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.
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.
On Saturday I meant to just duck out for a few hours before the rest of the family got up. I figured I could buzz out to New Jersey, see the giant tooth and be back home by lunch time.
But, plans changed back at home and so I stayed out longer than I originally anticipated. It was cool but sunny, so I was only too happy to be exploring.
I lingered around near the Grounds for Sculpture to see ‘America the Beautiful,’ an homage to Grant Wood’s American Gothic.
And the dancers across the way…
I was flittering about exploring old cemeteries, looking for parked trains and other roadside odds and ends.
In the process of doubling back to take a picture of a boat-sized banana split, a lady who decided that she didn’t need to use her mirrors or her eyeballs while behind the wheel decided to back up in the parking lot without looking. She came within inches of knocking me over. I went to honk my horn and… nothing?What the hell?
In that immediate irrational thinking moment, I figured I just didn’t hear the horn because I had music on and the wind was blowing. It seemed impossible that the horn wouldn’t work. But, hey, guess what? When I pressed the button again? Nada.
Ever the optimist, I thought it had to be a fuse or something. I resigned myself to taking a look at it when I got home and went on about my day.
My Tiger Isn’t Feeling Well
Never once did I consider that along with my horn, none of my lights would be working either. I rode around for the whole day? Part of the day? Who knows – with no headlight and no tail/brake light. Scary!
The dashboard was fully lit up, the sun was up and so I didn’t pick up any visual cues that I had a greater problem. Now in hindsight I realize I could have looked for my own headlight reflection in the back on another car. But I didn’t. My life is a cautionary tale.
When I got home, Kenny immediately started poking around on my bike while I shed my gear. If you allow the bars to sit at straight ahead, unturned position – the lights and horn failed. If the bars were turned the bars to the right – everything worked. Turn to the left, nothing.
I don’t want you guys to think I’ve gone all smart and stuff so I will be using my usual technical language here.
There is a “thingy” below the ignition key tumbler that seems to be the culprit. If you press it up towards the key, everything works with the bars in any position. If you don’t press that “thingy” everything only works when the bars are turned to the right.
I’ve got to call the dealer tomorrow to see if I can get my bike in ASAP.
In the meantime, Kenny has cleared his Tiger for me to use – you know – if I should find myself in some type of rally emergency situation where I need to visit a giant elephant in south Jersey or something.
I have to say, it’s kind of handy having a husband that rides, too. 🙂
Photo Rally Bonus Hunting – Links, Books, Google Maps
With photo bonus rallies being in the forefront of my riding-mind lately, I thought I would offer up some of the resources that I use to find interesting locations to ride to and places to see.
Blogs, Websites & Books
There are so many corners of the internet that can help to fuel your desire to get out and explore. The following books, blogs and websites are just some of the ones I find helpful in searching for places to visit.
I have also found that searching sites like Flickr, Pinterest, ADVRider also offer some good inspiration for thing to research and visit.
If you have a location in mind that you’d like to visit, chamber of commerce, city or town websites often prove to be good places to look for historical landmarks.
You can also try Googling for interesting KML files and maps. For example – say you’re interested in Old Long Island Burial Grounds. Perhaps someone has already done the work for you and was kind enough to share it with the world.
Sure, nothing beats good old fashioned riding by the seat of your pants, serendipity and exploring – but these links might help you get on the road to something you hadn’t thought of before.
If you’re anything at all like me, you spend an awful lot of time sitting at a desk each week. During these (seemingly endless) hours, my mind wanders to thoughts of places that I’d like to ride to.
And… just as soon as the ideas enter my mind, it seems they’re on the way out again. So, I’ve taken to marking these spots onto a custom Google Map. I then export the placemarks and put the waypoints into my GPS.
Creating Custom Google Maps
Google offers the following video on creating your own maps:
After you’ve created your custom map, you can go back and add, delete and edit entries at any time. Just select your maps from ‘My Places’ on the left hand side of your GMaps screen.
I created a map for the E2E Rally that I keep adding placemarks to so I don’t forget where I want to go. Eventually.
Just something to keep in mind when using Google Maps – if you just enter a word or phrase like saaaay – “post office” into the search field, it will pop up a ton of locations that you can then click and Save to Map.
That makes finding specific things and saving them to your map a snap.
Google Maps allows you to export your custom map points out to a KML file. Since I cannot use a KML file in Garmin’s BaseCamp to ultimately load into my Zumo 665, I need to convert the KML file to a GPX file.
I was supposed to be on vacation this past week. Instead, life happened. Dashed were the daydreams I had of sneaking off to pick up a few interesting E2E Rally bonus locations like the giant barbells in Quakertown, Pa. That stop will just be another one for the ole To Do List.
The upside of going back at a later date would be talking Wendyvee from Roadside Wonders into meeting me there and going for lunch. She’d also be the perfect person to snap my photo trying to get on the barbells. Or to call an ambulance when I break my neck …trying to get on the barbells. One day I will grow into a graceful swan. In the meantime, I’m fun to laugh at.
In the hours that I was able to squeeze in since last week, I did pick up some more bonus stops. Though I have picked up a couple here and there, I’ve tried to avoid going for the easy pickins like Post Office, Police Station and Firehouse here on Long Island. There are a bajillion of those around. I’m trying to keep them in my back pocket for days when I don’t have a lot of time.
This week I seemed to pick up a lot of trains, cemeteries and historical landmarks with a light sprinkling of oversized roadside stuff. You know, just to keep things silly.
Living in an area that had a lot of early settlers means a big selection of cemeteries that are well over 100 years old. I’m quite surprised by just how many, in fact.
One thing that the Rally has taught me so far is that no matter how much planning I do, how many books I read, or placemarks I put on a map – there is no substitute for just opening my eyes to my surroundings. I cannot believe some of the great things I have simply overlooked going about my day to day life. Things that were hiding in plain sight.
I’ve lived in the same town here on Long Island for 11 years now. Yesterday I ‘found’ a train car that I’d never noticed before, even though I’ve passed it no less than 5 million times. Wake up and smell the coffee!
It’s been great looking through all of the photo galleries and seeing where the Rally is taking people. If you’re doing the E2E Rally also, I hope you’re having fun with it.