1. Adventure Rider Print Magazine!
    We're doing a print magazine this November - 128 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase a copy for $9. Limited copies still available.
    Dismiss Notice

Co-Void 20/20 A Socially Long Distance Event

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by BkerChuck, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    714
    Location:
    Etters, PA
    I suppose I should just preface this ride report by telling everyone something they likely already know. 2020 has sucked. I’m sure most of you had that figured out by this point but it needed said. Many events were cancelled this year. Others had the dates changed or changes in format or location. The following event suffered all the above. I took part in the Mason Dixon 20-20 rally from 2013 through 2017 and enjoyed every one of them. I began riding in the Void Rally in 2013 after learning I really enjoyed the challenge of long-distance rallying. I didn’t participate the last couple of years in the Mason Dixon because of other opportunities but still followed my friends on their rides. This year was to be the final running of the Mason Dixon rally over Memorial Day weekend. The corona virus forced the rally masters to postpone their event until August but as the year went on even that had to be shelved. With this being the final running, most riders found this a tragic loss for the Long-distance rally community.

    The Void Rally is normally run over Columbus Day Weekend and always featured 3 separate starting locations with a common finish line, making for a unique opportunity for riders from various parts of the eastern US to meet at the end and put face’s to names we’d only seen in rider reports or Facebook postings. With the prospect of the Mason Dixon coming to an unsatisfying end, the rally masters instead agreed to coordinate the challenges they had prepared for the riders into the one and only Co-Void 2020 Rally. Having ridden in events set up by both of these rally bastards, I mean masters, I knew this was going to be fun.

    Social distancing and rules to minimize crowds forced some changes to the formats that riders had enjoyed in the past. There would be no finisher’s banquet in Fredericksburg, VA as we’d become accustomed to. No starter’s banquet for the group starting from Binghamton, NY either. The rules were changed to allow riders to start anywhere and finish anywhere they chose. Instead of facing a scorer at the finish line, all bonus photos would now be submitted by email from your smart phone “on the fly”, along with photos of your start and finish receipts. This put me at an immediate disadvantage as I didn’t use email on my phone. It took me a little while to get that set up, but with the help of the rally master and a college professor neighbor, I got it done.

    If you’re not familiar with long distance rallying, I’ll try and give you a brief explanation. Like a scavenger hunt you’ll be given a list of things you need to find. Unlike a scavenger hunt, you won’t normally be bringing these items to the finish. Riders are issued a rally flag, generally about the size of a hand towel, with their rider number and the event name and logo printed on it. You will be taking pictures of the items the rally master sent you after with your flag and sometimes your motorcycle in the picture. Flags and any signs must be legible to get credit. If carrying a passenger, they must be present in every photo, unless otherwise noted in the rally book. The rally book is the last piece of information you are given. The bonus list is the first piece and riders generally get that one week or less prior to the event. The rally book is released roughly 24 hours before the start and may offer additional bonuses beyond the initial list.

    Bonus list now in hand, I have the ID names and point values for the Northern start location and put them into Garmin Basecamp. This a software program from Garmin, the GPS manufacturer, that allows you to create routes, save points of interest and transfer them to a GPS unit. I count 47 possible bonuses with point values from 0 to 5000. The email has included additional information, including the minimum mileage (800) and the maximum mileage (1850) allowed during the event. Our group we will be starting out Friday morning sometime between 7:10-7:20, using a business receipt showing our location, date, and time. We must be finished, and all paperwork submitted to the scorer in 36 hours. After 36 hours, if you don’t have everything turned in, you are considered DNF.

    Most riders use a receipt from a gas pump and leave out with a full tank of fuel. Our instructions include one combo bonus with requisite instructions. In each of the 4 bonus locations showing a 0-point value, if riders purchase fuel, submit photos of their gas receipts and have the scoring sheet properly filled out claiming it, they can earn 14000 points. This is the single largest amount of points available in the initial rider’s pack. There is a 5000-point bonus that the Mason Dixon rally, during its history has always made a mandatory. This bonus entails a visit to Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and a visit to the gravesite of James Young. Young was a long-distance rider who sadly lost his life, during a rally in CO several years back. Assuming I decide to put the 5 of these locations in my plan, I’m now left with the task of deciding how many of the remaining 42 bonus locations I can make fit to garner the highest possible score within the time and mileage limits.

