Our Second Finisher!

Burl Smith (Rider 081) is our second finisher!

Congratulations to Burl Smith for being our second finisher! He took a different approach by visiting 12 destinations in 5 of the 6 states. I’m sure he isn’t done, yet.

One thing to note in the above picture is that Burl doesn’t have a flag anymore…sad face. He lost it at a stop and now is using a placard supplied by me. I sent him the file and he printed it and had it laminated. If you lose your flag, this is how we will proceed. Just let me know via e-mail and I can get a placard to you. In the meantime, you can still get credit for visits without your lost flag if you include your smiling face in the picture you send to us (instead of your flag). Note – this only applies if you have lost your flag and asked me for a replacement placard. It DOES NOT apply if you just forgot your flag at home.

A very different look at Little Alps for Rider 128.

I think most of use remember the epic picture posted at the Little Alps location with a ton of snow around. I think this picture taken a few days later serves to remind us how quickly conditions can change this time of year!

A little helper!

This is perhaps my favorite picture of the year 🙂

We have had 139 riders collect 394 destinations so far this year. I am looking forward to even more awesome pictures as the year progresses. Keep them coming!

Week 3 Update – Our First Finisher!

Rod’s final Washington destination cemented his Finisher status!

Rod has done a lot of riding over the last week and finished Washington with a stop at Boggan’s Oasis. Great job, Rod!

So far we have 92 different riders with at least one visit and a total of 193 visits by all riders. Pretty good start to the year! Washington destinations lead the way with 193 stops so far. The only locations without a visit are in Nevada (Wild Horse Dam), Montana (Big Sky), Idaho (Driggs, Ketchum and Craters of the Moon) and Oregon (Little Alps and Dee Wright Observatory). I am sure some of those will fall soon.

Just a reminder for those who don’t use Facebook.

  • Read the destination listing and take the picture described in the notes.
  • Just because a rider posts a picture on the Facebook Group page doesn’t mean it is a good picture or that they got credit for it.
  • Each rider is responsible for understanding the destination requirements as described in the notes of each location in the guide. Don’t have the guide? Go to the website, download it and read it. A good practice to make sure you don’t forget what was written when you are in one of several low cell signal areas – print out the guide and take a copy of the sample image with you.
  • The most common offender is the Ilwaco location. Read the note for that location – it says to “Take a picture of the runway from the east end …”. Each location describes what we want in the picture. Read the notes.
  • Finally, we DO NOT score anything posted on Facebook. If you want credit for a visit, send the picture to us using the e-mail as described on the website and in the handout I mailed in your package. No e-mail, no credit.
Here’s a great example of a picture that satisfies the notes from the WA-5 (Ilwaco) location (Submitted by Wayne Horner).
Chad found one of Washington’s great riding areas!

Week 2 Update

We have 334 riders signed up right now, and 63 of you have visited at least 1 destination so far. There have been a total of 107 visits sent in to us. For the most part, the pictures have been great! There have been a few misses.

Please read the description of the destination before taking your picture to make sure you capture the object described in the guide. As I have said before, your picture does not have to be an exact match to the sample provided, but it does have to at least include the object described in the guide. Also, if you are riding at night and plan to submit a nighttime picture, take a few practice pictures and make sure your flag is legible enough for us to be able to see it. Nighttime pictures are probably the most challenging that you will take during this rally.

We have seen visits to almost every destination so far. The only exceptions are either not currently available (Dee Wright Observatory, for example) or are very difficult to get to (Wild Horse Dam in Nevada, for example). The Stonehenge replica in Washington along the Columbia River has been the most popular so far with 18 visits.

Rider 293 has been the only visitor to OR6 so far.
Rider 003 has been the only visitor to WA2 so far.
A visit to the Lochsa Lodge along US-12 in Idaho is never a bad day!
A nighttime picture is challenging. Make sure we can read your flag number. We were able to give credit on this one. The rider’s flag is hanging on the sign.

We expect more activity this week as the weather is forecast to be excellent all the way through the weekend. I might even be able to get out for a day!

Good First Week!

It was a lot of fun seeing several riders get out and visit some of our destinations the first few days of April. Take a look at the Rally Stats page to see a full summary, and look at the Rider Stats page for individual results.

  • 37 Riders visited 52 sites.
  • WA-5 in Ilwaco was the most popular with 9 visits, followed closely by WA-7 in Maryhill and OR-4 in Days Creek with 7 each.
  • Rider 293 (Russell Studebaker) visited 4 destinations in Oregon and California.
  • Riders have visited destinations in every state already!

Rider 293 made the trip up to Trinity Dam in Northern California on a nice day for riding. This is a great example of a picture that was easy to score – bike and flag clearly visible, no question that he visited the correct location!

Rider 293 visited Trinity Dam in Northern California.

