Well the end of the year is here and the end of the riding season is all but over too. Over the last couple of days, I spent some time (understatement) putting my package together for the Iron Butt Association's National Park Tour. There are three levels of certificates, each one progressively harder than the previous one. The Master Traveler's certification's basic provisions are 50 National Parks in 25 states within 1 year. The Silver is the same as the Master Traveler, but 4 of the states must be Washington, Florida, Maine and California and the GOLD must have a National Park from Alaska, California, Florida and Maine.
My certificate, if I qualify, will be the Master Traveler one. I covered 31 states, 1 Canadian province, gathered 235 stamps, at 152 locations, spanning from Maine to Georgia west to Oklahoma and north to Minnesota and Michigan.The miles covered were somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 to miles with most of them on the back roads of America.
The documentation can be as simple as sending in a photocopy of your cancellation stamps. Like many of the people I have come to know via the internet thru the NPs Motorcycle Touring forum at delphi forums, I felt I should send in a little more than just the copies. So what will go to the IBA is of course the photocopies. Now there will be 2 sets of the photocopies. One set I stamped using a blank hard bound journal book that I got from Barnes and Noble. This was a self journaling book because you place the stamps essentially in chronological order. The next set is the copies of the same cancellation stamps, however I used the official National Park Passport stamping book. I do have a 3rd set which I used 4X6 index cards so that I could maintain a record of which stamps I got a what location. Yes that means I stamped each one of those 235 stamps 3 times.
Webshots was offering a special deal on 4X6 prints, which I took advantage of. I had prints of the Visitor Center and Entrance for each park made. While I was in the VC (visitor center), I collected the official brochure for each park and any other important literature that the National Park Service produces. Can you tell where this is leading ? The index card, the photos and the literature are all neatly filed into a plastic index box with dividers for each stop. OK you are starting to think OCD issues aren't you? Let me tell you future Inker, this little tool has proven to be invaluable because the memory banks in my head are getting kind of full, so I can't remember all the little nuances that this ride entailed.
Here's a couple of nice shots of the whole set up
Let's not forget MapSource, the mapping program that comes with Garmin GPS units. I had to update the waypoints in MS from Green Flags to Blue Pushpins so that there is a visual separation between those places visited and those that still need to be visited. Then there is the wall map I purchased on a whim and the pins to shove into the map, which is another way to show me where I have been.
OK I am getting off point here.
So we have the 1 set from the Black Book, 1 set from the Passport book, which provides the stiffness to the package and weight too. There are 29 pages for the Black book and 20 pages for the Passport book.
In addition, I listed all the cancellation stamps I obtained in 2008 in an Excel spreadsheet. On the Black Book copy, I numbered each page and sequentially numbered the stamps on the pages,providing a cross reference (page nmber and stamp number) on the spreadsheet. Just in case the person that will be verifiying my trip needs this. Anyone have any bets on this ??
You will think this would be enough, but nooooooo WhyAmIStillReadingThis person. For those locations that were closed, you can get credit for the location if you submit a picture of the Visitor Center with your bike in front of it. There were 6 locations like this. We have a really nice color printer at work, which I used to make copies of the pictures I took.
Think I am done, not so fast oh speed reader (I am impressed if you got this far and flattered too). There is an application you must complete from the IBA website, so they know who you are and what information will go on the certificate if they decide you met the miniumum qualifications. One of the things you have to decide on is what name will you use. For my SS1000, I used Bill "NomadWillie" Collins, so I decided this one would be Bill "Willie" Collins.
Almost done, but there still something missing. Oh yeah I decided to provide a DVD of the Excel spreadsheet and photos of the closed locations. Of course for the locations that dont have a page and stamp number because they were closed, I just had to provide a hypertext link to the photo so that the reviewer only has to click the photo number and viola the picture should pop up automatically. I thought this was a nice touch and I was very tempted to put all of the entrances and VC's on the DVD with hypertext links, but I thought this was a wee bit over the top, especially since it would have been very appropiate to also take pictures and neatly crop the actual cancellation stamps and provide links to them as well. After all, a DVD can hold over 4gig of data.
Hmmmmmm, I have a year to do this tour in and I started in April and it is only December and it is going to be a long winter and you do not necessarily have to submit within a year and whoooaaa there BillWillie I have to start planning next year's trip to Florida. Yeah thats the ticket.
I sure hope I don't forget the check to the IBA.