Nov 15, 2013

catching up...

time to do a little catching up from the summer. i had a number of good rides this summer but two really stand out. one i took with my wife to the mountains of north carolina and one with my son to rolling thunder in dc. i'll start with the ride to dc.

my son has been riding with me for a couple years now. most of the trips been short rides around town and around the lake. nothing more than maybe an hour in the seat or a hundred miles. earlier in the year, when i was returning my uncle's bike, he attempted to ride up to northern virginia. he didn't last long on that trip. i think that was mostly due to being a little tired and knowing he could hop in the car and be a little more comfortable.

the trip to northern virginia was considerably longer than any he has experienced before. and there was really no turning back once we hit the road. i talked to him about it, trying to prepare him but not discourage him from going on the trip.

the plan was to leave friday, take backroads and stop every hour. we'd stop long enough to stretch our legs, snack and rehydrate but not so long that we would lose too much time. luckily there were convenient stops along the way.

friday arrive and we started our journey. as planned, we stopped every hour. we played leap-frog with a club heading the same direction. we saw sights that you only see from a motorcycle. we did some smoke chasing. we stopped at 7-11 to get slurpees. we ended up having an awesome trip. and my son has already staked him claim to ride with me next year!!

pictures from our trip...

Nov 13, 2013

the end...

well, seemed like i made it tougher than it needed to be, but i finished up the smoke chasing grand tour. barely! only needed twenty stops to qualify for the minimum finishing level - which i did. as mentioned before, i added an extra stop in case one of them didn't count.

as always, i had fun, wish i would have made more stops and wish i would have eaten at a lot more of them. maybe next year...

check out all my stops on my smoke chasing map...

Nov 12, 2013

first ride...

my son had a writing assignment at school last week to write about a time he was nervous... i don't know that i would have ever guessed it was his first motorcycle ride. here's his story...

"One time I was scare was the first time I rode a motorcycle. I was in a ton of gear, a helmet, I had jeans on and a jacket. You couldn't even recognize who I was. My mom had a camera taking video of me. My dad on the bike, he was waiting on me. I got on and my mom smiled. My dad said are you ready. I said yes. Then the bike started. As we went down the drive way and my stomache went in. When we got home my dad said good job. I am no longer nervous about riding a bike."
the mentioned video of the first ride:

we've enjoyed many great adventures since then and are looking forward to more.

Nov 6, 2013

getting closer...

took off sunday to finish off my smoke chasing grand tour... only had five, maybe six stops to get, how hard can that be?? well, when i get involved, harder than it needs to be!!

first, i should only have five stops to complete the minimum finishing level of twenty stops. i'm thinking of throwing in an additional stop because i'm not sure if one of the stops will count...

i decide on six stops to complete my mission. heading out the door, i opt to take a route that will keep me a little closer to home so that i'm not gone so long. it also reduces the number of barbecue places available. disadvantage me!!

the first two stops were give-mes. if i had set out on my mission to complete the tour earlier, i would have had another stop between the two. but waiting gave the place a chance to close and remove all the signs. i've never seen signs removed from a building so fast. then again, i've had months. again, my loss.

next stop shane's rib shack, in hopes that it might have the word bbq or smoke somewhere on/in the building. nope. i think it's in one of those socialist places where all the buildings/businesses have to conform. so no additional signage here. third stop a bust.

on to jd's grill and bbq catering... first, the sign on the building only has jd's grill. but, luckily, in a side window, they have a huge bbq sign. unluckily the window is tinted and it's bright outside, so i can't get a picture without a reflection washing out the sign. well, unless i pull my motorcycle up on the sidewalk next to the building. it is sunday, places are closed and there's not many people around. i decide not to because i can see the police wanting something to do and me becoming their object of affection. fourth stop another bust.

next is johnny's barbecue in louisburg. that place has been there as long as we've been living here. it's got to still be there. right? after a few busts, it was nice to get another stop.

before leaving, i punch up bbq on the gps and my phone to see what's closeby. nothing... i decide to call it a day only getting half of what i need. but also getting closer to the end, both in terms of how many i need and in the deadline. i think i have one more free weekend to finish this off. watch it pour down rain that weekend!!!

check out all my smoke chasing stops...

