My 2003 Minnesota 1000 Experience

(or, how I spent my weekend - again!)

June 13, 14, 15 2003

As with every MN1K for the past number of years, there were "mandatory bonuses" that every rider needed to collect before the rally finished. Tim and I went and got MOST of the mandatory bonuses the weekend before. We figured that Moon Motors could wait until the night of the Liar's Banquest. That left Warner Outdoor to grab during the week.

Did I do that? No! I realized on Thursday night that I'd forgotten to do this. Now I would have to leave work on Friday, head SOUTH to Warner's to get the last bonus, then Northwest to Monticello for the start of the odometer check. This sucked. The traffic was horrible going south out of the cities, and it was even more horrible trying to go North after that. My average speed that afternoon (and this is on freeways) getting up to Monticello was 34mph.

Everyone was hanging out in parking lot, comparing bikes and accessories. Many people were enjoying Jim Winterer's highly-customized Yamaha SR500 Thumper. He's added many features to it, the best of which is the HID highbeam expertly installed into his windshield. Nice!

This is a closeup front view of Jim Winterer's mighty SR500
Lookit the front of this bike... It's so narrow that all you can see is headlights! Jim fired up the upper HID beam later in the evening and nearly peeled the paint off the wall that was 75 feet in front of him. VERY impressive!
Here's the view from the cockpit. Note the neat hole cut into the windscreen so that the headlight would fit. It's all held together with "Marine Goop"
Jay Golden's bike looked like it had a face. The two pipes for eyes, the cover over the license plate as a nose, and the bottom reflector as a mouth. Or is it just me?

The Liar's banquet was ok. We had our choice of food and it was served indoors (!) on real tables and with real plates (!!) where you could order real beer (!!!). It was comfy and relaxed, and a good way start the evening.

The only bonuses that were handed out that evening were "mileage" bonuses for those who wanted to stack on the miles to win various "I went 'x' number of miles in my first 'y' rallies". Plus a "bowling bonus" at the end. Bowling?

It was explained that Team Strange (the organizers of the MN-1000) was originally a bunch of people who got together and went bowling. It was inferred that it might be in our best interests tomorrow to have a score sheet from a game of bowling. So, after dinner, many of us headed out to the lanes and bowled. Great fun.

Midway through our game (Me, Victor and Tammy Wanchena, Tim Foreman and Tom) someone pointed out that this was a riding event, and someone ought to be bowling in their gear. Victor stepped out and got his jacket and helmet.


Victor Wanchena showing off his classic "motorcycle/bowling" style


Tim Foreman joined in - but sans helmet


Then an original Team Strange member showed off his style. Apparently, where he comes from, there are points deducted for letting the ball hit the lane too early (see arrow)


The "original Team Strange" bowling method. Click on each of the photos above and take a close look at the grey blur to the right of this guy. There's a ball there, all right! The flash wasn't bright enough to highlight it strongly from the blur that was made by the long exposure in the room.


Then.... home to bed.

Got up in the morning, got my crap together, and went out to start the bike. Push the button and... nothing.

Hmm. Maybe it's not seeing that the bike is turned on. Turn the key off and on. Hit the kill switch a few times. Check the sidestand. Make sure it's in neutral. Make sure I have the clutch pulled in. No matter what I do, the starter button turns off the headlights and flashes the test lights on the dash, but adamantly does NOT turn the starter. There is a logic circuit in the FJ which makes sure that the starter is not run during some times when it would be dangerous to do so. If the bike is in gear but the clutch is NOT pulled in, it won't turn the starter. If the KILL switch is off, it won't turn the starter. If the engine is in gear and the kickstand is deployed, the engine is killed too. So I figure that something in this logic circuit is hosed, and the bike thinks it is not safe to run the starter. Damn.

After 15 minutes, I come back into the house, much to the surprise of my wife, Melissa. "Have you been out there the whole time?" she asked. "Yes", I replied darkly.

Back out to the bike - off with the side covers, off with the seat. I finally locate what I thought was the problem - a burned out connector between the alternator and the battery. I clip this off and replace with some new, clean contacts. But of course this had nothing to do with it.


