Happy Halloween and welcome to Ghouls Gambol.

Seventeen teams left the start line on Halloween morning to run the 54th anniversary Ghouls Gambol road rally.

Rally participants submitted ballots to select the winners in the Costume Concourse.

The winners were Car # 7 - Mr. and Mrs. Pac-Man, the team of Kevin and Angelique Ortega. Congratulations!

The rally route

The odometer calibration check traveled along the Columbia River on Marine Drive to Troutdale. Then the rally route journeyed out the Historic Columbia River Highway into the Gorge.

After a brief break at Guy W. Talbot State Park at Latourell Falls and a loop around the Vista House, the route meandered along the Sandy River, crossing the Bull Run and Dodge Park bridges, ending at Meinig Park in Sandy.

Bright autumn colors decorated the all-paved route. The rally was about 80 miles long and took about three hours to complete. The weather was sunny, the views were beautiful, and the roads were just fun to drive.

The Story

The title of this year’s Ghouls Gambol was “A Stranger Stalks the Highway…” The following story was parsed out amidst the route instructions, a bit more on each page. 

He was a stranger to these parts, standing on the side of a lonely road in Oregon, hitchhiking in a thunderstorm. Time passed slowly. No cars went by. It was raining so hard he could not see his hand in front of his face.

Suddenly he saw a car approaching over the hill. The car was moving very slowly, appearing ghost-like in the rain. It slowly crept toward him and stopped. Eyeing the car suspiciously but eager to get out of the rain, he jumped in the car and closed the door. Only then did he realize there was nobody behind the wheel. And no sound of the engine could be heard over the driving rain.

Again the car crept slowly forward. He was terrified, yet too scared to think of jumping out and running. He saw the car was approaching a sharp curve and, still too scared to jump out, he was sure the ghost car would go off the road and into the river far below. But just before the curve, a shadowy figure appeared at the driver’s window and a ghostly hand reached in and turned the steering wheel, guiding the car safely around the bend. Then, silently, the hand disappeared through the window, and the hitchhiker was alone again.

Paralyzed with fear, he watched the hand reappear every time they reached a curve, steer the car and just as mysteriously disappear.

Finally, sure that death awaited at every turn, he jumped out of the car and ran for town. Wet and and shaking, he went into the nearest bar and told everyone about his supernatural experience. 

A strange silence enveloped the room and everyone got goosebumps when they realized he was telling the truth about the strange car and the ghostly hand that guided it on its way. 

Just then, two men walked into the bar. They were dripping wet. As they took off their rain gear, they looked around the room. Their eyes came to rest on the hitchhiker.

“Look!” said one of the men. “There’s the idiot who jumped into our car when we were pushing it in the rain!”

What the rallymasters said

It was so nice to actually visit with the ralliers at the end of the rally. We set up a table in the parking lot, put out the season awards for folks to pick up, and set out sweet rewards and Ghouls Gambol mementos for the rally winners. Feedback about the rally was very positive. Folks seemed to have a great time.

Congratulations to the winners!

First overall and first GPS was the team of Bob Morseburg and Cheri Eddy with a total score of 7 over 16 scored legs. Bob and Cheri zeroed 15 of the 16 legs. Outstanding accuracy! (Any remaining concerns about the accuracy of the Richta GPS Checkpoints app should now be laid to rest.)

Second overall and first Novice was the team of Brian and Jamie Anderson. This was their first season as Cascade ralliers and they did great! We expect they’ll move up to the SOP class next season.

Third overall and second Novice was the team of Andy and Mercedes Lilienthal. We hope to see them at more rallies next season.

Torm Kelsey-Green and Kasey Klaus finished fourth overall and first SOP. Torm and Kasey had a solid season. They wrote the July Saturday Rally this year, and we expect they will rallymaster an event next season.

Ed Frank and Jo Su finished second SOP. They weren’t able to run many rallies this year. Hopefully next year we’ll see them more frequently.

Madelyn and Mark Tabor finished in third place SOP. The Tabor family is well known for their involvement in regional road rally of all sorts. It is nice to see them at a Cascade TSD rally.

Third Novice was Angelique and Kevin Ortega. This year’s Mountains to the Sea Rally was their first Cascade event. We hope to see them at many rallies next year.

Congratulations to all the Ghouls Gambol Halloween road rally participants!

A special thank you to our checkout crew, Kat Iverson and Hal Ballard. They drove the course twice! Thank you!