Monday, June 30, 2014

It's a long road

So here we are on the way to Minnesota. Our journey started on Sunday 29 June, riding from Canberra to Sydney to catch the Monday flight to LA, then onto New Mexico where the GSA awaits.
Talk about extremes, yesterday there was snow on the foothills around Canberra and here at LAX it's a pleasant summers day.

Phones have being purchased, the route from NM to MN sorted and uploaded onto the GPS, now it's almost time to ride.

Martin Little

Saturday, June 28, 2014

No Penalty Points For Number of Rally Bikes You Have Prior To The Rally..... Yet

Submitted by Bruce Jansen:
I grew up in northwestern Wisconsin, Turtle Lake to be exact, and places I know have been bonus locations... and it's country.  Real country, not like "country' in the East that have trees and a population density just slightly less than Chicago.   I'd sorta be rallying on my home turf... loosely speaking.  There's real horizons out that way. How great is that?
I've lived in Connecticut since '86 and started rallying in '11. I've ridden all of the East coast rallies and I gotta tell you, there's nothing quite like trying to circumnavigate Washington, DC on a Saturday as the clock ticks down or cross the George Washington Bridge, at night, with several hundred cars and trucks trying to get through the tolls.  Did I mention I'm a farm boy?
So along comes the Butt Lite and maybe, just maybe, I've got what it takes to do the days and the miles.  And I've got good friends who say they're gonna do it too.  And the start is only a couple of hours away from home.  I can visit my Mom and siblings and ride the Butt Lite too.  Does it get any better?  What could possibly go wrong?
I've been riding a rallied up Kawasaki C1400 Concours and it's a great ride.  Other than a few parking lot drops, it's never failed me.  I can ride it for hours and get up the next day and do it again.  But it's got 50K on the ODO and no cruise control and maybe in a couple of years I'll need to replace it.  Did I mention the damaged fairing from the aforementioned drops and replacement is on the radar?
Rob Nye, Rally Master Extraordinaire of the New England based Minuteman 1000, took a new job as manager of a newly opened BMW shop mere minutes from where I work.  I stopped in to harass him when they opened the shop... just before the Cape Fear rally.  In the twisted way Rally Masters work, he told me he had demo bikes I could ride, which I did, and then he told me he could have a brand spankin' new 2014 water cooled, state of the art R1200RT complete with cruise control and some other stuff ready for me in time for the Cape Fear, which he did.  So I bought one.. a little earlier than expected... and I proceeded to farkle it up... and put 8400 miles on it.  Did I mention I'd entered the Butt Lite?  Did I mention I absolutely love this bike?
You've heard about the 'don't ride this bike on the road or all hell will break loose' order that BMW issued about a day before the 2014 Minuteman?  I rode it anyway.  BMW can't tell me what I can or cannot do.  Right?  This is America after all. Until someone mentioned 'insurance coverage' and I called my insurance company and, yes, they will not cover me should I get into an accident until the bike is fixed.  Then we (Rob and I) wait, and wait, and wait for information about what BMW is gonna do to get us back on the road.  Butt Lite?  Three frickin' weeks?
Rob worked his tail off trying to get me into a K1600GT but even with a great deal I was still gonna be sitting on roughly $1800 worth of farkles that weren't gonna fit on the GT and plus the GT ain't the quick and nimble amazing bike the RT is.  Did I mention I've got about 2 weeks before I need to head west?  And Rob has already sold my Kawasaki?
I spent about 4 days looking in and going to lots of places looking for a decent used rally bike.  Finally found an '07 ST1300 from a local dealer with just under 5000 miles, relatively pristine condition with a Russell Day Long seat.  How lucky am I?  Bought it last Saturday and started ordering 'stuff'.  Did I mention I needed all this stuff in about 2 or 3 business days?  And the good 'stuff' invariably comes for the Left Coast?
I 'retired' yesterday and the whole week's been kinda hectic with no time really to add the 'stuff' to the bike so Twisted Throttle is lighting it up and wiring in my GPS units and the radar detector and a real horn and it was 'sposed to be ready today 'cause I'm gonna leave on Monday but... it'll be ready tomorrow and, yes, they're open on Sunday.  And they're doing a really fine job too (not a clue what it's gonna cost me) and the bikes getting new tires in Hudson when I get there and all is pretty much well with the world just as soon as I get packed.
So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.  The alternative was to back out of the Butt Lite and who wants to go through life with that hanging over their head?  And I might of gotten blessed to boot. Did I mention that Minnesota is completely flooded and no roads are open anywhere?

Here We Are Again

The riders of Butt Lite 7 will depart from rally headquarters at the Sheraton Minneapolis West in Minnetonka, Minnesota on the morning of Sunday, July 6th.

If all goes as planned, they'll all arrive back where they started the following Saturday, July 12th.

Where will they go over those six days?  I'm not telling.  It is a carefully guarded secret.

What is it about this long distance rally thing?  It's so difficult to articulate.  No one who works with me at my real job has any idea how I'll be spending my vacation that week.  And I bet many of our riders, staff & volunteers find themselves in a similar situation.

Let's see....
"I'm flying to Minnesota to put on a six-day, long-distance, endurance, motorcycle rally."
"No, I'm not riding in it.  I'm one of the organizers."
"Oh no, I won't be in Minnesota the whole time.  I'll be riding to a secret location with the other organizers in a mini-van.  And then we'll go back to Minnesota."
"No, the riders don't stay together.  They each decide their own route & pace.  They'll meet us at the secret location after they've been to a bunch of other locations.  Then they will go to a bunch more locations before arriving back in Minnesota."
"They don't know where they're going until we tell them."

And then I will get asked this... "Why?"

So, you can see, it's much simpler to just keep it simple.  "I'll be on vacation and you won't be able to reach me for about 10 days."

What they'll never know is how much fun this all this.  Or how great all the people involved are.  Or how wonderfully exhilarating this adventure will be for the lucky men and women who'll be participating in it.

Our riders will experience the highest highs and some low lows.  And they'll return knowing they have done something very few people ever do.  And they'll know and we'll know that they're exceptional individuals.

Because only exceptional people will voluntarily embark on a journey with absolutely no idea of where they're going or what they'll be doing. 

Six days of beauty, ugliness, unpredictable weather and some of the most odd-ball roadside attractions Bart, David & I could manage to find.


Well, if we have to explain it, you probably wouldn't understand.

Follow this blog to keep tabs on all the fun.  We'll have stories, photos, videos, Spotwalla for tracking the riders and brilliant insight from the Rally Van.

Stay tuned.... this is gonna be great.