Gee, do you think it's supposed to look all melted and scorched like that???

I check the fuses, but they're all good.

Finally I locate the starter relay and uncover one of the contacts. I hold a wire to the starter end of the relay, and tap the other end to the positive end of the battery. The starter spins - okay, it's not the starter.

Next, I disconnect the blue and white wire going into the relay and jumper IT directly to +12V. Nothing. Oh, wait... since this relay is connected directly to the battery, we can be pretty sure it's GOT +12V already. (This is me guessing). I GROUND the blue 'n' white wire and the relay clicks and the starter turns over. OK. I just need a switch for this blue and white wire.....

Rummaging through my cabinets, I found the Push-To-Talk button which I've used for a CB radio a few different times. Perfect! I stick it to the top of the handlebar switch cluster next to the accelerator. I run a two-conductor wire down the handlebar, along the tank, to the relay. One end I connected to GND, the other I spliced into the blue and white wire. Voila! I have a starter. I call the rallymasters (it is now almost 10:00, everyone has had their rally packets in hand for half an hour already, and I'm still 60 miles away from the start) and tell them I'll be there within an hour. I suit up and hit the road.

The amazing, PTT/Start button. Click for a closer look at this complete kludge! In this configuration, the original "start" button is pretty much just there for looks - but it's useful for flashing your headlight on and off as well (read on...)

All the way up I-94 to Monticello, I could see many "rally-prepared" motorcycles heading back the other direction towards me. They'd already reviewed their bonuses, made plans, and headed out. I did the standard "wave to the motorcycles" as they went by, but very few waved back. Perhaps they were all just concentrating and trying to focus on what lay ahead.

Finally, I got to the sendoff point in Monticello to find the two rallymasters standing around waiting for me. By now it was about ten minutes after 11:00, and all of the riders (save one, who was still planning his trip) had left. The place was EMPTY. Deserted. Shoot, this wasn't a great way to start the rally.

I grabbed the sheet, and before I could ask "are there any corrections?" I was pointed to a couple of entries that needed some modfications. So much for showing off my knowlege of "what to say when you get your rally pack". With the packet in hand, and the rallymasters needing to be elsewhere, they quickly packed up and left - as did the sole remaining rider.

I spent the next hour in the parking lot by myself, going one by one through the bonus sheet and marking their locations on a map. Each bonus location got a circle on the map, followed immediately by a pair of numbers underneath. BonusNumber/PointValue. This way, I can get a quick idea of where the big numbers are and a route sort of assembles itself just by looking at the map and drawing a big lazy loop around the state.

When I was done highlighting everything, it was clear that there were a few things unusual about this year's MN1K. First, there were a LOT of photo bonuses. I had originally not planned to bring a Polaroid with me (as I did not actually OWN a Polaroid). The previous weekend, though, there was a huge neighborhood-wide garage sale, and I found a "Spirit 600" for only $1. Not bad. This turned out to be quite handy, as most of the bonuses I ended up picking up were photo bonuses.


The first few bonuses that popped out, score-wise, were in Northern Minnesota. There was one in Grand Marais (on the North Shore of Lake Superior) that was almost 2,000 points. Another in the Angle Inlet was almost double that. A not-too-bad one in Ely (more-or-less between Grand Marais and the Northwest Angle) had a good point value, but was closed after 5:30, which meant (with my delayed departure) that there wasn't a chance of getting there on time.

Another amazing bonus involved hitting 5 or 6 major lakes in the state. Pepin (easy). MilleLacs, Superior (easy). Kabetogama (a little farther). Hmm... there's this other one waaaaaay over on the Western Edge of the state. That ended up making quite a large loop around the entire state. I quickly discounted that ride as outside of my grasp. I think it would have been about 1,300-1,400 miles to touch 'em all, and I knew from past rally experience that catching bonuses AND doing that kind of mileage within 24 hours is tricky enough. Starting with a two-hour delay meant it was completely undoable. Scratch that (I wrote "NO!" in big orange highlighter on the bonus sheet).

