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| "I can see clearly now the rain is gone|
I can see all the obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's Gonna be a bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day
It's Gonna be a bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day"
| Lyrics: Johnny Nash|
At the Maine checkpoint Mike Kneebone announced that nine of twenty-two
riders in the first wave of Alaska point seekers, nine had already reached
Prudhoe Bay. Twenty-two additional riders then elected to go far north from
Sunnyside while an additional twenty-eight chose to ride to Hyder, Alaska
and then on to Maine. Of the starting field of one hundred twelve, more than
half had chosen a ride north to Alaska. An opportunity that was offered to
all in the 1999 rally yet selected by none.
Jim Frens claimed both big ride bonuses in a monster fifty-five hundred mile
third leg ride aboard a Honda Gold Wing. He was the only rider to travel to
Hyder, Alaska then travel on to northern Quebec to claim the big points at
Radisson. Twenty-eight riders joined Jim in either Hyder or Radisson and
they comprised the first twenty-six positions at checkpoint four in Gorham
(Buxton), Maine. The checkpoint was located at Reynolds Motorsports, a long
time northeast corner Iron Butt Rally checkpoint for the rally route.
Eighteen riders returning successfully from Hyder included Harley riders
Todd Witte, Robert Lyskowski, Homer Krout II, and Dan Stephans. Lyskowski
and his FLHT was one of three last minute wait list replacements for the
thirteen slots that were vacated by last minute no-shows. Homer Krout's Road
Glide is one of two bikes he owns. The other is in Germany, a FatBoy. Homer
works for the University of Maryland and his wife is with the US Defense
Department of Education.
Ontario farmer John Ferber and fellow Canadian Gerry Golany were both on
Triumphs. Golany had been nursing the Triumph 900S Sprint right from the
start line in Madison. While it stuttered and spurted east to west, south to
north and back east again he was able to still retain his big smile in
Rick Williams remarked that the ride east across Canada was the ride of his
life. Veterans Kerry Willey and Rick Williams are Motorcycle Safety
Foundation Instructors and a fixture at Yamaha sponsored ride and drives.
Both were aboard their own Yamaha Ventures and had again started the rally
together. This year Rick completed the ride to Hyder and the return to Maine
while Kerry was headed straight for Madison.
Bill Kramer, Art Holland, Texan David Bankhead, Canadian Thane Silliker were
all on Honda ST1100s . Kramer is a bonus hunter, prone to stop along the
route if he came upon something else interesting to see. This time Kramer
had little time for the luxury as his bike required major brake repairs. The
task was completed in Washington at the house of fellow ST owner Darrell
Snow. Rear Brakes from Darrell's bike replaced those that had been installed
incorrectly and damaged by Kramer's local dealer. Art Holland, a Detroit
Edison lineman, enjoyed an electric smooth trouble free big ride on his
black ST all along the way from Hyder to Maine.
Land of Enchantment rally master James Hickerson, and Harry Kaplan from New
York both piloted Kawasaki Concours along the same route.
BMW riders Al Holtsberry on a new R1150RT, Californian Will Lee and Dan
Stephans II piloted K1100LTs and joined Lyndon Murray, an American living in
France from Hyder to Maine. Dan Stephans II made a short rest stop at a
roadside comfort station. While outside he took off his riding gloves and
heard an ominous rolling "pling". The removal of his glove had dislodged his
wedding ring, flinging it to the darkened pavement around the tiny
structure. He searched in the dark of night while on his hands and knees for
that special band of gold. He was unable to find the missing ring but posted
a reward on the outhouse door for the wedding band's return.
Roy Collins conferred with veteran Howard Chain while he neared New England
regarding the advisability of taking a sleep bonus. Howard wisely assured
Roy by phone that the value of the sleep bonus would overcome any penalty
points for late arrival as long as he could park his Gold Wing at the
checkpoint before it closed. The much-needed rest would also pay a bonus not
reflected by points alone.
The Radisson riders joining Frens in northernmost Quebec included Tom Loftus
and Leonard Roy on Honda ST1100s, Andrew Duthie on a Kawasaki Concours,
Craig Tegeler aboard a K1100RS, Michael and Caroline McDaniel on the Ducati
ST4 and Jim Winterer on the Yamaha SR500 thumper.
