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Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:16 pm
Day 1        

I had set my alarm for 2:45 AM to allow myself time to make a cup of coffee and prep everything before the bonuses arrived. I was awake 10 minutes before the alarm went off. I?ll take the extra 10-minute hard start. I was at my computer when the optional bonus?s arrived, with Basecamp open and ready for the import. Importing and sorting the bonuses was done in less than 10 minutes. Generically, My plan was to reach the first corner, Gerlach no later than sunset, the first day and to make the rest bonus somewhere in Northern CA. I was aiming for Redding, but wasn?t sure that I?d make it that far. That was a fairly aggressive timetable and would mean that I really couldn?t make much deviation from my base route. Basically, I wanted to ride the miles on day one to allow for chasing optional bonuses days 2 and 3.

The bonus?s played nicely with my pre-rally plans. On the route to Gerlach there were three bonus clusters; Oatman AZ was a single large point bonus which meant it was pretty much mandatory, A cluster of three NW of Las Vegas, and a cluster of four in the Pyramid Lakes area.

There were lots of bonuses in Northern CA and Central/Southern OR around the second corner Eureka CA. The higher point bonuses in Northern CA all had one thing in common, they were about 30 minutes down a path that almost all required you to back track the way you came in. The rally master had stated in the pre-rally if you were going to get the optional bonuses you?d need to earn them. He was right, the bonuses were set up to force you to pick which ones you wanted to go for ? these weren?t simple ride up and get the bonus locations. The rides to these locations were technical and challenging. My first two days basically planed and jotted on my kneeboard card, all I had to do was transfer the bonus list to my GPS easy. I plugged the GPS into the computer and waited for it to show up in Basecamp ?. no GPS in basecamp. I checked the GPS, it?s on and indicating it?s connected. Error #1 (poor planning). I didn?t bring my Garmin data cable. To save space I brought a ?free? multi-USB connecter that I had picked up at a trade show. Turns out that only the power pins were connected in this magnificent, connects anything device. Well crap what am I going to do now? I?m pretty much sunk if I can?t get the bonus locations loaded to my GPS. Well Oatman is my first stop. I?ve been to Oatman previously and it is in my GPS. Las Vegas is between Oatman and my next planned bonus ? so I?ll head there and buy a data cable.

The departure bonus was right around the corner from the hotel. I get the departure bonus after several attempts and fiddling with the lighting a bit, and then start toward Oatman. I was hoping that the previous days wind would have slowed, it hadn?t and the direction changed to a head wind. At least there?s not a dust storm, but it is windy enough that bits of sagebrush and other light material is airborne. It?s not a lot of fun on a light low power bike, riding in heavy wind, but I?m optimistic that the wind will ease as the day progresses. Oatman goes like clockwork. I?m in and out quickly as the town hasn?t been overrun with tourists at 6:30 AM. I?m off to Las Vegas for a data cable. I arrive there a little ahead of schedule at about 8:50. My first large chain store option, which I was hoping would open at 9 didn?t open until 10. Crap again. Option 2 was to ride north until later in the day, but the only other large city on the route was Fallon. Getting to Fallon with out having my bonuses loaded wasn?t ideal. There were several slightly off track bonuses that I was considering chasing. Specifically there was a bonus on the Gabbs cut-off that looked like it was doable. I made the decision to stick to Las Vegas until I had the data cable issue solved. Fortunately across from option 1 chain store was option 2 chain store. Option 2 chain store is open 24 hours. With a bit of searching and great help from the staff, I?m sitting in the parking lot with my computer GPS and a Data Cable loading waypoints. Waypoints loaded everything is looking good again, but I?m 45 minutes behind, off track and headed into Las Vegas at 10 AM. I made the decision to drop my second bonus in Pahrump, NV in favor of a more direct route to Pyramid Lakes.

As the sun came up the wind had died down which was great. However, by 11 the wind picked up again and was blowing at a steady 15-20 mph. I knew the wind would impede both my MPG and forward progress. The anticipated delay lead to a decision to drop the optional, Gabbs cut-off bonus. I it made to Fallon and Fernley with a couple of hours of daylight left. I was roughly on track and on time. I rode into Pyramid Lakes for the four bonuses, this was the first of the ride-in-ride-out bonuses I aimed for the higher bonuses first as I wasn?t sure that I?d have time to capture all four and make it to Gerlach before sunset. As it turned out I got the three higher point bonuses and opted to drop the fourth. I was watching my arrival time to Gerlach and it was at sunset when I departed my last bonus in the area. I passed several other riders heading into the area as I headed out. I waved assuming they were triangle B riders coming from Gerlach. I made Gerlach 2 minutes before sunset. Got the bonus and fueled up.

The next bonus was close by and I was hoping to make it before I lost all the twilight. Up to this point all of the bonuses were located exactly where the GPS coordinates were. At the entrance to Plant X Pottery is a great sign that met the bonus criteria. However, the GPS coordinates were several hundred yards from here and down a short dirt road. To be sure I?m getting the correct bonus I head down the road to what I can only describe as a small artistic community (aka hippie commune). I spend a bit of time searching and conclude that the sign by the main road is the right bonus location. The bonus is compete as the sun and the temperature are going down.

I head north on NV-447 into the night; the wind had also died with the sun. The road is devoid of any traffic and the area is very sparsely populated. That is except for the thousand suicidal rabbits that run straight for my wheels. I had learned on a previous BMR not to attempt to avoid rabbits on the road just hold your speed and line, if one hits you it?s just a small bump. I also came across a large coyote. Not surprising given the amount coyote food that was running on the road. Running a coyote over would have been another issue altogether. I?m headed into Alturas on 395 about 9 PM when a pass a rider on a Gold Wing headed south. I figure they?re also a BMRx rider and think to myself that they?ve got a long ride ahead of them unless they stop in Gerlach for the night. The bonus in Alturas is well lit and an easy shot but the temp has dropped into the 50?s so I find a convenience store with coffee and add glove liners to my three season gloves. Before I head out a couple of locals warn me about a black cow on the side of the road near the summit and caution me to be careful. I continued into the now very cool night confident that I?d make my goal of Redding about midnight. The night air was damp and was filled with the smell of cedar as I climbed in to the higher elevations. With the wind gone my MPG had improved from 55 to 68 MPG. My next bonus was close to Redding on CA-299. The road was dark and cold but this bonus was also well lit and easy to get. I was ready for a shower by the time I checked into the hotel around midnight.

After a quick shower I spent a bit of time catching up with the BMRx and detail planning for day 2. I was curious where Ken and Jack were, wondered if they were stopped for the night. I learned that they had both had bike problems pretty much straight away heading out of Blythe and were out for the rest for the rally. The Gold Wing headed in the opposite direction was Tim A. also riding the A-triangle. He had started in Eureka and spent the day collecting bonus points in Southern OR and was set up to collect bonus?s on his return to Eureka. One of the unique things about a rally is that while you?re riding you really don?t have any idea what else is going on in the rally. From that perspective Rally?s can be a lot of fun to watch as speculation is made to what riders are thinking and why the F-would they do that.

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