2003 MD 20:20 Ride Report: Go West (not so) Young Man

Keith Carr: 1992 K75RT (KANUK 1)

(forgive the non-sentences, seemed appropriate)  

2002 - Seeking middle ground

The 2002 Diner-fest was my first endurance rally.  Entering last year, I had only one SS1000 under my belt and was astride my bone-stock K-75RT with no GPS or fuel cell. So, armed with a buttload of paper maps, my DOA mantra became “finish the rally, don’t worry about placement”.  Hence, I ran the set southern “okra” route, stayed dry and cop-free, picked up a few bonuses just to get a feel for it, and arrived alive and satisfied with my BB1500 and a finish firmly mid-pack. I clearly remember my dad’s advice from many years ago. “Whatever you do in life, work very hard, try your best and be sure to finish 47th”. Nevertheless, I greatly enjoyed the ride and meeting all the misfits. I was hopelessly hooked.

 

Farkle-fest

Viewing all the farkles last year, I had to shudder.  I have always had this aversion (phobia?) regarding drilling holes, slicing into wires, and cutting hoses, hence rending the soul of my beloved bike.  It always seemed akin to hard-wiring a microwave into a Formula-one car; possible, but not really wise and somehow just wrong.  But as the time to the rally wound down, so did my resistance.  I convinced myself that the fuel cell rig would require minimal cutting of the rear fender (for the Reynolds rack), only one splice into the fuel injection return line, and only one wire tap for switched power to a terminal block.  Ho-boy, here goes.  With a big-ole lump in my throat I fired up the Dremel.  Three weeks later, this is what my shop looked like (note the “bike shadow” on the floor which was left when I pulled out)(see garage.jpg).  I’m sure most of you “farklers” know this special kind of mess.  The kind that looks like you tossed a stun grenade into your tool box.  Special features include 10 or so destroyed hose clamps, 25 receipts from Napa and Ace hardware, and a thousand or so cut zip-ties.

 

Fool cell

Having thoroughly slaughtered the IBA rule about working on your bike too close to a big ride, I backed out of the garage to start the 700 mile ride to York.  As of the previous night, my fuel cell rig STILL didn’t work properly, even after several refits. It pumped to the main tank gloriously well with the bike engine off, but wouldn’t pump a lick with the bike in flight.  So....I had a perfectly good “emergency” fuel source for the town with no gas station open at 3am, but not being able to transfer fuel on the fly would do nothing for extending my range.  Luckily, the last set of changes I had done the night before appeared to have licked my problem (vapor lock in the line) and the setup worked perfectly on the way to York (hello 300 mile range!!).  Horseshoe firmly ensconced in my tailpiece I snored through a fairly uneventful ride to rally central.

 

In trouble already

I touched down at the Holiday Inn at about 8pm and went looking for my buddy Brad and a beer (in that order, although my two targets are often found together).  About ½ hour later I spotted Brad, resplendent in his yellow rainsuit, chatting with Rick. After the appropriate pleasantries, having not seen big Brad for many months, I was informed that I was in the doghouse with bubba Rick already (something about not responding to a double-secret, super-important, eyes-only e-mail?).  I replied that I had been out of the office for two weeks (or about 400 emails), and his message was likely block-deleted like so much “flot-spam” on the sea of life.  Sorry Rick.  Next time, instead of the “tres-important” little red exclamation point identifier, maybe super-critical email could have a dancing neon court-jester screaming “read me butthead!!” through my computer speakers.

 

Faked out by Jim Owen

With my hand still stinging from being slapped by Rick, Brad and I headed off for a quick dinner at the 24 Hour Diner, 223 Arsenal Road (or is it 222?, can’t recall).  We also dragged along Jim Owen, whom I had never met.  I would have never guessed from this soft-spoken, rather low-key fellow’s demeanor that he would be kicking our asses all over the eastern US for the next few days.  Brad, who was wiped out from two all-nighters at work, as well as a marathon 11th hour fuel cell install-a-thon, suggested we crash.

