Friday, April 23, 2010

Rally Bag Rampage

I think I mentioned it before, preparing for a rally is all consuming. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things I need to do. Our rally is only one week away and stuff is building up in the house. I've got boxes of stuff everywhere.

I don't know how many rally goers check out this blog, so I won't say what all is in these pictures. I want the rally bag to be a surprise. Several items in the bag are custom made, i.e. made by my wife. If you go to her blog, you can see some of those items.
Thise is the first rally I've helped organize, so contacting companies and asking for donations was sort of new (actually, I was an Army recruiter a long time ago, so making cold calls wasn't exactly new) but I did have some success. In the back of the above pic, you can see gloves that Corazzo donated sticking out of the box. In the front are the rally bags themselves, that my wife made.
All of the boxes in the aboce picture are either raffle items or more boxes with rally bag stuff. you can also see the roll of raffle tickets.
Here is another picture of all the boxes of stuff. On the right, is the back of one of the rally shirts. I'm not showing the front, again, because I want the shirt to be a surprise.

Well, one more week to go. I am really looking forward to the rally. At the same time, however, I worry. I want everyone to have a great time. And whether they do, or not, I feel is my responsibility. I had this great DJ lined up for our Saturday gymkhana and concourse, but he disappeared on me. So, it looks like I have another one, but I've never met him, so I don't know that he'll be as good as my first choice.

My next post will probably be after the rally. I hope to have some nice pics. There is currently rain for that weekend in the long range forecast. I know this is the desert and we need all the rain we can get, but I'm praying against the rain anyway.

Ride on,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

500 Mile "Butt Burner" Test Run

As I have mentioned in this blog before, it is my goal to ride a "Butt Burner 1k" ride soon. Now, I should probably just get out there and ride it, but that is not the way my mind works, so I have been working my way up to it. Id did the 130 mile ride to Parker Canyon to test some equipment, then 250 miles to see see how the Buddy would hold up in riding wide open throttle (WOT) for a while, oh yeah, there was the ill-fated ride out to Coolidge and Casa Grande that ended with a detached muffler and a ride home from Picacho, AZ.
Yesterday (4/9/10), I decided to ride 500 miles and see if I could complete it in under 12 hours. For the full 1000 miles I've been debating on riding secondary roads vs interstate highway. Each has its merit and disadvantages. I had initially only considered secondary roads, feeling that they would be safer. I have since vacillated on this vs interstate, several times. For this 500 mile ride, I selected a route which was mostly secondary roads. Here it is. I chose this route the night before. There was another route that I preferred, but when I check all the individual intervals between gas stations, there is one interval between Lordsburg, NM and Douglas, AZ which about 110 miles between petrol stations. I have a 1 gallon gas can one the scoot, but I wasn't sure if I could make it with a full tank plus the gallon, so I chose the other route.

I got up at 6:00 am and was out the door by 6:20. Unfortunately, it took almost an hour to ride to my start point. So, it was 7:35 am before I pulled out of the station in Catalina, AZ, headed north. Below, you can see my scoots odometer reading of 15,036 miles

I immediately noticed that the morning was still a little on the cool side. The temp at the house when I left was 54 degrees, the forecast called for highs in the 80's so I was wearing my mesh jacket, with liner and my new Corazzo armored, orange, reflective vest (which I won at the Friki Tiki Rally raffle.) I passed Oracle and then had the descent into the San Pedro River Valley. 7% grade for 7 miles, woohooo! 53 miles and my first stop for fuel in Winkleman. Then it was a lot of climbing up to my second fuel stop in Globe. I passed 5000 feet just south of Globe, although there is a nice descent as you approach town. Just before Glode, a large deer walked across the road infront of me and paused, as if to say "A scooter? Don't see many of those around here." A blast of the steibel horn and he was gone.
I took the above pic at my fuel stop in Globe. Globe is very rustic and pretty, but not where I stopped. I was timing myself so I had to set all the photo ops aside. That was probably the hardest thing about the ride. Leaving Globe, I went west on US 60, across more mountains (4500 ft elev) down to Superior and back out into the desert. I continued west on 60 until turning south to Florence. I did this because I didn't want to ride through Phoenix on 8 lane freeways with LOTS of traffic. Gassed up in Phoenix, then it was west toward Maricopa. I had to cross a large Indian reservation. Signage is usually poor across any given AZ reservation and this was no exception. I wound up talking to a Southwest Ambulance crew with a GPS about how to get to Highway 1 where I could get over to Maricopa.

