The Year 2000 Minnesota 2000
-- or --
Our Trip to the North Pole


19 July 2000 - UPDATED: All photos now added!


Well, I've done it again. Last year, I didn't run the Minnesota 1000 because I didn't have a bike that I thought would stand up to it. This spring, I bought Eddie James' '93 K1100RS, so I had no excuse.

Of course, the Monday before the rally, the bike broke a U-joint. So much for being reliable. Anyway, with the help of my friend Charles Robinson, I got that fixed on Wednesday.

For those of you who don't know what the Minnesota 2000 is, it's a two day version of the Minnesota 1000. (Helpful, no?)

The Minnesota 1000 is an annual motorcycle rally run by Team Strange. It's a 24 hour event that is kind of like a scavenger hunt. You are given a list of bonus locations all around the country each of which have different point values. It is up to you to determine how to collect the highest number of points by visiting a number of these locations in 24 hours.

The Minnesota 2000 was a special two day (52 hour) version just for Y2K. It's much more grueling, but you get to go to places that are farther away. Just how far, we will demonstrate later.

The Liar's Banquet

The Friday before the rally, there is always a riders dinner called The Liar's Banquet. This year, as last year, it was hosted at Warner Outdoor Sports, in Bloomington. Warner's is a cycle/snowmobile shop who's owner, Dean Cross, graciously hosts the banquet. Dean also rides in the rally.

At the banquet, several things are accomplished. There is an odometer check that you are required to complete. You have to ride a measured course of 13.9 miles to find the calibration factor for your bike so they can figure out the actual miles you ran.

There of course is food.

There of course is a great deal of wandering about the parking lot and checking out the other bikes and talking to the other riders.

Click Me for Big!
Click me! Click me!
This is outside Warner Outdoors.
My bike is the blue one just to the right of the man in the foreground.
This is another shot of the bikes at Warners.

This year, when you checked in, you got all kinds of goodies. You got a really nice denim button up shirt with the MN2K logo embroidered on it, a coffee mug with the MN2K logo on it and several temporary tattoos of the MN2K logo, which my kids loved. (Talk about branding...)

There is the obligatory talk by Adam Wolkoff, the frowning rallymaster, about cheating, reading comprehension, cheating, what will get you thrown out of the rally, cheating, reading comprehension and cheating.

There is the Eddie James talk where he can hardly keep a straight face as he talks about the bonus locations. Eddie just loves to mess with riders minds.

I dare you to click me.
Here are the rallymasters preparing to harangue the poor innocent riders.
Here is Eddie. No doubt he is kicking someone out of the rally.
Want to see the real picture?
Life size version available.
Here is Adam. You can be sure he's talking about cheating and getting thrown out of the rally.

At the end of the banquet, they handed out a packet with bonus locations in it. Is this all the locations? Don't bet on it...

Charles and I decide that we will go to his house and do some route planning. As in the past, he and I will be riding together.

As we are getting ready to leave, I spot Leon Begeman and his John Deere motorcycle. Leon is a character. His bike is really a 600 Ninja, but he has painted it in John Deere's racing colors and put John Deere stickers on it. Two years ago, he ran the rally on a 250 Ninja painted like a John Deere. In addition, his bike is pretty well tricked out for LD riding. We chat a while and he mentions that he has to go find a motel room. I offer him my spare bed and off we go to my house.

Hey, want to see me get bigger?

This is Leon's bike. Pretty wild, eh?

Yes, that really is a large tote box on the back.

 

The Late Night Planning Session

When we get to my house, we spread bonus sheets and maps on the floor and start planning. There is a bonus location way up North in Manitoba that we all think looks doable and it's worth 12,000 + points. (We should have known better than that...) We decide that since we all are going to try for it, we should ride together. We do a little planning and all go to bed.

Saturday Morning at Bob's

0630 in the morning on Saturday, July 1st rolls around and I get up and take a shower. Leon is sitting in the kitchen so we have some breakfast and head over to Bob's Java Hut, the starting location for the rally.

When we get to Bob's, we check in, park the bikes and stroll around, talking to the other riders. Charles is not there and doesn't show up until almost 0745. He was at Walmart looking for some stuff.

