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