Cannons and Dragons 10-hour Rally, November 6, 2010
by Ray King. Previously published on the Long riders Digital Scavenger Hunt website, republished here in its entirety with permission.
I should have put a bonus location in Altoona.
The Long Riders’ Third Annual Digital Scavenger Hunt was run on November 6, 2010. This year it was upgraded to the format of a 10-hour endurance rally and sub-titled “The Cannons & Dragons 10-Hour Rally.” Twenty riders on 16 motorcycles and a Can-Am Spyder showed up at the Start near Brooksville, Florida, at 7AM, more or less (you know who you are…). Ten hours later, or more…much more…everyone arrived safely at the Finish in Dade City. This was designed to be a low-key, but challenging, rally for those who wanted to try endurance rallying for the first time. There were a few riders with previous rally experience, but most were novices.
Bonus locations were a mix of roadside oddities, monuments to vanity, historic locations, and state parks. Many were designed to entice riders onto just-plain-fun roads, and others were picked to entice the unwary into weekend-beach-and-downtown-major-college-football traffic. Two of the wild-card bonus types gave the event it’s name: “Cannons” were defined as pieces of military hardware—cannons, tanks, airplanes, etc, typically on display in public places such as town squares, city parks, courthouses, or in front of military installations. “Dragons” meant life-size or larger sculptures of animals – horses, alligators, sharks, and a few actual dragons. Riders could collect as many Cannons and Dragons as they could find during the rally and get 225 or 200 points for each. This worked out very well for a few riders who wanted to keep it low-key and relatively close to home, but who also wanted to finish with a respectable score. There are an amazing number of dragons out there!
The podium finishers:
First Place (tie): Kathy Allen and Roger Allen, on separate bikes, with 10,054 points each. They rode 413 miles for an “efficiency rating” of 24.3 points per mile (ppm). This was their first rally, and a great result. Roger and Kathy have been selected for the 2011 Iron Butt Rally, and this is a great beginning! Roger was riding his brand-new BMW R1200 GSA (361 miles on the odo at the start) and Kathy was on her nearly-new R1200 GS with about 11K on it.
Second Place: John Stamps, on a well-farkled (for LD riding) BMW R1200RT, collected bonuses worth 10,044 points, and did not demand a recount! Classy guy. Rode the final miles to the finish knowing he had a nail in his rear tire and was losing air, ended with about 20 PSI. John rode 435 miles for 23.1 ppm.
Third Place: Joe Merkt and Deb Davis, on Joe’s HD Ultra Classic. They headed northwest toward Cedar Key and Horseshoe Beach and collected some high-value bonuses, but not before encountering an incredible number of Dragons and one centuries-old-looking black gunboat cannon. Then Joe let slip the information that this cannon was made from styrofoam….Fail! Joe and Deb rode 449 miles for 20.6 ppm.
Fred and Mary Patnode, on a Honda Valkyrie Interstate, got 8,493 points, in 359 miles, which gave them a rating of 23.7 ppm. Tim Woods, riding a BMW R1150RT, with 7,568 points, in 376 miles, rated 20.1 ppm.
Otto Hoel, on a BMW R1200RT, Nicole Brice riding a Suzuki V-Strom and Jerry Brodsky, on a new Honda NT700V – this “team” rode together and collected the same bonuses, but, due to odometer variations, they seemingly rode different mileages. I know the accuracy of the RT odometer, so we will use Otto’s miles. They collected 7,504 points and rode 313 miles for a rating of 24.0 ppm.
Mike and Sis Denson, Can-Am Spyder RT, 7,008 points and only 190 miles! Mike and Sis are the efficiency champs with 36.9 points per mile. They achieved their lunch and BBQ take-out menu bonuses by picking up their lunch and taking it home to eat, and then they took a nap before resuming the rally! They collected an awesome number of Cannons and Dragons bonuses.
Larry Meeker, on his BMW R1150GS-PD, collected 6,875 points, in 488 miles, rating a 14.1 ppm.
Bob Long, riding a BMW R1100RT, collected 6,757 points, in 577 miles, or 11.7 ppm. 577 miles is a lot of miles to ride in a 10-hour rally. Bob was headed for Dothan, Alabama, in hopes of collecting the three-state bonus of 3,000 points, but wisely turned around when he realized he could not get to the finish in time to avoid a DNF. He did collect the 1000-point two-state bonus.
Joe Hoffman on a Yamaha Roadliner, collected 6710 points, in 313 miles, for a rating of 21.4 ppm.
Jerry Hotchkiss, on his Honda GL1800 GoldWing, got 6,334 points, in 328 miles, or 19.3 ppm.
Eric Chernin, riding a Honda ST1300, gathered 4,060 points, over 439 miles, resulting in 9.2 ppm. Eric gets our “don’t believe everything the GPS tells you” sympathy award.
Bob Armbruster, also on a Honda GL1800 GoldWing, collected 3,675 points, in 322 miles, and got a rating of 11.4 ppm.
Danny Lee, Kawasaki riding his Kawasaki ZG1000 Concours, rode 593 miles(!!), but only rated 5.7 points per mile. If Danny is on your Christmas gift list, might we suggest a couple of MSR fuel bottles… Danny’s ppm rating would have been higher, like 12.7, but he incurred a 3700-point penalty for being late to the finish. He made a heroic ride, and picked up a few bonuses that we thought no one would attempt, but he ran out of gas 7 miles from the exit to Dade City and the finish. He got a ride in the back of a police car to the gas station, and had to show his ID to the cop. That blew the 500 point bonus for returning the sealed driver-license-and-registration envelope intact.
For me, the planning and preparation for an event like this is as much fun as actually participating in a rally. I love searching the internet for oddball locations, and then I get to ride to many of them to check them out. David Gillespie was the Rallymaster, so I grabbed the title of Rallybastard and worked it to the max. Jim Davis was our third RM, and he was a huge help in checking out bonuses on the Gulf Coast and in the greater Tampa Bay area, and did a great job at the scoring table, as did David who is also known as“the senator,” did his usual fine job as emcee of the award dinner festivities.
Even my ride home to Jacksonville on Sunday was great. I had a route in mind, but I punched “home” on Betty Garmin the GPS just to keep tabs on my ETA. The poor girl was actually sweating from saying “recalculating” every quarter of a mile or so, trying to get me to the interstate, until we finally turned north on SR 19 near Mission Inn, a route with which she seemed to agree. I messed her up again when we got to Altoona (Florida) and County Road 42. I turned left (west) so that I could ride my favorite roads through the Ocala National Forest, as some of the rally riders had done thanks to the bonuses we planted there.
What a nice surprise: CR 42 has been freshly re-paved from Altoona west! It has always been hilly and twisty, and now it is a delight to ride! Don’t ever go direct from Altoona to Salt Springs, or vice versa, if you have an extra 20 minutes or so to go an extra 16 miles and ride CR 42, SW 182nd Ave Rd, and CR 314A. SR 19 direct between the two towns is a nice, two-lane road through the Forest, but most of it is pretty straight. The alternate loop is lots more fun.
Like I said, I should have put a bonus in Altoona.