Braille Rally

Today I participated in the Braille Rally for the benefit of the American Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Colorado. I’ve never done a rally before. The idea is you drive from point A to point B following a set of directions. The object is to get to the destination having driven the closest number of miles to the control. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, it’s not a race. Typically, the clues can be quite tricky. But for this rally it was simply following the directions as only the driver could be looking for clues.

There where three ‘classes’ based on the navigator: Braille, large print, and sighted. The sighted navigators had to wear glasses that simulate visual impairment. I didn’t get a good car count. I was told we had about a dozen cars but there might be a late registration. They were hoping to get more people to participate, so it’s disappointing the turnout was so low. There were five LoCo members, not including Skip, who was the rally master. Two Elises, an Evora, an Esprit, and an Elan. We also had a Hyundai Veloster, a Subaru, a classic Chevy Nova and a Corvette ZR-1 as well as a couple Miatas.

We met in the parking lot of what used to be a Walgreen’s. For some reason, I was thinking it would be on the north side of Colfax, so I drove around lost for a while. I finally got my act together and found the place, to be told that everybody was watching me drive around aimlessly. We got checked in, and chatted over coffee and muffins. Drivers got souvenir bags and were assigned numbers on nice magnetic signs. By my count, half the cars were fiberglass, so the magnetic signs weren’t much help.

I never use the trip odometer on the car, so I don’t know how to reset it. Somebody showed me once, back on the Mine Tour drive, but I’ve forgotten and didn’t manage to press the magic button this morning. No problem, I’ve been using a speedometer app on my smart phone for the last several weeks. Works great, has a nice trip odometer, trip clock, altimeter, compass. And it’s a speedometer.

Rebecca was my navigator. We were in the large print class. Very nice lady, very educated and accomplished. She told me a bit about her family, where they’ve lived, and about her vision impairment. She has some permanent loss, but through the miracle of modern technology she shouldn’t lose any more.

So we hit the road. Skip sent us off one at a time, based on the light crossing Colfax. That way, nobody would be able to follow the leader, we’d all have to do our own navigating. The route was pretty simple, taking us through Golden Gate Canyon, Blackhawk and Central City, Evergreen. We missed one turn, because it wasn’t signed very well, but I had the impression everybody else missed it too. We caught up to Ross here; he figured it out before we did.

It was when we got on to 285 that things went south. The speedometer app went a bit haywire, showing a speed that was clearly wrong. It also quit counting the miles. I tried to remember what the trip odometer read when we were trying to reset it. So I wasn’t sure I had the right number, and without the right number, we wouldn’t stand a chance of winning.

The rally ended at Ferrari of Denver, one of the many sponsors of the rally. There we had a light lunch of fruit and small sandwiches. When we checked in with Skip, he gave us a trivia quiz to use in case we needed to break a tie. I think we got two or three of the fifteen questions correct. As a Lotus owner, I should have gotten another one – what does ACBC stand for. I didn’t know the A.

2013-06-08 13.15.00sAfter we ate, we had a little award ceremony. Top three finishers in each class got trophies. Ross suggested it was like t-ball – everybody gets a trophy. But in fairness, they were clearly expecting more than a dozen participants. I heard somebody say they had magnetic signs for fifty cars.

Second Place, Large Print

Second Place, Large Print

In the end, we got second place in large print. I was surprised. But it turns out several people didn’t manage to find Golden Gate Canyon and ended up nearly in Boulder, so even without a good odometer we did okay.

Tomorrow is the big CP Colorado show. It’s my first time entering the car in a show, and I put it in for judging. I’ve been joking that I’ll get last place. Somebody has to be last. I understand the judging is based almost entirely on how clean the car is. I’ve been too busy to get the car detailed. It has some black marks around the rear wheels, and there’s a big blob of adhesive on the dash where the previous owner mounted his radar detector. I washed it this afternoon, got it as clean as I’ve ever gotten it before. But it’s not a show winning car. It’ll be fun anyway.

Oh, and I decided to put the hardtop on for the show. Can’t recall the last time I had the hard top on.

Ready for the show

Ready for the show