The other large bonus I was able to incorporate into my ride was the 2,000 point "sleep bonus". The simple requirement for this is to stay in one place for 3 hours and prove it by purchasing ANYTHING (keep the reciept) at the start of a 3 hour period, then purchase ANYTHING ELSE at the exact same location after 3 hours. With no other bonuses collected between those two time periods, the assumption is that you were chilling out or sleeping during that period - easy points, if you manage your ride well enough to allow for that 3 hours of not doing anything.

I found a reasonable route which made a big lazy counter-clockwise circle through the Northeast part of the state. Although to the eye it looked doable, I'd also brought my laptop with me, and decided to do a "sanity check" to see if the mileage worked out. I fired up Streets and Trips 2003, plugged Monticello in as a start, St. Cloud in as a finish, and then all of the cities which looked like they were within range of that route. Then, the amazing "optimize stops" button shuffled them into a logical sequence. Only problem was that they were in a CLOCKwise direction - the first big bonus in Grand Marais had to be reached before 6:00pm tonight, and this plan had me getting there sometime past Midnight. So I manually shuffled everything into exactly the reverse order, and told S&T to get directions.

Now, I had no plans to slavishly follow the routing instructions - but I WAS interested in two facts as they came out of the software: 1. Total mileage, and 2. Approximate arrival time shown for each bonus. When I told S&T that I was leaving at noon, it showed me getting back to St. Cloud by 7:00am. This would be PERFECT - that's three hours before the rally finishes, which meant time for a rest bonus!

So, the final plan was to go to these cities in this order:
1. Rush City
2. Grand Marais
3. Ely (too late for the bonus, but have to pass through it anyways)
4. Orr
5. Lake Kabetogama
6. Pelland (just West of International Falls)
7. Baudette (if time allows - otherwise cut straight SW to Bemidji)
7. Bemidji
8. Bena
9. Deer River
10. Little Falls

With any luck, arriving in St. Cloud early enough for some sleep - or, stopping somewhere along the way. I scribbled the city names onto the back of the bonus sheets, along with the bonus numbers for each one so I could find the page in a hurry. I stuffed that into the top of the tank bag so I could see where I was going, reset the trip odometer on the StreetPilot, and it was time to go.

The Ride

First stop: Rush City. I blew out of Monticello and headed East on 94. Skip over the top of the cities on 694, then 35 up to Rush City. A short blast, no problems with the exception of all the TRAFFIC upon entering the 94/694 intersection area. Arrived at Rush City in good shape. I parked the bike snapped my first photo of the FJ in front of the really big fish.

(alas, I forgot to take a digital photo)

With that in the bag, it was time to head to Lake Superior and Grand Marais. I gassed up, (the fish is right next to a Holiday gas station) and logged the odometer, time and city on the Fuel Log. The &#$#^! reciept didn't have the city name on it, so I wrote that in and added it to the goodie bag along with the photo.

North up 35, nothing special. Lots of traffic, but it moved smoothly. Coming over the top of the hill to descend into Duluth, I was greeted with the beautiful sight of Lake Superior with a blue sky and not a cloud in the sky. This was MUCH nicer than the weather we all encountered a year ago on the Great Lakes Challenge. THEN, it was 40-some degrees and raining. This time, the temps were in the low 70s and the weather was wonderful. No time for a picture, just looked out a few times so that I could remember the view.

Upon hitting the end of 35, there is a frustratingly slow spot where you are driving through northern Duluth on city streets. I swear, if it weren't so far away from so many of the things I do and enjoy, I'd seriously consider living in Duluth. Oh yeah, there is that pesky business of winter as well. Not sure I'd enjoy a long Duluth winter.

61 Northbound - jumped on the freshly-repaved 61 and made haste towards Two Harbors. Again, lots of traffic slowed things down as I crawled through town. Finally emerged on the other end of town and took off at a comfortable pace.

