Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Big Tex Rally -- Posse Ride

As a member of the Big Tex Rally Posse (volunteer staff) I'll be riding out to west Texas for some fun.  What a great opportunity to do field testing of the Bubbler GPS Pro Android app on my smart phone.  See the Bubbler GPS SpotWalla map below.

Regular  SPOT Tracker SpotWalla Map

The BTR starts in several different locations throughout The Great State of Texas on Friday, 10/18 at 6 AM.  The riders all have been given the rally book with the rules, 100+ bonus location listing and other particulars of the rally.  So, they have been busy selecting a route to "score" as many bonus locations as possible before the clock runs out at 6 PM on Saturday, 10/19, some 36 hours after the start.  The finish is at the La Quinta in Cedar Hill, TX.

Riders choose which bonus locations to include on their rally leg plan.  All rally riders approach this process differently but there are rally leg planning fundamentals many riders use.  Once a route has been planned it is entered into the rider's on-board navigation GPS equipment, tablet or smart phone.  When the rally clock starts riders navigate the route, stopping at the bonus locations to document, take a picture of their rally flag and/or secure a bonus items spelled out in the rally book.  It's like a scavenger hunt on a motorcycle.  It's great fun. Like most rallies over 24 hours the BTR has a rest bonus where riders can earn 15 points per minute while on the documented rest stop.

The Rally Master also encourages safe riding by awarding a huge bonus point value for riders who never have to produce their drivers license and proof of insurance to LEO (law enforcement officer) while on the rally.  At the start meeting the rider's DL and Ins documents are sealed in a envelope with a BTR sticker.  If the DL/Ins envelope has not been opened when the rider arrives at the finish 5,000 bonus points are awarded.  That is 1/5 of the total 25,000 necessary points to be considered a finisher.

My duties as a member of the BTR Posse is to conduct the rider meeting at the Fort Stockton start, be the Range Safety Officer at the "Pete's Pasture" bonus location where riders shoot their BTR rally flag and to score riders at the rally finish point.  Check out the embedded pictures in the Bubbler GPS map above for shots taken at key points I'll be at during the rally.  I'll also post items about my daily activities in the listing below.  I customarily do the days in bottom up order.

Saturday, 10/19:  Next task, range safety officer, at the 44M "Pete's Pasture" bonus location.  Available from 1100 to 1400 (10am to 2pm) for riders to score 2,000 bonus points by shooting their rally flag with a 9mm pistol.  Check for the photo on the map near Belton. 

Rider, choose your weapon!
A popular bonus stop!
After the Pete's Pasture event I rode to the rally finish motel in Cedar Hills.  There, I was immediately put to work scoring riders who had finished the rally.  We scored riders till about 10 PM.  I got a bit to eat and had a few Shiners before the awards presentation around 11PM.  It was a long night but I had loads of fun.  I signed up for the Big Tex Rally Posse next year.

Friday, 10/18:  Got up early, 0450, to make it to the BTR Fort Stockton start location.  The Exxon station on the far east side of town.  All five riders showed up in plenty of time to get checked in and ready to go.  Just before the 0600 start of the rally clock I had all riders pose for a start photo.  You can check it out by clicking on the picture icon next to the bonus flag on the map above. 

After the riders left I went back to my motel room to photo and send the rally master the rider sheet showing their rally flag number and odometer reading at the start.  I did this in case I crashed and burned on the way to the finish.  So far, things are working just fine.  I did some easy riding across the middle of Texas to do more field testing of the Bubbler GPS Pro app on my smart phone.  Got checked into a room in Belton, something to eat and settled in for the night. 

Thursday, 10/17:  Left the hotel heading to Anthony for a cup of decent coffee. The La Quinta's breakfast bar was low rent.  I scouted out Exit 0 for a future event.  Then over the Trans Mountain Highway and  on to Guadalupe National Park.  Again, I wanted to scout out some locations for a riding event for 2014.  Pulled into Fort Stockton late afternoon.  I had a few messages from a couple of the riders for tomorrows BTR start. 

Wednesday, 10/16:  Nice and easy ride out to the El Paso area on a scouting mission.   It was raining when I left the house a little after 8am.  I could see by the radar on my GPS that I would be riding out of the bad weather just past Junction.  Sure enough,  the skies got better the farther west I rode.  I stopped to help a biker on the side of the road.  He had a problem with the front sprocket cover.  Seems the cover bolt on the bottom broke and the cover was rattling around.  I gave him a couple of zip ties and he was back on the road. 

Got into El Paso around 5:30 to spend the night.  I'm going to scout out some this for a project.

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