The tool for the job

The tool for the job
Buell Ulysses XB12xr In North Eastern Arizona

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Motorcycle Games.. Round 1. 2010 Minuteman Rally

What are Motorcycle games you ask ?  Well, Think scavenger hunt on Steroids....

In the case of the Minuteman rally  It is a 24 hour period of time to collect as many bonus points as possible through a variety of methods using a motorcycle as your transportation.
The playground for this event are the states of Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Plus the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in Canada.

Three days before the event we are E Mailed a file that has the bonus locations and point values that we can load into mapping software and start to figure out where we would like to ride to. BUT ! We have to wait till the Pre ride dinner to get our rally books. The Rally books explain what we have to do at the locations and when the location is available, plus point values. So all the real planning is done the night before.

The Rally headquarters are located in NorthHampton Ma and it was a nice ride out to the hotel. The bike was running well and the GPS is working properly. Arrive and go through odometer check.
Odometer check is used to give the rally organizers a idea of what your odometer reads over a predetermined distance, They use this to help verify your mileage at the end of the event and it helps prove you have been to where you have claimed to have been.

During the check in, all the cameras are checked to make sure they can be downloaded after the event, plus they take a picture of you holding the liability wavier. I liken these to a drivers license picture.

The guy in the background, He is the Rally Master, Rob Nye 
Some folks were muttering something about Rally Bastard, but he seemed ok to me.
Then after the paper work is done, I go out and look around the parking lot.

This was Sam Booths BMW, He was running a Saddlesore ride this event. That's 1000 miles in 24 hours on a 60's BMW. Earlier in the day I stopped to see if he was OK on the side of I 90 where he had stopped to look over his bike.

There were other unique bikes in the parking lot.

Mark Collin's 1976 Harley FLH

Parking Lot 

Well tire kicking time is over and we head in to eat a fantastic dinner and get our rally books. I end up seated with John Tubb, Jim Abbott, Art Garvin, Sanjay Dixit and Russ Milov.

That's Entertainment ....
Is the theme of this event, we will be following GreatFull Dead tours and history, plus show houses and theaters and anything else that could be entertaining .
This is where I learn about Mr Nye's warped sense of humor, It is now looking like we will be entertaining him and the rally staff.

Planning begins


I should be sleeping now, but I am working on a route that will take me to NYC then up the coast to Rhode Island, Boston, New Hampshire, Maine and back to North Hampton Ma in 24 Hr's or less with provisions to take a 2 hour break worth 5000 points stuffed in. It is going to be a challenge to pull this off but that is why I am here. Then disaster strikes, My main GPS would not accept what I wanted to put in it, It was giving me error codes. I fuss with it for an hour or so and it is now 2 am, and I have to be up at 4 am. 

4 AM Comes.....
My 3 alarms go off and I have passed the first hurdle of this rally. I woke up, I am not a morning person and being tired from a long work week and now less than 2 hours sleep, I was very concerned about over sleeping.
Get the bike loaded up, get to the riders meeting and get lined up for the start.
Picture from my Cell phone

A picture taken by Bob L at the start of the event

Bob l Report of the Minuteman Rally. whereisbobl

And we are off, first stop is the XL center in Hartford Ct, The sky is getting darker as it should be getting brighter, and then the sky really open's up on me. Find a bridge to take cover under and put my overboot's and rain covers for my gloves. I do not mind riding in the rain when it is warm out plus my gear is pretty rain resistant. Catch up to a Goldwing with Maine plates that I recognize from the start and we ride into Hartford together, My GPS alerts me to get off at the next exit, I separate from the Wing and find the XL center with no issue.

Read my Rally book, and take the picture they wanted, Note my mileage and time in the Rally book and head off to the next location.  420 points plus the first part of my big combo bonus.

Next Stop 

I met up with the Goldwing rider again here, He pulled in after me in Hartford but beat me here. Took each others pictures did my paperwork. 500 more points
This is a link to Rob the Goldwing pilot's ride report. Rob from Maine, Ride Report
I would not see Rob again till late in the day. This was also the last time I seen any other rally riders till much later in the day.
Next stop Madison Square Garden.

