Big Time Muff : Riding the Titan Quest 24-Hour Rally
The Titan Quest
August 8-9, 2015
A 24-hour flag and photo bonus rally that highlights muffler men, Whispering Giants and giant roosters? Here, take my money!
For the Titan Quest 24-hour Rally, riders could start their rally at 6am from anywhere they wanted to on Saturday August 8. Official start was marked by getting a time stamped receipt. Participants would then ride around taking point valued bonus photos from a provided list of stops. Photos were required to have their rally mascot and the bonus object in the picture. Each stop was then logged in order on a score sheet.
To finish the rally, riders had to get an ending time stamped receipt no more than 23:59:59 hours after their start time. Lastly, each rider had to then be at Yoder’s Restaurant in New Holland, Pa. for check-in by 11:00am to complete the rally and go through scoring.
Sounds simple, right?
You would think so but the devil is always in the details. Fatigue, human error, being unsure of the process – they can all conspire against you. A bad photo, a bad receipt, forgetting to log a bonus on the score sheet – the administrativa can trip a rider up when they’re hyper-focused on riding the ride.
The Bonus List
When I received the bonus listing for the rally, it became clear very quickly that I would once again be fighting for the middle of the pack. Maybe. The spacing of the high point bonuses were beyond my personal mileage reach. So with that in mind I planned my route to stop and smell the roses. I would visit several things that I’ve long wanted to see while still being able to collect a decent amount of points.
I like to think that I offer a service to the other rally riders. By backfilling the bottom of the scorecard, I help to make them look good 😉
The bonus point structure for the Titan Quest was very simple.
1 point for each muffler man
1 point for each rooster
5 points for a few scattered bonuses
100 points for a Whispering Giant
1000 points for a few scattered bonuses
10,000 points for the Farnham Colossi – A private collection of Muffler men in West Virginia
100,000 points for a 2 hour rest stop
It was clear that if you wanted to “win” you would have to plan a route that avoided stopping for muffler men and chickens. You would have to string together a route that:
- Went to Farnham Colossi
- Took a rest bonus
- Visited as many 1,000 point stops as you could
- Visited Whispering Giants
The 1 point stops, unless you were tripping on top of them wouldn’t be worth taking the time for.
My rally started from Dover, Delaware. The intent was to stop at three Whispering Giants I hadn’t yet visited for the Whispering Giants Grand Tour. From there I would head south, stopping to see some fiberglass behemoths. Forced sightseeing, thanks to Hammy. The only trick was getting my stops done before the snarl of beach traffic descended upon the Delmarva peninsula.
It’s The Little Things That Are So Huge
The riding down along the Delmarva peninsula was pretty dull. I wouldn’t be sad if I never rode down Route 13 ever again. But as I cruised on to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, that waning excitement perked up a bit and I had something of a “moment.”
The heavy skies were mottled with blues and grays while a light spray of rain fell. The bridge’s twin roadways rose on stilts above the churning water. It was a sight to see the bridges beating back the bay, rising above it, persevering.
Something about the scene made me acutely aware of how small I am in the world and I was overcome with a curious mix of fear, exhilaration and excitement. In that moment I was keenly aware of my fragile humanness. I don’t know what it was about crossing over the water that brought that on. It was something abstract yet so powerful.
Riding along, I watched as impossibly huge cargo ships skimmed over the water. I had to stop at the south tunnel overlook to take in the view. Standing there I saw a naval ship steam by in all its menacing, dark gray glory. How could something so huge and potentially ferocious slip by so silently? A sleeping giant. It was beautiful.
The southernmost point of my trip was in Virginia Beach, Virginia where I visited a Whispering Giant at Trashmore Park.
For me, the turnaround point is often met with a mix of relief and something like melancholy. On one hand you’re happy because this event, this rally you’re working on is cruising along and you’re getting the job done and yet… the rally is just that much closer to being over. Something you looked forward to is marching towards being done.
The King of the Muffler Men
Would you look at this guy? Isn’t he dreamy?
As a muffler man lover, I was only too happy to visit this fella at the Auto King in Newport News, Virginia. He is clearly well-loved by his keepers, he is in great shape.
