Park & Ride
8 Hour Rally
Rally Master, Ellen Welter
The Park & Ride rally is an 8 hour motorcycle rally in which you can start where ever you want.  The only criteria is that you have to have a starting receipt at 0700 or later and you have to be at the finish before 1500 hours.  The bonus locations are sent out one week in advance so you have plenty of time to do your routing and planning, well that is if you have the time and are not planning a rally of your own.  The rally started on Saturday October 20th.  I looked at the rally pack for the first time Thursday night when I up loaded all the waypoints into Map Source.  They looked pretty spread out with the exception of the few in the downtown area of Los Angles.  You have to understand that to me, anything south of Kern County and north of San Diego is Los Angles.  I don't get down there much. 

It was late.  I went to bed.

Friday morning I had a couple of hours so I worked on my route.  I crunched the numbers a bit and figured I would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 points per mile to be close to winning this rally.  I came up with a route that I figured I would be able to ride safely within the 8 hours.  It was less than 400 miles and did not get me my 18 points per mile but that's what I get for waiting until the last minute to start routing.  I wrote out my bonus locations on 3x5 cards and loaded up the bike for a 0600 start Saturday morning.  Below is the route I came up with.
I left the house at 0600 and headed for Kernville.  CycleSmiths was going to be my first bonus location and I know that there is a Shell gas station in Kernville.  I arrived in Kernville at 0650 and went and checked in with Wendy just to make sure all was well there.  She was rolling bikes out of her garage preparing for the day.  We talked for a couple of minutes and I headed over to the Shell.  There was already a bike at the pumps waiting for the clock to tick it's way to 0700.  Turns out this rider was none other than Eirk Lipps.  We both topped off our tanks and pulled a receipt from the Shell.  Time on both of our receipts was exactly 0700.  The day had officially begun!  Erik arrives at CycleSmiths just ahead of me and is collecting the bonus.  I roll in, grab my picture, grab my shop stamped rally flier, shake Wendy's' hand and off I go.
Erik made a right hand turn out of CycleSmiths, I made a left and that is where I left 422 points on the table.  I did not want to ride the Lions Trail because I thought that it would take me too long.  I should have!  That is all I am going to say about it.  I was lazy!  My left hand turn took me up and over Walker Pass and out into the desert.  I knew I would be able to make good time and eat while on the straight roads.  I rolled into Mojave and found my next bonus at the airport.  Seems like this location has been getting a lot of use in rally's lately.  I had to take a picture of some plaques from the parking lot which were near the "Mojave Air and Space Port Building and Flag Pole."  Found some plaques in the parking lot so I took a picture of them.  I could see no other plaques from the parking lot.  I guess there was some construction which had taken place after the bonus was scouted which changed the view.  My picture was good enough to prove I was there!
After getting this picture I headed back out into the desert and headed south towards "Harley's Rock Inn."  I had been there before and I had come in from the southeast before.  I knew I would be able to get a few extra ticks added to the clock on the way in.  I arrived at the Inn and the instructions said to take a picture of the outside of the building with the sign visible.  Hmmmm, I don't see a sign on the front.  I park the bike and get off to look around for a sign.  There is another rider there and he is taking a picture of the building.  I don't see the sign he is supposed to be taking a picture of.  I check around the sides of the building.  No sign.  I guess the sign is gone and a picture of the building is going to have to be good enough, I have wasted a lot of time here looking for a sign!  Turns out the sign was taken down after the bonus was scouted.  My picture was good enough!
The next bonus on my route was the Ruins of Tumble Inn.  The Tumble Inn is located on the old Ridge Route, Hwy 99.  I knew when I routed this that Map Source added a fair amount of time to the trip.  I figured it was because of the twisties.  No worries, I am running well ahead of schedule at this point.  I am riding along just fine and then a sign up ahead indicates the road is no longer maintained by the county.  I think to myself, "Well, then I wonder who is maintaining it?"  About that time I discovered that nobody is maintaining the road!  Up on the pegs I go keeping as much speed as I could.  I am not a very good dirt rider so I was not moving all that fast but, I was moving faster than some of the other folks I saw coming in as I was going out.  Found the Ruins, took my picture and got out of there.  There was a hunter on a quad lurking nearby and I did not want to be a victim!
Now, if you look at the route it appears that I back track at this point to the north on I-5.  I did that for a very good reason.  Fort Tejon State Park was worth 427 points.  That is a nice chunk of points and it will link in nicely with the Vista Del Lago Visitor Center Bonus which was worth 675 points.
Well, here is another spot in the rally where not spending enough time routing and not being familiar with the area played against me a touch.  My next bonus was "The Oak of the Golden Dream" in Newhall.  It should have been "Vasquez Rocks" in Aqua Dulce.  I ended up having to back track a bit to get to "Vasquez Rocks."  It worked out okay because I got lost making a freeway transition while talking to my wife on the phone.  I was telling her I needed to go because I was close to my off-ramp and I did not want to miss it.  Just as I was saying good-bye I passed the off ramp!  That's what I get for riding and talking on the phone!  I say it worked out because it pushed my mileage up enough that I wanted to get fuel before heading into the concrete jungle of LA.  Oh, did I mention it was foggy and wet at this point!  Did I still have my electrics on?  No, because it was hot at Fort Tejon and I did not think I would need them going to sunny southern California!  I tuffed it out.  I mean how long could it last?  Not long thankfully!
After getting fuel I pointed south and headed for the Nike Missile sites.  I wanted to get both of them for the Space Combo because combined they were worth a bunch of points.  The first one, LA96L was easy to get to and get a picture of.  The second one, LA96C which is on Mullholland Hwy and the scene of the recent "carmageddon" was a touch more difficult to obtain.  There was also another rider there.  Not sure who it was but, thank you for pointing me in the right direction of the sign.  I have a feeling I would have spent more than a few minutes looking for it!
To collect the "Space Bonus" you had to go to two of these locations, Rocketdyne, Spaceship 1 or both of the Nike Missile site plus Space X which was the mandatory bonus location.  I had Spaceship 1 which was in Mojave and both Nike Missile sites.  Next stop, Space X!
As you can see in the above picture, my helmet is off.  That must mean I am taking a break.  If I am taking a break then something is wrong or I am way ahead of schedule.  In this case, I was way ahead of schedule.  I only had one scheduled bonus location left, The Hard Rock Cafe.  If I go and collect that bonus and then ride to the finish I will be there about an hour and a half early.  I don't want that to happen so I know there are two little bonus locations I can get and they might make a difference at the scoring table.  One of them was to get a receipt from the "Original Tommy's Hamburgers."  It was only worth 25 points but, I was hungry so why not.  I rode to Tommy's and had lunch.  I forgot to take a picture of my food but I did get a receipt for the 25 points!  From there I headed to the Hard Rock Cafe which was the mandatory location for the "Between a Rock and a Hard Place Combo."  I had Harley's Rock Inn and Vasquez Rocks which allowed me to complete the combo.
Now, I am no stranger to LA traffic.  I know that on a Saturday there are a lot of people and cars on the roads in the LA area, but really!  I mean it was really crowded with traffic backed up for blocks!  What did I do in all of my wisdom, I headed to Griffith Park and the Observatory.  I am sure there is no traffic there on a Saturday and it is worth a whopping 52 points!  A must have to win bonus I am sure!  Well, as it turned out the people that were not in Hollywood were at the Griffith Observatory for something and all that time I had back there at Space X was quickly going away.  I found the motorcycle parking spaces, jumped off the bike and ran up to the Galileo Monument.  There were two women walking past the monument at the time I arrived.  I don't think English was their first language but it was good enough for me to get them to take a picture of me in front of the monument.
After getting the above picture I ran back to my bike and checked the time of arrival at the finish line at New Century BMW Motorcycles.  If nothing went wrong and the traffic gods were shining down upon me, I would arrive at the finish with 6 minutes to spare.  Shoot, that's all kinds of time!  The traffic sucked but, this is California and there is no law regarding that lane sharing/splitting stuff and I had no extra paint on my bike when I rolled into the finish line at 1456 hours.  I had the clock stopped and 15 minutes to get my paperwork submitted.  My friend Bob Marks was also riding in this rally and it was his first.  He showed up one minute late and lost half his points!  He had ridden a good rally also so that sucked for him. 