 

Sux to be you man

The next morning, after chanting my odo check mantra to myself for 20-odd minutes (“mustn’t crash during the odo check, Keith, very embarrassing”), we returned to our pit stalls to witness the unfortunate spectacle of the oft-discussed K11 puking coolant.  What can you say to a fellow when that happens?.  I tried to think of something poetic or eloquent, but all I could come up with was “damn, that sucks man, so sorry, I have some Bars Leaks?”.  Then, by pure reflex, I bent over and looked at my rad.

 

Stalag York?

When I first read of the bike “impound”, I must admit that I pictured something different than gaily flapping car dealership flags (see impound.jpg).  A much darker picture formed itself in my mind, complete with razor wire, guard towers, and Rick patrolling with German shepherds. “Achtung!!, hands off that GPS!!”.  The reality was thankfully much more friendly.  My only regret was not getting an uncovered picture of Leon’s 250cc “Rhino-liner”, famous in song and story (why was it covered? to foil Honda’s spy satellites?).  And just what does he keep in that Rubbermaid Action-Packer? (see ex250.jpg).  I’m going with my original theory, that there is NOTHING in there.  It is simply a container in which he mails the motorcycle to the rally in pieces.  He then re-assembles it in the parking lot, all under a bullet-proof silver tarp of course. 

 

Everyone please move to the exits in an orderly fashion

I thought the breakup of the rider meeting was a hoot, as an equal number ran for the door as ran for their laptops.  Brad and I were paper-mapping-it in the corner, high-lighters flying furiously.  Going over the bonuses, and armed with the knowledge that southwest route may have the best chance of staying dry, I concentrated on the Midwest bonuses.  It seemed Brad was thinking along the same lines, as we both had some local geographic knowledge of some of the Illinois targets.  I could hardly believe my luck when I saw the Lewis and Clark bonus in Wood River, Illinois.  As luck would have it, I had VISITED the museum next to where the monument was located only 1 week before with my wife and in-laws, this after avoiding the area while living in Illinois for 8 years!!  It was an omen, a gift from the rally gods, and was a shoe-in for my anchor bonus.  I plotted a conservative route of roughly 1800 miles centered on the KY, IL, IN, OH, and PA bonuses and hit the pavement.  Brad was yesterday’s news already.  When I finally saddled up and headed out, my parting thought was “Wow, what a lard-ass I am”.  Everyone except five bikes (and me) had escaped.

The rally launch is a strange time for me.  Anyone else find this very stressful?  Last year the stress was related to not low-siding on the gravel leaving the parking lot, and not doing anything during the rally to make a spectacle (or banquet story) out of myself.  This year it was entirely different. The stress was centered on riding well enough to move up from mid-pack and justify all the time, money, and grey hairs the farklefest cost me.  A small amount of stress involved the hope that the massive accessory re-wiring and fuel hose routing job might not combine to turn my bike into a Molotov cocktail on I-70.  The goal of simply enjoying the ride is not something which cuts through the stress of the start, but it always comes once I am underway.

 

Jailbreak

Off to my first bonus, the Flight 93 Memorial.  Wow, tollbooths are a pain on a bike (mental note to add Ron Ayres change dispenser and some little pocket for bills and toll receipts).  Sifting along the turnpike, a rally-equipped GS appears in my mirror.  Sensing we were on the same mission, he backs down to my slightly more sedate pace and rides along, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind.  Watching for my exit for Shanksville on the GPS, I realize that the little lines cross under-over-through the turnpike but no interchanges are to be found. I suspect my GS buddy is having the same problem, and I follow him into one of the tollway service centers.  I will call him GS-guy as I am not sure who it was (he never removed his helmet).  “Wow, this highway sucks” he exclaimed as we came to a stop, “you can’t get on or off it”.  I told him I had a route to Shanksville in mind, but that it was not all that direct.  “Hey...is that a pothole we just bounced thru?” eagle-eyed GS-guy exclaimed.  With that, we bagged our first wild card bonus. Lady in nearby motorhome: “Harold, why are those astronauts taking a picture of the ground?”.

