 05 – My Ride Report

This weekend was the Void 5, the East Coast Fall rally.  The theme of the rally was ‘Weather’, or more importantly Tornado’s and Hurricanes, stuff like that.

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If you don’t know what a rally is, see my MD 2020 Rally report, I explained it there.

The Void is unique in that it’s really 5 different rallies at the same time.

(4) 24 hour rallies, all starting from different locations, but ending at the same place.  And a 10 hour rally starting from the rally headquarters in Lynchburg, VA.

My group started from Lexington, KY.   All four starting locations were given their rally books on Tuesday the 5th, with the Rally scheduled to start at 11 am on Friday at their respective locations.   That gave us 3 days to look at the locations, the points and try to come up with a route.

The rally window was 26 hours, minus a 3 hour minimum rest, meant we had roughly 23 hours to work with.

23 hours at a 52mph average would mean a decent route would be approximately 1200 miles.

The bonus list was provided and when mapped out it looked like this:

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This was a photo rally, which meant to prove you obtained a bonus you’d have to visit it and take a photo of the required item with your rally flag.   In the above image, the ‘big rocks’ were hurricanes worth 500 points, with each hurricane was 4 other bonuses that went with them.  You could earn a sequence bonus if you got them in order 1-4 plus the related 500.

Upon examination, I didn’t think that was worth while.  Each sequence involved some back tracking.

There were a few other bonuses that had tight windows.  One that was only available 1 hour before the rally ended, and according to most mapping software it would take you 59 minutes to get from it to the finish.  Given that you were losing points for each minute you were late, any traffic jams or any delays and you’d be in penalty land.

In all of my previous rallies I’ve ridden with someone else, either Kyle or Kyle and my dad.   Riding with more than one person slows you down some.  Not a lot in our case as we’ve probably all logged over 30k miles riding together so we know what to expect from the other person(s).

My dad decided he wanted to run a more conservative route, about 900 miles.   Being a competitive person, I wanted to score well.   I’m simply not in the league as the top guys.  They ride many rally’s per year and have been doing it a long, long time.   But I believe I can compete at the ‘B’ level.  So I created a route based upon what I thought I could do and hopefully score well enough to be in the top 5.

My route tried to hit the basic rule:  Get the big rocks and use big roads to do it.  That mean a lot of highway time.   It’s hard to make time on two-lane twisty roads.  While that’s the type of road I most enjoy riding, it’s not a good choice for rallying.   Especially at night.

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My route had me starting in Lexington, running over to West Virginia, down past Charlotte, then up towards Washington DC, then back to the Rally HQ in Lynchburg.   There was quite a bit of out-and-back, but those runs were all for big points (500 point bonuses) so I felt it was worth it.    I had discovered a route that would allow me to get four of the 500’s and two 200 point bonuses for a total of 2400, which would have been a top score with the rest bonus and gift bonus.  But that route had absolutely no room for error.  It was definitely go-big or go-home.  If something bad were to happen, if you got behind by as much as 30 minutes you were doomed.  There was no saving it.   Often it’s a route like that that wins but I elected not to run it, maybe I should have, it was only 50 miles longer than my chosen route.

At the start we had a window of 20 minutes to get a starting location receipt, and call into the rally master.  A receipt from Lexington with a time stamp between 10:50 and 11:10am on Friday.   If you started at 11:05 your finish time (penalty time) started at 1:05pm on Saturday.

IF you wanted to take a crack at that tight 200 point bonus it was in your best interest to start as late as possible like 11:09, to buy yourself 9 extra minutes to get from it to the finish before you started incurring penalties.   I wrote this bonus off, it didn’t fit into my route.

I started at 10:59 which meant I had until 12:59 to check into the finish.

My first stop was the “Vortex Loop” street sign.  I got there ahead of schedule.

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From there I ran to General Jenkins historical marker.

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At this point I was making good time and could see I was running ahead of schedule.  The biggest factor for this was that I *think* Streets and Trips thought a number of the highways were 55 MPH roads which were now 70 MPH roads.  Running at roughly 5 over, meant I was picking up almost 20 miles an hour.  The General Jenkins bonus was 200 miles into my route, so I had picked up almost 30 minutes by then.   Things were looking up and I was excited.

3rd stop was to get a photo of the wooden sign in front of the Hurricane Fire Department, in Hurricane, WV.  As rallies go, you have to get a photo of exactly what the book says.  The sign in question was covered by the ‘Change your Clock/Battery sign’ and that wasn’t a good thing.   If they had taken this sign down during the day and another rider returned with a photo of the actual sign, I would be hosed.  No points for you!.   So I call the rally master, made him aware.  Actually he was already aware, he instructed me to make sure he could recognize the fire department.  I took quite a few alternate photos just in case.

