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Philadelphia Motorcycle Riders Group Message Board Recaps Gallery. › Void 6 Rally Report

Void 6 Rally Report

Hammy
DrJonnyHambone
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3,335
Jerome and I took part in the Void 6, an endurance rally that essentially closes out the rally season for the year. This was my second rally ever; Jerome's been in quite a few. This rally was really 4 separate rallies: 3 29hr rallies (also called the 24hr rider groups), each group starting from a different location, competing only within themselves, and each with their own list of boni (the stuff we hunt, usually photos of particular objects or places); and a 10hr mini-rally. The 24hr riders started from Lebanon, PA, Albany, GA, and Clarksville, TN and all would finish at the Quality Inn in Lynchburg, VA. The 10hr riders started and finished at the same host hotel.

Jerome and I were in the Lebanon group. We got our flags in the mail and received our rallybooks via email a day earlier than expected. We were supposed to get them on Wednesday night but they came on Tuesday instead, giving me more time to plan and 1 extra day to feel sorry for my patients who had a distracted shrink. The rallybooks contain our instructions and list all the boni that are available to us and also detail what we have to do to claim those boni (i.e. bag the bonus to add to our score).

I got my route planned and my bike packed and ready to go. Some questions posed to the rallymaster resulted in a bonus clarification that then required me to rework my route to accommodate the new bonus, but that wasn't too hard. The 24hr riders were to start at their respective starting locations between 0850 and 0910 eastern time. I decided to just leave early on Friday morning to get to Lebanon - that way I knew I could be tired enough to actually sleep during my rest bonus.

Friday:
I put out extra food for the children. Maui and Momo gave me a goodbye nuzzle and then I hit the road at 0545. It was about 90 miles of 39-degree misty cold misery as I rode up 76 towards Lebanon. I decided to wait out until the start time at Mel's Diner.







I knew I was in for a fun day when I tripped on the top step walking into the diner and fell into a push-up position. Great. Banged up wrists BEFORE I even start my rally! I ordered an omelet and a hot chocolate. I had about an hour to go before the rally started.



I put some medicated oil on my wrists to help relieve the pain and then reviewed my rallybook to make sure I knew what to do at each of the 7 boni I had selected for my route.

Finally, it was time. I geared up and went to the Rite Aid across the street to get my start receipt. In order to start, I had to get a receipt which had a time/date stamp with the address of the place to prove that I was indeed starting from Lebanon, PA, and also had to write my odometer reading on the receipt (required for all receipts). I then had to call in to the rally staff by 0920 to confirm that I was starting. I called in, confirmed my start, and was underway.

My first bonus was only about 40 minutes away in Bernville, PA. There used to be a hotel with a haunted past or so, but the bonus was to take a photo of a funeral home and make sure that the sign, cherub, and number were in the photo. All photos would require my rally flag and number to be in the picture. I had rigged up an Xshot camera extender with my pants hanger to use to hold up my flag so I didn't have to tape it up or hang it up on something and possibly forget it. Many stories have been told of riders leaving or losing their flags, which costs you big time in penalty points.



The next bonus was to take a photo of the Shamokin Dam water tower. This was a fun little ride up 183, one of my favorite roads, across Sunbury and pretty scenic. We had to stop on the side of an on-ramp to take the photo, and my flag rig worked great as the others had to struggle with putting their flags on their bikes and trying to take a photo of this water tower so the whole name Shamokin Dam made it into the photo along with their flags.



Next, on to Gettysburg. Rode down 15 and then had to roll through the Harrisburg area before eventually getting back onto a freeway and got onto Tarneytown Road. I've never visited Gettysburg so this was all very new to me. The bonus was down some road which I couldn't get to from where I was as that entrance was closed, but I was able to reroute and get to a bunch of rocks. I found the sign for Devil's Den and took my photo.



Time is of the essence on a rally so I didn't stop to read or sightsee. I had my helmetcam running anyway so when I can, I'll put up a video of the stuff.

Next up was a bit of a haul away. I took 40, 70 and 68 to downtown Morgantown, WV to take a photo of Don Knott's star in front of the Metropolitan theater. I got there just before 5pm. Needless to say, the townsfolk were wondering what to make of this geared up scruffy tubbo taking a photo of a flag on a ground and riding around with a camera on his helmet.



