Usually my reports are long on pics and short on words  …I’m going to make an exception here and tell a long story …with few pics.   This was a great rally and I hope you’ll enjoy the story:


I felt fortunate to be invited to this event.  When the invitation arrived Januaryish and I signed up immediately.  (I think my instant sign up was why my low rider number: “3”)  So excited for this event that I chose not to attend other events this same weekend, including the 2008 V-Strom Gathering that I’ve played the lead roll in the last two years.

I decided to leave Thursday and have an easy zig-zag over to Ely.   Like I most often do when on hwy 50, I took 722.  When you leave the loneliest hwy in America for even  lonelier roads that says something.  While on 722 I notice a shiny and extremely well farkled V-Strom ahead.  I see it is no other than my buddy Chad ..who owns Adventure Moto Stuff -clicky.  

After spending time with Chad and showing him some sites, we had lunch in Austin.  I had to make some calls for work, but with no cel phone coverage I’d have to do it from Eureka.  So I shot ahead at brisk pace and told Chad that I’d meet him there.   Well, my spirited ride ended up costing me:

What was most interesting about this stop was that the officers knew exactly where I was going and why.  It turns out that Mr. Warchild was paid a visit by these officers in Patrol Car #161 not long before me.   Dale had got them warmed up for me …..and I thanked him for it later :-)

Quite a few folks already in Ely when I got there ..and folks kept coming in.   Some I know, many I’ve met, and new faces too.  Truly a great group of guys and gals.   I stayed up late this night supervising the locals in Ely –in hopes that I would sleep in come Friday morning.  I was relatively successful with this plan.

Odometer Check etc this day and the highlight was a wonderful meal with Kurt at the Italian restaurant in town.   The day was spent preparing, being leisure and socializing.  In the evening there would be dinner and a Riders’ meeting.

This was banquet style buffet dinner that was very nice.
Note:  This group was nice and while rallies are competitive (to some more than others) you never feel that the next guy would rather have you dead than in front of you …a civil group.   However, when it comes to the food line being opened, you have never seen such pushing, biting, hair pulling and the works to secure a better spot in line.  Geezers.

….let me just say we’d all been previously informed/warned that this rally would be like no other rally that we’ve ever experienced.   A few hints perhaps, but nothing that could really give you and grasp of what we would be entering into.

-Well, the glee in Warchild’s face was confirmation that we would be challenged in a unique and brutal fashion.

We were told to bring all of our required items, plus our maps, plus our laptops ..etc etc to this meeting.
Warchild asked us to take our laptops out  ….and by rider number we were called to the front to have our laptop sealed.   They would have to remain sealed until the end of the rally.   No computers this rally!!!
We were also informed that we must bring 1 of 3 things back from our ride
1.) Garter
2.) Horseshoe
3.) Cow Patty  (yes, as in cowshit)

He then gave us a general overview of the rally before Scorekeeper Don Moses gave us the details.

I’ll attempt to over-simplify this here:
-It would be similar to a scrabble (board game) methodology, -in that we’d attempt to spell words from a supplied list of scrabble words.
-The letters used to spell these words would be taken from towns that we would ride to (note: just ONE letter from each town)
-Letters had various values from low to very high

We were given a relatively long list of “scrabble” names that we could choose from …and we had to do just that, choose up to 8 of them.  We were required to provide those 8 names to the scorekeeper by 11:00p (aprox 4 hours away) and that would be our unique list to live and die by.
Fascinating, easy, but very challenging as you’d attempt to see what bizarre “scrabble” names you could spell as you searched the maps and your map’s index names looking for towns with the letters you’d be focusing on.   I’ll talk about the scoring later, but let me say that there were a couple of references made by Don that inferred that there might be opportunities to go back to the scrabble list and swap words from our list of 8 words after the ride.  But, no real details.  However, it was noted that we must complete at least 3 words … all made me wonder if we could swap out the remaining 5 later?  Just a guess on my part, but it made sense for added thrills if there could be some swapping done later and I kept this in mind when I started to route my course.

While simple, it was a daunting task as you had so much to consider.  I’m sure there were many different mindsets on how to best go about this.  I eventually put a list of 8 words together that I felt were very conservative and would give me the opportunity to easily secure at least 3 and likely some upside from there.   I left the meeting room to go back to my Motel room to try to actually put a route to these words.

