Wednesday, December 24, 2014

From Mark Collins, Rider # 36

From Mark Collins at

 ButtLite 7 and Other Fun Stuff

Chapter One: Getting There

I find it ironic, that while waiting for the chance to participate in a TeamStrange legendary ButtLite Rally,  I was able to enter and ride both the IronButt Rally (2007) and the 2010 5-Day Spank Rally.
Probably not the best sequence of events for Long Distance Rallying, which may explain a lot in regards to my performances.

I had been wanting to ride a ButtLite Rally ever since discovering and following TeamStrange activities since 2000.  I'm pretty sure I found the TeamStrange website because of a mention by Ron Ayers in his now classic book, "Against the Wind." However, many years would pass without my participation. It was always that "no time" and/or "no money" thing.

Finally, 2014 and ButtLite 7  IS  IT ! !

All the stars have lined up and it's a GO....... well, except for the ignition failure and subsequent repairs under a highway bridge near Cobleskill, New York.  No place to do much troubleshooting, so I disconnected the nice and expensive electronic module and re-installed the stock "point and condenser" ignition.  The bike started and ran great, so I continued on....... all the way to Minneapolis to Rally Headquarters.

Go figure.

This roadside repairing nonsense is getting old.

TeamStrange had chosen the Sheraton in Minnetonka, Minnesota for their Rally HQ, plus the Start and End for ButtLite 7.  What a great place.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Classic TeamStrange excellent facility and top shelve operation.  Thanks.

Chapter Two: On With the Show

I have decided to not bore you with my day to day; bonus to bonus; rally story.  I think I'll just highlight a few of my mistakes, which hopefully others can learn from. 
The morning of:

Rally morning prepping.

ButtLite 7 Start ....... oh look, it's raining, what a shock ! ! !

 If You Don't Want to Screw Up Your Rally - Read the Damn Book ! ! ! !

Mistake Number One:

56)  Milwaukee, WI         455 points                Dawn to 11 pm                                        HOLLER
The basement of the Holler House tavern contains the oldest sanctioned bowling lanes in the US.
Built in 1908, its pins are still set by hand. It’s also known for its tradition that women visiting for
the first time leave their bras hanging from the bar’s ceiling. In 2013, a fire inspector decided the
accumulated bras were a fire hazard, and ordered them taken down, but backed off after a public
We’d really like to see a photo of you bowling on one of the two manually-operated lanes in the
basement, but the Holler House hours tend to be highly irregular and the pinsetters only come to
work when there’s enough business. So, instead, get a photo of your motorcycle in front of the bar showing the “Holler House” lettering across the front.

2042 W Lincoln Ave. 43.00306, -087.93952

Seems easy enough right?

This was the Bonus photo I submitted ....

This is the view I should have photo'd ...... D'oh!!

All I had to do was just walk around the corner and I would have seen the correct view....... what a dolt ! ! ! !

Anyway....... POINTS DENIED !!!!

Mistake Number Two:

113)   Rochelle, IL                   455 points 24 hours                                                      ROCHELLE

Rochelle, at the crossing of two main line railroads running west from Chicago, has been a popular
destination for trainspotters for years. So much so, the town built a park around the junction to
provide a safe and comfortable spot for train watching.

Get a photo of a train passing through the rail crossing at the west end of the park. If you don’t want to wait for a train (there are 90 to 120 trains per day passing through the park) you may obtain two time-stamped receipts from Rochelle, IL, not less than one hour apart. You may not collect any other bonuses while you are waiting for a train or for the hour to pass.

N 9th Street between 1st Ave and Lincoln Ave. 41.92024, -089.07115
Again, seems easy enough......

This was the Bonus photo I submitted .....

This is what it should have looked like .....duh ! ! !

It would seem I had a little trouble differentiating between what I thought was considered the "rail crossing" area and the actual "rail crossing."  I'm not really sure why I assumed the "viewing park" would be considered the "rail crossing."  ....... some days I amaze myself.

Anyway...... POINTS DENIED !!!!

Moving on now.

Chapter Three:  Slowing My Roll

The following photos depict scenes that I encountered during my rally that consumed valuable rally time.  I have no one to blame but myself for wasted time.  But I enjoy it and it's how I rally.
So, in no particular order:   Things NOT to do on your rally.

Stopping to admire nice "rides" with cool trailers, will slow your rally down.

Do you think his other "car" is a '55 Chevy?

NOT a UFO...... just another silo top.  It was slooooow going, following this thing into Niobrara.

Visiting non-bonus famous geo landmarks will slow your rally down.

Stopping for construction and waiting for "pilot car" will slow your rally down.

Turtles don't have a chance crossing roads. You have to help them out, but it will slow your rally down.

Waiting for long trains to pass will slow your rally down.  

Legend has it that John Dillinger once stated that he never robbed a bank in Muncie, Indiana, because there were so many trains passing through, he was afraid he would get trapped.

Taking selfies at bonus locations ..... slows your rally down.

I did like this bonus. I took some time to check it out.  That definitely slows your rally down.

Good old bungee "anti-rattle."  It worked .... for a while.

Until ......

Dealing with this sort of stuff can really slow your rally down.

Pausing for personal reflection can slow your rally down.

Just enjoying the view...... wasting time, most definitely slows your rally down.

Giving in to the urge to take "souvenir" photos will slow your rally down.

Stopping to get a break from the heat.  It was brutally hot, so I chilled out in the shade for awhile.

Couldn't really rest. I just stared at this for awhile.  Either way this will slow your rally down.

Yep, stopping to gawk at the "Weinermobile," most definitely is a rally time killer.  But, you would not believe how cool this thing is on the inside.  Kind of a cross between Dr. Seuss and the Jetsons.

Check Point down time.  I almost slept through the Rider's Meeting !  

This was the parking lot at the Mid Rally Checkpoint at Lone Star BMW.  The folks here were fabulous and we are very thankful for their support of the ButtLite Rally.

Chapter Four:  Epilogue

Despite my rather casual rally competing style, I did manage to finish 46th place out of 49.  Total score was 16,716 points, with 3759 miles.  Just to give perspective, that was 3,354 points less than HALF the total points of first place finisher, Josh Mountain ! ! !  He had an awesome ride. Congratulations to you Josh and all the ButtLite 7 riders.  
With all the bowling references and bowling theme bonuses, I think my point cover played along well.  I actually have had this cover for many, many years.  It pays homage to the fact that my beloved "Shovel" is in fact, an AMF Harley. 

"Candlepins" - It's an East Coast thing.

When all the dust settled, I ended up earning one of these, which rests proudly in my garage.

Best darn sticker in the whole wide world.

I did in fact have a great rally experience.  I never got rained on, except at start.  No enhanced performance awards were collected.  No animal strikes.  I ate and rested well.  I was successful in collecting all the bonuses I wanted to.  I did have my share of mechanical problems, but they were not total surprises nor were they rally ending.  No close encounters of any kind.  I came close to running out of fuel, but managed to always make it on fumes.

It was a GREAT, GREAT rally, and my deepest thanks and admiration to Rally Staff and all who volunteered and/or had anything to do with this rally.  You all are to be congratulated for a job WELL DONE ! ! !

Thank You Very Much,

Mark W. Collins
Kingston, Massachusetts

Other Fun Stuff:

I came across this plaque some months ago.  If any RallyMaster out there, is looking for a very urban bonus location, this shouldn't be too hard to find.

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