Off we went and exited at the next toll plaza, where I employed second hand advice from Todd Witte; ask locals for directions. Keith: “Which way to the Flight 93 memorial?”. Nice toll lady: “here is a printed sheet of instructions”. Into the tankbag with that and GS-guy and I were off.  At the last major turnoff for Shanksville, Brad blasted by heading west looking like a pissed-off banana on a mission (yellow tank bag, yellow rainsuit, AND yellow helmet). Approaching the memorial was very odd and a bit creepy, as the hilltop was the ONLY area shrouded in fog.  I immediately regretted the decision to visit this site when time was short, as I wasn’t able to give the memorial the reverence it deserved.  I will visit again when I can linger longer. In fact, I felt a bit like a voyeur as I strolled up to the inscription, popped off a photo, then left. The photo below may capture some of the strange ambience.  Friendly GS-guy and I parted company and I took off, exiting the fog only 1000 feet from the memorial...weird.  At this point, I recalled a story from Brad where he said he almost wet his pants in an Indiana War of 1812 graveyard at 3am (Buckeye 1000) and I was thankful my visit to this solemn place was in daylight (see shanksville.jpg).

 

Outrun the rain? (Sure Keith...whatever)

When last I checked the weather channel, it seemed like the area to the southwest was opening up a bit.  I needed to make time to Kentucky, so I headed for Charleston, WV into what seemed to be lightening skies.  Not a chance mister.  The skies opened up as I entered the mountains, treating me to torrential rain and hellacious lightning.  Keith to self: “That lightning won’t hit me, not with all the peaks and really tall Shoney’s signs around”. Insert gear review.  Sidi Sympatex boots: not a drop.  Held “Storm” Goretex gloves: brilliant. BMW Kalahari suit: perfect.  Mustn’t stop, but boy those underpasses look cozy and dry.  At one point, I was descending a long hill with a bridge at the bottom in some of the most intense rain I had ever ridden in. As I approached the bridge at a modest 40 mph, the car in front of me suddenly threw up a wall of water and immediately slowed.  It looked exactly like a car on a log flume ride when it hits the pool at the end.  Damn. I realized later that the rain was so intense that it was overwhelming the scuppers on the bridge which couldn’t carry the water away fast enough.  I immediately backed down the throttle, tightened my grip (I know, bad bad, but hey, it was a reflex) and surfed through what must have been three inches of water. The bike felt a bit squidgy in the arse end but came through upright. Insert gear review.  Metzler ME33/ME88 combo: right on.  Mental note to self, take next bridge at 25 mph.

Feeling lucky to be dry and still upright, I made a fuel stop in between Somewheresville and Anytown (I have no idea where I was as Rick has my receipts!).  Brad thinks he might have shot past me during this fuel stop, which reminds me of a Springsteen song about two hobos that get separated while riding the rails (“one rainy night, he blew by me on a grainer, shouted my name, and disappeared in the rain and wind”), except it wasn’t night, and Brad wasn’t on a rail car, and he didn’t shout...WELL IT WAS WINDY AND RAINY ALLRIGHT!?.  Off again for another leg, stopped somewhere else for gas after dark. Much to my dismay, the clock was not correct on the gas pump. I asked the fellow to write the correct time and “clock was off” on the receipt and sign it.  I chuckled later when I realized that he had misunderstood me and wrote “cook was off” on the receipt!. Good thing I didn’t order any onion rings as I would have been disappointed.  This fuel stop yielded another classic. If you ask “what time is it?”, “what state is this?”, and “what time zone are we in?” in quick succession, you will invariably generate the comment “You OK buddy?, and do have any idea where the hell you are?”.  No, that’s why I am asking.  Upon returning to the bike, I found it being ogled by a local, maybe 75 years old.  “That onna them there BaY-Em-Dubyas?, jeez, ya can’t go wrong wit that canya, you know I useta have a Harley......etc.....etc”.  Damn. I greatly enjoy shootin’ the breeze about bikes with locals, but this was just bad timing.  I hung around until he crossed the great divide on his hog and (hopefully) politely said goodbye. I hope I didn’t offend him. Sorry big guy. Making for Kentucky I hoped for clear roads and dry weather, a wish which was granted for the most part.  Rounding Lexington, and entering I-68, I was treated to a delicious canyony road which I wished I was enjoying in daylight when not dog-tired.  This road, although tasty, seemed to go on for ever, and I was sure I had missed the Shakertown village.  That road also has like a total of four signs along the whole length, which was not helpful.  I finally made it to the park gate after about 30 minutes, luckily managing not to weld my K-bike to a rock wall.  What greeted me was a locked and chained gate, and the welcome sight of the back of Brad’s fuel cell, sporting it’s “FUGAZI” label.

