It all comes together - at last!

Dragged myself out of bed in time to go to the 4.00am riders' meeting, where we got our bonus listing and thumb-drive for the next leg.  Back to the room, clutching a brekky bag provided by the hotel for the riders, and straight into working out a good route plan.  A route jumped out at me, which seemed pretty good, so I loaded it into the GPS, packed up and hit the road - west, in the teeming rain.  Couldn't even get out of the hotel properly, as there had been a major accident on the corner of the hotel's intersection, so had to disregard the GPS's instructions and take what I thought would be the right direction.  Eventually, I got back onto the right road, and trundled on west through the rain, seeing other rallyists along the way.

The first bonus was pretty easy, just buy a pack of cards - as long as the valet parking guy could be sweet-talked into letting me park the bike under the cover of "his" portico.  No way, he said, I had to move.  Nope, not gonna!  Eventually he relented, I rushed inside and bought my cards and collected the necessary receipt, jumped back on and was away, giving him an airy wave in response to his as I rode out into the rain.

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Riverside Casino and Golf Resort                     353 points                               Anytime
3184 IA-22
Riverside, Iowa
N41 29.942 - W091 31.725

Obtain a used deck of cards and receipt from the casino gift shop.

Category: Solicitation for prostitution.

Comped for a one-night stay for having completed a year's employment, Sky Masterson* got
"plowed" at dinner, called room service for a porn movie, and finally attempted to order a hooker from
another resort. When hotel staff went to his room to advise him to cease and desist, he greeted them
in the nude. He was fired when he woke up the next day. Win some, lose some.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: RCG Approved: _________

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The next bonus involved a bit of gravel roading, about 25km or so of not too bad gravel, although I'm glad it had stopped raining out here, otherwise it could have been a bit slushy.  The proprietor of the shop was ready and waiting with a bookmark in his hand as I walked in! I was the 9th rider to visit him, he said. No doubt he'd have a fair few more before the day was out.  Then I had to do the gravel all over again to get back to the interstate.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Roseman Covered Bridge Gift Shop                        2,135 points                        9:00am – 5:00pm
2451 Elderberry Lane
Winterset, Iowa
N41 17.575 - W094 09.000

Purchase a book mark from the Roseman covered bridge gift shop.

Category: Adultery.

Clint Eastwood, playing a photographer on assignment from National Geographic, and Meryl Streep,
playing a farmer‘s wife, hooked up in The Bridges of Madison County. This was one of the bridges
used as a photo backdrop in the film.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: WIN Approved: _________

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Police Department             365 points                     Daylight hours only
N Division & N 2nd Sts
Stuart, Iowa
N41 30.286 - W094 19.113

Take a photo of the exterior of the building showing the historic comment on second floor window.

Category: Bank robbery.

Bonnie & Clyde knocked off the bank at this location on 4/16/1934, about one month before they
themselves were ambushed and killed in Louisiana.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: STT Approved: _________

I ended up standing in the middle of the intersection, holding up the traffic to get this shot, but no-one seemed really bothered about it, luckily!

Then it was back onto the interstate to the east, covering ground I'd already ridden, to get to the I-35 north junction and head north to the next bonus.  All along my way north, there were streams of rallyists heading south, and I wondered where they'd all been.  That's one of the good things, wondering where others have been and are going next.  Have they been where you're going, or are they going where you've been?  Gives one something to think about on the long haul between bonus sites.

I wasn't able to obtain the required "Stew card" here, as the shop had closed early, so took some photos, chatted briefly with some other riders, and got back on the road, heading further north.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
National Hobo Museum                  4,013 points                     10:00am - 5:00pm
(formerly the Chief movie theatre)
59 Main Ave S
Britt, Iowa
N43 05.787 - W093 48.102

Obtain a stew card.

Category: Vagrancy.

For most of American history vagrancy was a status that could lead to immediate arrest and
incarceration. This museum celebrates that almost forgotten lifestyle.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: BUM Approved: _________

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Calvary Cemetery                  485 points                     Anytime
1803 4th Drive SW
Austin, Minnesota
N43 38.947 - W092 58.828

Take a photo of any sign near the entrance identifying the site as the cemetery.

Category: Theft of iconic material.

