Alright, so I'm a bit geeky. I also go off expecting to score big time on rallies. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you.
Didn't do too
bad. That tracking device kind of tells the tale, but it's not that easy to interpret. Went up through parts of California carrying my "flag" and my rally shirt. Rally shirt has a bullseye on it, replicating the "Bite the Bullet" rally in 1993. In the rally packet it said "You will be using firearms for one exercise. You must follow instructions exactly or you will not be able to complete the exercise." Cool! I get to fire a handgun! (Nothing but rifles and shotguns so far in my life).
First stop? Paintball field. Big whoop...the firearm is a paintball gun. Yeah, whatever. Put the smear of paint on the shirt (after painting the dummy used to hold the shirt in the head, but that really was an accident). Next, Oroville dam. Get there, put on the "flag", have a picture taken with the dam in the background. Off to #3. Quincy (Ca.) gas station, where some almost Hari Krishna dude (two of them actually) want to sell a carnation as "karma". $5.00. In the original Bite the Bullet, same thing happened, so I handed the $$$ over and got a carnation that was way too long. Folded nice, though, and into the side case it went. $5 eventually went to Polio Plus, the charity sponsored by this rally.
Number 4. Look at the open/close time. Gonna be tight. Traffic (damn tourists going half the speed limit looking for a turn-off 12 miles away) solved that problem. Number 5. Too much distance. I'm beginning to realize I'm spending too much time at the bonus places. Head for #6, just outside (heh..."just outside" is 38 miles away) of Fallon, Nv. Rawhide mine. Eh? to get there you take a 16 mile road that for the first 14 miles is straight. Maybe 3 turns, none of which are more than 45 degrees. Dead-end road. 65 MPH speed limit. Huh? Yeah, right. However, the last two miles the speed limit is 35MPH, which makes sense considering how tight some of the turns are going through the hills. Little stretch of straight before more twists. Cal24 this year took a different tact at getting the riders to slow down. "20 MPH over the posted speed limit, and based on the amount over the speed limit you will A)get a time penalty of 1 minute per MPH over (sit down and do nothing, killing your time) and B) have that same amount over the speed limit be converted to a percentage of your point that won't count when the tallying comes. Get caught three times doing 30 over, and you lose an hour and a half, plus 90% of your total points. Guess they were serious about keeping the runs at triple digits out of the rally. Fortunately, one guy leaving was warning the incoming folks, and amazingly, only five got nailed. Just so happened to be the first five to the check point, but hey...when they found out about the warning going on, words were exchanged, grumblings were heard, and the % of points to be lost weren't lost anymore. Kind of trying to even things out. Probably kept 90% of the participants from being in time-out, too.
Got to the checkpoint in time. Handed in my first leg paperwork, got the second envelope. "4" circled on the envelope for the # of bonus points I got. Go down the dirt road (I hate dirt roads. The GT hates dirt roads.) Probably all of a mile down was a truck. Stop and follow his instructions. Oh!
Gunfire!!! Grabbed my rally shirt, envelope, and wandered over to the firing line. 4 bullets. 9mm pistol. No idea what kind, just that it had a slide on top and was single action. Pop! Pop! Hit the shirt 4 times, and actually put three into the bullseye. Not bad for a rookie...(yeah, the target was all of 6' away, but hey...I didn't miss!)
Then, to the next set of instructions. Whoa, Nellie! Must've been like 60 places to go to. Last two pages, though, had places with mucho points, like in the magnitude of 20x. Why go for a bunch of itty-bitties when you can get three or four and call it a day? Now, the rally master is a bit devious. He starts off listing the itty-bitty points on pages 1-4. Some folks read the first two, decide how they're going to start off, and take off. They'll get the one on the other pages as they approach that area. Except on page 7, they list Gerlach (120 miles north, not unreasonable to get and then do the basic path) and ... Yerington. Gerlach is 573 points, and Yerington is 642. Yerington is the town we all had to pass through to get to the checkpoint. The folks that just read the first couple of pages, take off, end up kicking themselves for not getting a cheap and easy 3-digit bonus. RM's just laugh...with an evil bent.
So, I plan on three biggies. Yerington, Gerlatch, and Susanville. Yerington is a slam-dunk. Gerlach, well...there's a Shell gas station, but it's 77 miles north of the last 24 hour gas station I pass. I can get to Gerlach, but with 59 miles on the trip odo already, I ain't gonna get back. If I chance it, and the station is closed, I have to wait until they open in the AM, and then haul butt to the start point to avoid DNF. No way I can get to the start point before 8:00 AM, so that means no Saddlesore 1000. But, a lot of these places now have 24 hour service even unattended, as long as you use a credit card. Spent 40 miles making up my mind. Went back to the 24 hour station, filled up, then headed for the bonus points at Gerlach on Guru Road.