I felt good about my words at this time, but this feeling would change the next day.

For me, 32hours is a long ride in one shot.  Not long enough to plan sleep, yet long enough to factor in fatigue and tiredness.   I’ve got a fair amount of miles in this season so I’m in relatively good riding shape but I wanted to factor in a smooth and efficient route.

Familiar territory would help, and with a mandatory checkpoint located in central Nevada -where we were due aprox 12hours after the start of the rally, it limited going too far away …hence Nevada was a good place for me to spend the first leg and more.

You’ll see my route when I get to the riding section …but an oversimplification was to do some Nevada ..go into the sierras, make my way to the Checkpoint, take I-80east into Utah ..then south and eventually back west to Ely.

 This rally was really a fascinating concept and renojohn really appreciated many things about it:
- We all had such freedom and flexibility!  The options were limitless.   So few boundaries!!   What a treat to choose your own bonus locations!!! ..AWESOME! 
- While as complicated as you wanted to make it, the general idea was simple and no confusing rally packets to learn and carry around to bonus locations.   No cemeteries to walk through to find the tombstone of some dead bastard ---or other such silliness
  …Instead, this rally was about riding and the format was simple:
- Choose your scrabble words ..collect letters by going to your choice of towns, prove you where there by straightforward and simple requirements. 

This all ROCKED!!  No circle-jerk scenarios at all.   11thumbs-up from Renojohn for this straight forward approach. 

Yes, there were a few limitations put on us that we’d have to work around:
***There were 44states that were off limits.  This included Hawaii, and I’m not sure about Puerto Rico.   But the states fortunate enough to border the Battle Born State of Nevada were all fair game.
***Mandatory checkpoint with a 3 hour window starting at aprox 12 hours from the start of the rally.  So at approximately the 40% mark of the rally we needed to be in Middlegate which is basicly in the the center of Nevada.   This played a huge role in my routing as without this requirement, I likely would have went off to say Oregon(?), Idaho(?)  ..perhaps even California and done a whirlwind of towns and put a fun sight-seeing route together.

No problem, staying closer to Nevada was OK with me…and I knew that my many miles on these roads would make things easier as well as reduce anxiety during the rally.  Home court advantage is a nice thing.

…So, I knew my basic route in my head, but with no computer I couldn’t calculate mileage very accurately etc …so I thought I’d throw much of it in the GPS to do some mileage calc’s.   If you haven’t MANUALLY entered a bunch of towns, created a route etc in your GPS then you don’t know what a PIA it is!!  It sucks in no uncertain terms.

I knew if I got the basic route in the 2730 I could see mileage, and even check distances between my waypoints etc –even do time scenarios.   So, I went back to my room and GPS to do this.  Honestly, it was NOT worth the effort.  Studying maps longer would have been a better use of time.  Reality was that shattering the minimum mileage requirement (only 1148) would come automatic and the generous three hour checkpoint window didn’t demand precise calculations.

I knew sleep would be important so I forced myself to prepare for the morning and get into bed.   Like many, it is hard for me to keep the rally thoughts out of your head, but I forced myself and eventually got to sleep.

ONE HOUR after falling asleep, I jerked up -open eyed, and blurted out:  “I forgot a “U”.   Apparently, I was dreaming of the route.  It was weird and thinking back, this thought was ridiculous.  But at the time I wondered if the rally gods were sending me a message? …enough to where I got out of bed to check it out.
I had earmarked the “U” in Truckee, but in reality it would make more sense to use the “K” in Truckee as it was worth more points.  This revelation was definitely not worth waking up for –even at the time I knew this.

It took me a long time to get back to sleep, in fact, I did just one hour before time to get up.   So, my total sleep consisted of two 1hour naps.

So, at the morning riders’ meeting we were told that we would be required to keep FIVE(5) of our words, but three could be swapped after the ride if we wished.    I was correct in my guess that perhaps swapping would come  …but wrong on the amount that I had guessed.
This just confirmed my thoughts:  It would be best to collect everything you can while out on the roads.

We would leave starting at 5:01a …by rider number in one minute intervals.   I’m so glad that I had a low rider number (3) --so I departed at 5:03a    There is nothing worse than watching others go off riding while you have to wait.  My wait was 2 minutes, and I could deal with that.