    As in most rallies of this length, there will be a mandatory rest break, during which you are expected to stay in one place and may not claim any bonus points beyond those awarded for the rest itself. Our rest bonus must be 3 hours, but we are offered an additional 15 points per minute for any amount of time, up to an additional 3 hours. My girlfriend Dianne is coming with me and if sleeping were an Olympic sport, she would be captain of the US team, so I’m already figuring on 6 hours! As I look over the bonus locations in Basecamp, I begin to gradually add stops that are in line with the 4 gas stops and include the cemetery visit. We’ve already decided we’re just going to start and finish close to home and not have the expense of hotel rooms for Thursday or Saturday nights. One of these stops is a daylight only bonus (6:30 am to 6:30 pm) and in order to make it work, it makes sense to extend our rest break to a full 8 hours, which makes Dianne happy.

    Uncharacteristically, the final rally book is released Wednesday morning, a full day ahead of schedule. While I’m pretty happy with our proposed route, it’s nice to know what we’re looking for at each stop. I use Google Earth and look at each location making a few notes so that I’m prepared as the given waypoints are not always exact. Thinking we’re as ready as we can get, I make up a spreadsheet to help me with filling out my scoresheet at the end of the event. Thursday morning, less than 24 hours before the start, the other shoe drops. We are sent 3 additional pages for the rally book, listing additional bonuses. These are the wildcard bonuses. No specific locations, but odd things for us to look for. One of these includes purchasing a York Peppermint Patty and submitting a photo of it, along with the receipt for buying it, dated sometime during the rally. It’s only 28 points, but if purchased in York, PA it quadruples in value to 112. Dianne realizes that the new Sheetz location her daughter works at in Strinestown, only 6 miles from our home, actually has a York mailing address. Thus, we change our start location to that location. We make some notes about the additional new bonus information and now have a list of things to watch for as we ride.


    [​IMG]
    Friday morning, we’re up early and the bike is packed and ready to go. Dianne has a quick cup of coffee while I opt for tea, as I finish going over everything we need for the rally. Shortly before 7:00, we fire up and ride the 6 miles to the Sheetz location where we’ll start our rally. I’ll fill the fuel tank to get my start receipt. After it’s filled, while I text in our start info to the rally master, Dianne will go inside the store to purchase a York Peppermint Patty and get a receipt. She will then purchase a bottle of water to get a second receipt for a “between the Sheetz” wildcard bonus. This is a repeat of a bonus which was offered back in 2016. Purchase anything at Sheetz and get a receipt, go get and claim any physical location bonus, and follow that with a visit to a second Sheetz location where you will again make another small purchase with a receipt for proof. Simple…between the Sheetz!

    At 7:11 I have a full fuel tank and as I text in our start info Dianne is inside making our 2 purchases. I take a photo of the peppermint patty with receipt and send it to the void scoring email address then take a photo of the other receipt and we’re ready to go. However, the bike doesn’t want to start. WTF? Seems like the battery is low but I realize I’ve left the GPS on the whole time we were here and cycled my ignition on and off several times fooling around with some stuff. I have Dianne push me as I try bump starting the bike. After a minute or two it fires up and I breathe a sigh of relief while she climbs on and we head north to the PA Turnpike. Our first physical bonus is near Lititz where we need a picture of the sign for Erb Mennonite Church valued at 209 points.

