Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Update

hi teams:

i hope everyone had a great memorial day weekend!

long a tradition in my family, the indy 500 had to be placed aside as rick and i were out from mid-morning till way passed dark scouting sections of this fall’s course that we have not been able to previously explore due to weather conditions.

we did, however, get a lot accomplished in designing the course for the nevada rally v. 0.1.

the disappointing news regarding the completion of the course is: one of the canyons that i had hoped to route teams through as a possible “extreme section” has degraded to the point of it being just too extreme for anyone who might regularly participate in our rally.

one of the cool things about setting up the rally courses that you all get to experience is that we get enjoy these roads and sights several times; we also get to see a lot of roads, sights, sites and other things that, unfortunately, you will not see on the rally.

in this case we cannot send teams into a dangerous driving situation knowing that most of the vehicles making that attempt are going to suffer damage.

since there is only one road into and out of this canyon in its present state, we would have to send teams up a road for 90 minutes, turn you around (if you can find a place to park so many vehicles and, indeed, turn them around) and come back down the same road in the opposite direction; narrow roads are tough enough to negotiate with just the occasional oncoming vehicle with which to contend let alone having several vehicles, in both directions. it’s not safe and it does not allow for parity since the teams in the middle of the pack will have to encounter far more oncoming vehicles in both directions that the first ones in and the last ones out won’t have to pass.

many have been the times that rick, willybeee, ivan, teri or i have had the pleasure of experiencing incredible sights or scenic roads or amazing vistas or monuments to nevada’s history that, usually for the reason of controlling two-way traffic, cannot be used for the rally.

it is for that reason that have to skip this particular canyon that i have been referring to as: our northwest passage. so, not unlike the northwest passage sought by lewis and clarke and the corps of discovery, we had to take another look at our options.

just how will this affect the rally?

well, if i hadn’t have told you, you would not know anything about the planned route.

technically: it will lengthen the course by a few miles, but will probably require less time to complete. the route will still be as remote as many participants have ever been in their lives and just as challenging to maintain higher scores than the competition.

i have known for several years that the canyon in question is not for the faint at heart. but, it is now reaching the point where, unless somebody with a powder license goes up there and flattens a couple of boulders to rock and gravel, only rock crawlers will be able to make the trip from one end to the other.

so, at this point in time, rick and i have plotted out ¾ of the course; we only have a couple of short sections in higher elevations to track and measure.

in an attempt to build our rally courses more efficiently, we have been exploring several possible future rally routes; storing those tracklogs for later assemblage into routes.

i believe, counting the course for this october, we now have 5 unique courses for the next 2 ½-years.

in working on the section of the course that we traveled over the weekend, we chose a shorter ingress instead of taking the actual route. in doing so, we were able to record tracklogs and times for another set of roads that will, most likely, become the night section of the newest route.

we also got a chance to use rick’s new delorme pn40 gpsr. in first usage, i’d have to say that, if you’ve used a gps in the past (that should include all of you), you should be able to pop in a couple of batts, turn it on and begin using it without looking through the manual.

there were several things i really liked about it and a few things i didn’t really care that much for (the tightest zoom you can get for satellite imagery is ½ mile, which doesn’t show you much on a small handheld screen). but, as we use it more, i’m sure it will grow on us. i will have to say that we did need to reboot 3 or 4 times. but, that might be something that firmware will eliminate as it is made available.

having long been a fan, and former neighbor, of the delorme map company, i have been looking forward to their new series of handhelds for quite some time.

it will not surprise me to see a few of the delorme units this october.

we were also using the garmin map60 we’ve been using since 2006 to record our times and tracklog.

we’re still dealing with internet issues here on the ranch. so, if you’re trying to reach me by email, don’t fret if you do not hear from me right away; i’ll get back to you as soon as i can get online!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

cha-cha-cha-cha-changes to the rules, that is.

i spent last weekend working on the rally rules to reflect the way the rally will be scored (instead of each team starting with a score of zero, they will begin with “perfect scores”. as with other types of rallies the world over, points will be deducted from each team for not finding caches or reaching checkpoints at the wrong times, etc., instead of being awarded points.) and working on the addition to a rule for a new checkpoint challenge.

also, while i was out letting the dogs swim in the canal (sorry. too deep for a water crossing) and run through the desert that i had an epiphany: i came up with an idea for an additional checkpoint challenge.

i’m still working on the explanations and rules for both of the challenges. but, i can tell you a little.

one of the new challenges will require the use of all team members to find a series of caches (a multi-cache) in a certain length of time. unlike the non-goto hunt that has previously been the only type of checkpoint challenge, the group hunt will allow the use of goto. but, you may only use one gps during this particular checkpoint challenge.

the other challenge that i have been working on for the last month or so is going to be a test.

it goes something like this:
  • only 1 team member (the quizee??) will take the test.
  • you will have a total of 3 minutes (the time may increase or decrease depending on how tests go) to study for and complete the test.
  • when the timer begins you will be shown a map with pinpoints at various cities and towns with their respective names. you may look at the map for as long as you would like. but, you only have a total of 3 minutes to examine the map and complete the test.
  • you may only look at the map one time.
  • on the other side of the map will be an alphabetical list of all of the cities and towns that were marked on the map. there will also be a numerical list of the coordinates of each of those cities and towns.
  • your task is to match the cities and towns with the correct lat/lon.
  • -5 points for each wrong match with a total of 50 points at stake. in the past it would have been 5 bonus points for each correct answer.
it may be that the above quiz will be offered in addition to the traditional checkpoint challenge, which i am now calling the “non-goto hunt”. it may also be used at night checkpoints instead of the non-goto. that is still undecided.

