Happy Halloween and welcome to Ghouls Gambol.
On October 30, 21 teams ran Cascade’s 55th Halloween rally, forebodingly titled Grave Undertakings.
The course was about 100 miles long and took nearly four hours to complete. The weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the bright blue sky. Autumn color blazed all along the rally route.
Beginning in northwest Portland, the route traveled through Washington Park, along Skyline and into Washington County.
Roads familiar to Cascade road rally for decades flowed by - West Union, Helvetia, Jackson Quarry (home of the famous Pumpkin Bridge of past Ghouls Gambol rallies).
The route then made its way down Mason Hill and into North Plains for a mid-rally break ending at the Jessie Mays Community Park.
After the break the course headed out Pumpkin Ridge, through Roy and then Verboort, followed by a short transit to Forest Grove for a quick break at the Fern Hill Wetlands Visitors Center. From there it was a short hop over Blooming Fern Hill to Iowa Hill, Dober Road (my favorite), and the final stretch on Burkhalter, to the ending location at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro.
Best Decorated Car Winners
Best Decorated Car awards went to Car #2 with Kevin and Angelique Ortega, Car #3 with Bobbie and David McDonald, and Car #10 with Bill and Kelly Ferber.
What ralliers said:
Thanks for a fun day!!
Was really a great day for a road rally, one spot we were able to see Mt Hood, St Helen's and Rainer!
Thank you for hosting another great rally!!
It was awesome!!
We had a fantastic time today!
What the rallymasters said:
We wanted Grave Undertakings to be a lightly trapped event in the spirit of traditional trick and trap rallies. The difficulty level could be described as “SaagerPalooza light”. We used classic rally traps like the number switch and the spelling trap.
Starting at the very beginning with Monte’s odo trap in the first route instruction.
NRI 1 - Begin odometer calibration zone. Take 50 minutes to complete the next 22 NRIs.
NRI 22 - End odometer calibration zone. CAST 25.
NRI 23 - R on MALHEUR. PAUSE 10 seconds.
The trick is that the “next 22 NRIs” ends at NRI 23. The 50 minutes ends when you complete NRI 23, including the pause. See, that’s not hard. A quick GPS checkpoint, PC3 ended the first leg, highlighting the numerically competent.
It didn’t take long to encounter the second trick, a number switch. If you do the instructions in the order printed on the page, you go counterclockwise through the Bendemeer neighborhood. But if you do the instructions in correct numerical order, you go clockwise, past ralliers who are wondering why you’re going the other way. Everyone comes back to West Union and goes right. The printed page folks found an opportunity to use the Black Cat note so they paused, evening up the time a bit with the numerical order folks. The teams soon rejoined their common route, and PC4 ended the leg.
A spelling trap followed a time-of-day restart on Skyline.
NRI 35 - R on ELLIOTT ITIS. CAST 20. PAUSE 75 seconds.
NRI 36 - R on ROCK CREEK. CAST 32.
Since NRI 35 is an ITIS (if there is such), you’re looking not only for an opportunity to go right on a road named Elliott, but you’re also looking for a right on Rock Creek. Whichever one comes first, you do.
The whole setup should make you suspicious. Regardless, we watched on our magic Rallymaster Map as team after team went right on Eliot using NRI 35, paused, and then went right on Rock Creek. We saw only six teams correctly pass up the incorrectly spelled ITIS and continue on Skyline to go right on Rock Creek. Those teams saw a sideroad named Elliott on their right where the off course teams joined them back on their common route. PC8 ended that leg.
NRI 41 - PAUSE 15 seconds at STOP ITIS.
This seems pretty straightforward. You come to a stop sign along the route. Do you pause? The stop sign is at a railroad crossing. There are no other roads here besides the one you are on. Since STOP is a term defined in the glossary of the Road Rally Rules as an intersection with an official highway stop sign at which you are legally obligated to stop, and since a railroad crossing is not an intersection of rally roads where you could proceed in more than one direction, then no, you do not pause. Scores for PC11 tell the tale.
NRI 47 - PAUSE 15 seconds at “STOP” ITIS.
Same scenario. This stop sign is also at a railroad crossing. But since what you’re looking for now is a sign saying stop (all caps in quotes), then yes, you do pause. So you use this ITIS instruction. PC12 was a long leg.
Can’t forget the old “distance between the NRIs” trap. Here it is.
NRI 76 - PAUSE 30 seconds at STOP (Hwy 47). If the distance tween NRI 76 and NRI 77 is less than 1 mile, PAUSE 15 seconds.
NRI 77 - L on KANSAS CITY.
Since the NRIs exist only on the page, the distance between them is less than two inches so clearly less than a mile. There was lots of discussion about this one during the Q & A meeting the night before the rally. Most of the concern was about specifically where to pause that extra 15 seconds. It doesn’t matter where you pause as long as you do it before the next PC. This trap was on PC18.
Throughout latter parts of the rally, a note was in effect.
Note Graveyard - PAUSE 15 seconds at CEMETERY.
The first encounter was Saint Francis Cemetery in Roy in PC17. The second was Hillside Cemetery in PC19. The third was Visitation Cemetery in Verboort, PC20. The fourth was Fern Hill Cemetery on Hergert, PC21. And finally Pioneer Cemetery on Burkhalter, PC 23.
The rallymasters faced some challenges of their own while writing this rally. During one of our runs through the course, we discovered a road on our route was going to be closed until October 18. No worries. We would rough measure up to the closure and pick up on the other side. Then we could final measure on the 18th with plenty of time to finish the calculations before the checkout one week ahead on October 23. Then panic! The road closure was extended through October 28! We were out there that evening soon after the road opened finishing the final course measurements. Whew!
During one of our last runs through the course, we were saved by these good Samaritans who cleared a fallen tree out of our path.
Trick and trap rally has always been our favorite style of rally. And rally doesn’t have to be hard to be tricky. The more disguised, the better. If everyone gets through the trap and continues on course, none the wiser, then we have attained rallymaster nirvana.
Don’t misunderstand. We enjoy putting on a program of easy rallies that are welcoming to new ralliers and supportive of novice teams. We plan to continue to support that program as Geargrinders Chair again in 2022. Our hope is that recent recruits will become veterans and continue to support the program for years to come. For us, it’s just nice to let loose now and then and throw some easy curve balls. We had fun writing this rally.
Congratulations to the winners:
First overall and first Unlimited was the team of Paul Eklund and Yulia Smolyansky with a total score of 64, including 13 perfect zero legs out of 19 scored legs.
They nailed the odo trap, correctly navigated both the number switch and the Elliot spelling trap. They zeroed both the STOP ITIS and the “STOP” ITIS legs. They didn’t fall for the “NRIs less than a mile apart” trap.
They misinterpreted the graveyard note, however, pausing at each sign instead of just at each landmark and that cost them some points in leg 17. In leg 23 they missed the last cemetery.
All in all, an impressive run. Congratulations on your win!
Second overall and first in the GPS class was the team of Bob Morseburg and Cheri Eddy. They had a score of 3 or less on 12 legs, including 3 zeroes. Well done. Second GPS was Robert Paxman and William Pollard.
Third overall and first in the SOP class was the team of Tracy Ringering and Simon Levear. Second in the SOP class was the team of Brian and Jamie Anderson. Bill and Kelly Ferber finished third SOP.
Fourth overall and first in the Novice class was the team of Kevin and Angelique Ortega. Finishing second in the Novice class was the team of Lee Nielsen and Chuck Winkler. Jason and Emily Krieg finished third Novice.
Congratulations to all!