Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ride Report - Martin Little

Ride Report from Martin Little, Rider #17:

My expectations about what sort of riding and rallying I thought I would encounter on Buttlite VIII were shaped from my experiences on Buttlite VII, well I couldn’t have been more wrong. I expected lots of Interstate riding blah blah blah, instead I did more canyon carving, gravel surfing and Fire Trail/Country Road riding bonus hunting than I would do in a typical LD ride Down Under. How good were these Rally Masters? Simply awesome that’s how!

The scene was set on Day 1 of Leg 1, heading north from Denver I breezed up to Nebraska to pick up the SUMMIT bonus, with the awesome corners on the climb up and down! Once this was in the bag I headed west to collect FEATHER in Wyoming. When my # 2 GPS brought up a shortcut on “Ranch Road” I thought why not? 30 miles of gravel surfing later and with this Bonus in the bag my smile couldn’t have been bigger. Back on sealed roads, I headed north to North Dakota to pick up MARMTH arriving at the same time as Giel on his Harley. A quick chat and we went our separate ways (actually Giel was far more efficient in his turnaround time and left before me. Mental note to myself must be quicker on these Bonus Points)

Next up was JERSEY in Ingomar, Montana. Arrived there to find a small group of Buttlite riders departing. Collected the bonus while chatting with the barman. This was his/their BIG day with so many riders (visitors) to their remote part of Montana and boy were they happy to see us. Continuing westward into the dusk I ran the tank down to fumes as I coasted into Roundup Montana right on dark. Phew that was good planning, not. Fuelled up and then considered my options, another 2 hrs to the next bonus or pull stumps and sleep now? Having clocked up 900 miles for the day I erred on the side of first day caution and took a room at the IBA motel while enjoying the 4 July eve fireworks until well after midnight. Listening to the fireworks I ruminated on the route options. I had planned to continue heading westward to Oregon but had also wanted to visit Yellowstone. I fell asleep undecided.

Day 2 began at 3:30am and having slept on the route options (well actually I slept on concrete) I decided Yellowstone, so rode south to Billings where I took over a few tables at Starbucks at 4:30am to check/finalise the route for Day 2. Yellowstone beckoned and what a choice! 

The ride up to MEDWHL in the early morning light was sublime. The view was panoramic with lots and lots of corners. At the Bonus Point Brian Walters joined me while we took photos. Brian departed ahead of me (I’m slow again on these Bonuses! what the?) but it didn’t take long for me to re-join him on the good Wyoming gravel road on our way out. Back on the main road and heading downhill I left Brian to his own pace while I enjoyed those sensational corners. Things took a turn for the worse in Cody where I got caught up in the detours in place for the 4th July street parade. I spent 45 minutes “navigating” my way through this mess before finally finding my way out to the other side of town into Yellowstone. By now I was dreading what the Park traffic was going to be like and silently rueing my decision to head this way. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The traffic was moderately heavy but flowing and I managed to maintain a reasonable pace.

At the top of Mt Washburn I had phone signal so I rang Rebecca, she answered the phone with a “You went to Yellowstone without me?” greeting.  The wonders of Spotwalla. Her envy was not helped by my vivid descriptions of how good the scenery and riding was. Exiting Yellowstone by way of the western road there was a serious rain storm and the temperatures plummeted which was a relief. It didn’t last long and by the time I rode into Idaho the sun was out again.

I had planned to stop in Idaho Falls but with no beds available due to the 4th July fireworks I kept heading south to Blackfoot. I grabbed a real motel bed there and enjoyed a few hours’ sleep: Luxury! Another awesome day of riding with 90% of it off Interstates.

Day 3 was head-to-Reno day, so I plodded my way south west through Idaho and then Utah on Highway 30 (what a great backroad!) and into Nevada to take I80 to Reno. Bonus points collected were SODA in Idaho, RubyV, CLOWN in Nevada and CAVE at Lake Tahoe, a very beautiful location and well worth the ride over the hill. Riding through the southern part of Utah I stopped on a quiet back road to take some photos of the salt lakes and mountains when a truckie stopped his huge truck to check that I was OK. Jeremy the truckie was a local Utah lad doing his weekly run to California and he gladly gave me his time and knowledge of the local area. The run across Nevada to Reno was the most boring of the rally to date and hot! Checked into the Boomtown Resort 8:00pm to take my 8 hr Rest Bonus.

Day 4 I was up early to check in at 4:00am, (feeling very refreshed after a decent night’s sleep). Got the odo check completed and then headed in for scoring. One of my objectives for this Rally was to not leave any points on the table during scoring (after leaving all my points there on leg 1 of BL7) and this box was ticked as I walked away with all my points intact!  

With rider briefing completed and extra BP’s handed out, the 2,000 points at Gerlach confirmed which route I was taking for leg 2 (I had prepared 2 routes, a northern and a southern one) and I joined the mass exodus out to Gerlach. Some Rally camaraderie ensued on the side of the road while a large group of riders waited for roadworks!

The Gerlach Bonus Point was collected and from a very special location! I will come back here and spend some time soaking up the beauty of this place at another time. Heading north to California I tagged along with fellow Aussie Olaf. He had completed a marathon ride back from Kansas overnight (check out his story of the contaminated fuel!) arriving at the check-in with only 15 minutes to spare and with very little rest or sleep. At Cedarville, California we took an hour while Ollie kipped, and I kept an eye on the bikes while enjoying some Peach Cobbler in the local cafĂ©. Getting going again we pressed on into northern California aiming initially for OLDSTA then MITCH. OLDSTA was discarded as being too far out of the way but was substituted with TULE, the WWII detention camp. 

Once this was collected we rode further north into Oregon arriving at MITCH early evening. This Bonus was up in the forests and it felt very peaceful in the warm sunshine and shady forest. From here a quick check of the GPS said straight ahead, which surprised me slightly as I had assumed there was no through road the Freemont National Forest. A cross check on the other GPS and also Olaf’s confirmed that it was indeed straight ahead so off I set, leaving Ollie to follow at his own pace. Well we were on a Fire Trail that continued deeper into the woods, which was fun to say the least: lots of corners with gravel and potholes to keep you on your toes, plus free range cattle and the odd deer (including one with a decent head of antlers as surprised to see me as I was to see him on the road). Right on dusk I came to a fork in the road, “turn right” said the GPS, but this road turned to gravel while the road to the left was sealed. Hmmm, what to do? (I have a rule of no gravel surfing in the dark) It was tempting to take the gravel road as it was “only” 12 miles to the highway. In the meantime Ollie pulled up beside me and said, “did you see that bear back there?” “Yeah, sure mate, there’s no bear there, well I certainly didn’t see it” was my response. Next second the bear let out one of those blood curdling screams that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Well that decided the route, it was the left fork (the sealed one), and right now! Needless to say neither Ollie nor I were hanging around to see “the bear”.

Back on a decent highway (US 31) at Silver Lake we both headed towards La Pine at the junction of US31 and US97. I was happy to chug away at a slower pace enjoying the cool night air under the stars while Ollie went ahead. Took a motel at La Pine just on midnight and had no problem falling asleep.

Day 5 started at 4:00am and boy was it cold! Put the thermal liner back into the jacket and on went the heated grips on the road north to Bend. First Bonus Point for the day was PAINTH, the Painted Hills in Oregon, and they were spectacular in the morning light. An added bonus was a few miles of gravel surfing! These Rally Masters think of everything! On the way back to the highway another rider heading in waved hello, and I felt strangely reassured I wasn’t lost out here on my ownsome. Next up was BOOT in Canyon City, Oregon. Took a little while to find the wooden sign at the top of the hill but I got it eventually and continued on to Baker City for INTERP. There was a bike show or something on in the town and the main street was closed plus plenty of other non-rally bikes moving around. I found the Center on the hill overlooking the town and snapped the bonus point with the help of the local ladies manning the desk. On the way out, I had a short conference with a few other Rally Riders about the issue of the Hells Canyon bonus being restricted hours due to maintenance works. Decided to discard this and keep moving east.

Crossed the State Line into Idaho heading for Emmett and the FREEZE bonus. Boy was it hot now! Kept up the hydration but riding was getting decidedly uncomfortable. At the bonus point up on the hill there was no shade or shelter and by the time I had collected the bonus and written up the log I was drenched in sweat. Got going again but feeling very sluggish so I took things slowly as I rode across to Stanley Idaho for the PLOUGH bonus. Actually these words don’t do this section of Idaho justice at all. I lost count of the canyons I rode through and the number of mountains, lakes and jaw-dropping views I passed over/through/around. Wow this place has some of the best scenery I’ve ever ridden through. 

Heading down US 21 with the mountains (Sun Valley) on my right was something else, but I was starting to feel off colour (unwell) and couldn’t figure out why. I collected the bonus at Stanley and decided to take 5 minutes to regather myself and decide whether to take my 8hrs Rest Bonus here. Olaf pulled up for this bonus too and upon hearing my symptoms he suggested I may have altitude sickness or something similar. Erring on the side of caution I made the decision to grab a motel room in Stanley, even thought it was still only 6:30pm. All going well it would mean I would get a 2:00am start in the morning. My day 6 route back to Denver was checked and finalised over dinner and I had no problem falling to sleep. 

