A friend and I decided that it would be fun to try our hand at running a motorcycle road rally called the Minnesota 1000. It is described as a one day slice of the famous Ironbutt rally. The goal of this rally is to amass points by visiting as many of the 47 listed destinations as you think you can fit into 24 hours.
The destinations were mainly in the five state area surrounding Minnesota (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa,) but included such destinations as Carhenge in Central Nebraska. (Actually a sucker bonus, but one person did make it there and back in the time allotted.)
The rally started at a coffee shop in south Minneapolis called "Bob's Java Hut." When I arrived at about 9:00 am, the place was packed with bikes and riders. There were 50+ entries this year, not too bad for only the second time this rally had been run.
The temps were in the low 70s, the sky was clear and it was a beautiful day for a ride.
I met my friend Charles and we hung out and admired the bikes until the rider meeting started at about 9:30. Eddie James stood on a table and explained the rules. It was pretty much 'no cheating, no cheating and by the way, no cheating.' There actually were a few rules. You had until 10:00 am Sunday morning to ride around and visit various destinations. If you returned after 10:00, you were docked 5 points for every minute you were late. If you arrived after 11:00, you were disqualified.
At every stop you had to record the time, your mileage and answer a question or two on the sheet. If you remembered to record all your gas stops and keep all the receipts, you got 1000 points. Sounds pretty easy.
When you registered you handed over your drivers license. It was returned to you sealed in an envelope. If you make it back to the finish with your license still in the envelope, you get 500 points. I thought that was a sneaky bonus.
Then they handed out the packages with the various destinations and everybody got to work. Some people rode off right away. I can't figure that out. Charles and I sat down, plotted out the destinations on our maps, and chose a likely route. A little more time and or planning here might have been a good idea.
At around 11:00 am, I climbed on my '82 BMW R100RS and Charles climbed on his '90 Yamaha FJ1200 and off we went.
I-94 West to:
11:34 am - 40 miles
Moon Motors - Motorcycle dealer.
We had to get the signature of the service manager on our sheets. This is easy.
Many thanks to Brian at Moon Motors for hosting this stop.
Hwy 25 South to Hwy 12 West to:
12:16 pm - 69 miles
There is a rest area just East of town. We had to find out what historical event the marker here commemorates.
Hwy 12 West to:
12:51 pm - 96 miles
This is the home of the worlds largest ball of string. It is housed in a large glass pavilion under the water tower. (That's Charles making the face and me in the reflection.)
Hwy 12 East to Hwy 15 South to:
1:51 pm - 114 miles
There is a statue of an Indian Chief in a small park here. Who is he?
We also stopped for a bite of lunch here and tanked up the bikes. I used 2.79 gallons for a pretty good 40.8 MPG. (Pretty good for my bike, anyway.)
Hwy 15 North to:
2:27 pm - 149 miles
There is a marker here commemorating a non-existent town here. What is it?
Hwy 15 North to I-94 West to:
Sauk Center, MN
3:26 pm - 199 miles
Sauk Center is the birthplace of Sinclair Lewis. We had to get the street address and colour of his house.
I-94 West to:
5:28 pm - 329 miles
We had to pick up a gas receipt in Fargo.
En-route to Fargo I wondered if I could make it on my remaining gas. I figured what the hell, I'll give it a shot. My bike has two petcocks on the tank so, in effect, I have two reserve tanks. At 180 miles, I hit the first reserve tank. It only lasted 15 miles! I flipped on the other reserve and started crossing my fingers. The next sign I saw said 20 miles to Fargo. I tried to console myself with the fact that the signs are measured to the centers of cities.
As the trip meter rolled over to 215 miles, the bike started to sputter. I was just heading up the exit ramp and had to hold the throttle open pretty far just to make it to the stop light. Which of course was red! I managed to keep it running long enough to make it across the freeway and into the gas station. I was literally running on fumes. I ended up putting 5.57 gallons of gas into the bike. I believe it has a 5.6 gallon tank.
I got 38.5 MPG on that tank.
I-29 South to
7:39 pm - 439 miles
On the way to Summit, I clocked us doing 110 miles in 93 minutes. That may not seem like much to you long distance riders, but for us it's quite a bunch. On the next rally, we are going to have to do more of that.
