The DKC Rally is a fund raiser for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation with all proceeds going to the charity. Matt Pflug, our esteemed Rally Master puts on this wonderful event. He spends countless hours scouting bonus locations and garnering sponsors. This year was absolutely over the top fantastic!!! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Eric and I left our home in Southern Utah on Friday. We stopped a scant 30 miles from home to have some breakfast and try our luck at the slot machines and Blackjack table. We didn't last long as Lady Luck really wasn't with us. I hoped that wasn't to be the case at the rally :-) Our route to Bakersfield, CA was not exciting. It was a slog down I-15, turn west on California Hiway 58 and roll on into Bakersfield. Fortunately, the weather was kind and the traffic not too bad. We arrived at the Howard Johnson Motel around 5pm and met up with several other rally riders who were also staying there.
Well, I really wanted my cocktail (hey, it was cocktail hour after all!) and the pre-rally dinner was about a mile away. We NEVER EVER EVER drink and ride so I had the foresight to call a cab. Several of us hung outside the motel and had our beverages waiting for the cab. Six of us piled into a cab and made our way to the restaurant. Bonus....riders were treated to a hosted dinner the evening before the rally. This gave all of us a chance to meet each other and renew old friendships. We had a wonderful time. After dinner it was another cab ride back to the motel and off to bed. After all, we had a big day ahead of us.
Saturday morning came way too soon and into our gear and onto the bikes, we headed to the Rocket Shop Cafe for the rider's meeting before the rally start. We got checked in, filled out and signed the release forms and waited for the rally packs to be distributed. Promptly at 7 am, the rally packs were handed out. I was rider number 5 and Eric was rider number 6.
I quickly scanned the rally pack, got the gist of the types of bonus locations and points and then took a good, hard, long look at the map that Matt provided with all the bonus locations identified. Well, looking at that map I decided to hone in on the area with the most bang for the buck and quickly wrote down the bonus numbers in the order I thought I should go. This gave me a nice loop to ride in an area I hadn't been before. A whole new area of Kern County!
I wasn't concerned about "winning" the rally. I just wanted to have a great ride, find new stuff and go on unfamiliar roads. Yes, I did want to be a finisher and that was always on my mind. So, I go back to my seat and discuss my proposed route with Eric. He was good with what I wanted to do. We were going to ride together and have a fun time. Whoopee!! To be a finisher, you had to ride a minimum of 200 miles in 8 hours. Pay attention, this will be important later :-)
We had plenty of time to get ourselves prepared and ride ready since I didn't really plan anything but a fun ride. 8 am was the start. We were number 2 and 3 out the gate and headed to our first bonus, the Mill Creek Water Wheel in Bakersfield. Only worth 4 points but an easy grab on our way out of the city.
From there we headed to another Water Wheel bonus, the Hart Park Water Wheel. Easy peasy since we had been to this park last year on the rally.
This ended our city bonus hunting and we headed off into the wilderness of Kern County. A lovely ride that took us through a few oil fields and then into the golden hills with twisting, winding roads studded with fantastic rock formations with the sun shining down on us....oh bliss...this was wonderful. Big sweeping curves, a decent speed limit and gold everywhere. We ended up riding down a dead end road to End of Pine Mountain Road looking for a number on the gate at the end. Here is what we found.
Next bonus was the Granite School House. That was a quick ride and easy photo.
Moving along, riding another wonderful twisty, turny, golden road, we came upon Glennville, CA and the Saddle Sore Saloon. We pulled up and got out our flags to take the requisite pictures. While we were there a local Sheriff pulled up. We had already taken the pics and were putting stuff away, stuffing earplugs in and getting ready to roll, when the friendly Sheriff wanted to chat. Apparently, he is an enthusiast and rides some foreign bike, oh yeah, a Moto Guzzi :-) He wanted to know all about our farkles and so on. I finally told him what we were doing and we need to move on and he was most gracious. Cudos to Kern County Sheriffs!!! Here is the bonus...
On to the next bonus, we rode over the mountain to Wofford Heights to cop the Antique Store bonus. We had to answer a question - What happened here? The answer was "Absolutely Nothing!". Here are some fun pics of the bonus location. We also ran into a half dozen other rally riders here.
A quick scoot along Lake Isabella brought us to our next bonus, a land locked boat for sale.
Eric turned around and went back UP the mountain to see if he could find it. I waited, and waited and waited. No love. He came back and said he couldn't find it. Oh well, on to the next bonus. Turns out that everyone who went for this one couldn't find it. We all determined that the ranch had been put up for sale and apparently the old owners had taken the Sasquatch and babies away....darn.
