Saturday, October 20, 2007

Carhenge and going for the Easy Rider LDR Patch

Mostly Sunny with temps ranging in the low 40s at dawn to low 80s in late afternoon.

There's a chance of snow starting tonight so I decided to try and do a long ride to qualify for the 500 mile in 12 hrs patch from before the snow gets here. As I'd mentioned in a previous posting, they're kind of an alternative to the Iron Butt Rally guys for such certifications. Though I don't see a 1000 mile ride in 24hrs anywhere in my near future, the 500 mile in 12hr certification they offer was very doable.

After much searching on the map yesterday for something within 300 miles of home so I could do a there and back ride; finally realized that Alliance, NE was within that range and not only that but there was something cool I'd been wanting to go see before:

Carhenge! It's a replica of the famous Stonehenge but with junk cars. Lots of information about the Carhenge Car Art Center here at the website. LINK.

I took off from home just before 0600 and went to tank up to obtain a date/time stamped receipt as my proof of start time. Wouldn't you know it though, I tanked up at my regular gas station, then forgot to tell the pump to print out a receipt! Doh! So I trickled in about 25 cents more under a new transaction and got a receipt, I was so mad at myself at this point. Then to put icing on the cake, the dang receipt had a date but no time stamp! Arrrrggh.

So off I go to the next gas station, trickle in another 25 cents worth of gas and this time the receipt reflected a start time of 06:04. I was now good to go and started heading out on this route. Starting mileage was 43609.

As you can see, I took the E-470 slab to the I-76 East slab out of town until I got to Sterling where I started heading North on CO113 after a brief ride on US138 out of Sterling. It was really cold during my ride from home to Sterling, never got below 40 according to the onboard thermometer but it was cold when going 80mph!

I crossed the Nebraska border and the road became NE19 which I took to Sidney. Turns out Sidney is the location of Cabelas world headquarters!

After Sidney, I got on to US385 heading North towards Bridgeport where you cross the North Platte River. Not much to tell about the countryside, pretty flat, mostly farmland and rolling hills. Now with the sun up and riding at no more than 70mph, things were considerably warmer and they got warmer as I got closer to Alliance. Nice.

I got to Alliance, NE at 1030 so it took me 4.5 hrs to do around 250 miles or so according to the GPS. Alliance is a fair sized town but I was able to spot the small sign telling me to get on NE87 to get to Carhenge which is less than 4 miles out of town. It's quite the sight, this carhenge, I think it was worth the trip even if I was not qualifying for the Easy Rider certification!


Some other "art" was spread around Carhenge, here's a fish and a dinosaur I thought were cool. Most of the other stuff was pretty junky.

One last look

As you can see I was able to park Maria pretty close to Carhenge, there wasn't a sign specifically saying you could not do so and since no one was around but me......

I did not loiter her long as I wanted to start heading back to make it back by the 12 hour deadline. I went back towards Alliance and got a brunch sandwich and a large coffee at the local Arbys. After eating, I headed on back the same way I came. The day had really warmed up by now and it was in the mid 70s!

I lost some time around Sidney after I had decided to stop and divest myself of the warming layers I had on since the start of the trip. Not sure why, but kept missing the dang exit that would take me back to NE19! Part of it was fatigue I am sure but mostly it was my GPS unit locking up and ceasing to work and me not realizing it and waiting for voice prompts to make turns.

I had to reboot the gps unit in order for it to start working again and after a couple of false starts due to faulty programming of routes on my part; finally got on the right road.

The rest of the trip was just steady riding at 10 mph above the limit where I tend to cruise on highways. Pretty boring with no incidents. As I neared Denver, I first saw the Front Range and the Rockies at the 59 miles to Denver marker and you could see a big front coming in and blanketing the tops of the mountains already! I guess the forecasters could be right and we might get snow tonight!

It sure was windy the nearer I got to the Front Range, the last 30 minutes or so were spent making sure the wind did not blow me into the adjacent lane at times. Other than that, got home at 1648hrs with and ending mileage of 44201.

This was well within the 12 hours alloted for the Easy Rider Certification from the LDR folks so I'll be sending my documentation in soon. If you're a long distance rider, I encourage you to try out for their certifications if you find the IBR ones take too long. You get a patch/sticker/certificate and license plate holder same as the IBR folks. Here's a link to their site: Link.

No comments: