Joined: 12 June 2012
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
|Posted: 08 July 2012 at 5:56pm | IP Logged
Well I finally got around to writing my ride report for the Team Lyle Alamo Express Rally. Sorry for the delay.
Starting off the Thursday before, I installed new rubber front and rear on my 1999 Honda Blackbird, and loaded up everything I could possibly need to survive and repair the bike on the side of the road. I like to use old Gatorade 22 OZ./750 ml. bottles as water bottles (I think $1.89 for water is a rip-off). I loaded up 10 of those bad boys, brought my “Cool Vest” tried to decide even if I needed my “Rain Suit”, so I just brought the lowers (Pants part), did bring some of my “cold wx” gear (good thing too, I’ll explain later), and everything, expecting to get into some seriously hot weather. Loaded the suitcase, got all my meds, etc. etc. etc., tools small parts, you guys know the drill.
Started out Friday morning, heading out to meet Doug Barrett, Gary Currie, Bruce Beck, and Ted Bosch at the McDonalds Barstow Station in Barstow, Ca. (about 45 miles from home), at around 08:30 or so. We all gathered in the parking lot for about a ½ hour gabfest. I figured we’d all go in and eat, but the consensus was to “hit the road” instead, and start making our way to Alamo, Nv. This is an important point, more to follow.
The first gas stop was Jean, Nv., I don’t have an Aux Tank, and so I was in need of fuel. I then go to get my wallet out, to prepay for the gas, and discover I DON’T HAVE MY WALLET!! I haven’t lost my wallet since I was in high school in 1974! You see I did change my jeans the night before since the pair I used for working on my bike were filthy from changing the tires, etc.. I first tried calling my wife to check, but she was far away from the house. Next I called my daughter who was home, but her phone was off. I am now in “Freak out Mode”.. Doug Barrett stepped in and “Loaned” me some cash ($20 bucks for now) to at least get the gas I needed. I still wasn’t sure if I had just misplaced my wallet at this time or if it was actually lost or had gotten pick pocketed at the Barstow Mickey D’s.. I filled up the bike, and after about 30 minutes finally got a hold of my daughter. I had her look for my wallet where I most likely had left it. She found it, and I was much relived that she did! I had thought about returning home (177 miles at this point) to get it. Doug said he had plenty of cash with him, and he said he would take care of my situation! I accepted his very generous offer. We all left and I was a much happier camper, to say the least.
We then continued or journey towards Alamo, Nevada, passing thru Las Vegas. It was now getting rather warm but not too bad, nothing too eventful. We got onto U.S. 93 Northbound on a nice open two laner and very little traffic. Ted took the lead and we all “Ramped Up” the velocity a little since we could safely do so for conditions. About 40 miles up the road, we got “bipped” by the State Highway Patrol!! Since I didn’t have my wallet, which BTW also had my proof of insurance in it, and my DL, I figured I just might be facing an impound and all the fun that goes with it!! Since Ted was in front, he was the only recipient of the “Performance Award” because the patrolman waved the rest of us by!! “Whew” some more “drama” for me, and I even haven’t even started the rally yet..
We arrived in Alamo, Nv., around 4 P.M. and I purchased gas and finally had breakfast!! Doug loaned me some more cash to pay for all this. We then checked into the Alamo Inn and later had our “Riders Meeting” at 19:30. Doug had already paid for my hotel room another $94 bucks; I can’t believe his generosity, which later ended up being a loan of $400 bucks total for the whole rally.. The “problem” of getting fuel at the “Unmanned” gas stations also came up, so Ted Bosch loaned me his prepaid credit card to use also!! Thanks to Ted Bosch also! I tried to get some sleep, but after midnight I finally fell asleep since I was all excited to get underway on the rally. I had put the various water bottles in what would fit in the freezer, in order to freeze them so they would be cold later on in the heat. I also had used a very old (vintage 1979) Gazebo M/C cover that I haven’t used in probably 25 years!! It stunk to “High Heaven”!! Poor Jerry White was still trying to repair a broken gas hose on his Aux Taildragger gas tank, when the fumes for my “glorious” M/C cover filled the air with stink.. I left and disappeared.. lol.. Sorry Jerry..
