The 1997 Minnesota 1000

Just a few photos and a quick summary of my weekend....


It's been a few years almost since I ran this. I'm trying to think of the details.

As this was my 2nd MN1K, I figured I would know what the hell I was doing this time. Hah! The almighty quest for points AND for interesting destinations left me and Tim in the lurch again, pointwise. We had a generally interesting run in a big circle down in the lower half of MN and upper parts of Iowa.

We started out weird. Went UP to Hinkley, MN (Casino Bonus). OVER to Danbury, WI (Casino Bonus). Then back down I35 through the Twin Cities before rushing down through Red Wing (Casino Bonus!), Wabasha, Zumbrota, then over to Mankato and down to the Southwestern corner of the state. From there it was a cross-wise run along I-90 during the full moon (the coolest part of the whole rally that year - it was SO BRIGHT all night!). Stopping in Austin, MN we gathered our SPAM cans (SPAM bonus?) and headed to Burr Oak, IA for another Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-inspired checkpoint.

Noodling along further towards the Southeastern corner of the state, towards LaCrosse, we realized we were getting close to the river when we encountered DENSE FOG. We had to find our way by touch into the city, with the barest glimmer of sun just starting to make itself known as we stopped for a short rest.

Waking up a couple/few hours later, we figured we were ready for a leisurely spin up the freeway towards Minneapolis. It was only later that we would realize that we had grossly GROSSLY miscalculated the distance required to get back to Bob's Java Hut. I had looked at a map and used it's distance calculator (that grid over in the corner where you pick two cities and read the number at the intersection) to determine that LaCrosse was an easy shot to the Twin Cities if we left by 7:30 or so in the morning. However, that number was probably calculated using highway 61 up the MN side of the river. We were planning on heading across on I-90 to catch I-94 so we could have a straight shot on the Interstate back up to the Twin Cities. PLUS, there was a bonus on 94 on the way back. When we turned left onto 94 and started heading North and West back to the Cities, we realized that we'd just added about 80 miles to our distance. Aiiieee!

I won't say that we broke the sound barrier back to Minneapolis, but I was sure glad that there were a number of cars on the road that morning which were determined to go faster than even we wanted to go. We let them clear the path for us, and made it back to Bob's Java Hut with time to spare. SCREW the bonus points, we figured at that point.... But WOWIE, we sure were lucky that we were not stopped by any Wisconsin State "Pay Us Now or Go To Jail" Troopers that morning.

My "thanks" to Team Strange for running this event. I don't know why I keep coming back.....


This is the view from the top of Bob's Java Hut, looking down on Eddie and the riders as he gives out the final instructions. The block is covered on both sides with motorcycles, and the next block up to the left is also full of bikes. In a very atypical fashion, the weather was actually GREAT for this sendoff. 1998 and 1999 both had rain to greet us at the start.
This is a Kawasaki 250 Ninja in disguise. My favorite machine of the rally!
My friend Tim standing next to the bikes as we check off a bonus on our sheets. We are just a couple of miles out of Wabasha on 60 - the road which heads to Zumbrota Falls. Tim and Al and I lovingly refer to this stretch of pavement as "The Road" - a wonderful combination of hills, turns, and straight shots across valleys. Tim still looks a little fresh, as we're probably less than 6 hours into a 24-hour run.
Later on in the evening, we had to look for a small park at the end of a road leading into a small town. Completely darkened except for our headlight beams, we needed to know what this town was known for (according to the historical marker). There was something about the phrase "The Cradle of Curling" which amused me no end, and I propped my camera on something solid and took this multi-second exposure.

After a long grueling night of riding, we pulled into LaCrosse, WI. I was utterly beat and wanted to take the time to cash in on the bonus we get for 3 hours' rest. Unfortunately, there was some kinda convention going on in LaCrosse, and the first 4 or 5 places we stopped at were full. We finally found a place to stop (this is about 4:30 in the morning, btw), and when we pulled around the back to park -- the Wienermobile! Tired or not, I simply HAD to take a picture of our bikes posing with this machine....

This is the last photo, because after this it was a hell-bent-for-leather run back to Bob's Java Hut in a successful attempt to NOT get disqualified for late arrival!


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