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Thread: Backs from the woods

  1. #1
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    Default Backs from the woods

    Well, another rally weekend is done. No fog, good weather. Fast cars, fast stage times, good rally stories, and great conditions. Did I mention, no fog? But still a few chances to play with some lights.

    But...

    I haven't finished adding up what's gone and won't go into any details, but some ******* stole a few of my favorite lights and other stuff. And the jerk definitely doesn't even know what they took. But since they also ripped off some of the rally equipment, that is what really bums me out.

    I've still got to file a report since the forrestry rangers weren't available thqat late last night or today before I had to leave for home. Won't be worth it to file a claim after the deductible, of course, but maybe the once in a million will happen and they'll catch 'em. I would love to prosecute but, no, I ain't gonna hold my breath.

    Ah, crap...

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* PlayboyJoeShmoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backs from the woods

    Effin' A$$hole thieves...

    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/xyxgun.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad71.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/banghead.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsdown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jpshakehead.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* KevinL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backs from the woods

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Perhaps they may evade human justice but there's always "What goes around..." that seems to be MUCH harder to get away from [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Any good stories to share about the occasions where the lights did make a difference?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Backs from the woods

    Other than the buttholes, everything where I was went pretty smooth. Gotta 'splain a little about what I was doing. The roads in the forest were closed to normal traffic. The teams consist of a driver and a codriver who feeds the driver information and tells them what's coming up. These cars are moving! Average speeds on unpaved (mud/clay or gravel) roads can easily reach an average of 55 mph or more. Remember, that is an AVERAGE speed, and includes stops, turns, uphill and downhill.

    I was at the finish line, which is crossed at high speed. Down the road about 1/3 or a mile is where the teams get their scorecards marked. We opened our stage at about 4 pm and closed down about 11:45 pm. During about 90% of that time I was standing on the side of a hill, about 10 feet away and 10 feet above the cars. A few of the cars still threw rocks and dirt at my feet even though I was that far away. BTW, no guard rails or anything. These roads are fairly narrow and tree lined. The stage I worked is over 21 miles long, the second longest in the US (IIRC, the longer one is Pikes Peak). That's over 21 real fast miles run once during the day and once in the dark, through narrow dirt roads and I think the longest straight stretch is maybe 1/6 of a mile. Yippy, yahoo, and WHHhhheeeeeeeee!!!

    Although there was no fog this year, in the past I've been standing in the clear and within about three minutes have not been able to see to the other side of the road, a total distance of maybe thirty feet. A few minutes after that it might be clear again, and then the fog can roll back in, time after time. Drat! no chance to play with that this year.

    I stand alone, well, assuming the bears, bobcats, and rattlesnakes stay away, in the dark timing the cars at the line. There was a bear sighting near the start of the stage this year but that was about 21 miles away. And the bobcat who wanted to "play" last year didn't show up.

    I used a PT Tikka with a red filter so I could read the clock and write down the time. Since the cars not only have headlights and driving lights, but also rally lights (extra lights for seeing down the roads and lighting both sides of the road as well -- 100+ watts per bulb is normal and they can have up to four rally lights), it is a neat trick to preserve your night vision. The Tikka with fresh batteries is a good choice. However, while most bugs aren't attracted to it, some are, including black flies and large moths (THWACK! right in the forehead). And bug juice only goes so far. A SF 6P will stop and drop mosquitoes and moths -- been there, done that. Hey, you get bored when there's a lull.

    When I was walking back to the end of the stage at about 11:15, I was using my Ikelite PCm (4AA incan dive light, very compact, super white). Since this is in the middle of a forrest, it was just a little bit dark -- the next night was the new moon and although the night was clear, there is a real cannopy to the forest. As I got to within a few hundred yards of the end of the stage, I heard a commotion. "Hey! we must have another car coming in." "I don't hear a motor, but, geez, those are bright headlights!" I should say that the PCm is nowhere near as bright as 4 Hella rally lights and headlights (we're talking about as much as 130 watts per bulb on some of the lights). These guys had been looking at rally lights from about 45 cars all night long. My buddy at the end of stage starts laughing and says that it's only me and that I have a collection of some pretty neat lights. After that it was play time with the PCm and the 6P, and a few comments about the Tikka with the red filter I forgot I still had on. Am I a geek? Heck, YEAH!

    I was talking with some of the rescue workers and they have a light on one of their vehicles that they claimed was a 300 watt HID -- very large, with very wide, very bright beam. They said it makes any animal or human in its beam stop dead in its tracks immediately. They have great respect for it. Hmmm, now, how can I get a carryable power supply and not zap myself?

    Since the car we used for the end of stage where the scorecards were marked was left open, the bug population had moved in. One of the radio crew had a neat florescent utility light that was about 14 inches long, but that attracted a bazillion moths and other bugs. Shooing them out with the car darkened and the 6P worked only to a fair degree. Shoulda brought the Thor but it was too heavy to carry.

    In other years I've worked crowd control. Even though it's illegal to bring alcohol into the forest, we still get to deal with drunks. They not only get obnoxious, but they start to move around in the dark while the stage is still "hot" and has rally cars moving at speed. A well aimed, really bright, really white light almost always puts a stop to the bad behavior politely and securely. Since I was listening to the scanner this year, it sounds like they had their hands full once or twice. I was glad to only have to worry about bears, bobcats, and rattlers.

    Now, if I had only had a SF X200 mounted on a proper piece of hardware, and had been with the gear, I could have had some more fun with lights and saved myself a real headache.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Backs from the woods

    Sounds like you had a farily good time. But it really bugs me that we have such idiots that would steal and vandalize in this country. sorry about the loss.

    -David

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Backs from the woods

    Thanks, Cheapo. I've come to learn that the one person in maybe a thousand who's gonna be an *******, while ruining your day, doesn't have to ruin everything.

    Being the creative person I am, I have had a bit of fun for the past day and a half. I've been dreaming up fun things to do with flashlights that your mother never wanted you to think about. A little knowledge of tender anatomy brings a whole 'nother meaning to "stick it where the sun don't shine." But, yes, I'd settle for just prosecuting the little bast**d(s) and be glad to help in that. I'm far more concerned about recovering the rally equipment.

    There is always a great bunch of people working these events and most of the competitors are great folks, too. There is a lot of elbow rubbing (and a bit of elbow bending, too) before and after the event. So every year is a fun time.

    Anyone who's interested in lights can appreciate how useful they can be while doing this stuff, and volunteering to work a rally gives you a great excuse to play with some of your toys and really show off.

    Volunteers are always needed and there probably is a rally during the year within a reasonable distance from where anyone lives. The bonus is that you get to be up close and personal to the action and see stuff that no spectator gets to see. Best of all, I always meet someone new who's interesting and I get to maybe spread the addiction.

    SureFire and some of the other manufacturers ought to think about using the rally community as another market. Don't forget that aside from the volunteer workers, there are also LEO's, rangers, ambulance and rescue personnel, firemen, and others who are liable to be mighty impressed by seeing someone work with a quality light. Like I said, you get a big chance to show off your lights. I heard someone ask a few times, "What is that thing and where'd you get it?"

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