Friends take on American rocky mountain rally
The iconic American road trip is what many car enthusiasts dream of, but for 20-year-old gear head Erik Scheelar, a unique summer road trip has sparked his desire to take to the road once again.
For the past six years, Scheelar has fanaticised about participating in an automotive driving event called a road rally.
Inspired by the original road rally in the 1970s, the Cannonball Run, and later pop-culture road movies such as the 1981 film by the same name, a road rally is an event in which participants drive in an organized multi-day event to specified finishing points with checkpoint locations in-between. Drivers learn their daily destinations only moments before they hit the road.
Most road rallies nowadays cater to the wealthy and cost well over $10,000 to participate. But when Scheelar found out about a rally designed for average car enthusiasts, costing only $200 to enter, he signed himself up along with his best friend Jordan Gleave.
"I had the means and I had the motivation," Scheelar said. "I've wanted to do a rally for so long. When I heard about the route for this rally through the Rockies I knew I had to go."
Excited about their first big road trip, the duo hopped into Scheelar's recently-purchased 2010 Ford F-150 and headed south for the border.
"It was kind of a surprise," Gleave said. "Erik and I were originally going to go on a road trip with a third friend this summer, but when that fell through, Erik brought up the idea of going on a road rally. When he asked me to go with him, of course I said 'yes.'"
The event, called the Rocky Mountain Rally, took place at the end of August and hosted 26 teams from all over North America. Over the course of three days, the event saw drivers travel from Colorado Springs, CO to Las Vegas, NV.
The Rally Begins
Upon arriving in Colorado Springs, Scheelar and Gleave felt right at home.
"As soon as we arrived, we met some really great people," Scheelar said. "The people we met were unreal. They were all down-to-earth and probably some of the coolest people I have ever met."
According to Gleave, after spending three days in the truck with Scheelar, their friendship only got stronger.
"One of the very noticeable things during and after rally is that our friendship has strengthened greatly," Gleave said. "We did a lot to entertain ourselves in the car: texting friends, listening to loud music, watching recorded videos, playing video games, etcetera. Although I don't think a single book was opened."
Pikes Peak in Colorado. The trip up the mountain took drivers to a staggering 4,000 meters above sea level.For Scheelar, one of the highlights was travelling to the top of
"It was incredible," Scheelar said. "The best part was just flooring it to the top of the mountain. The truck didn't even break a sweat. Driving with all the cars to the top, and then seeing the view at the top was just the coolest thing ever. I would go again just to go back to Pikes Peak."
Receiving an Award
At the end of the event, awards were handed out to distinguished participants who stood out from the rest of the crowd. Scheelar and Gleave were called to the stage and awarded with the trophy for the long distance travelled award.
"Receiving the award was an experience of its own," Gleave said. Not because a speech was given, but because of the fellow drivers and co-drivers shouting and cheering as we took the award."
As the only Canadians at the event, they travelled over 2,000 kilometers just to get to the start line. Including the drive to and from the event, Scheelar and Gleave put well over 7,000 kilometers on Scheelar's truck that he bought only a few months before.
After dreaming about attending a road rally for years, and finally having completed one, Scheelar is already planning on driving his truck all the way to New England next summer for an East Coast rally hosted by the same event organizers as the Rocky Mountain Rally.
According to Scheelar, the total cost of the trip, including hotels, meals, fuel stops and other extraneous expenses before, during and after the rally was $4,400.
- By Matthew Hayhurst