Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools Rally 2012–Day 2

It’s amazing what food, a shower and some sleep will do for you.  I was up before my alarm went off and started working on my route. I discovered the problem with my GPS, some how the order of the way points had become scrambled and it had me back tracking quite a bit between a few spots. Since I was behind on my schedule though by about 2 hours I shaved a few bonuses and re-optimized the ones I kept.

I got over to the gas station just a few minutes after my 6 hour REST window was completed, filled the bike full of fuel and headed south on I-35 for 2 exits. I needed to bag my EAT bonus at the nearby McDonalds and then grab the Oklahoma City limit sign for the FOOLS bonus. By 6:45 all of that was done and I was rolling up I-35 to my first planned bonus of the day.

An old caboose in Choctaw, OK was the bonus I was after. And I drove right by it at first because I was blindly following my GPS. When I realized the GPS was in error and that I was not going to drive down some guy’s driveway I turned around and found it back down the street.

14 - CCH

Next I rode up through the country side to Arcadia, OK for the BARN bonus. When I arrived I saw a big red barn, pulled up in front of it and snapped the picture. The problem however is that I failed to read the bonus listing which said, “Take a picture of the historical marker across OK-66, just South of the red barn.” Doh!!!! That was 104 points and time lost. RTFP!

15 - BARN

The Edmond Post Office Massacre fountain was next on the list. Riding into suburbs like this one can really slow the pace. I’m simply not going to blast through 35mph zones at 70mph. That’s not me. As I was approaching the bonus I saw another rider go through the intersection in front of me. I was certain I had seen my first rally participant of the entire ride. Bagging the bonus was easy and I completed my second CALLIN bonus for additional points.

16 - EPOM

Next I went to the Memorial Park Cemetery for the WILEY bonus. As I was riding up to the cemetery the other rally rider (Phil) was coming out. I was tickled to death to see him because it gave me some sense of doing the right thing. I rode into the cemetery and found the monument exactly where the GPS showed it to be. Snapped the photo and logged things.

17 - WILEY

Next I headed south on I-235 to get the OILPNR bonus. The historical marker told the story of Oklahoma’s Oil Pioneers. As I pulled up, Phil was just backing away from the marker. It made it easier to find. Thanks Phil!


From this point the GPS put me on I-44 for a short distance before dropping me onto surface streets and a 45mph speed limit. This slowed me down for about 10 miles until I was able to get past the John Kilpatrick Turnpike, then it was clear sailing at a nice pace. I rolled into Okarche, OK and bagged the BOOZ bonus at the oldest bar in Oklahoma. It was there before Oklahoma was a state.

19 - BOOZ

I had to make a decision at this point to drop one of my bonuses, the Watanga Post Office. It was going to add an extra 50 miles to my ride for a net of 113 points. Plus the GPS wasn’t showing enough time to get the other bonuses so I dropped it.

Next stop was the Kingfisher County War Memorial which was in a cemetery. The GPS had the coordinates right but messed up on the entrance. So I took a little detour before getting my bike into place for the photo. There are a few places that I won’t ride my bike up on the side walk. A war memorial in a cemetery is just such a place.

21 - KCWM

Next stop was the Big Four School historical marker to the east of town. It was easy to find and I bagged the bonus without much of an issue.

22 - BIG4

An old retired plutonium plant in Gutherie, OK. was next along the route. If I didn’t know what it was from the rally packet I would have never suspected it to be a plutonium plant. I’d imagine there’s enough security there to cause you problems if you decided to hop the fence and go nosing around.


A stop at the First Library in Gutherie was my last bonus before I hit the interstate system again.


Then it was back on I-35 down to I-44E. I exited at Chandler to go visit the chapel at the Davenport cemetery. I was getting closer to the end of the rally.


Next stop was the Sac & Fox Veterans Memorial 4.5 miles south of Stroud, OK. While heading south on Hwy 99 I passed Phil again.

27 - SAC

Tick tick tick. The clock was running out. I had allotted myself 30 minutes plus travel time to capture the 2 last bonuses. I rolled up on the Meadowgold sign and snapped the photo with ease. I was feeling good about things.