    [​IMG]

    Traffic is light and we make decent time covering the roughly 47 miles and can park close to the sign. I leave the bike run after our early starting scare just to be safe. Picture taken, I record the time and odometer reading I’ll need for the scoresheet and we get back on the road, headed for another Sheetz location that is right on our route to our second physical bonus. Only 5 miles later we’re stopped at our second Sheetz and Dianne grabs herself a soda for later. I take a picture of the 2 Sheetz receipts together and email them in to scoring then we’re off for some Intercourse. Intercourse, PA that is and a picture of the welcome sign. Put another 247 points down for our score.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    This is another short run of only about 16 miles and the road features a nice wide shoulder making it easy to pull over for the photo. Dianne once more holds our rally flag and I snap the picture, record the data for our scoresheet and email it in. It’s barely after 9:00 and we’ve already hit 2 locations and garnered 2 wildcards. From here we’re going to put a few miles under our tires as we head towards Bel Air, MD, and a historical highway marker or HHM as the rally masters call them. This marker is for Tudor Hall, the boyhood home of John Wilkes Booth and worth 163 points. Another broad road shoulder is a plus and once the picture is taken, Dianne grabs a quick cigarette as I submit our photo and tell Garmin to take us to Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
    [​IMG]

    This next bonus has a large value of 1912 points and when a bonus has a high value it usually means you’re likely to have to work for it. Downtown Baltimore is not one of my favorite places to ride and I’ve allowed a lot of extra time in anticipation of traffic. I purposely put this bonus in our plan later in the day, hoping to avoid work traffic early on a Friday morning. Approaching Baltimore after 10:30, it’s not nearly as bad as I expected. The only snag we run into is Garmin tells me the bonus will be on our left but while sitting at a traffic light in the left lane I spot the bonus on the right 2 lanes away. We motion to the drivers in the adjacent lanes and they very kindly let us cross traffic lanes to turn into the hospital entrance. RHINO is an art installation of bright geometric shapes symbolizing a mother rhino with her baby on her back. We park almost in front of it near the valet stand and they don’t even bat an eye. It’s apparent we’re not the first riders here today. Picture taken, time and milage recorded and email submitted, we find ourselves ahead of schedule by more than 40 minutes.

    [​IMG]

    Next up will be a fuel stop in Winchester, VA the first of the 4 BASE combo worth 14k points. I had figured we could make it to this stop from our start location on one tank. Switching from one interstate to another, as I roll on the fuel, the bike sputters slightly under acceleration. That’s odd I thought. A few miles later as we’re heading uphill, I notice it again. Discretion being the better part of valor, I swing into a gas station and splash in just $5.00 so we can make it to Winchester without having to get off and push. In Winchester I top off the tank, take a picture of the receipt and email it in for scoring. This is worth 0 points until you capture the remaining 3 when they tally up to the big points.

    [​IMG]

    Leaving Winchester in our mirrors, we’re off to the village of Three Churches, WV for a picture of the historical highway marker for the Mount Bethel Church, one of two churches in Three Churches, WV. Garmin treats us right and for almost an hour we’re on some great twisty backroads and the miles add up along with the smiles. We park slightly inside the driveway to a small cemetery and walk across the street to the marker to take our pictures. This takes us only a couple of minutes but during that time, 2 different pickup trucks stop to see if we need any help and make sure we’re okay. This hospitality is so refreshing in these current times. Information recorded and our email sent in for scoring I tell the Garmin to guide us to our next stop.

    [​IMG]

    W207 is a special stop. Not only is it worth 207 points but the object of this segment is another historical highway marker. This one is unique. This marker was custom made for Rick and Jean Miller, the rally masters for the Mason Dixon 20-20 rally, who are retiring this year, after organizing and orchestrating that rally for 20 years. Former rally riders chipped in to have this made, and hand delivered it to Rick and Jean at their “estate” near Fort Ashby, WV. This location is only 20 miles away, but the twisty roads and low speed limits make it take close to 40 minutes to get to. We’re going to go revisit these roads in the future! There is a short stretch of dirt road to get to their property and we park in front of their driveway, walking the final few yards instead of riding around the chain across the drive. This location requires riders to not only have their rally flag in the picture, but also a small rubber duck that we were forewarned to bring along. After recording my odometer and the time I send off the email and hope for the best. Cell service around here is sporadic and I hope this goes through.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next on our plan is another gas stop of sorts. An old school ESSO station in Kingwood, WV is another 60 odd mile hop that takes almost 90 minutes. More twisty roads and fall foliage make for an awesome ride! The station is in excellent shape and obviously loved by the owners. As we’re taking our pictures and a few minutes to relax, we’re treated to a short symphony of church bells announcing 5:00. Really neat to hear something like this in a small town and it makes us both smile. I send off the email with photo attached for scoring and direct the Garmin to take us to our real gas stop the second of the BASE combo in the town of St. Mary’s, WV.

