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The Rally to Clark's Tree

A classic Time-Speed-Distance road rally

The Rally to Clark's Tree

Twenty-three teams ran Cascade’s seventh TSsD (Time Speed social Distance) road rally on Sept. 19. All teams completed the first 20 legs up to lunch. Twenty-two finished the remaining 16 legs to the end. (Car 9 had a car-sick navigator and left the rally at lunch.)

Mountains to the Sea was the first Cascade rally for seven teams. Eight teams ran in the Novice class, eleven in SOP, one in GPS, and three in Unlimited. The field included a broad spectrum of road rally experience.

Rally route 

The rally started in northwest Portland, went out I-84, across the Columbia River on I-205 North, and joined I-5 North, to the Ridgefield exit. The route continued through La Center, Amboy and Chelatchie, then across the Yale Bridge before turning west along the north shore of Lake Merwyn to Woodland. There the course turned north along the ridge overlooking the Columbia River to Kalama, then followed the Old Pacific Highway north to the lunch transit across Longview.  

After lunch, the rally continued west, following the Columbia River toward the sea, past Cathlamet and Skamokawa, then north to cross the Grays River Covered Bridge. Then on to Willapa Bay and the final Monte Carlo leg to Long Beach.  

The rally route was about 200 miles and took about six and a half hours to complete, including breaks and lunch.


Grays River Covered Bridge

What ralliers said

"Thanks again for putting on such a beautiful rally. We did make it out to Clark’s tree last night. What a cool monument to the adventurer spirit."

"We had fun, and I think we are planning to attend the next one, too."

"Thanks for an excellent adventure! I really appreciate all the work that you both put into creating these events."

"Had a great time on some interesting back roads. Love the instant checkpoint feedback of the Richta app."

"That was a blast. Thank you for all the work you have put into making this a great experience."


Now here's a problem Time Allowance can't help you with...

What the rallymasters said

This was the rally that almost wasn’t. Mountains to the Sea (M2C) was on the original 2020 calendar for May 16. By New Years we already had much of the route laid out. But our work was put on pause when a landslide closed a critical piece of highway on the route. On Jan. 28, state transportation officials didn’t know when it would reopen. “It could be weeks, months.”

So we set M2C aside and continued work on Cascade’s road rally program. We held an in person road rally school on Feb. 15, and on Feb. 28 we announced the first Saturday Series Rally would be March 21.

Then the coronavirus pandemic. Gatherings were prohibited. Restaurants were closed to all but take-out service. It became obvious that we couldn’t have in-person on-site registration and that ending a rally at a restaurant to announce results and give out prizes wasn’t going to happen. Road rallies and other autosports events were being cancelled all across the country.

In our planning for the 2020 road rally season, we had already decided to use the Richta GPS Checkpoints app to time and score road rallies, so checkpoint worker crews were no longer needed to exchange paperwork with rally competitors several times during an event. Each car would run an app on their smartphone to get scored at each GPS checkpoint. No human contact needed for timing and scoring.

We had also decided to implement online registration using MotorsportsReg. Our original intent was to offer optional online registration for those who wanted to pay with plastic since we only took cash or check at on-site registration. To comply with coronavirus restrictions, we made online registration required and we discontinued on-site registration. We figured out how to complete the check-in process virtually. No human contact needed for registration and check-in.

We had a plan for how to put on road rallies during the pandemic. On March 13 we announced that the March 21 Saturday Series Rally was not cancelled and that, “this road rally will require no human interaction other than within each car.” On March 20 we published Cascade Geargrinders Coronavirus Message, laying out our plan. Fourteen cars ran Cascade’s first TSsD (Time Speed social Distance) road rally.

Although we had worked with the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau for several months to identify an ending location and other amenities for our participants, we decided that postponing Mountains to the Sea was the right decision. On March 23 we announced that M2C was postponed from May to September. Good decision, since it still wasn’t clear then whether the landslide would be cleared by May.


Holy Flaming Holocaust!  What else can there be?  How about smoke.

We had some time before we needed to get back to M2C, so we went to work putting on five more TSsD road rallies. Attendance surprised us. Last year we averaged 13.5 cars per rally. Our 2020 plan projected an average of 15 cars per rally. Even before 2020M2C we averaged 17.7 cars per rally! The new TSsD with GPS timing rally format was popular and attracting a new audience.

With the landslide cleared enough to open one lane of the highway in July, we went back to work on the Mountains to the Sea route. We first measured the weekend after Fourth of July. But the landslide wasn’t our only road issue. Our original odo went over the I-5 North Interstate Bridge. When we learned of the impending northbound traffic closure (thank you, Kasey), we rerouted (and remeasured) the rally using I-205 North.

We were down to a final measuring run when the wildfires hit. Although the entire region was thick with wildfire smoke, we were most concerned about the Big Hollow Fire. It started about a week and a half before the M2C rally and was only about 10 miles as the crow flies from the morning break at the Chelatchie Prairie Store. If the winds didn’t shift and the humidity didn’t increase, this rally would be cancelled after all. We drove the very smoky route on Sept. 6 and again on the 12th. The fire moved no closer.

Then on Sept. 17 we made a final run through the course. The wind had shifted, humidity was up, it even rained. The sky was clear of smoke! The M2C rally was on for sure.

So the post office has nothing on us. Neither landslide nor virus nor road closure nor wildfire kept us from putting on the 2020 Mountains to the Sea Rally.

Thank you to the Breakers Hotel for allowing us to use their facility as an ending location. Thank you to the Beach Fire BBQ for providing dinner boxes. And thank you to the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau for their help in securing these businesses for our event and for providing info packets for all participants.


Julie 'Goose' Miletta and Jolynn 'Maverick' Franke

Congratulations to the winners! 

First overall and first Unlimited is the team of Bob Morseburg and Angela Suggs with a total score of 16 over 36 legs. Very impressive! Second overall and second Unlimited is the team of Zack Pharis and Brandon Harer, with just one more point for a total score of 17. Finishing third overall and third Unlimited is the team of Kevin Poirier and Chris Hale with a score of 65.

Finishing first SOP and fourth overall is the team of Blake Harer and Jeremy Greene with a score of 66. Second SOP and fifth overall is Marcus Gattmann and Kerrie Steffenson. Simon Levear and Ben Bradley finish third SOP and sixth overall.

The top Novice finisher is the team of Jolynn 'Maverick' Franke and Julie 'Goose' Miletta.  The second Novice team is James Petersen and Stephanie Heiden with Brian and Jamie Anderson taking third.  

Andrew Brewer and Coralee Brewer finish first and only in the GPS class.

Congratulations to all participants of the 2020 Mountains to the Sea Rally!

Mountains to the Sea FINAL RESULTS

Read the complete story

General Instructions and Rally Rules
Mountains to the Sea Flyer
Mountains to the Sea on Facebook
Mountains to the Sea Entry List


Mountains to the Sea through the years - an ongoing chronicle


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