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Archive for September 4th, 2009

Day 270– 4th September 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on September 4, 2009

Friday – Spokane, Washington

Well, I woke at 4am like I planned and immediately checked out the SPOT tracks of Margaret and Davo. They seemed to be within a few hours, or around 100 mile or so from the finish check in point, but I had no idea what bonuses they were aiming for on the way in. As it would be a while yet before they arrived and it was cold and dark, I spent the next few hours updating a few entries here. I did hear occasional cheering from the car park downstairs as participants arrived and around 6.15am I headed downstairs to wait the arrivals. Mainly because the SPOT tracks were not moving and had not done so in a while, I figured they had turned them off or something. I found out later, with the integration with the STM site, they need to be re-activated every 24 hours and of course this had not been done this morning.

I had my flag ready and waved at all the bikes coming in, but as I had not seen them before I did not know who was who 🙂

I spoke to some people about who was who and they mentioned that Margaret had already arrived a while back, what a bummer! I went and checked out the carpark and sure enough, there was an Aussie BMW bike and that was her number plate, so I had missed her, but she had arrived and was in with a chance. 🙂

I went back to the car park entrance and asked a few people about where Davo was, I was given a few conflicting stories.[I need to mention that at this point, what comes next is bad, but the truth and although I could have decided to not mention any of it, it is part of my journey and as I am writing this 4 days after the fact, nothing I say here will change anything that happened, what I say next is all I will say on this subject]. I asked one of the scoring officials whether what I had heard was true, he told me that Davo had hit a deer this morning and would not be arriving at the finish 😦 This was later confirmed and he did not recover from surgery and passed away the next day. He was not wearing a helmet at the time, it was strapped to the bike, this fact was also confirmed as well. It was a sad loss and so close to the finish, RIP DAVO

I continued to watch the latest arrivals, but by 7am, there were only a few outstanding riders, from now until 9am, it is all penalty point deductions, after 9am it is too late.

After 7 am I went and found Margaret, she was up in her room. What happens is, she arrived at 5.52am, she now has 2 hours to get all her paperwork and documents together and proceed to the actual check in room. It was great to catch up with her again, after breaking down she said she had planned a route that should get her into the points, she has done this, but won’t know for hours. So I waited with here for a short while, but she said it would be hours, so we would have lunch or something later.

I went back upstairs to my room and wrote another days blog, the backlog is always on my back 🙂 After that I went for a look at the bikes, they have been designed specifically for long days on the road, so I wanted to see what farkles they had added and maybe could maybe use a few ideas, who knows 🙂 Most had special seats, they also had extra fuel tanks strapped where ever they could get them to fit 🙂 I liked the water bottles on the passenger pegs, that is unused space on my bike and it may grow some of these 🙂

Now, on the yellow Goldwing, I noticed a coffee cup holder up near the dash, it had a half smoked and chewed up stogie sitting on it, not much interest there, it was the coffee stains all over the whole bike from spillage and dripping that made me laugh 🙂

This particular bracket is made specifically for the SPOT tracker. I had heard of them but did not want to fork out any money until I had physically seen one, because I was not sure if it would do what I wanted it to do, that is hold the SPOT while still having a lanyard attached to me.

Needless to say, after seeing one in the flesh so to speak, I believe it will do the job and I have since bought one online and had it sent to Ziggy’s place, it will look like Xmas when I turn up there with all my stuff arriving, hopefully they still have room for themselves 🙂 Thanks Ziggy see ya in a few weeks or less 🙂 Now, check out this bike, look at where the front Auxillary lights are pointing, into the bike, I have no idea what he/she was thinking, but they look useless??? 😕

I found some more peg area stowage, water and other stuff, very neat ideas 🙂

Here is a SPOT in its cradle, but it looks as if it has been mounted back to front to me!

The car park was chockers with rally bikes and of course a lot of spectators had also turned up on bikes 🙂

Now, I had heard about this chap, he had had a deer strike during leg two I think it was and he managed with Gaffa tape, to get the bike in a condition to continue on, he was a finisher. I believe he also had a flat battery to start with, hence the jumper leads 🙂

I met Margaret again, she told me after she had checked everything in, she was a good chance to be classified as a finisher. To finish, it does not mean to get to the check in at the end, it means you have to earn enough bonus points to get to a certain score. To be classified as a finisher, you need a minimum of 77,000 points as this is a rally and not a race. We chatted during lunch, I also met up with a chap from the forums called RenoJohn, he was surprised to see me here and we made a drinks date for later on. He has been following my blog and of course I read his ride reports on his web site too, so we have something in common. He is a Vstrom rider, from Reno of course, and was here as a spectator.

I did some more blog work after lunch before having a little snooze to catch up on some sleep 🙂 Later I tried to work out what is wrong with the TomTom again, this time with the help of a chap called Mark Weisse, we came to the conclusion the TTR2 has also had the red ned and needs binning!!! He advised to buy a Garmin Zumo 550, but of course only if it had maps for South America, I checked later and as far as I can tell, no GPS system has a full proper set of maps for down there 😦 I will probably just make up a lead that can power the GPS from a USB lead, because the AC adaptor charges it no worries.

Anyway, onto the dinner, I had bought a ticket to the banquet, which started at 6pm and after a nice dinner the proceedings started. I had grabbed my flag as there were a few other Aussies here to see Marg as well.

The results are read out in the reverse order of course, there were 101 starters and 31 DNF(did not finish) either due to technical failures, not enough points or for other reasons. The first name read out, for position 70, was Margaret, so after all that hard work, even with 2 days off the bike, she had done enough work to get a finish, which is the important thing, who knows where she could have placed with an extra 40 hours of riding 😕 Well done Margaret, considering a broken pelvis in a prang early this year, that is tough riding 🙂

There were of course another 69 finishers to go through, at a certain stage of earned points, the prize changes to Bronze, then Silver then Gold, of course the top ten is usually all Gold earners. The winner this year was a chap called Jim Owen, a popular winner by the sounds of it 🙂

After dinner we all adjourned to the bar of course, mind you a lot of the riders did not stay long, after 11 days of nearly no sleep, it was starting to catch up. Myself and RenoJohn decided to go to town, just for a couple and we managed to get a courtesy car down there, the first bar was an Irish bar and was chockers and loud, so we walked to the one up the road a bit called SteelHead

This is the lovely wench that served us, very delectable 🙂

We stayed for a couple and had a great chat as we did not know each other except via the forums, it is always good to meet people after so much time. We left after a few, just because there were other bars around, either that or they kicked us out at closing, not sure on that point, but outside we noticed this bike that had been chained up, well they did not steal the whole bike at least 😯

The next bar up the road had beer too, so we tried some more, I even had a few rums, it was a very late night, John was a nice chap as I had thought and I will probably make a diversion back to Reno for a few rides as he had invited me 🙂 It was lucky in this particular hotel checkout was not until midday, I would be needing most of that lee time 🙂

Day 0 miles and 0 km
Trip – 34,914 miles and 56,189 km


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Posted in Around The World, USA Leg | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

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