Wandering Ganesha

2015 Iron Butt Rally – Part 2.1: A new day dawns

As usual I woke a few minutes before my alarm went off. I once read an article (with data, so it was science, not just opinion) that said people sleep better when an alarm is set. I’ve found this to be very true for me as well. However, I rarely wake up to the alarm, which the article also said was pretty common. I’ve got the pretty standard 90-minute sleep cycle. On rallies, I really try to make my sleep some multiple of 90 minutes. I wake up much more rested if I’m not in the middle of a sleep cycle. Of course, if I can’t fall asleep then I may have to adjust my wake time.

I quickly packed up the bike and was ready to roll. I wanted to get my receipt for 5:30 AM. This would give me exactly 8 hours 2 minutes for the rest bonus. This time would also have me get to Pipe Spring National Monument right at dawn. There was a McDonalds right behind the Samco, and I’d hoped to get a Sausage McMuffin (No EGG!) for breakfast. I’d never eat one when I’m paying attention to what I eat, but they are a guilty pleasure of mine. Sadly MickeyDs was closed, so I got to the Samco with about 10 minutes to spare.

I knew the call in bonus was today but wanted to double check the time. Pulling out my paperwork I noted that the call in bonus was in the afternoon Pacific time and to my horror also noticed that the rest bonus could only be taken on the second day of the rally. My 8-hour rest stop had just become a 5.5-hour rest stop, and I’d leave 600 points on the scoring table. UGH! I wasn’t going for points, but still it was a dumb mistake. However, I’d still probably have not changed my plan as it was raining last night and I would have probably stopped anyway. Still deciding to drop 600 points versus doing it by mistake was a letdown.

At exactly 5:30 I went in a bought a gallon of water. 5:33 receipt time, 12 more points! Water jugs filled and on the road by 5:36.

As soon as I crossed back into Arizona I discovered that I had been lucky in choosing my rest location. Utah is on mountain time. If I’d taken my rest in Arizona it would be only 4.5 hours and I’d have lost another 240 points!

I rolled up at dawn to Pipe Spring National Monument and my luck was not with me. The parking lot had a locked gate keeping folks out. You had to get a picture of “Windsor Castle” behind the visitor center. Now it would have been easy to walk there, it was just the road that was locked. But we’d been instructed, strongly instructed, to not pass any locked gates. I didn’t even put a foot down. I took a U-turn and headed west to Zion national monument.

It was a perfect morning to be on a bike along the Utah-Arizona border. The sunrise cast a warm glow across the landscape, bringing out the red hue in the rocks. I had the road all to myself and it was a great ride. The descent into the town of Hurricane on UT-59 was particularly enjoyable. Sadly it was a short time before I was turning off the quiet 2 lane road heading north onto I-15.

Zion national monument is a truly awe-inspiring sight. Yet another place to put on the list of places to visit for more than 3 minutes. There was another rider on a gold wing who was just packing up to leave. Who it was is lost to the vagaries of my mind. (If you’re reading this send me a note and I’ll update it.) But I always like to chat with other riders, often to the annoyance of the more competitive sort. I figure that we see each other so infrequently why not spend a minute when we see each other.

The rider was coming over from California and explained that it had been a hot day, and he felt really beat up. Inwardly I thanked my good fortune for deciding that California was too far. He was headed to Cedar Breaks National Monument next. As he mounted up I told him that I was too and that I’d see him there! Just as he was leaving Nancy Lefcourt pulled up.

If you remember my start of this story you will recall the rockfall that had cracked my front wheel before the start of the rally. It had happened the same weekend as the Big Money Rally X  run by “Reno” John Austin. The rockfall was 20 miles from Stovepipe Wells in death valley, which happened to be a bonus location in the BMRx. Nancy had been through that same rockfall about 5 minutes after I was. She had not cracked a rim but had dented both pretty good. Unfortunately for her she hadn’t noticed these until a week before the IBR when she was having new rubber mounted. She’d had to scramble to get them fixed in time. We were kindred spirits.

Nancy had also been feeling the heat and was a little worn out. I didn’t mention that I’d taken an 8-hour rest break and was pretty well rested and ready to go. I mounted back up and told her that I hoped to see her at Cedar Breaks.

ZION – Zion National Monument
83.4 miles traveled. Arrived 06:44 Departed 06:48

Zion National Monument

Zion National Monument



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