On 7/29/2007 Dewey Cheatham* stole a 5' statute of the Virgin Mary from this cemetery, painted it to
look like a clown, and gave it to his girlfriend as a present. He was caught when he posted a photo of
himself, the girlfriend, and the statue on MySpace.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: CEM Approved: _________

I had a bit of fun, getting to this bonus.  Followed the GPS directions and ended up at a "road closed" sign in a residential area, dodging a doe and fawn who dived off the road into the underbrush beside the houses to escape the noisy interloper.  As I was turning around to retrace my steps, a guy came running out of the neighbouring house, frantically waving at me.  "Uh, Oh", I thought.  "What's up here, then?"  But he only came out to tell me that he'd been directing "all the other riders" all day to go around the other way to the entrance!!  His directions didn't quite work out, but I found my way to the cemetery gates anyway, and took the photo.

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Austin Post Office                 507 points                    Anytime
200 1st Ave SE
Austin, Minnesota
N43 39.941- W092 58.406

Take a photo of the exterior of the building that identifies it as the town‘s post office.

Category: Mailing of prohibited material.

In June 2007 a man attempted to pay a parking ticket with dog turds. He was ordered to pay
$2,921.70 to offset the medical bills of the court employee who opened the envelope.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: APO Approved: _________

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Now began the long haul up to North Dakota and the next bonus.  Darkness was falling, but the rain had ceased.  I ploughed on until I got tired, then grabbed a motel for a few hours just south of Minneapolis  Refreshed from the sleep and the aircon, back on the road it was much better riding through the night, considerably cooler than during the heat of the day.  But, strangely, I felt the need to pull off into a rest area after a relatively short time, and have another nap.  This was a bit weird!! But I did anyway, at the next rest area, climbing onto a picnic table and pulling my bike cover over me and had a quick nap.  That's better!!  Now I could ride on for hours to the next bonus.

Apple Creek rest area              2,665 points                    Anytime
Approximately 10 mi east of Bismarck on I-94
Near MM 168
Bismarck, North Dakota
N46 50.163 - W100 35.042

Take a photo of the sign that says ―Your Current Location is, near the pay phone.

Category: False imprisonment.

An 80 year-old man stopped at this rest area and locked his 61 year-old girlfriend in the camper
because he didn't want to hear her complain any longer about missing a hair dresser's appointment in
Bismarck that morning. He was sentenced to attend an anger management class.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: BMK Approved: _________

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Headed north out of Bismark, and got to the outskirts of town before realising that there were no more fuel stations!  Oops!  Back down into the town, filled up and decided to make the first of this leg's Call-ins:

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Call-In Bonus - no specific location      499 points     Available August 28, 2009      12:01 am to noon Pacific time
Call XXXXXXXXXX  and leave the following information:

Your name, your rider number, your location (city/town and state/province), the last bonus you
scored, and the bonus you are headed for. While it is not required for this bonus, if you have a quick
story, please leave it also.

Time: _____________ Odometer: _____________ Code: CIA Approved: ______________

So refuelled and accounted for, now I could head north.

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KCJB                   5,125 points                 Daylight hours only
1000 20th Ave SW
Minot, North Dakota
N48 12.670 - W101 18.415

Take a photo of the Clear Channel sign in the radio station‘s parking lot.

Category: Environmental disaster.

A caustic cloud of anhydrous ammonia formed over Minot in the early morning hours of 1/18/2002 as
a result of a train derailment, but that terrifying news was not heard by local residents because all of
Minot's radio stations were on automated, pre-programmed play lists that had been put together
thousands of miles from the town.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: MNT Approved: _________

A very easy bonus photo.

I headed west out of town, tootling along in the relatively pleasant conditions, although there was a bit of wind.  I really should have twigged, shouldn't I?  There were all these crossovers, every couple of hundred yards, between the lanes across the medians.  The reason didn't become apparent until the disco lights came on!! Revenue raising!  He swung rapidly into a crossover through the median and pulled up behind me.  But he was ever so courteous, and invited me to join him in his airconditioned patrol car while he tapped away on his computer!  More so to chat with me, I think, than anything else.  When asked where I'd come from, do you think I could remember exactly where I'd stayed the previous night?  Nope!!  So I just muttered "Minneapolis" - and he rapidly swung his head to look at me.  Oops, perhaps I shouldn't have said that!  So where was I going?  "Oh, just riding around the States looking at various things.  On my way to the ummm, ummmm, errrr,  ummm ..." For the life of me I couldn't remember the name of the next bonus!  He was looking at me as if I was from outer space or something!!  Eventually, I spluttered something about the indian massacre site, and he said "Oh, Bighorn"?  "Yes, Bighorn, that's it", I replied.  Phew, this was getting a bit sticky! Finally he printed out a nice piece of paper worth a measley $65 - after all, I wasn't going all that fast, was I?