if you have any input on either of the new, or old, checkpoint challenges, please, let me know. it’s always nice to have a ball bounce around a bit before you use it.

i also made a few other unexpected alterations to the rules as i was reading through the file to correct the scoring (man, that was a lot of work changing the pluses to minuses, inverting the various wordings, finding the correct nomenclature to replace “bonus points” {bonus penalty?????} etc.), due in part to the new scoring method and a couple of things that hit me between the eyes when i read them.

i should have the latest version of the rules in the hands of proofreaders in the coming days and then available for download soon thereafter. but, there have been, except for the new challenges, few changes. there will also be a list of all of the changes, so you don't have to read the whole rulebook again.

# # # # #

rick (rrinnv) informs me that he just ordered a new delorme gps-r (not sure what model, but it’s got sat. imagery, including the imagery subscription, and all the bells and whistles), so we should be using both the delorme and the map60 we’ve been using since ’06 as we prepare for the next 2-years + of rallies.

yes! you read that right.

after a few years of putting these rallies together, rick and i have been learning a lot about how to do this.

first: it’s not as easy as it seems to just go out and put a rally course together. loops (the more the merrier) are vital; you can’t have 30 vehicles heading into a canyon, only to have them all turn around and come out the same road in which they entered. scenery is also very, if not the most, important aspect of building a rally course. approach is also a big deal: what may look nice one way may look stunningly spectacular the other way. avoiding deep sand is another issue.

but, despite putting the rally together being the greatest job(?) in the world, it would save us a few coins if we could eliminate some of the many trips way take to put the rally together.

so, during last winter and early spring when the snow wouldn’t allow us to survey areas of the course i intend for this october, we went into completely different deserts in search of future rally courses.

we found some amazing areas and ruins that we never knew existed!

one of the courses (maybe oct. 2010?) has an old cemetery out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere that’s about an acre, +/- a few yards, that’s not listed on too many maps. we also came across the largest herd of prong horn that we’ve seen in our trips since we began building rallies.

on another trip we ventured into a mining district that ivan (devil in my ear) had recently learned about, that is near an area where i’d been looking at a route and has a series of looping roads loads that roam in and out of the various camps.

on one of those trips we found a petrified wood forest. some of the trees we saw would have to weigh tons and tons, while others were small frags you could pick up and hold in your hand.

willybeee and i and ivan (devil in my ear) and i have also explored some very interesting areas that could become parts of fifth or sixth rally courses.

by incorporating the one-day format, it allows us to venture into greater distances from rally hq, therefore more remote areas. this has given us a seeming endless choice of courses.

with the advent of the limited entry fall invitational rally, i’m considering a dual-venue event that would, for example, start in fallon on a friday afternoon, go to yerington for a night and return to fallon the next night, with an awards breakfast on sunday.

how would you feel about?

a few intrepid ralliers have asked about a rally with a camp in the middle. that might not gather the interest of a long distance 2-day event. but, you never know?

any thoughts on that?

betsy (buggy bunch), assistant rally director, and her husband, robert, have recently taken ham radio course. i know that there are a few hams amongst yourselves who have used them for years. i have been considering making cb radios a mandatory item for each vehicle since the first rally in 2004. but, they’re not much better than the useless frs radios.

i really think if we’re going to have ourselves out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, it might not be a bad idea to get licensed and buy a radio.

what do you think about making ham a required item in future rallies?

you can always send me an email or post a comment on the blog.

there’s an idea: be the first person to comment on this blog!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

entry forms being accepted

hi team:

just a reminder that entries are now being accepted for the nevada rally – v. 0.1, october 3, 2009, are being accepted.

there are only 15 total entries available, so don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers.

entry forms can be downloaded from the following locations:

team entry pdf

team entry doc

individual entry pdf

individual entry doc

  • team entry forms must be submitted with payment: $130 for two-person teams; $195 for three-person teams; $260 for four-person teams.
  • payment must be by check, money order or certified check made payable to: the nevada rally.
send your entry to:
monty wolf
c/o gillette
5499 casey rd.
fallon, nv 89406

individual entry forms do not need to be submitted with team entries until august 31, 2009. if you are not certain how many individuals will make up your team, you may submit the team entry form and fee for a two-person team at this time and amend your entry and pay the additional fee prior to august 31, 2009.

entry fees are fully refundable prior to august 31, 2009.

Monday, May 4, 2009

rally entries in the inbox

hi teams:

according to my brother, my mailbox has been full for the past couple of mail delivery days.

the reason i don’t personally know that is because i was called away on an emergency to the coast. when i left nevada last wednesday, i thought i would be back by sunday. now it looks like i won’t be back until this saturday.

i want everyone to rest at ease about your entries! my brother, “ivan, devil in my ear”, is hand numbering each entry as they arrive so i can determine which entries came in first.

sorry to have to put a one week delay on this, but life intervened.

as soon as i return to fallon i will make sure each of you knows about your respective entries.

i apologize for any stress this may have caused you.

you’ll be hearing from me in the coming days.