Stopped for gas in Tofte. Called home (Verizon Wireless worked EVERYWHERE on this trip) and checked in with the wife. She supports and encourages me to go on these rallies, and all she asks in return is that I call home on a semi-regular basis to let her know I'm alright. It's easy to put that kind of thing off, but that's also an easy way to piss off (and worry) the people that care about you.

Back on the road, it was eneventful getting up to Grand Marais. 294 miles in the bag. Stopped at "The Beaver House", answered the question about what made it's architecture unique. See if you can tell:


The Beaver House, in Grand Marais.

5:15pm Bought a pair of earrings and got a receipt. The store owner looked at my Aerostich and said "you're one of those biker guys, so let me put this sticker on the back of your reciept". The man had been coached by earlier riders who remember that EVERY RECIEPT must show the name of the store, the city, the date, and the time. With the question answered, the purchase made, and the reciept safely stowed away in my baggie, it was time to hit Ely. There is no way I'm going to make Ely by 5:30 as required, so I head off just to enjoy the ride.

I headed back down 61 to where Hwy 1 takes off to the Northwest to Ely. My goodness, this is a pretty road. The speed limit sign says 50, but it's fine at about 65 most of the time. Suddenly, it dives right into the woods. The shoulder seems to narrow to about an inch or two. On top of this, it gets twisty and turny (which I normally love), but the road was also covered with great HUGE amounts of crack sealant. This crap is SLIPPERY! More than once, I found myself leaned over in the corners, and suddenly both wheels just slid out from under me, heading for the outside of the turn. If there had been oncoming traffic I would have been a goner. As it was, I was able to recover and at least stay on the road.


As I'm cruising through Hwy 1, I noticed a lot of glare coming off of the signs by the side of the road. I stood up and looked at my headlight as I flipped it from high to low to high to low. No difference whatsoever (although the highbeam indicator would turn on and off on the dashboard). Crap. I'm running a full highbeam all the time! This will NOT do come nighttime!

I pulled over at a clearing in the road, and thought about my options. A lot of banging and wiggling of the fairing (maybe a relay is stuck?) as well as turning the bike off and on yielded no results. Finally, I took out the blue masking tape I had in my bags and attempted to mask the headlight so that at least the brightest of it was only in the middle of my lane, rather than completely blinding the oncoming cars as night progressed. This sucked.


The FJ, pulled over to the side. If you look closely at the road, you can see a little black squiggle of the "crack sealer of death" which more than once almost threw me off the road.
The view from there. Not much to see. Surprisingly, though, there weren't that many mosquitoes. You can see the custom headlight masking I started to apply at this point.
Closeup of my headlight modifications. I would later add some more at the top and each side, with a little box in the middle letting just enough light out to see the road (but not enough to keep people from blinking their high beams at me)

7:00 pm. Pulling into Ely, I was thoroughly depressed. If the road was going to be this tricky and slippery all the way up to International Falls, and if I was going to be throwing 130 watts of light into the oncoming drivers' faces all night, then this was not going to be my rally. I pulled into a gas station, filled the bike up (got my reciept and checked the facts on it), and called home.

I told Melissa that I was seriously considering just pointing the bike south and coming home. The bike, I'd concluded, was dangerous and I wasn't up to the physical and mental challenges of riding a road like that (narrow, twisty, slippery) in the dead of night (with the coming danger of animals being everywhere like they seem to do at night). She told me to think it over, have some food, and to call later and let me know. I told her I'd probably be home sometime around 1:00am if I was going to bag it.

Looking at the map, it made the most sense to head West out of Ely towards Hwy 53. Then I could take that straight South to Duluth and boom! I'd be home.

However, heading West, I realized that the road was straighter. The shoulder existed. The trees were back a bit from the road (so you could see the animals BEFORE they were in the road). That, and there was no more crack sealer all over the surface. Ah well, if THIS keeps up, I might as well just keep on keeping on. Hwy 53 came and went, and I continued on to Orr.

About 8:40pm. I found the big fish in Orr just fine. Snapped my photo, made sure it developed clearly, and hit the road for Kabetogama Lake (pronounced "cab-toe-GAMMA", I later learned, not "cab-et-oh-gamma").