Moving on, we were still on this wonderful twisty, colorful, rural road taking us to the next bonus, the Havilah School House.
Bonus grabbed and off to the next one! Man oh man, this was a fantastic road full of fall colors, twists, turns, rural scenes and blue sky. The temps were perfect and I was having a ride of a lifetime. People pay big money to have this experience and we were doing it on a rally :-) Good stuff. So, moving on...our next bonus was the Stutz Fire Engine and Hydrant bonus. Easy peasy - well butt for the gravel and not so nice exit with ruts and grunk and stuff that I HATE!
We enjoyed our ride, nothing but rural Kern County with lots of golden fields, awesome rock formations, fall leaves and blue sky. We headed to the Smiley Face Tank and found it quick enough.
Okay, on to the next bonus. The roads were perfect, traffic pretty much none and we were having a grand time in the twists and turns. Yes, our route was slow due to the twisty roads but man oh man it was beautiful! Picture fall leaves in the road on a nice twisty road. The rider in front parts the leaves as they fly up and away and all is golden with shadows here and there. Oh my, it was hard to concentrate on the ride with all the beauty of fall in front of me!
Butt, concentrate I must because these roads were twisty, turny and tight! From our last bonus, we moved on to the Twin Oaks General Store. Where we had to answer the question, "What Happened Here?"
At this point I was starting to worry about getting back to the finish on time. There was no grace or penalty window. If you arrived after 4 pm, you didn't finish, period! We finally got to the end of the cow road and made our way to Railroad Tunnel #2 where we encountered a few more rally riders. The bonus asked the question, "How long is Tunnel #2?" Answer 219 feet.
We then picked up the Caliente Historical Marker where we had to answer what year the Southern Pacific Railroad established construction headquarters in Caliente. Answer 1875.
We were now pushing our envelope to get back to the finish on time. We aimed toward California Hiway 58 and booked on toward The Chalet Basque Restaurant in Bakersfield which was the finish location. We had to pass up our final two bonus locations as time was just too short. Oh well.....that was 42 points we didn't get.
Oh, remember, we also had to have a minimum of 200 miles to be considered a finisher. As we got within a mile or so of the finish location, I realized I needed a few more miles. Hahaha, slog up and down the freeway a few miles in each direction and then we headed to the barn.
My Kern County ride was indeed TWISTED!!! I finished with 7 minutes to spare and had 201 miles on the odometer! Our final score was 579 and we placed 14th. Had we scored the last two bonus locations we would have only moved up one spot. I have to laugh at how few miles we rode and we did ride all day but for a lunch break. Well, I choose a route that was all tight, twisty, meandering, mountain roads and it was a blast! We saw yet another part of Kern county that we hadn't explored before and once again we were amazed at all the cool, wonderful stuff we saw. Our efficiency was 2.88 points per mile and the winner, Erik Lipps rode 3.39 points per mile.
Matt Pflug put together a fantastic rally with many, many choices of places to go. His bonus locations were creative and fun and everything was straight forward. No riddles or games, just ride and grab the bonus photo or answer the question. Scoring was quick and easy. We self scored with the top five being audited. Everything went smoothly and all riders were safe and accounted for.
The finish dinner was awesome. A Basque meal served family style that we all enjoyed. Following our meal, it was raffle time. Many of us bought raffle tickets for some really cool prizes. Although I didn't win anything I had a lot of fun checking my ticket numbers and cheering for those who did win. After the raffle was an auction and I was lucky enough to be high bidder for a new waterproof Nikon Cool Pix camera! Yippee. All proceeds from the raffle and auctions were donated to the charity.
Finally it was time to call the winners - Erik Lipps in first, Jerry White in second and Ted Bosch and his wife LeThanh were third. This was Ted and LeThanh's first rally together and they rocked it! Jerry White rode a great rally and was only three points away from the win! Erik is having a fantastic year winning and placing on the podium on several rallies.
The Discover Kern County Rally is just a whole lot of good, silly fun. This year we had at least half a dozen or more newbies along with half a dozen Iron Butt Rally vets. The DKC Rally has something for everyone and it packs a lot of fun into 8 hours!
A great, big THANK YOU to Matt Pflug, his lovely bride Andrea, Wendy Crockett and all the volunteers and sponsors for putting on such a high quality event.
Click here for photos taken by Matt of the pre-rally dinner and start. http://www.discoverkerncounty200.com/2013-Pictures_1.html
And click here for finish banquet and award photos provided by Matt.
You might want to put the DKC Rally on your calendar for 2014. It's sure to have something for everyone and lots of fun for all!