So despite the time wasted, I had to dawdle along till out of his area, then get back to normal speed (no, no, not fast, only about 8mph or so over the limit).

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Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument           4,116 points                 8:00am – 7:30pm
Crow Agency, Montana
N45 34.216 - W107 25.819

Obtain a passport stamp at the visitor's center.

Category: Desecration of corpses.

Following the massive defeat of the 7th U.S. cavalry on 6/25/1876, Sioux Indians mutilated the dead
bodies of soldiers in George Custer's command. More books have been written about that afternoon‘s
events than any other military battle in history.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: GAC Approved: _________

I caught up with a few riders here and had a very quick chat, as they were leaving the Park and I was entering.  After getting the passport stamp at the Visitor Centre, I didn't hang around, as I'd been here last year and had had a good look around, so I went down the road back to the junction to refuel, then stopped for a meal, and to have a look at my planned route in regards to where I should start the Rest Bonus later in the evening.  I finally decided to just ride until it was almost 11.00pm, then look for a motel.  Fortunately, in the small town of Kaycee, WY, as I was needing to get fuel, I saw a gas station with a small group of 4 basic motel rooms off to the side.  Luckily, they had a vacancy, so that was it for my rest bonus.  Paid for the room to get the *start* receipt, bought a few snacks and a large coffee, and headed off to bed, with the Screamin' Meanie set for 4.30am.  Refuelled when they opened at 5.00am (the pumps weren't open during the night!) to get the *end* receipt and headed south-east on I-25.

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Rest Bonus no specific location                    4,001                                Must start on Friday, August 28, 2009

Stop for four (4) or more hours. Document this stop as follows:

___ at the start of the rest period, obtain a machine generated receipt with date and time from a
location, for example, a gas station, a motel, a store, etc.

___ at the end of the rest period, obtain a dated, time receipt from the same or nearby location in the
same town.

Our preference is that you also include your motel receipt with this bonus if you motel it, however, it is
not required.

WARNING: We are giving you wide latitude on this bonus with few restrictions so that you may have
the flexibility to use it as needed. However, we want to stress that if you are caught bending the rules
in the slightest, you will be expelled from the rally. This bonus DOES NOT mean ‗get a receipt and
go collect bonuses.‘ It means stop and rest.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: R4 Approved: _________

I'd seen very, very few deer during the rally, but hadn't even crested the interstate from the on-ramp in Kaycee when I flicked the HIDs up and there was a large deer, just the other side of the rail!  It just looked at me as I passed. There was a good bit of traffic around, despite the early hour, so most of the time I had to travel with the HIDs off.  At one stage the car I was following crested a hill and the tail-lights disappeared, so I flicked the HIDs up - Horror of horrors!  Almost right beside me in the median were 6 large well-racked stags and a doe!!  They started to mill just seconds before I safely zoomed past.  How lucky was that? Perhaps I shouldn't use the HIDs, then I wouldn't see the buggers.  But, believe me, these lights are brilliant!

It was wonderful riding into the soft light of the breaking dawn, the sky splashed with shards of ever deeping colour from deep purple to rose to soft pinks and golds brilliantly reflected on the cloud base.

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Fort Robinson State Park           840 points                   Anytime
Crawford, Nebraska
N42 39.922 - W103 27.978

Take a photo of the stone cairn (approximately 3' x 2' x 2') indicating
the spot where Crazy Horse was killed. Directions: The road to the cairn
is to the south side of US-20 on the west side of the park, leading to a
camping area. The cairn itself is175' SE of Nebraska Historical Marker
"Fort Robinson" that is visible from the turn off from US-20. It is about
50' in front of the former jail, a log house with barred windows.

Category: Homicide.

In an apparent attempt to subdue and arrest Crazy Horse at this site on 9/5/1877, a soldier inflicted a
mortal bayonet wound on the Sioux warrior.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: CRZ Approved: __________

Flying across northern Nebraska in the lightening day, it was fascinating to watch the long, long coal trains meandering across the countryside.  In the joy of the glorious, stunning morning I waved happily, vigorously, to all the train drivers, and even got an answering toot a few times, which made me smile.  We're a bit alike, we LD riders and these LD train drivers - solitary in our aloneness, our machines hurtling across the countryside at all hours of the day and night. It takes so little effort to wave, or toot a horn, to another human being in the middle of nowhere, after all.

