Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Rally, Big Sky, Montana.

This is the report which was supposed to be inserted in between the ride reports to and from Big Sky, Montana. It was a beautiful and breathtaking ride through Idaho and Montana to get to Big Sky. That report here - Enroute to Big Sky. 
I have finally gotten around to writing about my experiences in the rally itself, but as the saying goes - "You save the best for the last!".

I look back and muse that this rally almost didn't happen for me. Other than the fact that I got very sick just a couple days before we were to leave for the rally, for the longest time I was not really sure riding 1000+ miles in a day was something I was ready to do. Add to that riding 1000+ miles in a day while hunting and collecting bonuses - Ha! Yea that was happening all right!

I will readily admit that I am a touring and stop for pictures kind of rider, although I have done many 700+ miles days. Do you know the find the best sights, the best angle, the best light and take dozens of pictures per stop and stop often for pictures type? Yea - that's me! Having said that, doing a Saddlesore 1000 was something I had been wanting to do, riding in an endurance rally was also on the long list of things to do (call it a bucket list). I never thought I was going to do both in one day!

It all started unfolding on June 1st as I exchanged a few words with the Rally Master, Bob Torter on his birthday and he invited me to come on up to Montana and have some fun! I then started scouring the LD Forums for information on how to condition myself mentally and physically for endurance rallies, also talked to my mentor Brian R. for his advice and we figured we could ride together and pick one of the "Good" routes and modify it to suit what we wanted to do. Since the bonus listings were emailed a week in advance, we already had a route planned before we left home, the goal in mind being to finish a successful SS1K and get a ride certificate from and photo op with IBA President Mike Kneebone. :)

Arriving at Big Sky it was great to see the smiling faces of friends and to get handshakes and hugs from some great people I only get to see a couple times a year. It was also such a beautiful location. From what I heard from everyone it was the most upscale and gorgeous locations for an endurance rally ever and I believed it.

View of Lone Mountain from my room. Big Sky, MT.

The hotel and staff were great as well, we had slight trouble/mix-up with my and Brian's rooms at check-in, but one word from Bob and it was fixed in no time. Can't complain - we had paid for Valley View rooms and they upgraded us to Mountain View rooms, and it was quite the view!!
TSA IBA back scatter X-Ray during Tech Inspection. Photo courtesy of Tobie Stevens.
The next day was tech inspection and odometer check before the rally. There I am above getting X-Rayed during tech inspection and wondering to myself - what did I get myself into?
Brian was having an easier time at Tech Inspection. He even had the Tech Inspector smiling! :)
Brian and John Langon at Tech Inspection. Photo courtesy of Tobie Stevens.
In reality it wasn't bad at all for me either. Brian had already prepped me for all the items usually on a tech inspection check-list. New tires, First Aid Kit, Flash light(s), Tire repair and inflation Kit, Emergency strobe, M1 endorsement, Vehicle Registration and Insurance, etc - check, check, check....

Tech inspection at the GBU was a breeze. We were only checked for documents and off it was to the odometer check where I was greeted by Chuck Hickey who handed me a sheet and rattled off a quick route plan for the odometer check. I was hoping I was going to remember it all and not screw it up. I didn't want to be saddled with that Bolt of Shame! Fortunately all went well! :)
Chuck Hickey dictating instructions for the odometer check. Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
As this was Montana, pretending to be a Cowboy was our ticket to a meal - the rider's Banquet. Being the pinhead that I am - the grown up hat wouldn't fit me, so I had to commandeer a kiddie hat. Maybe "someone" is right - I am 12 years old after all!
Woody Puppychow at The Lodge, Big Sky, MT. Photo courtesy of Tobie Stevens.
This is also where I earned the nickname Woody! Although in all honesty I am very fond of and have adopted/accepted my nickname of Puppychow. So thanks, but no thanks guys! :)

After the Banquet we all gathered for the rider's meeting. This was where we were going to be handed our rally packets and rally flags, with Warchild glaring at us with wild man eyes and warning us not to open them until instructed to do so. This was also where the realization finally hit me that I was rider #2, it was a generous gesture from Bob Torter and I was very grateful! 