I had agreed with Ollie that we would both meet again at the servo to ensure we could get the required receipt, my credit card hadn’t been working at all gas stations but as it turned out my card worked well, and the receipt was provided, although the time stamp was not MT as it should have been but rather PT. In my fogged state of mind I couldn’t work this out at the gas station and as I was still feeling off colour I told Olaf I would take some more time collect myself and if needed to I’d get some more sleep.

After 30 minutes of no further sleep, I decided there was nothing further to be gained by not riding so I got back on the highway heading for the first of the Day 6 bonuses: FONT in Wyoming. It was a lonely ride on US 75 heading east. It was a lonely and eerie ride in the darkness that seemed to last for hours and it took a while to shake off the feeling of being unwell. (Not helped by passing signs suggesting I visit Custer Ghost Town and Bonanza Ghost Town) After collecting the FONT bonus, (in what felt like the middle of nowhere!) again with a few miles of gravel surfing in and out off the highway, it was on to SOUTHP, SHIPS and AMES all in Wyoming, before crossing the state line back into Colorado early evening to collect BIGT. I’m not normally a big fan of Interstates but after 2 glorious days of back roads/canyons etc. it was a relief to get onto I80 and then I25. 

Coming off I25 westward to Drake to collect the BIGT bonus the sun was setting and it was a perfect summer’s evening to be out on the bike. Riding up into the Big Thompson Canyon (another canyon!) was a delight with wonderful scenery and more great corners. Bonus collected it was time to ride back down the canyon and I was blessed to have no traffic until I popped out of the canyon and back into rural townships.  Back on I25 it was welcome back to reality with Friday night traffic getting heavier and heavier until it was again bumper to bumper, but all flowing quite seamlessly at 70 miles an hour as it does here in the US (not like home, mate!).

Rolled into the parking lot at Rally HQ right on 9:30pm, kicked the side stand and quietly congratulated myself on achieving 2 out of 3 Rally objectives so far: return home safe and have fun!  Objective # 3 was not to leave any points on the table and I walked away from scoring 8 hours later with that box ticked also. Mission accomplished!

And thanks to so many who made this Rally such fun:
·         the Rally Masters, Lisa, David and Bart (and their many many helpers) deserve the highest accolades for sending us out to the most beautiful locations imaginable;
·         My fellow Rally Riders who share that camaraderie of the open road while on Rally;
·         My fellow Aussies on the Rally plus the Aussies back home sharing and cheering us on;
·         And last but not least my partner Rebecca who followed my every step (and wrong turn) of the journey, now if I can only convince her to join me on the pillion seat for Buttlite IX….just saying.

Well, That's One Way To Arrive At The Checkpoint

Dale McNeely, rider #86 - a DNF but a great story (apologies for any formatting issues):

Hello Everyone:

Well, it has been an interesting couple of days.  Here’s my Rally update, and the end of my Rally, unfortunately.

As I was traveling through 120°F heat in Phoenix on Tuesday, I kept hearing a noise; I couldn’t ascertain from where it was coming.

After spending that night in Needles, where it was a mere 115 degrees at 10:30 pm, I woke up to 90°F.  It hadn’t exactly cooled down overnight.  As I left town, the noise persisted; I figured it was the new clutch I had installed right before leaving home.

I then headed to California, specifically Hwy 395 which runs north and south on the eastern side of the Sierras.  This was absolutely fantastic riding and as I collected a few bonus points, I realized that I was going to be early into the Reno area checkpoint.  So I did what I do best. I bit off a little more than I could chew….I headed to Bodie (a ghost town off of Highway 395) and collected a very nice big bonus point total.  I had decided that I needed to know where the noise was coming from; so on my way out of Bodie I took my ear plugs out and realized the noise I was hearing was not laughter, it was my transmission!

I figured I could get to Markleeville, collect one more bonus, and then head towards Reno and into civilization where I may be able to get cell coverage and a tow. My luck ran out in Markleeville!!  Greta (my 2004 GS1150 Adventure) said no more, bucked me off, and then laid down.  As I had no cell phone reception, I had to walk about ½ mile in motorcycle riding boots, into town and find a phone.  Luck was on my side and the local bar was open! YEAH!! I could call a tow and drown my sorrows all at the same time!

