2006 MN1K Ride Report
Well I came to Minnesota this year hoping for a fun ride and I got that. My results were disappointing as I managed to get myself frustrated during the ride and as the fatigue set in I was about ready to explode. As the results were read the depression set in but I was very happy to see a lot of good people get wood, excluding Coons of course. Sorry John. John planned during his sleep bonus and then went out and showed us all up. Great ride John but we all still hate your guts. Before I forget I would like to give a big thanks to Bart for stepping up to give us a MN1K this year. Some of us need to practice a little before the ButtLite. Thanks to Team Strange and Bart again. Love the logo for this year. Even more because Eddie hates it.
Again this year my friend Gary Klinker and I decided to hook up and ride together. We've manage to work out a system that works for us. I think we both get something our of riding together. I get to learn patience and Gary gets to put up with me for 24+ hours. We both plan differently and I think the two methods together make for a good route in the evening. Of course you still have the bonuses that are handed out in the morning to contend with so then it's a mad dash to see what you're going to do with that perfect route you laid out the night before.
The adventures started before the virtual flag was even dropped Saturday morning. Friday night has the rules were read we watched an ominous storm system role in. Minutes before the packets were handed out we were informed that we would be able to ride to Betty's Bikes and Buns to get 333 points for a receipt. It's a great place to visit and many made the journey. However with the storm firmly on top of the city we were all treated to flooded streets. Over the curbs flooded. With my feet up on my fairing, because the water was over my pegs, I made my route to BB&B. Getting back out is even more of an adventure. The access ramps for the sidewalks looked like boat ramps because you couldn't see the street I rolled into the street. A little fish-tailing and some high sprays from vehicles added to the fun and we headed back to the hotel to dry out and plan our attack.
3 hours of planning and we think we had it even though I felt the route lacked the points anything else at that point would mean more planning and less sleep. Then we stepped into the twilight zone. Everything went wrong at once. Gary's watched had stopped so it was 12:45am not 11:45pm. My GPS stopped communicating with my laptop and my laptop then crashed a few minutes later with nothing loaded. This is where the stress started. After multiple attempts the laptop would not come back so I put it away and went to bed thinking tomorrow is going to be a long day. When I work up I fired up the laptop. It worked fine although the GPS was still a no go. With another cable lent to me by Kevin Powers the GPS loaded even though I found out it wasn't the cable. My cable was just cursed. Thanks again Kevin. With a functional laptop, a loaded GPS, and a watch that never lost a second for the next 24 hours I'm convinced that in the witching our the Days Inn had sucked in every evil rally spirit within about 1000 miles. I was now in full freak mode and we hadn't left the parking lot.
The points were spread out this year and putting the miles on I felt was going to be part of the key. Our 1100+ mile route would take us south to Sioux City then north towards Fargo and back to the Twin Cities. Getting our sheets in the morning had us decide to head for SPAM. Who can resist that wonderful treat. We picked up a receipt and some SPAM to please the rallymaster and we were off. I'm sure it was no coincidence that they were having a big celebration there that day making it hard to park and get into the gift shop. Thanks Bart. We showed you love and you didn't even keep the SPAM we worked so hard to bring you.
The next was a long time favorite in Blue Earth. The 50 foot statue of the Jolly Green Giant. We got our picture with the big green dude and headed towards Estherville. Estherville has an old World War II error plane at the airport. We got the tail number and rolled on to north of Sheldon to visit a meteorite strike site. A simple marker along side the road north of Sheldon. As we prepared to descend upon the 30 foot Jesus in Sioux City we could see a storm front building. Great, more rain. Just what I needed. We saw the light and the son of god in Sioux City who provided some divine intervention to keep the rain away and sun shining. However his vengeance is swift as we left him behind and the 40 day flood start as soon as we left the effigy mound outside of Vermillion that sits 1300' above sea level and 100' above any surrounding area.
The rain would keep coming down for the next few hours. It would pour and pour and pour but luckily at this point we were on I-29 heading north. We jumped off at Flandreau to grab a casino chip and then headed to what we hoped would be some of the bigger points of the trips. We stopped for points in Britton South Dakota for points but at this point I have completely forgotten what it was. I was probably focusing on the next bonus stop at that point because it meant traveling about 15 miles of high speed gravel. The site is really out in the middle of nowhere and there is a 10 MPH 90 degree turn right as you enter the park. That was lucky for me as it came up so quick I would have went sailing into the ditch if the entrance to the park didn't go straight through that turn. I was warned to slow down by an oncoming barrage of sidecar packing bikers as I came up on the park but did I heed the warning? As you can read, the answer is no. No matter though the site was great and it was interesting to see 8 people from the rally all there within a 15 minute window and then they were all gone. I think it was a half way point for a lot of people.
The night was setting in and I was glad to be off the gravel roads so it was off to historical marker at Fort Ransom, SD. A quick picture of the marker and we headed to the gateway of the Dakota's which is just outside of a small town called Abercrombie and is poised in an out of the way spot on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota. The GPS said there was a road straight to Abercrombie but after asking for confirmation at a gas station along the way from some high school students I was just as confused as when I came into town. Ease off the hemp dudes. Luckily Gary had better luck with a kind gentleman in the parking lot and we needed to head north over and down to get our picture in Abercrombie and then head onto one of our last stops in Battle Lake, MN.
The police were out in full force as it seemed about everywhere we turned we were getting beamed by radar. No matter as we were cruising the speed limit anyway. We made our way through mosquito filled roads to Battle Lake and met with the Indian that was blocked by a camper who decided to park right in front of it. We made enough commotion though I think to wake them up but you have to yell when you have ear plugs in. I left my rally towel with the Indian because I'm sure his feet were cold. I would realize this after my sleep bonus when I was prepping to get one more bonus in the morning.
We rode another 100 miles towards the Twin Cities and then stopped into a Travel Center to catch some sleep. Gary slept outside by the bikes but I'm a wimp to I headed for an empty table in the back of the restaurant area. Usually I have a hard time falling asleep but not then. I was out and 2 hours later I was up but barely. We grabbed a crappy breakfast and headed for the finish. I thought about the points I had to skip because I lost my flag but I would have been pressing getting back on time if I did it anyway. Better to come up short than to DNF in my opinion.
We rolled back in with 15 minutes to spare and 7048 points in hand. We executed our route and got all the points we planned. The stopped I missed was an add in anyway. However this would not capture any wood as there just wasn't enough points in our 1137 mile ride to get them. Even though it didn't enough to place there's still something to be said for planning a ride and riding your plan. I know there were some winners that were disappointed with their finishing place and I did actually feel for them too. There's some people you just like to see win regardless of how you ran. I saw some good people place and even a father daughter team (Tim & Mackenzie Wise) placed in their class. It was Mackenzie's first MN1K and it sure seemed like she had fun with dad over the 24 hours. They both looked in better shape than I felt.
Overall it was still a great ride and I learned even more about riding a rally. Our points put us 16th overall out of about 70+ riders. It wasn't an embarrassing finish as we did accumulate quite a few points but the end result was still a bit depressing to know that after running a solid route it wasn't enough. Great job to all of those who managed to muster the points. I'm always glad to see people win after these events because you know exactly what they had to go through to earn it. Who all earned your awards and I'm glad to see everyone back home safely. Thanks again to Bart and his twisted team for the rally. Thanks to Joe's South for hosting and thanks to Divine Swine for some killer BBQ Pork and shredded ham. All good stuff. Good food, good people, and a good ride. See you all next year or at the ButtLite in August.