OH!, Warchild made the effort to have a picture taken with each rider as they were at the start line, I guess he wanted our last image of Ely to be that unique shit-eatin-grin that he wears so well. Meanwhile, Mr. Hickey counted down the seconds until we could leave.

Wheels are rolling!
Always nice to finally get to ride!  I started SW out of Ely ...along my route.   Eventually to hwy 6 where I could pick up a few towns and make some good time as I made my way west.   First stop was Currant where I doubted that there was a town sign, but I knew there was a little firetruck building and hoped it was labeled.  I was fortunate, it was and I was confident it would meet the fire station requirement.

 Because the rules were so straightforward and simple, I felt it my obligation not push the envelope when claiming bonuses.   In Nevada, MANY towns are big on the map, yet when you get there, ..there is nothing but a few abandoned buildings and often not any of the criteria that we would need to claim these towns. 

"Warm Springs" and "Coaldale" come to mind as examples.  Everyone knows where these places are, they are on maps …but such places lack the requirements needed in this rally.

However, there were some interesting scenarios and I collected a few of them.  For example:   Smith Valley.   This is not a town, instead the name for an area that is the home for such towns as “Smith” and “Wellington”.    However, there is a Smith Valley fire dept and a (non DOT) welcome sign made by the local rotary club.   I collected these to have in my bag of towns …but I made note to mark them as maybes as they might be challenged and didn’t want to play games when it came to scoring …no reason to push it, these guys were good enough to make this clear-cut and simple. 

I didn’t use Smith Valley and a few others for this reason ….but had I really needed them??  ….hmmm, I’m not sure    :-)

At a spirited pace on hwy6 I hit a bird and watched it instantly vaporize from the impact to my windshield.  Always a source of amusement.    Eventually to Mina, Luning, Hawthorne,Walker Lake,Schurz, Tonopah,Wabuska , then west toward Hawthorne.   I was making good time and collecting what I had planned.  Well, until I hit this road construction which held me up for over 20minutes.   Damn, late in a rally you might welcome such a break, but this was early on, I was fresh and it as tough to be patient.

Per plan, at Yerrington I would head toward Smith and collect those little towns.   What luck to see that “Mason” had a sign and there was an unexpected little bonus to put in my box of towns.

What a pathetic list of words I put together
It was in this timeframe that I realized how pathetic my words were.  I had gone way too conservative with wimpy words and I was kinda bummed, but what was done was done and it just motivated me to pick up everything that I could. 

I also realized I'd be picking up a lot of unplanned bonuses ...and some of the ones that I had expected would either not meet the requirements -or I would pass them up via minor route variations. 

So, early on, I knew that my words would be spelled from whatever pot of bonus town names I could come up with.  This actually made things more fun, and I'm sure that many figured this out too (the smart ones no doubt before before the riding even started).

Smith, Wellington and then it was time to head for 395 for Gardnerville and Minden

**Yep, had my head up my butt to not go down for easy “Z” at Topaz as it was so close.  One of many mistakes**.

I screwed around in Minden for too long to never get the points.  Post Office is there but not labeled.  Fire Dept was labeled in the county name …Geezers what a waste.   Nevertheless I was clicking along and life was good.

Now time to head up Kingsbury grade and what a treat:  No traffic!!!, …and what a fun stretch to enjoy moto-bikes when no traffic.  Big smile when I rolled into Zephyr Cove.
Then to the border to claim Kawlifornia.  I rode a few feet into CA, enough to turn around and take a pic of the Nevada and Lake Tahoe sign.   This would turn out to be my only time in CA.  While not gone from NV long (38seconds or so), It was, as usual, nice to cross back into the Battle Born state of Nevada.

Big decision.   I had two scenarios layed out at this point and it would soon be time to make a decision as to whether to go to Truckee.   Truckee would mean going around the lake and collecting quite a few little towns …and I’d go all the way down to 89 and go by Squaw Valley if I did this.  I had been racking my brain all morning to recall correctly if Squaw Valley had a post office and I *think* that they do.

But, going slow around the lake would  be a pain, and I elected to instead collect Glenbrook, Carson City remote, Incline Village and then head down Mt. Rose into Reno.
In hindsight I had plenty of time to do Truckee and likely should have got that valuable “Q” at Squaw Valley.