After a speech by "The Releaser" (Warchild) and the Rally Master, Bob Torter, we were given a low down on the rally format by Terry Lahman who detailed the location bonuses and route bonuses, their points values and how to claim them successfully.
The rider's meeting had started an hour late, when it came time to fielding questions - it seemed like the session just went on and on. I was already aware we were going to be running on a sleep deficit the next morning when we gathered by the bikes at 4AM. This deficit was already increasing and we hadn't left the rider's meeting yet...

There were a handful of SS1K acceptable routes that you had to stick to in order to be awarded an SS1K certificate at the end of the rally, this meant that Brian and I would have to re-do our route. We also realized that the big points were in Eastern Idaho and we had already covered a lot of that ground getting to the rally. Since we weren't in competitive mode and a big part of this adventure for me was to have fun and see parts of Montana that I hadn't seen before, we decided not to retrace our steps into Western Montana and Eastern Idaho and to forego the big points. We picked the "Good" SS1K route and then added a bunch of bonus locations in the proximity of the route to give it a little more swagger, being cautious not to be overly ambitious. This was going to be my first 1000+ mile day and we had no idea how I was going to fare and biting off more than I could chew was not our idea of fun. It was already past midnight when we were ready to go to bed with the alarm set for 3:30AM. The sleep deficit had begun..
Karate Kid Fail. Photo courtesy of Tobie Stevens.
It was a cold, dark Montana morning when we gathered by the bikes at 4AM. There was going to be one last final odometer check at 4:30AM so our starting mileages could be recorded before the 5AM rally start. Running on 3 hours of sleep, I helped myself to a light breakfast in the hotel lobby and a couple of cups of hot coffee - it felt good. Also, adrenaline was starting to kick in, I was feeling pretty good for only having slept 3 hours that night and attempted to strike a Karate Kid pose for rally photographer Tobie Stevens moments before the 5AM start.

All geared up and bikes warming we awaited the signal from "The Releaser" as he navigated through the parking lot, pointing at a rider with one hand and then pointing with the other - the cue to get moving! He had already warned us at the rider's meeting that if you dumped the clutch and killed the engine when it was your turn to leave, you would have to wait till everyone else had left before you would be allowed to leave. No pressure - right? He had also warned us that  cold tires and a cold possibly damp parking lot do not mix well, so no tire squealing on our way out. When it was my turn, I waited for the cue and slowly let the clutch out, maybe I was being over cautious because I got the "Quick! Get your ass moving now!" gesture from Warchild! :)
5AM rally start from The Lodge, Big Sky, MT. Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
(BTW, the aux lamps are NOT on.)
So it was still dark at 5AM when the riders started snaking down the road from Big Sky. There is just one paved windy road down the mountain from Big Sky to Hwy 191. It turned into one big group ride at the beginning. Everyone was riding at a relaxed pace, no passing maneuvers, no tail gating or crowding - it was great! When we reached Hwy 191, the group ride started to split up, some heading north and others heading south. Brian and I headed south towards West Yellowstone along with some of the others. The riders were spread out now, and were passing each other along the way. It was still dark and we had been warned this portion of Hwy 191 was notorious for animal crossings (In Montana a 55 mph speed limit makes a point!), we were taking it easy - this was not a sprint for us, this was a marathon.

It was a beautiful sunrise minutes before we reached West Yellowstone, our first bonus and gas stop of the day (I hadn't topped off the bike the night before). We were to take a picture of the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center sign. I didn't get to explore this place on this trip, but it seems very interesting.
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone.
My first bonus capture! I was excited and after snapping the picture and finishing logging the paperwork for the bonus location, I give Brian the thumbs up sign - signaling I am ready to go. Brian just shakes his head and points to my windshield. Crappola! - the flag was still sitting on the windshield! I grab the flag and open the tank bag and push it in and in the process push out the hand sanitizer that I had stored in there which proceeds to scoot away on the ground. A rider standing right behind me hands it back to me and then I drop it again trying to shove things around in my tank bag trying to make room for the flag, the rider (I don't know your name, but you are way cool!) hands it back to me again! What a start to my rally huh? Thoroughly embarrassed I finally make ample room for the rally flag and paperwork and then off we go again.. :)

We were heading towards Ennis, MT on Hwy 287 for our next bonus stop. I had been leading since West Yellowstone. We passed a couple of our rally riders on the way - one on a Harley (Tyler Zimmerman), then we encountered very heavy fog on Hwy 287 and in the fog encountered our second rally rider - on a Ducati Multistrada. Once we were out of the fog, we picked up the pace once again and soon the Ducati also disappeared from our rear view..

