I have been reading rally ride reports from the likes of @Boondoggle @BkerChuck @Patch and other inmates, I have it in my head that Long Distance Rally is something that I would love to do. Saturday I decided to up my “long distance” game and dissuade myself of that notion! Surely a few hours in the saddle will cure me! Saturday at 9 am I needed to be north of Detroit for a RIDE LIKE A PRO class. I set myself up a route that would score me 3 stops on the FB Ride to Eat group and 50 pts in the States of Confusion rally. I discovered that asking BaseCamp to “optimize” my route and asking my dog to optimize my route would yield similar results! After some manual adjustments I found a route that would work! New for this trip, power wired in for the Zumo 396, Cortec magnetic tank bag, printed route sheet, and a printed pre-ride checklist. Going by what Base Camp told me, I need to leave by 0525. That would get me to my first stop, Gord’s Bar, in time to get my picture and get down to my training. The ride was interesting. Michigan has some of the worst maintained roads I have ever driven on. I grew up in Alaska and have moved all over with the military. No kidding. Michigan is the worst. It certainly kept me paying attention when there were giant potholes and dead animals in various states of decomposition all over the road. This was really the first time I put the VStrom 650 on the slab for any significant time. I noticed that to keep with traffic the ‘Strom was sitting at 6500 in 6th gear. She handled it like a champ and there wasn’t a lot of vibration. She sucked fuel a little faster than normal, but all in all, not too bad of a job. Gord’s Bar was closed when I got there at 0722. Marine City was a cute little city on the St. Clair River and Gord’s Bar has a great view of the river and Canada on the other bank. It only took me 4 minutes to get the picture and look around a bit, then I was off again. The next stop was the Ride Like a Pro class. My route had me there at 0830 but I ended up getting there at 0753. I used that extra time to refill the tank on the ‘Strom and get some coffee in MY tank. If you haven’t heard of Ride Like a Pro, you should check it out. The course I took in Mi (www.ridelikeapro-gl.com) was phenomenal. The course is modeled after the training that Police motorcycle officers go through. It is almost entirely slow speed maneuvering. The instructors were former police motorcycle cops and have been teaching this course for over 14 years. One of the instructors is a national level competitor. I learned a TON of stuff and feel MUCH better at low speed than I have in the past. I know it’s a skill like anything else that needs practice, so I will stay on that. I will, however, probably retake this class again at the start of each riding season. It’s a great refresher and will help keep the skills sharp. The class was 4 hours long with about 30 min not on the bike. I left out of the training at 1325 to continue my “rally training.” People at the RLAP training had heard my next stop, Stingers, and had good stuff to say about it. The traffic was MUCH heavier at 1325 than it was at 0700, but I still made good time and arrived at Stingers in Wixom, MI at 1404, 6 minutes ahead of schedule Stingers looked very busy. I guess biker bars are popular on beautiful Saturdays around lunch time. I elected to move on, stopping at the gas station next door. I used their restroom and bought a bag of smoked almonds, some beef jerky, and a couple water bottles, then hit the road again. Next was a 25 pt States of Confusion stop, Vermontville, MI. I got there with 21 minutes in the bank. It was nice being off the big road for a while, but it was slower for sure. On the way to my next stop, another 25 pt SoC stop in Wyoming, MI, I learned that BaseCamp doesn’t know when roads are closed for construction! I pulled over and did a quick google map route to find out the best way around the construction. I ended up making really good time and arrived at Wyoming City Hall at 1631, 31 min ahead of schedule After some fuel I headed back on the interstate to Kalamazoo… I kept singing the Bob Segar song Kathmandu and changing it to Kalamazoo. In retrospect, I might have been starting to get a little tired. It was only supposed to be a 50-mile ride, but this is where time seemed to slow. I was hungry and I was starting to have some serious knee pain. Maybe it’s a product of weight, or age, or years of long distance running, but my knee just can’t handle being in the same position for a long time. I can go out and run 5 miles and not have knee pain, but when I sit in chair for 50 min, my knee starts killing me. I slid back to the pillion seat for a bit and stretched the leg. In Kalamazoo I stopped at my last RTE stop for the trip, Bell’s Eccentric Café. I was due there at 1800 but made it at 1724. With 36 mins in the bank and my stomach empty, I decided it was time to eat! Bell’s would have been a great stop for the night as it is a brewery with live music, outdoor beer garden, and a good restaurant. I got a bowl of Beer Cheese soup made with nut brown ale and, to make sure I got my veggies in, I got some hand breaded onion rings. For desert I ate some Aleve. Yummy Naproxen! The next stop was home. This was the longest leg of my trip and I was leaving right on schedule. I had burned up my banked time eating, as I had planned. Now 180 miles until home. I took 20 minutes longer than planned to get home. I rode for an hour, then stopped to rest and stretch for 10 min, then back on the bike. During this time, my Zumo started telling me it was shutting down since there was no power. I would let it shut down and then it would turn right back on showing it had power. I don’t know if my power is coming and going or if my Zumo is crazy! I ended up getting home alive with a little different perspective on the Rally. I did 567 miles with an actual 8:24 minutes moving. That didn’t count the time I was in the training class, which was very physical. I am not very hopeful for being able to endure a 31-hour rally! Not unless I do something about the ergonomics of the ‘Strom. I am thinking highway pegs and bar risers. I am also considering something to lower my foot peg position. Perhaps I might put a little bigger sprocket up front as well. I think an extra tooth might make the highway a little better. Those being done, I am hopeful I can do more time.