28 - MGOLD

From Tulsa I was heading down Hwy 64. As I approached the I-44 interchange I saw a big cloud of black smoke rising in front of me along with brake lights. At the last minute I cut over to the exit for I-44W hoping to avoid the calamity. A U-turn at the next exit allowed me to get back on Hwy 64 just a few hundred yards past the problem. A tanker truck had caught fire and the entire front of the truck was completely gone. TFD were on the scene with the fire out from the time I made the U-turn to the time I got back onto Hwy 64.

I arrived at the cemetery to grab my last bonus of the day at 1:10pm. That was plenty of time I thought. I knew the section and started walking along the graves to find CPL Jared Shoemaker. Even though I had the plot location there’s no signs giving directions. Just as I was about to give up I walked right up to his grave, snapped the picture, sat there a little bit and then hot footed it to the bike. It had taken me 25 minutes to bag the bonus and I had only planned 15 minutes.

29 - JARED

When I got back on the bike the GPS told me I would be to the end at 1:51pm. Since my start receipt was 7:59am that meant I had 8 minutes to spare. There was only 1 convenience store along the way and it was on the wrong side of the street. So I opted to skip the COLD bonus (bring a 6 pack of something cold). The bonus was worth 60 points and I decided it wasn’t worth risking the possibility of DNF’ing the rally for a 6pack of cold drinks.

I arrived on time with a few minutes to spare. I wasn’t the first nor the last to arrive. But I had completed the rally within the allotted time.

After introductions and some preliminary story telling we all moved inside to work on our bonus logs. Since I had done mine along the way all I really needed to do was just organize my photos. I went the extra step of renaming them to match the bonus location. Overkill yes, but it made it easier when I wrote the blog.

The scoring process was fair and informative. I learned about my mistake with the BARN bonus and found out where the Wilson Fire Department was located. I took my bike over to the hotel where I was staying and caught a ride back to the rally master’s house for some drinks and grub. It was a great end to a great weekend.


Final results:
6959 points - 1344 miles - LeGalley, Rex
5270 points - 1160 miles - O'Conner, Phil
4891 points - 1161 miles - Getzendanner, Mike
4701 points - 1065 miles - Walters, Brian
DNF - Bracken, Steve
DNF - Durandette, Larry
DNS- Aikens, Steve
DNS - Wall, Cliff

I was the last place finisher, but I finished and that was my goal for my first rally. I maximized my points at every location by sending in a text message for 5 points. That required me to remove my right glove each time to type on the screen. I need to get a stylus or some glove tips if I’m going to do that again.

Some other things I did that could be changed:

I didn’t stay on top of my nutrition Saturday. I was wearing my heart monitor and learned that I burned 3000 calories while riding for 19 hours. However, I didn’t eat 3,000 calories worth of food. I have to fix that next time.

At each stop I was making my complete entry in my bonus log, moving the current bonus listing to the back of the book, etc. This cost me time. I’m going to just record my info in a little note pad and read the details of the next bonus location before pulling out. No more reorganizing the rally book pages while on the clock.

I loaded my entire route into the GPS which was fine except the Zumo can only have 25 waypoints in a route before it’ll go into partial route display mode. I had 30 waypoints at the beginning. And I had no real way to know if I was ahead or behind my schedule. So instead I’ll write the stops in order in my notebook with expected times that I’ll be there. I think I need to re-visit Streets & Trips or DeLorme for their routing features. MapSource is great as a way to load the waypoints into the GPS but not for timing stops and such. I also need to check out BaseCamp to see if it has better routing features like time per stop and stuff so I can quickly create a schedule based on my route.

Reviewing the planned route for traps like the dirt road debacle is also a good idea.

Route planning efficiency was definitely an area that needs improvement. But now that I’ve found the ezBake spreadsheet for Excel I can at least work a little more efficiently when trying to evaluate routes and their potential scores.

Finally I discovered that maintaining an average trip speed of 50 mph (excluding the 6 hour rest time) is quite a tall order. I managed a 44.375mph average for the rally (excluding the 6 hour rest stop). So I have to work on getting that up higher. Efficiency at the stops is paramount.

I had a blast this weekend and I’m already looking forward to my next rally at the end of the month.

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