Who could resist a giant Bluegill?? I know I sure couldn't.

9:30 or so. Lake Kabetogama. This fish was behind a small wall made up of logs sunk vertically into the dirt. Kind of a "don't drive here" fence that works great for preventing CARS from entering. I saw a few motorcycle tire tracks in there and decided it was the only way. Pulling in, I realize that it's all wet grass and MUD. Slippery! Meanwhile, across the road there is a woman sitting on the bench on the porch in front of the gas station. I look for a stable place to put the kickstand down, but the ground is so soft that the bike is going to fall over instantly the minute any weight is put on it. Finally, I see a stump from a small tree that had been removed from the clearing. I pull the FJ around and park it with the kickstand pushing down right next to the stump. It seems to be holding. I take the first photo and start logging the time and odometer reading onto my bonus sheet. After a few minutes it's clear that I shook the camera while taking the photo, so this time I brace the camera on the front edge of the opening in the front of my full-face helmet and hold my breath. Another flash photo (this woman across the street must have decided I was nuts), another 2-minute wait. I got it! Time to hit the road. I set the GPS for International Falls (Pelland, MN, was not in the Streetpilot's database) and head off.

Stopping in International Falls for gas, I turned my phone on to call home and let Melissa know I wasn't coming straight home. Maybe it was too much to hope for, or maybe I wasn't patient enough, but after 30 seconds of "searching for service...." I turned the phone off. Well, I WAS up in the middle of the woods. Maybe when I got further South.

10:15pm Pelland, MN. Looking for "Willie the Worm", I see a pair of motorcycles in the parking lot off to the left and a dimly-lit "something" in the yard space between a couple of buildings. I pull over, and there are two bikers working on photos and logs. I dismounted, cheerfully went up to the man working on his log, and ask "where you heading from here?" and got the only non-friendly response from any of the rally participants for the weekend: "I'm not going to tell you". Sheesh, it's not like this is a high-stakes competition for money. So I stopped trying to make cheerful with him. The other biker had clearly not taken her photo yet, as she started maneuvering her bike to aim the headlight at the dimly-lit apparition between the buildings. Jeez. This was "Willie the Worm" and it was going to be a challenge to get this photo. I parked my bike next to hers and we started working on our photos. I finally came up with something like this:


The darkness and weirdness that is Willie the Worm. This was taken at about quarter after ten, and it was getting dark. To the right is "Donna from Hibbing" whose last name I never caught.

Sadly, my companion at this stop had lost her reciept bag somewhere between here and Orr. She'd backtracked TWICE looking for it, with no success. So here she was, about as far North as she could get in the rally, and suddenly she had NO points for ANY of the rally. Donna, from Hibbing, was fairly bummed, but didn't seem as pissed off as she deserved to be. Maybe she'd already done all of her raging and gotten through her anger during her backtracking earlier - but she seemed to be taking it far better than I would have. I wished her luck and asked where she was heading. "Baudette" she said - hmm.... that's WEST of the point where Hwy 71 heads down to Bemidji. I told her I'd decided not to waste any more time getting off track for bonuses as I wanted to be sure to get the 2,000 points for the sleep bonus. She said "it's not too far out of the way" and I guess I coulda been talked into it, but I stuck to my original plan. We parted ways after I gave some kids my autograph (?!?!?!). I swear, there were two kids there who asked for our AUTOGRAPHS. Who did they think we were? I heard the story told later (at rally's finish) that an earlier rider had encouraged the kids to pester all of the other riders as much as possible... but I think these kids were doing this of their own volition. Weird. Oh, and it was these kids who looked at me like I was an alien when I pronounced the lake's name "Kab-et-oh-gamma". Oh well.

Onwards! Bemidji awaits.

