Friday, October 10, 2014

Harvest Rally

I had prepped my bike a few days earlier for the Harvest Rally. Here is what it looked like once it was ready.

It looks a bit cooler in the dark

Also knowing what kind of weather we would be up against I decided to pick up a 3/4 cover for the bike to keep the frost off. It would have been nice all these years to keep the dew off the bike too and I don't think I will do much traveling without it in the future.

Friday morning I woke up and got ready to head into work. I could hear all night that it was pouring out. I took a look outside and realized that I would be taking the truck to work for the first time in 5 months.

My original plan was to go into work for a few hours and then take off straight away for La Crosse WI to meet my nephew and then Hutchinson MN where the rally would start and finish. Sadly I didn't want to get all my gear wet before hitting the road so I took my truck to work and would need to return home for the bike.

Once home again I triple checked with my nephew that he still wanted to do this since the weather was taking a turn for the worst and the were predicting snow where we were going.

I headed out at about noon and had good weather for the first hour. After that I started getting into the rain and the temps were falling. I left home when it was 64 degrees, by the time I got to La Crosse it was in the low 50's. By the time we left La Crosse it was in the low 40's. Thankfully once I got to La Crosse it had stopped raining. We headed out towards our destination, you could tell once we got out of the protection of the bluffs that line La Crosse as the winds picked up to 30+ miles an hour with gusts into the 40+ mile an hour range.

We just dug in and didn't stop until we reached our destination. We pulled into the hotel parking lot and went to check in. I let them know that I had a reservation but they could not find me in the system and there was a wedding in the hotel along with a dog show. Thankfully they had a smoking room available. I wasn't a fan of it being a smoking room but at least we had a room. I later found out that I made the reservation in Hutchinson KS and not Hutchinson MN. I politely asked for my no cancellation fee to be returned, we'll see what they do.

Once checked in we headed down to what was to be the finishing point of the rally since the rally master said he was going to be there signing riders in.
Once there it was a bit awkward since they all seem to be good friends and we are a bit of the outsiders but we got our paperwork filled out and got a couple of burgers and then headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

The next morning we headed over to the start.

They had quite the spread of food and drinks available in the morning.

The set up was really nice, they had tables and chairs for everyone to sit at to do the planning. This was a bit different than the Bonzai Rally as they didn't give us the "Bonus Packet" until an hour before the start and then you had that time to plan your route.

When I planned the Bonzai Rally I had time to prepare and do research. This time we had an hour.

We still plugged away at it like I did the last one... just a little faster. We went through the list and entered each Bonus point.

I had CJ reading off each point while I entered them into BaseCamp. It was going pretty smoothly aside from the fact that CJ kept falling asleep on the job. We didn't realize that there were so many bonus points until about half way though one of us looked to see the total. I don't remember off hand how many it was but it was around 60 or more.

We started hesitating at that point because of how extensive the list is but kept plugging them in. Once they were all in we started making a circle route and came up with this.

 We decided this was close enough and headed out. They give you a start time when you head out the door. Ours was right around 7:20 am, 20 minutes after the start time

We got out to our bikes and did some fiddling around to make sure everything was in place and were finally ready to hit the road at about 7:40 am. These times will be important later.

Somebody snapped this picture of us heading out.

We headed to our first stop which was to find and count how many windmills were seen from a certain mile marker off the highway. We got there and counted 12. You write this down in your packet and move on to the next point. A couple miles down the road from the first point I notice that CJ is not behind me anymore. Fearing a break down I turned around and started heading back. I met him halfway back holding my packet here I had left my tail box open and my packet had flown out of it. Good thing I wasn't running this rally solo.

Now I could go on and on about all the stops we made and some of the frustrations of not finding certain points but that would be a pretty boring post.

A couple of cool things we had to find were a new and old Volkswagen Bug and take a picture of it with our bikes.

Also note the nice pumpkin on the back of the bike, we had to bring one back for a set amount of points. It could be any size but I figure go big.

We also had to find some harvesting.

We saw a lot of harvesters sitting in the field but this was the only one we found that was actually doing anything. Turns out that it didn't matter if they were working or not.

There was also this cool little church that was on our list. It is the only thing that I actually took pictures of that I didn't need to.

We got back to being near the end of the rally and there was one more stop at a park a block from the finish. We went for it and it was awful. I didn't realize that it was such a large park and we needed to find two different pieces of information while we were in there. Lucky for us we were directed by some other rally goers otherwise we probably would have never found them or we would have been late.

We pulled into the parking lot with a finish time of 6:50 pm and 458 miles.

It is amazing how much tension is lifted off once you get that finish time. While we had fun the entire time you could tell we were getting tired towards the end.

They had a lot of hot food and drinks waiting for us when we got into the restaurant. We sat down to total up our scores.

Silly me didn't bring a charger for my phone, I left it in the hotel room instead so the one thing we were taking pictures with was just about dead. Lucky for us it made it until we were both scored. You can see me here using my iPad to total up my score because my phone was so dead I was afraid to use the calculator on it. Next time I will have a charger with me.

Going up to get scored is a bit nerve racking because once you sit down in the chair you are done fixing anything.  I went up first and found out that I missed a bonus that they explained in the morning.

Since I was already being scored I couldn't claim it anymore but I could yell at CJ and tell him to claim it which he did getting him a 2nd place position again and landing me in 4th again.

Gonna have to stop letting these guys follow me around.