 

Signboards?  We ain’t got no stinking signboards

At this point, a suspicious looking fellow in a rent-a-cop uniform peered out of a guard booth where he was watching a ball game. Baseball fan: “You lookin’ for some kinda sign?”, Keith: Yep. Baseball fan “Yer buddy is over yonder by that truck doing the same thing”. Keith: “mind if I swing on over there?”. Baseball fan: “Nope”.  I soon found Brad standing with another guard beside an idling pickup truck adjacent to a cluster of sign boards.  Brad: (looking a bit put-out) “ The sign boards are gone....or were never here...or have been changed....or something, I’m just going to photograph one of these boards and the entrance sign....I’ve been here for 45 minutes” (hence the “bit put-out” look).  Brad later told me that the guard was none to happy to let him in at first, until he had a brainstorm to mention “charity rally for KIDS”, at which point the ole fellow turned as malleable as a marshmallow.  Brilliant. Lesson learned.  When faced with sticky security, salt the conversation with Johns Hopkins, sick kids etc.. Sooooo.. two quick photos later Brad and I zipped out to the front sign.  While getting our insurance photo, who should appear over the hill in a “close encounters-like blaze of PIAA light” but Rob Nye.  After a brief convo with us, he looked at the park entrance, muttered something like “no sign boards, locked, closed and gated eh?”, blasted a photo of the front sign, and was gone into the ether.  Lesson number two.  Know when you have enough to get the bonus and don’t waste a second more getting stuff you don’t need, especially when the bonus location is locked, gated, and guarded by hard-cases with steely eyes (OK, OK, they were just middle-aged, a bit soft and kinda bored).  Lesson three, ride in these things long enough and every now and then a big dog will drop a little nugget of wisdom beside you which you can stick in your tankbag and save for a rainy day.  Off we were to the town up the road to hunt for a 24 hour gas station which didn’t seem to exist.  Running on fumes, we headed west for St. Louis and old man river.

The rest of the night is a bit blurry, although the one-hour rest bonus was pure comedy (even without chimpanzees, a key element of “pure comedy”).  It was taken in a fetal position next to a closed Krispy Kreme kiosk in an all-night convenience store. Too much overhead lighting, Toby Keith blasting on the stereo, and a distinct impression the staff were standing over us laughing were all features of the rest stop.  Brad wouldn’t let me set my screaming meanie....killjoy.  Woke up to Brad leaning over me. Brad: “Ha! You said you wouldn’t sleep chumley, you were snoring and drooling up a storm!” Lovely. “Let’s ride mister”.

 

