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Montana Hoon

ButtLite III -- Getting There

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Montana Hoon

When I originally signed up for the ButtLite, I had planned on riding my K1200RS. After attending the BMWRT.com UnRally in Gunnison, Colorado, and seeing Tom Roe's bike outfitted with a fuel cell, I decided that I should also look into getting auxiliary fuel for the bike. Through a series of circumstances, I had recently picked up a K1200LT, trading in my R1150GS. Searching the internet, I couldn't find a ready-made cell for the RS, but I did find a custom cell that had been fabricated for an LT. The owner of the cell had an LT that got totalled a few days before the cell arrived. I decided I would use the LT, even though I only had about 1000 miles on it. I purchased the fuel cell and installed it, a V-1, Bearcat Scanner, Autocom, and GPS in the two weeks before leaving for the ButtLite. Amazingly, everything worked!

 

The LT outfitted with fuel cell and electronics.

 

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I got underway about 10 a.m. on the Wednesday before the start of the Rally. I wanted to get to Rally HQ in Washington, Texas for the early-bird check-in on Friday. Since there would be a Tech Inspection, I wanted to make sure I had time to correct any problems

 

I debated on whether to take a backroad scenic route or just slab it on down. I settled on slabbing the 1800 miles from Bozeman to Rally HQ. I had spent a lot of time getting the bike put together, and not much time riding. I decided I would lay down 1000 miles to get into "rally" mode.

 

The trip across I-90, down I-25, and across I-70 was uneventful. It was at about 650 miles that I noticed a little bit of a "pain in the butt." The stock LT seat was comfortable for me.

 

I practiced using the auxiliary fuel cell. When the Miles Remaining indicator on the LT showed about 20 miles left, I would turn on the fuel shut-off switch, and then flip the switch that turned on the fuel pump. After a few minutes, I had another 4.7 gallons -- basically giving me a 400-mile range between gas stops. Compared to the stock RS, that could mean about 20 fewer gas stops over the course of 7000 miles. Even assuming only 10 minutes per stop, that would mean almost four hours saved!

 

Just after passing the 1000-mile mark, there was a roadside rest near Hays, Kansas. I pulled the bike onto a concrete pad that had a picnic table on it. I pulled out my Go-Kot and sleeping bag, popped in my earplugs, and went to sleep a little after 2 a.m. I mentally calculated that I had run at the rate of Bun Burner Gold (1500 miles in 24 hours). That's probably the kind of pace needed in the Rally.

 

I woke up Thursday morning and felt so comfortable that I went back to sleep. It felt good, but that's not something that can be done during the Rally. I also discovered there's something in bloom in Kansas that doesn't agree with my histamines.

 

I got rolling about 9 a.m. and continued on through Kansas. It was already getting pretty warm. The whole day was just a slab-blast east to Salina, Kansas, and then straight south. It kept getting hotter. I tried to stay hydrated and cool, soaking my t-shirt at a couple of the rest stops. I passed through Wichita, Oklahoma City, and Dallas, managing to miss traffic in all of them. Did I happen to mention it was HOT?

 

I finally arrived in Navasota about 11:30 p.m., capping off an 800-mile day.

 

Woke up Friday and took it easy -- early check-in didn't begin until 2 p.m. I headed to the check-in site and Eebie (David EB Smith) was there running the Tech Inspection. He compared my insurance documents with my bike's Vehicle Identification Number and noted that a "D" on the VIN was a "0" (zero) on the insurance declaration page. I called up my agent and got the change made and faxed back to me. Just the sort of thing I wanted to be able to catch before the rally started.

 

Later, at 5 p.m., we had an odometer check. About a 20-mile loop so that the bike odometer can be corrected to actual mileage by the RallyMasters to correlate miles traveled to known locations.

 

The next day, Sunday, included a Riders Meeting, which was a review of the rules, and explanations of what the RallyMasters would be looking for. Later, we had the pre-Rally Banquet -- the last decent meal we might get for a while. During the banquet, the Rally Flags were distributed and the Rally Pack was handed out for the First Leg. The Pack consisted of information on the next checkpoint, a set of Route Sheets, and an Answer Sheet corresponding to the Route Sheets. The Route Sheets and Answer Sheets were labeled Route "B." Kind of makes you wonder where Route "A" is at, doesn't it?