I had 2 McDonald's burgers, some Sweet tea, fueled up and headed southwest for Gila Bend. Gila Bend was the western-most part of my journey, so I took the above pic as photographic evidence that I was there. Apparently, GB and Roswell, NM have space things and UFO's in common.

Just to the right from the other photo is the second one, showing the "Space Age" restaurant and hotel complete. The front of the hotel is what people from the 60's would have considered "futuristic."

Now I was headed toward home. I fueled up and was off. I went across the US Air Force bombing ranges outside of G.B. and down to Ajo, very close to the Mexican border and last jumping off point for party goers headed to Rocky Point, Mexico (Tucson's closest ocean front.)

From Ajo, it was across another reservation (The Tohon-Odoham Nation) to Sells. I took another 15 minute break to stretch my back and legs, then it was back on the scoot for a short jaunt to Tree Points. A quick gas & go, then I turned south to Arivaca. Time was beginning to get short, so I decided to skip my planned fuel stop there and try to get all the way to Green Valley. I made it and realized I had less than an hour to get from Green Valley, across the valley to Vail.

I made it Vail and my watch showed it was 7:15, 11 hours and 40 minutes after leaving that morning. When I arrived home, the odometer showed 15,587 miles. Quite a day's ride. Well, this morning, I checked the official mileage of what I actually rode and the total was 480 miles. I have to have ridden another 20 miles in 20 minutes. Drat!

Where can I save time to know that I can do twice that distance in less than twice the time? I guess I'm back to the Interstate idea. If I have a chase vehicle with extra fuel on board, I can save the time associated with pulling off the road, finding a gas station, etc etc. I also stopped more often than I had to. 10 stops for fuel ate up a lot of time.

I'll keep you posted,
Ride on!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rally Planning

The Sky Island Riders are hosting our first rally, the May Day Rally. Planning and preparing for said rally is consuming my life at this point. We are just 4.5 weeks away. I enjoy planning events and this is no different and I want this to be a great rally. Now, I have only been to four other rallies in my life, so I'm not drawing from a wealth of experience, but I'm doing the best I can. There are three other guys in the club who have quite bit of rally experience and they have been invaluable.
The most recent rally I attended was Friki Tiki, which was held the first weekend in March. It was also here in Tucson and was hosted by the Mary Janes All Girl Scooter Club. I helped a bit in the planning and was a ride leader. It was helpful to have another rally so near to ours, so it's fresh in my mind. I carefully took notes on what worked and where there was difficulty. That info is being used for May Day. Friki Tiki was unique, in that it was also also a music festival. One of the Mary Janes is in a local band, so she combined her two loves into a single event.

One of our meet-ups for the rally was "The Hut" on Tucson's 4th Avenue. Is that Tiki head not one of the coolest backdrops for scooters you've ever seen? I love it! It was moved from a local miniature golf course that closed.

That last day of the rally was a great ride, but unfortunately it rained. However,a little bit of rain, or in this case, a LOT of rain, is no reason to not go out and play in it. That's me, riding through this monster puddle outside of the Bario Brewing Company where we finished the Sunday morning kitsch ride.

Now back to planning. I have been e-mailing numerous local businesses to ask them to provide either raffle items or things for the rally bags. I am really pleased with the rally bags, so far.

My wife hand made rally bags. They are purse string-type bags all will fit in a pet carrier, on a helmet hook, or from a mirror mount. She is also making a scooter-themed quilt for the raffle as well. We are gradually accumulating some nice things for them, too.