Motorcycle Endurance Rally           August 11th-16th, 2006


Day 0  •  Day 1  •  Day 2  •  Day 3  •  Day 4  •  Day 5  •  Finish  •  Epilog

Day 1

The Start

George gives some last minute pre-start instructions.

This morning at 7:00am George handed out the missing 4 pages of bonuses. It only resulted in 5 riders changing their plans, and within 15 minutes all 20 riders had departed Gerlach. Most were headed towards the Four Corners area, a few toward southern California and the numerous small bonuses there. Three riders headed north for the medium sized bonuses in OR/WA/ID.

Nobody is going to Guatemala, which is probably all for the best.

A bit later...

Good news from Brian Roberts (DL-1000), who scored a couple early bonuses and bagged the fancifully named Alfred Hitchcock Sexual Innuendo Bonus (500 points) by taking a photo of a train entering a tunnel. Note: watching Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST prior to the event was "suggested homework".

At Noon, I happened to stop at a cafe in Bridgeport, CA where George Zelenz and Don Moses were having lunch with a pilot friend of Don's. So I joined them and learned that Rally HQ believed that the winning strategy for the first leg was to ride west into California and make a large 'S' from northern CA southward ending in Joshua Tree. Greg Marbach (FJR1300) and Mark Crane (R1200GS) started out that way. Jim Owen (R1150RT) did not.

George's favorite hot springs. Cows and R1200GS in the background.

About 14:00 hours I stopped at George's favorite hot springs, hoping to get a photo of a rider claiming the bonus. I waited for about 90 minutes, during which time Spank staffer Joe Denton rode in on his K1200LT. Joe has my admiration for the way he muscled that huge bike down that rutted baked-mud and loose sand 'road'. He said he bottomed it out twice! It wasn't all that easy on my BMW GS.

George got a bit of a 'rep' during the 2005 IBR when claiming the Vichy Springs bonus. The owner approached George to find out why so many motorcyclists had just been there taking photos. George explained, and the owner offered him a room at 1/2 price plus threw in a home cooked dinner. George couldn't refuse, but unfortunately spent 14 hours there and blew his chance for a high score on that leg.

Here's the bonus listing from the rally pack:

Mammoth Lakes, CA area
GZ's favorite Hot Tub
1,555 points 24 hours
Get naked or whatever and hop into my favorite natural springs hot tub. It's ok to be nude, most folks are at this one, but you'll probably have the place all to yourself. Once you're in the tub, get a self-portrait of your face, the water, and the mortared rocks making the tub. It must be clear in the picture that you're soaking in the water.

Get here first: N 37° 39.570'   W 118° 47.143'

Then go to N 37° 39.768'   W 118° 47.363'. This waypoint gets you to a dirt parking lot. From the north-east corner of the lot find a trail of wood beams, plywood and pallets. Walk up to the white-ish dirt knoll and find the hot tub.

Time: _____   Odometer: _____ Code: MAM Approved: _____

Late afternoon...

Brian Roberts had told me he'd meet me at GZ's hot springs at 15:00 hours, but he didn't show up. Bad news. Brian had trouble with his bike, the world's most expensive Suzuki V-Strom. (I think he should call it "FrankenStrom" since is is the bastard creation of a mad mechanic from about 3 other partially wrecked Vstroms, and has a custom red frame, farkles and trick bits galore). While lubing the chain with the bike on the centerstand, it fell over and smashed the throttle housing beyond repair.

Brian is desperately trying to return to his home in Fernley, NV to switch bikes and make a frenzied dash for the first checkpoint at Joshua Tree tomorrow late afternoon. Of course there will be a hideous penalty for changing bikes, but Brian really wants to finish.

In other news...

Two riders called to say they were struggling with the Zion N.P. bonus (3,562 points). George offered some sage advice, and they both claimed the desired bonus. This was a reading comprehension problem. The actual bonus listing reads:

Zion National Park, UT
Kolob Canyons Viewpoint
3,562 points 24 hours
At the viewpoint towards the north of the parking lot is an information sign. Q. What is the combined metric elevation of all the mountains shown on the sign?   A. ___________

The Zion Canyon Visitors Center (and Park maps) is located approx. 1 mile north of Springdale, UT. From I-15, take exit 16 east towards Hurricane. Stay on hwy 9 towards Virgin and follow signs to Springdale and the Park entrance. Follow sings to the visitors center. Kolob Canyons Visitor Center is located right off I-15 at exit 40.

Time: _____   Odometer: _____ Code: KOL Approved: _____

The bold/italics are mine to help you to parse it correctly. The first tricky part is that the bonus is actually right off the Interstate at the Kolob Canyons visitor center. The bit about the Zion Canyon visitors center, while accurate, is not actually useful. The second tricky bit is that the sign shows the elevations of both mountains and mesas. George only wants the sum of the mountain elevations in meters. Preverse, no? I likely would have screwed this one up myself.

Meanwhile, back in California, Art Montoya (FJR1300) claimed the Yosemite bonus (2,575 points) as his first of the day. Greg Marbach (FJR1300) and Mark Crane (R1200GS) had onion soup and pommes frites at the Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, CA (1,274 points) and got a bit bogged down in heavy traffic in Sacramento and Napa Valley. They are both heading for the Point Cabrillo Light Station bonus (1,826 points).

Good luck to them all. Hope to see their smiling faces tomorrow night at the Joshua Tree, CA checkpoint.

Warchild gets Greg Marbach's odometer reading at the start.

Terry and Lynda Lahman, of Snoqualmie, WA, riding 2-up.

Brian Roberts, FrankenStrom, and George at the starting line.

H. Marc Lewis
Barstow, CA

Day 0  •  Day 1  •  Day 2  •  Day 3  •  Day 4  •  Day 5  •  Finish  •  Epilog

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