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On the Tail of the Comets Comes a Girlie Motorcycle Rider

My travels during the Void Rally 8 brought me to Chester, Pennsylvania. The bonus location was a tribute to Bill Haley and the Comets who recorded at a local radio station. Though the building and its musical history have been torn down and lost to time, there are 2 black rubber musical notes embedded into the sidewalk.

…All that remains now are the anonymous inlays in the sidewalk on Crosby Street, cracked with age. Take a picture of a note inlayed in the sidewalk.

When I pulled up to 5th & Crosby I wasn’t sure off of the top of my head what I was looking for. I pulled into a parking lot and opened my topbox to read my rally book. As I stood looking at the pages of my book, I caught a glimpse of a grandfatherly man walking with a little girl of about 4 or 5. I could feel their gaze fixed on me from about 50 yards.

After reading the rally book entry for the bonus, I closed up my topbox and set off walking across the street looking for the music notes.

By the time I photographed the notes and walked back to my motorcycle, the man and the little girl were standing right in front of my motorcycle on the other side of the fence. I smiled and gave a nod as I walked back to my bike, getting myself ready to shove off again.

As I stood there momentarily, the man walked towards me and said something. I still had my helmet on with my earplugs in so I let him know and asked him to speak up.

“How you doin’ t’day?”

“Doing great! You?”

“My little friend over here wanted to come get a look at you. I told her that you were a girl but she wasn’t so sure.”

I looked toward the little girl who had her face cradled between the bars of the fence . She was holding on with both hands and swinging one leg. She stared at me curiously.

I waved to her and laughed. “Oh, I’m definitely a girl, alright.”

“Oh, I know. I told her. But she had to see for herself.”

And with that, he put his hand on my shoulder as if to say take care and walked back to the little girl smiling.

He once again took her hand and they walked back the way that they came. The little girl kept stealing glances at me . As I exited the lot, I honked and waved to her once more.

It has been over a week now since I saw that little girl and I haven’t forgotten about the inquisitive twinkle in her eye. I hope that she doesn’t forget the lady on the motorcycle or at least the idea that if they want to… girls can ride motorcycles, too.

Void 8: Let The Bonus Speculation Begin!

The Void Rally is like a scavenger hunt done on a motorcycle within an allotted time window. The rally masters provide participants a rallybook that is filled with bonus locations and coordinates. It is your job to sift through the rallybook and plan an achievable route to pick up as many points as possible.

Bonus locations have specific requirements to satisfy the visit and earn the point value. Maybe the rally book says something like ‘visit the old bridge and take a picture of your rally towel on the sign on the right side of the bridge. What is the 3rd word on the sign?’  Your rally towel photograph and the answer provide proof that you rode to the location.

To keep things interesting each year the Void seems to have a ‘theme.’ One year it was golf, then haunted places, another year it was weather related. This year the messaging and images surrounding the rally are all peppered with musical elements.

There have been some news posts on the rally site consisting of nothing more that links to websites that appear to be unrelated to, well, anything.

  • Cracker Barrel
  • Motel 6
  • YMCA

Hmm.

There is apparently a song called Cracker Barrel by someone named Erin Hay (which makes me throw up in my mouth) and the restaurant chain apparently has some record label. Lana Del Rey has a song called Motel 6. And of course those sweet, lovable rogues the Village People sing YMCA.

So what does that all mean? Probably nothing. Or maybe something. If nothing else it gets the ole cogs turning in braintown.

Will our bonus stops be heavy on music locations? That’s where my imagination has been wandering. What’s going to be in the rallybook when it turns up? Will we see places like:

  • Graceland
  • The Grand Ole Opry
  • Sun Studios
  • Electric Ladyland
  • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Yasgur’s Farm – Woodstock

What do you think? Will there be musical landmark visits or is it just a rouse?

 

 

Once More into the Void We Go

The season of anxiety and nail biting is upon us. In just a few short weeks I will be setting off to do the Void Rally 8.

The Void Rally 8 – October 12-13, 2013

After nearly giving myself an ulcer  in the weeks leading up to my first foray into the Void Rally you would think I’d have learned my lesson. Well, lest you thought otherwise… I’m not that bright. As my dad would’ve said ~ a dim bulb. A real 25-watter.

