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Old 06-14-2016, 04:29 PM   #16
boney
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Roadside Angel

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sonoma
Motorcycles: Yes please!
Name: Tom
I roll out of Marysville and up 70 to Oroville where I have to stop for a mandatory gas receipt. It's a good thing though, since I need it. The pump shuts off a bit late and blasts a quick overflow of gas on my tank. I'm sitting on the bike but it doesn't get on me. Whew! When I'm done topping it up all the way the pumps asks me if I want to buy lottery tickets. I've never seen that before but it's genius. Gotta be a money maker for sure.

From here, I plugged all the bonuses into the GPS on the way to Gerlach. According to my mental schedule, I'd have time to make them. There were 6. The numbers looked favorable so I went with it.

Pulling out of Oroville the grade steepens and the front tire is pointed into the canyon, up 70. Having been here last year in the day light, I knew what to expect, but also what I'd be missing. I kept the pace conservative and steady with my LED's illuminating things pretty well. On the rare occasion that a car was coming the other way, I became aware of just how important good driving lights are. It was so dark out there that my stock headlight, which is pretty good wouldn't let me comfortably cruise more than about 40 MPH in those curves. Along the way I saw a guy in a yellow riding suit next to what could only be a BMW R1100S (those tail pipes!) hanging out at the rest stop. Was he in the rally? I'm pretty sure he wasn't...

At Twain I captured the bonus with the help of a good flashlight.

Just like last fall, I overshot the 89 turn off and had to turn around down the road a bit where it was safe.

In Greenville I pulled up at one of the bars and some drunk but friendly patrons who were on the porch smoking volunteer the the answer I was looking for. I double checked. They could have been plants by the rallymaster. They also knew where I was going. Not just the next stop, but the whole route. Obviously I was not the first person through here. Or was I? More on this later... Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe they were plants....

My new single-serving road-side best friends forever informed me that it was going to get cold before it got warm again. I powered on with the vents of my 'stich closed and the heated grips on low.

Over in Susanville I picked up the tavern bonus and bagged another railroad bonus. The GPS is pointing me out of town in a direction that I'm not comfortable with so I get the GPS to recalculate. It points me the same way and I follow it. I'm a bit turned around and it doesn't help that 395 runs east/west right here. After setting the GPS to "up=north" on the map, it makes sense and I go back to "track=up" to get the best view of upcoming stuff.

Alturas is a long way from Susanville. Like 100 miles. It's even farther at night after a long day in the saddle. The temps never warmed up after coming off the mountain to Susanville like I expected it to, and I was starting to shiver. Stopping to don the 'lectric vest, and a fleece sweater over that gave me a nice pause to shut off all the lights and look at the night sky. We forget how many stars there are to see in the sky by living in an urban area. The light pollution hides such a beautiful sky. I admired it for all of about 30 seconds then I jumped back on the bike and kept rolling.

The Alturas bonus was right where I expected it, but the Cedarville bonus was not. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wasn't even in the right place. I checked addresses (there aren't many posted addresses there) intersection (pretty sure I was in the right place) and rode back and forth a few times on the cross street. I checked a street over in 3 directions and couldn't find a thing. Mind you, it's 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning and I'm riding circles in a strange town. I finally decided that the bonus might be harder to find and could possibly require shining a flashlight around. Something I wasn't comfortable doing in a residential area this late (early?) at night.

Fearing that I'd blow my chance for the bonuses on the other side of Gerlach I gave up and moved on, leaving this bonus unfound. For reference now, I had bypassed two bonuses now.

In my mind I was already behind, because I had pegged at least two riders for having picked up all of the bonuses so far. My only chance to stay in this rally was to pick up everything else there was and hope that either of the two riders behind me would be running late and have to skip some of them to get to the finish on time. The last few bonuses were an integral part of the "theme" points, so if they had to skip any of them would then that would put me at an advantage.

I set off into the desert on Surprise Valley Road, which is also 447 in Nevada. I went right past the scenic byway that SFMCJohn had written about in his recent report (go look in Adventure Riding.) I had made a very strong point to know exactly where that road was and took a good look at his pictures. Sometimes having knowledge about a road like that could come in handy. It's a dirt road and I asked myself if I could ride it at night and keep a decent (30 MPH) pace. It looked like it could shave about an hour off a loop through Alturas from 447 and 395. I bet it could save that, maybe more.

It wasn't needed though, I had the time and I needed the points up north.

Rolling through the high desert I started to get fatigued a bit. I'd been riding for a long time and hadn't gotten off it for more than about 20 minutes at any given point. Most of the time it was 5 or less minutes and then back on we go.

To keep my mind in it I glanced at the GPS occasionally to see the ETA ticking slowly backward. The GPS was estimating my time based on the speed limit? I was travelling around 65 in the open, maybe 70 here and there, and so the ETA was ticking backward slowly. I also began to count rabbits. Anyone who thinks there's nothing alive in the desert should go ride a motorcycle on a dark road. Bunnies everywhere. They run across in front of you. Behind you. They sit up on the edge of the road. Two of them tried to split between my front and rear tires. They didn't make it. For the first few I would chop the throttle when they got out in front of me. After a while I didn't even make the effort. They'd either make it or not. I don't remember the final count, but it's now minus 2. There were cows out there too. The driving lights were good enough to let me see them a long time in advance. Of course at first I thought it was the biggest bear I had ever seen. Then when reality came around I realized that it was indeed, just a cow. As I slowed, it walked out into the road, stopped, and looked at me with that "what?" look only a cow can give. With one honk of the fiamms he was out of the way lickety-split.

The Iron Butt Memorial is just outside of Gerlach. So I went over there and bagged the bonus, paid my respects briefly to the Iron Butt Riders who have put their last mile under their tires and went over to town to the check point at Bruno's.

I bagged the extra bonus right there, without even getting back on my bike.



Oh yeah. And the sun was coming up.
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