I woke up at “Zero Dark Thirty” about 03:30 an hour earlier than I wanted, but started to get organized and loaded up the bike. Packed “Ol Stinky Cover” and left it in my room, went to the gas station, got some coffee and got 0.4 gallons of “Motion Lotion”, got my start receipt, got my witness form odometer read by Brian Casey, and all official, etc., at 05:18 a start time. The group of us Doug, Gary and I decided to ride together. Gary had some FRS HT radios, and my Ham Rig which I modified to work outside the Ham Band was dialed up on to FRS channel 1, PL 1..
The first leg was from Alamo to Tonopah, Nv., down the “Extraterrestrial Highway” past the “Groom Lake/Area 51 dirt road, (I had entertained going to the “Do Not Enter/Deadly Force Used” Sign, but decided not to) thru Rachael, Nv., (Lil’ A’Le Inn) at some pretty good time reducing velocities. One of the warnings at the rider’s meeting was the discussion of cattle sleeping in the middle of the road during the night and early morning. That’s why the rally started after 05:00 A.M. so the sun would be up and make the cattle much more visible. As a consequence the cattle also leave “Cow Pies” in the middle of the road too. Doug managed to run over one of these “jewels” with his “Darkside” tire and squirted the thing in both directions about 30 feet each way!! I was behind him and Gary behind me, and I was “cry laughing” so hard, I had a hard time driving for a few miles. I guess it’s the little things that make me laugh, but I wish I had photographed it, it was that funny.
We also got buzzed by a “Mysterious Grey”, (motorcycle that is), going what I call “Warp Drive” when I’m going that fast. “Those Aliens ain’t got no respect”!! Then there was another sighting of the same “Mysterious Grey” now going in the opposite direction as us (Did he forget his Wallet too??). Anyways we rolled into Tonopah and fueled up. I wish to thank Gary at this point since he bought my gas for me! My tank took 5.8 Gallons and only 6.0 are useable (supposed to be a 6.3 gallon tank). I’ve run out twice in 133,000 miles, so I know how much is useable. In all my stuff I had with me, I did have a 1.5 gallon gas can with fuel onboard, just in case I ran out somewhere in BFE!!
The next leg was North up Hwy. S.R 376, towards Battle Mountain via a short hop on U.S. 50 (The loneliest Highway in America) through Austin, then up S.R. 305, to I-80 at Battle Mountain. Since I’m running only a stock gas tank, I zoomed ahead of Doug and Gary on the U.S. 50, since it was curvy, and being on a Blackbird, I did some “boot beveling” to gain some ground, so Doug and Gary who had Aux Tanks didn’t have to wait for me or go slow for very long in order for me to catch up to them. Got the gas and was inside the store, when I saw them drive by, getting my change and gas receipt. All during these legs my radio kept turning off due to an intermittent connector on the control head’s cabling. I could occasionally hear Doug, but the wind noise was too loud in my helmet for me to understand anything he was trying to tell me about his location. I proceeded to jump up the velocity to catch up, since they had a 5 minute lead on me. It took longer than I expected to catch up but I did some spirited riding past them for a couple of miles since I do love curvy sweeping roads. Ever hold your breath for 2.5 miles?
We stopped in Battle Mountain, no drama there. Hopped onto I-80 to head east for the next stop at Wendover, Nv., We were at a more leisurely pace here, and just cruising along when all of a sudden there is this vehicle on the side of the road near Elko, Nv., with some dude waving at me with a camera!! So being the friendly guy that I am, I waved back. (Later it turned out to be Brad Warwick who lives nearby) that was watching the Spot Trackers online, and came out to photograph us!! Thanks Brad, I didn’t take any pictures underway, so those are cool. See it’s important to wave at total strangers. lol..
Arriving at Wendover was easy, especially when we had reduced our speed to exactly the speed limit, so the local State LEO didn’t catch us just on the other side of the hill before our exit! Gassed up, and almost forgot my receipt!! I’ve been in the habit of always getting my receipts since I bought the bike new, in 1999, so I almost ‘malfed’ on that one. We didn’t have the gas log requirement for this BBG except for the start and ending receipts with mileage, but I am more anal than that, so I did put the mileage on all the receipts whether they are required or not, just for myself.
You still needed all the required gas receipts. What you did NOT need was a gas log, or the actual mileage notation of the stops on the receipts.
