(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)
We were behind the clock, and I had some decisions to make.
I could ignore the next several clue stops and just fly through the course to catch up to where we should be, but with no points we could forget getting any kind of decent score. So we had to just keep doing what we were doing.
At Flynn’s turn we had a mandatory gas stop – with these If you didn’t collect a receipt in an envelope from the stop you would be disqualified.
Despite almost 200 km of riding, I wasn’t even down 1/3 of a tank, but I gassed up and got a receipt. Kayla was still holding up well. No complaints, just kind of happy go lucky and going along with whatever the rally had to throw at her. What a trooper.
I asked the attendant when the last crazy looking scooter driver was here, he said about 30 minutes ago. Good grief. I can’t catch these little scooter drivers. Time to get moving.
After about another 20 km or so through rolling curving roads, I remembered them warning us about a detour on Dam lake road where our next mandatory checkpoint was – this is where two reps from Sparkplug coffee were waiting for us.
The road was bumpy and windy, full of potholes as it led into a provincial park. We came to a crossroad and stopped to check the map. Good thing I did or I would have lost even more time had I kept going straight.
We turned to the right and found two wonderful ladies cheering and clapping as we arrived. Probably happy that the last scooter had arrived and they could move on! They provided us with drinks, photo ops and some great chat about rallies, but then she warned me not to take too long on the stops if we want to complete in time.
A quick chat revealed she lived locally so we got a snapshot of her sitting on my scooter for photo points.
I still didn’t feel much urgency, we had lots of day left and we were wanting to enjoy this ride, not rush through it – so we took our time, finished our drinks and ultimately moved on.
The next leg was a good long run all the way to Gooderham. About 42 km of breathtaking scenic curvy roadway with very little traffic. No scooters spotted. We did some filming as we went.
Upon arriving in Gooderham we stopped for a photo at the road sign as I remember they said those would be good to get for extra points. There was a clue stop in Gooderham, I don’t remember what is was supposed to be because we never found it and scored – yes – 0 on that one. We moved on.
At this point we were into photo mode. I wanted to collect photo challenges. We needed photos of us, the scooter, wildlife, signposts, canoes, chairs and more. So I kept stopping at any good photo opportunity to get some crazy photos of us in costume and full Mad behaviour at these various locations.
I was dressed as Batman, and Kayla (and this was her choice) wanted more than anything to be a banana. Perfect. Batman and Banana it was.
We recorded our adventures across the countryside in photos. A group of young guys pulled over during a photo shoot at the wooden bears asking us what all the costumes and silly bikes were about. I gave them the rundown and handed them a card.
They were impressed. I think we would have had a full new team of recruits there had this not been the final rally.
At the next clue stop in Wilberforce we found our clue and answered it properly. Yay. 5 points. I think this was a wall mural where we needed to record the train numbers added up in the picture. I also got Kayla to reluctantly do a floss dance in the banana suit on camera.
On to Harcourt. Mandatory gas stop. Got our receipt. Still no sign of other scooter riders, but they told us the last one was 15 minutes ago. We were closing the gap!
Riding hard and fast to the north. Kayla waving her hand occasionally to feel the wind. We had to open our jackets to let air in. It was getting hot. It was early afternoon by this point. We were looking for some sort of Algonquin trails signage to get our next clue.
I was thinking hiking trails, but turns out it was horseback riding trails. We had areas showing the hiking trails and took a wild guess at what was on the signage compared to the question and lucked out only because I noticed a small horse-riding sign there as well. . Scored 5 points. Had to double back to get that one.
Another 25 KMs and we came into Maynooth. The directions said turn north on 127 but there was no sign. Maynooth was a small hamlet which we blew through and ended up on HWY 62. After about 10 kms I knew I must have missed something. We stopped at a gas/store and got directions from a hydro worker.
We had to turn around and find the gas station in Maynooth and that’s where 127 north was. Another 45 minutes lost. I almost felt relieved when just as we were about to turn around Kayla spotted another scooter driver!
She was dressed as a clown, riding on a little Vespa and zipping south on 62 towards Maynooth. She must have missed the turn too.
We went by her but then had to stop for some gear adjustments and she caught up and blew right by us on the little Vespa. We saddled up and hit the throttle – I wasn’t going to lose to some clown on a Vespa.
A few KMs up I caught up to her and she was pulled over on the side of the road. “That clown is lost” said Kayla through our helmet intercoms. I pulled up beside her and shared the same directions I got from the hydro worker.
She thanked me and took off on the Vespa.
We never saw her again, but heard later that she made it around the full course hours ahead of us. Good for her!
The next run was about 40 km of scenic curving roads through the bush. Not even so much as a cottage. It was beautiful and the weather was perfect and we were able to ride without worrying about stopping and checking directions, looking for missed roads or clue stops. I could make up some ground here. We drove through the 40 KM without seeing a single scooter.
