…is before the rally 😉 . The European Road Runner Rally starts in 10 weeks… 😀 I attended the final banquet and the award ceremony. It was announced that the minimum level to be a finisher was lowered to only 55000 points. hmmmm, what would have changed things for me. Not that I had a chance to collect enough points on my direct way back, but my routing for leg would have been different. And: without the gear box (and any other problems), I would have been a finisher, I am very convinced. They probably have lowered the limit because too many riders would have DNFed.
And then the success story of the European riders began:
62. Giel Kerckhof
35. Kevin and Lyn Weller
23. Gerhard Memmen-Krüger (president IBA Germany)
14. Phil Weston (president IBA UK)
Brilliant results! Congratulations to everybody. On that evening and also during the next day, I had a lot of nice chats with other riders discussing what had happened. Gerhard and Giel also stayed another day.
I was mentioned even in the conclusive report of Bob Higdon:
“Robert Koeber went missing a few days ago after he began to experience gear box problems with his Honda XBR. Imagine our surprise last night when we went into the hotel’s dining room and found one of our favorite German riders contentedly eating dinner and having a glass of wine. Excuse me? Where did you come from? He explained that he had never been able to get the bike repaired, so he just learned how to jiggle the shift lever around enough to keep rolling toward Cranberry Township. He’s a non-finisher, but he’s here and that’s all that matters to us.”
I decided to do a little “service” on the bike which consisted in …changing the spark plug. I also found out why the Kristas lights did not work anymore…the cable at the battery was simply broken. I needed to put petrol and to clean the bike and when I went to town, there where some girls offering a car wash….Do you also do motorbikes? Yes, of course! This was hilarious, my XBR was cleaned by a bunch of young cheerleaders…including drying with towels. They were apparently fund-raising for some charity. I had to assist a bit with the dirty, oily parts…not perfectly clean, but the bizarre situation was worth a couple of bucks.
The next day I left for Toronto…a hot day and I got stuck in a one hour traffic jam at the border in Niagara. I felt being cooked alive. I removed jacket and helmet before getting a heat stroke. A woman in a car had mercy with me and offered me a small bottle of water! The border control was quick and friendly – the officer said that she also had been to Kenia. I arrived soon at the hotel at Toronto airport and dropped my bags, but the riding was not over yet! I still had too much petrol in my tank! The ride from Pittsburgh did not burn enough so I had to ride 130 km (!!!) up and down the airport highway to bring down the fuel level to a level that was acceptable for the bike transport (dangerous goods regulations allow 1 gallon max…and not three). I found a car wash and cleaned the bike and the still dirty parts with high pressure until I considered the bike clean enough for transport.
I thought I was very clever to check in the Sheraton directly at the terminal. The cargo terminal was very close by, I wouldn’t need a taxi, the internet rate was OK…but then the rip-off began…$21 taxes, $5 local taxes, $20 breakfast, $15 wi-fi, $28 parking and not to mention the dinner last night. Ouch! A taxi to the terminal would have been cheaper. I dropped off the bike this morning, the agent was very friendly and allowed me to leave my motorcycle gear incl. helmet and a lot of tools on the bike. This saves me another €75 surcharge for the second piece of luggage and I don’t have to carry all the stuff next Friday to Paris when I will pick up the bike.
So now I am killing time before my plane leaves in four hours. A great trip is slowly coming to an end…