On December 1, 2013, I was Googling long distance motorcycle rallies and reading ride reports when I came across utah1088.com. I started looking around and found the entry form for the 10 ‘n 10 Plus rally. As Rally Master Steve Chalmers explained, this year he was planning on offering two new features to this rally. First, a shorter version – the 5 ‘n 5 and second, there would be the option to start the rally from your house.
To say the least, this intrigued me. This meant less time off work. It meant less cost. It meant a much better chance of convincing my wife this was a good idea. I wasted no time. In a momentary lapse in judgement, my wife said, "Go ahead."
Within a few days I was registered. This was my first attempt at a rally of any sort. I had done a SaddleSore 1000 the prior September. In hindsight, this was a big jump, but I felt confident I could do it.
My 2012 R1200GS, would need some significant outfitting prior to departure. One thing I would not be able to change was my fuel capacity. I’d have around a 200 mile range. Time to spend some money!
The first item, without question, would be a new seat. The stock seat must be some kind of sick joke by the designers at BMW, because that is about the most uncomfortable hunk of crap in the world. In addition, I'd also add the following items to the bike:
- Additional lighting
- Power to the tank bag
- Heated clothing
- New windshield
- Hydration System
- Radar detector
- Tail bag
Planning and Waiting
As promised, the long awaited bonus listing arrived a few minutes after midnight Mountain Time. I ended up staying up most of the night reading, re-reading, then finally starting the slow and laborious task of entering the bonuses into BaseCamp by hand. Some were very easy - simply drop in the latitude and longitude. Others, not so much. Such as, "THE MUSEUM IS ON HWY 287 ABOUT 4 MILES WEST OF ENNIS." Google Street View became my trusted companion as I pieced together my route.
My first route headed east across the country towards Minnesota and Wisconsin where there were several large point value bonuses. I put quite a bit of effort into this plan, until I came to the realization that it was simply too much. This was going to involve some very long days and the chances of me being able to finish them were fairly slim.
After my realization, Bonus 34 began to garner my attention. It was actually five separate bonuses - all great motorcycle roads. I mapped them out then began to look for bonuses around these roads. After I added up the points, I was only a few thousand points less than my first route AND it was something that I had a reasonably good chance of completing. It also came with a nice feature; In the event things were not going well, I could skip out on the last road in Bonus 34 and head directly for Salt Lake City. This would cost me a ton of points, but it might be the difference between finishing and not finishing.
While I tweaked and played with the route in the intervening weeks, in the end it didn't change much. About a week prior to the start of the 5-day, I submitted my bonuses to the rally master, in effect setting them in stone.
In the days leading up the start, I keenly followed the progress of the 10-day riders who had already made their starts. This was, to say the least, a little intimidating, as riders were dropping like flies. Two riders dropped out seven hours after the start. One rider ran into horrible weather in Canada and another had a horrible rash covering his entire body after riding across Arizona and Texas. Needless to say, my eyes got a little wider wondering what the heck I’d gotten myself into. I felt cautiously optimistic. From the very beginning my goal was to finish and nothing more. I was confident in my route but realistic that I had no clue what awaited me.