Entire gallery of pictures is here: http://gtluke.smugmug.com/RallyAddict/838210
Rally starts are early, and this rally was no exception. The trip started out with no sufficient travel vehicle. It was down to two Hyundai Accents. Luke’s Hyundai had no working brakes, while Steve’s shook like an unbalanced washing machine at highway speeds. With these two parts cars available we decided to combine them into one, hopefully functional Hyundai.
7AM service at Steve’s house with both cars jacked up was successful with swapping Steve’s used front pads and rotors on Luke’s car. The neighbors did not appreciate the impact gun at the early AM or the air compressor kicking in. It’s an alarm clock, they should be up making breakfast for somebody. The Rally Accent came off the floorjack and we were off to the races…
We head off to pick up Dave. Everything was going great until we reached the ghetto of Poughkeepsie NY. After passing the methadone clinic, half way house and Kennedy Fried Chicken, we arrived at Dave’s place.
We leave Poughkeepsie at around 9AM, with a full day of activities. Most of them involved barraging Dave with personal questions. Luke has known Dave since 2002 meeting at a Galant VR4 get together but have only hung out a handful of times while Steve met Dave only two or three times. Without a radio in the car Steve decides to start asking Dave questions of a personal nature that would get deeper and deeper. This is probably one of the easiest/quickest ways to get to know someone. (Sample questions at the end of the story…)
About an hour in Steve starts receiving a massive incoming of text messages. We weren’t sure which girlfriend it was, all we know is she wouldn’t leave us alone.
Its around 11am and Steve is already complaining about starving. It turns out Steve has an ex in the Albany area and she meets us at Chipotle. She is fully infected with the hippie disease. We finish our meals and suddenly Steve’s Ex decides she wants Five Guys fries and we MUST have some. So she walks next door, buys some fries and brings them back to where we were sitting. She then proceeds to eat two French fries, stops and basically forces Steve and Luke to finish an entire Five Guys Fries while they scream in pain from too much food. They were delicious.
We all stop off at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont. Big fan of the “Imagine Whirled Peace” flavor.
We decided to screw Steve over by skipping a meal. Starving Steve is similar to feeding a Mogwai after midnight. We finally arrived at Sunday River Inn the Rally Headquarters with our super rally Hyundai on Miata rims and borrowed brakes.
Fresh start at 7:30AM has us Showered, out the door and paying for our VIP tickets. This year NEFR started a program of shuttling around Media/VIP people. This program included coach service from Sunday River, box meals, soda/wine/beer and Tim O’Neil’s ex-co-driver Martin Hedland as our tour guide and Rally America Liason.
We learned a few things from the Rally America VIP program:
- They serve you red wine that tastes like it comes out of a box and gets Steve smashed quickly. It really wasn’t too bad, some of it actually had a cork and not all the beers were in cans.
- Somehow only the oddest types of people sign up for the VIP program and there is a high rate of Galant VR4 ownership among them.
- Not having to drive between stages or having stages closed for your transportation is very nice (for drunks).
However before we can get started being carted around in style by the bus we need breakfast. Steve hasn’t eaten since last night. A quick stop at the local convenience store (Note, Local in Maine could be up to one hour of driving each way) for Steve and the rest of us to stock up on muffins and coffee and head back for the first stage at Sunday River.
We had great seats on the grass except for the Subaru owners behind us going on and on about how great of drivers they are and how they could drift better than Pastrana. Oh how I wish sometimes that WRX’s would cause these type of owners rectal cancer. But I digress…
Link to full gallery of SS1-SundayRiver http://gtluke.smugmug.com/gallery/8983579_XH3H6
After the Sunday River stage we travel we travel to the Mexico Recreation Park (Mexico as in Maine, not Taco Bell) for a Park Expose, service and stage with the famous NEFR jump which gets smaller and smaller each year. Once again due to a lack of communication and coordination the spectator schedule was different than the racer schedule. The “Parade” lap everyone viewed was actually the first stage and thanks to talking to some Rally Drivers (orange Golf, sorry forgot names!) we found out there wasn’t another stage.
Here is the complete gallery of SS2-Mexico: http://gtluke.smugmug.com/gallery/8984040_FNVa6
Instead of standing around like idiots for a stage that was not going to happen we sat on our bus eating and resting, or in the case of Steve, drinking.
At some point our bus moved us to the Concord Pond Stage. Luckily Steve had moved from the cheap wine to Sam Adams beer. This however did not keep him from yelling at an 19 year old kid with braces about how he should drop out of college because he was a communications major. Or as Steve put it, barista in training. Steve ate another lunch.