Opting for Post Offices whenever possible, I wanted an option rather than going downtown to the Reno PO.   …and I had a thought:  There was a Ghostown by the name of “Steamboat” that south Reno eventually exhorbed.  There was a “Steamboat” PO for years ..but they moved it north just off of South Virginia Street.  But did they change the name?? Was it still Steamboat??  Lots of letters in Steamboat –and I’d make that my easy destination.  Well, turns out it is a RENO post office, but labeled as Steamboat branch, for this rally it would be considered Reno.  Still an easy bonus and easier than going downtown.

Then to Sparks for the easy Sparks fire station.   I fueled up across the street and out of habit took off.  It wasn’t until I was down the road a few miles that I realized my lapse in concentration!  The  Fire station was close enough -I likey cold have taken the pic from the gas pump  …..and instead I rode off missing it.   !!Doh!!.   I elected not to back-track for the “K” in sparks.

I stopped in Spanish Springs at the new Library to get a pic of that sign.   Likely wouldn’t be challenged, but I noted this bonus as a maybe and never claimed it.

Off to Sutcliffe which I knew had a sign ..this is the Indian town on the west side of Pyramid Lake ..just before the pavement ends.  Then to the popular bonus of Nixon.

Sharing fun with the Torters. 
When I approached Nixon, Bob and Sylvia were just leaving.  These were the first rider(s) I’d seen all day. 
By the time I got to the post office, got my picture and back on the road they were a few minutes ahead of me –and I assumed heading toward Wadsworth.  So I set a brisk pace and kept my eyes open.   Yep, I spotted them a few miles up ahead of me, -and figured that since it was *MY* sandbox we were playing in that I must put on the chase. 

As many of you know, the Torters ride a beautiful machine, and they wear it Oh-So-Well.  It is a beautiful site to see that couple in motion on that bike.  It is like a scene out of a James Bond 007 movie ….just damn sexy.   In other words, it just makes the rest of us look bad. 

So the hick from Nevada and his scrappy bike timed their move when the Porters had just finished passing a vehicle.  This would give maximum effect.   Mind you, the Torters were also at a spirited pace and I whizzed by them –the timing was perfect with my good momentum.

Good fun all the way around and I knew the giggles in the Torter’s helmets matched mine.   This was the 378th time so far on this day that I was reminded that riding moto-bikes is good fun.   The Torters would share this story many times.  Always good fun to see you two, thanks for the fun.

Hello Everyone!:
So in Wadsworth the Torters turn right and I turn left.   I see Brad(beerme) and we chat briefly.  Then to Fernley were I see my only friend Hal R(kaitsdad) and Turbo Dave.   Then to through Hazen toward Fallon where I see Art M  and we chatted a bit as I loaded up more go-juice for the bike.  Nice to come into a bunch of rally riders!

GPS radar...
I'm sure many others did the same.   For much of the rally I had my 2730 actively searching for the closest "cities".  While I don't think this alone actually brought me any bonuses, it was good fun cruising along looking/watching as towns would come on and off the list.

Here is an example of a pic I took while cruising along.   Now, I know from my knowledge of Nevada, that none of these towns has the requirements needed for a bonus stop ...still, it was good fun doing this.
BTW:   Garmin has names that you won't find anywhere else ...Bad Boy Nevada ....and countless others.    Kinda weird.

I was on plan, but running a bit ahead of my projected pace and lightly kicked myself for not doing Squaw Valley/Truckee.  But I knew something ahead that would put a smile on my face.

I had not planned to go to Gabbs.  While a favorite town of mine (google for tarantula migration), it was an in-and-out from either hwy6 or hwy50.  Or you could cross between the two with Gabbs in the middle.  With my route it made no sense to cross between the two.   However, I was a bit early for the mandatory bonus at Middlegate, so I rode past Middlegate and headed for Gabbs.

[RenoJohn and his 3county game (yes, you can play too)
For many years I’ve been fascinated by they way Churchill and Nye counties come together to be dissected by a triangle sliver of Mineral County. 

In short, in 2.8miles you can be in three counties.  My game over the years, and done many many times is to see how fast I can do the three counties.  I’ll let you do your own math to figure out about how fast one can do it. 

Mind you, there are a few mild sweepers and canyon wall  that don’t give you a straight line-of-site on this 2.8 miles and IMO that makes this even more dramatic.   Juvenile fun, I know, but one should stay with their strengths and juvenile fun is one of mine.

