2022 Tour of Honor – Introduction

Recap of 2021

As I write this, it is almost the end of April. I also noticed that it has been almost a year since I got my rides posted.

Let’s start with last year. Boy, was it a true dumpster fire. Many of my rides last year were cancelled at the last minute. Why? Various reasons, but usually because “something didn’t feel right.”

I mentioned that last year Jeff and I were planning to do an Iron Butt Saddle Sore Tour of Honor Extreme. This particular ride combines an Iron Butt Saddle Sore (1,000 miles in 24 hours) with visiting all 7 sites in a particular state. We were going to complete Georgia. I couldn’t sleep the night before the ride. We cancelled the plans for that ride and took a few days to ride through parts of Georgia and Alabama.

Another part of the problem last year was that the previous year I was a little too selfish about riding. To the point that MaryJo was getting upset. We had a long chat over the off season. I wanted to keep her happy, so I limited my rides by checking with her first. If she had any hesitation, I would not go on the ride.

Then, let’s add the pièce de résistance. Shortly after picking up the new Harley-Davidson Pan America, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. That brought my riding to a screeching halt the first week of September. About two weeks after the diagnosis, I was in the hospital having surgery to cut out the area and take out a lymph node. At the post-op, the doctor told me that they feel they got it all. He did say that I could ride the Spyder, but no two-wheeled riding for a few months. His parting words were, “I want you to go live life, but remember… You have Cancer!” Seems that type of cancer I have does have a chance of coming back, even if the particular area has been “cleaned.”

I did get a few rides on the Spyder. I visited Jeff so we could visit the Georgia sites. Since he was the sponsor, I went with him to also scope out a few new sites. I also became the sponsor for Mississippi, so I made several more rides through Mississippi. Some on the bike before surgery, some in the truck after the surgery.

2022 Preparations

Being a state sponsor, I can register early. This year, like last year, people could reserve a number for the following year. I have had number 46 since 2019, I had 506 my first year in 2018. I have poker chip and business cards with number 46, so I hope to keep it for many years.

I got my submissions for Mississippi in a few days before the deadline. I had a brief panic when I got an e-mail about a month after the deadline reminding me that I need to submit the sites. I contacted the organizers and they confirmed that my sites had been submitted. I have to submit 10 sites, I can list the seven that I would like as the sites, but they wanted the additional three as back-ups. They picked six of the seven I had recommended and picked one of my three back-up sites. The site they did not pick was in downtown Jackson, MS. It isn’t the easiest area to navigate through, so I was okay with them not selecting that site. Besides, there has been a site in Jackson almost every other year.

In December, I had another surgery. This was for a nerve reposition. I had previously had the same surgery on the right elbow, this time it was for the left elbow. This was the same arm where I had the cancer surgery. At my follow-up six weeks later, the doctor said I could ride, but not to push it.

I took a ride to scout out a few sites in Mississippi for the coming years. I am trying to build a little database of potential sites. I’ll not mention the locations, but I think that people will enjoy them for the next few years. I am trying to avoid using locations which have been previously used, especially within the last couple of years.

First part of March, I had another follow-up regarding my elbow surgery and with my dermatologist. Both gave me a clean bill of health. The dermatologist found a little spot, which proven to not be a concern. The orthopedic doctor who did the elbow said I was ready to go, no restrictions from him. The only restrictions that anyone has given me that I must wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and a hat when I am outside. The helmet and riding suit meet those requirements.

Rain kept me inside most of March. As April 1 approached, I was ready.

I tried to take a name the afternoon of March 31. So much going through my head. I was up at 10:30, ready for the 2022 sites to be released at 11:01pm (Central Time). I had all the bonus sites already loaded into Basecamp. I just needed the primary sites to be released.

I watched the clock on the website. Once the countdown timer hit all zero’s, I waited a few seconds then went to the page with the sites and the GPX file with all the sites. I had already created a list in Basecamp for my Alabama ride. Once the GPX file was on the computer and loaded into Basecamp, I linked the Alabama sites in the folder. I was so excited and I started looking at the sites.

I could have gotten the trophy for Alabama. Really, I could have. But I was tired. I looked at the weather and it was going to be cold for the next few hours. I would rather get into a warm bed and give it a try later.

That gets you up to speed on things before the rides started. I will try to get the rides posted with pictures as quickly as I can after each ride (maybe I can get myself to post daily when on longer multi-day rides).