Monday, May 6, 2013

Hammy's (Hamy's) Trouble With Triple Rally

This past Saturday, May 4, was Hammy's Trouble With Triples Rally.  (BTW, the Tribbles reference was lost on me until after the rally was over and I was cruising home.  Kinda shameful for a geek to miss that.)

Here are our Rally Flags.  Notice the Bacon on Kate's?

This was designed to be a fun, informal rally, running 9 hours, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.  There were bonus locations in NJ and Eastern PA.  As an added bonus, you were allowed to start from anywhere, so naturally, we all picked a route and started 5 minutes from our first bonus locations.

Kate and I decided to ride together, and we built a route together.  Lots of discussion on how long stop times would be, which route was the best, etc.  In the end, we decided on a route that had 4 triples.  (The bonii were organized into triples, Propeller had 3 airports, for example, and if you got all 3 of the bonii, your score for all 3 was tripled.  History buff had 3 bonuses worth 2 points each, but if you got all 3, which we did, you got 18 instead of 6 points)  In addition to the 4 triples, we had 4 individual bonuses in there worth an extra 7 points.

Hammy gave us an extra 10 minutes for the start window to allow for a bad receipt, or in my case, an overly aggressive and competitive nut job (me).  In order to get to our first bonus location by 8:20, we needed to leave the house by 6:30.  So naturally, I told Kate we had to leave by 6:00.

We had planned on the following stops:

NJ Motorsports Park
Spitfire Aerodrome
Philadelphia Art Museum
Nitro Girl
Atco Raceway
Flying W
Monmouth Battlefield
God Bless America
Bowman's Tower
Sky Manor
Easton Centre Square
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Kauffman's Bar-B-Que
William Penn Fire Tower
Hopewell Furnace
Maple Grove Raceway

Which would put us at Rally HQ at around 5:10 PM.  For my style of route planning, this was a TON of space.  I normally route myself with an extra 30 minutes to be made up on the rally, so my normal route planning would have me coming in around 6:00 PM.  Glad I made this change, you will see why in the gripping tale that follows.

As payback for my 6:00 AM departure announcement, I had to work on Herbert, Kate's new 2013 F700GS, on Friday night.  Installed a new windscreen, GPS mount and RAM mount.  Here are some pics.

Here is Herbert with his sad, small, no protection stock windshield.  He compensates with huge boxes.
 Here is the new, amazing, windscreen, that protects The Mallorine from bugs, road grime, wind and random Bigfoot strikes.
 New 665 Mounting bracket in place, and wired!  Thanks Touratech!  We have these mounts on all our bikes, allows us to move the 665 from bike to bike, and keeps the GPS safe by being lockable.  This particular mount was put in place by jury rigging a mount designed for an F800ST to the F700GS.  Stayed in place and is solid.
 A RAM mount.  Very exciting, I know.

The cockpit.  Road Book holder in place, for maximum rally efficiency.

Some day I will share that strategy, but as Dikembe Mutombo says, "Not today, ha ha ha"

Of course we live in a Condo and have a rental garage, so no working in the garage.  Did all this fun in the street, where I do all my work.  I have the best spot picked out, in an abandoned parking lot, that is flat, has a functioning, solar charged light, and a minimum number of rats and homeless people.
Yep, I said that.

As per my plan, we head out at 6:32.  I rode Captain USA on this ride, as Consuela has developed the Connie Shudder, which is when you are riding your C14, squeeze the front brakes, and your fillings fall out from the violent pulsating caused by one of the following:
  • Warped Rotors
  • Thick Rotors
  • Thin Rotors
  • Dirty Rotors
  • Clean Rotors
  • Old Pads
  • New Pads
  • Sticky Buttons
  • Loose Buttons
  • Wrath of the Gods
Funny thing is, no one knows the cause, including Kawasaki.

You can fix the problem in one of the following ways:
  • New Rotors
  • New Buttons
  • New (or Old) Pads
  • Clean the Rotors (Everything from Scotch Brite, to Steel Wool, to a soft baby wipe has been suggested)
  • Let the Rotors get dirty
  • Lube Buttons
  • Glue Buttons
  • Make a Sacrifice to the Gods, most theologians agree sacrificing the C14 will work, but that kinda defeats the purpose.

The Cat God is not amused.

F It.  I am gonna go steal a new Connie and replace the whole bike.  That will do it.