Still, me thinks there are few places (if any?) where you can be in three counties in not much over a minute ..while going in a “relatively” straight direction.

This gave me a laugh as always -and I put a checkmark next to the 489th reason so far this day that I was reminded why riding moto-bikes is good fun.

What a great way to put an end to my first leg of this rally.

Mandatory Checkpoint
Checkpoints are always fun because you get to see many of the other riders and compare fun and frustrations.  This was no exception but there were some added things in the mix.   We had the choice of darts or horseshoes –games of skill where we could attempt to get free letters!  I opted for horseshoes and my barely mediocre skills were enough to earn me a choice of a couple letters and I chose “X”.

Bonus within a bonus
I love riding dual-sport bikes, my true love.  And, a local Reno club that I belong to was having their yearly Middlegate ride this same weekend.  I’ve missed this particular ride the last few years because of other commitments.  This year was the same story as WORD! got the nod instead

But what a fun coincidence to have a WORD! Checkpoint at the same location as where my Dual-Sport posse were camped out!   I got to see and spend a few minutes with my buddies Carl, Deane and others.

I’ll take the time here to plug my buddy Carl and his new book. 

Carl has written a nice book on Dual-Sport riding.  Yours truly has contributed to the book, including pictures and I’m told I’ve been given honorable mention.  Honorable doesn’t fit me well but I’ll take the mention.  The book has not yet been released as it is being printed.  However, you can still buy a copy from Amazon Linky to book here (and I’m sure everywhere else) and get one of the first issues once it is officially released. 

Carl’s love of dual-sport riding and his willingness to share the fun is a great contribution to the motorcycle community and I’ve been the recipient of it.  Not to mention, ALL the proceeds from this book will not buy Carl a new mansion, but rather will go to the PEDIATRIC BRAIN TUMOR FOUNDATION (clicky)

If any interest in Dual-Sport Riding, this book is a must.    Great seeing you Carl, good luck with the new book.

Leg two ..a different methodology and different mindset.
While my leg one was planned out in descent detail, it left much open and many options.  It was done much by brail along a set course.   My leg two would be much more cookie-cutter and this was by design.  Concerned about the hours(32) of this rally and the energy it takes to ride spirited while hunting for bonuses at night (and the possible effect this would have late in the rally) …I put a plan in place the night before.

The plan was to ride I-80 east during darkness and collect all the towns along the way.   While everyone who knows me can tell you that I’ll eat glass before choosing freeway riding, ….the fact is that at night, riding on I-80 is much easier and safer than dodging cattle and deer on the rural roads.

Also, I knew where each town was, most of them the Post Office location as well -and I had some towns in mind that perhaps many others were not aware of.

The plan was to have daylight by Salt Lake City, where I would want it –at which point my third leg would start and I would go back to riding brail along a set course ….searching out boni.

So I back-tracked to Fallon and headed north to Lovelock.   A long spell with no bonuses, but that was OK.
You can all imagine the drill from here: Imlay, Winnemucca, Valmy, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Elko,Spring Creek, Wells, West Wendover, Utah, Wendover.

West of wells I had snuggled in behind a car that had good lights and was running a descent pace.  A tad slower than I would have liked, but the value of having them play mine-sweep for animals and police was worth it and made for effortless cruising.

I saw a bike approaching and guessed it was a rally member.   Sure enough!!  Matt W (Ignacio) passed and it was great to see him!!  He was on a nice pace and I knew he was doing well to secure many bonuses.   I decided to leave my car friends behind and I pulled in behind Matt and let him play mine-sweep.   Eventually Wells came and he took the first exit.   I followed him, in a gesture of solidarity, but got right back on the freeway to catch the 2nd exit.  Matt was smarter as the first exit was actually closer to the post office.   My mistake.  By the time I neared the post office, Matt was on course to get back on the freeway.   I debated as to hurry and chase him down, but I opted for a quick stop ..where I made my mandatory call-in requirement before starting east again.

West Wendover, but no “welcome” sign when entering Utah, so I looped back onto the freeway and caught that “Utah” sign.   Pic of the water tower in Wendover and I realized I was getting a bit tired.   I went to the Peppermill Casino and walked around a bit, thinking I’d get a snack in the coffee shop.  Felt good to walk a bit and a milkshake was a nice treat too.  Then I  laid on a bench near the bike.   No sleep but it felt good to chill out for a bit.