We next stopped in Ely, Nv. to get gas. The big “Silver State Challenge” Hot Rods were all over town and half of the State Highway Patrol was there too! That explains why we didn’t see a single NHP on any of the 2 lane roads and only a couple on the Interstate.
Upon leaving Ely, Nv., we headed west on U.S. 6, toward Tonopah again for the next leg. This time we stopped down the street, in Tonopah, from the first gas stop we had stopped at, earlier that morning, and got some M&Ms and some other “Gedunk” to munch on. We were in the “get gas and go” mode in order to not waste time so we could go slower at night to avoid the “Forest Rats” and sleeping cattle in the middle of the road dangers, etc.. As we were leaving town I noticed the local Sheriff who had passed by before, watching the 3 of us, was heading west out of town. When we were almost out of town, there he was coming east again. I think he was trying to “nail us” if we had been going over the 25 mph speed limit, just like they do in Searchlight or Beatty, Nv.. Too bad!! I jumped on the radio to warn Doug and Gary. I earlier had managed to temporarily cure the radio problem, at a gas stop, by twisting the control cable about 2 turns CCW.
Right after we had left Tonopah heading northwest on U.S. 6/95, we got “Buzzed” again by that “Mysterious Grey” (again that’s the motorcycle) this time he flipped Doug “The Bird” but then waved friendlier going at a nice health velocity. This time he’s going in the same direction again. He had completed 1100 miles to our 800, by this time! (Go Scooter)..
Rolled into Fallon, Nv., around 17:00 or so in the evening, now we had just over 1000 miles logged, so the rally is what I consider “half” over since the next 500 miles will be seemingly as hard as the previous 1000 due to dark of night and fatigue. We also had the first real meal of the day at the Burger king down the street. We didn’t spend more that about 25 minutes eating.
We hit the road on U.S. 50 going East again toward Eureka, Nv. Somewhere about 20 or 30 miles outside of town, we picked up a pair of headlights behind us. Gary was leading at this point since he has some nice bright headlight farkles on his ride. I was tail gunner and Doug was between us. As we made our way thru Highway 50, for many miles this guy stayed a little too close to me, than I liked, but no matter what speed we went, he hung in right behind us. When going back thru the town of Austin again, only this time going east at night, we pulled over to let this (E.T. Theme again) “Kling On”, driving a green pickup truck, go on ahead of us. Again in the twisties, east of town, we caught up to him real easily, since this dude was just ‘putzing’ along. A few miles later, while following him, he pulls over to let us by and falls in right behind me again. What’s with this guy? He did stay back further, but WTF? This is 100 miles of this now.
We pull into Eureka, to get gas, it is 2 lanes in each direction, and the “Kling On” is right next to us. We stop at the closed gas station and pull in to refuel using the “Pay at the Pump” machine, and so does the “Kling On”, almost pulling and hitting me since he is in the left lane! He pulls up to the outer pumps and we were at the inner ones. He’s an old guy, (at least older than me!!) and we figure that he’s just following us, since he probably just can’t see as well or such. He doesn’t say anything, but I did get his Plate number just in case there is something more nefarious with this dude.
As of now I am cold and have already put on all my cold WX stuff other than the rain suit pants, which I am now doing. It is officially what I call “Cold”, since the thermometer reads about the low 30’s. My cold WX gear is a windbreaker underneath my Joe Rocket Jacket with all the zippers shut and the liner installed. I put on an old Balaclava, but my old Apple Warmer doesn’t work since I didn’t put any Velcro around the bottom of the new helmet I had won at the White Stag Rally earlier this year. Doh… I also didn’t wear my thermals since I thought I was going to get “Baked” by the heat. Wrong! Now I’m doing the “Shiver Dance” and have 300+ miles to go!! I don’t have any electric heated clothes and I’m on a “Sport Bike” too. Just so you know. The “Kling On” left before us and we spent a few minutes milling about and me getting the rest of my gear on, and never did see him again. Who sez that U.S. 50 is the “Loneliest Road in America”??
The next stop on our rally is the unmanned gas station in Baker, Nv. On the way the WX got even colder and I saw 28 degrees at one point on the thermometer when I could read it. ($3.00 POS, LCD that’s unlit).
