The Hot Buttered Goat Rally, 2013
August 31, 2013 will remain a memorable day for me. It was the day I learned how to have fun on a Rally, thanks to the ingenious and loveable Johnathan "Hammy" Tan. I have been doing this thing for a little over a year. I enjoy rallies tremendously. But that enjoyment is the enjoyment of a job well done. It may sound odd, but rallies, at least the riding, are not "fun" for me.
This rally had me having fun on the ride. It was a traditional photo based rally. There were a few wildcards in there, however, and these were what made the rally fun for me.
The Start, Stereotypes Ho!
In this rally, we could start anywhere we wanted to. We just had to get a start receipt after 7:50 AM. My initial plan had me gassing up for a receipt in Stockton, NJ, about 3 miles from a bonus. On my way to Stockton, I passed through Sergeantsville, which had 2 little stores that were open, and was only a mile from my first bonus. PERFECT!
Except, it wasn't. The first store I waled into had all the trappings of a small rural store. 4 bearded, bespectacled overall wearing gents sat out front, sipping coffee and nibbling. Walked into the store, and it is what is to be expected, some food items, a small grill, and the owners sitting behind the counter. This is where reality diverged from expectations.
The owners of this small general store were Asian. Very Asian. Literally, "wha you wan?". I mean, straight out of central casting. I walked into the store and saw a receipt hanging out of the register.
Here is the exchange, literally, I am not making any racist jokes here.
Me: "Can I see that receipt?"
Shop Owner: "Wha you wan?"
Me: "The receipt. I just want to look at it."
S O: "Why you wan my receipt? Buy something, get receipt."
Me: "If the receipt has what I need on it, I will buy something."
S O: "You buy or you go!"
Me: "OK, please let me see the receipt, I just want to see if it as the time on it"
S O: "Crock is on wall! There time! Why you need my receipt?"
Me: "I just need to know the receipt has a time on it, please"
S O: "OK, OK, OK, you can have receipt."
Me: "Thank you" and then I look at the receipt. It says 5:05 PM, August 30th.
Me: "Is this receipt fro yesterday or today?"
S O: "Receipt from today. Crock on legister messed up"
Hory Clap. (OK, that was a racist joke).
I thanked him and went over to the next store. Pretty much the same set up, minus the Asian store owners. This store was owned by some cast members from Deliverance. At least this is what I expected, although a little cliche, to be honest.
Me: "May I see a receipt?"
Cletus: "Whut you want that fer?"
Me: "I just need to see what info it has on it."
Cletus: "It is just a receipt"
Me: I grab a mallet and start pounding my nuts flat. That was much less painful. "Thanks for the mallet. Now, can I see a receipt, please?"
Cletus: "Here ya go." Receipt has nothing useful on it.
Me: "Thanks again, now do you have ice to put on my smashed nuts?"
So I wander back to my bike, about 10 minutes behind, and head over to Stockton, my initial plan. Get there and the gas station I was going to use was closed. Grrrr..... I knew there was another a few blocks away, and I headed for that. Luckily it was open and I got a good starting receipt. JT was also there. We spoke briefly and figured out we had the same starting route.
Off we go!
First stop, Sergeantsville Bridge. Had to get the bridge and the roadway. We had no rally flag, so we were required to have a mascot in all our pictures. Kate had purchased a little Oscar the Grouch for me, so he was my mascot. He was not even mad I kept calling him the Grinch at scoring.
Next stop was Northlandz, a train display / museum kind of deal. I got there several hours before opening, so I just snapped my pic and moved on. As I was heading South from this bonus, I saw JT coming North. He was about 3 minutes behind me the whole first half of the rally, I would guess.
Hot Dog Johnny's. A NJ Staple. They paved since the last time I stopped in.
Bill's Old Bike Barn. This is a super cool museum of motorcycles and some other moto related stuff. This is where the fun part of the rally started for me. There were major bonus points (50) for enjoying a tour of any of the bonii that had tours. Bill's did.
Of course I could not pass on easy points. But I was a few minutes ahead of schedule and decided to actually walk around a bit, instead of just paying the $5, walking in, taking a pic and leaving.
Here is how Oscar feels about the museum.
Knoebels. Knoebels is an amusement park in central PA. Family owned and operated, it is a cool spot to bring the family. The ferris wheel was our photo target, worth 20 points, but there was even more fun (there is that word again) to be had!
At Knoebels, there is no parking fee nor a gate fee. You just buy tickets or all day passes to ride rides. Each coaster was $2.50, so Oscar and I bought $5 worth of tickets and got lost in the park.
Going up the first rise on Phoenix! Wooden Coasters are really the most fun. There is a visceral, elemental feel to them.
Of course this was tempered by the fact that I was wearing full riding gear, with my stretchy under garment and carrying a small stuffed Oscar. All this while going up to rides and asking kids if they were riding alone (so I could get a seat). Luckily, I got out of there before someone thought I was a pedophile with a Codura fetish.
On my way out of town, I realized I was the only person on the entire road, except the people lining the sidewalks to watch the parade. So I hit the switch and turned on the party lights on my bike.
Boylestown, PA is home to Bears. Decorated Bears. They were sooooo cute and sooooo worth the points. Each bear was only worth 1 point, but you could grab up to 30 of them. I snatched up 31, just to have some insurance. This was fun, but I am still me, so I had a solid plan and map in my tank bag.
Philadelphia, the anti time sink
Traditionally, I prefer to avoid major cities during rallies, especially during a holiday weekend. The "optimal" route, as laid out by Streets and Trips, had me stopping the the lighthouse, then going through downtown Philly to Johnny Hots, then more downtown to U Bastard.
I knew this was a losing strategy. I also knew Philly was a must do, as there were a total of 75 points there. So I played with the order of stops a bit, and came up with a solution that almost all highway. The new order was Johnny Hots, U Bastard and then the Lighthouse. Worked out perfectly. I was in and out of Philly in about 20-25 minutes.
Wrap it up!
I took some pride in my arrival at Rally HQ. I finished within 2 miles and 2 minutes of my plan. This is the type of enjoyment I normally get from a rally, but the fun I had hunting bears, riding roller coasters and taking tours was not to be forgotten.
I was also pleasantly surprised that my Kate was there. She had bailed in the AM on riding the rally because she was not feeling well, but she decided to ride out and help Hammy.
I managed to squeak out a win against JT, but it was oh so close. He was all over me, and any mistake would have put him in first. Well done JT.
Here are pics of the rally staff and riders.