Part of the Game as I will call it, Is keeping proper paperwork. One of the bonuses is keeping a gas log using the credit card receipts from gas pumps. The gas log is void if there is one bad receipt in the bunch and that would cost me 2000 easy points. Easy ? Yea right. I get near my 150 mile leg and stop on the Merritt parkway to get fuel, Guess what happens, No receipt from the pump. Now I have to take my helmet off, and stand in line to get a slip. I decide to make this a bathroom break and get some water to hydrate up as it is getting hotter out. 
The clerk is African, speaking very poor english, The customer in line in front of me is Russian, and is speaking very poor english. The Russian wants matches for the cigarettes he just bought, The clerk is trying to give him change from another customers purchase. This goes on for 10 minutes till another clerk comes out and sorts this out. Get a slip and blast out of there, 20 minutes wasted. It should have been a sub 7 minute stop. Time to hammer down to NYC

Disaster strikes Part 2...
Just before I get to the Manhattan bridge I hit a bump that was more of a jump and see something fly off my bike in the mirror. Dive on the brakes and realize the bag holding my heated gear and hydration equipment has just flown off the bike and is sitting in the road behind me. I park on the left median along the Jersey barrier run a few hundred feet back and get my bag. Hell I must have been a sight to see....

Get rolling again and navigate my way to Madison Square Garden pull the bike up on the sidewalk and get a picture at the particular place the Rally master wants. 

2000 more points in the bag, got the next key part of the Combo bonus. Set the GPS  to take me to the next location. Cool thing is I am still ahead of the schedule I set.
Traffic is light, The weather is great, getting hot but still not to bad.
Make the next location with no issues...

Nassau Coliseum, next part of the combo bonus and good for 800 points. Use this stop to go to hot weather mode, It is getting very hot now. Select the next location on the GPS and head out to Rye N.Y.

Playland, cool place that I would like to get back to and visit. It's a 1930's amusement park that is now on the register of Historic places and a State park.

Disaster Strikes part 3....
Start heading up I 95 north to get to my next location when I note the traffic information boards saying a delay in the next 3 exits, I do not see a delay, it keeps happing and I keep ignoring it till near Stamford CT the traffic just stops dead. It takes me 2 hours to get off the interstate, and through the mess in Stamford to hit open road again in 96 degree heat. I am getting roasted in my riding gear, My bike is making noises it should not be making. I feel real bad. I stop to hydrate and sit in A/C for a 1/2 hour.
The reason for the I 95 closure, A naked man saying he was Jesus ran across the road causing a major crash . I found this out few days later. I will call it divine intervention.
Link to news article...  Naked man causes pile up

Now my rally is falling apart, I feel like beaten dog poop, I lost all my extra time and my GPS is starting to do goofy things. I decide to press on and will asses my situation at the Max BMW bonus later in the day. I need to ride my plan.

Wilton Playshop, Wilton, CT, Found it easy, did my paperwork got another 375 points. I am feeling better now and I point the Buell in the direction of the next bonus.

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. Again I have no issue finding the location, and I have started to claw back some of the lost time from the disaster on I 95. 475 more points. Maybe all is not lost...

Aim the bike towards the next location 

Bill Hanney Dinner Theater, Matunuck, R.I. This was the first bonus that did not require a picture. What the rally book stated was. How many steps to the entrance of the establishment. Now I know why they are called Rally Bastards, Does he want the distance from the road to the steps? Or does he want the number of steps up to the door ? I decide not to read into the clue too much and walk from the road to the steps 5 times and note how many paces it took in my rally book and hope I get the 700 points. The ride out there was cool, At times I was on a narrow spit of road running with the ocean on each side of me. Plus the air from the ocean felt real good.

Next stop 
Providence RI
The next bonus location was a two for one, First stop was The Sportsman's Inn, where I needed to write down what is carved in stone over the entrance of the building, The carving is done in greek type letters so I carefully put them down in my book. 375 more points, then proceed around the block to the DD center to again curse the rally master. The rally book specifically stated to take the picture of the sign with orange lettering, I could not find the sign. I have some tourist from Germany take my picture in front of what I believe to be the wrong sign. 

I write down the information in my rally book, find I wasted 20 minutes looking for the orange sign and decide to hit the road. As I get back on I 95 I see the sign I need. Get off the next exit and take two attempts to get back to the sign, 

Taken from the side of I 95

420 more points and part 3 of my 4 part bonus combo that is starting to come together. Time to hit Boston 
The temps are staring to moderate as I am going north, Traffic is moving along very well and I am looking good, heading to my next location. 

