A girl, a bike, and an open road

My alarm when off at 6am and I did something I seldom do - I hit snooze. I wasn’t feeling rested, still having after effects of a long, hot day, but I groaned and dragged on my gear, feeling kind of low and lonely without anyone “at home” to get my head screwed on right again. Stubbornness got me back on the bike this morning, but that’s ok; whatever it takes to get the job done.

(I hope that sharing some of the mental and physical challenges I go through isn’t a negative thing; I feel like most people who do any kind of sport or competition face these kinds of things, but so often we just do them alone, quietly, and don’t talk about them. Hopefully, knowing someone else also has to drag themselves out of bed, or forgot a flag again, or ate at a Waffle House.. just knowing that someone else also deals with this stuff makes it less discouraging when it happens to you.)

Speaking of things happening.. I somehow managed to pick the one built-up retail area without a gas station, so I was nervously scanning for fuel, spotting one 5-10 minutes into the ride.. so at 6:39am (according to the DBR I pulled out of habit) I had a full tank of fuel and was starting to feel slightly better about my day.

Of course, as I turned northwest I was still several hours behind schedule, and the early morning traffic into Asheville, NC followed by a truck towing a boat matching speed with a tractor trailer slowly chugging through the twisties of I-40 along the Pigeon River Gorge 10 under the speed limit was… enraging. Tick tick tick tick… losing more time!

I distracted myself by trying to figure out a way to save time, seeing what Garmin might suggest. It gave me a few ideas, but no solutions, and at last the truck-boat figured out how much traffic had backed up behind it in the last half hour and finally merged back to the right lane, and traffic surged forwards. Still a bit upset, I noted it was now past 8am, late enough to call Shawn and apologize for not stopping by the previous evening. When I hung up, I realized I was upset and still tired, so stopped at the next rest area, just short of where I-40 meets I-81, and walked around the building housing the bathrooms, had a 5-hour energy, ate a can of tuna fish, and just forced myself to relax.. I’ve already collected more than the 100,000 minimum points, so as long as I got to Cheyenne safely (and before the DNF cutoff) I will be a finisher. There’s no need to panic or worry, so let’s just finish this out, ok?

I-40N, I switch over to I-81E and get off at the second exit to head north on US-25E towards the Cumberland Gap. Passing through beautiful rural eastern Tennessee, US-25E is a fast dual carriageway snaking around the rivers and ridges of the folded southern Appalachian mountains, sharp rocks, soft trees. Churches, small towns, boat launches, hunting clubs, I spot wild turkey in a passing field, the day warm but not oppressive, the sky overcast, with just a hint of fog or mist on the breeze. The day, and my mood, gets brighter. What was I so worried about?

36) BPR23 - Abraham Lincoln - Harrogate, TN - 223 pts

This Lincoln statue stands on a small traffic island at the entrance to Lincoln Memorial University. I always wonder at the economics of these small schools - how do they attract teachers and students? How is there enough tuition to cover the costs associated with campuses, the outbuildings, sports facilities, etc? An alumni of a frightfully small college that is frequently teetering on the edge of solvency, I hope the students find the education they’re looking for (or learn what they’re NOT looking for!)

I parked in the lot for the library and attached Lincoln museum and hoofed it over to take a photo. Security passed by on a golf cart, but paid me no mind; I assume some other disreputables on motorcycles have already passed through here.

This segment: 181 miles, 3h18m
Total: 181 miles, 3h18m
Time Remaining: 51h42m
Points scored: 108,279

I suppose this is as good a place as any to drop a quick note about how I generate these reports, or at least the statistics above.


For most rallies I’m not keeping strict track of mileage, nor looking at my odo at each stop. Some rallies require this as part of the paperwork for scoring, but since this rally uses electronic submission, such record keeping isn’t required. I’m generating the mileage by looking at the Google Maps estimate based on the embedded map above; the actual number of miles day-to-day exceeds this. For example, during Leg A, Google Maps guesses I rode 3,359 miles, measuring bonus-to-bonus, however my trip meter (bike and GPS) recorded 3,510 miles.. this is a significant difference, and I’m a bit puzzled about where it comes from. I do have odometer readings at my gas stops, but I haven’t had the time to truly figure out where my math has gone side ways.


