Butt Lite X – The Finish

Tonight we would be gathered for the Butt Lite X finisher’s banquet.  Goodbye speeches would be given.  Rally stories would be told.  And ultimately, the final scores would be read and the top ten riders announced.  And finally, we would know who won the last Butt Lite.

Our roster was made up of a vast array of riding skills.  And no one could argue that we had one of the most impressive lineups of the top long-distance riders in the world included in this rally.  Who would have landed on top?  We’ll never know.

Over the last week we have been looking over all of the leg one and leg two routes sent to us by riders, volunteers and even people with no ties to the rally.  We could have attempted to list all the pretend scores here but it is obvious to us that pretend rallying just isn’t the same as the real thing.

We can all come up with a good route when we aren’t on the clock, when we’re well rested and when we can take a break to go eat dinner or take the dog for a walk.

What we can’t do is replicate all of the tiny bits of chaos that awaits us along the route.  The traffic, the road construction, the deer on the side of the road, the fatigue, the stress of trying to make a daylight only bonus with mere minutes of daylight left.  We don’t know if our camera will go missing or our flag.  Will the GPS go haywire?  Will Garmin send us down a non-existent road through a pasture?  Is the bonus closed or has it burned down?  What about wildfires, snow, and that damn virus?  Crap, now I’m coughing.  Is it the smoke or did Covid finally catch me?  Not to mention tires, final drives, bad fuel and all of the other ways our rally can be affected.

You get the idea.  We’re glad you had a chance to practice your routing with the actual route sheets.  We encourage everyone to use that data as they wish for as long as you wish.  Practice, practice, practice.

Rick Corwine, our very talented photographer, has been working for months compiling a video montage of Butt Lite history.  It is so vast that it took four separate “episodes” to tell the whole story.  You would be watching these videos tonight if you were in Overland Park with us.  Instead, you can watch them from your own chair.  Just like most everything else during this truly weird time.  We recommend you watch them in order.  You will see a lot of familiar faces and many who are no longer with us.  Rick did an outstanding job of capturing everything that makes TeamStrange and Butt Lite what it was and what it continues to be.  The videos can be found here:  https://rickcorwine.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Butt-Lite-X/n-s5GSnq/

We’ve managed to drag this ending out as long as possible.  But there really is nothing left to do.  There are no boxes to pack.  No hugs to be shared.  No more tears and no more laughs.

As I type this, overwhelmed with emotion, I feel Eddie standing just over my shoulder – where he always is.  Quietly urging all of us to keep riding and when we can longer do that, to keep exploring.  Keep taking the road you’ve never been on just to see where it goes. And push the boundaries of what the rest of the world thinks is possible.

Good night and stay safe,


Comments on Leg 1 Home Edition

We didn’t really want to single anybody out, good or bad, for their routing in the Home Edition, because the planning is so divorced from the execution. We do want to single out Team Lahman for their commitment to preserving the illusion of being in an actual rally, for submitting a score sheet with errors on it (correctly lined-out as per the rally instructions).

As for other submissions: as always, riders wrote down the wrong bonus code and misadded points. Even when the scoring table is virtual, riders drop points there.

One rider submitted an audacious plan that would have put that rider into the lead on leg 1, if that rider could have executed the plan. We don’t think it was doable, and if it was, would leave the rider too burned out to do well on leg 2, but we’ve been proven wrong by riders before, and this rider is one who has shown the capacity to do it. Unfortunately, on the score sheet this rider submitted, the rider claimed several bonuses that were part of combos, but didn’t write down the combo codes. At the scoring table, that omission would have cost about 7500 points and would likely have converted a huge lead into a third-place ride.

On leg 1 there were several routes submitted that potentially would have been around 27,000 points. What would have happened, in the real world, with snow, fire, wind, heat, and disease, we’ll never know.


Leg 2 routes

We spoke too soon about BaseCamp not having a meltdown with the leg 1 routes.

Anyway here are some routes submitted for leg 2.

Choices seem to be split between visiting the Glaves adobe in Big Bend, or heading for Arizona. One rider was so bold as to push for southern California. Hope it was fun in the Mojave!

map of leg 2

Leg 2

Butt Lite X Checkpoint

In case you hadn’t noticed, we like to do some things a little different on every Butt Lite. Butt Lite 6IX, we started  in Georgia and ended in Denver, the checkpoint was the fantastic Flying Dutchmen Motorcycle Club on a gravel road in New Ulm, MN, and there were separate bonus lists for leg  1 and leg 2.

Butt Lite 7, the start and finish were in Minnetonka MN, the checkpoint was the traditional two-hour window at a motorcycle dealer in Austin TX, and there were separate bonus lists for leg 1 and leg 2.

Butt Lite VIII started and ended in Denver, the checkpoint was a casino in Reno, but there was only one bonus list for both leg 1 and leg 2, including the combination bonuses. That meant the score that a rider had after leg 1 didn’t include combos they were working on and so might or might not mean anything.