Write down the required time and mileage in my book and get another 420 points. But now I have  the "On the road again" bonus of 2800 points . MSG, Nassau Coliseum, DD center and Boston Garden. 

Check my route sheet and find I missed a bonus location, Damm I drove right past one that one 30 miles back. Its at Foxboro stadium. I decide I have enough time to get to back to Foxboro and get to my next bonus before it closes at 9 pm. On reflection I have to say, What the hell was I thinking ? I went back to Foxboro only to get into a major traffic jamb near the stadium. It seems that Taylor Swift had sold the place out and I was in the line to the show. Got my self out of there by diving through the grassy median and blasting towards Max BMW in North Hampton, NH. Then I realize that the GPS say's I only have 4 minutes to spare till the bonus closes and I am 75 miles away with the city of Boston in the middle. Other than being pissed at myself, I make it to Max BMW with 7 minutes to spare and my reserve fuel light having been on 29 miles. I roll in with Rob from Maine and I am happy to be there. Max the owner of Max BMW puts some fresh burgers and Hot Dogs on his grill and we sit down for some dinner. I ask Max if I can take my rest bonus there and he calls the rally master, Everybody's cool about it. So me and  some other riders hang for our 2 hour break. Get my picture for 850 Points and a timecard for my 5000 point rest bonus.

Into the night....
I spent some time trying to revive my route in the GPS, and decided to take some locations off the list, I decide to back track about 30 miles and pick up some of my original locations from my route.

The Firehouse Center for the Arts, Newburyport MA, I found it easy and got in and out quick
add 350 points and head north to get ..
Playhouse Theater,Amesbury, MA to get another 375 points.

Music hall, Portsmouth, NH after that ...
Ogunquit Playhouse, in Ogunquit, ME. I did not need to take a picture here, just count the flag poles in front of the building. Did that, logged my time and mileage and back to New Hampshire we go to the most fun bonus.

Barley Pub Dover NH

Man I wanted to stay and have a beer here, They thought what I was doing was a riot and were more than happy to help out the nutcase wearing a space suit.

I started to head to my next location and just started making mistakes, I just can not seem to follow the GPS's direction. I stop at a gas station and get a small cup of coffee and look at my route and find I need to start heading back to the barn. I seen one more location I could get on the way back and it was the New Hampshire nudes camp


It was in Nottingham, NH, I had the hardest time getting this picture. I had to take my saddle bag off and put it on the edge of the road, park my bike in the middle of the road with the high beams on the sign and it is near 3 am, Yes a car does come by and asks if I need any help. I can not imagine what they were thinking. 

Cravings Suck....
So all I want is a Mc Donald's coffee and hot apple pie, Now normally I would not have this desire but I can not explain why I wanted one so bad. As luck would have it, all the Mc Donald's and any other place of that type was closed in New Hampshire and Vermont on the two hour ride back to North Hampton Mass to the rally head quarters.

I arrive a little after five am, and I must say I was happy it was over, But it is not over. Now I need to get scored. This is where attention to detail is very critical . I have gone long already with this story, but I leave a small amount of points on the table over a paper work infraction. 
I finish the event in 15th place, out of 32 entered, the lost points do not change where I finished.

This was a great event and I am looking forward to trying to better my finishing position next year.

I want to thank Rob Nye and crew for all their hard work in putting on such a great event.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My first entry

So after months of thinking about it, and having friends tell me to do this, I now have a Blog.

I will be using this to tell the story's of my adventures that seem to come my way.

Currently I am rushing to get two classic cars ready for a History Channel video shoot that is coming up next week. Normally this would not be a big deal. 
But the cars are having other idea's. One has decided to not run very well, and the other has had a Pinion Bearing failure in the rear axle. Good news is the 1924 Packard is going back together with the help of the fine folks from Max Merritt Co.
The other car is a 1927 Buick that has been rebuilt from a basket case, This car is in the final stages of completion. It runs and drive's and I am putting the finishing touches on the car. This is the car that has started to run poorly. So while I was working out it's issues, the Packard had it's failure.

The 1924 Packard 143 Touring car 

This is the 1927 Buick Master 6, Flexible bodied hearse

Well that all for now, I hope you enjoy my Blog