Initial Ramblings – Winter 2017: An Unlikely Result
by JT Burkard
As with every Whack Your Turkey Rally, we begin our preparation the night before. I find the clipboard, make sure the mechanical pencil is in working order, fuel and clean the car, and check out the directions to the start location. Well it took a while before I found either of the clipboards. The one is black plastic. The other is a cheaper brown colored hardboard style. Both were MIA. After an exhausting search with helicopters, bloodhounds, and a professional tracker on horseback, the later of the two was found, in the trunk of the E21. I guess it’s true, it’s always in the last place I left it. The pencil was still attached. It still worked and had refills in case we run low. Next was looking at the start location. I Google it to get a visual so I have an idea where we are going and write the address down for the Bimmer Barn on highway 202 in Branchburg (note this detail for a little later). For whatever reason, I forego the filling of the car. Procrastination? Lazy? I don’t know.
The next morning we get up, amazingly on time. We get ready and head out of the house. We stop on the Parkway to fill our vintage 320i because of my lack of petrol attention the night before. 5 minutes wasted. As we cross the Driscoll bridge going north on the Parkway Sandy says “Don’t forget we have to get off here” in reference to the other year I wasn’t paying attention and we had to go to the next exit, u-turn and head back to get onto 287. I said “no I remember, we are not going to screw up this time.” Famous last words? You have no idea…
As we travel up the road I figure we would get to the start at 9:15am, which is typical for us on arrival time, well, actually 9:30 is more like it. We exit and get onto RT 22 then 202. At the split we get onto 206. We go down 206 for approximately 9 miles and find another BMW shop that wasn’t Bimmer Barn. I said to Sandy “Um, can you double check the directions? We are not where we are supposed to be.” Sandy looks at the address I wrote down which was 999 RT 206, Branchburg. Something was wrong. We are not in Branchburg but possibly Hillsborough. I actually said to her “You must have put in the wrong directions. We are way off.” She insisted she had everything correct from what I gave her and was getting mad at me for blaming her. We pull off the road and she looked up the address on our club’s website. 999 RT 202… wait… 202? We had 206, correction, I wrote 206! And I was blaming her when it was my fault. ARGH! Now it’s around 9:40, and we are WAY out of the way, and I have an angry wife.
We plug in the new and correct address and hurry through the back roads to cut the straightest path to the start point. The entire time we were saying this was a disaster and we are probably not going to make the rally. There was a moment where we were just going to find a diner, have breakfast, and head home. We did, however, arrive at Bimmer Barn at 10:15, and hour and 15 minutes late. The lot was empty and no one was there. Darn! We turn around and park in the driveway in search for the nearest diner so we can at least feast our troubles away. Then there was a knock on the window. It’s Rallymaster Dave! They were waiting for us after all inside the building. It’s a good thing we didn’t just pull out. We get our instructions, laugh at our misfortune and off we go. We were quite thankful they waited for us.
At this point, we decided that the rally was going to be a bust so we ran it for the scenery and to get lunch with our fellow club members at the end. And perhaps some redemption from my directional screw up. Getting lost to the start point is never a good sign. With zero pressure on us we just laid back and started to grab clues and run the route. After the first page was complete we said to each other “We are actually doing pretty decent, wouldn’t it be crazy if we actually won?” Highly doubtful.
We continue on and missed a clue or two. No big deal. I told Sandy I wasn’t going back because it won’t make that much of a difference. I was more concerned about time. I think we turned around for only one clue since it was only a half mile section, and we got it. As we filled the pages, it looked like we were, dare I say, confidently optimistic? The best thing about running the rally so late was we didn’t see another car from the club. We were alone on this journey, which I think actually helped. Towards the end we just drove the last couple miles to make up for the time we were about to lose and if we see any clues along the way, we will grab them on the go.
We arrived at the Niks Wunderbar German Restaurant on RT 22 in Readington Twp. I dropped Sandy off at the door so she can run in so we don’t lose any further time. We were 5 minutes late as it was. I park our trusty E21 and join her. With cheers from our other members, and an hour late to the party, we find some seats and order lunch. Within 30 minutes the winners were announced. I hear “With 5 minutes late and 11 wrong, Team Burkard 3rd Place” – What? You are kidding me right? We thought we did well but honestly didn’t think we were going to be anywhere near a podium finish. 3rd place, WOW! Perhaps this is going to be our new strategy. Show up late, and win! I guess that was a perfect end to an unperfect start. Very unexpected.
If you have never done one of our rallies, I encourage you to try one. It will be three hours of fun for you and a friend/spouse in the Competition class or fun for the whole family in the Family class. The route we ran this time around was fantastic. The back roads of Somerset and Hunterdon counties are filled with streams, ponds, lakes, farms, plus many historic locations and buildings. It is truly picturesque. You can’t get a better day in your BMW at legal speeds than doing one of our Chapter’s rallies. Don’t think about it, just do it.
And if I have learned something from this experience, don’t blame your spouse for your mishandling of information. It may result in a silent ride home, or perhaps a 3rd place finish. Until our next adventure, stay Bavarian my friends.
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