Frank Brown aboard a ST1100 led the pack of riders who had stayed within the
borders of the continental forty-eight states. Frank, a Floridian
transplanted from Ohio and a Cleveland Indians fan, was able to keep his
perspective by sharing baseball scores while he himself was being scored by
Mike Heran had been suffering from shoulder problems and was favoring his
remaining one good side. It's tough to ride a motorcycle this distance in
perfect condition and he looked relieved for the opportunity to get off his
K100RT for a few hours at Reynolds.
Bill Weyher pulled into the checkpoint running on empty. He had plenty of
fuel. Bill had exhausted his supply of extra strength Ibuproferin tablets
and carefully planned his route to the nearest pharmacy to be refilled
immediately after the last leg bonuses were distributed.
Geoffrey Greene's BMW R-80ST was rally equipped, complete with an oversized
Paris-Dakar gas tank. It's age placed it in the near hopeless class.
Geoff had been riding with brother-in-law and veteran rider Jim Culp when
the airhead's transmission failed near Pasco, Washington. Jim went on while
Geoff located nearby member Steve Doctor from the BMW Owner's Association
through its "Anonymous" help book. Geoff has a R-80GS back at home in
Tennessee and he called his friends Ed Huey and Richard Hilten who removed
the transmission and air expressed it to Pasco where Steve and Geoff made
the swap. Geoff then rode across the country directly to the Maine
checkpoint with out being time barred. The veteran Culp was not as timely
and missed the time window. Certainly to become a future Culp family topic
of discussion that Jim will find hard to live down.
Michael Spangler, a rally novice, was having the time of his life. The
Christian Motorcyclist Association member was somewhat embarrassed for the
equipment failure experienced and had hoped his fellow Gold Wing riders
would not notice that his right running light bulb had burned out before he
changed it. The Gold Wings were however bullet proof and were one of the few
models not needing a new transmission or engine!
Jerry McCumby had pulled his R1100RT off the road in the middle of Nevada's
Mohave Desert. He was checking his map in this most remote of western
locations when Mike Kneebone came across him. The surprising happening upon
a rally participant is true serendipity and was repeated throughout the
Ardys Kellerman's arrival in Maine was celebrated with her grandchildren
Tara and Elena. "Grandma! Grandma! shrieked the little blonde headed Tara as
she leapt into Ardys' outstretched arms. Her daughters Ellen and Sue had
driven up to cheer on their motorcycling mom. Ardys has seven grandchildren
and two great grandchildren. She has become a benchmark of performance for
Ed Farrell, riding a Harley FLHT, is the coordinator for the Northeast 1000
endurance rally. It was tempting for him to go home to his home in Augusta,
Maine but his final destination lay south and a bit west.
Bryce Ulrich succumbed to that same temptation and stayed a full two days at
his home in Washington State after arriving in Sunnyside. The competitive
fire smoldered to mere embers but he stoked his competitive coals and blazed
into Maine in time to continue the rally and finish.
Paul Pelland's Siberian Speed Team's URAL putted east now powered by it's
third engine. In Rawlings, Wyoming one of the URAL's engine pushrods
suddenly began pushing up daisies. Unfortunately Paul was a tad removed from
the authorized URAL parts distribution network. After blazing a failed
trail in replacement metallurgy encompassing both coat hangers and JBWeld,
the resourceful New Hampshire Yankee sourced a replacement. He fabricated a
replica pushrod in a full service hardware store from a one-quarter by
twelve inch long drill bit. It was clear when pushrod came to shove, Paul
was up to the task. One can only wistfully wonder if mother Russia had
Pelland whether the Mir space station had to be ditched after all.
Bob Mutchler's BMW R1100RT sidecar rig was experiencing charging problems
when he arrived in Maine. The problem was diagnosed as a bad alternator
belt. One could be had but it was twenty miles distant. Richard Frost had
come to the checkpoint to observe the progress of the field. He learned of
Bob's plight and without hesitation made the emergency parts run. This is
the same Richard Frost whose crew withdrew the second Indian entry at the
rally's start. Richard is being proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother
Theresa memorial mention, and is putting in his bid to challenge Mike
Kneebone for the title of "world's nicest guy".
Quebec rider Yvon Gauthier had celebrated his forty-third birthday with the
official rider/photography team of Lisa Landry and Dean Tanji. Lisa wished
she could collect more bonus points but was being held back because of a
suspension problem with Dean's Harley. Later Dean and Lisa would come upon
Yvon broken down near the intersection of I-90 and I-95, his alternator
fried. A call for assistance made it's way to the Internet and within
minutes Ahmet Buharali offered to help. After determining repair efforts
would take too long and time-bar Yvon, Ahmet, who did not know Yvon,
nevertheless, offered Gauthier his rally prepared R1150GS for the final leg.
