Critique of Course: The Old Roads, September 27, 2003
By Ronald H. Green, Rallyemaster
This was the second rallye I ever wrote, and the first that was ever run by anyone.
I would like to thank Dave Budlong, whose Rallye in November, 2002 gave me the inspiration to write one myself. I would also like to thank Joe Akerman, who offered to let me write the middle third of 2003's 16 hour November event.
Of course, it would be just like me to write an entire rallye instead of writing just the middle as Joe suggested, and that is exactly what I did, plotting a course from Lebec to Laughlin, which I called 'Lakes and Rivers'. It took every weekend during a couple of months, and I'm sure Joe was astonished at my enthusiasm. I was very excited, and wanted to do prechecks for the November Rallye as early as March. He must of thought I was nuts. I was.
Basically, I had just purchased my 2003 Eclipse GT, and really enjoyed the driving and exploration. During my various trips, I found so many great roads that I literally had enough material for about 19 hours of Rallye. Joe encouraged me to cut it down to 15, and so I had 4 great hours of stuff remaining after "Lakes and Rivers", to be run this November 14-16. He agreed to let me put that into Rallye Number 2, The Old Roads 9/27, that I'm critiquing now.
The Old Roads is two parts of about 3.5 hours each, with a great food/gas stop in the middle. It runs about 330 miles. The second half of it came from my work on Lakes and Rivers. The first half of it was a no brainer, but during my search for great checkpoint locations, I found some real treasures, one of them being my first maze in the Santa Paula Sunkist citrus groves.
Of course, Joe Akerman had already driven these roads hundreds of times, but I think I brought a new perspective to them.
First, I wanted to do a Loop heading west from Lebec, around through Ojai, Santa Paula, and end up In lake Hughes, where I would start phase two. So, Phase 1 had a maze, and Phase 2 was to be a maze unto itself. So, here's how phase 1 worked:
Checkpoint 1: Checkpoint Location: On Lakeview Terrace; Enter towards Lakeview Drive
On the map, Lakeview Terrace is blackened, so that you can see that it is a half circle road that meets with Lakeview Drive in two places. You can only enter the area from the north, so the question is 'towards which intersection do I head towards? This is how you create your search pattern: You know that there are two intersection points for Lakeview Drive and Lakeview Terrace. You must head up Lakeview Drive towards the first Lakeview Terrace intersection. In the passage control picture, you can see the intersection sign as well as a yellow house in the background, whose address is the actual Passage Control Information. When you arrive at the first intersection, you look for that house and sign. Not seeing it, you can only surmise that the pictured sign is at the next intersection, and you must therefore turn right onto Lakeview Terrace to be On Lakeview Terrace heading towards the passage control sign at the other intersection with Lakeview Drive. This required a slight uphill creep, but I felt the trick was worth it, and since we gave you only 12 minutes to get there from the start, you didn't have a long creep ahead of you anyway.
Checkpoint 2: You will reach this checkpoint just after you cross the Cuyama Creek/River. After reaching this checkpoint, proceed directly to Ojai.
Once you got back to Lockwood Valley Road, you head south and west to head towards the 33. We gave you map 10, showing you how Cuyama Creek crossed Lockwood Valley Road right before the 33. You were supposed to look frantically for the checkpoint, knowing as soon as you found it, you had to go to Checkpoint three in Ojai. The map clearly showed that Cuyama Creek/River crossed the Lockwood and HWY 33, and so not finding the checkpoint or passage control sign on Lockwood, you had no choice but to cross the river again, hoping to find the checkpoint. You turn north, and find an unmanned passage control. To exit the checkpoint, you must make a U-Turn in order to Proceed directly to Ojai. In accordance with the General Instructions, the Special Route instructions state that: "We intend for you to enter each of the seventeen checkpoints once", and "when directed to a location, make any U or other turns or course changes necessary to go there", so you know that U-Turns in this case are allowed.
Checkpoint 3: Creek Road, within the City Limits of Ojai; Enter heading away from Country Club Drive.