Gas stop. I put in 3.28 gallons. Only 33.5 MPG this time. Must be the high-speed screaming on the freeway.
I-29 South to Hwy 12 East to:
8:42 pm - 483 miles
We were supposed to record the first mile marker we saw after we crossed into South Dakota on the way West out of town.
Sounded pretty easy to us too.
We saw plenty of mile markers on the road heading East into town, we'll just turn around at the border and look for a marker.
Humm... Must be a trick question. We got about 10 miles down the road before Charles stopped and looked at me. "They're on the wrong side of the road!" Damn. The mile markers heading West were on the left side of the road. In fact, they were mounted back to back with the markers heading East. Is this the norm? I dunno. When we got back, we did hear that other people had trouble finding them too, so we didn't feel so bad.
We stopped in the Dairy Queen in Ortonville for a light supper. While I'm outside putzing around, Charles is trying to explain to the manager what it is that we are doing. Charles comes outside shaking his head. "He just doesn't get it."
It's starting to get dark. We hit the road.
Hwy 7 East to:
10:17 pm - 524 miles
Watson Minnesota is the "_____" Capitol of the world. Humm...
On the road to Watson, we ran through the Mayfly breeding grounds for the entire world. If you don't know what a Mayfly looks like, consider yourself lucky. They are large (longer than an inch [25 cm for you metric folk]) flying bugs. They are juicy. They make a huge mess when they splat on your visor.
We had to stop in a town just 10 miles down the road because I couldn't see anymore. The canopy at the gas station was swarming with these things. They would just land all over you when you walked under them. The shoulders of my jacket were yellow with bug guts. It was thoroughly gross.
Hwy 7 East to:
Firefly Creek Casino - Granite City, MN
10:58 pm - 548 miles
We had decided to grab a few of the Casino bonuses. This may have been part of our undoing. But, none the less, we went to the Casino here. The road to the Casino would be a great motorcycle road if there wasn't so much traffic. Nice and windy and smooth.
The Casino bonuses worked like this. There was a list of Casinos that you could visit. You had to buy a one dollar coin to prove that you had been there. The first one was worth 100 points. The second 200 points and so on.
Hwy 67 West to Hwy 75 South to:
12 midnight - 591 miles
According to the sign, what does Canby claim it's location to be?
We also filled up with gas here at a 24 hour automated pump. I almost lost my gas receipt bonus here. You had to swipe your credit card to turn on the pump, then when you were done, you had to swipe the card again to get a receipt. The stupid machine refused to read my card the second time around. I had to swipe it at least ten times to get the damned receipt to come out!
3.98 gallons for about 38 MPG.
Hwy 68 West to Hwy 22 West to I-29 North to:
Dakota Sioux Casino, SD
1:35 am - 650 miles
This is just north of Watertown, SD.
They check everyone who enters this Casino for ID.
You might recall that our drivers licenses had been sealed up in an envelope.
We explained to the guard at the door what we were doing and where our ID was. He was amused. He had to call his supervisor, to whom we had to explain it all over again. He seemed to think it was all right, but he had to convince another person, who I assume was a manager. We explained that all we needed were two, one dollar coins, and we didn't even want to gamble. The second guard escorted us to the cashiers cage, watched as we each bought a dollar coin, which amused the cashier too, and then escorted us back to the door.
We thanked him profusely and continued on our way.
I-29 South to:
2:05 am - 663 miles
I'm getting really tired and have to stop. We pull into a gas station and fill the bikes. We both slam a Mt. Dew and walk around. I wonder what the hell I am doing in Waterton, SD at two in the morning.
1.85 gallons for 38.9 MPG
I-29 South to Hwy 32 to:
Royal River Casino Flandreau, SD
3:34 am - 734 miles
This was our third and final Casino. There was no one checking ID. We just waltzed in, bought our coins and left.
In the parking lot it was starting to rain. We don the rain suits and discuss routes. We think it might work to drop south into Nebraska and pick up a big fat bonus for hitting a state that is not adjoining Minnesota.