We were blazing up Hwy 287 when I noticed movement to the right side of the road still quite a ways away, but due to our speed we were closing in fast. I hit the brakes and just as I did, I saw a deer jump the fence and run across the road. I was still on the brakes and slowing because I had also seen his buddy, who shortly after also jumps the fence and runs across the road... Rodent sightings of the day..#1 and #2.

We were soon in Ennis, MT, which is proclaimed to have the best fly fishing in the country. Which was why our bonus in Ennis was the statue of the fly fisherman. As we were stopped at the bonus we saw this huge stag run up to us - just a few feet away. He was a big guy with impressive antlers and he was beautiful, but he was still a damn rodent! Animal sighting #3, they were getting bigger.
Crappy quality Fly fisherman bonus picture below (as Brian would soon tell me to stop wasting time trying to take a good picture... "This is not a photo contest!").
Ennis, MT Fly fishing and Visitor Info Here.
Fly Fisherman statue, Ennis, MT.
Next up was a fun ride up to the mountains west of Ennis, we found another rally rider ahead of us on an ST1100, not wanting to pass on the twisties we followed him to Virginia City and then past some more to Nevada City to capture the next bonus on our route. The Nevada City Museum. 
Virginia City & Nevada City Website Here.
Nevada City Museum, Nevada City, MT.
Once past Nevada City, we made a safe pass and waved goodbye to our rally friend and headed towards Butte, MT. We found this very fun road (Hwy 2) which led us to Butte from south of Whitehall. Two thumbs way up! We were in Butte to find the grave of a daredevil motorcyclist.  I am sure almost everyone is familiar with Evel Knievel. 
Evel Knievel Grave. Butte, MT.
This was our first bonus location which was not exactly on the side of the road. Brian with his Garmin 478 led us straight to the bonus, whereas my Gamin 780 car GPS had translated the GPS coordinates to the nearest possible street address which was several hundred feet away. This was going to be a major annoyance throughout the rally.

From Butte, we headed towards White Sulphur Springs and our first route bonus of the day. Route bonus' were as their name suggests a bonus for riding a certain route during the rally. You had to score all three bonus' (start, mid and end) locations from either direction of travel to be able to claim the points for the route bonus. At White Sulphur Springs we scored the start of the Kings Hill Scenic Byway route. The Fort Logan sign.  
Fort Logan Wiki Here.
Fort Logan Sign. White Sulphur Springs, MT. Kings Hill Scenic Byway Route South point.
There was also another bonus location close by. A picture of the Castle Museum in White Sulphur Springs. For some reason the GPS (both Brian's and mine) led us to the back of the building instead of the front.. *shrug*
The Castle Museum Link Here.
Castle at White Sulphur Springs, MT.
Here we are at the mid point of the Kings Hill Scenic Byway route. Taking a picture of the Showdown Montana sign. It was required to have the bike in the picture. 
Showdown Montana Sign. Kings Hill Scenic Byway Route Midpoint.
King Hill Scenic Byway was a very fun and scenic road in the daytime. I would loathe to ride this at night, Bob had warned us at the rider's meeting, his words something to the effect of - "You might have ran over some rabbits, frogs and squirrels in your parts of the country, but this is Montana and our animals are huge - be careful out there!". 
The final bonus location to score the points for this route bonus was the Belt City Limit sign. It was required that the nearby Historic District sign also be in the picture. 
Belt City Limit Sign. Kings Hill Scenic Byway Route North point.
After bagging this route bonus we headed to Great Falls and made a quick stop for lunch at a Micky Dee's. While at lunch we also quickly reviewed the upcoming bonus' along our route. Up next were two bonus' in Great Falls itself. 

The Lewis and Clark Statue in Great Falls, MT.
Lewis and Clark Statue. Great Falls, MT.
..and the Kid Russell with Monte Statue in Great Falls, MT.
About Charles M. Russell.
Kid Russell with Monte Statue. Great Fals, MT.
Both bonus' bagged, we turned the bikes towards Fort Benton in search of Forever Faithful Shep..
Once again there were two bonus' in Fort Benton. The first was the statue of Shep downtown in a riverside park.
Shep Statue. Fort Benton, MT.
The second and more valuable bonus was a sign narrating Shep's story. This one was a bit more difficult to find and I followed Brian (my car GPS was useless for this) as he chased around that little waypoint on his Garmin 478 through town till we climbed the hill and followed a short trail to the sign.
The Story of Shep.
Shep - Forever Faithful Sign. Fort Benton, MT.
Next stop was Havre for a visit to the Havre Beneath the Streets Museum. The tour wasn't required, although the story is fascinating. The whole town of Havre burnt to the ground so the businesses moved underground until the town could be rebuilt. Havre Beneath the Streets Link.