All-us in chains

Daylight crept up as we approached St. Louis and the Gateway Arch appeared out of the mist (sorry, that was a pathetic attempt to be literary, I won’t do it again). I had been monkeying with my GPS while we rode (why oh why didn’t I mount it on the left next to my non-busy hand?...duh). Anyway, I had found a whole bunch of towns with “high” in the name, including one close by.  Both of us knew the area pretty well, and finding the Lewis and Clark museum was trivial.  Finding the memorial was not.  We were presented with a deserted site, no staff present (despite the claim on the sign that it opened at dawn), and ANOTHER chained gate and a road winding off heck knows how far towards the river.  Brad: “I’ll bet the monument is all the way to the damn river”.  Off we jogged on foot, rally packs and cameras in hand, sweating our arses off in our riding suits.  It turned out that the monument was A. almost a half mile away, B. closed for repair, C. surrounded by broken concrete and barriers, D. thankfully intact, and E. in a very nice spot overlooking ole miss.  Back to the bikes and underway.  I told Brad about “Highland” Illinois, and we nailed that bonus in under 10 minutes.  Fired up I-70 heading to I-57 north. This was getting weird, as I was heading home after leaving home for York 48 hours previously.  We had decided to scoop up the monster 11 point bonus for the giant 198 foot Effingham cross, as we were afraid of kicking ourselves later if someone rode the same route and we lost a finishing position by 11 points.  Besides, the cross is a thoroughly goofy thing to photograph your motorcycle in front of, as it is nearly impossible to frame the shot from close in. The other weird thing about this is I had said to a co-worker about 2 weeks previously (while driving past said cross in a company truck), “Wow, this thing is screaming out to be a bonus location in a rally” (see crossusa.jpg).

 

Wow, I could throw a rock and hit my house!

The one thing that surprised me up to this point in the rally was the total lack of “roadside memorials” we were encountering, made of crosses or otherwise.  The world is lousy with them when you don’t need one, which is pretty much always (oddly enough).  “Holey crap!! I exclaimed to Brad while saddling up at the big-ole Effingham cross. “I know where a “cross-less” roadside memorial is!!!”  I pass it every day on the way to work, and I was sure it was composed of flags and wreaths only. It was less than 5 miles out of my way. Brad could not be tempted, stating that surely he would happen across one sooner or later.  So off we went our different ways, although I suspected we would meet again as we were both heading for the Cairo, IN bonus.  After bagging my roadside memorial, I did a u-turn at the same I-74 interchange where I exit every day on the way home from work.  The pull towards my house, less than 3/4 of a mile away was tough to resist. I knew as soon as I hit the couch to hang out with my wife Nancy and our dog, I would put down a tap-root.  This is why a wise man once said “never go home during a rally”, so off to Hoosier-land I went. 

The traffic through the Purdue campus in Lafayette was brutal, and to top it all off, I couldn’t get the hand-drawn map on the 3x5 card in my tank bag to get me to the “skywatch” bonus.  My speeds crept up with my frustration level, and I didn’t really look at my speedo until I hit a decidedly NON-level rural rail crossing and floated the suspension a bit. Take it easy big fella, calm down.  My GPS showed me that I was all around it.  After wasting 30 minutes or so, I decided to go up to the exit and follow the rallymaster directions, as if I were coming from the east.  Bingo. Although the 4-way stop was gone and I blew thru it, I finally saw the wooden tower poking above the trees.  When I rounded the corner, I burst out laughing.  There was Brad, kneeling on the grass, pinning a Rand-McNally with his elbows against the considerable wind, and with a big-ole hunka beef jerky sticking out of his mouth (see skywatch.jpg). It looked like his tank bag had exploded and spewed maps and trail mix everywhere.  He had his heart set on the Route 666 bonus. While I was bringing up the rear, he had run about four scenarios, including going straight to Hell (do not pass GO).  But no matter how we ran the numbers with the mileage charts, GPS, counting on our fingers, it was too far on too many secondary roads to leave a comfortable cushion to get home to York.  We were victims of “can’t get there from here”. 

 