It's getting late and I've been riding all day. I'm fatigued. I feel pretty good, and not at all sleepy, but I make a mistake reading the map. We want a rough estimate of miles from Sioux Falls, SD back to Minneapolis. I mis-read the mileage chart and come up with more than 450 miles.
450 miles! It's 3:40 am!
We have to do 450 miles in 6-1/2 hours. Damn!
There was another bonus called "Three Hours of Nothing." You were supposed to spend three hours in one place doing nothing. (Sleeping was best.) We were hoping to grab some sleep for a while, but I guess not anymore!
We jump on the bikes and ride hell bent for leather. We are glad that the speed limit on the interstate is 75 in South Dakota, but we are screaming along closer to 85.
Did I mention that it was raining? It wasn't really raining as such. The moisture was just sort of hanging in the air. Kind of like dense fog. It was like riding along through cotton wool. You can't see anything around you and can't see much in front of you. Sensory deprivation and sleep deprivation are a bad combination.
I start having minor hallucinations. It appears that the stripes on the road are turning into creatures that are getting up and crawling away. This is bad.
We tear ass to Sioux Falls where we head East on I-90. As we enter Minnesota, I see a sign that says Albert Lee - 152 Miles.
Hold on here.
Albert Lee is only 97 miles due South from Minneapolis. Maybe we aren't in quite so much trouble.
I pass Charles and pull him over into the next rest stop. I explain the situation, we calm down a bit, hang out and re-read the map.
We decide to take another route and grab a couple more bonuses. We still have to do quite a few miles, but at least we should be able to finish the rally.
We hit the road again.
I-90 East to:
5:25 am - 833 miles
Gas stop. We fill up the bikes and decide to hit the Perkins for some breakfast. The Waitress thinks bikes are cool, but we are crazy. We cover the table with maps to figure out which bonuses we can hit between here and Minneapolis.
4.71 gallons and 36 MPG.
I-90 East to:
7:05 am - 877 miles
Who was born in Sherburn?
It has pretty much stopped raining by now. We don't stop and take off the suits. We do (dew?) stop for some caffeine!
Hwy 4 North to Hwy 60 East to:
8:00 am - 906 miles
The bonus was a few miles West of Madelia at a rest stop. We actually collected this one by accident. I saw the sign that said Madelia - 5 miles and remembered that there was a bonus there. I pulled over in the turn lane for a rest stop to look at the bonus sheet. It said the bonus was at a rest stop about 4 miles West of Madelia.
Wadda ya know? There's a rest stop right here! It turned out to be the correct one.
Hwy 60 East to Hwy 169 North to:
St. Peter, MN
8:50 am - 950 miles
We stop and gas up. Charles gets impatient with me as I go to the bathroom. I am tired and perhaps am dawdling...
3.05 gallons for 38.2 MPG.
It's 60 miles from St. Peter to Minneapolis and we have an hour. It's going to be close. There is one bonus just North of St. Peter and we stop and collect it with out getting off the bikes.
9:05 am - 956 miles
We tear North to Minneapolis. I hope we don't see any cops. This drive usually takes me about 70 minutes on a good day. (I used to drive to St. Peter to visit an old girlfriend.) We manage to pull it off in 60. We are just entering Minneapolis at 10:03. We decide to pull off the freeway and pick up one more bonus in Minneapolis on the way to the finish.
Hwy 169 North to:
10:06 am - 1014 miles
What is painted on the garage door at a specific address?
We collect it and then manage to hit every red light between it and the finish line.
We finally arrive at Bob's Java Hut at 10:18 am. 23 hours, 18 minutes and 1017 miles after we left.
We get logged in and turn in our packages. We all sit around in a daze until the tallying is done.
Out of the 50 riders, only three didn't make it back in time. Nobody crashed, only two people got stopped for speeding (one of which was Eddie James, the rally organizer) and quite a few people did more than 1000 miles.
The top mileage was 1440 miles. The top points was around 7800 points.
Charles and I did 1017 miles and collected 5252 points. I was sure we would come in last, but I think we did a pretty respectable job.
Here is Eddie James announcing the winners.
Thanks to Eddie James, Team Strange and Bob's Java Hut for hosting this rally. I will be doing it again.
Copyright 1996-2000 - Timothy W. Foreman - timf@anansi-web .com
last updated:9 May, 2000