The big day looms closer and I am getting more nervous about this adventure. Excited, but nervous. Can I actually do this ride? Of course I can. Have I planned sufficiently? Time will tell. New tires and an oil change for the bike so it is ready to go. After all, it's a Honda so it doesn't need much.
The day I received the bonus listing, I immediately went to work on attacking the routing. I first re-formatted the bonus listing to fit on 3x5 index cards, printed it out and pasted it on the cards. I then separated the cards by state.
Then, on a paper map of the US, I identified bonus locations with star stickers using a color code to indicate Huge, High, Medium and Low bonus points. This gave me some frame of reference and I saw a route begin to develop. Of course, this took up my massive dining room table and kitchen counter. I had paper, pens, stickers, etc. strewn about for weeks while I worked on the route.
Needless to say, this also took up a huge amount of time. Finally, I see my most likely route begin to appear. I collected those bonus cards in the order I thought I would go and went to the computer. I'm Mapsource stupid so loading the waypoints took me a very long time. But, I was eventually successful. Using the loaded waypoints, I started mapping daily routes considering mileage, time for stops, etc. I think I averaged between 40 - 43 miles an hour which would allow for taking pictures, refueling, stops, etc.
I had to consider time restrictions on certain bonus locations and tried to plan so I would be at the restricted bonus as the appropriate time. I'm sure weather and traffic will factor into this at some point and probably destroy all my hard work planning :-)
I set everything aside for a few days and revisited my plan. Get real!!! I eliminated a bunch of bonus locations because, upon reflection, it was just too ambitious for my style of riding. I really don't want to burn out in the first couple of days. So, I revised my routes and feel much better about my plan of attack.
We were told by the Rally Master to be prepared to decorate our Rally Towels prior to the start. I finally gave it some thought and my prototype is below.
So, now the waypoints and daily routes have been planned and downloaded to the Zumo. Oh, that also took a while because I haven't a clue what I'm doing. Seems to have worked. I've checked and double and triple checked to make sure it is all there. I'm so paranoid that I emailed myself and a trusted friend, my mapsource file and my day by day route cards with bonus info just in case disaster should happen and I need a copy.
I'm just finishing tracing the route onto paper maps. I like having a paper map and expect to finish that task today. I've packed my food cooler with soups, cup-o-noodles, oatmeal, granola bars and candy. I purchased a back-up camera. My current camera uses rechargeable batteries and even though I have two and try to charge them every night - who knows? So the new camera is waterproof and uses AA batteries. A good back up plan I think.
I ordered a new three page map case from Linda Tanner, but I'm thinking it won't show up here before I leave. Oh well, I'll make due with what I have.
I did not order an EZ-Pass or I-Pass for toll roads. Heck, I'm from the west and no nothing about toll roads. I decided to use the old fashioned method and carry quarters, 1's and 5's. So, off to the bank to get the change. However, a fellow LD rider came to the rescue and offered the use of his pass so now I have both, the EZ-Pass and a sock full of quarters.
I'm trying to approach this in a pragmatic way. Just keep plodding forward. I hope when I'm actually riding, that I remember all the things I'm supposed to do. You know, like Rally Towel in every photo. Don't forget fuel and food receipts. Take a picture of the sunset (don't forget the Rally Towel). Provide a receipt and a photo (with Rally Towel) of a hotdog purchase. Take a photo of a smiling cop (with Rally Towel). There are a number of anytime/anywhere bonus and I don't want to blow them off. I made a separate list of these anywhere/anytime bonus points and hope I remember to check the list frequently.
Okie dokie then. I'm as ready as I'm going to be. Just need to pack a few clothes and head out. The rally starts on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 10:10 am. There is a mandatory checkpoint in Sidney, NE on Aug. 31. Miss the checkpoint and you're out of the game. Hope my planning works out.
Check here after the rally for my report!