Posted by: gskitty | September 10, 2009

AWESOME!!!!

WOW!  That is all I can say.  It was an absolutely INCREDIBLE ride, an incredible journy learning who I am and what I can accomplish and what I foolishly think I can’t accomplish.  Thank goodness for Chris Sakala beating the self-doubt out of me.

So, for those who didn’t follow the IBA official postings, I finished the rally.  Gold Medal, 20th place overall, top female.  Incredible stuff for me personally.  My goals will be a little loftier next time!🙂

I spoke with my mother a couple times during the rally.  She was following along with the official daily reports and now realizes what I do, even if she doesn’t understand why, I got the impression that she respects the level of dedication that is required to even make it to the start line, let alone finish, such an event.  To quote mom, “this is a big deal, isn’t it?”  That’s a bit of an understatement, but yes, it’s a big deal.

Gosh, the people I need to thank are too numerous to even start.  But off the top of my head – Roger for his help with the bike in the months/years before the rally; Chris Sakala (in the rally with me) and Paul Taylor (rally winner in 2003) for some serious ass kicking motivation; Don for big time moron support (yes, I meant to say moron) and dragging my tired ass home.  I’d still be in Nebraska if Don didn’t drag me home and guard me for a nap in a truck stop when I simply couldn’t go on.  And Walt.  Geez.  None of this would be remotely possible without Walt.  And I’m already starting to talk about 2011…  Don and I have all sorts of plans!

Oh!  How could I leave out the shuttle driver in Santa Ana!  SAVED MY ASS!  Well, something close to my ass that only women have…  I needed a trip to CVS and my man not only drove me, but waited while I made a purchase and brought me back to the hotel so I could get some sleep and not have to call cabs and all that nonsense.  He deserves a big thank you – he had no idea how important that was, but he cheerfully helped me out anyway!  Wish I knew his name.  Will definitely be sending a note to the manager of that hotel!

More to follow, I’ve got so much going on right now and really need to get some sleep, but I am so happy with everything!  Except of course the big tragedy of the rally – the passing of a friend who I didn’t know for long, or know well, but knew he was a very special man.  Davo Jones, may you ride on in heaven.  You will be sorely missed on earth.

Posted by: gskitty | August 23, 2009

More news

The Jason Jonas site has been shut down.  Ya’ll will just have to wait until I get back to find out where I’ve been.  Riders do get points for a call in  bonus where we call a phone number and leave a message about where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.  so that will be available in the official daily reports.

Sorry for the change, but this wasn’t expected by me!

Posted by: gskitty | August 22, 2009

So sorry

I am sorry to report that there has been a last minute change to the rules and no blogs are allowed during the rally.  I am still going to have Don, Rick, Chiba, Chaz and Steve talk to me and maybe take some notes on what I said and I will use that information to write something up AFTER the rally and will post it here. 

During the rally, you are welcome to visit the Iron Butt Association’s website (link below) and there will be official daily reports on the site.  There’s one up there now from yesterday.  Chris Sakala, featured with bike in pieces is a good friend of mine and an outstanding rallier.  Chris has very high expectations of my finishing position.  I just want to finish.

http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/2009.cfm

If you would like to see the location of the riders, Jason Jonas has a really cool site at www.jasonjonas.org/spot.  You might need to search for it, but it’s right there – 2009 Iron Butt Rally or something like that. 

Sorry!

Posted by: gskitty | August 21, 2009

In Spartanburg.

John and I had a great ride down to Durham yesterday.  We got off 95 at Fredericksburg and took 3 to 20 to 15 to 58 to 49 to 501 and into Durham to meet Dave and Devon for lunch at the Q shack.  Delicious!  John followed me out of town to the freeway.  He headed north, I south.  I spoke to him later in the evening and was very pleased to hear that he rode all the way home.  So he put over 600 miles on in one day!  I’ll have him doing a saddle sore this fall. Just watch. (1000 miles in 24 hours for those who aren’t familiar with the terminology).

I stopped off at Carolina BMW to get a stock taillight for the GS.  I  had a BRAKE! light in there and it’s been great but it seems to have intermitant issues with the cruise control and stops working.  I simply must have a working tail and brake light so back to stock it is for now.  I’ll look into adding something for more conspicuity when I get back from the rally.  I was a little disappointed with how typical the folks at the dealership were in my experience.  I guess I thought they’d have been friendlier being in the south, but no, typical BMW dealer people.  Oh well, I should know better I guess. (again, for those who don’t know what I’m talking about – I find that people in the dealership for other brands, both employees and customers, seem to be VERY friendly, come over talk about you, your bike, etc.  Not so much at BMW dealers.)  There was a guy in the parking lot who came over to chat with me and I should have been friendlier than I was.  I suppose I was in a bit of hurry at that point because I sat there in the rain with a fair bit of my ‘stuff’ out changing the bulb and wanted to get it packed and get on the road to Spartanburg at that point.  He asked if I was going on a trip and told him I was heading to the start of the Iron Butt Rally and he didn’t know what it was and I gave a brief explanation, but I think he couldn’t get past thinking I was doing a saddle sore and had no idea there was anything more to the IBA than that.  I could have taken more time, but I was a bit anxious to get moving, like Isaid I was standing there packing the bike up in the rain…