    [​IMG]

    This is a stretch of over 100 miles, and it will be close to dark by the time we get there. More good roads and lots of scenery to enjoy. A few miles before town we spy a bike ahead of us, that from the distance looks like it might be a rally bike. We can see they have extra lighting on the front and reflective material on their saddlebags. We’re moving a little faster than they are as we enter town, but we end up side by side at a traffic light. We both roll to the gas station together and chat for a few minutes. Tom is from CT but started in Lewes, DE this morning, close to a bonus. Dianne and I had met Tom before at a Void rally and we waste a few minutes chatting at the pumps. I email in the photo of our receipt and then complete a limited time TEXT bonus. This is one of the last-minute wildcards without a defined location. Available Friday only from 6-9 pm, riders text in their rider number, city they’re currently close to, and what is their next intended bonus.

    Prior to the start, all riders had to “declare” their proposed route to the rally masters, allowing them in an emergency to know where to begin searching should a rider go missing. This text in bonus is a way to be sure you’re on track and safe. Even numbered riders text in to one phone number and odd numbered riders to a different number. This allowed the two rally masters to split their chores and the number of incoming texts in a short period of time. All riders get back a simple “k” indicating it was received.

    [​IMG]

    In my text, I indicated our next bonus is EXT, which is oddly enough an extension of the Mason Dixon line with the westernmost marker for that famous survey of the states. Tom has already departed and we’re a few minutes behind opting to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate to warm up a little as the temps have dropped along with the sun we’ve enjoyed all day. It’s only 34 miles but now that it’s dark, our speeds drop and we’re dealing with some traffic. Thankfully, I scouted this location on Google Earth and Street View and know that the actual bonus is slightly past the waypoint given. I’ll be looking for a sign for the county line and the Mason Dixon marker should be right there. As we near the bonus we see the lights of a rally bike heading the other direction and figure Tom must be done and on his way to his next stop. We find our target and as we get off the bike, we see some bright light approach behind us. Tom had missed the bonus and seeing us, figured we probably knew where we were going.

    With two rally bikes pointed at the stone marker inside a polycarbonate cube, we have enough light on the target the rally masters will be able to read our flag numbers. Tom goes first then Dianne steps in with our flag. We both fill out our paperwork and email in our photos. While getting gas, I’d booked us a hotel room at a Comfort Inn near Pittsburgh for our rest break. I put the address into the Garmin and Dianne mounted up so we could head off for some well-earned sleep before taking on leg 2 in the morning. We say goodbye to Tom, knowing he’s done roughly the same and is heading to that area for his rest break as well. We’ve got about 85 miles to cover and much of it will be following the Ohio River on a nice secondary road, before a short stint on the interstate and the hotel.

    [​IMG]

    Our plan has us at the hotel for our rest bonus shortly before 10:00 and so far, we’ve been slightly ahead of plan much of the day. As we get on I-79 North that’s all about to change. Roughly 20 miles from our exit and our much-desired sleep, I notice my bike doesn’t want to hold a line taking a curve. This is at highway speed and pretty unnerving. Initially thinking it’s just my fatigue coming on, I don’t say anything to Dianne. As I begin moving from a center lane to the right lane, I notice it’s getting worse and I tell her that I think we have a tire going flat. Dianne is concerned about what we should do, and I explain the first order of business is getting off the highway safely and to somewhere safe to investigate the issue. Hopefully, a gas station with an air pump.

    An exit comes up within about a mile and I get off I-79 and pull into a gas station parking close to their air pump. As I put the bike on the center stand, I notice the “out of order” sign on their pump. I carry tire plugs and a mini air compressor under my seat, so I pull the seats off the bike and dig out the compressor and a tire gauge. Thinking the front tire is the issue, I begin by checking the tire pressure. It’s about 7 psi lower than normal and I’d just checked them Thursday night in preparation for the rally. I put air in the tire and ask Dianne to push down on the back of the bike so I can rotate the front tire to look for anything that might be causing this. I find nothing so I put the compressor away, the seats back on then mount the bike to take it off the stand. It comes off the stand with a little extra exertion on my part and I notice I have no issue flat footing with both feet. WTF? My rear tire is the flat one!

