Lost Highway 2018, A Road Found
Car One’s experience
by John Getchell
I had not run a monte carlo rally in a few years, so I asked my son to drive. It was his very first time to participate in a rally. I told him it would be an adventure, just to learn about it! As we arrived at the Start an hour early, we had lunch waiting for the rally master to arrive. Mr. Akerman asked if we would be Car #1. Leading the way is always a challenge (finding the checkpoints for other cars), but it was Bryan’s first event. I agreed, and we got our instructions.
Heading north from the Start (Standoff #1), we headed up I-5 to Lake Hughes Road to perform a 20-mile odo check before Course Control #2. The desired sign made us aware of SNAKES, especially rattlesnakes in the area. Only info for Checkpoint #1 was to head east. Guessed wrong the checkpoint was on Johnson Ranch Road, and we didn’t have time to get there! Racing to the end of Lake Hughes Rd, we spot an ITN sign, make a turn EAST, and have some time. At least no MAX! I input the countdown time wrong, and we get 101 points. Bad Navigator…me.
Off to Standoff #2/3 to find info for Checkpoint #2 and Checkpoint #3. Heading west on Pine Canyon Road, we’re looking to turn right going north on Three Points Rd at Three Points. Must be common knowledge that there is no turn at Three Points; we get to an intersection where Three Points Rd goes across and a highway goes left and right. Where are we? (Hwy 138) Going right we get to 205th Street West, and know we turned right instead of left at unmarked Hwy 138. Race to Course Control #2, and there are plenty of cars already there. Must be late! Learn Checkpoint #2 is the same as Checkpoint #1. Time for a zero. Bryan said he wanted to get a few zeros on his first rally. We get a picture with true map direction for Checkpoint #3.
Heading away from Standoff #2/3, we miss going back on Pine Canyon Rd, and go onto the Lost Highway, Old Ridge Route. Passable, but lots of potholes. Jeep came up the other way. On Pine Canyon Rd, we see a rattlesnake almost across the road as we pass. Glad not to hit it. A quick turn onto Lake Hughes Rd, and a quick left get us to the CP. Bryan gets his first ZERO.
Our feelings are improving with a zero. Heading up Munz Ranch Rd to get Course Control #3 on top of 170th St W, we get into a windmill farm. Great checkpoint road for high minimum speed CP. Got the letter off the sign, and head up safe Tehachapi-Willow Springs Rd to Backus Rd. Turn on Mohave Tropico Rd to find Checkpoint #3. This was the only paved road west of CA HWY 14 and north of Rosamond Bl where the compass reading crossed a paved road. We begin to worry that the CP is not here after going several miles. We have time, but where is the CP? I tell Bryan the CP has to be here with the compass bearing. A little further, and we see the CP down in a valley about 0.5 mile away. Lots of time, and there are no other cars around. Off just a little, and we get 1 late. Mr. Akerman praises Bryan for a great creep too. Off to the gas break and food.
After a nice break, we head to Woodford-Tehachapi Rd for Course Control #4 on a paddle marker at a listed mileage. We arrive first followed quickly by Cars #2 and #3. Get to see the Tehachapi Railroad Loop. Down to Keene, and into Standoff #4/ #5 at Bakersfield National Cemetery. Checkpoint #4 has a picture with compass bearing. We know checkpoint #4 is on Caliente Bodfish Rd by compass bearing. Must make a big loop around Caliente Creek Rd, Walker Basin Rd, and down Caliente Bodfish Rd to checkpoint. Big guess on just where!
As we chance overtaking the CP too soon, we see a CHECKPOIINT AHEAD sign. Excellent safety precaution for those getting to Checkpoint #4 on time. As the checkpoint is downhill, we are creeping again. A local car pulls up to talk with us as we have the CP insight. We tell him what we are doing, and he leaves. Counting Bryan down, ….zero again. Bryan has his 2 zeros.
Two more Course Controls, and we have a minimum speed final CP for #5. I count down Bryan every tenth of a mile in the dark. Think we are close, but we are 3 early. Again, my fault. Missed mileage start. Had a great time running this event. It was done very well with good Course Controls and Checkpoints.