While my trip to Albuquerque was restful and let me solidify my goals it was not uneventful. As I went out to my bike the first morning I noticed a puddle of fluid next to my bike. It was not too large and looked like fuel. It was where my fuel line from my aux tank would leak, so I figured I had some kind of gremlin. While leaking fuel is something that one really should take care of I was really in no mood. I made it to Flagstaff without issue that day and called it quits early. Figuring I’d look at it closer in the AM.
As I was taking my stuff to the room I realized that whatever it was was leaking fast… and it was not gas. It was oil, coming from the oil filter. I had changed the oil the night before I left, I did my standard oil change with the same brand of filters I always use. I checked the oil level and it seemed fine, but there was a puddle. I tightened the filter and decided to see how much oil would leak out overnight.
I took an uber to downtown Flagstaff where I discovered that the Iron Butt Rally was not the only rally running this summer. The Great Race Rally was in town that night!
The Great Race is a very different format than the Iron Butt Rally, but still a tough event. Some very cool cars were on display. My favorite being the Fiat 600 Multipla. It was listed as having a 0-60 time of “A long… long time.” It’s 633cc engine being about half the size of my Tiger Triumph Explorer‘s engine.
I had an excellent dinner at Cuvee 928. Ordered a Rhubarb Rickey cocktail, which while interesting, was not something I’d order again. I always like to order things that I can only get at that place, so it was worth a shot. The Brisket en Croute was fantastic, if a little oversized. Theirs was a southern take on the original. Huge buttermilk biscuit over shredded beef, in a mushroom and gorgonzola sauce. Give the place a shot if you’re in the area.
That morning I went to the local Autozone and changed the oil and filter in the parking lot. Lucky to find a bit of shade as the day was heating up. The staff there were very helpful. I hated to buy an oil pan, but someone had thrown away the loaner. Left mine for the next unfortunate soul. Checked the bike on the way several times and not a drop. Not sure why it was leaking around that filter. Maybe the seal on the filter was bad, but it looked fine.
I arrived without incident in Albuquerque in the early afternoon. There were already a few riders there, but I was early. Plenty of time to get adjusted and get my head where it needed to be.
The next two days were a whirlwind of seeing old friends, old acquaintances and meeting new ones. I really enjoy the time we spend before a rally. I know a few riders need to put on their game faces before the rally, but my game face is to be super happy and cheerful! So it can sometimes be an odd time.
I managed to find a combination massage place an nail place. I like to get massages before rallies. It helps calm me down and also makes my back feel great. Getting a pedicure is an Iron Butt Rally tradition; one that I did not partake in for the 2013 rally. While I’m not superstitious I was not ruling anything out that would make me more likely to finish! I got a nice long massage and good pedicure as well. No colored toes though.
Tech inspection and check-in went with flying colors. I even managed to do the ODO check without incident, due to coaching from Gregg Lenentine. There was a wedding and a beauty pageant going on in the hotel that weekend. Made for a very odd combination of LDrdiers, who are not necessarily known for their social skills, and lots of attractive ladies dressed in evening wear.
48 hours after my arrival saw the start of the Rookies meeting. 48 hours of friends, paperwork, beauty queens and bridesmaids. 48 hours to get from where I was to where I needed to be.