Moonshot

As the rally gods kept flinging us together, we thought “why fight it?” and soldiered on together, destined for the Neil Armstrong museum in Why-put-it-here, Ohio.  I was glad to have Brad riding sweep on this leg.  Arriving across the street from the bonus, he reported that he thought I was getting the nods due to changes he saw in my riding line.  Funny how he saw that before I did, although I did feel I was exhibiting the classic “inability to maintain a constant speed” (I had backed off my throttle screw hours before to avoid driving straight into a bridge or something equally ugly).  I apologized to Brad, feeling like a lightweight, but he said “no worries man, I’m spent too”. He further related how he was hallucinating while leading and in his mirrors my headlight had morphed into a flaming lotus flower (Pink Floyd style). Clearly it was rest-bonus time. Unfortunately, we also needed food and a Wendy’s was the only reasonable place to park our carcasses. We didn’t sleep, as we were oddly wired after getting off the bikes (go figure). The Wendy’s, which was lit up like a fish tank, did serve as a cartographic center, as once again maps unfolded everywhere. We decided to run south to Dayton and eastward from there, taking a ~3 hour (return) detour into Pittsburgh in the middle of the night for a fairly succulent bonus, if time permitted.  Across the street at the current bonus location, a couple of Apollo-era capsule mock-ups, I shamelessly staged an “Iron Butt Motel shot” while Brad filled up.  Unfortunately (fortunately?) I fired the shot using the timer before either of us could jump into the shot.  What I didn’t know is that the camera hadn’t ejected the photo.  Enter friendly MD 20:20 rider (I have no idea who it was) who offered to take the picture for us.  What resulted is a bizarre sci-fi double exposure of Brad and I (supposedly) Iron-Butt-motelling-it INSIDE the bonus location (see inronbuttmotellite.jpg).

 

Friendly firefighters?

Superslabbing towards Pittsburgh we once again began to get a bit tired, and pulled in for a quick undocumented 1 hour ZZZZZZZ.  For this one, we propped ourselves upright in a convenience store / restaurant booth. More Toby Keith and merriment from the staff. They even apologized as they thought they woke us up. I wish I had taken a picture of Brad sleeping with his alarm watch wedged up next to his ear inside his rolled up balaclava. He still wouldn’t let me use my screaming meanie. Who’s the meanie?, that’s what I want to know.  Feeling refreshed, we sifted off into the night towards Pittsburgh. Crossing the river, we waited for the “obvious signage” to the Pitt campus to appear to no avail.  When we entered the eastern burbs, we knew we had missed it. Tracking back west, suddenly we were bombarded with signs. Apparently “obvious signage” in Pittsburgh is only for westbounders. Zipping up into the precipitously hilly campus area, we got a bit turned around and went through Little Italy, Chinatown, Greek Town, Mesopotamian Town and Little Botswana before giving up and asking a friendly (but half-cut) fellow carrying a “bag lunch” for directions.  His surprisingly outstanding instructions placed us right on the doorstep of the bonus location, located in a quiet (prior to our arrival) neighborhood.  We had the photos in five minutes and were packing up when we saw another rally bike creeping up the street.  We told him he had found the location and he cheerfully dug out his camera (once again, I had no idea who this was). After the rally “fog of war” was over, I talked to this fellow at the banquet (and I STILL forget who it was) and he told me his version which made me laugh out loud. He said that as he entered the residential street he still didn’t know where the bonus was. When he saw Brad and I thumping around in our riding suits (and Brad with a yellow helmet), he said to himself, “I’ll just ask these friendly firefighters” (who seem to be walking down a dark street at 3am with no fire, fire truck, hoses, donuts, Dalmations). We had a good laugh at this as random goofy thoughts similar to this had been pervading my thoughts for the past 24 hours at least.

 

What do you mean the turnpike is closed? Arghhhhhhhhhhh!!

Leaving Pittsburgh was far easier than entering it, and we headed for our last bonus, Jim Young’s grave at Fort Indiantown Gap Cemetery.  We felt we had a good time cushion until the fog closed in and we were unceremoniously dumped off the I-76 turnpike by an accident.  Closed for 75 miles!?  Normally I would welcome being spewed onto a twisty road, but time was of the essence. I couldn’t help the nagging thought that crept into my mind that Rick had somehow diabolically arranged a tractor-trailer accident to trip us all up (nahhh!). US 30 to I-81 was enjoyable, although I wasn’t exactly putting on a clinic of how to ride twisties. I was total junk in about one-in-four corners. On one particularly nasty decreasing-radius off-camber widow-maker, I think I changed my line so many times that to Brad behind me, I must have looked like a piece of sheet metal flapping in the wind. To top off my US 30 experience I took a monster rock through one of my driving lights that took out lens, bulb, the whole shebang (anyone have a black 85W PIAA 1000 lamp?).  We nevertheless arrived at the cemetery in time, lingered a bit at Jim’s grave, and chatted with the Flying Concours Canuck and (what luck!) a friendly (but also unnamed) 24-hour rider who signed our wild card sheet and posed with our rally flags. Heading for York, Brad and I parted company after being thrown around a bit on scraped-up groovy pavement on the I-83 bypass.  Brad found himself in search of a pothole and in the unenviable position of hoping some poor pagan had died on the road near York and left a “crossless” memorial (he eventually found both, maybe the pothole threw the poor sucker into a tree?).  After a trip to Walmart during which I was a bit snippy with the cashier, just like last year (sorry). Her name badge even said “I can help you!”.  Back to the Holiday Inn and I shut down the X-1 Dominator (well...X-1 Moderator) under the tent with about an hour to spare and 2,150 some-odd miles on the clock. I then promptly flopped down on the grass.  My bike looked like someone had dragged it out of a farm pond, covered with road grime, and complete with a baggie zip-tied over my violated driving light and a splay of hardened Gatorade down the right side.