In the documents, we give you Rallye Map 3, which shows Country Club Drive, and where it meets Creek Road. So, you get into Ojai, turn east to Country Club, and south on Country club to Creek. Which way do you turn? Well, the passage control looks like a rural residential mailbox, which we know is within City Limits. If we turn right on Creek, the only thing to the right on Creek that we can see is the Golf Course. Therefore, we must turn Left, where, up the road, we can reach the city limits on Creek (on the right side of the road). This Checkpoint was designed to be a passage control, but during the last days before the rallye, we decided to add a crew, and put Joe Akerman to work on 3, which was to be an additional passage control.
Maze 1: Checkpoint 4-8: On a road south of CA HWY 126, and west of Torrey Road.
Entry Direction, Checkpoint 4: Towards the West (Enter from the East).
Entry Direction, Checkpoint 5: Towards the East.
Entry Direction, Checkpoint 6: Towards the South.
Entry Direction, Checkpoint 7: Towards the East.
Entry Direction, Checkpoint 8: Towards the South.
If you look at the picture for Course Control 1, and the passage control signs for Checkpoints 4 through 7, you will see "forced turn signs". Looking at Map 4, you can see where the Course Control 1 sign is, and you can see that the sign refers to a forced 90 degree turn in the road. If you count the forced turn signs in the general area, there are a total of five for checkpoints 4-7 plus CC1. Since no two checkpoints can be at the same location or intersection, there must be at least 5 forced turns. If you look carefully at the map, there are exactly 5 forced turns:
Los Angeles/ Ventura
Right away, you can allocate Sespe/Riverside as Course Control 1.
Next, since Checkpoint 4 must be approached from the west, and Pasadena/Cayetano is the only intersection approachable from the west, you've figured out Checkpoint 4.
Now, look at the passage control sign for Checkpoint 7; you can see that it is located on Highway 23; This can only be the Bellevue/Chambersburg Intersection, approached to the East.
Only two Checkpoint intersections remain, and only matching passage control sign checkpoints 5 and 6 remain. Both can be approached from the south or east, but the Picture shown at the Start shows that Checkpoint 5 is east of 6. This means that Checkpoint 5 is at Los Angeles, and that Checkpoint 6 is at south Sespe, approached from the North.
Now: Entry into the maze: The Passage Control Sign for Checkpoint 8 shows a left turn from the north for Guiberson, which means that the checkpoint hose for 8 might even be north of Riverside Drive. If that's the case, the maze is not enterable from Chambersburg, and must be entered from South Mountain. Verification of the locations and entry directions of Checkpoints 4 - 7 show that entry into the maze via South Mountain is safe, and is therefore the preferred route.
Inside the maze, the following instructions are in effect for Regulars and Experts: " If you turn onto a checkpoint road, you must turn toward the checkpoint or you will be maxxed", and "If you're on a road with a checkpoint on it, and you're headed towards the checkpoint, you may only exit the road prior to reaching the checkpoint by making a legal right turn onto a paved road marked on the map(s), or you will be maxxed." Therefore, the following route is preferred, and quite necessary:
1) Enter the maze via San Cayetano or Huenema.
a) If you turn right on Los Angeles, you miss Leg 4 by being forced to go directly to Leg 5 because you can't turn right off of Los Angeles.
b) If you miss Bardsdale, and go as far as Pasadena, you max Leg 4 by going backwards through it.
1) Turn right on Bardsdale
a) If you turn on Sespe, big mistake. Turning right, you enter Checkpoint 6 early; turning left, you turn onto a checkpoint road in a direction away from it. Oops, Max.
2) Turn left at Santa Paula, and left again at Pasadena to enter Checkpoint 4.
3) Turn left at Los Angeles to head towards Checkpoint 5.
4) Turn left at Riverside to head towards the course Control
5) Continue into Checkpoint 6.
a) After exiting CP 6, do not turn on Los Angeles; Turning right, you're heading away from, and max CP 5. Turning left, you're headed into CP 5 for the second time out of order - Max.
6) Continue onto South Mountain, turning right (north) onto Huenema.
7) Turn right onto Bardsdale, and continue all the way down to the Bellevue/Chambersburg intersection to the location of Passage control Checkpoint 7.
8) Turn right on Guiberson to avoid running through Checkpoint 8 from the south. Go around via Torrey Road, and back to Chambersburg / 'A' street (HWY 23), to head towards Checkpoint 8 from the north.