Butt Lite IX started and ended in Lexington KY, the checkpoint was in Maggie Valley NC,  we were back to separate bonus lists for leg 1 and leg 2, but we incentivized riders to get to the checkpoint and get scored early and get rested, by giving them a 2-hour headstart on routing if they arrived in the night before the checkpoint opened.

Butt Lite X, the checkpoint was originally planned to be at the beautiful Arrowwood Resort in Oacama, SD (across the river from Chamberlain). When we rescheduled the rally from July to September to try to save it, Arrowwood was sadly not available; it was the weekend of the induction ceremony for the South Dakota Hall of Fame. (The ceremony since got canceled anyway). Hence the move to Rapid City.

Even with the date change to September, realistically we could only hope that the pandemic would be less severe, not that it would be over, So we made plans for a minimal-contact rally, as well as plans for a no-contact rally. To minimize contact at the checkpoint, and to do something different, and to throw a curveball at all the riders who look at other riders’ scores after leg 1 and plan their ride accordingly, we decided to eliminate in-person scoring at the checkpoint.

So, the plan was, when riders arrived at the checkpoint in Rapid City, they would just check in, turn in their scoresheets and photos, and get the rally pack for the next leg. There would be no sitting at the scoring table within 3 feet of a rally volunteer, huddling over a laptop screen and exchanging breath. To encourage riders to arrive early get some rest, any rider who checked in before 6 am would get the leg 2 rally pack at 6 am; any rider checking in after that would have to wait until their check in was complete to get their rally pack for leg 2.

While travelling between the checkpoint and the finish, rally staff would score all the leg 1 submissions. Any bonus that was disallowed or questionable would be flagged for review with the rider at the finish. At the finish we would set up with as much space between riders and scorers as we could manage.

We also had plans to provide really nice black Butt Lite X logo face masks for all the riders and staff.

Ah well.

Butt Lite X – The Home Edition – Leg 1

I can’t say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days. – Daniel Boone

In an ideal world, Butt Lite X would have been in the history books since July. We’d still be sharing tales of adventure, and basking in the glow of a job well done, or thinking about what could have been if only . . .

In a less ideal world, 120 riders would be nervously squirming in a banquet room at the Marriott in Overland Park, Kansas, waiting for the rally packs to be handed out to start six days of grueling adventure, near and far, on Interstate highways and dirt roads,  across the western United States.

An adventure is never an adventure when it happens. An adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquility.  – Tim Cahill

In a least ideal world, we would all be dead in a global pandemic. We’re not, so, we’ve got that going for us.

In this lesser but not least ideal world, Butt Lite X riders (and spectators) will have to ride this rally from the comfort of their armchairs. Considering that right now, the forecast for the Butt Lite X bonus hunting grounds includes a winter storm with up to 10 inches of snow, temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, raging wildfires with blinding smoke, and some flash flooding, to go along with the coronavirus outbreaks and civil unrest to which we’ve become accustomed this summer, maybe the armchair isn’t such a bad place.

At this point, if we were in Overland Park, we would have told you multiple times that you need to know TeamStrange Uniform Rule 13 in this edition of Butt Lite.

13. General Guidelines Regarding Bonuses

. . .

C. If you get to a bonus destination IN THE TIME FRAME SPECIFIED and it is unavailable (i.e. closed, burnt down, moved etc.), do your best to obtain a replacement item. For example, if you are told to buy a Pepsi at Joe’s Café and Joe is out of Pepsi, buy a Coke. If the bonus instructs you to have breakfast at Joe’s Cafe and Joe’s burned down last week, go to another restaurant in the same town. If there are no other restaurants in town, get a gas receipt from the nearest gas station or some sort of business receipt from the same town. If these options are not available locally, ride to the nearest town and get a receipt. Document your attempts to comply with the bonus instructions, and advise the Rallymasters of your efforts. Caution: make sure that every effort is made to comply with bonus instructions before resorting to alternate proof. If you are the only rider who couldn’t locate Joe’s, you won’t get the points.

. . .

E. Don’t forget to account for the weather when planning your route! Should you reject a ride across the hot desert in favor of bonuses located in the mountains, you will be responsible should bad weather move in and block your path.

. . .

G. Although we have several people visit each bonus location prior to the start of the rally, there are going to be things that will happen that are out of our control. Where possible, the rally will make adjustments as needed. For example, if you choose to ride to Bryce Canyon National Park to get the bonus located at the southern tip of the park and the only access road to the bonus is closed due to construction, you may go to the “Road Closed” sign and take a picture, record that the road was closed on the bonus sheet and you will receive credit for the bonus. However, where multiple paved access roads exist, you will be responsible to ride around to the other entrances. For example, if the bonus instructs to pick up a souvenir at Badlands National Park, there are three access roads into the park. Should one be blocked for any reason, it is your responsibility to try the others taking a picture at each road-closed sign.

H. No latitude is given for bad weather. This is part of the planning process you must figure out. Example: if you choose to bypass the heat of the desert for a cooler mountain ride and then the main roads are closed due to snow, we will not make adjustments, you will need to figure out a different approach. Likewise, the person headed to the desert only has himself to blame for having to suffer through the intense heat.