Moo!
Here is the street outside Bob's Java Hut. My bike is right behind the black one. That's Leon standing behind it.

At 0800, they start handing out additional bonus locations and tell us we can leave. Charles, Leon and I look at the new bonuses, decide we don't care enough to do route planning around them and head out to our first stop.

Monticello, MN

Moon Motors. For this bonus location, you had to take picture of a Moon Motors employee holding your rally towel. We all found someone to hold our towels and snapped our pics. I also bought a throttle lock for my bike. I'm sure glad I did that.

We ran into Jim Winterer at Moon. It would not be the last time we saw Jim.

This is Moon Motors. (Well, the parking lot anyway.)

That's Charles with his FJ on the right, my bike in the middle with Leon's behind and Jim Winterer kneeling in the foreground.

Bigger is just a click away.

Off we went.

Charles' bike, a '90 FJ1200, was running really rich, so he was getting really poor mileage. This unfortunately meant that we had to stop more often than we planned. My bike holds 11+ gallons and gets around 48MPG. I don't know how much Leon's bike holds, but he indicated that he still had at least 70 miles left when Charles went on reserve at around 140 miles.

So, we had to stop before our planned Fargo gas stop. We gassed up in Barnesville, MN. Well, Charles and Leon gassed up. I just watched.

Fargo, ND (#1)

There was a bonus in Fargo that was only open from 9am to 6pm. We decided that we didn't want to want to waste the time for it. We had lots of miles to go.

I-29 to the Border

I-29 is not my favorite road. No Interstate is my favorite road. But, if you want to get somewhere fast, they are the best way... We haul butt up to Canada!

Boring. Click for more flatness.
I-29. What can I say? It's flat. It's straight. It's boring.

 

Manitoba, MB Sign/RCMP Statue

Crossing the border was easy. I expected it to be more of a hassle than it was. "Where are you from?" "Where are you going?" "Do you have any tobacco, alcohol or weapons?" "Have a nice trip." Wow.

The first bonus was to take a photo of the Manitoba sign. Where is it? Just up the road is a visitor centre with a huge Manitoba sign. This must be it.

Emerson, MB

That's Leon by the sign. Not sure who the other rider is.

Click, click, click...

There were two other riders there, one of whom was Jim Winterer! (I sense a pattern here...)

The second bonus was to take a photo of the statue of the Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. The rally sheet said it was in Emerson, MB.

I guess the visitor centre is Emerson, because the statue was not 5 metres (it's all metric in Canada you know) from the Manitoba sign.

We also all changed some money at the centre and I managed to insult the very nice lady behind the counter. Charles wanted to change $50, but all he had was twenties. I told him that the lady could make change for him because she had real money too. Oops. There I go being an ugly American. The lady, who must have been around 50, said "If I wasn't wearing a skirt, I would jump over this counter." I think she was kidding. I apologized profusely and told her that I thought Canadian money was much prettier than American money, which is true.

We also all grabbed a free Manitoba map and a cookie. I tell you, the Manitoba visitor centre was much nicer than any that I have been in in the US. They were very friendly, helpful and had coffee and cookies.

Very cool.

Winnipeg, MB

For this bonus, we needed to get a gas receipt that said Winnipeg on it. Can't be that hard, right? Well, no. It wasn't. We found a gas station, gassed up and went. We skirted the city and headed up highway 6.

Lundar, MB (?)

I think it was Lundar that we stopped next for gas. Charles was on reserve again, so he and Leon gassed up. I ate a power bar and some gorp and drank some water. Then Leon disappeared into the store. After what seemed like 20 minutes, Leon reappeared. He had been buying some sweet rolls and there was apparently a really long line. We conferred and Leon suggested that we split up, as he was holding us up. The truth was that Charles' need for fuel was holding Leon up. We agreed that it would be best and Leon took off. That was the last we saw of Leon.

Do you really want to see a bigger picture?

Lundar, MB

Say goodby to Leon.

In Lundar, we also discovered that it was Canada Day today. The locals told us that most stores would be closing early today, but that there "should be" 24 hour gas at least every 100 miles or so. Humm... I got a little concerned but figured that it would be Charles that could get into trouble. Oh well, if worse came to worse we could take some gas out of my tank for Charles.

