It was about 2 pm on the afternoon of day 2 of the inaugural Iron Butt 5000, a 5 day rally. I was about 100 miles north of the Denver Checkpoint. I was tired and needed to take a break. I pulled off the freeway and saw a barren, hot, dry rest area off to one side, and a cool, air conditioned McDonalds restaurant off to the other. I thought if I went to Mcdonalds, I could get a snack, fill my water jug with ice and water, and then take a nap. The night before I had only gotten to sleep at a turn-out on the Chief Joseph Highway, west of Cody, for a brief nap.
So I fell alseep in my booth in the Mcdonalds. I was dreaming quite pleasantly, when all of a sudden, I felt someone hitting me on the shoulder. I woke up and heard the manager say to me, "You are not allowed to sleep in here", in a rather stern tone, like I was a bum or something. The fact that I had been living in my Aerostich and had not had a bath in two days might have had something to do with it.
I immediately said Thank You, got my water jug, and then made my way to Denver, to more bonuses and the Leg 1 Checkpoint.
I had left Denver on Monday morning at 8 am. Warchild had pointed at me and directed me to take off.
(photo courtesy Steve Hobart)
I did not hesitate and took off briskly towards my first bonus, which was:
I had first heard about the Ames monument from a ride report posted by helodoc:http://www.ironbutt.org/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=3965
There were two ways to get to the monument, an easy 2 mile trip off the interstate, or a more direct way over 15 miles of rural Wyoming unmaintained dirt roads. I had planned to take the easy way off the interstate, but leaving Denver, I was following my friend Sleddog, and I was enjoying that so much I deviated to the more challenging alternative. I took it slow and easy, and made it there uneventfully.
The next bonus stop was at a turnout just off the highway.
Hells Half Acre:
After that, a statue in
Next, on to Red Lodge, Montana.
After this, it was over Beartooth Pass to Cooke City, Montana. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beartooth_Highway
The sun was setting, the road was completely empty of traffic and had just been repaved that day, and it was the highlight of the trip for me. Riding above the tree line for so many miles and seeing the empty rocks and deserted lakes was spectacularly beautiful. The Beartooth Highway is an All-American Road that has been called "the most beautiful drive in America," by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, and I agree completely.
I had to find some statue in a Bar. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/796
After this, it was a long slog over to Eastern Wyoming to the
After that, it was a long trip south to Denver, where I took the nap at the McDonalds. In Denver, I went to the Red Rocks Amphitheater to get a receipt at the visiters center, and then to Casa Bonita, the famous restaurant featured in a South Park episode, to buy an 80 cent tootsie roll, and to the
To reach the monument, you had to climb some 390 stairs up a steep hill. However, you were rewarded with great views of Denver for your efforts.
This ended the first leg, and I was scored by Warchild, and then got something to eat, and off to sleep till 4 am the next morning.
We were given 85 different possible bonus locations spread throughout the Continental United States. I immeditely saw that I would be heading to Minneapolis, Minnesota to buy a coffee cup at Bob's Java hut. I picked out a few bonuses that were directly along the route, and was off.
First bonus stop was in Valentine, Nebraska.http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2JZ1http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/nediv/bridges/cherry.htm
Next stop was in Pierre, South Dakota.http://www.state.sd.us/state/capitol/capit...ur/fountain.htm
Flaming Fountain Memorial:
After Pierre, it was on to Watertown, South Dakota to buy a bar of soap at the Walmart. How random is that? Following that it was off to Minneapolis. I took my rest bonus in a suburb maybe 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and Bob's Java Hut. Bob's is famous because it is the starting location for the Minnesota 1000 rally.