Concord Pond was a great stage with spectators at what seemed like every corner. The stage was packed with people! There was a mixture of elevation changes, off camber turns and tricky rock formations. Luke and Dave were in two different view points, allowing completely different sets of photos. Overall it was a very fun stage, one to not miss.
Gallery of photo’s from SS5-ConcordPond http://gtluke.smugmug.com/gallery/8987940_mp2Bz
And into the tree. Miraculously he was able to drive off!
Luke had been complaining about some ear issue most of the day. At some point during the downtime Luke offered $20 to Dave if he happened to have Q-Tips among his camera cleaning equipment (from a welding accident). As we found out, Luke’s ear is another discharge port for his bodily waste. He placed a Q-tip in his ear, moved it around and pulled out what looked like a dog turd. Steve stopped eating for awhile.
*Picture removed for safety of our readers*
We got back on the bus where we headed back to a wonderful buffet dinner at Sunday Driver with the VIP/Media personal plus Rally workers. With various pasta and meat dishes with cookies and brownies for desert it hit the spot. The cookies were varied and some of the best we’ve ever eaten. The brownies must have been cooked incorrectly as they were very mushy like fudge.
We sit down at a table situated between two leather couches and begin eating. Suddenly there it was. We almost missed it but only just a few feet we spotted what we previously thought was the unimaginable. At first we didn’t think it was true and we all simultaneously started rubbing our eyes and checking our glasses but it was there. One of the other patrons of the restaurant had the insight to take two of the cookies and scoop the brownie in between creating a sandwich of sin. Dave and Steve look up to find Luke missing but he shortly returns with brownie scraped out of the pan and placed in between two cookies. He goes to take a bite as the gentleman in the table next to us looks at Luke, looks at the cookie and nods. Luke nods back to his new blood brother and bites into his slice of heaven.
We went back to the room where we showered, downloaded the daily pictures, barraged Dave with personal questions and completely ignoring making any RallyAddict updates.
6am at Saturday morning in a daze we went to the VIP/Media room to get pastries and coffee for breakfast. We were quickly woken up by the antics of the odd but fun VIP crew. If they weren’t so nice, and the fear of being stabbed by them at future events we could dedicate many pages of material to these fine folks. I’ll leave it at that.
The bus brought us to the service and stage at the Papermill in Berlin, NH. We watched one stage which went through the papermill’s property and provided a great view of the course. This may have been one of the only times we saw a car racing for more than 5 seconds. Once again the stage was the packed, it really was a great turn out for NEFR.
Link to gallery with all the SS6-Berlin pictures: http://gtluke.smugmug.com/gallery/8988081_zAL2a
Lifting a wheel
Lawndarting off of a hump on the inside.
And again (both cars finished)
After that we took a long trip in the bus to the ‘Something Fishy” stage in New Hampshire. We saw two passes where parts continually fell off cars and we had incident after incident with the volunteer for the stage. No matter what our badges said, the protests from that day’s Rally-America Liason had with him or the drunken screams from our compatriots, he wanted us out of the road or any good spectator spot. We took the high road and found relatively good spectator spots behind the yellow tape.
Link to gallery from SS9-SomethingsFishy http://gtluke.smugmug.com/gallery/9000198_AHggZ
Front tire issue. Part of the fender area ripped off right in front our spectator area!
This points out the only issues we had with the VIP setup. It was great having someone driving you between stages, take care of food, provide needed answers when necessary (Is this stage canceled or should we sit here for 15 hours in the heat?), ex-rally car drivers to annoy with questions, a traveling bathroom, and constant amusement from the other VIPs. However compared to the VIP program at STPR it was twice the price and provided little additional access. We were disappointed a few times with the lack of coordination but we are aware this is a first time effort and hope things are improved in the future. Diet soda would have been appreciated. Luke described the box lunches as “amazing” and they need no further improvement.
After two stages the road was shut down just for us. In a few minutes a small old re-painted school bus coming down the road at rally racer speeds stopped at our spectator area to pick us up. We loaded onto the bus with only a few minor insults thrown at the volunteer in a red shirt and headed to the beginning of the stage. The bus driver, probably a descendant of Annie Oakley or Amelia Earhardt was tearing up the road quicker than some of the competitors. We flew down the road with every crowd in the woods screaming and hollering at us with their hands in the air waving at us. I’m now wondering if rally spectators are mindless idiots who get excited about anything that moves.
