Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heart of Texas Rally–The 12 hours of fun

I was awake before my alarm went off, no surprise there. I had packed the bike and prepped everything yesterday. So all I had to do was wake, shower and hit the road. I managed to do that by 4:30 which put me on Galveston island around 5:45. So I parked at a gas station near the first bonus and waited.

I had simple goals for this rally. I wanted to ride a good ride, get all the points on my route and finish in the top half. If I managed my route correctly I’d score 3,250 points. Another rider I was in communications with this week had a 3,450 point route and I knew there was a rider coming from New Mexico who would surely ride a 4,000+ point route. So I had no delusions of winning this thing.

Here’s the itinerary that I put in the map pouch of my tank bag.

At 6:02 I filled up my tank and said “Yes” to the receipt question. Oooops, the time on the pump was 5:47am. That wouldn’t work. Instead of trying to get some help from the attendant who was just opening up, I jumped on the bike and rode less than a mile to an ATM. I jumped off the bike, left it running, got a balance inquiry with a time stamp of 6:07AM and I was good to go. Albeit 7 minutes behind.

I went over to Gaido’s Seafood to get a picture of the Giant Shrimp. No shrimp, but I knew exactly where it was supposed to be so I set the bike in place with my rally flag and took the picture.

As I was leaving, a fellow rally rider on a Spyder pulled up behind me. No time to talk as I knew I was behind schedule. I needed to be at the next bonus in 1 hour.

As I rolled into Alvin, Tx on Hwy 6 @ Hwy 35 I saw a group of motorcycles meeting up for a ride. Perfect!!! I’d snag my Group Photo bonus early. Here’s the instructions for the bonus.


And here’s my photo


Notice anything missing? How about the “on their motorcycles” part.  Doh!!!! No points for me on this one.

I arrived at the Brazos Bend Park bonus at 7:19, that was 14 minutes behind schedule. I bagged the bonus and took off.

Fortunately I was on very familiar roads so I was able to make some time as I traveled the back roads of the area. I reached LaGrange and the Monument Hill State Park at 8:50. I had managed to catch up with my schedule.

The next stop was Palmetto State Park near Lulling. I considered getting gas at the Bucees there but changed my mind due to the crazy number of people doing the same thing. I arrived at the park entrance at 9:39, 8 minutes ahead of schedule. I found a dry spot of vegetation that looked like it needed some irrigation and did my part to help out.


From there it was a 185 mile stretch along I-10 and Hwy 90 to get to Bracketville. This is the part of riding where I really want cruise control. I struggled with the wind and my speed quite a bit. Not to mention cars in the left lane doing the posted speed limit or below. Really? Move over Texas!!!

I got my first fuel stop in Seguin, 7 minutes.

I had my head down in my GPS when I got to Brackville and almost missed the cannon. I took an extra minute to eat some beef jerky while I was there. I was still 8 minutes ahead of schedule even with the fuel stop.


From there I back tracked to Uvalde where I picked up fuel stop #2, it’s not that I needed fuel, but my strategy was to get my last fuel stop in Bandera so this seemed like a convenient place to get it. The pump wouldn’t print the receipt so I lost a little time walking inside, 6 minutes.

I arrived at Garner State Park at 1:38PM, getting the photo was a little challenging because of the wind and the “lookie loos” who kept stopping to take a picture of me taking a picture. Really people???


Riding to the next stop was great, FM1050 is a fun road. I did catch up with a Texas DPS officer but I guess when he realized I wasn’t some deranged maniac he pulled over to the shoulder and let me pass. As I did he gave me a big thumbs up. Needless to say, I didn’t wear his kindness and kept the speed to a moderate pace as he disappeared in my mirrors.

I arrived at the Lost Maples Café in Utopia at 1:54PM, snapped the photo and dashed to Bandera. I was 18 minutes ahead of schedule.


I got to Bandera well ahead of schedule, as in 2:25PM. I was 35 minutes ahead of schedule considering I couldn’t get my Subway receipt until 3pm. I cruised through town looking for a gas station that wasn’t crowded, then circled back to the Shell station where I waited briefly before getting my 3rd fuel stop and the 200 point bonus. Then a ride across the street to the Subway.