I use the electronic timestamp on the photo to calculate the time between 2 bonuses, as that will also account for stops, traffic, etc along the way. This is why you’ll often see it taking longer in the stats box than what the Google Maps embed claims. I do the time elapsed and time remaining semi-manually, sometimes using a time calculator, sometimes in my head. Regardless, I sometimes mess up doing the math in time, and I also sometimes make mistakes with timezones.


I’m keeping a running tally at each bonus location that includes the points I am claiming from bonuses, as well as combos as I score them. Rest bonuses and non-riding bonuses (such as we might earn for getting our pre-rally paperwork done on time, or having our location tracker registered with Spotwalla correctly) are not included. I started the score tally for Leg B at the value of points I was credited with for Leg A, which does include the rest bonus, so that value takes a bit of a jump between entries in this report.

Ok, back to the rally…

I was at a point where I needed to make a decision.

My original plan

However, that route was just a shade under 16 hours, and Google was giving me some much faster options.

A quick glance at the bonus locations, and it looked like not only were all the northerly routes faster, but had more bonuses along the way.. so I could make up time and points!

My new plan

The new plan would send me north through Kentucky, Indianapolis, across Indiana and Iowa before picking up the original plan in Omaha, Nebraska. It would also add 2 additional Lincolns to my collection, increasing my multiplier. Looking to the end of my plan, swooping up a number of high-value bonuses in Colorado, maximizing the multiplier as much as a I could seemed like a good move.

In the moment, I had no idea how this would impact my score.. and sharp-eyed rally riders and bench-planners will spot how many mid-value bonuses I’m leaving on the table.. but I didn’t feel I had time for anything not along the route to Omaha. My mood might have improved, but I still wasn’t thinking great. If I’d taken the time to sit down somewhere, take my meal break now around lunchtime, and just mess around with the laptop and done some planning… but that wasn’t where my head was.

Still.. I had a plan, and deciding to go with it, I scooted through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel and stopped briefly at the visitors center on the north side of the tunnel to use the restroom and to grab a trove of National Park stamps. I chatted with a young mom and her 2 kids about the bike, gave them some stickers, and realized I was feeling pretty good about having made a decision. I fixed the “panic” by rerouting, but that only addressed the immediate need, and let me feel better in the moment. Even if it were wrong, I was as least moving in a decisive direction, instead of letting the plan lead me around.

37) BEX25 - Daniel Boone Monument - Richmond, KY - 189 pts (x5)

This bonus was on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University, and I spotted Bryan and Marissa again, standing in the shade under a tree next to a small park across the street from it. They had their gear off and Bryan was on the phone… uh oh! Seems that the final drive on their Goldwing decided to mimic a BMW and developed a leak of some kind, and their rally was over. We chatted briefly about how their rally had gone otherwise, and I made sure they had a plan. There was a dealership in town (or nearby) and they were already planning on getting back to Cheyenne for the finish (and then home to the PNW.) Such a shame, as they were having a great rally, but we’re all at the mercy of the machines.

Getting back on the road, I called the scoring team to let them know about the situation, but of course they already had been notified. I assumed as much, but if I didn’t call, and they hadn’t yet been informed…

This segment: 109 miles, 2h21m
Total: 290 miles, 5h39m
Time Remaining: 49h21m
Points scored: 109,224

I realized I actually did need to stop and eat lunch, and craving something what wasn’t from Arby’s I found a Subway about 45 minutes short of Louisville, KY and got my usual tuna sub - good protein, some vegetables, healthy fish oils.. and relatively fast, I suppose. I still haven’t mastered mobile ordering, and I don’t need a “sandwich artist”, I don’t do anything custom, so I find Subway a bit of a crapshoot with how frustrated and angry I’m going to be at the precious orders of people in front of me. It’s Subway, you know what the options are, order your thing! Be decisive! Now is not the time for you to be wishy-washy and second guess your order, making the “sandwich artist” add and then remove toppings over and over again. What are you, five?!