Time to head toward Salt Lake City and I was hopeful that I could pick up a bonus or two on the way but I was not able to.  I did loop into Grantsville, and this was not the smart move that I had expected, -as it turns out this town is a ways off of the freeway on rural roads.  No big deal, but probably not worth the effort.
I stopped for fuel and the attendant commented:  ‘I can’t believe you just put 36dollars of gas in a motorcycle.”  I smiled and thought to myself ..yep, and fourth time so far today!!  Geeze.   I asked him where the post office was and he laughed and pointed directly across the street.   Yep, could have taken an acceptable picture from the gas pump.  LOL.

As I neared Salt Lake City
The sun was coming up (per plan) and that odd smell ….I was relieved to realize it was the nasty smell from the Great Salt Lake and not the garter in my front ‘stich pocket.

So, I’m approaching SLC and time to scoop up bonuses.  More of a challenge than I had expected.  While SLC is layed out so efficiently with the way they number everything, but I didn’t know where the post offices were and I was riding through many stoplights etc etc etc which is not optimal.   I could not find the West Valley post office, I did find this but knew it would not be acceptable.   I was questioning my plan, as this was not efficient.  But then accidentally stumbled across the HUGE Salt Lake City post office -and that was luck I was glad to take. West Jordon and then things got MUCH better.

My optimistic goal of snagging rural towns was exceed as I effortlessly picked off many small suburbia towns as I zig-zagged southbound on 215.   The folks in Utah do such a nice job with their pride in the little cities and that made welcome signs in well kept towns an easy and fun adventure as I picked up bonus after bonus ..some of them here:  Lehi, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Lindon City, Provo

Eventually time to head west, but not before for picking up my main goal of this leg:  the "Q" in Santaquin

Down to Nephi and then I’d cut over toward  Delta, and Hinckley but not before  snagging:  Leamington, Lynndyl

I was now getting tired and the bonus hunting was essentially over as not much between here and Ely.  I was now thinking about the chore ahead of putting this alphabet soup of boni in an order to meet the requirements and gain some points.   I knew that just arriving in Ely would not be the end of the rally, No question the biggest challenge would be preparing for the scorekeepers ….and I was tired.

Watching the miles count down on the GPS -I would scream inside my helmet:   89more miles!!! 89more miles!!!  89more miles!!! ...........88more miles!!      88more miles!!!  ….etc etc.    Yep, the silly things we do to stay focused and alert.

Eventually to Ely
...and I’d snag my last bonus:  “Ely”  I stopped for a few minutes here to decide if I wanted to stop or perhaps snag a nearby bonus or two.  I had more rally time available if I chose, but I already had logged over 70solid bonuses, not counting quite a few more questionable ones.  I was tired and knew that preparing for the scorekeepers was going to be tough.

I removed my earbuds and coasted the last couple of miles into Ground-Zero of Cognoscente 2008.

Here is what my aprox route ended up like.

Note, the numbers on the map are not my stops, but rather just points to draw the map.

Mr. Hickey and I confirmed the time I had remaining before my scoring deadline.   We took my odometer reading and I removed my gear.  Tired, prone to procrastination and wanting to clear my head, I chilled a bit before starting to put my bonus listing together.   A good use of time me thinks, I was pretty burnt.

So, up to the room to put it together and I had the positive problem of sorting through my vast bonus listings.

First thing I did was list in order all of my SOLID bonuses.
No need to screw with any that could have even the remotest chance of being challenged.   I then wrote down the score of the highest number in that word –next to the town name
 …this would make it easier as I pulled letters, I would not take values higher than needed for my mandatory words, hence not waste points.

I then started to fill out my mandatory five words.   I was again reminded of how lame these 5words were ..and I got a bit depressed.  I had gone way too conservative.

But, after completing these 5, I had what seemed to be and endless supply of letters –MANY with huge point value.

As I looked for huge words on the list, (and I had three words to add to my mandatory 5words), it was like watching a video poker machine pull up a royal flush in slow motion …I had my pick of words and was putting good points up!!   I changed up a few to gain more points, and no doubt with time and smartness could have squeezed more points, but I was thrilled to be getting these points.  Luck??  Maybe a bit, but I had worked hard to secure so many bonuses and was now realizing the fruit of those efforts.