                                                                       

Beers, stories and spicy wings

 

After getting my head temporarily screwed on straight enough to submit my rally pack, Brad and I delved into the local draft and some incendiary wings with relish. The excitement in the bar was palpable as riders began spinning yarns.  The cell phone call from Admiral Don was particularly funny (“We are at a one-hour photo Rick!").  What was also a riot was the rising crescendo of chatter periodically punctuated by a librarian-esque “SHHHHHHHH” from Rick. As for the score, I hoped to move up from my mid-pack 2002 finish but was happy with the safe ride, a potential SS2K and most of all, the companionship of my buddy along the way.  The dinner was great (as usual) and the atmosphere effervescent (also as usual). It was great to see that all the newbies (of which I was one last year) had nailed their Saddlesores. When the 48 hour scores entered the top ten, I looked rather quizzically at Brad when he was read out alone in a solid 11th.  As we rode most of the ride together and (I thought) had hit the same bonus locations and wildcards, we should have had the same score.  I put it down to a possible scoring error or some sort of mileage adjustment thing.  When I was called up in third I had an odd mixed reaction which was a combination of 1. Wow!, third, holey crap!, 2. What the hey? Brad and I should be tied, and 3. Don’t get too exited, it is probably a mistake. Two days later, we had found out that a small data-entry error had caused Brad to leave 575 points on the table, but another slight error in his favor, once adjusted, had him a very respectable 8th.  Brad’s gem of wisdom from this experience? “Next year, scores  first, THEN beers”. Still, I was heartsick for Brad, as I had benefitted greatly from his quick mind and ability to plan on the fly, which is impressive.  He, true to form, took it very philosophically and congratulated me on my 3rd.  Congrats to John Frick for winning the 24+ as a NOVICE!!! and to Scott Davis for an impressive ride to 2nd (were YOU “friendly GS-guy who rode with me to Flight 93?”, once again, no idea).  All I can say about Jim Owen’s ride and point total is “holey crap, how the hell...what the %$%&*#@?” A truly amazing effort. I should have poisoned his meal with laxative or something at dinner before the rally.  At this point we headed for the bar again to be regaled by Rob Nye’s hilarious account of his 2,700+ mile hell ride, and John Atkinson’s “fastride to a slowride” story.  The crowd eventually trickled out and after a one-hour wait for the only cab in York, and a carcinogenic ride with the chain-smoking driver, Brad and I low-sided at the Hampton Inn.

 

Epilogue

After a healthy sleep-in and an arterial-assault of a breakfast at the 24-hour café, 222 (or was it 223?) Arsenal Road, we went our separate ways. The 700-mile superslab ride home, peppered with Harleys returning from the ride-to-the-wall, was uneventful (why won’t they wave to me, I am a friendly guy, do they think my bike is crap or something?).  Once again, the MD 20:20 was a great rally, with a great staff of Bubbas and Bubbettes, and a great haul for the John’s Hopkins kids.  Get well soon Lori.

 

See you all on the road!  

Keith Carr

1992 K75RT (KANUK 1)

(“a hoser in corn-land”)