When I put my hat into the ring for the Void 7 in 2012, I was nervous because I had no idea what it was like to do a 24 hour rally. This year however, things are different. I’m nervous because I know what it’s like to do a 24 hour rally.

I kid. Sort of.

I’m not nervous this time around. Of course that doesn’t mean I will place any better than I did last year, where I found myself in the middle of the finishing pack. I will probably be able to carry on my long standing tradition of being average.

Gone Squatchin’

Remember how I said I wasn’t nervous in the previous paragraph? Well, in the time that it took me to finish typing that I realized that I am nervous.

Thinking back to what it was like standing alone on an especially dark and desolate West Virginia road in the middle of the night to pick up a bonus… eesh. I stood there nervously fumbling with my keys, my camera and rally towel. My hands were shaking because I was scaring myself so badly. Being out there in the woods alone? Yea, I could do without that again. I will have to do a better job of planning my route to visit the high Bigfoot traffic areas in the daylight.

Exhibit A: The Rally Towel

Earlier this week I received my official rally towel. Shit just got real.

Rider 98, right here. 98 – A strong, solid number. But is it better than average? We’ll see.

For More Information on The Void Rally

RallyTheVoid.org | How it Works

Equinox to Equinox Rally: Oversized Roadside Extravaganza

When the Equinox to Equinox Rally kicked off on the first day of spring, it seemed like we had all the time in the world to ride around and collect points. After all, the autumnal equinox and the close of the rally was months away!

As it turns out, people get busy, they forget, things come up and weeks will tick by when you don’t collect a single bonus. Guilty as charged.

For the past 2 weekends I’ve had a free day to go out riding. While I’ve been out I have managed to pick up some points along the way. Keeping my rally placard in the trunk definitely helps.

Speaking of my flag – it has taken a bit of a beating over these few months. But, other than having one of it’s ears slightly torn it has held up to the trunk-test. Mounting it on cardboard and wrapping it in packing tape have really done the trick.

Let’s Get Some Points, Shall We?

My travels over the last two weekends took me through New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In covering that ground you could pick off post offices and firehouses all day long. But as strange as it may sound, stopping is the hardest part. You’re out on your bike and the desire to ride trumps the desire to win. So, you sail right by bonus points all day long.

Given my interest in roadside Americana, my favorite categories for the E2E Rally are: Oversized Roadside Statues, Covered Bridges and Static Trains – with a side helping of Historical Landmarks and Cemeteries over 100 Years Old. Luckily, these are high point stops for the rally. That means I get to marry my interests in riding to the object, seeing it and collecting points.

This past weekend I kicked off my day out with a nice breakfast at the Clinton Station Diner. The most delicious 7 points of the day.

Somehow I managed to rope my husband Kenny in to coming along with me. You’d think after all these years together, he would have learned his lesson when my alarm clock goes off on the weekend but, nope… he still rides with me.

Once in a while he stands in and models for me, too. I’ll take superstrong hubby lifting giant barbells for 7 points, Alex.

On Saturday night we were at a birthday party. While there, someone asked what we would be doing the following day.

“I think we’re going to go check out some giant barbells,”  I answered.

“Giant barbells. Of course,” he said.

No surprise there. :)

Double Indian Points

Getting to see 2 giant roadside indians for 14 points? Not a bad deal, I’d say.

Plus, the giant chief that stands at the Big Indian Shop in Shelburne Falls, Ma. is just east of a smokin’ section of route 2 from North Adams. That’s a great ride.

Have a Seat …or Two

You know, you can go a whole lifetime without ever seeing a giant chair on the road. That is unless you live near Gardner, Massachusetts. But, I guess that’s to be expected from a place called ‘The Chair City.’

They Do Exist!

Oversized Roadside? Yea, I think I have that category covered. In the most yummy way possible!

The facade of Mars Chocolate in Hackettstown, New Jersey has giant M&Ms that greet you at the front door. Not only are they squeal-worthy fabulous but they’re also good for 7 points.

During their last podcast, James & Chris mentioned that I was riding in first place on points. But they also mentioned that there were tons of pictures still in the queue to be processed. Knowing what I submitted – which hasn’t been that many this summer- I don’t think i’ll be staying there for long.

We’ll see.

In the meantime – I’ll just keep enjoying the ride.