9) Turn left on Guiberson again to exit the maze towards the east, in the direction of checkpoint 9.
Notes: You are specifically instructed to get course control 1 after 5 and before 6. Still, it is very easily obtainable before 4 if someone wants to go and get it. We are going to try and trick you at four to give us the Course Control info. If you have it, you lose the points. Also, there is a checkpoint crew on Sespe between Bardsdale and Los Angeles looking for people to make mistakes turning either on to or off of Sespe. There is another crew on Chambersburg looking for people who enter the maze incorrectly, or turn left while headed north, or try to go around via Riverside to exit the maze.
1) Going up South Mountain into Sespe to enter the maze. Going straight, you max 6. Turning Left, you max 6. Turning right, you max 5.
2) Turning left on Sespe from Bardsdale towards Pasadena en route to checkpoint 4. You max 4.
3) Having Course Control 1 before 4. You lose the Course Control.
4) Turning Left off of Chambersburg to avoid 8. You max 8.
5) Proceeding through to Bellevue from 8. You max 7.
Post Rallye Note: Because Identified Trap #2 and the Post #6 Course Trap were not able to be scored fairly, as we had insufficient staff, we decided not to enforce the traps. Many people would have been caught here, but we could not identify everyone fairly. Lucky you!
Checkpoint 9: Location: On a road south of Witherspoon Parkway (SAFE), and north of Harrison Parkway (SAFE). Enter heading away from Witherspoon Parkway.
This is a passage control in a big, expansive business park with a wide area search pattern. Of course, since the two SRI's are still in effect, the most logical search pattern would be to go all the way to the westernmost edge of Witherspoon, to go south on Livingston so you wouldn't get caught turning away from a checkpoint, or be forced to go backwards into it. If not on Livingston, you could look north into each of the intersecting roads to look for a staffed checkpoint, not finding any you would begin looking for Passage Control. Since the Passage control is on Livingston, this leg shouldn't become too much of a mad, mad, mad, mad world. This leg was originally created for a rather unique search for a Passage Control, but we decided to staff it at the last minute. I know that we caught a few people on the wrong way turn trap, which was fun.
Checkpoint 10: Checkpoint Location: This Checkpoint is located on the Old Road, north of Hasley Canyon Road. Enter heading towards Parker street.
There is a logical search pattern here, where the rallyist will find the prize later rather than sooner. First, heading up the 'Old Road', and finding nothing by the time you reach Parker Street, you must now maneuver to the upper Old Road at Lake Hughes, in order to proceed south on The Old Road to reach the checkpoint, which will be manned. There is also a trap here, in that the SRI's are still in effect, so rallyists must turn right off of The Old Road to go through the Gas and Food area instead of taking the more easier route via Parker west to Lake Hughes east to The Old Road South, which would, unfortunately, be turning off of a Checkpoint road to the Left, resulting in a max leg. The irony here is that you have to drive through the Lunch/Gas break area twice before you're allowed to stop and take advantage of the services. And again, because we had inadequate staff to determine the route used by the rallyists, we decided not to enforce the special SRI trap.
Following CP10, you turn left onto Parker (which turns into the Ridge Route), and you hit Gas/Food Valhalla. This was a great discovery during my drive, and I knew right then that this was the mid-point of the Rallye.
Of course, after the break, you've still got to get to Restart, which is close to 30 miles away in lake Hughes. You get there via Lake Hughes Road, because you need to pick up course control #2 information along the way. This is also close to Checkpoint 12, but since CP 12 is about a mile from Restart, and Lake Hughes is SAFE, all you have to do is turn right on Lake Elizabeth from Lake Hughes to drive directly to Noblett, and you're there safely.
There is also a trick gimmick waiting at Restart. You must enter from the east, or you get dinged 100 points. The key is to enter Noblett, and drive up and around Pippin to enter Nimrod correctly.
Checkpoint 11: Location: The Checkpoint is approximately 1.2 miles away from the Passage Control Sign. Minimum Speed: No less than Forty (40) Miles Per Hour. To help you calibrate your speed and arrival time, be advised that the mile marker to the right is 1.6 miles away from the Passage Control Sign below.