(next pics courtesy of critter)
Bob's Java Hut:
Buying my mug:
Filling out the rally sheet:
Putting sticker on my Pelican top case:
With Bart, rallymaster for the Minnesota 1000 for the last 5 years:
After the stop in Minneapolis, I was heading to the Live Oak Nudist Resort in Texas. I was following my GPS south and saw a sign saying Des Moines was 98 miles away. Jerry White had told me repeatedly that he was going to be in Des Moines on a vacation with his family and to let him know if I came through. So I stopped at the next rest stop and called him. He was still there, and I said I needed to stop for something to eat, and if he could recommend a place off the interstate, I would love to meet him for a meal. His mother-in-law had a most excellent recommendation, which was the Machine Shed:http://www.yelp.com/biz/machine-shed-restaurant-urbandale
It was a perfect choice, and I got to meet Jerry and his daughter Claire. The restaurant reminded me of a Cracker Barrel, and I would love to go back. I had a chicken fried steak, which would be the only meal I would have for the next 24 hours. It was really great to visit with Jerry and seeing him helped me recharge my batteries and made me excited about the great journey I was on.
The Machine Shed:
(photos courtesy of JWhite)
After this, it was off to the Live Oak Nudist Resort:http://www.liveoakresort.com/home1.htm
I got tired and stopped at a Motel 6 around 9 PM. I had a 3 AM wake up call, and was on the go after a quick gas stop at 3:25 am.
I had heard of the Live Oak while reading Butt Lite reports. I was happy to go there. It was a major anchor for me, so I made sure I was there when it opened at 9 am. I actually arrived at 8:45 am and was I think the second person there.
We were directed to the clubhouse maybe a half mile from the entrance. The clubhouse was very nice and they had tons of great food including these things called kolatches which were ham and cheese breakfast rolls, which were delicious. We could use the pool, hot tub, or shower, but I did not. Also had a place to sleep.
I saw no nudity, but Jack and Marlene were greeted by a 300 lb female. Alan Dye was working the checkpoint and all he had to do is sign your rally sheet and make sure you stayed for one hour. Of note, at the end of the checkpoint window@2 PM or so, there were reports of him getting naked. Also heard reports of attractive older ladies participating.
Last unusual note is that my hair in my ponytail was very tangled and I was fortunate that the attractive girl that was with Alan volunteered to re-tie it for me. They should have gotten pictures.
Next bonus was a statue in Navasota, Texas, near the resort.
Next stop was in Montgomery, Alabama to take a picture of the plaque outside the Rosa Parks museum that was not Rosa Parks.
Not Rosa Parks:
Finally, it was on to my last bonus in Atlanta, which was the Eddie James memorial bench. I was the first to arrive. I had stopped at a service gate, which was closed. Brant/DaJuice took off around the perimeter as he had heard that another rider was able to find an open gate. He found the way in, and we followed him. It was perhaps 3 am, and we had to wait till daylight to take the bonus pictures. We all soon fell asleep in the graveyard. Later, many other riders began to arrive and we tried to alert them to the location of the bench with our powerful flashlights. It became like a mini-checkpoint as there were so many others there. They had made it worth a lot of points, so that we would have to leave Atlanta at 7 am for the 2.5 hour ride to Spartanburg.
Greg Rice/Travel Man:
I arrived at Checkpoint 2 at about 9:30 am, 30 minutes before the penalty window would open.
I was scored, then tried to relax before the dinner banquet.
As it turns out, there were 64 starters, 47 finishers, and I came in 33rd place with 11,930 points and 4,816 miles.http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/2010/html/10-1.html
(Photos courtesy Steve Hobart)
Photo of the 47 finishers in Spartanburg.
Very special thanks to helodoc, for the last minute supplies; JWhite518 for the inspiration and the invite to Spokane; Kaitsdad, your efforts to help me with bike prep were a part of this journey for every single mile; and tcfjr, thanks for being my riding partner and going along for all my training rides, your caring meant a lot to me.
Finally, a great big thanks to all the IBA staff and Volunteers. Your efforts allowed me to push myself harder than I ever have before, and led me to have the ride of a lifetime, or at least till next June. What a great way to see the country and what great people to share the experience with. I am very grateful for the experience.