    We push the bike over under the canopy for the fuel pumps to get more light on the problem. This time I require Dianne’s help to pick up some and get the FJR up onto the center stand. Seats back off, I dig out the compressor again and after a quick glance at the rear tire, begin reinflating it. I start the bike and let it run to make sure I don’t kill the battery again like at the start of the event. The tire takes air and inside of about 10 minutes it’s back up to 42 psi. I ask Dianne to gather up all of the squeegees from the containers of windshield washer liquid so we can wash down the rear tire and look for bubbles, to identify where the air is escaping from. We wash down the tread surface, the bead areas on the side, and even the valve stem and find nothing. I know tires don’t just suddenly lose their air, so this bothers me greatly. We repeat the process again and still no signs of where the leak is. Time has been ticking away and I make the decision to ride to our hotel and get some sleep. I overinflate the tire by a few pounds and stow the compressor in my trunk rather than back under the seats. It’s only about 15-20 miles to the hotel and as cautiously as possible we ride to the hotel, stopping first at a gas station next door for a splash of fuel and a receipt to start our rest bonus. By the time we get our room it’s after 11:00 and we’re more than an hour behind our plan.

    Our plan needs us on the road no later than 6:10 if we hope to complete our route in time or risk DNF status. Not knowing what our tire issue is just yet, I set an alarm for 5:00 thinking I’ll look at the tire and then we’ll try to figure out what to do. I Google area motorcycle shops and find a Yamaha dealership in Canonsburg, PA, roughly 20 miles back in the direction we’d just come from. Dianne is absolutely beat as this is the first time she’s been on the bike since May and we’ve covered 608 miles in the last roughly 16 hours. She’s asleep quickly while my mind is still racing trying to come up with a plan of how to handle this tire issue. I’ve plugged in our com units and my cell phone to charge and then fill out our scoresheet to save time later. With as much done as I can for now, I lay down and drift off.

    The incessant beeping of a cell phone alarm stirs me from my needed rest in what I believe are only 15 minutes. In reality, over 5 hours have passed. Dianne stirs, but I tell her to keep sleeping while I go look at the bike. Walking outside, I just kick the rear tire and know it’s completely flat again. Going back into the hotel, I ask the clerk for a squirt bottle from their cleaning supplies filled with water and some dish soap, hoping that adding some soap might help me locate the offending tire invader. I pull the compressor out of the trunk, fire up the bike, and I begin putting air into the rear tire yet again. While the pump is doing its job, I make a phone call to Rick our rally master and fill him in on our status. We’re not quitting, but our route might be in the crapper. Rick offers some ideas and asks that we just keep him updated so they won’t worry. Rally masters take their riders seriously and feel responsible for all of us at some level. I respect that greatly.

    Tire up to 42 psi, I stop the compressor and begin spraying the tire with soapy water in hopes of finding where the problem is so hopefully, I can fix it. Once more, I can’t see any bubbling, but in the quiet that exists at 6:00 on a Saturday morning, I can hear air hissing. Rotating the tire slowly I determine the leak is about 180 degrees from the valve stem. I slowly move the tire back and forth a few inches at a time and spray that section with more soapy water yet still no bubbles. This is really stumping me, and I accept the fact I need professional help. Not just for my tire, but why I think these rallies are fun. This is just frustration creeping in, and I know what needs to be done. I let Dianne stay sleeping for a little and after waking her, we discuss the new plan.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Barnes Brothers opens at 10:00, but often service opens earlier so we agree to pack up now, finish filling the fuel tank and get a receipt to get back on the clock and into the rally. The gas station is right next door to the hotel. After filling the tank, I’m going to slightly overinflate the rear tire and we’re going to ride carefully back to Canonsburg and hopefully an answer to the tire question. With a gas receipt showing we’ve had a 9-hour rest break and a full tank of gas; I pull over to the station air pumps. Inflating the rear tire to 45 psi we climb aboard and backtrack about 20 miles to Barnes Brothers.

