Yesterday game me Lemons. Today I’m going Rallying!

Canadian team at the 24 Hours of Lemons

Yesterday I drove north from Bend to Grass Valley, Oregon to visit a couple of friends at the 24 Hours of Lemons race being held at the Grass Valley Motorsports Park. I found one (competitor), but not the other (organizer). It was fun to finally see a little Lemons racing in person. You can see my pics from the day here:

After that, I drove west, across the plains, gorges, and mountains to Portland, where today I’m going to do a little TSD Rallying at the 2011 Columbia Gorge Classic. It will be a long day, so expect a full update later in the week.

About to drop (deeply) into the nearly invisible Deschutes River Gorge between Grass Valley & Tygh Valley, Oregon, then up and over the Cascade mountains to Portland.

TSD Rally School for Kyle

I always find it best to do a good “warm up” rally prior to trying to tackle a big one. The NW Classic is coming up in July, and I usually always run the Cascade Classic Rally (The rally previously known as the Classic Motorcar Rally) but was unable to make it back up to Washington this year due to schedule conflicts. So I’ve signed up to run the Columbia Gorge Classic Rally. My father won’t be available to navigate for me, so I invited a friend who has often asked to do an event with me. Kyle Murray worked for me at digital.forest starting in 2003. He was our Network Manager for most of that time and I really enjoyed working with him. He followed me to Facebook about six months after I started, and now is my co-worker, sitting right next to me at PRN1. So Kyle is now going to be my Navigator for this upcoming Rally.

This will be Kyle’s very first TSD rally, so I figured it would be good to give him some schooling. The 2009 NW Classic was held not far from here, so I unearthed a few rally stage instructions and a “how to” on staying on course, and staying on time – and Kyle & I went out after work to attend Rally School.

Where we started, Lake Billy Chinook. The confluence of the Crooked, Deschutes, and Metolius Rivers. Rally Stage 4 of Day 2 of the 2009 Monte Shelton started here. It was fun to try to find the exact locale via Google Maps and my memory.

Kyle & I left work and met at a state park near Terrebonne, then hopped in his Mercedes-Benz E-class to find our way to the vague start point of the rally stage instructions I had from 2009. I explained the concepts of “ONTO/TOWARD”, “observe”, “protection”, etc to him, and then went over how to interpret course instructions and doing pre-start prep. Timing I had to sort of gloss over, with basic concepts of “car zero”, keeping a running rally clock, and noting time aberrations such as pauses. After that quick intro, we hit the road.

Confused Yet? Kyle Murray tries TSD navigation for the first time!

We ran the first segment, which thankfully had several things to teach good lessons. Me making a wrong turn for one! But we also saw a great example of observation and protection. That accomplished we tried adding some timing to the second segment and did pretty good. Kyle picked up creating a table of running time calcs down the right side of the sheet. Had we actually been on a real rally stage, I think we would have nailed this one within a 10 second range. Not bad for a rank beginner. We also had a great example of a “toward” instruction to show Kyle how that worked. Unfortunately the actual roads had changed since the 2009 event, with one being closed off, and another going from a “T” intersection to an overpass – so the final segment we tried sort of disintegrated at the end. No matter. With a set of real instructions and a clock we had a nice, safe simulation of actual conditions. I think we’ll have a great time this weekend. We’re entered in the Novice Class, which is a bit of a cheat as I’ve been doing this stuff for decades now, but Kyle is a total n00b. I’ll be sure to not coach him TOO much. 😉

We went back to the state park to part ways in our own cars, Kyle back to his wife in Prineville, and me back to Chez Goolsbee in Deschutes County. I think Kyle had a good time, and I’m glad I was able to do a little teaching before the actual competition – he’ll probably have a lot more fun this way once things get insane as he’ll understand a bit of what’s going on.

Kyle's car - a lot more comfy and calm than the 65E for Rally School 101.

Stay tuned for an update from Portland!

Returning from Obscurity – and getting Back On The Road!

I’ve been REAL busy over the past year, and this website has suffered for it… sorry dear reader!

Thankfully things are settling down to a reasonable routine at work. I still have a couple of large-scale projects to hammer out over the summer, but the datacenter we set out to build is largely operational now, and my life is getting back to normal. I hope to start blogging regularly again, which means more “Car Photos of the Day” and participation in vintage car events. The first of which is just next weekend, an MG Car Club rally in the Columbia Gorge, serving as a warmup for the big daddy: The Monte Shelton NW Classic Rally in July.

I was interviewed by “Bring a Trailer” this week as they plan on covering the event on their website as well. It was a fun interview and they snagged a few photos from this website to accompany it. You can read the interview here.

Stay tuned for more, coming soon!"/