A long, dull straight stretch of road brought me to Bemidji with not much going on. The moon was rising lazily in the East - a big, dull orange blob coming up over the swamps and forests. This was pretty, but it was difficult to see. Ever since the sun had started to set, the bugs came out in big huge clouds, and they proceeded to cover the shield of my helmet with something like a big, thick green shag carpet. About every half hour or so, I'd have to stop and scrape/clean the shield off when I'd run out of little clear holes to see through. This was going to be a long night! Finally, I hit Bemidji. Hooray. Civilization again. Streetlights, and lot of cars with air scoops over the hoods and glass-pack mufflers. A large group of motorcyclists cruising through the town with the requisite safety gear (loafers, khaki slacks, and t-shirts. No helmets, of course). These guys must have thought I looked really foolish, what with the full-face helmet, the Aerostich, the gloves and boots, and the hard bags on the bike all covered with stickers. Not to mention, I had STOCK mufflers on the FJ which means it hardly makes any noise as I ride. Well, there's different bikes for every type I guess. As I gassed up in the Northern edge of town, I called home to let Melissa know I was continuing on.

12:30am Bemidji - Paul Bunyan park. I find the sign on a fencepost which describes the word for the aging process of lakes and ponds. I'm illegally parked, and I'm wandering through the park with my helmet still on, shining my mini-maglight on sign after sign.

With this in the bag, I fired up the laptop to see if I'm still on track time-wise. Looks like I MIGHT have enough time to dip down to Walker, MN and find the information from the museum there. The bonus list states that availability of this bonus is from 10am to 4pm, but that you can see the right answer by looking in through the front door. Don't know if this is a ruse or not, but in any case I decide not to dip South for this leg, but to head straight to the East for Bena and the "Big Fish Supper Club".

1:15 Bena - I sped past this and shot out of the Eastern edge of Bena before I realize I must have missed it. Examining the list, it says this will be 2.5 miles WEST of Bena. SO I do the speed limit back through, watching the counter on the GPS count the miles. At about the 2.6 mile point there is a turnoff, so I turn off. Only when I'm nearly stopped can I see that there is a building with it's front door surrounded by a big FISH mouth.


The "Bena Big Fish Supper Club". Nearly invisible at 1:15 in the morning.

This was even harder to photograph than Willie the Worm!

Next, Deer River. And the "mystery fish".

2:00 - Deer River. The "mystery fish" is dark and sitting in the middle of a small patch of grass near the intersection of Hwy 2 and MN 6. The clue said "County 6" but what the heck, it's all the same to me. I found it, that's what counts. Now it's time to hit 2 to 169, and head south (Yay! South!) on 169 towards my last bonus - Little Falls, MN.

I dunno what the "mystery" was here. The type of fish, or why the heck it's there? Nonetheless, we spent a few quality minutes together, me and that fish.

Nothing worth noting, just a lot of driving. The fog which is rising up from the various puddles and ponds makes the driving "interesting" every once in a while. I stop for gas in Brainerd, and then continue on.

Again, an uneventful leg. Only ONE deer sighting worth noting - the damned thing saw the bike and started running FULL SPEED towards the road. I just got through ahead of the beast. That was scary. It was like she was AIMING for me! Finally I bottom out onto Hwy 27 and head West towards Little Falls. The sun is JUST starting to make the sky lighter in the Northeast. All of a sudden, a beautiful bright spark of violet light, and the headlight is out.

Great! That's why I brought extras!

I pulled over into a driveway, and got out the spare bulb. 3 minutes later, it's in place and I'm ready to continue.

Hey! The high-low switch works now. Son of a gun, it was a bad bulb?!?!? I pulled over again and took all of the masking tape off of the headlight. Life is good.

Heading into Little Falls, I drive through town and look for the "Red and white sign in the shape of a fishing bobber". No luck. I turn around and this time look at the street numbers. I'm looking for something which is between 3rd and 4th streets. Ah! There it is. Must have gotten a new sign. I take careful note of who donated the sign which is attached to the store, log the odometer and time on my sheet, and I'm done.

This is when I realize that the finishing spot is in St. Cloud, but I don't know where. There are two other riders at the Fishing Hall of Fame with me, and I ask them. One guy explains that it's on the printout from the website, but not in anything that was handed out in the Rally Packs. Hmm... the only major mistake I've noticed in the Rally Packs. I dug through my laptop and got the printout which I'd made for all of the mandatory bonus stops and there's the address. Cool.