I should be less judgmental, but I am who I am.

38) BPR20 - Abraham Lincoln - Louisville, KY - 142 pts

Louisville was a bit of a mess; lots of construction and one-way streets, and I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. The GPS coordinates got me to the northeast side of the library, but of course the statue was around on the southwest corner.. and traffic was a bit aggressive as I circled around looking for the statue, it’s little park hidden a bit behind some trees and shrubbery, giving Mr Lincoln a nice shady spot to be sure, but a bit hard to find when dodging potholes and angry pickup trucks!

This segment: 104 miles, 1h58m
Total: 394 miles, 7h37m
Time Remaining: 46h23m
Points scored: 109,366

39) BST50 - George Rogers Clark - Indianapolis, IN - 114 pts (x6)

…and I’m back in Indianapolis, 3 blocks south of where I was, what 2? 3? days ago. Funny, it’s also 5pm… again. There was enough traffic barely obeying traffic laws getting into the downtown area from the south, combining with brick streets and cobblestones playing havoc with my bike, at least in my mind, making the front end wander around a bit. It took me about 15 minutes to get to the Sailor & Soldiers Monument, and after circling the entire thing twice I found a parking spot and snapped a few photos of the monument, making sure I got the correct statue as there are several around the periphery, along with fountains. I’m sure it was nice enough, but after 2 visits here I honestly can’t say Indianapolis is on my list of places to vacation.

This segment: 116 miles, 2h05m
Total: 510 miles, 9h42m
Time Remaining: 44h30m
Points scored: 110,050

In my rush to reroute, and then my rush to get out of town, I missed a critical detail.

Looks pretty normal, but when putting together this write-up, I noticed a small detail when zoomed in…

Because I was plotting out my new route with just the GPS unit, zoomed out and looking at the overall big picture, I never spotted the Abraham Lincoln bonus just 2 blocks away! If I’d seen it, I likely would’ve started looking at other route options to stack with it, and it only took me about a minute and a half to spot a juicy 1,600 point bonus in Gary, IN that would’ve only added 20 minutes. Factoring in the multipliers across the remainder of the leg, missing this one bonus cost me ~16,000 points… ouch! Oh well… lessons learned.

In the moment, of course, I didn’t know any of this, and got out of Indianapolis intact, and began a long ride across Indiana and Illinois to Davenport, IA. I was feeling really good, the weather continued to be warm but not horribly so. As I was heading west, I picked up an hour as I crossed into the Central Time Zone somewhere in eastern Illinois, but by this point in the rally I was only going by how I felt and my ETA according to the GPS.

40) BPR93 - Abraham Lincoln - Davenport, IA - 30 pts

A measly 30 points for this bonus, but it stacks my Lincoln multiplier to x7! I took it slow through Davenport, as it was a sleepy sort of town, and I had no trouble finding this rather unique Lincoln statue in a small park on the north bank of the Mississippi.

This segment: 310 miles, 5h01m
Total: 820 miles, 14h43m
Time Remaining: 39h30m
Points scored: 110,080

I decided that I’d had enough for one day, and that getting to bed early and taking my full rest bonus now was the best plan, hopefully setting me up for a strong Day 7 (and a half..) where I could possibly sneak through with only a few naps or a short rest and try to make up some of the time I’d been losing the last couple of days. I booked a room on the west side of town and headed over there, stopping to grab some takeout from, yes, another Arby’s, and mostly filled the bike’s fuel tanks as well to get a good rest receipt. I was officially off the clock at 9:38pm, and was asleep by 10:30pm.

Onward to Day 7 ➡️

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