Oct 8, 2013

smoke chasing...

had a chance to do some riding this weekend. seems like it's been a while since i've been able to just get out and ride for the fun of it. usually there's a predetermined reason or destination. sunday the calendar was wide open - no where to be, no where to go...

after mulling over a few options, i decided to knock out a few more smoke chasing stops - especially since we're getting near the end. why is it when smoke chasing season starts, there's plenty of time to get all the stops and even do a few side dishes, but i'm always scrambling at the end? last year i think i got my last few stops right before the tour ended. looks like i'm going to be in the same situation this year - unless i squeeze in a few stops on the way to/from classes. i should probably also find out when it actually ends!!

i packed up my son and we headed north up in to virginia. we decided to make this a frugal ride. since we have coupons for free items at sheetz we decided that's where we'd eat. i know it seems odd that we'd be stopping by all these barbecue places and choose to eat at a gas station. but we like the food at sheetz. and with the coupons it's free!

our first stop was henderson to get two barbecue places. actually, it was our second stop after getting holden's barbecue. it'd be a shame to not finish smoke chasing and miss the closest barbecue place to me!!

after the first stop in henderson, my son declares he's hungry! i offer to eat here or wait until we get to virginia and stop at sheetz. he says he can wait until we get to virginia and sheetz. at the second stop, he again says he's hungry but adds the next stop we make, we're eating.

we head up into south hill and stop wilson's b-b-q, at our last smoke chasing stop of the day. i get off the bike and take my gear off. my son asks why we're stopping. i tell him that it was my understanding that we were eating at our next stop. he says yeah, but it's not sheetz. okay, we'll go to sheetz. a quick lookup on my phone and i see the closest sheetz is forty minutes away. and not in south hill as i previously thought. it's doesn't take long to come to a consensus that we're eating here!

we enjoyed a good lunch, some laughs and even picked up some barbecue sauce. what a great afternoon with my son.

smoke chasing stops to date...

Aug 22, 2013

smoke chasing update...

over the past few months i've been able to snag a few more smoke chasing stops. not as many as i would like to have at this point. i did have a couple opportunities to really rack up a couple places all in close proximity but didn't take advantage of the situation. well, i'm almost halfway there. my plan was to finish above the minimum qualifying level. i'm not sure that's going to happen this year.

so my latest stops over the past couple months include three on the way to and from rolling thunder...

i love that my son enjoys doing this with me...

one locally when i was riding somewhere and had a few extra minutes.
this was early morning and a guy was carrying chairs and tables outside. he kept looking over at me - i'm sure he was wondering what i was doing!!

one in maggie valley - where i should have scored a lot more!!!
finally, one with my wife!!

that's it for now - more to come soon!!

oh, you can check out all my stops on my 2013 smoke chasing map...

Aug 21, 2013

been a while...

...since i've posted!! in spite of all good intentions to keep more up to date, it just hasn't happened. sometimes just because i was busy riding. and sometimes just because i got wrapped up with life. anyway, lots to catch up on so let's get started...

while there have been a lot of great rides this summer, one of my favorites is a short ride i took with my wife right after the fourth of july. it started when some friends, previous neighbors, came in town for the fourth. our sons were best of friends when they lived next door. they were heading home, a few hours away, after the fourth and we offered for their son to stay a couple extra days so the boys could hang out together. as it turned out, our son ended up going with them. that left us a couple days to ourselves - sweeeet!!!!

it got better when my wife suggested we go on a ride. and even better when she suggested we stop at waffle house for breakfast!! after a delicious breakfast, we headed out for the ride.

we headed up the back roads towards oxford. my plan was ride to oxford, through roxboro and end up in yanceyville, where we'd stop for ice cream and my wife could get a break from sitting in the seat too long. the weather was great and we were having a good time.

when we got to roxboro, i scrapped my original plans and decided that would be a good place to stop for ice cream. i was looking for a mom-n-pop type of place but we settled for cook out. by the way, even though cook out has a walk-up window, they don't have any seating - reminder for future reference!!

after ordering some shakes, we found a wall to sit on while we enjoyed our drinks.

our view from the wall...

one of my favorite pictures of us...

once we finished off the shakes, we headed home. took a slightly different route and got to explore some roads i'd never been on. real pretty roads that i'll have to explore again soon.

turned out to be a great day for a ride and an awesome time with my wife.