After Lundar, it starts to get a little desolate. There are about 8 more little towns and then there is a stretch of about 350 Kilometres with one town (Grand Rapids) in the middle. You can bet we both gassed up there.

Ponton, MB
(Home of the Giant Mosquitoes)

The next town we hit was Ponton, MB. We pulled into the gas station about 2345 hours. I sat and watched Charles filling his thirsty beast when suddenly he started dancing about. There was a swarm of humongous mosquitoes attacking him! You think the mosquitoes are big and nasty in Minnesota, you haven't seen anything yet!

Ponton, MB

Home of the giant, killer mosquitoes.

Notice that the timestamp says almost 2300 hours and it's still really light out.

Even if you click, you can't see the mosquitoes.

We both ran into the station and the guy behind the counter said "What's the matter, don't you like my bugs?" Ha ha.

We stood around and chatted with the guy and told him what we were doing. We mentioned that we thought we would try to get a hotel room in Thompson and he told us there was some kind of convention in town and there might not be any rooms. Great.

Then he grabbed the phone book, called a hotel in Thompson where his buddy works and found out that they had rooms available. Thanks!

He also told us that the road to Gillam was really bad. Funny, that's what everyone else had been telling us. You'd think we would get the hint. Nope, not us. We soldiered on.

The Sunset

On the road to Ponton, the sun started to set. The sunset time according to the GPS was 2218. As the sun went slowly, very slowly down, the sky and clouds got beautifully pink. And stayed that way for about an hour and a half.

Click for a really nice sunset.

If you look closely, you can see the timestamp in the corner. It says 2218 hours.

It was really beautiful.

It never did get fully dark. There was a rosy glow on the horizon that slowly shifted from the Northwest to the Northeast and the sky stayed blue so there were no stars. It was really beautiful.

Unfortunately, that also meant it was dusk the whole time. Dusk, when the headlights don't really do much and the animules like to come out. Luckily, we didn't see any large animals, but I sure thought I did. I kept seeing lighter patches of grass in the ditch and I was sure they were deer just waiting to jump in front of me.

Thompson, MB

We arrived in Thompson about 0130 on Sunday and promptly get lost trying to follow the map the guy in Ponton had drawn us. Okay, so we weren't really lost, but we couldn't find the hotel. So, we decided to just try a different hotel. We pull into the parking lot and stop and I realize that there is a security guard standing by the door.

Wait a minute, that guard is wearing a flak jacket and some heavy artillery. Oh-oh. Then I realize that there is an R.C.M.P. van parked next to the building and another policeman in a flak jacket is joining the first. This is bad.

Both of the cops head into the hotel and Charles pulls forward to ask what's up. I tell him that I don't think I want to stay in a hotel that two R.C.M.P.s in riot gear just went into and he agrees. We head across the street to a nicer looking place.

At this hotel, the nice, talkative lady tells us that she has a room and gives us a pretty high price. We inquire as to the location of the hotel that we were originally looking for and she tells us it's just up the street, but it won't be as clean as her hotel. She also thinks that their price won't be that much lower, but lets us use the phone to call and check. It's quite a bit lower and she is surprised and tells us again that it won't be as clean as her hotel.

We tell her that we are only staying for about 4 hours and clean is not a major concern. We thank her for her help and head out the door.

We locate the hotel and it looks like a bit of a dive. Oh well. We decide that we should go find the 24 hour gas station that the lady told us about so we could get a receipt to start our four hours of nothing bonus. This bonus required you to stay in one place for four hours doing nothing. Presumably you would sleep. That was our plan. You had to get two receipts from the same city and record your mileage four hours apart to prove that you didn't go anywhere.

So we headed down the road and found the gas station. We gassed up and went in to pay and the clerks told us that there had been a couple of other bikers in already and were we really going to try to get to Gillam? Did we know that the road was really, really bad? They were sure we all were insane.

In the gas station was a group of kids ranging from about 10 to 15 years old. Keep in mind that it is 0130. Don't they have a curfew in this town? Oh well, they bought a bunch of candy and then split.