Once again there were two bonus' at this location. The first bonus was a picture of the Havre Beneath the Street Museum.
Havre Beneath the Streets Museum. Havre, MT.
The second bonus was a picture of the Piano inside the Museum. Rally flag not required to be in the picture.
The Piano at Havre Beneath the Streets Museum. Havre, MT.
From beneath the streets, it was off to school in Saco, Montana. To get a picture of the Huntley School where Chet Huntley began his education. The school is now a restored one room building. Of course, I had no idea who Chet Huntley was. I had to look him up. :)
Chet Huntley.
Restored Chet Huntley School. Saco, MT.
After getting school(ed). We headed towards the largest lake in Montana. Lake Fort Peck. 134 miles in length and with 1520 miles of shoreline. We were here to capture a historical sign about Lewis & Clark at the Big Dry River.
Lake Fort Peck.
Lewis & Clark at Big Dry River. Lake Fort Peck, MT.
From Lake Fort Peck we headed towards Wolf Point and got there very late in the afternoon. Fueled up and munched on some energy bars as that was going to be dinner - we weren't stopping for a sit down dinner on this run. Approaching Wolf Point we had passed a BMW GS rider (one of us) and at the gas station we were re-united briefly with Tyler Zimmerman on his Harley Road King from earlier that morning, he hadn't taken the many detours from the Good Route to vacuum up the bonus' that we had and got ahead of us. He was in good spirits and seemed to be having a great time. :)
As beautiful as Montana is, Wolf Point in comparison was a dump. We were here to grab the starting point of the Big Sky Back Country Scenic Byway Route. It was a statue of a horse and a rider in the middle of town. It was here that I was approached by a belligerent drunk who was saying something to me, but I couldn't hear because of the ear plugs. Brian mentioned to me later that he was afraid the guy was going to try to punch me.  
Yep, the town was a dump all right!
Horse and Rider Statue. Startpoint of the Big Sky Back Country Scenic Byway.
We hurried out of town, for more than one reason - but the main reason being that we wanted to be done riding the Scenic Byway before nightfall. Along the way, there was another bonus to be captured in addition to the route bonus' along the road. 
The Old Conoco Truck parked in a field on someone's residential property. At the scoring table John Langon was telling me that the fence had been put up just weeks ago (to keep us out! *grin*). 
Old Conoco Truck. Big Sky Back Country Scenic Byway.
Next stop was the Brockway, Montana sign - marking the midpoint of the Route bonus. Your motorcycle needed to be in this picture (along with the rally flag of course!).
Brockway Montana Sign. Midpoint of Route Bonus.
As you could see from the picture, dusk was fast approaching. We still had a little ways to go before we bagged the end point bonus for the Route and exited the Scenic Byway. I have no pictures to show for it as there were penalties for extraneous pictures on your camera at the end of the rally, but it was such a beautiful sunset. The skies turned orange in the dying light of the ebbing sun and one could see an orange moon rising as the sun was dipping below the horizon.
Big Sky Back Country Byway Sign. Endpoint of the Route Bonus.
It was dark and lonely in eastern Montana as we exited the Byway and embarked on the I-94 West super slab. Better to be on the super slab at night - although there were animal crossing warning signs posted all along the Interstate. With Brian's and my aux lights blazing along with our HID headlights - the night had almost turned into day....almost! :)