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Then off to Tornado, WV

To get a photo of the post office and volunteer fire department there:

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These two bonuses were literally 15 yards apart.  A lot of folks missed this because in the mapping programs they were so close, they looked like (1) location.

50 points each!

My next bonus was about 100 miles away, on good twisty roads to get near Fayetteville, WV.   Actually at the BOTTOM of the New River Gorge Bridge.  At this point, or at least on my way to this, I was 45 minutes ahead.   This was good because my next bonus was on the list, but according to the plan I would be 20 minutes late.  It was only available 8am to 8pm.  But I was going good, until…  I got to Fayetteville.   So on the east side of the gorge, there are two roads that run down to this point.  At one time they were two way, now it’s a one way loop.  But Garmin didn’t know that and tried to run me down the wrong way on a one way road.  It took me a good 15 minutes to get that sorted out and to get down there.   Photo take at: 4:59pm  My scheduled time was 5:27pm so I was still 30 minutes ahead.

As I came out of the gorge and tried to go south on 19, it was backed up, bumper to bumper as far as I could see. @%$#%@ so I mashed the detour button on the GPS, and started following it.  Through Fayetteville, all back streets, all 25 mph, not the 55 mph I was counting on.  I was losing minutes and fast.

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I finally escaped, and got back out on 19 past the backup, which I think was construction I don’t really know.

My next stop was either the Stone mountain state park 170 miles away if I could get there by 8pm or all the way down past Charlotte, NC, in Chester, SC.

I was doing my best to get there, but I didn’t have time to stop for anything other than fuel.  For 3 more hours I sat there, and twisted that.

The Stone mountain bonus was almost 20 miles off the interstate, twisty roads, and it was going to be in the dark.   When I departed from the Ferry bonus, my ETA to Stone mountain was 8:04pm.   I had to make up 4 minutes, but with given 150 of the miles were interstate and I had the benefit of Garmin thinking at least part of it was 55 and not 70 I thought I’d be OK.   I’d make the call when I got to the exit.  The sun pretty much dropped out of the sky around 7pm, and so did the temperature.  It was 48 ish degrees, and I wasn’t dressed for this.  I still had my mesh jacket and summer gloves on.  For what ever reason, my heated grips weren’t heating and I was freezing my arse off.  But I didn’t have time to stop and put better gear on.  I figured I could man-up and tough it out for the last 60 miles.

At the exit, my eta was now 7:50 so I thought I’d give it a shot.   As I pulled up to the gate the ranger was sitting there waiting to close it at 8pm sharp.   They don’t mess around.  He flashed his lights, and I rolled up to the ranger’s truck.   He asked if I was camping tonight, cause if so, I needed to head back he was closing the gate.   I explained I was on this scavenger hunt thing, and needed a photo of a stone mountain park sign.  He pointed to a metal sign that said Stone mountain and the hours.   I pulled over, read the instructions which specifically stated the the sign was the map of the park with the ‘You are here’ sign at the visitors center.

I showed the ranger the rally book, and said, they are pretty specific, it needs to be ‘THIS’ sign, and I have to snap the photo by 8pm.  He looked at his watch and said, well, it’s about a 1/4 mile down, the road is not lit but there should be a light at the Visitor’s center.  Go get your photo, you have 6 minutes.  I’m locking the gate at 8:06, if you aren’t back you’re spending the night.  (he said with a big grin).

I ran down to the Visitor’s Center, had no trouble finding it.  Jumped off the bike, grabbed the rally pack (with flag) and took the photo.

At Exactly 8:00pm

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I got out of the park, he closed the gate behind me and I quickly pulled over in a parking area and started digging for my heated liner.

I slammed a protein drink, some blueberry and dirt flavored concoction.  It was horrible!  I washed it down with a bottle of water and hopped back on the bike.   The next bonus was in South Carolina, a little over 100 miles away.  That’s roughly 100 minutes to get there, and I’d need to stop once for gas.

My plan was to ride back up near Stone mountain and find a hotel for my required rest bonus.  So I was looking at another 3-4 hours in the cold before I could get some rest and warm up.  It was gonna suck.

I beat feet for NC, at the exit I noticed there was a boat load of hotels, and even a Motel 6 advertising $39 rooms.  This was perfect.  I only needed the room for 3 hours so the cheaper the better.

I picked up the Cyclone restaurant bonus, which was another good 500 point bonus at 10:42 pm.