We headed over to the hotel and talked the clerk into renting us a room. It was obvious from the empty parking lot that there should be plenty of rooms, but he didn't seem to want to give us one until we told him that we were the guys that called from Ponton. That seemed to make up his mind.

Then I asked to see the room first. He said he wasn't supposed to do that (why not?) but he guessed it was okay. Charles had never heard of doing that, but I've stayed in a dive or two and actually looked for a different hotel once after being shown a room I wouldn't let my dog sleep in (if I had a dog, which I don't.)

Click for a really nice sunset.

This is the motel in Thompson, MB.

The Northern Inn.

Note the name of the bar: "Moe Skeeters"

The room was fine, so we washed our faces, brushed our teeth, set the Screaming Meanie for 4 hours and went to bed.

What's that? You don't know what a Screaming Meanie is? It's a sadistic truckers alarm clock. It's this little box that you set like an egg timer for the amount of rest you want. When it goes off, you are sure the world is ending! It is one of the loudest, most obnoxious things I have ever heard. It will wake up the entire neighborhood!

The Screaming Meanie

It's Mean!

Well, my subconscious must not like that noise, because I woke up about 15 minutes before it was supposed to go off.

I got up and looked out the window. It was about 0530 and broad daylight outside. Wow. I go to the bathroom and make some noise to wake up Charles. We clean up, pack up and hit the road.

We head back over to the gas station and get another receipt. I gas up the other tank on the bike and buy some OJ and a turnover type thing. Charles gets some food too and we sit on the curb and eat. At least Charles eats. My turnover is terrible. The grease is coating the roof of my mouth and I can only get about half of it down. Yuck. I drink my OJ.

It's also cold out. It must be about 40 degrees. We both have electric vests and all the clothing we brought on. I actually like riding when it's cooler, but Charles wishes it was warmer.

When we arrived at the gas station, guess who was there. Jim Winterer! We exchange pleasantries and off he goes. Sheesh. I wish he'd quit following us.

The Road to Gillam, MB

After we are done eating, we hit the road. About a mile up the road, we see Jim and another rider on the side of the road. We pull over to see what's up. The other rider is Dick Fish and he tells up that he tried to go up the road to Gillam and after his second flat tire, he turned around. He got a third flat tire coming out and that's what he was fixing right now.

He also told us that the guy on the John Deere was in there giving it a go. Leon! Go man!

Charles and I look at each other. We are not prepared for a road like that. We have no way to repair a flat if it occurred and really have no interest in attempting a road that punishing. Leon can have it.

Jim and Dick seem to have things under control, so Charles and I, greatly relieved that we won't be driving on 160 miles of horrible dirt road, turn back. Bye-bye 12,000+ points. I am sure this will put us into the also-ran position, but I don't care. I'm having a pretty fun run. We decide to hit a few more bonuses on the way back to Minneapolis and off we go.

Ponton, MB again

Ponton sits at the tee in the road between Hwy. 6 to Thompson and Hwy. 39 to Flin Flon. So we gas up again at Ponton. The new clerks are sure we are insane when we tell them that we drove from Minneapolis to Thompson last night and are headed back again today. I think they are right.

Filn Flon, MB

The road to Flin Flon is very nice. It actually has some curves in it and the pavement is pretty good on the whole. The country in upper Manitoba is beautiful. It's mostly lakes and few towns. The only marring feature is that almost every rock face along the road has graffiti on it. It makes me sad to see it, but what else is there for kids to do up here? I would love to come up here and camp and spend some time.

Here we are in Flin Flon. We have just arrived.

Here is Charles adding oil to his trusty steed. Read on for the consequences of this action.

Flin Flon is named after a fictitious character named Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin in a book written in 1914. Supposedly, some miners found the book up here and then found a hole in the ground lined with gold. In the book, Flintabbatey climbs out of the underground city through a hole lined with gold, so they decided to name the town after him.

This is the statue of Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin

Here you can read all about Josiah

I guess I've heard of weirder things. But not many.

Anyway, there is a statue here of Flintabbatey that was designed by Al Capp in the 1960's, and it looks like it. We had to photograph it.