The GS was ready to go, as Ahmet was himself entered in the 2001 Rally but
had to withdraw at the last hour because of illness. Buharali's preparatory
work would not be for naught. Even with the 10,000-point penalty for
switching motorcycles, Yvon could successfully finish.
Bob Cox, a retired Air Force Colonel, piloted his BMW K1200RS from Gorham
intent upon achieving silver medal status in the final leg. Colonel Bob was
going to make a strafing run to take out all available east coast bonus
targets on his flight to Alabama.
During the Maine break it was interesting to note that two other Kawasaki
riders shared the same table as Dickerson, Main and Duthie enjoyed the giant
Subway sandwiches provided at the checkpoint. Later Bryan Main and Andrew
Duthie decided to harvest some last minute bonus points in Manhattan, New
York. A picture of the Wall Street bull in the financial district in
downtown and another in front of the Apollo Theater in uptown Harlem. These
pictures to be taken in the middle of the night.
Keith Keiting left Maine with the Suzuki 125 engine still intact. He carried
no aux fuel reasoning that this allowed his engine to cool down during the
frequent refilling. The small continuous operational interval limited the
tiny engine's duty cycle and prevented thermal runaway. The bike remained
completely stock except for the re-geared front sprocket. Paul Meredith on
the other 125 quickly followed Keith south to Alabama. The Cagiva was now
running on its second complete engine.
Tom Loftus and Leonard Roy were having a great ride on their ST1100s. Both
had planned to ride to Radisson, Quebec and collect that big bonus.
Leonard's wife had actually encouraged him to participate in this year's
rally. Roy competes on the track in the 250CC class. Earlier this year, a
high-speed get-off caused a concussion that would leave him disoriented for
a week. His wife figured that a
nice calming Iron Butt ride of eleven thousand miles would be less of a
threat than Leonard's already demonstrated short track prowess.
Outside of Duluth the pair noticed flashing blue and red lights gaining
behind them and pulled quickly to the roadside. After routinely running
their license and registration the patrolman suddenly told Leonard to assume
the position. After a standard frisking and thorough pat down Roy was
relieved of his pocketknife and placed in the cruise's rear-seat of
dishonor. Roy pondered his predicament while observing the lack of door
handles in the back of the Minnesota patrol car. A further check of CIC came
back with no wants or warrants. It was later relayed that the dispatcher had
misunderstood the Maryland DMV code for NOT Suspended. Roy had earned the
dubious distinction of being apprehended and detained while driving on an
unsuspended license. The officer apologized as he let Leonard "outlaw" Roy
free to continue, rearmed with both pocket knife and pride but only after
receiving a written warning from the red-faced lawman.
Leonard Aron was faced with a real dilemma. After Leonard discovered that he
had misplaced his wallet at a Boise, Idaho Chevron, Aron quickly put a plan
of action into place. His leg three Iron Butt Ride temporarily morphed into
The Leonard Aron Charity Fund Raiser. Friends and sponsors along the route
came to Leonard's aid providing him food, shelter and funds. If Leonard
showed up on your driveway with that oozing Indian you'd probably pay him to
move on too. Quick thinking and smooth talking resulted in Leonard arriving
in Maine with thirty-five hundred dollars more than when he left Sunnyside.
The Indian and it's bearded Kimosabe continued south upon their finisher's
quest now running once again a bit richer.
Shane Smith had returned from Prudhoe Bay and decided to continue on to Key
West. Along I-95 he encountered thundershowers and before he could seek
shelter he was dealt a glancing bolt out of the blue. Shane took immediate
shelter under the next bridge while he pondered a new moniker, Shane
"Lightning" Smith. Lightning continued to Key West and decided that he still
had not struck enough gold. He proceeded to IBR veteran Jerry Clemmon's home
in North Carolina. Shane planned to rest at Jerry's before sweeping north
through the Blue Ridge Parkway to suck up all remaining bonus points
scattered there before arriving in Madison. Lightning was cleaning up.
Sean Gallagher was the first to return from the first wave run from Denali,
Alaska to Alabama. If he were the first to check in at the finish he would
be the top dog in this pack of mileage hounds.
It would stand perhaps for but a few fleeting moments.
The other riders were now bearing down on the finish line in Madison,
| "Oh yes I can I make it now,|
All of the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I've been waiting for
It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day
It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day"
|Lyrics: Johnny Nash|
(c)2001 Warren Harhay Boulder City, NV USA