The Slow Creep
From the time I left the muffler man in Newport News, I ran in to bottlenecks and slow traffic all the way to West Virginia. I watched helplessly as my estimated time of arrival to the next bonus added more and time. In a fit of exasperation I pulled off the highway and decided to eat something. If I was going to be off schedule, I might as well embrace it with a sodium-laden, meat hug.
I stood in the parking lot of a McDonald’s eating a cheeseburger with my back towards the building. I was happy being on my feet and not my bum. It is amazing what wearing the wrong type of underwear can do after 500 miles. I’d made a poor choice even though I know better.
While I stood there contemplating my own ass, behind me a little boys voice said, “Wooooow, Daaaaaad, that lady rode her motorcycle all the way from New York.” I couldn’t help but smile. There was so much amazement and bigness of the world in his drawn out words that they sent my heart a-flutter. It was a shot in the arm to get going.
The big momma bonus points were found in the hills of West Virginia – the Farnham Colossi.
Though I’d been there several times before I was happy to see the stop on the bonus list. Aren’t they awesome?
Okay, I’m Tired
The leg between the Newport News muffler man and the Farnham muff group was a little over 200 miles. By the time I’d gotten to West Virginia between the heat and the traffic, my enthusiasm was starting to waver. The bonus stops are the payoff of this game, so when I stretch the distance between my mood starts to go south.
I was facing down another 100+ miles on the slab before I would see my next stop in Maryland. I had to steel myself for more sitting on the highway. It is in those moments that I feel like I can’t go on. Droning away on the highway isn’t fun so I have to find ways to trick myself into making it bearable.
By the time I’d reached the Desert Storm muffler man in Havre de Grace, Maryland the dark had settled in and my enthusiasm was at an all time low. Pulling in to a gas station for about 15 minutes, I called home to have my husband Kenny talk me off the ledge.
It was clear I was tired and even though I had drunk fluids all day I don’t think it had been enough. Using his well-honed expertise in talking me back from the brink of a meltdown, Kenny encouraged me to take a rest and follow through with my route as best I could.
After a few more closely situated bonus stops, I decided to grab a hotel room to take a nap. I clocked out for rest at 11:30pm. Though I closed my eyes for merely a second, somehow 3 hours went by. At 3:30am, I clocked back in to my rally and continued on.
My remaining time window for collecting bonuses would close at 6:04am. That didn’t leave me much ground to cover, but I was okay with that. I’d visited all the new things that I’d wanted to see so in that regard my rally was already a win.
After serendipitously spotting a rooster that could count as a write in bonus, I had to hightail it to a store to get my ending receipt. With 2 minutes to spare on my receipt time, my rally came to a close.
When I arrived at Sheetz another rider, Dale was at the table outside doing paperwork. After getting my receipt I made my way back outside and introduced myself. We spent the next couple hours drinking coffee, killing time and talking about the rally, riding and life in general. You meet the nicest people on motorcycles.
Following check-in at the rally brunch and going through scoring it turns out I didn’t do so hot. It wasn’t unexpected so I don’t feel so bad about it. I came in 10th place out of 14 finishers. BUT! I did win the Explorer Award for bagging the most Muffler Men and Roosters. Check out my hula girl trophy!
“It’s a Major Award!”
The Long Slog Home
Though thankfully uneventful, my ride home from New Holland, Pa. after the brunch was another 200 miles. Time during that trek seemed to move at a glacial pace. It felt like it took me 3 years to finally pull into my driveway.
Then just like that – all the planning, the scheming, the wondering was all put to bed. My rally weekend was over. Through the typical meltdown, the sore rump and the sleepy eyes, I’d had a mighty fine time.
Home again, home again, jiggity jig.
- Rally Length: 24 Hours
- Bonus Highlights
- 8 Muffler Men
- 6 Chickens
- 3 Whispering Giants
- Rode 835 Rally Miles
- Took a 4 Hour Rest Bonus
- Earned 112,331 Points / 134.5 Points per Mile
- Finished 10th out of 14
- Had a great time