Rider 222 was the only person to visit a Montana destination, and he picked one of my favorite destination to grab a quick bite. He lives nearby and didn’t stop for lunch on this trip. This picture is another great example of a solid submission – bike and flag clearly visible, obvious he was at the correct location! Notice that his picture doesn’t exactly match the provided sample image? That’s OK, the sign is the same and let’s us know he found the right place.

Rider 222 at Tamarack Brewing Company in Lakeside, Montana.

Now here’s an example of a picture that could be improved. The issue with this picture is that the flag numbers cannot be read, even when zooming in. To ensure success, make sure your flag is clearly readable by the scoring team. It does look like this group had a good time yesterday!

Lots of flags, not too many of them were readable by the scoring team 🙁

We are looking forward to a great week of riding! The weather can only get better from here, right???

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Despite all the concern about how slowly the calendar was moving through February and March, April 1st is indeed approaching. We now have 321 registered riders, and I am sure many of you are going to be out and about over the first few weeks of April visiting some of the destinations.

  • Be safe. There is no race to be the first one finished.
  • Read the rules and frequently asked questions one more time.
  • As a reminder, your picture must include your bike, your flag with the number easily readable, and the destination object. We need to know you were there!
  • The only way to get your picture scored is to email it to pnwgrandtour@gmail.com. We will not score anything from the Facebook page.
  • Please remember to include your rider number and the destination code in your e-mail, preferably in the subject line. It helps us score your pictures more efficiently.
  • The scoring team will be working through your pictures on a daily basis. Sometimes you might get a response nearly real time, sometimes not until the next morning. There is no promise of a quick turnaround, so please don’t wait around at the destination. Just make sure your picture has your bike, flag and the object visible 🙂

Remember, the object of this event is to have fun.

We look forward to seeing your flags out there!

316 Registered Riders!

And I thought 50 would be a good number when this all started!

Reminder – the rally doesn’t start until April 1st…

For those of you signed up and waiting on a flag, FedEx tells me the box arrives Monday, so I should be able to get them mailed on Tuesday morning.

I know most of your are getting ready to kick off this year’s rally as soon as it opens up. I was just watching the news this morning and saw that we were getting a good amount of snow over our nearby passes (I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, US-2 over Stevens Pass and US-12 over White Pass). I think someone needs to remind old man winter that Spring is finally here! It also serves as a good reminder to all of us – the weather can and will play a factor in your decisions about where to go and when to go there. Some of the destinations are at elevations that will cause weather problems early in the season. Please do your research and be safe! The responsibility for safely planning and executing your ride rests with you, the rider.

Rider Jeff Klar took this picture somewhere in Idaho/Montana yesterday! Yes, he was driving a car and not riding his bike

It was sunny elsewhere 🙂

Bruce Wood and Ken La Flam found plenty of sunshine while out practicing.
Beckie and Butch Dunlap found sunshine along the Oregon coast. What a nice pair of bikes 🙂

Guess what your biggest obstacle might be this time of year…wind. It happens on any rally with a flag. Think about ways to keep the flag in place when it is windy. You want us to be able to see the flag number to get credit, and you don’t want to be the person who is the subject of a YouTube video showing them running down the road in full gear chasing a blue rally flag…

So it is time for the weekly reminder about what we need to see to get you credit for a destination visit:

  • Your flag must be visible and readable.
  • Your bike must be visible. At least enough of the bike has to be visible to tell it was a motorcycle.
  • The object described by the destination listing must be visible. It doesn’t have to be an exact match to the sample picture I provided, but it should be obvious it is the same object.

Meet those criteria and we will be pretty lenient with our scoring. Miss the flag or the bike and you will be sad.

And one final reminder – we only score submissions submitted via e-mail to the address provided – pnwgrandtour@gmail.com. We will not score anything submitted on Facebook. We enjoy the pictures on Facebook, we might even like them or comment on them, but we will make zero effort to score them from Facebook.

Practice, practice, practice. Send something in to us and you will receive feedback. I have 5 people (including myself) scoring submissions this year. All 5 of us ride, too. Be patient – you will not receive real-time scoring in most cases. If we happen to be sitting at our computer when you send something in, you might get an immediate response, but there is no guarantee that will happen in the future. My promise to the riders is that we will work hard to score pictures every day, but if I am out riding, it may not happen until I stop in the evening.

One more planned update and the we are off and running!

Just a Few More Weeks :)

I think rider 066 is either lost or is trying to set himself up for the absolute longest ride possible at the start of our rally (which, by the way, is April 1st). LOL…I love it! Taking the flag to the Florida keys. We also have registered riders in Alaska, so if they post a picture of their flag near some iconic Alaskan object, we will be set!

Ben, you’re headed the wrong direction!

All flags have been mailed and most have been received. I only had 2 returned and they are now headed back to where they belong, too. We crossed a magic threshold of 300 riders this weekend. I ordered more flags and they should be here soon, so if you are signing up as rider 301 and above, be patient. Your flag will make it to you in time for the start of the rally (yes, still April 1st).