Shell station is 24 hour with credit card. Blew a little over an hour with that decision. Guru Rd. doesn't exist on any paper map and the Garmin. Wandered around Gerlach, finally gave up and took a picture of the post office with my "flag" in the picture. Maybe, just maybe, no one will find the real item (totem pole dedicated to the Iron Butt), and I can get the points I've screwed up so badly to get.
Now, the Garmin says I can get to Susanville (take a picture of the prison there) if I leave Gerlach going west instead of going south the way I came in. Turn on Buckhorn, then get on Marr Rd. to 395. Looks good on the screen, so off I go, 50 miles to Buckhorn Rd. Now, there's some hills to deal with, that 50 miles is like 70 minutes (at night, and I don't need to tell you the high beam on the K1200RS/GT SUCKS!
). Go flying past the intersection according to the GPS, but I didn't see any pavement at all go by...U turn, stop where this Buckhorn road is...and it's dirt. *sigh* No other path further down the road, either. 40 miles to the next town of anything, and 60 to Alturas. Out in the middle of nowhere. Ok dirt road on the Garmin says 1.8 miles to the next point on the path. Eh, I can handle that. At the end of the 1.8 miles, there's a fork, and my path is to the left...still on dirt, but not nearly as smooth as the lead into the fork. That segment is 28.3 miles, and I'm to expect to spend 43 minutes just on that segment. This is at 2:00 AM in the same middle-of-nowhere part of Nevada.
Needless to say, I bailed on Susanville. Back to the 24 hour gas station, fill up, check the time it takes to get to the Start/Finish after changing into the heated jacket (learned something out in the middle of that nowhere), sucked down some energy drink, ate an energy bar, drank a bunch of water, and got gas. Mr. Garmin now informs me I'll arrive at 7:39, or just 21 mintues before I'm out of the 24 hour timeframe with no allowances for stops of any kind. 199 miles, too. Just a tad out of the GT's range, but 5 minutes and I can be in and out on a gas stop. Beat feet to the freeway, only to find that traffic is apparently stopped, with a bunch of flashing ambers and reds at the front. And zip traffic on any of the road beyond that. Traffic is actually crawling, but Mr. Garmin advances the 7:39 to 7:40. Then we start moving a bit faster, and pretty soon we're on our way. I've got the cruise-control set at 75 for the 70MPH, as we're approching Reno, and the NHP likes the folks in a hurry to get to Reno. Any time. It's also the speed the Garmin has set for Interstate roads, so 7:40 stays on the screen. Get to about 2 miles from the state line, nudge the speed up to 78, and lo! and behold! Mr. Garmin now has it at 7:39! There is karma. Glad I spent that $5.00 for the carnation that's still in the side case.
Through the inspection station in California, and the time changes back to 7:40. But, since the speed limit is 65, 75 soon changes the clock back a bit. And, continues to do so all the way through Sacramento and on to Dunnigan. I'm not going for any more bonus points, even the itty-bitty about 10 minutes away with the clock saying I'll arrive at 7:23 without those points. I decided not to test the strength of that carnation any further. The GT got in with 199.3 miles, fuel light on. But, the light didn't come on until 171, so I figured the downhill from 8000' to 500' must've been a help. 4.9 gallons to fill. Carnation did good.
Rolled in, got scored.
Saddlesore 1000 application submitted. Did it the hard way, too.
24th in a field of 26 finishers as my scoring went, but I think they missed some of the points I collected, namely the ones for Yerington and Gerlach. Oh, yeah...Gerlach counted with the post office picture. See, there's a dirt road the locals know about, as well as some LD riders that have been there to see the totem pole. There's a marker made out of a pile of rocks along the highway going east (where hardly anyone goes). Now, coming back in from my aborted attempt on the dirt road to Susanville, I do recall seeing a circular pile of stones piled up on what I thought was a driveway, a marker for folks lost looking for someones house. But, at oh-dark-thirty, there's nothing to see anyway unless you go down that road. Someone who actually had been there took a picture of it. But, as it was practically impossible for anyone to "find" it, all you needed to do was prove you went to Gerlach.
Didn't take first, didn't come in last, but boy, did I have fun. Even with that segment on Buckhorn Rd. But, just barely...
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