    Arriving at about 8:30 the shop is closed and a sign on the door indicates that due to COVID, customers must call and schedule appointments to get inside the showroom. As we’re standing there, Dianne is lighting a cigarette and then the front door opens. A young man leans out to explain they’re closed and their policy. I explain we’re on a long-distance rally and the tire problem. He pauses for only a few seconds, then directs me to pull the bike around to the back where the service bays are and the back door open. He’s going to go back and see if one of the techs already there will take a look at our tire. A tech directs me to pull right in and I put the bike up on the center stand. I remove both saddlebags to give him more room as I explain our situation. He adds air to the tire and begins spraying down the tire with a soapy water solution just as I’d done. Getting much the same result as I did, he thinks he’s found something in one of the sipes of the tire. It’s barely visible but you can hear a hissing. Dealerships won’t plug tires and I ask if they can remove the tire and patch it from the inside. That’s not an option either and they don’t have a suitable tire in stock for my bike. They have something in the correct size but it’s a more track-oriented tire and with the weight of the FJR and travelling 2-up there are doubts it would last even 1000 miles. Another tech is on his cell phone already and making a call to a friend at another small independent motorcycle shop. Walking over he tells us he can have a more suitable tire delivered within 30 minutes.

    Verifying what that tire is and a price I tell him to make it happen. Chatting with the tech who has been looking at my tire I remark that I’ve read good things about Barnes Brothers on the FJR forums. He proceeds to ask if I know his dad and proving what a small world we live in I do, and in fact we’re friends on Facebook. As he pushes my bike over to his work area, I shoot a message to his dad telling him where I am and how I’ve come to meet his son. I get a quick reply telling me how his boy does all of his service work on his FJR and that I’m in good hands. My rear wheel is off the bike and he’s breaking the beads of the tire about the same time a small pickup truck rolls into the lot and the driver walks past me carrying a new Michelin Power 5 rear tire. Chris finishes swapping the tires and puts my rear wheel back on. He shows me what he’s found in my old tire and it’s nearly impossible to see. On the outside I can’t spot it but on the inside of the tire there is a small bump similar to a pimple. This is the only flaw that can be seen anywhere on the tire. I inquire about having it shipped back to my home so I can repair and reinstall it later as it only has 2k miles on it and far more than that left. He’s got my bike ready to go and the service writer hasn’t even written up the repair yet.

    The service writer finishes writing up the already completed repair and gets my address to ship my damaged 2k mile tire back to my home where I can repair it later. Dianne graciously offers up her credit card to pay for the repairs. It’s a little after 10 and our plan required us to be on the road 20 miles further north and about 4 hours ago. I call Rick the rally master to let him know we’re back in the game and he discusses with me the chances of saving our original plan for leg 2. At this point we’d need to cover about 545 miles making 3 bonus stops, 2 of which are fuel stops and we have 8 hours left in which to accomplish this. All this and we haven’t had anything to eat yet this morning. Rallying should be fun, but this just sounds like too much and Dianne and I discuss other options. We agree to work our way back to the high point bonus of JIM and just pick up some smaller stuff on the way. Telling the GPS to lead us to 207W or NOT we’re off to salvage what we can of our rally.

    I’ve been to this bonus location before and shall never forget it or live it down. A few years ago, this was a Mason Dixon bonus and the final stop in a combo string that carried us across PA visiting a series of historical highway markers to tell the story of the Forbes Road. Sadly, something like half the field took a picture of the wrong marker at this location. Iron Butt Rally vets and rookies alike screwed the pooch on this. There is the traditional PA marker in blue and yellow on a pole and on a wall almost right beside it is a bronze plaque. After several pictures of the pole mounted markers they threw us a curve and wanted the plaque. The trick this year is riders with even numbered flags required a pic of the marker on the post. Odd numbered riders take a pic of the bronze plaque. Being rider number 85 this time we knew what to do. The traffic across Pittsburgh getting to this location was brutal. Crossing one of the bridges the roadway narrowed from 3 lanes down to 1 and people just cannot grasp how to filter together smoothly. As if we weren’t already behind on time this just added to our aggravation.

