by Victor Wanchena
Over the past ten years I have run a variety of endurance rallies, sometimes called Long Distance (LD) events. These are typically timed rides, most often 24 hours, which send the participants off on a sort of scavenger hunt. The big multi-day events are the Iron Butt Rally or the Butt-Lite. One-day events include the Minnesota 1000, the Bonzai Rally, and the Buffalo Run. They work like this; you are given a list of various bonus locations scattered around the area. These can be nearby or several states away. Each bonus locale is worth a certain amount of points and require you to do or obtain something. You might need to simply bring back a gas receipt from a town or visit a historical marker and write down something from it. Riders choose their own route and ride solo or with a group. They set their own pace and visit as many or as few bonuses as they choose. It is very simple in its concept, which means it can be a real test mentally and physically. The event planners are always clever and even a little devious to send a rider off to odd and inane locations in these events. What follows are some of my favorite bonuses.
In the middle of western Nebraska stands an edifice which will certainly baffle scientists centuries from now. I speak of Carhenge. Residing outside of Alliance, NE, Carhenge is an exact replica of Stonehenge but made from cars. Built by a family as a memorial to their father, it one of the oddest places I have ever visited.
During the pre-rally meeting for a ride around all five Great Lakes, riders were instructed to stop at a gas station in remote Ontario. We were told that we could not buy fuel there, but we were to note the price on the gas pumps. It was stressed that under no circumstances would they sell any of us fuel. Many riders were incredulous. Whispers were heard through the crowd about how they would force the station to sell them fuel. Riders were greeted with quite a surprise when they arrived at the station and found it burned to the ground. It had burned down several months ago. All that remained were the gas pumps.
A perennial favorite of a couple of rally masters has been a little known historical marker outside Lusk, WY called the Mother Featherlegs Monument. I don’t know why Wyoming erected this monument to a prostitute in the middle of nowhere, but they did. It looks easy enough to get to on the map. Just a little to the west of Hwy 85, 10 miles from Lusk. Little would you know that it requires traveling 10 miles of ugly, rutted, gravel roads. Most locals don’t even know where it is. When and if you find it, you aren’t rewarded with a bawdy statue, just a pink granite marker and this inscription “Here lies Mother Featherlegs. So called, as in her ruffled pantalettes she looked like a feather-legged chicken in a high wind. She was roadhouse ma’am. An outlaw confederate, she was murdered by “Dangerous Dick Davis the Terrapin” in 1879.”
In the town of Lajitas, TX lives Clay Henry III. He is the town’s mayor. His father and his grandfather were the mayors of Lajitas before him. Clay has been known to drink as much as 30-40 beers in a single day, especially during the tourist season. He prefers Lone Star long necks. And one other thing, he’s a goat. That’s right, a goat. Stop at the Lajitas Trading Post and buy a couple of Lone Stars. Head out to the pen. Clay will come up and take the bottle out of your hand and do the rest. Definitely worth the drive.