We arrived at the beginning of the stage where we watch the hole-shot starts to the third stage. After all the cars go we hop onto the bus for a second lunch and then head back to Sunday River.
25 mph? Really?
We make it back in time before any of the cars arrive to setup for picture taking. The typical champagne podium ceremony ensued with the expected canned responses from Pastrana/Block.
Pictures from the ceremony are in the Misc album here: http://gtluke.smugmug.com/gallery/8983076_AiyFe
After the Open class awards Eric Burmeister from Mac Attack! fame asked Dave and Luke to stick around and take pictures of the Max Attack! winners. Very graciously Dave and Luke accepted. It was a great opportunity and hopefully they help Eric out.
Luke and Dave are taking the pictures while Steve meets up with his friend Chrissy who is living in Maine for the summer, who also happens to be a hippie. Dave noticed a pattern. Steve was cold so Chrissy brought him a Grateful Dead hoodie that has never been washed and has been doused with patroulie oil. Luke continues the rest of the trip. We all went to dinner at the Brewery where there was a lack of drivers or any cool teams. There were a few tables of Subaru owners…
Sunday had us wakeup/cleanup/leave. As we were packing the car we met two drivers (Andrew Havas and Aaron Crescenti) who were also getting ready and who said they had heard of RallyAddict. I’m sure they were lying but it felt nice.
We headed off in search of lobster before we left Maine. Trying to not get ripped off at a tourist trap we somehow drove an extra 50 miles through a bunch of tourist traps, arrived at and left 3 separate restaurants/lobster shacks until we gave in at a restaurant where we bought $16.99 lobster rolls. All we wanted was to eat Lobster in Maine, because you have to do that when in Maine. It worked out much better than last years NEFR where we wanted to eat ice cream in Vermont and somehow stopped at a shop 1 mile into New Hampshire. (It was good and I’m sure it was a freedom loving cow that produced the milk instead of some communist Vermont cow, but that’s not the point).
An hour later we stopped off for Lunch #2 at the Border Café right outside of Boston. The Border Café is a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants with only a few locations in Massachusetts, New Jersey and some state no one cares about. We found it highly amusing to stop off at a restaurant so similar to the one we commonly frequent in New Jersey with the exact same food however the quality of the soda was sub-par. I’m sure the employee in charge of the soda is making payments on an Impreza. Our Waitress was a bitch probably because she’s a Godless Red Sox fan and Dave was wearing a NY Yankees hat. Or possibly because she doesn’t like a strong woman in politics and Steve was wearing a Palin 2012 shirt.
2nd lunch did not agree with Dave too well and one (yes, one) exit down the highway we proceeded to stop at a rest stop. Besides not frequenting a Wal-Mart this is one thing we nearly skipped on this trip. Ah rest-stops. No matter where in the country you stop at one it is continually bustling with the oddest and most varied types of people. Once Dave was finished, and we were finished with the antics we were playing while he was in the stall we left to return Dave to home.
Overall, it was an amazing trip. Great cars, great drivers, great people and no drama! We can’t wait to attend next years New England Forest Rally.
Questions asked of Dave:
1) When was the last time you cried uncontrollably?
2) What was the most embarrassing thing you ever had to tell your doctor?
3) Have you ever been arrested?
4) What was your best and worst car? (As a Mitsubishi owner he of course used the same car twice)
5) Do you have credit card debt?
6) WHY DO YOU HAVE CREDIT CARD DEBT?
7) Have you ever called your parents crying?
8) Have you ever adult shit your pants?
9) What’s the most you ever lost gambling?
10) Why do you smoke?
11) WHY DON’T YOU QUIT SMOKING?
12) What did they do when they hazed you?
13) Which girlfriend do you still have?
14) What was your worst breakup?
15) Have you had your thyroid checked for that?
We asked about 3 times these questions and more….sexual based questions that may not be suitable for this write-up. We got to know Dave well.
1 Gigantic bucket of Party Mix
3 Cases Barq’s Diet Rootbeer
25+ Gigabytes of Pictures
1020 Miles Driven
1 Bottle Wine
29 Bottles of Beer
0 Cans of Beer
½ Bottle Bug Spray
4 Tanks of Gas
1 Pair Underwear (Dave)
26 Hours Driven (Not including to/from stages as we had VIP)
1 Shirt purchased by Steve and lost within 1 hour
1 Rockwall climbed by Steve and Luke
1 Datsun 510
1 Datsun 280Z