Now, the long haul and one of the scariest rides I've ever taken. Next stop was in Danbury, NC. I rode through the mountains all the way down and as the sun set, the temps seemed to plunge. It wasn't that it got particularly low - my temps kept reading in the mid 50s, but once the sun went away and it started to get misty, all that moisture started to chill everything up. I didn't bring any heated gear by choice as I already have enough electronics to plug in on my bike, so it was cold the rest of the night. The last 30+ miles were absolutely terrifying as they were on a really windy road which probably would've been fun in the daytime, but this was at 9:30pm in pitch black darkness with nary a soul or a light (all the houses looked dark), and a 55mph road which I could barely handle at 35mph because of all the twists and turns. Of course, the fog didn't help my visibility or my fear. The little bit that I could glance at my GPSes and Tab only showed me more twists and turns ahead of me so I just focused on not dying.

After what seemed like forever, I finally pulled into Danbury. I was to look for the Davis Chapel where someone a long time ago had either been killed or killed herself there. I know I scare easily, but when I finally found the place, I thought I was in a HP Lovecraft story. In front of me, next to a simple, unassuming building was this shell of a building that seemed to defy all physics in that it was still upright. To me, it looked like it was held together by ill will and misery. It was all I could do to hurriedly grab my flag and take a photo. If anything or anyone had come by, I think I would have just run screaming or brained the other party with my camera extender. It took a few tries to get the photo right as the place was so dark.



And then the madness began...
Hammy
DrJonnyHambone
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3,338
I had been using my aux tank on the way into Danbury, but after I left, I realized that the fuel wasn't flowing. It was really cold and I thought maybe the fuel line had frozen, but that didn't make any sense at all as nothing around was frozen and I couldn't figure out why it worked just before reaching Danbury and not after I left that terrifying place.

That meant I now had to stop for gas every 130 miles or so, a real pain in the rear as I was already behind schedule and my route did not have much leeway. Out here, most gas stations are closed after 10pm and it was already 11pm so I had to stop at the first one I could find that was open and then continued on my way to the odometer check bonus at the host hotel in Lynchburg.

I got in over an hour behind schedule and arrived for my odometer check after 1am. I was given a specific route to follow which my brain just couldn't register so I tried entering the turns into my GPS. I found 2 other riders who were setting off on their odo check so I followed them. Thank goodness because the fog was so heavy I could barely see anything beyond their taillights!

After completing the odo check, all boni after that would be worth double the value. I checked in to my hotel, got a rest start receipt from the ATM, and got out of my gear, took a hot shower to relieve all my sore muscles, and then finally, ate 2 pieces of beef jerky. I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast and only had some Gatorade in my Camelbak. When I'm in rally mode, I really don't like to stop at all. I probably had only 1 bathroom break the whole day, somewhere in WV south of Morgantown.

I rechecked my route and slept for about 90 minutes, got up and then snagged my rest stop receipt and got to my bike at 0530. The whole aux tank not working really blew the rest of my plans out of the water as every stop takes a huge toll on time. I was already behind schedule but if my bike couldn't ride a full 300+ miles but had to stop every 130 miles, there was no way I could reach my intended big bonus down in Kingsport, TN. I decided to give it a shot anyway - it's a rally and I want to finish but I also will go for broke. I took a gamble and started roaring down the road, and then had to stop to get gas again. This time it dawned on me to check something. I looked down at my quick disconnect. That thing requires me to depress a recessed latch and pull the plugs apart. You can't just jostle it loose. Somehow, it was apart. I had never left my bike the entire time from Morgantown to Lynchburg, and the thing had worked just prior to getting into Danbury and stopped right after visiting that scary place. It still creeps me out, but I reconnected it and the fuel flowed!

I doublechecked my route and my time and discovered that I had enough time to make it to Kingsport so I roared down 81... right into heavy fog again. I had to slow down some, but it helped having other taillights to follow and eventually the fog seemed to lift around 0800. With my aux tank, I made it all the 230 miles to my bonus without needing to stop for gas. I arrived at the Netherland Inn where something crazy and tragic had happened (but not at the wellhouse which was the bonus so I didn't care about that).



I gassed up and then headed back. I checked my clock and decided to snag another bonus on the way back that was a little bit off the beaten path. The GPS put me on Scenic Trail Road in Crockett, VA which turned out to be a half mile long gravel road that was on a hill and had a sharp near hairpin right downhill turn. I prayed I wouldn't dump my bike so close to the end of the rally and thankfully I made it down safely and quickly snagged my final bonus: the post office building.



I rode through some beautiful country roads and eventually made it back to 81, and joined up with a few other riders. You can tell a rallier from how his/her bike is rigged, and these guys were definitely on rallybikes and I recognized a few of them from the night before at the odo check. I followed them as best I could on my scooter and watched the clock and distance to finish wind down. As we got near the finish, both my GPSes kept telling me to make a turn but these guys kept on going. I thought these guys knew what they were doing and where they were going but I think the leader's GPS was fritzing or they were heading somewhere else. When I finally realized it, I pulled off and followed my GPS the 17 miles back to the finish line. That's how far off course I was. I was too far back to signal them so I scrambled for the hotel, hoping I wouldn't run into some in-town traffic.