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Historical marker               234 points                     Anytime
North side of US-26, about 7 miles east of the town
Broadwater, Nebraska
N41 33.372 - W102 43.845

Take a photo of the historical marker.

Category: Indian massacre.

Narcissa Whitman passed through here, the first white woman to cross the continent, en route to her
fatal destiny at the Whitman mission in Washington.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: BRD Approved: _________

A one minute bonus stop! Easy points, in passing.

When reviewing my planned route on the GPS as I left Kaycee, I had just on 10½ hours to get to La Crosse, KS, and a distance of about 1100km/685miles miles to cover.  It was a little bit much, there being lots of little country towns where it was judicious to slow right down, meaning the av. speed fell dramatically, and I'd be cutting it fine all day.  Should I pull off and just go to Colorado?  Ahhh, hell, why not go for it, go for the barbed wire in Kansas?  So, decision made, I pushed along, and the ETA started dropping back to a reasonably viable target, helped along by a decent stint on I-80 through Nebraska.

On arrival at the Barbed Wire Museum, there, standing around, were the *Big Dogs* - Jeff Earls, Eric Jewell, Greg Marbach, Bob Lilley, and Matt Watkins!  Ohhh, I must be doing something right, after all, I thought, to be in such exalted company. I went in to talk with the lovely ladies attending the gift counter, and purchased my "shorty" wire, as required.  Dean Tanji arrived shortly after, so I did a quick *site bite* with him, then Maura Gatensby, too, arrived shortly before the bonus closed.  All riders separately dribbled away, enroute to their next bonus destinations.

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Barbed Wire Museum                4,306 points                   10:00am – 4:30pm
120 W. 1st Street Sun 1:00pm – 4:30pm
La Crosse, Kansas
N38 31.462 - W099 18.675

Obtain a "shorty" wire at the museum's gift shop.

Category: Cattle rustling.

The barbed wire did more to stop castle rustling in the west than an entire armory of Colt 44s. Who
would have thought an interesting museum could be made out of the subject of something so
mundane? And what is the inside of your tank bag going to look like after you‘ve ridden around for a
couple of days with the barb digging gaping holes into anything that brushes against it?

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: BAR Approved: _________

---------------

I headed for the group of bonuses around Denver and Golden along I-70.  There was a huge storm front looming directly west of me, right in my path.  Roiling dark clouds, with bruised undersides reflecting the flashes of the slashing lightning, straining to release their massive load of rain.  The clouds finally burst.  The road across the plains was flooding. Uh oh!  Time for a break, to sit it out, as I'm not a lover of lightning striking right beside me. Can't remember the town where I stopped, but pulled in to a gas station to refuel and have a meal - my one daily meal.  I love Asian food - I hate Asian buffets when they're almost empty and almost cold!  Yuk!

There was a lull in the storm, so I got back on the road, heading for Golden.

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Wellness Center, Coors Brewery                  1,389 points                               Anytime
1109 Ford St
Golden, Colorado
N39 45.394 - W105 13.152

Take a photo of the entrance to the Wellness Center from its parking lot.

Category: DUI.

Peter Coors, president of the brewery of the same name, had his license revoked for blowing a
breathalyzer score of 0.088 on May 28, 2006, nowhere near the unofficial record of .727, set by
Vidmantas Sungaila of Lithuania, but good enough for Golden‘s police department.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: GDN Approved: _________

I met another rider here at the Wellness Centre, who at that time was unknown to me, but who I later found out was Bob Lilley.  I took my photos, and left before the other rider, heading for Colorado Springs.

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New Life Church                     276 points                                Anytime
11025 Voyager Parkway
Colorado Springs, Colorado
N38 59.588 - W104 47.773

Take a photo of the main entrance to the church from the parking lot.

Category: Illegal possession of controlled substance, hypocrisy.

Founder of the New Life Church and president of the National Association of Evangelicals Ted
Haggard was forced to resign his position when he was outed. He eventually confessed to buying
methamphetamines and receiving a "massage" from a gay prostitute. Glory be!

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: NLC Approved: _________

When I got here to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, there was the same rider again!  But he'd arrived before me, although I'd left Golden before him.  Dunno how that happened. So I left, headed to the Coachlight Motel in Woodland Park. 