Jun 2, 2013

vollis simpson and whirligig ...

i learned today that vollis simpson died this past friday... vollis' name may or may not ring a bell but he's always kinda held special meaning to me.

almost eight years ago, i was still new to street riding and we went off for a ride. it was one of those rides where you head for one destination and end up at another. something i'd become familiar with in the follow years. and something i'd appreciate more and more each time it happened. usually because you end up finding something you might otherwise never see. also because, to me, it's the essence of motorcycling. not necessarily the destination but getting there.

almost eight years ago is when i stumbled on vollis simpson and his whirligigs. and just like any article you read about him, he stopped to talk to us and invited us into his shop to show us around.

since it was my first exposure to him and his whirligigs, i don't know if he was as well known then. lately though, it seems he was getting more and more exposure. i've seen him name and his artwork show up in more in not just local media but national media too. there's an effort now to restore his whirligigs and move them to a park for everyone to enjoy. since i'm artistically or even creatively inclined, seeing art like this just amazes me.

it's nice to see him getting the recognition. it's also too bad that he won't be alive to see the opening of the new park created in his honor. although now maybe he has a better view of the park. and maybe he'll be up in heaven crafting his magic with the clouds and the stars.

May 28, 2013

he's famous (almost!!!)...

at the beginning of the month, my son and i went on the ride for kids with our club... at the event, my son got interviewed by greg white from greg's garage tv. today greg posted his report on the ride for kids and my son made the cut!!! i must say, i'm proud of the way he represented himself and the club. his piece is towards the end but the whole video is worth watching...

May 16, 2013

protect your privacy...

a new bill being introduced by representatives capuano and sensenbrenner to help protect our privacy from black box recorders... i'm not sure if this is an attempt by the government to strip away more of our privacy or just heading them off at the pass... either way, head over to the ama action alert web site and take action!!!

btw, this doesn't only pertain to motorcycles, it includes your automobiles...

May 6, 2013

ride for kids...

this weekend was a busy 'giving' weekend... saturday we participated in the arthritis foundation's triangle area walk in support of my wife. it was colder than we expected and the sun never quite came out. we had the option of a one-mile or three-mile route and my wife chose the longer route - she's so awesome! we had a lot of fun.

yesterday my son and i took part in the triangle area ride for kids with our club...

the day started early, overcast and cold. what better way to kick off the day than with a hearty breakfast from waffle house?? we even talked my wife into joining us - which was even a better start to the day.

after breakfast it was time to head to jordan lake for the ride. we were meeting up with the rest of the club outside the park and had about an hour ahead of us. luckily it was early enough so we didn't have to deal with traffic. and although we were prepared for colder weather, it didn't feel as cold as we were expecting.

we met up with the rest of the club, topped off tanks, emptied bladders and headed to the park. i'm not sure how many years they've been doing they ride but they are very organized. as we pulled into the lot, they lined us up to make exiting for the ride much easier. as we got off the bikes, volunteers were nearby to have us sign waivers and get wristbands. then it was to the top of the hill to register for the event, get another wristband, a t-shirt and register for prizes - which we didn't win!

then it was time to enjoy some breakfast of donuts, biscuits, coffee and hot chocolate while visiting vendors. of course the geico gecko was there. geico was also giving out fake one hundred dollar bills. alex and i took the opportunity to drop a couple on the ground and watch unsuspecting people go from excitement to disappointed as they discovered the bills weren't real.