I. No allowance is given for road conditions, including but not limited to road construction, traffic delays of any kind, law enforcement activities, traffic at bonuses and rally locations.

In this lesser but not least ideal world, in your armchair riding a virtual rally, you don’t have to worry about all that. Plan your route as if all the bonuses that we offer are accessible. Plan as if you’re in a world in which museums and stores and gas stations and Indian reservations and national borders aren’t randomly closed (or at least not closed more than we expected them to be), in which you don’t have to think about quarantine requirements, and in which the weather is ideal and half the rally territory isn’t covered with snow and ice from a too-early fall storm and the other half isn’t on fire.

Below is a link to the virtual flash drive for Leg 1 of Butt Lite X. It contains your route sheet, data files, and everything else that would have been on the real drive. Figure out your route for Leg 1 and send it to us at buttlite@outlook.com. We’re not that picky about the format in which you send it. Nor is there a deadline, other than, playing along at home, you should still come up with a route quickly enough that it could have been ridden in a more ideal world.

Leg 2 will be posted here at 6 am (Central) Saturday morning, when it would have been handed out.

Adventure is just bad planning. – Roald Amundsen

Butt Lite X Leg 1

Are We Going To Need Our Coffee Mug?

One of the many sad things about not having this rally is that none of us will get a Butt Lite X coffee mug to complete our sets (I’m looking at you, Rick Miller). Here at TeamStrange World Headquarters we drink out of Butt Lite mugs every day. Jim gets Butt Lite IX, while I get Butt Lite VIII. It keeps us from getting confused.

At this point we would be finishing up our dinner. And I am certain that between the three of us, we would have been asked at least a dozen times, “Are we going to need our coffee mug?”

The age old problem of Butt Lite riders is, do I worry about finding a nice, safe, cushioned spot on the bike for this stupid mug or can I pack it away with all my other extra stuff and store it at the hotel? And if we don’t need it on leg one, will they trick us again and have a bonus for it on leg two?

We always say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When you’re planning your pretend ride, I suppose you can have the mug with you or not. Either way, you’ll probably be able to get the points.

That’s how kitchen table rallying works.

Butt Lite X Day 0

Lisa mentioned that we would be well into tech inspection. I can confidently predict that this will be the first Butt Lite in which there will be no rider who has expired or insufficient insurance, an expired license plate, no Medjet coverage, a fuel system poorly attached or overflowing onto the rear tire, or a questionably loud muffler.

Bart mentioned the weather. If you were virtually coming to Overland Park via I-70 through Denver, we hope you virtually left early and weren’t hoping to arrive today.

Butt Lite X – The Home Edition

Some who are older will remember the halcyon days of TV game shows, when the losers would be sent home with a stack of consolation prizes, which always included the Home Edition of the game they had just lost. Just in case they wanted to relive their national humiliation on Password or The Match Game, or to take another crack at it to show their kids they’re really not a bad player and if only Allen Ludden or Gene Rayburn had asked a different question. . .

We’re all losers in the pandemic. Your rallymasters have spent 2 years crafting a rally to challenge the best long-distance riders in the world. You, our riders, have prepared, and planned, and anticipated, and rearranged your lives twice to be able to prove yourselves in head-to-head competition against your peers in a historic event that will never happen again. None of you will get to the championship round, and we won’t get to award the grand prize to the lucky winner of the last Butt Lite.

But, as a consolation prize, instead of Butt Lite X – The Last One, we present Butt Lite X – The Home Edition. Maybe you can’t ride Butt Lite X, but you can imagine it.

On Tuesday September 8, at 8:00 pm Central, right about the time we would have been handing out rally packs, we will post here on the Butt Lite blog,  the rally packs and data files for what would have been Leg 1 of Butt Lite X. Instead of running back to your hotel rooms to stay up all night planning your route, you can retreat to the comfort of your kitchen table and stay up all night planning your route. Instead of going out and riding your route, send it to us at buttlite@outlook.com. You can send us a spreadsheet, a GPX file, a Garmin file, an email with the bonuses you would have gone to, whatever.

Then on Saturday, September 12, at 6:00 am Central, we’ll post the rally packs and data files for Leg 2. Plan your route (keeping in mind that the clock is ticking) and send us your leg 2 route.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but don’t go out and try to ride your route. There are some bonuses that depend on people being in places where they won’t be. We’re really sure that a lot of the bonuses will be closed or unreachable and if you try to go there, you will be very sad.

What do you win? Nothing. This is a consolation prize. We’ll look at your submitted routes, we’ll calculate the points you would have scored, we’ll consider whether it took you 2 hours or 2 days or 2 weeks to figure out your route, Bart will (virtually) yell at the riders who make bad choices, and we’ll see what the best riders in the world could have done with our puzzle.

If you dropped out of Butt Lite X when we rescheduled, or even if you didn’t enter, join the fun anyway and send us your route.

But, you say, I won’t get to actually *go to* the places you would have sent us. True for now, but don’t touch that dial, tune in tomorrow . . . .

Let’s have a little fun and make the best we can out of a bad situation.  We’ll even rescind the helmet rule for this rally.