Charles also adds oil to his mount and we go get some gas and a bite to eat. Well, Charles gets gas and I get some mini-donuts. Yum. I also get a map of Saskatchewan because there is a bonus that we might go grab there.

After Charles gasses up, we confer and decide that the Saskatchewan bonus is too far. We hit the road and head south.

The Pas, MB
(Where Charles Discovers His Missing Oil Cap)

After about 140 kilometres, we hit The Pas (pronounced La Pa.) Charles is hungry, so we stop at a Burger King. (This must be civilization, they have Burger King!) I'm hungry too. I get a cheeseburger and a milk while Charles heads into the bathroom.

When Charles returns, he looks very annoyed. He shows me his right leg. It's soaked with oil! What the hell?

This is Charles displaying his oil soaked leg.
(This photo was actually not taken in The Pas, but it fits here best.)

Charles heads out to look at his bike and returns to tell me that when he added oil in Flin Flon, he forgot to put the filler cap back on. The whole right side of his bike is covered in oil. He's lucky it didn't get all over the tire and make him crash. (I've done that number, it's no fun. It's also another story that I may write up later.) Charles is really, really pissed off. I can't blame him.

Charles gets a burger and a soda and we eat and discuss possible solutions between bouts of cussing. It's about 1140. The woman behind the counter said the hardware store up the road opens at 1300. We don't really want to hang around that long.

After lunch, Charles fashions a plug out of the top of an oil bottle, a plastic bag and some cable ties. We think it might work and head out of town.

The (Slow) Ride to Mafeking, MB
and
The Genuine, 100% Canadian, Wooden Oil Plug™

About 75 Kilometres out of The Pas, (still pronounced La Pa,) Charles radios me to tell me that he just went on reserve. It would appear that we were so involved with the oil plug thing that we forgot to have Charles gas up. Damn.

Charles usually gets about 48 Kilometres on reserve at cruising speed (110 KPH.) I start looking on my GPS for a town. There aren't any. Damn... Well, we decide to press on, but slow way down to conserve fuel. We are doing around 65 KPH. Man that's slow.

We discuss options as we putter along. I could scoot ahead and get gas in a can. We could get some gas out of my bike and give it to Charles. I figure I could spare a few liters. (I didn't gas up either, but I have enough to make the next town and give some to Charles if I have to.)

I putt along trying to figure out the best way to get gas out of my bike without spraying a high pressure jet all over the place. Man it takes along time to get anywhere at this speed. I keep figuring that Charles will run out any minute, but amazingly, he just keeps motoring along.

After what seems like forever, we finally hit a town. Charles managed to stretch his reserve to over 80 Kilometres!

We roll into Mafeking, MB, really just a wide spot in the road, but they have gas! We both gas up at the first station we see.

The makeshift plug that Charles made is leaking quite a bit, so he decides to see if he can find something better. The gas station we stopped in also sells chainsaws and amphibious vehicles, among other things, but the man behind the counter is really no help. He tells Charles that he can go look out back, but there is nothing useful there.

Charles finally finds a branch the right size, whips out his Leatherman and makes a plug. He tapers it, drives it into the hole, cuts notches in the top so he can turn it with a wrench and viola! an oil plug. It looks pretty good too.

This is the wide spot in the road known as Mafeking, MB. And we were glad to get here.

The Genuine, 100% Canadian, Wooden Oil Plug™

To top it off, who should arrive while we are doing this than Jim Winterer. What is with this guy? We yack a bit and then he takes off.

Another long stop. Ah well.

Dauphin, MB

After another 248 Kilometres, we hit Dauphin, MB. We stop for gas and who is at the pump filling up? You get one guess. Jim Winterer. Hi Jim!

Charles gets gas and I head in to get something to eat. I buy a combo rice crispie and puffed wheat bar and a small sausage. The sausage is really good, the rice crispie part is good and the puffed wheat part is nasty. I throw it away and go get another sausage. Which I then taste again and again for the next 500 Kilometres! Yuck.

Riding Mountain National Park

Down the road a ways from Dauphin, we ran into Riding Mountain National Park. The main highway runs right through the park and there is an entrance gate. I was wondering if we would have to pay an entrance fee when the lady asked if we were staying. I said "Nope, just driving through" and she waved us on. Cool!

What wasn't cool was the 80 KPH speed limit. Oh well, it's a park, enjoy the scenery. It was a very pretty park and I amused myself by watching the altitude indicated on my GPS. It's called Riding Mountain, but the highest we got was 2270 ft. In my book, mountains don't even start until at least 6000 ft. (I like Glacier Park and the Tetons.) But I suppose Riding Little Bump just doesn't sound the same.

70 Kilometres of Straight Road

After Riding Mountain, we hit some of the longest, straightest, flattest road I have ever seen. I'd thought I'd ridden long straight roads in ND, SD and MT, and I'm sure that there are longer straight and flat roads in NV and other places, but the one we were on was amazing.

This road was so straight they must have used a taught string to lay it out and so flat the you could see forever. Talk about boring. Too bad there was a lot of traffic. It would have been a really good place to open it up, but the last thing I need is a Canadian speeding ticket.

Brandon, MB

We gassed up in Brandon, MB. I felt kind of crappy, (probably those sausages in Dauphin, mixed with the fact that I really hadn't eaten enough,) and decided that I needed to eat something that wasn't a hamburger. We stopped down the road at an Arby's and I had a chicken sandwich. It sure tasted good. I could have eaten another couple of them, but we had to go.

While we were getting ready to leave, a couple went by on the sidewalk pulling their 2-3 year old kid in a wagon. The kid was fascinated by the bikes and wanted them to go. I could hear the Dad explaining that we weren't ready to go yet.

After we got ready to go and headed down the street, I could see the family in a parking lot. They all looked over and I gave them a great big wave. I'm sure I made that kid's day. I love waving at little kids when I am on my bike.

Boissevain, MB

At the south end of Boissevain, there is a giant statue of a turtle.

This would be no big deal, but we were heading south to Bottineau, ND to photograph a statue of a giant turtle. You don't suppose there is a mistake on the route sheet, do you? We pull over to the side of the road to look at the sheets. Okay, the main sheet definitely says Bottineau, ND, not Boissevain, MB. The corrections sheet is silent about it. This must not be the right statue. We discuss taking a picture of it just in case, but decide that if there is no statue in Bottineau, ND we will take a picture of something else there and argue about it.

I wish I had taken a picture of it anyway. Oh well. Maybe Eddie needs to have a Turtle Rally someday.

International Peace Garden

It's about 2000 hours on Sunday as we approach the border and I don't know what to expect. I have heard many stories about bad border crossings. Will they delay us and make us late? Will we get to Bottineau, ND to in time to take a photo of the turtle before it's too dark?

Charles goes first. The man asks him where we he's from. Where he's been. He seems surprised that we came in yesterday, went all the way to Thompson and back again today. I don't blame him. I'm surprised myself. The man asks if we bought anything or left anything in Manitoba. Nope. He waves Charles through and asks me if I'm from Minneapolis too. I answer "Yes" and he waves me through. That was too easy.

Dunseith, ND

When we arrive in Dunseith, ND, Charles has to pull over because he has something in his eye. As we are sitting there, a guy on a Harley pulls up to see if we are okay. Charles tells him that we are fine, he just has something in his eye and the guy says "That wouldn't happen if you were on a Harley." We all laugh as he pulls away.

Bottineau, ND

We pull into Bottineau, ND to discover, guess who, sitting at the bonus site? Jim Winterer! Jim has all the luggage pulled off his bike in an attempt to figure out why his electric vest isn't working. It appears to be the fuse, which he fixes and starts reloading the bike.

Charles and I get off and take our photo bonus pictures of the giant turtle riding a snowmobile.

They must get pretty bored here in North Dakota:

"Gosh Jim, I'm bored. What do you want to do?"

"I dunno Ralph, how about we make a giant statue of a turtle?"

"What a great idea! Hey, I know, let's make him riding a snowmobile!"

"Cool!"

Yes, it's a turtle on a snowmobile.
Yes, it's really a giant turtle riding a snowmobile

Here we are, Charles, Jim and I.

