Editor's Note: The following story is a continuation of the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge article in our July 2010 issue, which is a look at the event through the eyes of competitor, Dale Galbraith # 35.
A quick note that I left off in the first article: It was the day before the ride left Florida when they had the riders’ meeting informing them of the rules for the ride. Dale as well as the rest of the riders learned that the reason for the ride was for our military and for the Lakota Nation. There are over 6000 Lakota natives that do not have drinking water in their homes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the Badlands of South Dakota. Through the ride, they will be able to help the Lakota people get drinking water. Dale said that it made him feel good but sad at the same time to know that we, as Americans, have not taken care of our own. They got to meet Navy Seals, Rangers, Marines and some of the Lakota people. The meeting needless to say really rallied the troops!
Wednesday, June 23, 2919 7:22 a.m.
Got a couple hour nap last night and woke to some cooler temperatures along with some brutal winds here in Oklahoma. We are hoping to make it to New Mexico next.
Reached New Mexico by 9 a.m. Started the Mexico route at 9:30 a.m. and finished it late in the afternoon, with one or two minor mistakes of less than three miles. Ate super that night and got ready to do the Arizona part of the trip. Saw a lot of pretty country side today, and we have finally deciphered the route to make it a little easier--we hope.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
We slept about four hours last night, then got up around 4:30 a.m. to hit the road. Just starting the Arizona leg of the trip. And going into the first curve, Gunny goes down. A guard rail jumped out and hit him, busting his headlight and messed up his fenders. Took the fenders off and he was rolling again. He’s fine by the way. Going down the other side of the same mountain, which had about a 14 percent grade, approaching a turn and my brakes go out! Ain’t that some crap? But it’s all good, I reached and grabbed a handful of front brake and saved it. Will try and make Flaming Gorge today and try to get Gunny’s headlight fixed and my brakes looked at. After a roll of 200 mile per hour duct tape, we are back on the road again.
Stopped to get gas, and two 5-hour energy drinks, one Red Bull, and two quarts of Gatorade, then we headed to the Grand Canyon. Got 750 miles under our belt from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Only 700 more miles to go to reach Flaming Gorge. Should reach there by about 1:00.
Riding down the road and Wyoming Dennis (one of the competitors) pointed to something in the road, the sun was in our eyes, Gunny (another competitor) didn’t see him point toward it and hits it! I see this spray coming up off his tire—dead skunk in the middle of the road! I did catch the spray, now I don’t know who stinks worse, me or the dead skunk! Yes, I did almost lose my lunch on that one.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Coming out of the desert, and around 10:30 it started getting cooler, so we pulled over to put on our leathers. Headed toward the Grand Canyon and it started getting even cooler, so we pulled over to put on a full face helmet to help keep my head warm, and we’re off again. Around 2:00 a.m., Gunny’s headlight started working perfectly, helping us to notice the horse on the side of the road around 2:15—wait, no horse—a moose! Then about five minutes later the moose decides he wants to cross the road. We realized that it was a different moose, and it almost took all three of us out. His shoulders were about 6 feet tall, big moose! We might could have ridden right under him, however, it probably wouldn’t have been one of the smartest things to do.
We decided that with the luck that we have been having, it might be best for us to just pull over and rest for a bit. So we decided it would be a good place to set up camp, and try out my hammock for the first time. Got it strapped to my back floorboard on the left side then to a pine tree. Then Dennis cooks a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, which we all shared. Crawled into the hammock, sitting there all comfy and cozy, next thing I know, I’m on the ground! WARNING--when setting up a hammock, make sure to clean out the big ROCKS on the ground under the hammock! Otherwise it could be hazardous to your backside! Yep, my hammock is toast. Evidently the US Military doesn’t have soldiers that weigh over 200 pounds. The canvas ripped where it was sewn to the cording, then dumped me on the ground. So now I have to spend another night on my bike. I discovered that you can lie on your side on your scooter.
Around 8:30, we were passing the Grand Canyon and headed toward Flaming Gorge, about 350 miles out. Pretty much out of the race for the gold, now it’s just pure determination to get there.
PS – To Keith Little Badger: Thank you for the prayer bag ‘cause I’ve had a lot of conversations. I can see it constantly blowing in the breeze, and I will do as you instructed when I reach Homer.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Would like to be able to send some of this cool June in Wyoming weather back to Alabama, where it is very hot at this time. The next check point is Missula, Montana, going by the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the Badlands of South Dakota.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
On the way from Casper Wyoming to Douglas, Wyoming, we encountered construction on I-25, the left lane had been ground up so they could repave it. The lanes shifted from us riding in the right lane to us riding in the left lane, as they were reworking the right lane. Next thing we see is a sign that said: Fresh Oil on Road—say what? Low and behold, the car in front of us slams on the brakes. Just as soon as I touch my brakes, I’m down. Gunny sees me go down, gets on his brakes, and he goes down. We’re both OK, my bike’s OK, Gunny’s bike--totaled.
After an overnight stay in the hospital for observation, I was released this morning. I’m headed to Rapid City, then flying to Homer, Alaska tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I flew into Homer, Alaska today, and it is breathtaking! As of now, five riders have made it, but only three of those have been held for inspection, not sure if they didn’t follow the route or what.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
As of today, approximately 15 people have crossed the finish line. Everybody agrees that the ride is harder than anyone ever anticipated. It was around 8,800 total miles to complete this trip. Finally got to see some bald eagles, with babies no less! Also got to see some whales playing a couple hundred yards off shore, so cool! Today’s weather is in the mid 60s—having a heat wave here.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
More bikes came rolling in today, and as of now, 60 have crossed the finish line, with more still coming.
The winner of the Hoka-Hey Challenge will be announced at the Sturgis Bike Rally, and that will be Part 3, coming in the September 2010 issue, so stay tuned!
To be Continued…
Write-On and Ride-On
Story by Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly as told by participant Dale Galbraith.
Photos by Dale Galbraith