we milled around while we waited for the ride to begin.

listened to a story from a mom about her thirteen year old son about their battle with a brain tumor. i don't think anyone in the crowd had dry eyes as she told of their trials.

then it was time to head out for the ride...

we went on a nice fifty mile ride around chatham country. of all the group rides i've been on, this was the latest outside of rolling thunder. and probably one of the most impressive moments of the ride was making the round-about in pittsboro. as we approached the courthouse, the lead bikes had already looped around and were heading towards us. we were surrounded by bikes. then we went around the courthouse and started heading away from the courthouse. as far as we could see in front of us were bikes on both lanes - those heading towards the courthouse and those that had already been around. it was quite a site!

after riding around the beautiful countryside, it was back to jordan lake to celebrate with the 'stars.' the 'stars' are the kids that have battled and/or are currently battling brain tumors. it very touching to hear their stories in their own words.

to top things off, greg white, from greg's garage tv, was on-hand to document the event. and he asked alex if he would mind being interviewed. of course he didn't mind. now we'll have to be on the lookout to see if he actually makes the cut!!

it was quite a day and quite a ride! i wasn't sure what to expect but it blew my expectations away. so much so that i'm already looking forward to next year. what really impressed me about the ride for kids is how the 'stars' are an integral part of the event. most of the other charity rides i've been on, money is raised for a cause and donated to the cause. but the people that we're benefiting aren't part of the event. at ride for kids, the 'stars' are there and involved in the ride. it's nice to have them there and know who you're helping. i was talking to one of the organizers and she was saying the ride also gives the 'stars' strength to know there is a large community there to support them. so it's not just about giving money to help fund research, it's also being there to show support.

i can't wait for next year...

May 1, 2013

ride to wilmington...

finally catching up on my ride to wilmington for the cape fear 1000 rally. had a great time on during the rally but had fun on the ride down to wilmington too. on the way, i was able to snag a couple more stops for my smoke chasing tour.

probably the biggest thing was hitting 50k on the bike!! which reminds me, it's time for an oil change!

you can head over here to see the route to wilmington...

Apr 24, 2013

2013 cape fear 1000...

another cape fear 1000 rally in the books. as usual the fun began wednesday night when the rally book arrived in my inbox. scanning the rally book looking for clues of the mischief the rally master might want to throw at us this year. the mad dash to convert the locations in the rally book to a format my gps understands.  the late night trying to piece together the puzzle of a successful route.

the next two nights were spent working on the outline of a couple routes. didn't want to put anything in concrete and face the disappointment of having to make too many adjustments friday night when the rally master gave us the rally pack with updated requirements for the rally.

the second biggest disappointment came thursday night when tim and julie, my mentors from last year, had to drop from the rally. the first biggest disappointment being my wife and son not accompanying me on the journey. although i do understand them not wanting to be holed up in a hotel room while i'm off exploring parts of north and south carolina i'd only see for a few minutes. with tim and julie out, my training wheels were being removed for good. we still talked and shared ideas on routes, but the execution would be all me this time...

before i knew it, friday had arrived and it was time to pack and head out. over the previous two days, while i had my head stuck in the rally book, scouring, plotting and planning, my wife took care of me by gathering some clothes and toiletries for me. it really helped me get myself together and out the door friday.

the ride down to wilmington friday was nice. i left early enough to avoid the rain; although the wind was blowing me all over the place. in order to be more prepared for travels on the bike, i've been trying to get in the habit of filling my tank on my way home. that way, when i'm ready to head out my tank is full and i'm ready to go. imagine my surprise when i check my mileage and discover i don't have too many more miles before i'm out of gas. i usually save this gut-wrenching situation for the end of the rally when i have to decide between filling the tank up or arriving on time.

i punch in the nearest gas station, which isn't so near. when i roll off the exit and head about a mile down the road, the gas station isn't there. there's nothing there. dang it! now i have to punch in the next closest gas station and hope that i have enough to make it there. luckily i did. and as it turns out, there's a smithfield's chicken n bar-b-q right next door - which i sang for my smoke chasing. maybe things aren't turning out so bad after all...