OK, the Subway in Bandera is in no way a flagship store for the chain. In fact it’s probably on their “Needs improvement” list.  The girl behind the counter was no where to be found, I think she was hiding in back hoping no one would find her. At least 1/2 of the meats weren’t available and the list goes on. The kicker was that my receipt showed a time stamp 7 minutes against me. So instead of being able to get a second receipt at 3:01 for a bottle of water I was going to have to wait until 3:08. As it turned out, I didn’t get out of there until 3:15 because the girl went on her break despite the fact that I had asked her to please help me with a receipt precisely at 3pm.

I left Bandera in a blaze and arrived in Kerrville at 3:35PM (10 minutes ahead of schedule). I just pulled onto the shoulder and snapped the picture.


I took the loop around Kerrville and got on I-10 in fantastic time. The South Llano Park bonus turned out to be easy as the sign was right there at the road. I bagged the bonus at 4:25PM (30 minutes ahead). I knew I was doing OK, time-wise.

The GPS found a nice short-cut from Junction up to Brady and I was able to get to my last bonus even quicker. I snapped the Brady Butane bonus at 5:20PM.


With my bonuses collected I headed down the road to the Holiday Inn to get off the clock and start working on my rally log. I completed the rally at 5:25PM.

My final score was 2,850 points. I only lost the one bonus for the Group Photo because I failed to completely read the instructions. Otherwise I road a perfect rally. Based on points, I received 88% of the points I set out to get with only 1 mistake. It’s not a perfect rally but certainly an improvement from the last one.

When they announced the top 3 riders, I wasn’t surprised to hear they all rode more than 4,000 points. With a score of 2,850 I don’t know where I placed. But I’m happy with my rally this time, I planned a very achievable route, rode it, made only one mistake on a bonus and finished on time. That’ll work until next time.

Oh and I got to meet several great new friends whom I expect to see at future rallies.

UPDATE: So the results are in. It appears I tied for 13th place with a score of 2850. Missing the 400 photo bonus cost me 7 positions. There were a total of 32 finishers and 3 DNFs. So I accomplished my goal of finishing in the top half and I have something to work on for the next rally.

2012 Heart of Texas Rally Finisher List
1. #24 Mark Smith 4325
2. #12 Rex LeGalley 4150
3. #4 Ron Milleman 3825
4. #5 Ray Lea 3700
5. #6 Michael Hickman 3550
6. #17 Betsy Young 3500
7. #26 Nick Getzendanner 3200
8. #6 Dianne Fox 3120
8. #7 Bobby Fox 3120
9. #38 Steven Bracken 3050
10. #18 Al Landry and Liz Mrak 2925 1st 2up class
11. #22 Paul and Jenn Saccoccio 2920 2nd 2up class
12. #3 John R Smith 2900
13. #31 Stephanie May 2850
13. #34 Brian Walters 2850
14. #2 Glen Copeland 2750
14. #33 Jack Dannenberg 2750
15. #42 David and Son Trail 2625 3rd 2up class
16. #32 Andrew Tatton 2600
17. #23 Kendal Larson 2585
18. #5 Randy McCamey 2500
19. #43 Abe and Kathi Garcia 2400
20. #39 Connie Schluter 2385
21. #19 Chris Mixon 2375
22. #25 Marshall Harris 2320
22. #16 Jim Howard 2320
23. #40 Dave Schluter 2185
24. #28 Jim and Eva Patterson 2070
25. #36 Karl Zurcher 1800
26. #9 Donny Phillips 1650
27. #29 Mark “Rusty” Allen 1450
28. #30 Paul Partin 850

#27 Robert Hall
#35 Mike Getzendanner
#20 Kevin Sawatsky

My Route

1 comment:

Jim Howard said...

I stopped at the Subway in Ballinger. It was nothing to write home about for sure. Dirty, lot of flies.

It took 2 tries to get a receipt that said 'Subway' rather than 'Stripes', but I managed.