But I was short on fuel, so being well into the early hours and the smaller towns along my route may not have gas available, I stopped at an unattended gas station in Colorado Springs, filled up - you guessed it, no receipt was produced!!  Arghhh!   So took the requisite photos of the pump and the wider scene.  But didn't enter the correct information into my personal fuel logbook, from which I was transcribing details onto the gas log sheet for scoring at each checkpoint.  I would pay for this slip-up.

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Coachlight Motel & RV Park                   329 points                              Anytime
19253 East US- 24
Woodland Park, Colorado
N38 58.791 - W105 02.553

Take a photo of the entrance sign to the Coachlight Motel & RV Park.

Category: Prison break.

On 12/13/2000 seven inmates escaped from a prison in Kenedy, Texas. They remained on the loose
for five weeks, staying here for a while and posing as a Bible study group. They killed one police
officer during a robbery to supply themselves with weapons. Three of them were captured here, one
committed suicide rather than be returned to Texas, and the three others were rounded up two days
later at a convenience store just down the road.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: CRV Approved: _________

Uh, oh!  Here was Bob Lilley again!  The thought that we could possibly even be considered a *team* - having been at 3 bonuses at the same time - flitted ever so briefly across my mind, however silly it was in reality. I left quickly, and headed off up the twisty mountain road to Cripple Creek.

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Old Homestead House Museum                      3,464 points                           Anytime
353 Myers Avenue
Cripple Creek, Colorado
N38 44.749 - W105 10.490

Take a photo of the Old Homestead House Museum.

Category: Prostitution.

At a time when $3 represented a good day's work, madam Pearl DeVere charged $250 for a single
night's lodging at this former brothel.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: CCK Approved: _________

While I was taking my photo, who should roll up but Bob Lilley!  What a coincidence, yet again! I dawdled filling in my bonus details on the form, and Bob left before me this time. I jumped on the bike, started up, pulled in the clutch, put it into gear - and stalled it.  Not just once, but three times!  Then I realised that I didn't have a properly working clutch. There was virtually NO clutch at all!  Oh no!  What could I do, in Cripple Creek, at about 2.30am on a Sunday morning?  The plain answer was - nothing, except perservere. So I gingerly, with a lot of jerking and jouncing, meandered tentatively through the streets of Cripple Creek back onto the road down the mountain.  It was just easier to not attempt to use the clutch at all, so once I got into 3rd gear, that's where I kept it, all the way back down to I-25.

Once down and on the interstate, it wasn't too bad, but I was frantic at the thought of going through Los Angeles on Sunday evening with no clutch!! The stress this thought caused aggravated my back which began throbbing badly.  The weather changed for the worse, blustery strong winds, dropping temperatures.  I stopped to refuel at Aguilar, and layered on a few more clothes.  I rode on south through the storm getting sorer, and more depressed and stressed out all the time.  The bonus at Ludlow, near Trinidad came and went, despite the high points, as I just didn't want to fight with the non-clutch problem any more than I had to in these atrocious weather conditions, so I passed it by.  I pulled into a rest area, meaning to stop and sleep, but instead took some painkillers and got back on the highway.  But I'd taken some of my "good" painkillers, and in my stressed out condition they took effect almost immediately - by making me want to go to sleep!  I fought valiantly to stay awake until I got to the next rest area, where I pulled in, got off the bike, grabbed the bike cover, walked to an under cover table, pulled the bike cover over myself and went to sleep without even setting the Meanie!

I was devastated, disillusioned and in the depths of despair at my rally being over - there was no way I could get to the checkpoint in Santa Ana without a clutch. While back at Aguilar at the gas station, I'd rung the call-in number and left a message that I was having clutch problems, and probably wouldn't make the checkpoint, so that staff wouldn't worry too much if I was late. As the feelings of despair and desolation washed over me, I couldn't believe that it was my beloved bike that had let me down, had ruined my dreams of being a finisher in the IBR. To have put so much effort, after the accident, into getting myself back into a physical condition where I could ride in the rally, then to have something like this happen. It just didn't seem right.  But the tears refused to come before sleep came crashing over me.