In Madawaska was another clue stop. Confused by the question at first, it turned out to be a simple sign right across the road from us so we easily read all the answers.
Only got 4/5 not sure why. At this point we were starving hungry and not sure how much further to the designated lunch place (it was well after 3pm) so we decided to eat at the diner in Madawaska instead. Grabbed a cheeseburger each and some fries while studying our route and marking down turns on a piece of paper which I stuck into the GPS on the bike.
Some of the advanced teams had programmable GPS that you could enter your own route which would have given them a tremendous advantage, saving them a ton of time trying to memorize all the turns we had to do. Should I do another rally one day, things will be different.
After lunch and a few more canoe photos, we were off to Barry’s Bay. This was the farthest point and also called the halfway point. We stopped at the town sign for some silly pictures and video. People waving and laughing as they drove by. It was after 4pm and this page was supposed to be completed by 2:30 pm so we were still way behind, but we had full tummys and lots of daylight ahead of us, and didn’t need to stop for anything more than a receipt at the lunch spot.
Barry’s bay was the most fun collecting clues. We decided to ask for help at the information center where they showed us the location of many of the places in town we needed to go to answer our clues. It wasn’t until after I doubled back to use the bathroom that they requested a donation. Fair enough.
We did quite well scoring 37/40 points. Not sure what we lost three points for but it was a good stop. Here in Barry’s bay we spotted a few scooter teams which made us feel like we were making progress. They were zipping out of town but we did get a glimpse of the elusive pack, scampering off like a herd of startled antelope.
We stopped at the designated lunch stop by 4:30 and got a quick coffee and an iced Tea for Kayla. We were feeling good but still way behind. We quickly drank our drinks, got our receipt and moved on.
At this point we headed south to Combermere, and the clues started to get harder to find.
There were three x’s on the map and we couldn’t find a single one of them.
One was supposed to be a monument – but all we saw were trees and pavement, with not even so much as a cottage on the road.
I guess these locations were either well-hidden, or off the main route. I’m not sure which, but we ended up with a big fat zero for those clues.
We came up to the turnoff for the wildcard run, a 15 km detour up a road to a canoe center where the first 20 to show up could go on a 2 hour river rafting tour. You also had to be there by 2pm so any chance of being in that group was long gone. Since it was almost 5pm and we knew that tour was long over, we skipped it and continuing on may offer us more opportunity to catch up. So we barreled on at over 100km/h to Maple leaf and the next clue. Kayla still happy go lucky with banana suit flapping in the wind.
The clue at Monteagle gave us another quick 5 points to add to our scoresheet. We kept zipping on down the route through Bird’s creek and on to Bancroft, where the clue gave us another 10 points, which made us feel good about our score. This one was a fire station stop, where we had to describe the sign above the door – indicating it said “no parking”.
We had almost missed it because we were flying along at highway speed on the Bat scooter. We picked up the mandatory gas receipt at the store and moved on.
From Bancroft we got onto lower Faraday road which wasn’t my favorite road at all. I was hilly, bumpy, full of cracks and potholes, steep small hills, twists and turns, hard to detect oncoming traffic too, so it all made for very slow going in order to remain safe, and after all, I had precious cargo on board.
The large scooter was of no advantage here, I can see the smaller scooters navigating this with much less difficulty. Why we were getting handicapped for having a large scooter was becoming more and more difficult to understand.
I’m not sure what time it was by this point but it was getting quite late in the day. I knew we would be out of light soon and reading the directions and map would be impossible. We did not have a flashlight – later I thoughtthat I could have used the light on my cellphone, but completely forgot about that at the time as it is something I never use!
Along this Faraday road we passed two scooter riders pulled over at a sign of some sort on the riverside. I don’t know why but I was so fixed on making up time I didn’t stop, and it turned out to be one of the clues so we got a big fat 0 on that one.
After reaching Coe hill and finally off the dreaded Faraday road, we headed west on a faster highway to Chando’s beach. I noticed the nice beach and pulled over for a quick rest and to dip my feet into the cold waters. After so much riding in the heat, it felt fantastic. Kayla declined as she didn’t want all the trouble of getting her shoes off, feet dry and re-garbed.
She was as anxious as I to make time. We spent about 10 minutes at the beach taking a few photos and watching me dry my feet and re-garb, when Kayla pointed down towards the end of the beach something she had noticed. “Oh look, it’s the ladies from the coffee company again”.
She was right – our mandatory stop was not even 200 feet from where we had stopped. The map had indicated they were supposed to be another 10 km up the road! So we went over, got our receipts, took photos and here is where we finally started to see other scooters.
With a small assembly of other scooter drivers coming into the stop, we took advantage of leaving first and racing down the road ahead of them at “faster than scooter” speeds. My bat cape flapping above Kayla’s banana suit, the wind hitting my helmet so hard it forced down the visor. I was making progress and for once, was actually not in last place.
