Text & photos by Tom "Let's-Tour-Now" Letourneau
Presented here in its complete, original, unabridged, unedited, unadulterated, uncensored form!
The 2nd and absolutely, positively, last (maybe) Rogues Island Ramble, a both Tour and Gimmick Rallye combined as one, is now in the history books.
And, while I say Absolutely, Positive, Last (MAYBE)... that could well not be the case - there could be a 3rd-one. As I write this I have not, as yet, spoke with John DeWaele, but John has mentioned on more then one occasion he would like to see a Rallye/Tour some day all through his neck of the Rogues Island woods…that being Western and Southern RI and a wee bit of Eastern, CT.
Despite my praying for rain…the day turned out to beautifully warn and sunny with everyone running the event…Tops-Down.
What's that you ask…why was I praying for rain. Well, actually not for the event, but as my luck goes, I had 10days prior to the event, having put in a new $35,000.00 'Oh My God Septic System, and then spending $2,200.00 to have it landscaped, seeded and fertilized…it had not rained one single drop during those 10-days leading up to the Rallye. SO…I prayed for rain, knowing it wouldn't and it would be a great day for the event. (Makes sense?)
Oh well…as stated the day was gorgeous…my only disappointment was what I felt was a very low turnout??? But, the diehards, and couple of 'Newies' also came! Maybe it wasn't a good idea to have it the day before 'Mom's Big Day'? But everyone that did come did do Mom's Day Shopping at both Phantom Farms and the Mt. St. Mary's Gift Shop. Lots of goodies, apple pies, Trapistine Candy, Jelly and Jams were the kinds of gifts that Mom's saw the following day!
And, again, not to lament the low turnout…I really do wish that somehow we could, as a club, find out what our members really want in activities. I know we have done surveys, etc. and it also seems we are putting on the kinds of events asked for….but, we are just not seeing the kinds of turnouts that were once du Rigueur?
Maybe because we are stretched out as far as we are, covering a 5-State area, we need move the events into other parts of the AONE Chapter's land mass. That being the case maybe we could get some of our NH, VT and Down east members to come-up with some ideas/events?
Anyway, as to the event…while it was a Rallye, as mentioned we did have some members that came just to tour the beautiful back, curvy, challenging roads that were this year's course…and some that were a part of my last Ramble of a few years back. Peter Walker, an AONE Board Member and Carl Helmetag who showed up in his immaculate Lancia Monte Carlo. Other rallye participants included Ken and Mildred Green along with Barbara Smith and Robert Rupp.
For those that chose to test their skills of observation and also trying to decipher the somewhat tricky questions, especially how they were worded, many of the questions were answered. As a matter of fact the winning team, Larry LoPresti & his lovely wife Michelle, won by answering one question more then did the 2nd-place team, and winners of previous Rallies, John and Lauren DeWaele. Actually, Lauren is the previous winner having won a few years back with her son, Sean, now in the U.S. Navy, on the carrier Roosevelt off the coast of "Over There"!!!.
As mentioned in my write-ups leading up to this event it was my intent to have more questions then the norm, and many of a different structure (tricky and misleading) as I looked at this event as 'Training' for AONE members to insure they do well in the Alfa Nordest Convention Gimmick Rallye.
As to the LoPresti's out-pointing the DeWaele's by one question… it was a Trick, Tie-Breaking Question, with a 10-Point value, that was the difference.
As a matter of fact the LoPresti's were the only team to answer that question correctly…but, as we were to find out at the end of the Rallye, while having lunch at the Cumberland House of Pizza (I think everyone had CHOP's world famous 'Steak Sandwiches') the LoPresiti's, because of some unusual circumstances, had an unfair advantage. You see the many back roads I used in Saturday's event are also roads that the LoPresti's use to bicycle on…as such they have ridden by the spot wherein the answer to my 'Trick Question' was located.
Allow me a moment to repeat that question here so that those of you that couldn't make this Rallye, but are looking forward to doing so in the future, will have an idea of what to expect for questions?
The Angle Tree Stone, a nine-foot slate monument made by a father and son team that manufactured gravestone markers, replaced a tree that had long been used as a boundary marker between the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies. WHAT YEAR WAS IS BUILT?
Sounds like a question easy enough to answer…doesn't it. All you have to do is look for a 9-foot high stone monument with a date on it? Well, that is exactly what everyone did…and everyone missed it.
WHY…the Angle Tree Monument is located a ¼-mile down a dirt driveway, open to the public, encased in a brick building with Plexiglas panels on all 4-sides so that you can view the stone.
When driving by the entrance to that driveway is a signpost that has a plaque on it telling you all about the Angle Tree Stone and when it was built.
But, that is the fun of a Gimmick Rallye…being fooled, etc.
Want another example? OK
If you were heading East you might be able to see the Skyline of Boston. Then, again, if you were heading West you might be seeing the Skyline of Providence…or is it either of them. It could be Pawtucket, Attleboro, ???? Whatever 'Skyline' it is, I think it is to the South. That being the case 'What Direction' are you heading in?
Or, how about this one?
I think I'll have a cup of Constant Comment…NO, make it Earl Grey
As the participants were riding down Ray Street in Wrentham, if they were paying close attention, they would have noticed an antique teapot hanging from a sign announcing "Teakettle Farm.
That's it…these are the kinds of fun questions and challengers thrown-out to you on a Gimmick Rallye. You really need to try one. And, again, these Rallies are always done on beautiful, scenic back roads. Ask those that participated in the Ramble as they drove by and saw some of the most beautiful horse farms imaginable.
Even better…if you live in a part of the AONE Chapter and would like to put on this kind of event as you have great roads etc. nearby where you live, but you're not sure to how to go about running such an event….by all means – PLEASE – call me, I'd love to help you do so and learn some new back roads elsewhere!
Tom "Lets-Tour-Now" (and often)
PS: What's that you ask? Who came in 3rd-Place, as there were supposed to have been 3-trophies? Well, being as you asked, there was at the very beginning a lot of concern over one of the entries. As is well know in AONE circles of late the Donovan's and the Durso's have become a dominating factor in our Rallies, to date having won more then any other teams. When the notification arrived in my e-mail box that Dan Donavan and Gene Durso were teaming-up, again, my first thought was that this might be unfair to the other participants as 1st-Place would be just about locked-up, with the remaining participants really only having a shot at 2nd or 3rd-Place.
Let me put this way, as to how things turned-out. Gene and Dan were able to return home to their wives with the 3rd-Place Trophy…barely! And that was due more to shit-ass luck at guessing answers once they arrived at the Cumberland House of Pizza then the skills they left at home. (Debbie and Judy)
I would say going forward that Dan, and Gene, and maybe some of the rest of us that haven't fully come to appreciate what an asset our wives (special others) are as our Navigators, we best not leave them at home if they hope to come in 1st-Place! :-)
(Click on the thumbnails below for a larger view, and then