Reiter Rock Crawl Jul 2018

Yep – here’s one bleary-eyed back story of the volunteer life on the soon to be even more infamous Reiter Rock Crawl – the Timber Tamer crown jewel of organized motorized mayhem at Reiter Tails.

For me and Auto-M – even for early risers – the 4 AM alarm was alarmingly unwelcome.  It was still dark for heaven’s sake!  The bed had just reached maximum comfiness (my brain was reminding me.)  It tried to lull into the posture of just 1 snooze alarm.  It wouldn’t make any difference, would it?  Except – I knew that siren song would lead to tragedy.  At the least – not getting the coffee turned on in time.  Or – just showing up late altogether.  And we couldn’t let Casey down – as given her usual sleep schedule – our pain was miniscule compared to hers.

With Herculean strength – I forced myself to gain an upright posture.  It felt as if the magnetic field of the Earth had changed overnight – with all lines of force terminating about a foot below my pillow – inexorably dragging me back to a soporific bedridden proness guaranteed to end in downfall.  Like swimming upstream through a cascade of cold molasses – I broke free from the force field – and shook off my trance-like stupor.

“It’s not really time to get up – is it?” came Mary’s muffled voice from beside me.  “I felt really rested  when I woke up briefly at 3.  What time is it anyway?”

I detected an ever-so-slight, uncharacteristic, yet recognizable whine in the question.  Sorry darlin’.  We have to get moving.

The dogs were also confused by this activity.  Weekends for them go something like – daylight by 5 AM, lay on top of your master and mistress, for about 30 minutes, become really annoying until they get out of bed, gulp down minimal treat #1, then act out in an even more annoying manner for another 20 minutes (including body blocking and pawing) until receiving the main prize – pig ears (aka doggie bacon!)  By getting up and getting dressed before the dogs even got to step 1 of their usual routine – was highly confusing to them.  Then they saw the van in the driveway (fortunately loaded with supplies the night before) and then they just assumed they were going on a trip!  And were then pretty much underfoot until we turned the ignition (without them) and headed out.

Good – we left pretty much when we thought we’d hit the road – 5:05 AM.  Mary suggested we deserved a special snack of our own.  Seemed like a really good time to treat ourselves to the combo plate at Darla’s Dinky Donuts in Monroe.  I wondered aloud if Darla even got up that early saying, “see if they have a website and we can check their hours.”

Consulting with her phone, Mary said, “Well – it’s says at this time of day – they’re not busy.”  Well – apparently – if it’s on the internet – it’s got to be true – and indeed it was.  Because Darla’s indeed is not busy at 5:25 AM on a Saturday morning – especially when they haven’t opened yet!

(Sigh.)  So onwards we went like birdwatchers hoping to make an elusive find early in the twilight of morning.  And – we were not disappointed.  Even with all our personal prep – we still rolled into the race site just a few minutes late – but were rewarded by catching the site of the elusive morning bird – Casey Stokes!  (Scientific Latin name Comotoseous Getupius Tooearlius.)  Casey was not only already in motion, but appeared to be in at least 2nd or 3rd gear.  Amazing!  And her mate Gary Miller (scientific name Dependabilitis Steadyous Giterdunious.)

Obviously – they had been hard at it for some time already – leading their flock of busy birds – as easy ups were already in place, tables being unfolded, gas grills getting positioned and dust already rising off the road from passing vehicles.

There were other birds observed, and here by no means a complete listing:

Evil genius, master of the wrinkled red Jeep and main event promoter and marshal – Karl Van Petton (scientific name Marshallus Extremus Maximus) and main course designer Steve (scientific name Designus Mayhemus Diabolicus)

Setting up the kitchen to feed the masses was Michael Levine (Chefus Copiousnus Erectus) ready to stand watch over a hot grill with quantum amounts of hot dogs and manager of all added touches delightful and gracious, Cindy Delestrez (Hostus Mostus Hospitalus.)

But enough of the bird watching – as now it was only about 6:15 – and already the competitors were starting to roll in.

There were still plenty of touches to do.  I pulled trash cans and liners out of the van, and assisted by Curt Brady and others got them out to the courses.  Plus pulling the hi-vis vests over to the pile to make sure that all volunteers could be seen.  With one exception – Dave Wilkinson was seen to be hiding in plain sight in his black hoody.  Even after the sun started beating its heat on lesser men – Dave confidently maintained his solar furnace persona – delivering warmth to all who approached.  (He was later seen to go up a few shades to dark Tamer navy blue as a concession to the temperature that eventually got into the mid 80’s by later in the day.)

My reporting is mainly limited to the main entry area and the 3 “stock” courses.  I use that word loosely – as while there were in the rules defined what a stock vehicle was – there wasn’t one of them that even remotely resembled how it started life when coming off the showroom floor.  And indeed – the courses listed as stock would take either an outrageously built stock vehicle, or one heck of a driver to push it – to get a truly stock (as in stock to the bone) rig through any of the stock courses.  Certainly not a complaint – because both the vehicles and the driving were visions to behold – just don’t anyone think they can cruise the courses in their AWD Beamer.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur.  My task was judging on a thankfully level course (thank you Casey!) probably the easiest of the bunch.  And still – there were all kinds of things on which one could twist an ankle, or fall and break something – with rocks and logs piled all over at various and sundry angles and piles.   And with 18 stock competitors signed up (I think a few less actually showed) that meant at least 15 or so repeated opportunities walking baaaaack and fooorth for a judge to fall down and break something critical.  Fortunately – on my course – only drivelines and valve stems were broken – no bones, joints or other human body parts.

With all the hubbub around the sign-in area – I never did get up the hill for any tech of the vehicles or to get a chance to check out the unlimited courses.   I’m told they were (depending on the point of view of the reporter) insane, wonderful, demanding, challenging, fun, horrifying, death-defying, superlative, just-what-I–wanted, never-what-I-wanted, thought-I-wanted-it-but-changed-my-mind, wish-I-could-set-this-up-in-my-back-yard……

You get the picture – all trails made for quite the worthy challenge and certainly quite the show!

After walking up and down my course (admittedly the easiest of all for a judge to walk) through about 10 contestants – lunch did not come too soon.  I couldn’t tell you how many hotdogs Michael threw on and pulled off the grill – but I think if collected all in one pile – we could have made it into another obstacle for another crawl.  It was a PILE OF HOT DOGS – as the Tamers fed everyone in the place – plus water and chips.

Things started winding down by 3 or so – and mercifully – the sun’s transit finally got the entry and award’s area in shade.  By 4 – most competitor cards were in and had been toted – and at the end of the day – in both classes – first and third places were separated by only 5 points!

Thanks to all the Tamers who made it out to create and support the event.

Thanks also to the vendors and sponsors and everyone who provided raffle prizes.  There were a lot of good prizes handed out, ending up with a winch from Summit Motors.

It was a great day – and hope we get to do it again next year!

Thanks for readin’
And keep on wheelin’!