as i'm rolling in to wilmington, comfortable in the fact i have enough gas to get there, i start thinking about the rally. about the chaos that will take place at the friday night rally meeting. it dawns on me that the ten hour ride on satruday is actually the easier part of the rally. from the time the rally book arrives until we leave saturday morning is the most hectic. preparing the gps with all the bonus locations, planning routes, replanning routes, second guessing routes, time guesstimates, etc. it's all so crazy. but once the ride starts, it just time to execute. time to ride the ride.

i get to the hotel, check in, head to the room and unpack. i decide to get a little lunch to kill time until the meeting that night. of course another bbq place to satisfy my stomach and another smoke chasing stop.

it's time for the friday evening rally meeting. i catch up to my friend bill who i hadn't seen in a year or so. i also get to meet john - a fellow smoke chaser from years past. and a new friend tj. since we're all from the raleigh area we seem to have an instant bond.

so the biggest surprise from the meeting friday night was no surprise!! the only change was to the start. instead of the shotgun start from the hotel we usually have, we can start at 6am from anywhere that we can obtain a date/time stamped receipt with wilmington as the location. we have a ten minute window on either side of six. and we have exactly ten hours to get to the finish line. if we start at 5:55am, we need to be at the finish line at 3:55pm. good enough.

sleep friday night wasn't going to happen. i have an alarm set but fear i might oversleep. it seems every ten or fifteen minutes i'm waking up to check the time. at four i decide to just get up. i prepare everything i'll need. i adjust my morning plans. i decide i'll stop at mcdonalds for some oatmeal before heading out to my start location. i also figure this will be my backup plan. depending on the receipt i get, that might be my starting receipt. if it doesn't have the right information, i'll head to my original starting location.

all the mcdonalds i'm familiar with open at five thirty. i get to mcdonalds at about five forty. closed. they don't open until six. scrap that plan. and breakfast. i head to my original start location. a gas station that opens at six. i hope this isn't a sign of how my day is going to go.

sitting outside the gas station, i see the attendant preparing the coffee, putting out donuts, getting the store ready. as i'm watching him, i'm watching the time, i'm thinking how often does he open on time?? is anyone really there at six?? does he take his time and open a little later?? the clocks ticks closer and closer to six. then past six. i'm starting to panic. if i have to scrap this location, i have to bail quickly *and* find another start location. one that will give me a receipt with a time stamp no later than six ten.

luckily he opens the store. i decide to pick up a pack of gum and get a receipt with a time stamp of exactly six. i text in my starting information and begin my journey.

this year there were bonus locations of libraries. each library was worth two hundred fifty points, up to a total of a thousand points. oh, to mix it up a little, your motorcycle, passenger if you have one or rally flag cannot be in the picture. this is a twist because your rally flag must be in every picture. put your rally flag in library pictures and it doesn't count. my first stop was a library just down the street from my start.

next stop atlantic beach, sc. about an hour away. the ride is wet. and cold. it early. i've got an urge to go to the bathroom. and i'm wondering why i'm on this journey. i'm thinking how bad would it be to just head back to the hotel - to the finish line?? i can't do that. i won't do that. not without at least one or two stops under my belt.

i make my first stop in atlantic beach, nicknamed "the black pearl." interesting history, but no time to stop and look around. in order to expedite my stop, i pull up on the sidewalk next to the historical highway marker. it's a small brick sidewalk. i figure it's early enough no one is going to be out. as i back up to take the picture, i notice the marker is in front of the town hall. then, out of the corner of my eye, i catch a police car less that fifty yards down the side street. now i'm hoping they don't head out and spot my motorcycle on the sidewalk. i get the picture and get on my way...

a useful feature on my gps is the ability to find things along my route. my planned route already had four library stops built in. but i decided that if i could find libraries earlier, i could adjust my route later if necessary. so i punched in libraries along my route and discovered one directly on the route between atlantic beach and myrtle beach. sweet! two libraries down.

