Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Start of AMA "I've Been Everywhere" Tour

This is it! AMA's I've Been Everywhere Tour flag is in my possession and I'm ready to start the revived version of this tour. AMA ran this tour in years past, but retired it a few years ago. It's now been revived for 2007 and I will visit as many of the cities, towns, or states mentioned in the song, take a photo of the tour flag, my motorcycle, and a sign or building that represents the location.

I learned about it too late to receive the rally materials in time for my trip out west, but there's still plenty of time to do this. After pouring over maps, Streets & Trips, and the Johnny Cash song lyrics, I've got somewhat of a plan in place, at least for the first couple of months this summer.

A trip to the BMW RA rally in Asheville NC will be my first opportunity to give this a try. Enroute to Asheville, I pass through Chattanooga and Knoxville. I was a little tentative about exiting the busy freeway and venturing into town looking for a suitable photo opportunity. I don't have a GPS, a tool that would have made this easier. This insecurity caused me to miss Chattanooga as well as one or two other AMA locations in the early days of this tour.

As luck would have it, I stopped at a truck stop that gave me the perfect "Knoxville" photo opportunity. So I "bag" my first points in this AMA event. But I realized that I was leaving points on the table, so to speak, by my reluctance to wander around on strange roads in strange cities.

In the comfort of my hotel in Asheville, and with my laptop along on the trip, I determined to get better at this point-collecting business. I realized that without a GPS, I needed to do more research before getting back on the road.

This trip to Asheville was also an opportunity to continue up to Norfolk to visit my son and his lovely wife, and to also collect several National Park stamps in SC, NC, and VA for my second Iron Butt Association National Park Tour. But in routing myself towards home, I decided to take I-20 which would take me through Vicksburg MS and Shreveport LA. Both of these cities are worth AMA IBET points.

These two photo stops were the turning point for me in my commitment to really make this tour fun! I looked ahead to some trips planned for later in the summer and began to work the routes to really maximize the point collection.

Next entry: sweeping up some local points.

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