After some good words …I had met my maximum of 8words.   I still had plenty of letters left, including a couple of “X’s” and if allowed could have done more than the 8words that I was allowed.

I was thrilled and figured I’d better get down to the scorekeepers.
I was extremely nervous that I had made a simple mistake or two  ..ones that could cost me dearly.  It would have been so easy to check off a wrong letter, invert a letter in a word or other error.   Especially being so tired and so many miles.   Later I learned that Matt had made such an easy error and I felt for him as I know how easy that would be to do.  Matt kept a wonderful attitude and I wondered if I could do as well in attitude as he did with that frustration.   Cheers to you Matt for a great ride and a superior attitude.

So, feeling nervous but relatively organized I headed for the score table.
Warchild gave me his trademark shit-eatin’-grin and said:  “About time”

I sat down with my scorekeeper –Steve Hobart.  As we started, I instantly realized just such an error that I was nervous about and swapped a couple words to correct my “JACKPOTS” error.   Now I was really nervous many more errors?  The good thing was that I had a lot of extra letters to use if need be.
Then another error.  This time, when Steve brought up my pic of the Lovelock PO on his big screen.   When I had scrolled through this picture up in the room on my tiny cheap digital camera with tiny cheap LCD viewer I had thought it another post office.   Another change on the fly ….and thankfully lots of extra letters to choose from.  Two errors fixed on the fly and now I was even more nervous about my packet.

I was curious how the scorekeepers would efficiently score such a complex scenario, but they had a brilliant plan in place.

Steve and I went through my pics and I claimed the letter from each bonus that I’d be using.   Many I didn’t use.
Afterwards he added up the quantity of letter that he had, and we compared it to mine.   They matched.   While not a sign of ultimate success,, it was definitely a positive thing.   I had the option to go through my packet and verify everything before going to “round two” of the scoring.  Tempting, and likely the smart thing to do ..but I was tired, time was not in excess and I figured the odds of screwing something up were as good as fixing something –especially with the last few changes made on “the fly”.  So, I made the hard decision to let the pack go to the head scorekeeper at this time.

I met with Don Moses and he input my stuff.  There was no going back at this point.  He entered each of my words in his computer which would automatically validate against the letters that Steve and I had agreed on.    It seemed to go with no problem which was a good sign.  This went very quickly (amazing) ….he was done.

I asked for my score, and while not completely indifferent, he explained that it wasn’t visible …but he scrolled over, took a look and said …”looks pretty good”.   Not knowing what that meant I was slightly more optimistic that I had not screwed things up ..but I didn’t know my score.

It was over.
 Damn!, that was some rally, and that last exercise was certainly a few hours that I will never forget.   No doubt that the Cognoscente rally master had met his goal when it came to RenoJohn.  I had been overly challenged and abused.    Bastard he is :-)

What was done was done, what a relief!!   For more details on how the scoring worked -clicky

Time to relax, walk off the hours in the saddle and chit-chat with other riders.  I did not go to sleep as I was concerned that I would fall into a unrecoverable coma and miss the rest of the festivities.  Plus the fun of watching other worn-out riders stumble around is a great site!!

Awards Dinner
Eventually, time for the awards dinner and banquet, and again a ruthless stampede for the yummy food and it was time for the results.

 I left Reno wanting a top 10 finish.  That was my goal.   I was optimistic that I had met that, but I really had no idea.

But before going through the results, some fun facts were shared.
While I didn’t make note of the exact numbers, the total miles of all riders were given.  Then, the estimated gallons of gas consumed by all were provided to the group.  Interesting facts.

Carbon Footprint
Tom Austin was a big contributor to this event and while I don’t know Tom well, I’ve been around him a few times.  In addition to his last name, I’ve always appreciated Tom’s mix of brilliance and his interesting humor ability.   A nice balance me thinks. 

So, Tom had taken the above numbers of total miles, gallons of gas and with his brilliance, he then calculated the carbon footprint that this rally had contributed to the mother of all of us:  Mother Earth.

My eyes became flooded with tears.  While riding moto-bikes is the best fun that I know, and I do it selflessly.  --I had never thought about my contribution to the global carbon footprint issue.

Let me just say, after hearing the impact, I have never been so proud to ride a moto-bike!!!   It was a sense of pride and contribution that I have never before felt!!