About 30 km down the road after a great run, and a short stop to snap a picture with a snapper, we came into Apsley. There was a small street we were supposed to deviate on but couldn’t find it (no signs whatsoever) as we were passing through and sure enough we missed a clue.
About 10 kms further down I pulled over to check the map and directions when I discovered I was supposed to read something in Apsley. It was missed, turning back would mean letting those scooter guys all get ahead of me. I decided to hold on to my lead.
By this point the map was supposed to be finished by 8:30pm and it was almost dark on the longest day of the year, so that puts the time around 9:30 or so leaving Apsley and on to the next map.
At this point Kayla and I resorted to simply folding up the final map and putting it into the gps to read instead of writing it out in bits and pieces like we had been doing. It was a great idea except now it was getting quite dark. We followed directions and route as best as we could and found Petroglyphs park entrance to pick up our next clue. Scored points on that one. Yay. Also got eaten alive by mosquitoes there while doing it. Scratching and rubbing our wrists and neck we buckled on, determined to keep our lead at at the very least, not be last to arrive home.
It was now completely dark coming into Havelock. The directions were no longer readable and we didn’t have a flashlight, lighter or other source of light (why didn’t I think of the cellphone!) We were euchred on directions but it was ok, I could tell which way to go by road signs. At this point we didn’t know it – but had already failed the rally.
First, because we couldn’t read the directions properly, we didn’t realize Havelock gas station was a mandatory receipt, so although we drove right by it, didn’t stop to pick one up as my C650 wasn’t even a quarter down on gas.
I was also desperate to get us back home by this point and was getting concerned about Kayla. We had been 16 hours on the road. My greatest fear was that she was going to nod off back there and fall off the bike at those “faster than scooter” speeds. Especially now that it was dark. I had to get her back to the hotel. After so much time on the road now and it was incredible how well she was holding up.
Having only road signs to go by, I pulled over to activate the GPS. And to my great disappointment, it wasn’t working. It wouldn’t pick up any satellites and needed a software update. Great… why now?
There was still a few more deviations in the route which I could barely make out while pulling over by a small streetlight in the middle of nowhere. That meant navigating more back roads in the pitch dark with no directions and no gps. It also mean’t even longer, quite a bit longer, to get to the finish. I decided to get onto hwy 7 and boot it the last 42 kms straight into Peterborough, maybe I could make it in time. (I thought I had 18 hours)
The last part of the run was the fastest. After Kayla assuring me she was fine and well awake, I raced the final stretch on the highway to get us back to base. Passing slower cars with ease on the 65 hp scooter, we flew down the highway in the dark, finding Peterborough and not quite sure if hwy 7 was the actual road the hotel was on, but hoping for the best.
It was all good, I saw the hotel and we pulled in to a host of cheers and claps. We were almost an hour over our allotted time at 16.7 hours. (I was sure they said I had 18 hours, but noooo, because I have a big scooter) Even though it was a faster time overall than the winner of the rally, our scooter class and the massive reduction in time limit got us disqualified. The volunteer that greeted us asked for our receipts and immediately noticed the last one from Havelock was missing. So.. double disqualified.
All in all though, this was an incredible race for myself as well as Kayla. It was a memory that will last a lifetime and Im pretty sure if offered another opportunity we would do this rally again in a heartbeat, much wiser, and better prepared, Im sure we would do much better next time.
We weren’t complete losers however, Kayla won an award for being the first Youth/child to completely finish the rally which made her the proudest person in the room accepting her award to a hundred mad bastards cheers and applause. We were awarded our “Bastard status” certificates, which I was worried may be withheld due to the disqualification. After all, I really wanted to be a full-fledged bastard, so that would have hurt not getting that! We checked in to hand in our photos, grab a quick slice of pizza and off to bed!
After our wonderful breakfast at the aftermath meeting the next morning, We enjoyed all the ceremonial award presentations, a slideshow put together overnight by the girls that never sleep and some amusing speeches from some of the more prominent bastards, we set out on yet one more journey, to get home from Peterborough, another 200+ km ride, with ice cream stops of course, no gps and a dead cell phone, we did it old school, reading road signs while recognizing landmarks and using common sense. Made it all the way home just fine.
Our certificate is proudly hanging on the wall now, the stickers are still on the bike. I think Im going to leave the stickers on the bike for a while. And the “Prince Eddy’s” motorcycle beer can, which I withheld from drinking so I could keep it as a souvenir of the experience now sits on a glass shelf in a curio cabinet beside my other prized possessions which I have accumulated in this crazy thing we all have called life.
Thank you Mad Bastards for creating such an experience. Thank you Mr. Harris wherever you are for starting all this, and thank you to everyone who worked so long and hard to keep it all organized enough for us to realize that it’s ok to be just a little crazy once in a while, a lesson I certainly did my best to teach Kayla and hope she will always remember.
This is Richie (Batman) and Kayla Baldwin signing out.