On our 125 mile ride to the start location, the Low Oil light comes on on Captain USA.  NBD, any normal rider would say, open the fill cap, drop in some oil, and continue on your way.  Stupid rotten dirty BMW Oil Heads have a 3 prong fill cap stupid thing, which requires a special tool, which I don't have.  So we get to our start location, and I tell Kate to start the route and I will catch up.

15 minutes later, after having several lengthy discussions with the fine employees of the local WaWa Gas Station/Convenience Store, regarding where they stock oil (it is in the last aisle, next to the coffee filters, duh), I am standing next to Captain USA ready to put oil in.  Out come the tools and my considerable swear vocabulary.
The solution was to beat the cap off with a large hex head screw driver, put in the oil, and beat the cap back on with said hex driver.  Worst part was two Harley guys offering to help.  They were very nice, and genuine in their offer to help, but this is an "Adventure Bike" that you can "Tour the World" with, but don't go 2,000 miles without a case of oil, or you are screwed!  Now I know why GS owners put those huge panniers on their bikes.  The top one is to hold a case of oil, in case they want to go to the corner store for some milk.

Oil in the bike, skipped the fuel, off on the route.

I started 20 minutes behind schedule.  NBD, we had at least 20 minutes in slack in our route planning and I had not been overly aggressive with our stops, etc.

Got to  NJ Motorsports Park and took the picture.

Caught up with Kate on the way to Spitfire Aerodrome.  Ms Garmin wanted us to get on the highway and walk to the bonus location.  Figured that MIGHT be incorrect, so went into the airport entrance instead, got down the road a piece, and snapped the pic.

Next stop, and I do mean STOP was Philadelphia Art Museum, and you had to take a picture from the back of the Museum.  Getting in was easy peasy.  Maybe 5 minutes from the bridge to the back of the museum.  Getting out too almost 20 minutes.  Closed roads, detours, cops at every intersection, just UGH.  We were pretty far behind at this point.

Ran back into NJ and grabbed Nitro Girl and Atco Raceway.

Flying W airport was next, quick in and out, and we had made up some time on some back roads.

Monmouth Battlefield looked like a nightmare when we got off the highway into massive traffic, but luckily, we only had to go about 3/4 of a mile, and the entrance to the park was right there.  Neat looking visitor's Center.

Then I ran out of gas.  Yep.  That happened.  Luckily, I rolled about 100 feet from a gas station, then had the joy of pushing Captain USA to the pump.  Each step had be second guessing all the heavy crap I had put on the bike. Published Fuel Capacity of the bike is 5.3 Gallons.  Look at the receipt.

Off to God Bless America.  When we got off the highway, I saw the World's Largest Tooth that Fuzzy Galore memorialized a few weeks ago.  1/4 mile down the road was this impressive pair.

Back into PA and off to Bowman's Tower.  Fun ride up to it, glad we had our GSs.  Pretty darn steep, with lots of loose stuff.  Both Herbert and Captain USA enjoyed themselves.
Kids in the picture seemed to be having a good time too.

Sky Manor Airport was next. 

Then off to Easton where Kate and I got separated, with me following Ms. Garmin's instruction, and Kate having time to pull over to the side of the road, figure out a new route and get there BEFORE ME.  Stupid, Lousy, Dirty $700 GPS.

Hawk Mountain was 20 minutes and 2 points.  Penalty window was 3 points per minute.  We were still behind, so no reason to risk being late and Hawk Mountain was dropped.

Only Hammy could find a monster chicken statue at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

Finished off the ride and got to Rally HQ at 5:20 and 375 miles.

Had a wonderful dinner and got to see my home boy, Bruce.

I had thought we only did 3 Triples and Bruce told me he did 4 and 2 extras.  I was sure we were sunk.

Turns out that we did do 4 Triples, plus the extras, and some Triples were worth more than others. 

Our route was good enough for the win and Bruce came in second.  Grand prize was a jar of Apple Butter, which will join our other trophies, after we liberate the contents of said jar.

Our ride home was 139 miles.  Long 139 miles.

The day totaled out at 675 ish miles in 15 hours, with 2 hours spent at rally HQ.  Good training for Kate for the Minute Man 1000.

Here is a link to the Spotwalla, and below is the route.

Great time, great rally and lots of fun.

Hammy runs a lot of informal rallies and is considering another 1 day in August.  I highly encourage you to join in.

Next stop, MD 20/20 May 24.


  1. Nice set of rally reports you have here. I'll see you at the MD2020.