I completed my paperwork and went and turned it in and talked with Ellen the Rally Master for a few minutes.  I knew I could not be in the top 5 so I was not concerned with getting audited for a top finishing position.  I went and found Bob and we went inside the BMW dealership to look around.  We come out a few minutes later and they were calling out some names for the audit but I did not hear all of them and again I was sure I was not one of the top riders.  Bob and I were just standing around talking when I hear a rally volunteer yelling, "Matt from Kernville!"  Well, my name is Matt but I am not from Kernville so I just stood there looking around for the Matt from Kernville.  Nobody was coming up to him so I asked him if he was looking for rider #32.  He said he was.  Well, that would be me.  He told me to report to the scorers table with all of my rally bonus stuff.

To shorten this up a bit, I placed second with 5966 points.  Brian Casey took first with 6374 points and Erik Lipps took third with 5797 points.  Now, remember me being lazy and not riding the Lions Trail over to the Tehachapi Loop?  It was worth 422 points.  Mr. Casey beat me by 408 points! 

I had a blast riding this rally!  Ellen and crew did a great job putting it all together for all the riders to enjoy.  Thank you to New Century BMW Motorcycles for hosting the 2012 Park & Ride.  You guys have a very nice shop!

Alright, I need to get back to work on the 2012 Discover Kern County 200 rally.  If you just finished reading this and it sounds like fun you can go to www.discoverkerncounty200.com and register for a fun 8 hour rally on November 10th.