Here, the passage control sign is obviously on Bouquet Canyon Road at its intersection with Spunky Canyon, travelling towards Leona Valley, North and East. Since the checkpoint must be approached from the south (because the sign points to Green Valley towards the Left), you must drive all the way around San Francisquito Road, across Copper Hill, and up Bouquet Canyon in a near hour long loop. There's no secret about the location of the checkpoint. The instructions say that the Timing Hose is 1.2 Miles away from the Passage Control. Since Timing Hoses are always "upstream" from the Passage Control Sign, the Timing Hose is further south, and approached from the South. We also gave you a 8.0 Mile Marker sign, and told you that it was 1.6 miles away from the Passage Control, and that it was to be used to help you calibrate your speed and arrival time. Because the 8 Mile Marker sign was used to help calibrate arrival time and speed, it also had to be on the 'hose side' of the passage control. So, two objects were on the hose side of the Passage Control: The Hose, and the 8 Mile Marker Sign. The two objects were at 1.6 miles and 1.2 miles away from the Passage Control sign, on the same side of it, so they had to be 0.4 miles away from each other. The passage control sign therefore had to be at either the 6.4 Mile Point on the road, or the 9.6 mile point. Since the Passage Control sign showed the Road ended in Leona at '7' miles away, you then knew that the Passage Control sign had to be at the 6.4 mile point, so the Hose had to be at the 7.6 mile point. (This was also verified by the mile marker paddles you passed on the way to the checkpoint) By the way, no one maxxed this leg, but many were tricked by the math of the sign distances. All is fair in Love and Rallying. And Kudos to the Cobra which Aced this leg on their way to winning the Rallye in the Expert Class and Overall.
There's a trap right after 11. Going straight on Bouquet Canyon maxxes you on Checkpoint 15. I put a trap crew over there just for this purpose. No one fell for it. Good for all!
Checkpoint 12: The Passage Control sign is Exactly 0.92 miles from Restart (as the crow flies). Enter heading towards Restart. Lake Hughes Road is SAFE.
From the picture you are shown at Standoff, the heading for this leg is 282 degrees, which can only apply to Elizabeth Lake / Pine Canyon Road, heading away from three points. From checkpoint 11, you must travel over Spunky Canyon through Green River, up San Francisquito to Johnson, and right on Johnson to take you to the 138. Take 138 to Three points, and 9 miles after three points you reach the checkpoint. Another hour long loop. There was a crew at Munz and Lancaster. If you headed up Munz (as a shortcut), you maxxed CP 14. If you went up Johnson, and turned left at Lancaster, you maxxed 13. I think we caught two cars with this trap.
Checkpoint 13: Checkpoint Location: On Lancaster Road, enter heading away from 210th Street West.
The trick here is that the Checkpoint is actually much further east from 210th street than implied. The picture given at standoff shows you that the Passage control is at 36 degrees, which means that the Checkpoint is actually east of 170th street. Since the only way to get there is to take Elizabeth Lake to Johnson again, and go around 138 one more time to 170th street, people who go to 210th street are actually going 8 miles extra in distance, which will really hurt them on this leg. Additionally, the passage control sign should also give the location away. Lancaster is a fairly straight road, but it does start to twist and turn at one point, and that is what the Passage Control sign identifies. There was a nighttime biking event which filled the Checkpoint Street with Bicycles, and everyone was complaining, especially the Cobra, who were penalized the majority of their points on this leg.
Checkpoint 14: Checkpoint Location: On a road. Enter heading South.
The passage control sign shows that the Checkpoint is One Quarter Mile away from Elizabeth Lake Road on a road that intersects with it. There are only three such roads in the county, and only Munz Ranch road can be reached within the 9 minutes of the leg. Additionally, you are given 108 degrees at Restart, which points right to the intersection of Munz Ranch Road and Elizabeth Lake Road.
Checkpoint 15: Checkpoint Location: On a road south of and connecting to Elizabeth Lake Road. Enter heading north or east.