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My original plan was to run back up north, half way to the next bonus, then sleep for 3 hours.  The rest bonus couldn’t be started until after 10 pm.  It was after 10 pm and I was freezing, even with a heated liner.  I still had mesh pants on and needed to put on my Long-John LD Comforts or something.  So I figured I’d grab some sleep here, then head north after the nap.  I was still 20 minutes ahead.  So sleeping now made sense.  I rolled back to the highway, stopped in at the Motel 6, grabbed a room, checked in at 11:04.  The minimum rest bonus requirement was 3 hours.  I asked for a 1:45am wake up call.

I got in my room, got out of my riding gear, laid out some warmer stuff for the morning, sent a text to my wife that I was still alive, and updated a buddy (Kyle), then set the alarm on my phone for 1:47.

As soon as I nodded off, my phone went off.  First my wife, thanking me for updating her.  Then 5 minutes later, Kyle asking more questions.  I didn’t have time for this, so I tried to go back to sleep.  Which as tired as I was is difficult.

You are still amped up, on adrenaline from riding and the time pressures.  You’re constantly thinking; “What can I do better tomorrow?”, “Are there any other bonuses I can add?”, “If I need to bail tomorrow where is my point of no return?”.  I resisted the urge to open up the laptop and look for more points.  I was still 20 minutes ahead and considered that a blessing.  A blessing which wasn’t going to last long…

I awoke with a start at 2:20 am…  What the?  The hotel didn’t call me or if they did I didn’t hear it.  I grabbed my phone.  Oh…  I set the alarm for 1:47pm, no wonder.    I scrambled to get dressed and back out on the bike.   I got my receipt as another rider was checking in.   Thinking about it now I should have just given him my room key.  I only slept on one of the two beds.

By the time I got on the road, I was now 20 minutes behind, not the 20 minutes ahead when I went to bed.  I was pissed.

It was dark, and cold.  Even with LD Comfort long pants on under my mesh pants it wasn’t enough, even on an FJR.  My legs were cold.

Body was good thanks to Gerbings[tm], but I had neglected to hook up my heated gloves and my heated grips were not working.

I couldn’t make ‘good’ time.  It was dark and foggy, and deer were everywhere on 77.   Then I rolled past this section on 77 marked as a ‘high wind gust area’.  It was 46 degrees, then in an instant it was 66 degrees, and the wind came.  First from the left and nearly blew me over a complete lane.  Then from the right.  For about 8 miles it was the most incredible thing I have ever experienced.  I’ve ridden through some storms, and literally, only a few miles form a tornado in Kansas, but this was incredible because it kept changing and violently.   It kept me awake, then just like that it was 46 degrees and calm.

My next bonus stop was through Floyd, VA on the south side of the Blue Ridge parkway.  It was dark and twisty.  I have some aux lighting but it’s only for visibility, they are see me lights, not help me see lights.  It doesn’t add any appreciable light to the road, and this sucked.

I then realized that not only was I 20 minutes late but I was loosing minutes fast.  I looked at my secondary GPS, it shows I was running about 35-40 mph, but, it thought the speed limit was 55.   Not good.  55 might be fine in the daylight but I didn’t have the lighting to travel at 55 at night.

The bonus was a corner marker from 1824:

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It was not easy to find, at least not in the dark.  Photo taken at 06:43.  I was supposed to be there at 06:03 or even earlier.  I was bleeding time, and given the road ahead to the next couple bonuses, it wasn’t going to get better.

As it was, my planned time had me back at Rally HQ at 12:59, so I was now officially ‘worried’.   It’s not about riding fast, it’s about being efficient.  Not getting off the bike, short ‘fast’ stops.

I decided to head to the next bonus because it was on the way.   The key to my route was another 500 point bonus near D.C so I still had 500 miles to ride.  Any more slippage and I would be late and that’s a bad thing.

The next stop was in Roanoke, a bridge, I had to take a photo of the water level gauge.

I had another Garmin issue, trying to take me down the wrong way on a one way street.  I was losing time and not happy.

I found the bridge but by the time I walked to it, took the photo and got back it was 7:40, per my schedule I was supposed to be done with this bonus by 7:06.  I was still late.

The next bonus was just across town.

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I had started for the next bonus that was literally only a mile or two away, but traffic was holding me up.  I started running calculations on the GPS, what if stuff.

I grabbed the photo and started thinking about the next one.  It was on the way, but slightly out of the way.

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The ‘IF’ part was that ‘IF’ I was still 30 minutes late after getting the next bonus, I would then be late and start losing points.  As I got closer, I could see that the part that was off the route was going to take me too long so I aborted that bonus and beat feet for D.C.  (Strausburg to be exact).

I figured it was mostly highway, and if the route software still thought the highway was 55 MPH I’d be OK.

In Strausburg, I had to take a photo at a plantation.

This one:

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Per the plan I had made up some time.  I was supposed to nail this by 10:09, I figured if I made up 20 minutes going there I could make up the last 10 coming back.  It worked out well enough that I could bag my final bonus near the finish.