now on to warbird memorial at myrtle beach. i can't count the number of times i've been to myrtle beach and i never knew this hidden gem was there. makes me wonder what other treasures we're missing around us. i needed to get a picture of the stone memorial with the flagpoles in the background. when i get there, i notice there are several stone markers. now i'm starting to think to much about what's needed for the picture. nearby there's a large memorial. but it's got what looks like marble placards with people's names. is this it?? it's not what i might consider a stone memorial. crud! i'm losing time thinking. and i'm over thinking. i take a picture of the memorial and take my chances.

now it's about a two hour ride to my next stop in pineville, sc. it gives me plenty of time to think. and the thoughts of giving up and turning around are gone. i'm into the ride. i'm into the competition. and i'm having fun. it's times like these that i realize how much i enjoy long distance endurance riding. i'm in my element.

as i make the turn into my next stop, i see a motorcycle behind me. part of the rally?? most likely. darn it. i hadn't seen anyone else along the route and i was hoping i was the only one heading for these high value locations. fat chance.

i pull my bike around and almost dump the bike. before i turned my bike around, i scanned the road, noticing a lot of long pine needles and puddles. i carefully turn my bike around and clip the edge of a puddle with my front tire. what i didn't realize was the puddle of water was surrounded by a thick layer of mud. my front tire slid and the bike almost went over. luckily i managed to keep it up. although i guess i would have been lucky to have another rider show up to help me pick it up should i not be able to do it by myself.

i write down my information, grab my flag and camera and greet the other rider. it turns out to be tj - who i met the night before. pretty cool. this stop is franscis marion's tomb.

on our way out tj asks if i have any aspirin. i do and give him some. he apologies for slowing me down. no big deal. to me taking care of fellow riders is more important than winning the rally. although i don't really have any delusions that i'll be at the top!! tj mentions he's making good time and is going to his a high value location. we're both heading there so i tell him i'll see him there.

on my way there, i'm wondering if my gps is giving the quickest route. i've often wondered about the reliability of the routing of my gps. usually it's not a big deal. if i'm on the bike and it takes me a little longer, who cares?? but not now. i need the quickest route between locations. i'm also thinking this would probably be a good time to have traffic information fed into the gps so it could route appropriately.

i get to the next stop, take the necessary pictures and take a minute or two to eat some dried fruit. i missed my planned breakfast but i'm not hungry enough to stop yet. i'll keep pressing on.

the next stop is a good one. smallest police station with a library at the next stop. as i head out, tj and i pass. i wonder if we're on the same route at this point. i'll know shortly.

as i enter ridgeway, i notice they're having a flea market. it's like the whole town is out and everywhere, everyone is selling stuff. i sure hope all the people and activity don't slow me down too much.

now i'm heading to my next location and calculating time to the finish line. gps says with the next three stops, i'll make it to the finish line at three forty five. but that doesn't include stop time. including one more stop for gas and cold beverage (more points). i'm nervous about making the last stop. i've already decided to drop the last two planned stops. do i need to drop a third?? i'll decide as i get closer to my next stop.

on the way to the next stop, i decide to try another feature of my gps - optimize route. when i do this, i realize i get another fifteen minutes. fantastic, i'm feeling better now about making the last stop and having time for stops. but i the back of my mind, i'm wondering how i could have gotten the order of the route that wrong. doesn't matter, i'm saving fifteen minutes. but something isn't right. i look down at the arrival time and realize it says four thirty! not three thirty. instead of gaining fifteen minutes, i've lost forty five! so much for route optimization.

i have to manually reset the order of my stops and get everything in place. on my way to the next location, i hit some button on my gps and now it's telling me to make a u-turn. what?? i couldn't have missed my stop. i pull into a parking lot to check the route. after getting the gps back into normal mode, i see that i was indeed on the right track and i just need to keep going. this was probably the only mistake i made that cost me a few minutes.

my next stop is the forth and final library in bishopville, sc. it's nice that i can pull up to the opposite corner of the intersection and snap my picture.