After staying on hold with AAA for a few minutes, the young girl running the bar asked if I were okay. I said I am hold for AAA.  She said you will be here all night if you continue to wait for them and gave me the name of the local tow company. Quickly to my rescue was Woodford’s Towing Service, owned by the absolutely most fantastic people.  We laughed all the way to Boomtown, outside Reno, where the Butt Lite checkpoint was in full swing.

So imagine this…..we pull into the Boomtown parking lot, Greta proudly displayed on the back of the flatbed tow truck, with the other Butt Lite Rally Riders watching, and thanking their lucky stars this was not them.  My ride of shame…. (See picture).

After letting Lisa, the Rally Master, know I was back, I immediately started doing research on-line to find a transmission.  I stayed up late and found nothing.

The next morning I had to declare myself DNF (Did Not Finish).  I’m not sure which is worse, my DFL (Dead effing Last) finish on my last rally, or not being able to finish this one!  Darn it!

So on Wednesday morning, I rented a car, headed home to get the Toyota, rented a motorcycle trailer and immediately headed back to Reno.  I got there just passed midnight on Thursday morning, and had to remove the rear wheel and disconnect the drive train to wheel Greta onto the trailer.  I then proceeded to head home.  I finally reached home at 5:30 am Thursday morning, and have been sleeping ever since.  Now I have to wait until 2018 before I can try to finish this rally, as Butt Lite is a bi-annual event.

But overall, it was fun…especially being on my home turf on Highway 395, one of my favorite rides.  I was just coming into my stride, figuring out this rally stuff, when Greta let me down.

If I had not DNF’d I would have been about the middle of the pack, at least at the mid-point of this rally.  And trust me…that would have been totally fine with me!  I’ve attached a few pictures showing you the different ways of earning points.  I guess we’ll all have to wait until 2018’s Butt Lite for this story To Be Continued….

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Butt Lite VIII final results! (with motorcycle corrections)!