    Finding the bonus, we get the correct picture and Dianne goes inside the store where it’s located in search of something edible. Their selections are lacking in any form of appeal, so we opt to just email in the bonus pic and another wildcard I’d failed to send in earlier then get back on the road. We’re so far off track that just finishing at this point has become our primary goal. I look through the bonus locations stored in my GPS and direct us to the next closest bonus heading northeast and towards home. Within just a few miles we’re heading back into Pittsburgh and back on the same damned screwed up bridge. Not cool. A brief conversation and we agree to skip the small bonuses and head for the big points of JIM at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

    [​IMG]

    We struggle our way back through traffic and towards the PA turnpike. Spying a convenience store and hungry, we stop before getting on the turnpike and take a short break for some much-needed food. We place our orders using a touch screen kiosk and par for the course somehow that gets goofed up. The order kiosk puts the toppings for my burrito on the list of items for on Dianne’s sandwich. It takes the clerk a few minutes to straighten out this issue and we just can’t help but laugh. It’s 2020 and we’re on a rally so what else should we expect. Paying for our food is the next problem. They have one cashier working and about 15 people in line. Losing more time, we get our stuff and walk outside to eat. Gulping down our gas station food which barely meets the criteria for “food” we climb back on the bike and hit the turnpike.

    The sun is out now and the day is just gorgeous and I really don’t want to just drone along on the slab for the next near 100 miles, so as we approach the interchange for Greensburg and Route 30 we make the joint decision to just take the old road. Forgetting how many traffic lights there are on Route 30 through some of the towns we watch our ETA to our next bonus get further and further away. We still have sufficient time but at this point prefer to ride a more relaxed pace and keep our eyes open for some of the remaining wildcard bonuses. We’re keeping our eyes peeled for a Mail Pouch Tobacco painted barn, a Gator in the road, a roadside memorial that is not a cross, and a drive through of any kind. Normally one sees these sorts of thing on a near daily basis but when you really need one good luck!

    We stay on Route 30 until Chambersburg, PA where we need to refuel before our push north on I-81 to the cemetery. We relax a few minutes and take some ibuprofen as we’re both getting a little sore by now from not having covered these kinds of miles in some time. The interstate is moving nicely, and I take advantage of the FJR having cruise control to relax a little. Dianne spies lots of gators, the shredded carcasses of truck tires, along the interstate but I suggest we wait until as close to our exit as possible fearing picking up something else in a tire on the trip. Nearing exit 85 where we’ll get off is a great example of a gator and it’s on the ramp with plenty of shoulder and no other exiting traffic. The GATOR bonus requires the use once more of our rubber duck, so I prop it right on top of the gator as Dianne holds our flag. I snap the pic then as she has a quick smoke submit the bonus.

    [​IMG]

    JIM is a literal stone’s throw away and we’re at the correct section of the cemetery in only one mile. This headstone and gravesite have been a mandatory Mason Dixon rally bonus longer than I’ve been participating. Col. James Young was a veteran and avid long-distance motorcyclist who tragically lost his life in CO during a rally. This visit and our pictures are a way to show our respects. We encounter another 2-up couple on a Honda Goldwing and chat a few minutes with them before walking over to the headstone to take our picture. I submit the email after writing down my odometer and the time and we mount up ready to head home and wrap this up.

    [​IMG]

    We only live about 30 miles away and spend those miles looking for any of the remaining wildcards to try and redeem our score. Dianne is sure she remembers a roadside memorial on I-83 near our home but if it was there it’s gone now. Getting off the exit for our house there is a CVS drugstore with a drive through. We pull into their lot and position everything to fulfill the bonus requirements. In this case the bike must be in the photo. There is no line, but I pull as far off to one side as possible in case someone would need through. Pic taken and emailed in I record the info for our scoring log, and we head for home.