First stop along I-94 was the Rosebud Cemetery in Forsyth, Montana. We had a little difficulty finding the cemetery, it appeared as if it was in someone's backyard up this dirt and gravel road. It was a beaten down house, with an old beaten down truck parked in the front "yard". Here we were in the middle of the night with our flashlights searching for a grave (is there an Arch Stanton buried here, with treasure nearby?), oh wait we are actually looking for a Carl Johan Hammerstrom. I even found him on the internet (or where he is buried). Carl Johan Hammerstrom
Did I just hear a shotgun being racked or did I just imagine that? Are we going to end up as residents in the cemetery? Let's just take that damn picture and get out of here!
No treasure at Rosebud Cemetery. Forsyth, MT.
Proceeded to the Canyon Creek Battlefield in Laurel, MT. This was the battle ground between the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph and the U.S. Cavalry. 125 Nez Perce warriors held off the Cavalry allowing 800 or so of their tribe to flee. A desolate sign now stands here commemorating that battle.
The Battle of Canyon Creek.
Canyon Creek Battle Memorial. Laurel, MT.
Fort Rockvale Casino was next in Rockvale, MT. I was told the location has a 20 foot statue of cowboy holding a rifle with a sniper scope no less! I have never seen a cowboy statue with a sniper scope. When we arrived, however, there was no sniper scope..
20 ft. Cowboy. Fort Rockvale Casino. Rockvale, MT. 
 There was just one more bonus remaining before the official SS1K bonus to be bagged. We had already covered well over a 1000 miles by this time, however we still needed to bag that last bonus before 5AM.
We arrived at the Charles Ringer Gallery in Joliet, MT. in search of the Ooga Booga man/ski god. When we arrived Johhny Law was out in full force, two cop cars blue lights blazing had pulled someone over and were parked near the Gallery. Here we arrive on our motorcycles and start roaming the grounds with our flashlights in search of the Ooga Booga man. Brian was feeling uneasy and wanted to leave, I talked him into walking around for a few more minutes, but we couldn't find the Ooga Booga man - he was probably out Boogeying late on Saturday night (Sunday morning)!
In desperation, we found a sculpture which barely resembled a humanoid figure and took our chances before leaving for Red Lodge, MT. Bonus Denied!
Charles Ringer Gallery. Joliet, MT.
Yes we were at the Charles Ringer Gallery. Joliet, MT.
NOT the Ooga Booga man. The real Booga man was out Boogeying at that time.
Official bonus stop for the SS1K was the Snow Creek Saloon in Red Lodge, MT. You had to take a picture of the sign on the SIDE of the Saloon to get credit for this bonus. Both Brian's GPS and mine failed to locate this waypoint for some reason and we wasted a lot of time driving around Red Lodge until we found the Saloon.
Brian's arm and Snow Creek Saloon sign on the side of the Saloon. Red Lodge, MT.
Also, to stop the clock on the SS1K we had to get a gas receipt nearby. We couldn't find a gas station open downtown so we re-traced our steps till we could find one which might work. We were getting a little (or a lot for me) burnt at this point. We pulled into the station in the dark and as we parked we found Chris Purney on his Victory Vision. 
He says: "Did you see that Bear when you rode in?"
We say: "What Bear?"
He says: "There was this Black Bear rummaging in the dark as you pulled in, you went right by it!"
We say: "Wut?"
Not sure if we were too burnt to notice it, or he was too burnt and was imagining things. Anyhow "possible" animal sighting #4.

SS1K in the bag (1160 odometer corrected miles), we retired to this rest stop we had spied on the way to Red Lodge. For me the feeling of accomplishment was somehow not pumping more adrenaline into my blood stream. On the contrary, my energy levels were going down. Splashing cold water on my face and munching on a Protein Bar helped, or so it seemed. 

We got back on the road and got stuck behind this convoy of SUV's (appeared guvm't to me), but we were following at a distance. All of a sudden I see this deer dart across the road in a flash some distance in front of Brian. Brian never slowed, he never missed a beat. Now am I imagining things? "Possible" animal sighting #5. 
The cold water trick had worn it's usefulness, I needed to get off the road. The sleep deficit could take no more, I couldn't tax my body anymore, the deficit spending had to be stopped!
At the earliest opportunity I flagged Brian down and we found a gas station for an Iron Butt Motel stop. Sleeping against the gas station wall next to the cage with the Propane cylinders for about an hour.