Off to do a bit of relaxing stuff today.  Looking forward to a day of peace and rest…

Posted by: gskitty | August 19, 2009

Less than 24 hours to departure…

Well, almost ready.  The bike is almost completely packed.  Just need my heated jacket liner and some extra gloves, my flip flops and a book that I’m almost done with and will finish in Spartanburg.  Oh and the laptop.  Her spot on the bike is all reserved.  As I was looking at the mountain of stuff that was to go on the bike I never dreamed it would fit, but it does!  With a little room to spare.  And a fair amount of the stuff on the bike right now will not be leaving Spartanburg with me so I should have plenty of room.  I should with those GIGANTIC bags I have on her!  I was drooling over someone’s 65 liter top case and had to slap myself to bring myself back to earth.  If I have the space, I will use it and then have too much crap to deal with all the time.  I have a pretty good system to packing my stuff to balance the load and help keep me organized.  Basically, stuff I hope I never (or rarely) need goes in the right side case, my clothes, laptop, night bag, food goes in the left side case.  My daybag and frequently used items go in the top case.  Helps me both in packing and staying organized.  Somewhat organized anyway…  Oh and even though I have my half gallon jug on the rear footpeg, I like to carry bottled water as well.  I can sip water all day and then slam more down when I eat some jerky or bars in gas stations.  I don’t mind nibbling on the road, but I prefer to eat when I’m stopped.  Just flip the chinbar on the helmet up and eat a little something, drink some water and go.  When I need a receipt somewhere, I’ll often just buy a bottle of water and throw it in the topcase or fuel cell bag pouch for handy access.

I should be able to wrap up the packing very soon, take the mutt to the park for our last hike together before leaving and then I can put some more stickers on my bike.  I have a couple phrases that will be on my windscreen to remind me of things… 

I was kind of amped up all day, but feel pretty good right now,  it is soooo hard to believe that the day to leave is tomorrow.  All this time it seemed so far away.  And here it is.  I’m very ready to get on the road in the morning.  I’ve been preparing for this for a very long time.  Even before I was actually accepted really.  So nearly 2 years of doing things to get ready for the IBR is almost over.  It’s like losing a friend almost.  Like most things, I think my preparation would be smoother on a second attempt at this event.  Just because I’ll have BTDT and know what to expect for real.  Reading about other people’s experiences is great,  but having had my own experience will be key.  The old saying, “Expereince is the best teacher” comes to mind!

Oh!  And the ride down tomorrow!  I’m so excited about this.  It looks like my co-worker, John, is going to ride part way with me!  He’ll visit old boss, Dave, in Durham, have some lunch and then I will continue on to Spartanburg.  It will be the longest single ride that John has ever done, so I’m excited to be along for the ride with him!  And that he’ll have a chance to visit with Dave as well!

There’s so many people I have to thank.  The list is quite long.  I am hesitant to start naming people because I’ll forget someone…  Those who have helped know who they are.  And even if it was only what you think was a small thing, trust me, it wasn’t to me!

Posted by: gskitty | August 18, 2009

Why oh why?!?!??!

Why does ‘stuff’ always happen at the last minute????  I am having all these ‘issues’ at the last minute and it’s really starting to bother me.  First, a week ago, Walt was changing the engine, tranny and final drive fluids and when he dropped the final drive, the drive shaft fell out.  Chaz Fisher (guest blogger) to the rescue!  Chaz came over at 9:00 at night with his special tools to help us get the swing arm off because there was no getting that shaft back in without doing that.  For whatever reason, the circlip didn’t hold.  It did ‘snap’ back in.  So who knows.  Move on.

Then the POS lights I bought because Motorcycle Consumer News rated them a best buy stopped working.  Then we noticed that the ceramic inside them was cracked and they were full of water.  Nice lights to rate a best buy MCN.  Even better customer service. http://weekendconcepts.com/bullet.html is the link for the lights I bought and highly suggest anyone who is interested in lights stay far, far away from.  I sent a note to their customer service a week ago and haven’t received any acknowledgement even of my issue. 

Dale (Warchild) to the rescue!  He had suggested some aux lighting a while back and I dredged that info up and made a panicked phone call to Bruno and voila, I have lights.  They weren’t painless to install, but they are on and I have outstanding lighting, better than I had before and this stuff won’t cry if I ride in  a little rain.  Details forthcoming on the lights after I put them to the test.