We discuss the next stop, Rugby, with Jim. He's never been there. Charles and I have been there too many times, so we tell him that you can't miss the bonus stop. We head out as Jim finishes packing his bike. I'm sure we'll see him again.

Rugby, ND

I am getting tired of going to Rugby, ND. It seems that I end up going to Rugby every time I run the MN1K. Next year, I am going East, or South, just so I can avoid Rugby. At least it's not raining on us this year.

We stop and take a photo of the marker of the Geographical Center of the North American Continent. As we finish taking our photos, we see Jim in the distance. Charles heads across the street to get gas and try to fix his CB which has been acting up. I wait to assist Jim in taking his photo and make a quick phone call home to check in.

Here is my bike in Rugby.

Yes, that is Jim Winterer in the background.

Jim takes his photo and I head across the street. Charles finishes working on his CB and we test it. I can hear him fine, but now my mike isn't working! What the hell? More gremlins. I switch channels and back, unplug and re-plug everything and then it starts working. Sheesh.

We hit the road.

The Ride to Grand Forks, ND

We decide that we will head to Grand Forks, ND and take another sleep bonus there. We run out Hwy 2. It's getting pretty dark now as it's close to Midnight. Not too much traffic, so we run side by side on the two Westbound lanes, Charles with his high beam and me with the high beam and the Photon Cannon (a 130W PIAA Pencil Beam Spot. Hope I don't hit any LEOs with it.) It really lights up the night this way and makes driving late at night, which I don't like very much, more tolerable.

As we overtake one of the few cars and Charles pulls back into the right lane, it suddenly gets kind of dark on my right. I radio Charles, "What the hell was that?" Charles radios back that he just lost his low beam. Damn.

Oh well, he'll just have to run the high beam and too bad for oncoming traffic. There is a median anyway, so it won't be so bad for them.

I bet you can see this coming.

Not two miles later, there is a flash on my right and then it gets very dark over there. Cursing fills my helmet as Charles tells me that he just lost his high beam. Now what do we do? I throttle back a bit as we discuss our situation and our options:

We are in the middle of nowhere North Dakota.

It's really, really dark, which I perversely demonstrate by turning off all my lights for a moment. (It looks like the inside of a cow.) Charles tells me in no uncertain terms not to do that again.

One of us has no headlight. At all.

We have no spare headlight bulb. (Stupid! Both of us.)

There are no towns big enough to have anywhere to buy an H4 bulb between where we are now and Grand Forks. (Hell, I don't even know where to buy an H4 bulb at 0115 hours in Minneapolis.)

We don't want to go back to Rugby.

So, Charles tells me he can soldier on riding by my headlight. Okay, hope we don't see any LEOs. It's really late, it's the second day of this rally and we are running on not much sleep. I don't like to ride at night and now I feel very, very responsible for Charles. I have to keep checking on him in my mirrors. It's a good thing he has running lights on the front of his bike so I can see him. I am having a really hard time keeping a constant speed, which is a strong indication that I am very tired.

At about 0150 hours, I have to stop. I radio to Charles that I need to stop and try to wake up. He agrees and I start looking for a place. In a few miles, I see a historical marker sign and swing off the road. Of course it's on the left side of the road so we have to cross the other lanes and I think we actually miss the marker turn off. But there is a short asphalt road here, so we stop. When we shut off the bikes, it gets very dark.

I dismount and unplug the electric vest. I start jumping around and then I decide that I should plug back in! It's cold out here! We stand around in the dark talking and watching the stars wiggle like they are in a bowl of jello. That seems to be a bad sign to me. We hear coyotes in the distance and I think I hear an owl. We admire (despise) the light pollution from the Grand Forks area, amazed at how bright it is even though we are about 60 miles away.

After a while, we saddle up and hit the road. We manage to make it to Grand Forks and stop in the first gas station we see. We get a receipt to start our four hours of nothing and look for a motel. Hey, there's one across the street. It says Single $29.95. We hit it. We check in at about 0230 hours and set the Screaming Meanie for 4 hours.