Dawn.  A new day.   And a new outlook on life - and the rally!  I bounced off the table, feeling really good.  I would damn well TRY to get to Santa Ana! I wasn't giving up on my dream this easily!  No way!  If I had to push the bike, I'd do it!  <G>  Back on the road, the GPS was showing about 1662km/1032miles to Santa Ana. And less than 16 hours to get there. Then, surprise, surprise! The clutch appeared to be working properly again! I was stunned, but thankful at this amazing turn of fortune.  I could do it, at a pinch, but I could possibly get to the checkpoint on time!  I was sure of it now.  It had to be possible - it just HAD to be possible!

The close call on timing meant I would have to drop off a couple of bonuses which were not on the direct route back, but I should still be able to get the ones in Sante Fe and Flagstaff.  Let's go!

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Paseo de Peralta St bridge              340 points                 Daylight hours only
(at E Alameda St)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
N35 41.045 - W105 56.028

Take a photo of the side view of the bridge from the
riverbank level, also showing the river or dry river bed.

Category: Espionage.

Klaus Fuchs, an English physicist at Los Alamos laboratory during the development of the atomic
bomb in World War II, passed secrets to Harry Gold (an associate of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) on
this bridge in 1945.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: SFE Approved: ______

I met up with Scott LaShier here, and he kindly pushed me back upright, when I found that the bike was leaning over much too far for me to pull it back up myself, when I tried to leave the parking area. Thanks, Scott!  Unfortunately, Scott had a flat tyre not much further west of here, causing him to crash into the median, and he ended up in hospital with a broken pelvis and other injuries. I was saddened when I heard this news in Santa Ana, knowing what pain a broken pelvis can bring.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Church                   223 points                      Daylight hours only
224 S. Kendrick St
Flagstaff, Arizona
N35 11.740 - W111 39.224

Take a photo of the church.

Category: Theft of funeral flowers.

In August 2007 William Wonka* was arrested for pilfering flowers off a hearse parked near this
church. He was detained by a mortician until the police arrived.

Date: ________ Time: _________Odometer: ________ Code: FLG Approved: _________

What's the best way to upset a bus driver?  Park in a bus loading zone - however unintentionally!!  It was only when the bus came back around for the second time and pulled sharply into the kerb right in front of the bike that I realised I was parked in the bus zone.  Oops! I hightailed it out of there, quick fast!

No more bonuses to get - that should be enough points for finisher status.  The homeward stretch now stretched away in front of me.  I-40 through the heat of the desert.  I wasn't looking forward to it, but accepted that it must be done.  I'd previously been given some good advice - stuff a bag of ice down the front of my jacket, and let the air blow around it like an evaporative cooler.  Hey, it does work, too!  And I could dip my hand in and pull out chunks of ice to suck on, which was good. How much water did I drink going across the desert?  Well over a gallon.  The temperature gauge had remained steady on 46.8C/116F for quite a proportion of the desert crossing.  Need I say it was HOT???

The desert finally finished at Barstow, and I headed down I-15.  Unfortunately, my helmet speaker system had gone on the blink again, and while watching the traffic when going into outer LA, I missed the cutoff that I should have taken and ended up getting just a tad lost in the wilds of LA! Lots of tootling around, looping the loop, backtracking etc and I eventually got to the hotel.  By the time I was met at the gate by Ray Blair, the odo reading taken, I'd parked the bike and raced inside to Ira on the check-in table to stop the clock, it was 9.15pm, 15 minutes into penalty time.  But I was there, I'd made it after all! Bewdy!

I had to get checked into my room, and get my paperwork into order ready for scoring.  I eventually got down to the scoring area later than expected, as I couldn't find a fuel receipt, for Sante Fe.  I'm guessing that I didn't pick it out of the pump, as I'd cut off a guy in a pickup when I was frantically turning  across traffic into the gas station, and he'd come over to chat - nicely - about bikes and why an Aussie was riding around in New Mexico.  So I'm assuming I got distracted from my usual routine, and didn't pick it up. This cost me points, as did a couple other small mistakes on the fuel log.  So together with the late penalty, I left a total of 600 or so points at the table. There was no food left on the buffet, but that was the least of my worries.  But then a tray of hamburgers appeared for distribution to those who'd missed out on the buffet.  And the burger was beautiful - very yummy scrumptious!  I hadn't eaten for well over 24 hours!

Greg Roberts scored me, and was very thorough but fair, explaining to me where and why I'd lost points.  It was all fine by me.  I was happy with what I got, and Greg indicated that I had a pretty good score. I was even happier next morning when the leg results were posted.  I'd jumped 43 positions - from 70th up to 27th!  Bewdy! This rallying business was all coming together at last.

 

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