Going thru Ely, Nv., on the way, I spot Mario (LD Comfort) Winkelman, at a gas stop, as we drive by, I give him a beep beep, so he can join us. He falls in behind me and becomes our “rear gunner” the rest of the way to Baker. I have to pull in my mirrors though, since his headlights are really bright, and kept making me squint. That’s ok though, since I know I have an experience LD rider behind me now, instead of some “Oscar Grope in his ‘Belchfire’ Eight”..(An old quote from Stuart Monroe of Rider Magazine)
We make it to Baker, I get gas, “water the lawn” and as I am about to leave with everyone, I spot the plastic bag that I had been using for a wallet, sitting on top of the pump exactly where I had placed it before finishing my gassing up!! It had the cash from Doug and Ted’s loaner credit card.. That was an almost D-oh!! I’m glad I spotted it. I would have really never heard the end of that. I think though since we were passing some of our other participants going toward Baker, chances are someone would have retrieved it and probably have presented to me at back at Alamo. I’m glad that didn’t happen, and been the patsy for the group for the next 50 years!
Now it’s 190 or so, miles left to get back to Alamo, Nv., to finish. Since I have a stock seat on the bike, it is not exactly “Ass Friendly” is an understatement, but having the shivers and now being hypothermic, cured the seat problem.. I was tightening all my muscles for hours trying to stay warm and of course watching out for the deer and elk trying to make my day (night). Gary did a fantastic job of leading the pack and spotting the Forest Rats we did come across. We at this point were going about 45 to 50 mph, so the “Time Cushion” we had earned earlier, paid off, in not having to deal with any time constraints now, in order to finish on time or before. My fuel mileage also improved to the point to where I didn’t have to worry about using the extra 1.5 gallons of gas on the back of the bike, to make it. My fuel mileage was about 33 MPG during the day so I would have been on “fumes” if we were to have maintained the same speed at night. Upon arriving at Alamo, I only need 4.8 gallons for 199 miles.
We arrived back at Alamo, Nv., just before sun up, and got my ending receipt, and had Brian Casey, check the odometer, and he stamped my witness sheet and everything. Thanks for all your work Brian.. I had an old Street Pilot 3 GPS inside the Tankbag as backup, and of course the 478 on top and they both read 1524.1 and 1524.3 miles total miles, respectively. I’ll have to figure out why the difference.
Went to the hotel to relax and B.S. with everyone, and saw Chris Purney drive by on his Harley. He made it with only minutes to spare. It felt good to stand still for awhile. I tried to get some sleep but everyone was outside getting the low down on everyone and stuff. Oh, I did see the “Mysterious Grey” parked in the parking lot of the hotel!! As Doug sez, give Greg (Scooter) Marbach a well deserved handshake.
Later on at 11:00 A.M., at the Windridge Hotel we had our “Finisher’s Banquet” and everyone shared their experiences and such. The raffle, I won some LD Comfort arm bands from Mario, and in general had a really good time. I took some pictures of all the bikes at the Alamo Inn and the Windridge Hotel, but if you have any other pictures, please don’t be shy, and share them. Well I’m “batting a thousand” so far as of getting IBA certificates wise. I now have the Jack Shoalmire SS1K, and a Bun Burner Gold 1.5K ( I still need to send it in though).
The drive home sucked, since the Sunday traffic south of Las Vegas was backed up for miles, starting at Stateline, due to two wrecks and the “Rubber Neckers” staring at them! Thank God for being able to “Lane Split”. I cut about an hour off of the “cage” driver’s time by being able to thread my way thru the BS.
BTW when I got home, I found and hugged my wallet!! Then the wife and kids….. lol Just kidding, it was the other way around.. The next one I’m thinking, is maybe a 50CC??
Hey Rick (Mayer), I may be visiting you at some point, this stock seat is getting really weathered and isn’t comfortable after a couple hundred miles!! Might have to visit the “Circle of Honor” in Gerlach, Nv., on the way there, too.
Mark A. (Fisch) Fischer <;_><
W6MAF (Extra Class)
1999 CBR-1100XX Blackbird 134+Kmiles
Jack Shoalmire SS1000
TLAE BBG 1500 (pending IBA approval)
Oak Hills, Ca.
Edited by W6MAF on 08 July 2012 at 5:57pm