Earlier, you had to go to Bouquet Canyon Road at Spunky Canyon, and in order to do that, you had to go south on San Francisquito Road towards and away from Spunky Canyon. Therefore, you know that the entirety of San Francisquito road must be safe. Therefore, the northern part of Bouquet Canyon road is suspect for the location of this checkpoint, and so are some of the roads in Leona Valley. But, at restart, when you get the handout telling you that the checkpoint is east of Checkpoint 11, you know it's Bouquet Canyon, and not any road in Leona Valley, and you must therefore travel back across Spunky Canyon road, and then left to go east at Bouquet Canyon in order to get there. Most teams liked the back and forth use of Spunky Canyon. I was glad to be of service. The Passage Control Sign was hard for me to locate regularly, even knowing where it was. Two weeks before the Rallye, I went there at 8 AM, and trimmed the Juniper bushes which had overgrown the sign after I took pictures. At standoff, I minimized your pain by giving you an approximate distance from Leona Valley to the sign, which eased my conscience.
Checkpoint 16: Location: The checkpoint is just before the intersection of M-8 and 60th Street West. Enter heading towards the intersection. The passage control sign does not face south.
So, I gave you the intersection. From which direction to you approach it? The answer is in the Passage Control Sign. The picture shows a stop sign, and says that the passage control value is on the back of it, and that the sign does not face south. If the sign does not face south, then you KNOW that approaching the intersection from the south is SAFE. So, you go to the intersection from the south heading north. When you get to the intersection, you look for the Passage Control Value on the back of one of the stop signs which face away from the intersection. The Stop Sign with the Passage Control Value IS the Passage Control, and further away from the intersection in that direction IS the Checkpoint. Since the checkpoint has to be within a quarter mile of the stop sign, all you have to do is determine which of three directions is the one, then drive around a 2 mile loop to get there. As it was, the correct way to go was to see the PC Value on the easterly direction, and then swing around M street to the north, left to 65th street, and then left again to M-8, and then a final left on M-8 to head towards 60th, and the checkpoint.
Checkpoint 17: Checkpoint Location: On Lake Elizabeth Road. Enter heading away from 25th Street West towards the East.
Actually, I had wanted to end the rallye before this, but I couldn't find a decent restaurant in the area, so I added one more leg to get us close to the 138 junction with the 14 in Palmdale, where late night restaurants abound. This is an easy checkpoint to reach, and you can get there in plenty of time by taking side streets north of portal ridge to 25th street and south to Lake Elizabeth, then left, or by going back over Godde Street to Lake Elizabeth, and east from there. You knew it was east of 25th street because of the Finish location, and its proximity to the Checkpoint. Either way, at this point, I'm tired of messing with your mind, and I just want you to relax, zero the leg, and get to the restaurant for a much needed break, and some fun conversation about the route.
I sincerely hope all of you enjoyed this Rallye. The route was a joy to run every time I ran it for both exploration and timing purposes, and believe it or not, driving these roads was also my first introduction to them. Apparently, the Sunkist Orange Groves in Santa Paula and Lockwood Valley and Spunky Canyon are "Rallyemaster Favorites". I knew nothing of this, but driving in the area was incredibly inspirational, and the resultant route seemed obvious, and almost wrote itself. I remember, based upon reading and looking at the map alone, and determining a route through the Orange Grove maze, I then drove there to time the route. Well, after getting there, I soon found out that my route wouldn't work because of traffic or road side clearance issues. Disappointed, I then drove to the Gas station on 'A' and the 126, had a coke, and sat in the parking lot for about 20 minutes, sitting in my car and staring at the map. Then, it happened. I discovered the existence of those 5 forced turns, and fashioned using them all as Checkpoint location pointers disguised and acting in a dual role as Passage Controls. This, quite frankly, was an epiphany, and excited the hell out of me. Of the entire Rallye, I was most proud of the setup of that maze.
What can I say about Phase 2? You were able to drive every great canyon road between Santa Clarita and the upper hills (Lake Hughes, San Francisquito, Bouquet Canyon), all in one day. You traversed every road between the Hills and the Lancaster Valley (Three Points, Munz, Johnson, Godde, and 25th. And hopefully, provided you figured out my clues and tricks and traps, you appreciated the cool satellite photos I created from Internet Images, and framed as trophies for the various classes.
This was great fun. I hope I tricked you, and made you laugh at yourself. I hope you enjoyed those great roads. But most of all, I hope to see you at the next Standoff. - RG