    [​IMG]

    At home I take one more picture of our rally flag with one of the event stickers laying on it for our FLAG bonus. Normally the FLAG bonus just means you have to bring your rally flag to the scoring table but with this being virtual we won’t be facing anyone. I note the time and odometer and email it in. Next, I fire up my laptop and begin filling out my scoring log. I’ve chosen to do this all on the computer and then print it out for the photo because I know at this point my handwriting will be better suited to a medical career and this has to be legible if we hope to get the points we’re claiming. One last photo and email and then a quick ENDEX text to the rally master letting them know you are officially finished and off the clock. We won’t learn the scoring results until tomorrow a big departure from the live scoring and finish banquet we all love.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Shortly after sending the text to take us off the clock and out of the rally I notice an email on my phone. The final email for the drive through was sent to the incorrect address. I guess that’s 45 points I won’t get credit for! Sunday afternoon a new email arrives from rally HQ. The Zoom meeting to announce the winners has now been delayed until Monday evening. Technology has reared its ugly head and there are some issues they must resolve so for now all the riders wait. Monday night at 7 we all Zoom in to hear the results but with limited time only the top 3 finishers of each geographic area are announced, and full results are posted to the Void website. After all our trials and errors Dianne and I have finished 38th out of 43 starters from the Northern group and we’ve covered 943 miles. Not our best finish but this was 2020 and we all know how that has been going. Until next year……

    [​IMG]
    #1
    schrod, JB2, Patch and 3 others like this.
  2. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,387
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Really nice write up. Never tried one of those long distance rallies but it sure looks interesting and fun ( tire troubles aside of course). Thanks for taking us along.
    #2
    BkerChuck likes this.
  3. spencermarkd

    spencermarkd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 10, 2017
    Oddometer:
    141
    Location:
    Pullman, WA
    Thanks for sharing what really goes on in these rallys, Chuck! I enjoyed reading about how the points and everything works. I'll be keeping my eye out for one in the NW to try and do!
    #3
    BkerChuck likes this.
  4. wvJwaii

    wvJwaii Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    239
    Thanks for taking the time to write this up! My buddy and I rode in the 2017 and 2019 MD2020 rallies (as well as 2018 Void Rally), and really hated to miss the finale this year. Work got in the way once it was moved to the October date.
    Bad luck with the flat tire, and I can relate. I was on my way to visit Jim's grave over Memorial Day this year when a rear flat tire stopped me before Morgantown. I decided not to continue the 500+ miles I had planned for the day after riding several miles on the shoulder to get off the interstate so I could safely plug the tire. At least I wasn't "on the clock" for that trip.
    Glad you had a safe and fun rally. That is what it is all about. A crazy kind of fun.
    #4
    BkerChuck likes this.
  5. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    714
    Location:
    Etters, PA
    B10Dave, There is am IBR finisher in the Ontario area named Wolfe Bonham who has been running a few rallies a year under the Lobo Loco name. I've met Wolfe several times on rallies and while I haven't personally done any of his events I've watched some of them on FB and would highly recommend them. Of course ma familiarity with Canadian geography is non existent so he may be further away from you than I realize. These things are a LOT of fun and surprisingly educational. I must warn you, they can also be highly addictive! Should you have any question feel free to reach out and I'll be glad to try and answer them.
    #5
    B10Dave likes this.
  6. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,387
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Thanks for the info Chuck. I will do some research.
    #6
    Patch and BkerChuck like this.
  7. TDuff

    TDuff n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2020
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    CT
    Great write up Chuck, I forgot all about the text bonus, hope to see you at so rallies next year unless we have another pandemic or locust or forty day's and night's of rain or.....
    #7
    BkerChuck likes this.
  8. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    714
    Location:
    Etters, PA
    Tom, sorry we didn't think to mention it to you when we were both at St. Marys getting fuel. I make a small spreadsheet before the rally listing the bonuses I plan to hit, miles from point to point and an ETA so Dianne can look over my shoulder and see where we are on time. I always try to put in the weird stuff like the text in bonus so I don't overlook it and I knew that fuel stop should fall right within the time window for that. Tire issue hurt us bad. Had we been able to pull off our plan I figure we'd have been around 24th so the tire cost us about 14 positions. Still had fun and the weather was great so I'm thankful for the small blessings we did have. Hope to see you next year!
    #8
    TDuff likes this.