July 14, 2010:
Blessed with an ideal day for a Gimmick Rally, the "roof" (as it is labeled on the console switch) could be stowed and sunglasses put in place for what promised to be a wonderful drive. As always, the first item to attend to is a full gas tank, since one's time in the event would be adversely affected by having to call AAA for petrol and still have to find the closest gas station after that. The second order of business would be the "internal fuel tank:" That issue was acceptably mitigated by the offerings within the nearby Starbucks.
Participants began to pull into the upper parking lot of Fred Meyer Raleigh Hills off SW Scholls Ferry Rd.) at 8:40 AM. Our rally master (Chrysta Foleen ably substituting for the ailing Rick Martin) was a shade tardy, having decided that having some "writing sticks" would be apropos for any participants that forgot to bring such an accoutrement. Writing information in a fill-in-the-blank format on the rally instructions being a requirement of the event.
A little after 9 AM drivers had their instructions, navigators had the rally sheets (directions and questions), and we moved the cars down to the departure point close to Beaverton Hillsdale highway. The only snag was the persistent public that did not quite grasp the subtlety of having a timed interval between cars leaving the parking lot. By the time this correspondent and his navigator left the lot, most semblance of orderly departure had given way to "just git 'er done."
Speaking of navigators... I think she is some sort of good-luck talisman. Allow me to introduce Jana Freistadt. Jana is a beautiful, intelligent, thoroughly delightful 16 year-old high student from Hamburg, Germany, visiting Portland for six weeks. She is participating in a scholar exchange program through the Andeo program, and staying with a loco JOCO family (which shall remain nameless to protect her families sensibilities and the international goodwill between the United States and our Teutonic brethren).
This was Jana's first time on a club-type drive out, and her first rally of any kind. On top of that, she had only been in the U.S. for a week. Her English language skills certainly got a workout, but something definitely "clicked" along the way (and it wasn't just her camera‘s shutter). As a team, we somehow managed to place first (scoring the fewest missed questions), which is something of an extraordinary achievement, since this was only the second gimmick rally ever run by this correspondent (as a participant).
Of course, we had to backtrack a time or two (or three) because some of the questions were real challenges. It's nice to know that the ones we missed were missed by a majority of other participants as well.
The group met at the Old Chicago Pizza restaurant at Tanasborne. The Rally Master tallied the scores and award placement prizes. Big surprise—we placed first, so Jana and I were awarded a delightful bottle of northwest wine. So, as a keepsake Jana will take that and our score sheet back home to Deutschland with her.
The lunch met with approval from Jana, I was full, and I'm already to do this again next year.