A new concept in rallying was finally brought into action this year by veteran rallyists and WSCC members Debbi Kanzler and Clair Smith - a summer road rally. This rally was called Second Hand Roads and would be a gimmick type of rally which would include trivia questions. The usual teams gathered at the A&P parking lot on 9A in Briarcliff including Jesse Lipscher and Barbara Gebala, my brother John and GJ Dixon, except GJ would be driving his 'new' truck, and Marguerite again joined me as my eagle eye navigator.
We were handed stacks of papers, 2 answer sheets and a rally terminology sheet with new definitions of everything. This rally, we learned would be an untimed mileage and trivia teaching rally. We had 2 and a half hours to complete 3 sections and finish at Applebee's in Mt. Kisco. First we ran an odometer loop which would be similar to a 10 mile marker, scoring could then be fair to all vehicles.
Section 2 was called Tulip. It consisted of hand drawn diagrams of intersections with an arrow drawn towards where you should go. I have to say, this was hell on my faithful navigator. Twice it took so long to describe the intersection, we were already past it. Most of the time she'd flash the page in my face and say 'here.'
The third section was familiar rally instructions with a twist. We needed to use the new definitions and we needed to answer quizzes by finding the answers on farm signs and road signs as we traveled the route. John and GJ followed very closely for a short distance but vanished at one left turn, never to be seen again until the finish. We passed former member Fred Heine twice, and once he passed us while I was in the woods for an emergency pit stop. Well, actually he stopped and waved. Thanks Fred. ( Later he told me he thought I was pointing to a sign.)
We tried to drive slowly and stay in the middle of our lane as we had been told to do for accurate mileage, while we looked for quiz answers and tried to spot neon painted rose signs stenciled on cardboard that blended very well with the trees and leaf color it was made of. With so much to focus on my navigator began to fight off a headache. The concept of spotting signs turned out to be as simple as conceiving a baby - when you stop trying it suddenly becomes easier.
As Marguerite reached for the advil we came to an intersection across from Applebee's and checked in. We had spotted 6 out of 7 rose sign (7!!!!). We spotted Gary Kanzler who had run the rally with a new partner. Any doubt that he had prior knowledge of the rally was removed by the look on his face. He wasn't happy. Jesse and Barbara finished soon after we did, as did John and GJ. The guys had seen the same number of signs and missed the same trivia questions. They criticized my driving, of course, but it will come down to who had the most accurate distance. My impression the morning after is that it will be a very close rally among many teams.
What did we learn from our day? First, chocolate and caffeine are valuable partners on any rally, even during the day. Second, and not necessarily in order of importance, a good friend is also valuable. A good friend who is a great navigator is the best. We had a beautiful drive and some good laughs along the way. And if you ever see Fred Heine pulled over for a rest stop, please pull over and say hello.