Of course, I wake up 30 minutes before the alarm. What is the deal with that? I go make noise in the bathroom and wake up Charles. It is a gray day outside, but not raining. At least we won't have to drive into the sun heading back to Minneapolis. We pack up, hit the gas station for our second receipt and hit the road.

Fargo, ND (#2)

We decide that we have time to hit the Fargo bonus this time as it's a pretty easy off and on. (We hit this bonus two years ago, so we even have the plus of knowing pretty much where it is.) Charles thinks it's the exit for the airport, so we pull up to the top of the ramp and look at our bonus sheets. Yup. We head down the road and it starts to look familiar.

This bonus sent you into a cemetery to take a photo of the grave stone of Roger Maris. Some baseball player. That Eddie, he's always a barrel of laughs. We snap our shots and head out.

We stop again in Barnesville, MN for gas and because I have to pee. Then we head in to the finish line.

Minneapolis, MN

We carve through heavy traffic on I-94 from Monticello all the way into Minneapolis. Don't these people know that I have somewhere to be? Out of my way!

We get to Trackstar (the finish line) only a few minutes after the penalty clock started ticking so the 500+ points for Fargo more than outweighs the 60 point penalty for Charles and the 70 points for me. (I knew I should have pulled in first!) We park the bikes and collect all our rally sheets to do our pre-score.

This year, as last year, they had you sit down and score your own bonus locations. When you were satisfied, then you went over it with a scoring person. They checked all your bonuses and modified your score if necessary. Charles and I had about 19,000 points figured when we went to the scoring table.

Unfortunately, the scorers disagreed. The two receipts that I had picked up in Grand Forks didn't have a location on them. They didn't even have a store number on them. Damn. There goes 2000 points for the gas log. Those receipts also were used for my 4 hour sleep bonus in Grand Forks. Pooh. There goes another 1900 points. Shoot. Ah well, they did stress the reading comprehension part and I didn't read my receipts well enough I guess. Charles lost the same bonuses as he had stopped at the same places. I felt better when I learned that most of the other riders lost their gas receipt bonus too.

So, Charles and I ended up with 16,000 or so points in 2232 miles. Not the best, but not the worst. If we had made it to Gillam, I would have come in 7th in the Expert Class and Charles would have been third in the Sport Touring class. But you know what they say: Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda...

Here is my bike at the end of the rally.
Look at all the bugs.

Another shot of my bike parked at the rally.
The parking area was full by the time I got there.
Charles got to park on the sidewalk. The last time I did that in downtown Minneapolis, I got a ticket.

The Aftermath

Summing up, I figured out that 7 riders headed to Gillam. Of those 7 riders, four of them actually tried to go up the road. Here's what happened to those four: Jac Kelvie crashed his bike and broke some ribs. Dick Fish turned back after two flat tires. Leon Begeman actually made it to Gillam, but the road shook the electrical system on his bike to pieces, leaving him stranded up there, and Pat O'Keefe actually made it all the way to Gillam and all the way back to the finish line to take second place in the Road Warrior class! Way to go Pat!

So, if you want to go to Gillam, MB, take a plane or a train.

In addition, Jim Winterer, with his 16,266 points took third in the Road Warrior class without doing the road.

Over all, I had a most enjoyable ride. I got to go places I've never been before and see some beautiful country. I can now tell people that I have been as far north in Manitoba as you can go and stay on pavement. (Which is pretty damned far.) I've now been somewhere where the sun doesn't really set at night. I have good stories to tell from the trip and managed to make it back in one piece with no major breakdowns.

I have to say that the K11RS was a fine mount for the rally. Two years ago, on the R bike, I was really glad when the MN1K was over. I didn't think I wanted to do it again. This year, when Charles called me on the day after the rally to tell me he wasn't sure he ever wanted to ride a motorcycle again, much less run the MN1K next year, I was already figuring out what I was going to do different!

Hey Eddie, where do I sign up for 2001?

Wow!

This is my 7 year old daughter Stephanie, proudly showing off her Minnesota 2000 tattoo.


This is a map showing all the locations that we hit. Click on it for a really large (104K) version.

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Copyright 2000 - Timothy W. Foreman - timf@anansi-web.com

last updated: 7 January, 2001