Terms of Engagement

For those who have been wondering about the rally rules, I’m going to give you the rules and regulations for the US leg. I am sure they will be tweaked before we hit China and you’ll see why. Every rally has its own rules determined by the organizer or race committee. Of the rallies we’ve run in the past, VCRA has the most stringent rules with time and distance requirements, double speed changes and hidden check points. Great Race ran similar rally rules. So what were our rules on the US leg of the World Race?

end of the day in Denver

First, we did have time and distance requirement. Daily times and distances were given to us in our rally notebooks in NY. For example, day 3: Buffalo NY to Port Clinton, OH. 257.7 miles. 4 hours, 6 min. + 35 min. for lunch and fuel stop. You set your own course with GPS, paper maps or whatever you had at your disposal. The idea was that in 1908, the teams used the best technology available to them (sexton, compass and local knowledge) and we could use the best technology available to us GPS, mapquest, calculators and accelerator).

There was no penalty for getting in early (but road racing is not allowed and 15 points was deducted for a traffic ticket or auto related citation), if you arrived early, you just waited and checked in on the exact minute. By the time we got to St. Louis, it was clear that the Schuster class cars needed more time, so at that point, a handicap of additional 10 minutes per 100 miles was added for this class. This was the real driving competition. Ed enjoyed working out when to stop for fuel-to minimize stopping, and what our average speed needed to be to be to make our time each day. Our strategy was to eat in the car each day and not dawdle early on, even if the time seemed generous. We never knew when weather conditions, road construction or city traffic at the end of a day would hold us up. We make our time each day except crossing the Vail pass when we had snow which slowed us to 30 mph and then a multi-car accident which held us up for an additional 30 minutes. I don’t think anyone made their time that day.  

Whose house is this?

Second, we had to find solutions to a set of questions each day. These consisted of 12-15 questions about the 1908 race, the state and cities we were traveling through or venues we stopped at.  We did get our questions answered, but don’t know if they were all correct since we did not see a master sheet with answers. I know we got most of them right, but Jeff pointed out that one day I forgot to answer one! You were allowed to use any resource available to you, so we used our secret source with a computer, curiosity and great skills in finding answers. I also called some of the museums and chamber of commerce in different towns.             

Third, we had a scavenger hunt at the end of each day of rallying as we all scurried around the end site-either the hotel or venue at the end of the day, searching for the “globe”. Sometimes 2 or 3 were hidden. This part we didn’t do well on. We didn’t focus on the importance of this even though it was stated in the rally rules. 5 points was added to your score if you found one. Our mistake. Mark Miller was particularly good at finding these and that put them in the lead early on. Go Mark.  Now understand, these globes were not spheres, for the most part, they were 4×6 cards with the picture of the World Race globe on it.  But not always, once it was an ice sculpture at a banquet in Gateway, CO!

This is the part that we have heard (unoffically) that will be dropped once we get to Asia. Can you imagine what the Chinese or Russians would think if we came into a hotel and immediately started opening drawers, picking up objects, checking planters and generally acting in this suspicious manner! Which team would go to jail first? I think we will have enough to do at the end of each rally day, trying to figure out currency, local customs and finding a place to eat.

So now you know how the scoring was determined. We don’t know how we did overall, scores were only given out one day. Eventually we will  know, I’m sure.


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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3 Responses to Terms of Engagement

  1. Jayne Pearlman says:

    Hey guys,

    Julie helped me do this. Travel clothes…Travel Smith is a great place to order from. Arnold and I can go to Europe for 2 weeks with 2 small suitcases. We wash clothes each night that we are somewhere 2 nights. Eastern Mountain Sports carries travel clothes…the zip off pants to make shorts are great. Also any golf shop carries clothes that do not wrinkle.

    The trip sounds wonderful and difficult. I have been reading your blog with much admiration for your stamina and determination. Have fun.


    • ejhowle23 says:

      Thanks Jayne. I do get the Travel Smith catalog but don’t know Eastern Mountain. I am sure they have a website. Yes, washing in the sink will be the norm. I don’t think Western China or Kazakhstan have hotels with washers and dryers like we could easily find our our US leg. The hard part is still coming up. I know this, we will be glad to see our own beds once this is over. It even felt good after 17 days! We fly to China June 3. Keep in touch.
      Jan and Ed

  2. TBC says:

    It’s always great to get these updates, but I guess I am missing something. Why don’t you know what your scores are?

    Every rally and/or race I know of – and they are far flung – has daily scoring. Else how would one know where one needs to make up time.

    And what about the people who are not going on the next leg. How do they know their scores. Inquiring minds want to know about this unusual way of scoring!

    I’d love to know???

    Hugs to you both,


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