my next stop is just down the street. "doc" blanchard, mr. inside, is a local hero and has three statues dedicated to him - one as a child, one as a football player in college and one as an airman.

i get the picture and check my time. it's too close for me. i decide to cut my next stop, making this the last one. except for a stop for gas and cold beverage. that should give me time to make it back with breathing room.

on my way back, i make one more decision that might cost me. as i'm turning on to the highway, there's a gas station. i can fuel up and get my beverage. the problem is i'm about 150 miles from the finish line. 150 miles is when i like to put fuel in my tank. it's my safe zone. i can go further, but why push it. of course, when i'm running faster speeds, as i will on my trip to the finish line, my fuel mileage tanks, so-to-speak. to the point, i'm lucky if i can get 150 miles out of the tank. too late, i've pulled in to the gas station. i can't afford to pull away and make another stop.

i fuel up and head in to get my gas receipt and beverage. being the mom-n-pop joint, no one is in a hurry to help. this is killing. let me pay and get out. i get to the counter, ring up my order and swipe my card. nothing. swipe again. nothing. okay, let's try credit. i swipe again. and again. now the cashier wants to try. she wipes my card, and tries again. and again. now she calls the manager over. time is ticking away. finally i decided to just pay cash. cash is king. it gets me back on the road.

now i'm looking at arriving with eight minutes to spare. if traffic isn't bad in town, i can make it. as i'm riding in, i gain another minute. good. keep adding minutes. but i'm also using fuel fast. can i gain enough time to justify another stop? will i need another stop.

cruising down the road, about a half mile in front of me, another motorcyclist pulls in front. heading in the same direction. i'm sure this is another rally rider. i'm feeling good at this point. if i don't make the finish, i won't be the only one. as i close in, i notice it's tj! i'm feeling good. i'm pretty sure we're going to make it.

we get in to town, traffic isn't that bad. we're going to make it. i'm following tj and he makes a turn down a side street that will bring us in behind the hotel. i'm thinking this is good because we'll be able to make a right onto the road in front of the hotel instead of having to make a left at the light. as we make the right, tj heads across the street to the gas station. i'm torn. do i go with him or do i head in to the finish line. i'm heading to the finish line. and make it with plenty of time to spare. but not enough time to have made the last stop. now i'm just waiting to see if tj makes it in. he should. unless the gas station is slow or he can't get across the street. neither happens and he makes in in time as well...

so the execution of the ride is done. now for the most stressful part of the whole rally, scoring. now's the time to make sure your ride is documented correctly. any mistakes and you leave points on the table, as they say. correct dates and times and locations in the correct spots. memory chip into the scoring envelope. once the envelope is turned in, no changes, no additions. it's over. i turn in my scoring pack and wait for my name to be called.

one of the last to be score. i was score by jason jonas, who's instrumental in the iron butt world. it was a pleasure meeting him and being scored by him. when it was all said and done, i ended up with sixteen thousand nine hundred seventy six points. enough to get me an eleventh place finish. didn't even make the top ten. but i did finish. which was probably my biggest goal.

as always, there are lessons to be learned from the experience. for example, don't reset your gps the week of the rally. you'll most likely forget to reset your fuel mileage. and all your personal routing preferences will be gone. not a good thing to figure out on your way to the rally.

next year i will also write my bonus locations on my windshield. this will help me with routing and i won't have to worry about opening my windshield bag and having things blow out. no, this didn't happen. but i didn't take the chance of opening the windshield bag in fear my sheet would blow away.

in closing, i'd like to thank jim, the rally master, and the costal carolina rally krewe for all their hard work in making this rally successful. and fun. it's no easy task organizing four groups of riders in four starting locations.

also to tim and julie for their support. even if they couldn't be present to ride.

and finally my wife for supporting me and letting me do crazy things like this. and for being apart from one another. i wish i could share these experiences with her but i know it's not her type of riding. we'll get to share other experiences together.

let's finish this up with the notes i took during the ride and my route...