 

tn_40_asvitt_JPG.jpg Here I am with the Rally Flag that must be present in photos. (Photo from TeamStrange.com)

 

I took the Rally Pack back to my motel. I started packing the bike with everything I could safely stow for the night. Then, I started to study the Rally Pack. The Route Sheet included about 20 bonus locations. For each bonus, the sheet listed the nearest city, some rough directions and perhaps an explanation about the bonus, and the points to be awarded for successfully claiming the bonus. I put the locations into my notebook computer running MS Streets and Trips (S&T) and also circled the locations on my map of the Central States. By eyeballing the map, I could see two main routes -- one heading basically North, and another heading East and then North. The point values seemed to be higher heading East, so I choose to go that way. I had S&T calculate when I would get to the checkpoint and, hitting all the bonuses I initially laid out, I wouldn't get there in time. I then eliminated the lowest-value bonus that was off the main track and recalculated. I continued eliminating bonuses until I had a route that was doable.

 

I also eliminated bonuses because of expected "difficulties" that would be encountered. For example, there was a nice bonus in Dallas -- but it would potentially be during rush-hour, so I dropped it from consideration.

 

My final planned route included the bonuses in the following locations:

 

Natchez, MS

Ebenezer, KS

Dorena, MO

Hannibal, MO

Monterey, IA

Iowa City, IA

Des Moines, IA

Hudson, WI

Monticello, MN

 

With that done, it was time for some sleep.

 

Observations on the ride from Montana to Texas:

 

The LT doesn't have the "teleportation" feature of the RS. With the RS, you look at a place up ahead, turn the dial with your right hand, and you are there.

 

The LT is very comfortable. I can sit on it in "Sport" Riding Position, like I was on a cruiser, and in-between.

 

The LT feels really fun in turns. It *feels* like it's more leaned over in the turns than the RS.

 

The LT has a definite vibration at 4900 rpm.

 

The fuel cell is a definite plus when riding long distance.

 

Next: Leg One -- Emotional Roller Coaster

Edited by Fernando Belair

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BrianT

Keep it coming. I've been waiting for either you or Tom to post about it with anticipation. Congratulations again on finishing.

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russell_bynum

What Brian said. You guys rock.

 

I can't wait to hear more!

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RI_RT

Steve,

Congratulations on your ButtLite performance. I saw the pictures you posted before the rally and have been very interested to hear how the fuel cell worked. It sounds like the fuel capacity was a little close to the 11.5 gal limit; I thought it would be more like 11 gal. Were you able to open the top case with the fuel cell in place? How stable was the fuel cell when full?

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Montana Hoon

Jerry --

 

Overall, the cell worked great! The topcase could be opened no problem. I think the main tank holds 6.4 gallons and the aux holds 4.7, so that's a total of 11.1 -- main thing being that it's less than 11.5. I purchased some foam and stuffed it into the cell -- kind of difficult to get it through the filler hole. The cell was rock solid and I didn't even know it was there. I put a Mag's Bag on top of it to haul stuff, so that pretty much covered up the cell. In the next installment, I'll mention one small problem I had. wink.gif

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Montana Hoon

Moderators --

 

Did someone tweak the image tags on the post above? When I originally posted this all the pics showed up fine. Can I have edit ability to get this fixed?

 

Thanks!

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EffBee

Steve, I fixed your image tags.

 

FYI, what happens is that if you go into Edit mode after you've posted, the image tags go schplooey. Often it's just one tag (obviously either the opening or closing tag), but sometimes it's both.

 

Soooo, whenever you edit a post that has images or links or anything other than text, be sure to check them after you've made your changes, just to be sure they're OK.

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DavidEBSmith

Just remember, Steve, as you're re-living the misery on the rest of the rally, I was the one who tried to save you from it all by kicking you out on a technicality. smile.gif

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Montana Hoon

Thanks Fernando. Boy, glad I'm not in I.T. -- I'd have to learn all those technical terms, like "schplooey." wink.gif

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Kathy R

Steve....CONGRATS!

 

This is great reading....very interesting.....thanks for gathering your thoughts and putting this all down for us to see.

 

Now, on to the next chapter...

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