Sunday, June 8, 2008

20 Seconds over Whitney Point

The 30 seconds over Tokyo with the Enola Gay did far more physical damage that my 20 seconds but 2 dates and times will be remembered by me for a lifetime. First time is 12:38:50. This is the time on my receipt for the start of my Rest Bonus at Whitney Point NY. The next 2 hours will be spent off the bike for a much needed rest. Wayne and Robin are also taking their rest bonus at the same location along with a guy with a really nice looking K1200RS Another guy pulls in on a BMW GS bike and is on his way to Itaca. He asks if there is anything he should know. I say to him, just make sure you get the right statue and he dashes off into the night. Across the street is an open Subway shop and I have a much needed sandwich. I really haven't had a thing to eat all day.

Well it's finally here, it is time to begin the final chapter on this rally. I have calculated (or should I say the GPS has) it is 229 miles from Whitney Point to Northampton. I can make it without stopping for gas. I look down at my clock on the bike and it is 2:35. The next 3 minutes seem like an eternity. I have also calculated that I might be a tad over 24 hours, which will cost me 10 points for every minute I am late up to 1 hour over. After that you are disqualified. By my rough estimates I have 10 or so minutes to make up.

It's now 2:37. It's amazin how much you can think of in a minute. Finally the clock rolls over to 2:38. In goes the credit card (at the beginning of all credit card transaction it lays down the date and time stamp), I push the button for credit...machine goes "waiting for authorization....", Please select the grade you want. I push 87, it says begin fueling, I lift the pump and turn the handle on and the gas spews out of nozzle into the tank. It takes $5.38 of gas. I wait for the receipt to print. Look for the Date/Time, Locations and Gallons on Receipt, write the Odometer reading from the bike on the receipt, enter my info into the Fuel Log for the rally, close the tank up, put the tank bag back on the tank, put the key into the ignition, start the bike up, take my glasses off, put my helmet on, put my glasses on, put my gloves on, and throw my leg over the seat, put the kickstand up, pull the clutch in, drop to first gear, and finally move. Now how long was it from the time of the credit card swipe to the time the bike moved, keeping in mind that I have not left the gas station. Stay tuned for the scoring table results

For the next 3.5 hours I fight fog, darkness, unannounced gravel roads, unannounced move left on our interstates, grogginess, and just plain being wore down. THe GPS took me out RT206 snaking its way thru the NY countryside to I88. ( I am sure this is great road to be on during the day, where you would say this is a road everybody should try. At 2:45am this is not a great road. It is narrow, winding, up and down hills which holds the morning fog very efficiently (note I did not say nicely). At the first turn from the gas station which takes you onto RT206, the town or state has ripped up all the pavement to put something in. Not only is there no pavement, but there are plenty of holes in the road to contend with along with the dirt and gravel, plus this road is going up a hill. Sometimes you even ask yourself why do I do this.

During these last hours, I pass a bunch of signs with the deer icon on them that says 1/2 mile. You know the one that has them prancing about. I pass thru these cautionary zones without incident and wonder when Bambi learned to read and wonder if they comply with the signs or are they rebels wandering outside these state mandated caution zones. I know some don't comply because there are plenty on the side of the road taking naps. You would thing they would rest in the woods.

Some of the nicest riding times in a riders life is when the sun has not shown itself but is coming up for the day. It is just light enough you can see down the road, the sky has purples, yellows, oranges on the horizon, the air is cool, crisp and new. It is peaceful and tranquil. Life is good !

For these last couple of hours I have either been following Wayne and Robin or they have been following me. After we have both fought with Rt206 we finally make it I88 which will take us to the MassPike and into Northampton on I91. Someplace on I88 they have reduced the road to 2 lanes one for eastbound and the other for westbound traffic. At this point I am following Wayne and all of the sudden the bike is jumbling (this is kind of like onomatopoeia jumbling). I realize neither one of us are really on the road anymore. The single lane highway has swung left and we are sorta in the berm. Well I will tell you it was not talent that kept me up, it was sheer luck and that angel that flies with us on our bikes. I will say I did not feel compelled to get on the brakes, because this would have surely brought me to kissing the dirt below me. While this seemed like a 4 minute adventure, I am sure it was more like 10 seconds. Both of us swerved left and were back up on the pavement and we continued on a merry way. Phew and thank you angel.

On I91 heading for exit 18. Maybe 3 miles for the HQ, bike sputters, I must be at the 225 mile mark, reach down turn the Resever on, bikes fires back up and we are good to go. At 6:12 I cross the rally finish line. They hand me a card to take with me to the scoring table. I am back, completed 1000+ miles, have 8 bonii under my tires and maybe only 9 penalty late minutes.

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