When we awoke, we still had a couple hundred miles to go. Brian needed 1300+ miles to be considered a finisher in the Rally. Our next stop was another "Rest Stop" but we didn't get any rest here - just collected another bonus on our route.
The Crazy Mountains Rest Stop.
Only two more bonus stops to go, the penultimate one was in Livingston, MT. A sign commemorating the Sacajawea on the Yellowstone.
Sacajawea on the Yellowstone. Livingston, MT.
 Easy enough to find, but with some crazy dips in the road we took to get there, Brian and I both almost endo'ed a couple of times.. maybe the long ride was taking it's toll. Near this bonus stop we spied a beautiful park with picnic benches in the shade. It was nice and cool and the breeze from the river running alongside the park felt divine. I took another 1 hour nap here. This felt like a Luxury Iron Butt Hotel.
Refreshed and re-awakened, we headed for a McDonald's breakfast. We saw Eric and Cletha here, they were enjoying a break and seemed to be in good spirits as well. At breakfast, Brian and I reviewed our bonus paperwork and made sure everything was in order. Brian also gave me a short talk on what to expect at the scoring table. 

The last bonus stop before returning to base. The Elk herd sculptures in Bozeman, MT.
Elk herd in Bozeman, MT.
It was an uneventful ride back to the hotel in Big Sky. The welcoming committee was out in the parking lot and the riders were pouring in slowly.. 
Big smiles at the end of the ride and what a ride it was! 1360 odometer corrected miles for me and 1371 odometer corrected miles for Brian. Not sure what the 11 mile discrepancy was - maybe Brian went out riding while I was taking a nap :)
Puppychow at the finish line. Big Sky, MT. Photo courtesy of Steve  Hobart.
Brian at the finish line. Big Sky, MT. Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
There was however some somber news when we arrived, we were pulled aside and informed that we had lost a rider early in the rally. RIP Dick Fish. From the outpouring of emotions and tributes I have seen from the community, your spirit lives on strong within the community.  
We had arrived with some hours to spare before the finish line closed. There was time to go the room, get showers, get one last look at our paperwork and head down to the scoring room. I was scored by John Langon and Brian was scored by Dennis York. We didn't lose any bonus' at the table (except for the Boogey man - who we never had to begin with). No penalties either, it was a breeze through scoring. Brian and I both ended up with 10,844 points.

At the Banquet we were going to get our IBA certificates and the Rally awards ceremony. Here is the photo op I was talking about before. Getting our SS1K certificates from IBA President Mike Kneebone in the person. 
Puppychow receiving the SS1K certificate from IBA President Mike Kneebone.
Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
 Nice shades Brian!! You are finally set, now that you have an SS1K certificate from the man himself! Haha!
Check out those Shades! Brian receiving his SS1K certificate from Mike Kneebone.
Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
Brian earned a 16th place finish in the Unlimited Class. He, of course would have placed a lot higher if he hadn't been saddled with me for the entire day.  The usual suspects were also at the top of the list in the Unlimited Class. Matt Watkins taking first place, followed by Jeff Earls. Absolutely smoking rides from both of these riders. Matt with 1900+ miles and Jeff with 1800+ miles.
There was more to come - it was an awesome surprise for me as Bob was firing off the names of the top 10 finishers in the Less Stressful Class. 10..9..8..7..6..5..4..Holy smokes! I made it to the top three!! I finished at third place behind Mike Loomer who took first place and Trevor Mikkelsen who took second.

Getting my third place finisher plaque from the beautiful Sylvie Torter!
Sylvie Torter awarding Puppychow the 3rd place finisher plaque - Less Stressful Class.
Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
Sharing the stage with some LD rider celebrities, felt good to be flanked by some legends.
Puppychow flanked by some LD rider celebrities and legends. Big Sky, MT.
Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
Sharing the stage with my mentor Brian R. that trophy was as much his as mine, maybe more. Curiously enough even though this was a "growing up" experience for me. It was Brian who seems to have grown several inches taller during the GBU Rally. 
My mentor Brian R. and Puppychow in Big Sky, MT. Photo courtesy of Steve Hobart.
It was time to party and celebrate! Many thanks to Bob & Sylvie Torter, Terry & Linda Lahman, Tobie & Lisa Stevens (Lisa was sorely missed at the GBU), the IBA staff and the army of volunteers who made this one heckuva time in Big Sky, Montana and of course my mentor Brian - I can't thank him enough! :)
Party time in Big Sky! Photo courtesy of Tobie Stevens.
Thank you very much for reading my friends! See you all soon! Safe and Happy Riding! :)


  1. Damn good report!! Thanks for sharing. Save some of that moonshine for me!


  2. Great report. Wish I'd been there!

  3. Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. I had such a great time on that trip and during the rally. Glad to share it. :)

  4. Wow...what a journey. Thanks for documenting it so nicely - a great read!


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