Quite a few great examples of good pictures have been submitted on the Facebook Group page. It is fun watching people get out there and practice. Next step, practice sending a few pictures to the required e-mail address. We will not score anything on Facebook. You have to submit the picture via e-mail to pnwgrandtour@gmail.com to get credit. Feel free to post your efforts on Facebook for others to cheer, but please know I will spend exactly zero seconds trying to score anything from the Facebook page. Also, please read the instructions for submitting your pictures. We need a rider number and destination code (WA1, for example) in the e-mail, preferably in the subject line (for example, your subject line be be “Rider 001 WA1” or something like that).

Sometime between now and the start of the rally (yes, still on April 1st), do yourselves a favor and come back to this web site and review the rules and the Frequently Asked Questions. It could save you from being sad later 🙁

Planning is Underway!

Thanks to your generous donations to the YMCA, I wrote the first check for $1,200. The YMCA is going to recognize our efforts with a banner that will be hung inside the facility where I work. I’ll post a picture when the banner arrives. I am toying around with the idea of hosting a ride-to-meet later this summer at my local YMCA to get a group photo with the banner in front of the building. More info to follow.

Rally flags for registered and paid riders have been mailed and most have been received. There are a few of you still waiting – consider yourself at the mercy of the United States Postal Service. For those of you who recently signed up, I generally get the flags in the mail the morning after you sign up.

I’ve seen lots of activity in the Facebook group! Looks like people are excited for April 1st to get here. We are excited, too. I suggest you take advantage of the weeks in March to get out on a nice day and practice taking a picture of something with your bike and flag in the shot – just like we will ask you to do during the rally. Be deliberate. Don’t rush! Some of you are hardened rally veterans…this advice is not aimed at you. Many of you are enjoying a rally like this for the first time. Practice your technique to avoid frustration. We intend to allow a bit of leeway in how you photograph the required destination object, but no leeway will be given if we don’t see your flag with the bike you enjoyed that day. No flag, no credit. No bike, no credit!

Here’s an excellent example submitted for practice by Ron & Nancy Smith at one of the Washington locations (note – no, the rally doesn’t start until April 1st and Ron does not receive credit for this. Yes, you can ride to the destinations anytime you want and practice, but you will have to go back after April 1st and take another picture. I can look at picture metadata to see when it was taken. I don’t plan to do that unless I have questions…cheaters will be kicked out). In this case, the object was the green sign, and we can clearly see the bike and the flag with rider number. Perfect! Extra credit for a smiling face holding the flag…just kidding! While we enjoy seeing you, being in the picture is not required 🙂

Rider 193 (Ron Smith) demonstrates a PERFECT destination photo!

Here’s another good example of what we are looking for. Imagine the building is the destination object. Our sample picture might have shown you the perspective from the street, but maybe Rider 146 (Todd Marley) decided it was safer to take the picture from the driveway. We can still see he is at the correct location, and his bike and flag with number are clearly visible! This is a great shot and he would get credit for it.

Rider 146 demonstrates a great picture with his bike and flag number clearly visible!

Practice! Take a picture, send it to pnwgrandtour@gmail.com and we will give you some feedback. Ask questions. Plan your rides. Enjoy the coming summer!

Finally, I am considering capping the total number of riders at 300. The rally has been growing at a brisk pace and I am concerned that the volunteers who help out (and also ride) will become overwhelmed with the possible number of submissions. Any feedback is appreciated.

“Check is in the Mail”

Well, maybe not a check, but I did drop all 200+ rally packs in the mail this morning. They are headed your way now. Let me know if something is not right when you receive yours.

I also updated the web site to post the full destination list, all the sample images and a .gpx file with destinations. You can start poking around and planning your rides for April 1st and beyond!

That’s about it for this week. But it is probably enough for this week, too 🙂

Almost Ready to Mail!

We hit a significant milestone this morning – 200 riders registered! And to think that I believed I would be lucky to see 50 riders this first year. Almost all envelopes are stuffed, stamped and addressed. I have a little more to do and will drop them in the mail later this week.

Next weekend is the big reveal…all 30 destinations will be posted on the website with sample pictures and a .gpx file for GPS users. You will be able to download the destination list, the .gpx file and a .zip file with sample images. The rest is up to you!

One request I have for all of you. I recognize that once your flag arrives and the destination list is released that you will then have all the tools to head out. Please remember that the rally starts April 1st. I am releasing the destination list early this year because I want to make sure that those of you that signed up for the very first year of a new rally can see what we have planned and hopefully recognize that this is a legit effort. I am relying on your integrity to not go out early and try to get destination pictures before April 1st. There is no prize for first place in this rally.

I encourage you to take your flag and bike and go practice when the weather allows. Go ahead and send those practice pictures to pnwgrandtour@gmail.com. Go out on a windy day and practice attaching your flag to your bike so that the number remains visible for the scoring team. Have some fun and show us some cool shots.

As always, send your questions to the rally e-mail, use the contact form on this site or just comment on this post. I will get back to you as time allows.