THEN!  TODAY!  TONIGHT ACTUALLY!  My GPS craps out.  Totally craps out. Now this a refurb that I got from Garmin recently.  Maybe a month ago.  Because my old one had terrible radio reception and would cut out all the time.  THis one just won’t power up.  Well, I ain’t getting another from Garmin before the rally, this much is certain.  But I will take Walt’s and pray that my refurb gets here before he leaves.  This is a major plus to having the same GPS as my husband!

What next??? Nothing I hope and pray. Those of you reading this, please hope and pray for me as well!

I’m leaving Thursday morning.  Day after tomorrow.  Still have much to do around here.

Posted by: gskitty | August 15, 2009

Getting Shorter

Both the ‘rows’ and my hair.  Soon to be shorter…

Wow, it’s practically here!  I can’t believe it!  I’m ready, but don’t feel it.  I still have a few things to do and I’m kicking myself for some of them.  But it’s really not that bad.  Got a club meeting tomorrow and playing my first round of golf ever.  Hope to relax a little and get the IBR off my mind for a day.  Like that will ever happen.  The golf should work at least. 

I have so many stickers to put on my bike!  I can’t believe I’ve been so remiss!  Walt got me some good ones from Portland, ME.

I have a couple FedEx boxes packed to be shipped to me at the 2nd checkpoint and then again at the finish.  Tina will take care of that for me – Thanks Tina!  More supplies for the last leg at the checkpoint and some clothes for the finisher’s banquet and ride home.  A guy in WA, right near Spokane, that I bought some shocks from off a list I subscribe to is going to be on the scoring team and so graciously agreed to let me ship my junk to him and he will bring it to the finish for me.  I won’t have much more than some LD comfort tights and I don’t think that would be appropriate dinner wear🙂

Just running through everything in my mind and playing a lot of what if games.  Hardly worth the effort, really.  But can’t seem to stop myself.  And the dreams.  Or should I say nightmares.  Didn’t have any last night that I remember.  They aren’t always about the rally, but always stressful!

Ah, the hair.  It’s super short right now.  Shorter than it’s ever been in my entire life.  Except maybe when I was an infant.   We’ll see if it gets any shorter…

Posted by: gskitty | August 12, 2009

Sorry, Rick!

Oops, I kind of left Rick off the list of posters when I announced that everyone got it.  Glad to see that Rick managed as well, even with my poor instruction!

Yep, Rick is a neighbor as well as a friend from the club and called me every night during the 5 day rally last summer.  Those were some great conversations.  For me anyway…  I recall specifically feeling kind of bad about myself after getting the Lt. Lejuene bonus in LA because I was on this frivolous motorcycle ride through an area recently devastated by hurricanes, riding through their misery on a pleasure trip.  Rick talked me down from that by saying, ” you didn’t make anyone’s life harder, did you?” True, I did not and I could let that feeling go.

I also remember that ride home from Summit Point.  We did a combo Rick/Kitty tour.  We poked around a lot of smaller back roads (Rick) and visited ‘spook hill’ where your bike appears like it’s rolling up hill – that was cool!  We did hit the big road eventually (Kitty) and shot back to our little corner of Catonsville.  I recall thinking that it was better that I ride Rick’s 650 because we would look silly with the 5’3″ girl on the big bike with Rick, oh geez, I don’t know, how tall are you, Rick?  6’4″, 6’5″? on the little 650.  We looked more in proportion with me on Rick’s bike!

So, now you’ve met my posters.  I’ve got prep stuff to do…  and hopefully sell an elevator before I go!

Posted by: gskitty | August 11, 2009

Another Kitty Helper Checking In

Greetings all,

I’m Rick Foster, (yet) another of Miss Kitty’s friends and also a neighbor. I, too, will be checking with her during the Iron Butt Rally and posting the latest news of her adventure.

I met Kitty through our Washington, DC  motorcycle club. She generously offered to swap bikes with me for a ride back to our hometown following the club’s annual picnic at Summit Point Raceway. I loved her R1200GS and bought one myself soon thereafter. (Same year and same color, now that I think about it.)

I’m looking forward to helping keep everyone up to date on Our Favorite Long-Distance Rider’s progress on the rally.

Rick F.

Posted by: gskitty | August 10, 2009

Cool!

So all my posters were able to get in and post. One thing to check off the list!

Each of the people who will be posting are very respectable riders as well. Don and Steve both have completed the Iron Butt Rally and will know full well how I feel every step of the way. Chaz and Chiba are good friends who I beat into understanding if they don’t🙂

Two weeks from right now I’ll be off in the wild blue yonder. Here’s hoping it’s blue! (and not rainy grey…)

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