The year of the Rally.
For 2013, the big ride was intended to be three weeks across Route 66. However, family and job commitments conspired to prevent it from happening. Instead, Jeff and Todd put on the miles by commuting to work and attending organized rallies.
Early in the year, Jeff signed up for the MS5000 challenge, put forth by Paul Pelland to raise money and awareness towards finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. The MS5000 challenges riders to not only solicit donations, but also to ride (and document) 5,000 miles in 50 days (April 1st to May 20th). Jeff racked up a huge chunk of these miles early, but fell short of the 5,000-mile goal, raising $100 for the MS Society.
Todd and Jeff also signed-up for The Pace Podcast’s first Equinox-to-Equinox rally, a photo-tag game designed to be played anywhere in the world. Bonus points were awarded for such generic places and things as fire stations and train cars on display, requiring only a camera and a printed version of The Pace’s rally flag to play. Starting off strong, Jeff trailed off after the first few weeks. James and Chris of The Pace were overwhelmed with the response and eventually began falling behind on the scoring, but they pulled it off at the end with some company-sponsored prizes for the top finishers.
The real MotoTouring of the year began on a chilly weekend in April, as the MotoTourers headed to Illinois for the 9th annual Moonshine Lunch Run. Friend Ash from Denver invited Todd and Jeff to meet him in Casey, Illinois to camp and enjoy a few fresh burgers with a over a thousand other like-minded riders. The two-day ride out was bitter cold, with a severe headwind across Ohio and Indiana that left Jeff’s Versys empty just a few hundred feet short of an exit with a gas station. Camping on the way out was under a thunderstorm and overnight downpour, and camping at the event was bitter cold all night. The guys did get to meet Sjaak Lucassen, on his was from the Arctic Circle to Key West, Florida on a highly-modified Yamaha R1 and towing a hand-built trailer that also doubled as a shelter. The guys made a 700+ mile banzai run home on the highway in less than 13 hours, stirring the idea that an Iron Butt Association certifiable ride might be well within reason. The Moonshine Run is an annual event, and the guys plan on hitting it again in 2014.
On May 8th, Jeff set off on his first Iron Butt Association certifiable ride, a SaddleSore 1000: 1,000 miles in 24 hours. After riding all the way from Pennsylvania to Tennessee in the rain, he made it back home in 20 hours and 46 minutes, covering 1,094 miles. Notification that the ride was certified by the IBA came on May 25th, granting Jeff membership. Read the details of Jeff’s SaddleSore 1000 here.
In 2012, Jeff had to back out of the Mason Dixon 20-20 endurance rally due to medical issues, but the guys signed up again this year, for the Memorial Day weekend event. Arriving in Martinsburg, WV the afternoon before the rally, Todd and Jeff were introduced to the check-in process and odometer calibration. An evening meeting for the noobs helped to fill in some nagging questions about competitive rallying. Following a riders’ meeting at o-dark-thirty, all riders headed out at the crack of dawn for 32 hours of collecting bonii. With a modest route looping down through Virginia and West Virginia before heading north, a 3-hour nap in a truck-stop Arby’s in mid-Ohio, freezing cold temps around dawn, a questionable gas receipt, and a photo-finish for the last big bonus at Ft Indiantown Gap cemetary, the guys finished 39th and 40th out of 46 finishers. Dissapointing, but lessons were learned and much fun was had.
At the Mason Dixon 20/20, Jeff met “Hammy”, an accomplished long-distance rider who ran the 20/20 on a Silver Wing scooter with an auxiliary fuel tank. Hammy has been running his own mini-rallies, in the form of photo-tag games over specified periods of time, and with various themes, posting bonus pictures to each rally’s Facebook page for scoring. Jeff signed up for Hammy’s “Tour of Higher Learning” which called for different bonii each week, including colleges, museums, libraries, memorials and other buildings associated with higher education and learning. Again, Jeff started off strong, taunting the opposition on the event’s Facebook page while racking up points almost daily on his way home from the night shift, only to fall behind after he was reassigned to the day shift at work, virtually eliminating all daylight riding time during the week. Hammy continues to invent new and fun mini-rallies, and has set up a regular website for those who wish to participate without having to use Facebook.
In September, Jeff participated in the Team Lyle Garden State Rally, an 8-hour photo-flag rally run within the confines of the state of New Jersey. Jeff made a strong run despite constant hay fever, keeping stopped time to a minimum. Unfortunately, his routing ability needs improvement, as he finished a few minutes late (for a significant point penalty) and well at the bottom of the pack of newbies (but not last overall).
Lastly for 2013, Jeff entered the Fire and Ice Winter Tour, a Facebook-based photo-tag game designed to enhance the operating funds of the Mason Dixon 20/20 during the off-season, as well as providing riders a reason to brave the cold. Riders are tasked with finding signs bearing the names of towns with fire- or ice-related meanings. Towns like Snow Hill, MD and Old Forge, PA are worth points, as is Phoenixville, PA and Hell, Michigan. Signs have to be local, no city limit signs nor post office signs – those are too easy. Extra points for having ice, snow and/or a fire in the photo. This game runs through March 1, 2014.