Tuesday, June 11, 2019

2019 Minnesota 1000- it's all about the markers

Every other year or so, I ride in the Minnesota 1000 based in the greater Twin Cities area, hosted by Team Strange.  This was the 25th one including the two that were 2000 mile events.  I took a couple of days to get there visiting some friends in Columbus while trying out my new rally camera.

Eddie's farm in Luray                     Antique Archaeology

I spent Thursday night in Dubuque, IA riding around many still rain swollen rivers and fields with way too much water in them as planting season closes quickly.  There is a mexican restaurant adjacent to the motel with a pretty decent tacos selection and cold Modelos.  I was up and on the road early trying to get to Primo motorsports, rally HQ, around 11 so they could mount me a new front tire.  I probably had enough tread for the rally, but not enough to get home on.
Tire mounted, motel checked into and back to Primo around 4 to help Rick unload as John would have the final say as to logistics; it is his 'thing'.
Friday's barbecue is followed by rally packs, Packet B as noted at the top of the page.  Themed around spooky and haunted places, almost every bonus is in Wisconsin or Michigan.  Figuring something was afoot since we didnt get Packet A, I mapped out a couple of potential routes, made full note cards for my most basic version [900 miles and 26000 points] before getting to be around 930.   As far as I know, no one took the trip to Hyder bonus. 
Still on east coast time and used to getting woken up by our little dog at 415 or so, i was up and wide awake at 5 local, packed up, fueled up, coffeed up and at Primo at 645.  There was some light chit chat as we awaited the 730 riders' meeting where Packet A was handed out.  Historical Markers- official Wisconsin or Michigan only, as many as you want, 500 pts each.   there are over 1000 between the two states, nearly 600 in Wisconsin alone, according to the state's website, which also included a handy electronic map [an ERSI Arcmap actually] with all of them on it; damn, if i would have had my work computer i could have exported the Arcmap layer to a gpx file.  As it was, there were more than enough for me to scrap my entire route and start collecting markers with the plans to re construct my route as i went.  My second original stop was the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Pepin for a question and answer bonus but if you bought a bonnet and wore it to scoring you got an additional 1000 points.  Going directly there meant arriving nearly 40 minutes before the museum opened- turns out there were a shitpot of markers on the Great River Road and I started collecting them early and often as Bart and I chased each other down the Mississippi to the museum.

 I has about 10 minutes to kill so i figured out an outline of some regular bonuses from here to Madison [home of over a dozen markers] via LaCrosse and more River Road markers.

 Edsel bonus question

 now heading inland towards Madison, this grave was described to be back a path about 200 yards from the road.  well, there might have been a path at one time, but the utility access road made it longer but easier to get to the cemetery.

 Had to list one of the beers shown in the windows.

 Allen Ludden of password fame.

 no fishing from the bridge.   then to find a motel for the long rest bonus option, some planning and figuring out how best to attack the Madison issue.  After some rough sleep, i was on the road before 11 with the hopes of clearing all the Madison markers before 1am leaving 7 hours to ride the 4.5 hour return trip which would allow for both regular bonuses and more markers.  must have more markers.

 this was the last of the Madison area markers just about 00:30-  one i didnt visit was inside a cemetery that was closed after dark and one i just couldnt find in the dark.

 the following four shared the block with Deke Slayton who was off his normal perch and in the bed of a pickup directly adjacent to the police station.

 i had the option to add one more regular bonus that would have required a 4 mile gravel excursion each way; Garmin said it added 20 minutes to my route which had me arriving after 7am already, which was too close since it was an 8am drop dead cut off. at 080001  you were time barred.

I knew this was an all or nothing gamble; in total, i bagged 51 markers but due to poor numbering on my part only claimed 50.  I lost another 800 points for putting in the wrong value for a bonus on my scoresheet.  Total ridden just over 700 miles; i was still on my second tank of fuel.  in total, i made over 70 stops in a 24 hour rally; if i would have figured out how to get the markers into a dataset off the website, i probably could have bagged maybe another dozen as i know i rode right by some i just couldn't locate on the map

Apparently only three of us did the complete Laura Ingalls Wilder experience.
 and the gamble paid off; third place.  looking quite fashionable in my Total World Domination shirt

The ride home was mostly uneventful other than all the rain across the width of Ohio and my low tire pressure warning with 15 miles to the barn.  I'll deal with that later.

thanks again to Rick and all the Strangers that make this event so special.