I hit St. Cloud, head over to where the end is. It's about 5:15, which is excellent. I'm so excited about getting some sleep I can barely contain myself. Heading back towards 10, I stop at the nearest gas station and swipe my card through the pump's reader. Holding the nozzle over the tank opening, I squeeze and release, for a 23-cent splash of gas. I log this in my fuel log, and mark the reciept "rest bonus START". Then I headed off back to Hwy 10 to find a motel. The first one looks really cheap but the office is closed. The next one over is open.

Parking in front of the door, I pulled off my helmet and walked into the lobby.

Me: "Two questions: Do you have any vacancies, and what are your rates?"

She: "Well, we only have rooms with two beds left, and the regular rate is $88"

Me: (sighing) "Oh well..."

She: "You must be with that motorcycle rally, right? Okay, how 'bout $45"

Me: "That's perfect. I love you!" (well, maybe I just THOUGHT that last part).

I ponied up the cash, and drove around to my room. Cool! Each parking spot has the room number painted right there in the spot, so there was an open spot in front of my door. I note that there are two other bikes parked right near mine - these must be the people that alerted the night clerk about the rally.. I disconnected my GPS and stuffed it into the tankbag. Grabbed the tankbag and my GIVI with all my maps, laptop, and extra clothing and went into the room. By now it was 5:45am and I figured I needed to get up by 9:15 to get back in time. I slipped into my PJs (yes, I brought them with), set the alarm, blacked out the room, and went to sleep. There was even a classy towel with a rubber duckie on the edge of the tub. Too bad I didn't have time for a shower or bath...

Now THAT is a classy tub!

9:10 - St. Cloud. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK on my door. Who the hell? I stagger to the door and peek out. A cheerful woman (turns out it's Molly Gilbert) is loading stuff onto her red BMW. "Time to get going!" she says, to which I meekly replied "Hey, my alarm was set for 9:15!!".

Get up, brush teeth, wash face, and head to the gas station to get my ending receipt. This time about a gallon fits in. Log the reciept, head East, and in a few minutes I'm done!

Total miles, about 870. Total points claimed: 9,067. Total points earned after going through my scoring with the judge: 9,067. Unbelievable! My only goal the past 3 rallies has been to "ride competently, not competitively" and I've finally done it. A reasonable score with not a single deduction. A first for me.

A quick view of the bikes and general aftermath:



This is my relatively clean helmet. The last 4 hours of driving were relatively bug-free, so a lot of 'em blew off
Victor, looking just a little road-weary. The only rider to complete the entire rally while wearing a tie!
General view of the parking lot...
..and a few more bikes on the other side.
While I was inside the store (Donahue Harley Davidson) I heard someone back near the sales office comment that what he liked about this group of people was that they represented a community who truly RIDE their machines, rather than parking them and pulling out a polishing cloth everytime the thing got a fingerprint on it. This is definitely one bike which will need more than a chamois to get back to it's pristine state!
Twin VFRs - belonging to Mark Kiecker and his friend, Julien. Let's see if I got this straight: Mark is rode Julien's bike, and Mark's friend Tom rode Mark's bike. Julien stayed home and didn't ride ANYTHING. I think I got everyone accounted for there....
I like this sentiment
An older GS - is this Bart Bakker's?

The ride home was the scariest. I-94 Eastbound into the Twin Cities on a Sunday afternoon is nothing to be trifled with. It ain't Chicago, but it was definitely the most dangerous part of the whole weekend.

It's good to be home.

Monday morning I woke up, thinking about how the bike wouldn't start, and the high beam got stuck ON. Hmm.. if the headlight problem was fixed when I replaced the bulb, then what about the starter??? I went out to the garage and hooked up the standard start button. Sure enough, that was it.

Who's ever heard of a bad HEADLIGHT keeping the starter from functioning??? Weird. So, my bike isn't actually broken at all. It was just disabled by an $8 light bulb.

(last modified 6/17/03)