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I finished at 12:56, with 3 minutes to spare, and only dropped one 54 point bonus.

At the end of scoring with rest bonus and gift bonus I had 7808, which turns out was 4th, one away from a podium finish.  3rd place scored 9 more points.  2nd was like 20 points higher.   Over sleeping cost me a 2nd place finish… Grrrr…

At the end of the day I learned a valuable lesson about alarm clocks and still had fun.  1229 miles in 22.5 hours.  More of it than I wanted on twisty roads in the dark.

I should have gone for the big money route.

I still don’t know how the winner scored over 8000 points.  I hope he will share…

I’m already looking forward to the Void 06

(Posted while still exhausted so a good portion of this likely doesn’t make sense).

Man Camp 2010

Last year we started a “tradition”.  The “Man Camp Tradition”, which will be an annual motorcycle sabbatical to some place with super roads to ride.   It’s a hand full of guys and the weekend consists of eating like men, drinking like men, and partaking of mostly “Manly” activities like motorcycle riding, whiskey drinkin, card playing, and gun shooting.  (not necessarily in that order).

We’re lucky that one of the participants has access to a Cabin in North Carolina off of route 28, which in itself is a super motorcycle road.

Details of our fun last year can be found here: https://www.dishers.com/2009/07/20/man-camp-2009-recap

This year was very similar, except I didn’t take nearly as many photos.

We started out Wednesday the 7th of July, with an return date that was flexible based upon weather and activities.   We were fortunate to have Kyle’s dad as a guest this year.  Rounding out the number of men to 6.

Wednesday involved the normal commute to the destination 450 ish miles.   A little longer this year because the Dragon (Route 129) was still closed in Tennessee so we had to divert around the mountain.

That evening we all met up and made our first pilgrimage to the the grocery story for man food and frosty beverages.

Thursday morning was a great day to ride.  Chris had to stay behind and finish up some school work for his Masters.  So 5 of us took off for the good part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and a trip up to the top of Mount Mitchell.

A good day of decent twisties.   It was HOT, but up at altitude along the Blue Ridge it was nice.

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(the older gents at the top of Mount Mitchell)

Friday was more the same with a run across the Cherohala Skyway, and then to the Tail of the Dragon for lunch and a couple runs down the famous Dragon.

It rained while we were at the Tail of the Dragon cafe so we weren’t as aggressive as we (or I) would have liked to be.

We rounded out the Friday ride with a stop at the Fontana damn, then back to the grocery to restock on breakfast food.

Friday night brought with it a 2-Card poker game that Kyle Sr. used to play back in the day.   I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for participating and subsidizing the rest of my fuel expenses.  🙂

Saturday was a ‘chill day’.  Chris and Joe headed for home on Saturday.  Chris had to catch a flight early Monday and Joe was working through some work issues and had to head out.   That left my father and I along with Kyle Jr. and Kyle Sr. hanging out.

We spent most of the day shooting, or accelerating lead towards used beverage cans and just basically chilling.   Both the older gentlemen took the time to watch “The Hangover” on my iPad, which is now a classic.

Evening brought some good barbeque from North Carolina and a shorter ride through some off the path mountain roads.

On Sunday we had made plans to go rafting on the mighty Natnahala river.  (Just a few class 3 rapids, nothing over the top).

We arrived at 10am for our 11am departure.  A 2 hour ride down the river with lots of fun fighting with other rafts in the 51 degree water.   It was cold, the water that is.

At the end of the trip during the largest of the rapids is where we (my father and I) had our out of raft experiences.

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First Dad went, and while I was busy laughing…

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about 2.3 seconds later…

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I was swimming, and it was COLD.

I just assumed the rafter/swimmer position and enjoyed the rest of the ride and was picked up by another raft just before the end.

Good times.

Next year we’re looking at making the rafting a staple of the trip, possibly somewhere a little more exciting like the Upper or Lower Gully in WV.

We left on Monday.  It was raining as we were packing and cleaning the cabin.  We started out in Rain gear for the first 10 miles of our 400 mile journey.  We dropped of the trash from the cabin and loaded up on fuel.  At that point I made the executive decision to get out of the rain gear.  After all if it was only drizzling, I’d rather be a little wet then be hot and stuffy.

Of course as soon as we got into the mountains the sky opened up.   It took us 2 hours to ride 56 miles in rain that was at times “sideways”.  I didn’t get that wet when I went swimming in the river.   It took every bit of the remaining 5 hours to dry out.   In other words it sucked quite a bit.

All in all we had a great time and I can’t wait for next year.

Other Misc Photos here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mdisher/RaftingManCamp#