Place Rider # Rider name Motorcycle  Final score Total miles
1 13 Troy Martin 2016 Triumph Trophy SE 59477 7226
2 74 Kirsten Talken-Spaulding 2009 BMW R1200RT 49757 6660
3 19 Craig Brooks 2011 BMW R1200GS 48848 6667
4 10 Scott Thornton 2006 Yamaha FJR1300 47783 6827
5 3 Erik Lipps 2012 Yamaha FJR1300 47060 7416
6 23 Scott Madsen 2007 BMW R1200RT 46515 5977
7 84 Wolfe Bonham 2003 BMW R1150GSA 46462 6577
8 73 Daniel Roth 2011 BMW R1200GSA 44245 6408
9 78 Billy Connacher 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 650R 43444 5494
10 75 John Coons 1994 BMW R1000RSL 42969 6781
11 28 Brian Walters 2012 BMW R1200GS 42111 6413
12 72 Andrew Regnier 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere 41801 5736
13 32-33 John & Nadine Huval 2012 Honda GL1800 41502 5653
14 49 Mike Heitkamp 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 41455 5833
15 31 Rick Miller 2008 Kawasaki Concours 41001 5959
16 11 Jon Kerr 2013 Yamaha FJR1300 40049 6002
17 55 Ian McPhee 2001 BMW R1100RT 39825 6229
18 6 Dylan Spink 2012 Honda ST1300 39697 6430
19 63 Kevin Gardner 2008 Honda GL1800 39653 6113
20 48 Giel Kerkhof 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Limited 39260 5573
21 67 Kevin Blevins 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic  39231 5738
22 20 Andrew Hall 2013 Honda GL1800 39090 5805
23 58 Jeff Wilson 2010 BMW R1200RT 38964 5845
24 15 Steve Diederich 2013 Honda GL1800 38417 5740
25 24 Gregg Lenentine 2010 Yamaha FJR1300 38371 5626
26 7 Justin Long 2012 BMW R1200GS 38293 4858
27 95 Peter Green 2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited 37311 6593
28 42 Gerhard Memmen-Krueger 2014 BMW R1200GSA 36616 4501
29 60 Greg Farmer 2006 Honda Goldwing 36501 5384
30 25 Lyle Monroe 2014 Honda Goldwing 36391 5496
31 2 Corey Nuehring 2008 Yamaha FJR1300A 36333 5432
32 4 Brian Nuehring 2007 BMW R1200GSA 36333 5417
33 12 Nancy Lefcourt 2009 BMW R1200RT 36212 5958
34 41 Danny Dossman 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Limited 36003 5301
35 56 Jeff Johnson 2000 Yamaha Venture 35043 5949
36 38 Lynda Lahman 20xx Honda NC700 35038 4564
37 40 Terry Lahman 2013 BMW R1200GSA 35038 4411
38 21 Tim Hayosh 2012 Kawasaki Concours 14 34995 2779
39 22 Richard Snyder 1995 BMW R1100GS 34889 5911
40 54 Angelo Patacca 2015 BMW R1200GSA 34789 5115
41 34 Jeff Miller 2007 Honda Goldwing 34669 4866
42 1 John Frick 2009 BMW K1200LT 34588 5030
43 30 Paul Slaton 2006 Yamaha FJR1300 34317 5920
44 65 Eric Edelman 2014 Yamaha FJR1300 34186 4660
45 69 Larry Meeker 2014 BMW R1200GSA 34052 4630
46 89 Robert Lightner 2000 BMW K1200LT 33757 5295
47 97 Jeff Konicek 2004 Kawasaki  Vulcan Nomad 33593 5212
48 81 Shawn Hughes 2010 Honda ST1300 33362 5919
49 77 Felipe Alfonso Salman Valdez 20xx Yamaha Super Tenere 33047 5358
50 36 Don Duck 2014 Triumph Trophy SE 32927 5531
51 66 Mike Riley 2012 Kawasaki Concours 14 32777 4744
52 47 Kit Chunhawong 2013 Yamaha FJR1300 32141 5521
53 91 Lonnie McCoy 2015 Yamaha FJR1300 31910 5437
54 44 Lisa Hecker 2008 BMW R1200GS 31863 4931
55 79 Ron Messick 2013 Ducati MultiStradaGT 30522 4708
56 26 Connie Gabrick 2009 Victory Vision 29828 5054
57 14 Bruce Edwards 2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited 29442 5889
58 71 Rob Nye 2015 BMW R1200RT 29210 5342
59 64 Bob Bowman 2007 Honda ST1300 29032 4450
60 92 Michael Moore 2013 Honda GoldWing 28782 5073
61 85 Tim Trytten 2009 Kawasaki Concours 28626 3883
62 17 Martin Little 2015 BMW R1200GSA 28275 4251
63 46 William Cumbie 2012 Harley-Davidson  Road Glide Ultra 27991 4052
64 27 James Burriss 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour 27363 5157
65 50 Chuck Lackey 2008 Yamaha FJR1300 26803 4176
66 90 Thomas Southwood 2010 Harley-Davidson Road King 26794 4660
67 57 Peter DuDeck 2005 Yamaha FJR1300 26564 5029
68 59 Bruce Scudella 2000 BMW R1100RT 26557 4087
69 53 John Cooper 2006 Honda GL1800 26369 5330
70 39 James Stovall Jr 2013 Honda GL1800 26052 6302
71 80 Chad Churchill 2014 Yamaha FJR1300 25372 5197
72 68 Buddy Corbin 2009 BMW R1200RT 23468 4931
73 61 Michael Kalinosky 2003 BMW R1150RT 23069 3986
74 87 David Long 2006 BMW R1200RT 22992 3741
75 93 Tina Venters 2015 BMW R1200GSA 21930 4577
76 18 Olaf Moon 2014 BMW R1200GSAW 20952 4505
77 16 Maura Gatensby 2012 Honda ST1300 18882 3405
78 35 Paul Partin 2006 Yamaha FJR1300 18882 3408
37 Jim Winterer 2004 Suzuki 650 V-Strom DNF leg 2
51 Mike Myren 05 Yamaha FJR1300 DNF leg 2
45 Martin Cover 2012 BMW K1600GT DNF leg 2
52 Adrian Scudella 2007 Honda Goldwing trike DNF leg 2
5 Rex LeGalley 2013 Honda GL1800 DNF leg 1
29 George Doughty 2004 BMW r1150gsa DNF leg 1
70 Mark Crane 2015 BMW R1200GSAW DNF leg 1
86 Dale McNeely 2004 BMW GSA 1150 DNF leg 1
88 Barry Myers 2016 BMW R1200GS DNF leg 1
94 Ken Cook 2008 BMW R1200RT DNF leg 1
96 Danny Graham 2015  BMW  R1200RTW DNF leg 1
8 Raven Park 2006 Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 DNS
9 Doug Tessendorf 2010 BMW R1200RT DNS
43 William Casperson 2015 BMW K1600GT DNS
62 Eric Mckinnon 2005 Yamaha Fjr1300 DNS
76 Kevin Spencer 2015 BMW RT 1200 GSA DNS
82-83 Ken & Linda Schleman 2002 BMW K1200LT DNS