I finally pulled into the finish line with about 30 minutes to spare. As I went to park my bike, I spied Jerome pulling into the finish line as well. Our paths hadn't crossed at all during the entire rally. We grabbed our gear and went into the host hotel to begin sorting out our boni and completing our rallybooks. I made sure to re-read everything I was supposed to do, picked out my photos and copied them to an SD card, then put everything into my finisher's envelope and went to get scored.

Tragedy! The evil at Danbury reared its head again. All the trauma that I suffered there turned out to be all for naught as I was informed that the Davis Chapel wasn't that thing I had photographed, but it was that unassuming white building next to it! shockconfusedsadcrying 777 points gone, just like that. Still, thinking back to what I went through in Danbury, I knew I wasn't about to wander away from my bike and get closer to these buildings to check them. Next time, I will make sure before I snap and run.

Luckily, I didn't leave any other points on the table. I was disappointed, but I had run the ride I wanted, albeit the aux fuel fiasco cost me 2 other boni that I didn't go after because I had no time.

Jerome wasn't quite so lucky. He lost 4000 points because he didn't write his odometer reading on his rest receipts. sad Here he is at the scoring table.



We left for our hotel, got a little bit of rest, then returned to the Quality Inn for the finisher's banquet. We checked out the bikes in the parking lot but most were covered up, so we made our way to the banquet room. It was nice to see what my fellow riders looked like without their helmets. I got some favorable comments on my 2 GPS and Tablet rig on my bike, as well as my flag rig. Dinner was fantastic as that was the first real meal I'd eaten in about 35hrs! We shared stories and jokes and I reaffirmed my love for the camaraderie and spirit of the endurance rally and those who ride it.



Here's our rallymaster, Scott LaShier. He's the one standing up.



Here's our standings. In case you didn't know, my work name is Jonathan Tan.



Neither Jerome nor I did as well as we had hoped because of our mistakes, but we both finished and there's something to be said for that. Costly errors are often the most valuable lessons we learn.
Lynda S
Shortster
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3,591
Wow! I think you guys are crazy ... but I'm amazed at your endurance on these things!
Great job Hammy and Jerome!
Hammy
DrJonnyHambone
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3,343
I wonder how Guy Paquin got such a massive score on just 280 miles! Unless they forgot the 1 in front of it... Life feels so weird after one of these things, like the world has stopped and you're still moving. Either that or the fact that I didn't eat anything in 24 hours until a short while ago...
David
user 8062506
Flourtown, PA
Post #: 4,208
I rode to Virginia and back on Saturday, over 500 miles round trip, and I was exhausted when I got home. I had to soak in a hot tub. I don't know how you guys do it. The traffic on those 6 lane highways at night is enough to make me crazy. I was riding in a group, so keeping tight helps, but it's easier said than done. We were rolling around 70 to 80 mph.

D
Hammy
DrJonnyHambone
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3,345
I rode about 1750 miles between Friday morning and today. I was apparently more tired than I realized as I came home, fed the children, got in bed and passed out for a couple hours and didn't even want to get up to eat.

It's really a different state of mind, D... I dunno if I can explain the feeling. Maybe it's like a runner's high... to push oneself to one's limits and say, "I can go further, I can do more, I choose to do this, I will reap the consequences of everything that happens right now..."
Jerome B.
k3gnc
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 432
David,

What part of VA were you riding in? I was on the western end (I-81). If you can do 500 miles days you can rider anywhere in a reasonable and affordable time. If you want to ride further, it just takes practice, a comfortabe seat, riding position, and music, or XM radio, or audio books.. what have you. I prefer 500 mile days for touring, and only ride longer for economic reasons, or to challenge myself. I think a lot more people would enjoy rallies versus endurance riding. You stop a lot collecting bonus points, and you spend a lot of time of backroads and see parts of Americana, that most miss, inlcuding those who explore backroads.
Hammy
DrJonnyHambone
Philadelphia, PA
Post #: 3,346
I definitely saw parts of America I hadn't seen before and a lot of the boni were in neat places. Some of the roads I was on in the last 48hrs would make for fantastic riding just by themselves.
jw
user 12097329
Berwyn, PA
Post #: 117
Thanks for the post and its great to live vicariously through your adventures.
Carolyn
user 7209318
Flourtown, PA
Post #: 912
you guys are insane!
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