Oregon Trail Rally, April 23 & 24, 2005

We worked to provide communications for the Oregon Trail Rally Saturday April 23rd and Sunday April 24th. Saturday we were positioned at a spectator area viewing a spectacular sweeping turn. Sunday we were positioned at a finish area. The drivers were on dirt roads in the Tillamook State Forest. The course Saturday was in the area of the Trask River near Tillamook. Sunday we were  closer to Vernonia. I had purchased a new digital camera shortly before the rally so used that event to get some practice using it. I haven't done any retouching work on the photos (mainly because I'm lazy) so you see them as they came from the camera other than being cropped and resized. They weather was rainy Saturday and still quite overcast Sunday. The drivers skill on these roads is quite amazing. I drive the roads quite often (admittedly in a Jeep Wrangler or Jeep Cherokee, not a rally car) but even so, 30 MPH is a typical comfortable speed. Sunday we drove to our leg finish point from the start of the leg so had driven that full leg. It was a damp weekend so the dirt and gravel road was moderately wet and not something I would want to drive on at high speed. Taking the finish time for one of the early cars in the stage, they had an average speed of 60 MPH. They said that their top speed was 95 MPH!

start Ed Bodnar gives instructions to the volunteers that will be working on one stage Saturday. The same segment of the course is run twice to count as two legs.

Early in the day we had some excitement when one of the cars completely failed to make the turn. In fact they didn't even start the turn, instead plowing into some of the hay bales along the side of the road. The car was lucky to not slide down in the rather large canyon next to the road. They did slide far enough that the co-driver could not push them out.

After a bit of work trying to extract the car with just the driver and co-driver (the spectators can not help) the driver attached a tow strap. He held out the tow strap as another car came by and they crowd let out a big cheer as car 285 stopped and gave a pull. That was enough to get the car back on the course.

Giving a tug to the stuck car.

The co-driver can be seen running back down the road. A requirement when a car stops is to get out a sign indicating that they are OK. If there is no sign out the next car coming is required to stop and lend assistance.

Waiting for the second stage to start (second running of this stage) we got to listen to a commentator describe the rally. They sound quite smooth and professional on TV. We got to hear three or four takes of the same presentation and it doesn't sound very spontaneous after you hear the same presentation run through a few times.

The second stage got very exciting when car number one came down the hill and didn't make the corner. They came straight at us and drove through the barrier tape stopping just a few feet from the shelter we had set up and halting a few feet from our table of radio equipment. They had lost the differential but still had brakes, but we didn't know that.

The  co-driver from car one uses a satellite phone to call their crew.

Car number one's parking spot right in front of our operating table. Another competitor is coming down the hill.

I am sitting at our operating table. We have a two meter radio and mobile antenna sitting on the table. Saturday we ran a wire to the car for power. Sunday we sat a battery under the table.

The  driver (right) and co-driver (left) for car number one.

A car comes down the hill and starts into the turn.

The end of the day Saturday. Most of the cars and spectators have now gone home. Car number one is waiting for a tow vehicle to arrive.

Sunday morning finds us at the finish for a stage. There is a flying finish about a half mile in front of us. Cars cross the flying finish at full speed and have their finish time electronically recorded. The cars then stop at the finish point here and receive their stage time information. Left to right: Mary Jo, Karen, Jordan.

The  Sunday stage was run twice. Between the runs of this stage we had some idle time and the dogs (Jasper left, Truffles right) got some time out of the car.

Lunch time finds the dogs interested in Mary Jo's sandwich.

A driver stops to receive the stage time from Karen.

The remaining photos are various competitors stopping to receive their time information.

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