Me thinks at the end of 2008, I’m going to provide Tom my mileage total and ask him to calculate my carbon footprint.   I’ll then make a sticker, put it on the bike and ride with pride.   Maybe all my vehicles, lawnmowers, ...right down to that chainsaw-engine powered blender that we mix drinks with at Raider games.

Tom, thanks much, you made my day buddy.  Now I know that I ride for more than just fun –you demonstrated a whole new purpose in my life.

Head of the Merry Pranksters –Warchild went through the the standings.   It was fun with  a couple of “ties” that had to be address via “paper-rock-scissor” competition.  It was all good entertainment.

When he got to 10th placed I was happy to know that I had made my goal.  A few minutes later thrilled to know I had made top 5 with a 4th place showing.  I couldn’t have been happier.

What a great rally and as much fun as I've had riding moto-bikes.

My mileage was just a couple of miles shy of 1,600
Not bad ...considering what seemed like bizzillions of stops and actually was likely around 100stops. ..and take into account the 25minutes road construction delay, a few times to catch my whit's (like the Checkpoint and Wendover .....uhhhhh, oh ya, and the brothels)

Winding Down
After the awards dinner it was time for a few (more) refreshments.  Spent some time with Greg M ...who always makses me smile with his endless energy and spirit.   By mild coincidence, my favoritest riding buddy Don Simon was on his way back from Cedar City and the V-strom Gathering ...I got to spend some time with him and Mr. Hickey (they remember each other from when Mr. Hickey lived in Reno) as we three traded stories, -and that was some great fun.

Back to Reno the next day.
The real world is no comparison to the amazing place that the Cognoscente group took us to ...the experience was simply out of this world  ...and beyond WORD!(s).

A great report by Eric Vaillancourt here -Clicky

Thanks for the Ride-Along

Riding Moto-Bikes is good fun


Brian Roberts posted this description on the LDrider board and I thought it a damn good write up for those who want more detail on how the scoring worked:

"For this rally Scoring was an integral part of the exercise. 
In fact it was an "Interactive" scoring exercise.  This required riders to have 
mental acuity after riding hard for as many as 32 hours. From the Rally Pack;


 Initially, Riders will have their collection of letters and photos
validated by a Level One Scorekeeper.  L1 Scorekeepers will NOT be checking
words at this time;  they will only check and validate letters.  If a Rider
has any letters disallowed, they may want to revise their list of words
since the disallowed letter WILL make it impossible to spell a word they had
chosen.  It may be possible to find a word or words in the master list of
words that can be spelled with the remaining letters, but there is no
guarantee this is any case the Rider has only the originally
allotted two hours to have their letters checked, revise their word list if
necessary, and have their word list entered into the computer.

A Rider who checks in with the Gatekeeper, but who fails to complete
scoring by the allotted time will be considered a DNF.  A Rider who has
their letters checked by an L1 Scorekeeper, but fails to turn in their score
sheet to the L2 Scorekeeper will be considered a finisher with a score of
zero word points.


What this means is that a rider had to be COMPLETED with scoring Level 1 and
Level 2 before 34 hours into their rally (32 hours after their start time
plus the 2 hours allotted for scoring).  Since the riders started in the
order of their rider number - in one minute increments, rider #1 started at
5:01 am on the 31st and had until 1:01 pm on the 1st to check in with the
Gatekeeper, and until 3:01 to complete scoring.  Rider number 47 started at
5:47 am on the 31st and had until 1:47 to check in with the gatekeeper and
3:47 to complete scoring.

The process goes like this:

1.  Rider checks in with Gatekeeper.
2.  Rider gets prepared to score their pictures and be awarded their
3.  Rider takes approved letters and massages their word list
4.  Rider takes final word list back to Level 1 scored to verify that they
are still claiming at least 5 of their proposed 8 words.
5.  Rider takes completed list to level 2 scorer where the words are checked
against their earned letters, the correct spelling, inclusion in the
original list of 250, use of letters earned in activities and the final
score calculated.

The key is that in step three, the riders had the opportunity to remake
their list of words to account for any that were disallowed.  They could
also improve some of their words if they had extra letters to their credit
to improve their score.  It also allowed them the opportunity to completely
screw themselves by using words that did not have the proper number of
letters to their credit or to make other crucial errors.  It required the
dog tired rider to do mental calisthenics that were a few steps beyond