2004 Turkey Tour Rally

Once again we started the Turkey Rally at the Applebee's parking lot in Mt. Kisco. Due to the A&P opening, we started from the alternate exit from the lot. The actual rally time was 2 hours 22 minutes and 2 seconds, covering 63 miles of upper Westchester and lower Putnum counties. We posted 41 TURKEY signs plus 2 off-course signs, but more on those later in the letter. The rally left Westchester from Yorktown and returned in Somers, then took an eastward path around the Croton Reservoir through Bedford, going past at least 4 previous checkpoints from recent rallies.

The start was uneventful, except some confusion at instruction #8, the dirt leafy section. This was not an intentional trick. In fact, we tried to do all that we could to make it more obvious but some people got messed up anyway, despite the mileage helpers in the instructions. In retrospect, we should have changed the instruction to "Straight as Possible until Left at T" or something similar to avoid the confusion.

Another comment was that the average speed was a little high for the conditions. The conditions were pretty poor with rain and fog obscuring forward visibility. Based on those conditions, the speed could have been a little lower. The weather, however, was an equalizing factor, at least one team with multi-million candlepower headlights complained that in many cases their headlights were useless due to the glare off of the fog. Even with all these obstacles, the winning car was 53 seconds off the actual time. Despite the conditions, one competitor managed to come to the finish more than 15 minutes early, thus doubling their time penalty.

The planned traps in the rally included several dead-ends causing either forced turns or making intersections that appeared to be T's, actually forced turns. There where also several instruction signs immediately after the previous instruction was to be executed. If the navigator was not fast to read the next instructionů it was probably too late.

The final trick was the final instruction, which read "Repeat instructions 1 thru 101". The previous instruction placed you right next to Applebee's and only the first two instructions would be executed twice. The first one, "Right", placed you on the road with the entrance to Applebee's and the second one, "Right at TL" (Traffic Light) was not the Traffic Light in front of Applebee's, since that was a parking lot that didn't exist. The actual traffic light was the one after the parking lot and placed you on Kisco Ave again, where the checkpoint was located 1/2 mile down the road. We placed a TURKEY sign along that section to see if anyone would see it at the end and think they forgot it at the beginning. Two cars added the "?" sign to both the end and the beginning of their answer sheet. The one at the beginning was marked off course since it wasn't there at the beginning of the rally; it was posted 2 hours after the start of the rally, so no team should have seen it twice.

Another off-course TURKEY was an obvious one, "H" at the instruction "Right onto Lakeview". The Lakeview sign was on the left and the TURKEY was directly in from of you, but on your left as you passed it. As the general instructions indicate, "All 'TURKEY' signs will be on the right as you pass them". This caught several teams also.

Special thanks for Pat and Dave for registration, Debbi and Gary for prerunning the rally and Frank for everything that we didn't do, as always he was an invaluable assistant in many contexts.

We look forward to seeing all of you again at the Bunny Run in the spring. Any questions or comments drop me an e-mail at jesse@vgallery.com.

Your rallymasters,

Jesse and Barbara