Didn’t go to any clinics this morning…instead I spent money! I still have the stock seat on the KLR and my butt keeps complaining about it, so I bought an AirHawk seat pad. It is a neat little pad that straps onto your seat and inflate to the desired pressure. Hopefully it will make things a little better for me when doing long distance riding.
After installing the new seat, we set off of the fun run for the rally. It was like a poker run, except at each station, you drew a card with a number and a person. The number was how many years that particular person has worked at the rally. Highest score wins.
The first checkpoint on the ride was at Panarama Point County Park in Hood River, OR. The first leg was all pavement, but there was the most difficult challenge of the trip – going over the Hood River grated bridge with knobby tires. Of course it was about a half hour ride down to the bridge, giving me plenty of time to question why I was actually participating in this event. It turns out, it wasn’t too bad – they were doing construction on the bridge, so traffic was stop and go all the way across.
The next issue – we got lost on the first checkpoint. We loaded the GPX files onto our Garmins, but the route crisscrossed all over the place, which confused us and our gps units. Eventually I pulled out my Windows Phone and figured out how to get to the park from the internet.
Once we arrived, we found that we missed the checkpoint people by about 10 minutes . However, there was a pretty spectacular view of Mt Hood from the park.
This section took us to Gibson Horse Camp. We finally got offroad on this section – nothing too hard though. There were spectacular views of Mt Hood all along the way. We started to figure out a better system for using their routes – they had various waypoints along the way. We would just have the GPS go to the next waypoint and route us using the maps on the GPS, which we would cross-check with the track that we were given. This worked much better.
Once again we missed the checkpoint.
This checkpoint was at the Cloud Cap Inn. This is a historic landmark on the NE face of Mt Hood at about 6000’. There was a mix of pavement and dirt on the way to this one. Also, our new found technique for following the GPS waypoints failed – I didn’t have all the Oregon maps loaded in . On the last section up to the top, the checkpoint people passed us going the other way…we chatted with them and they said we could draw when we got back to camp.
This was the best of the checkpoints out of them all. Spectacular views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams and Mt St Helens.
This checkpoint was at Kingsley Reservoir. Probably a 50/50 paved to dirt ratio. The views weren’t quite as scenic on this one, but it was still a fun ride. The checkpoint was in a parking lot at the reservoir, but the waypoint went down a road past it…turned out that the waypoint was in the wrong spot, but it turned out to be the most technical (and fun) part of the ride. Once we went past the waypoint, we decided to turn around and head back to the parking lot, however my Dad didn’t pick the best spot to make his turn…
We actually made it to this checkpoint on time – well, not exactly. We were late, but the checkpoint people were still there.
Western Antique Airplane and Automotive museum. We left checkpoint 4 after checkpoint 5 had already closed, but since it was only 10 miles away we decided to go take a picture. The two people that were manning checkpoint 4 didn’t have a GPS and asked if they could follow us all the way back. Oh yeah, they were both motorcycle instructors. So, now I’m leading the way thinking I’m being critiqued by the instructors. No extra pressure there . Sure enough the checkpoint was closed when we arrived, but we took a picture anyhow.
The ride back was along the Columbia on the Oregon side. To get back to Stevenson, we had to go over The Bridge of the Gods – another grated bridge. It turned out to not be so bad. They let us draw our final card back at camp. Final score Scott – 26, Grandpa – 28.
Overall it was a very fun day!