Wes  
Sat Aug 16, 2003 10:15 am
IBR Update: Florida Checkpoint        

Leon and Duke called me shortly after 9:30 this morning; Leon got into the Florida Checkpoint in the wee hours of the night, got some food and some sleep. The riders' meeting is at 11, so Leon has a chance to either grab a little more sleep or gab with other riders; he says he's probably not going to be able to sleep.

Leon sounds well rested, was happy to hear that he was in 19th place as of the first check point; when told he has a lot of fans keeping watch over him, he said "That's great!".

Duke says the bike's in good shape; they did an oil change, didn't touch the valves and decided to leave the carburetor alone after all. Duke added some marine gear lube to Leon's manual chain oiler and gave the bike a look-see while Leon slept. Leon's ridden 4700 miles since Monday; he's now roughly at the halfway point. The back tire's getting a little square, which is to be expected with so much highway riding.

People are commenting a lot about the bike -- "You're a brave man for riding that thing!". Maybe after Leon finishes the rally, the littlest Ninja will have a little more respect. ;)

While the bike is holding up well, the 'stich isn't -- the zipper broke. Leon's planning on heading home to grab his spare Aerostich. He's pretty confident that there will be at least one bonus on this leg in Washington, DC, which is a stone's throw from his Dale City, VA home.

He explained his reasoning for the bonus-location confidence. He's thinking that there will be bonuses at the west side of the Pentagon where the plane hit on 9/11, and there will also be one at the site of the former WTC ("Ground Zero"). Years ago in the IBR, there was a bonus in Florida where a fellow killed himself on a houseboat, and another in Waco, TX where the FBI burned up the Branch Davidians. I guess it pays to know your history and/or the strange mental workings of Mike Kneebone.

So, if you're on the east coast and see the wildest-looking EX250 you've ever seen roll by, make sure to wave at Leon, and wish him luck!

Wes

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