While the riders are out riding around, we're somewhat limited in what
we write about bonuses. We don't want to hand out competitive
intelligence about where other riders might be, and we don't want to
repeat the Dollywood incident of years ago when rally followers showed
up at a bonus, attracted the attention of security, and a couple of
riders' rally flags got held hostage.
But here's what we can tell you:
- 58 riders started Friday morning.
- Thursday night they got a rally pack listing 140 bonuses on leg 1. The
silence in the room told all.
- Of the 140 bonuses, 135 are individual locations and 5 are combo
bonuses - bonuses for getting combinations of other bonuses. We had to
explain to several riders why the combo bonuses didn't have their own
latitude and longitude in the GPS files. The geographically-challenged
may be very sad over the next several days.
- If you want to guess where the riders are going, draw a line
encircling southwest Louisiana to southeast Georgia to northeast Maine
to northeast South Dakota and back to Louisiana. Not kidding.
- The two biggest bonuses on this leg were time limited bonuses that
- Friday there was a 1000 point bonus for riding from Blairsville to
Decatur, GA, within a 2-hour window, visiting the museum at the original
Waffle House location, getting your official commemorative (and fragile)
rally mug signed by celebrity long-distance rider John Ryan, and
delivering said mug intact to the checkpoint.
- Saturday there was a 1404 point bonus for, within a 3 hour window,
getting your photo taken with the Park Superintendent of Fort Monroe
National Monument in Virginia. For those who don't know, the Park
Superintendent is Kirsten Talken-Spaulding, sixth-place finisher in the
2011 Iron Butt Rally and IBA #404. As an added thrill, one of the two
bridges leading to Fort Monroe was closed, funneling all the traffic
over the other bridge, the traffic over the bridge being augmented by
30,000 spectators going to Fort Monroe to watch the Hampton Cup Regatta
powerboat races and by a Mitt Romney campaign appearance announcing Paul
Ryan as his VP pick. For any intrepid riders who managed to get there,
Kirsten and Jennifer put out a wonderful spread of food and refreshments
and made the Superintendent's house a welcoming home away from home.
Thanks so much to Kirsten and Jennifer for helping us out!
From the intelligence we've gathered from private SPOT tracks and phone
calls to the Staff Van, riders are going north, south, east and west.
And sometimes all of the above. Reading comprehension is already an
issue; the Staff Van has had multiple calls from riders whose questions
were answered by (a) looking around where they were or (b) reading the
Riders are about 48 hours into their ride and some are learning that
multi-day rallies are very different from 24-hour rallies and from
certificate rides. Over the next 24 hours, before they get to the
checkpoint, that lesson will be reinforced.
David E.B. Smith