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This is a collection of suggestions for rally workers getting prepared to work an event. It it collected from the Rally-MN mailing list, and reposted here for broader access. Some things are more specific to the conditions at OFPR.

ScandiaWRX said:
This is my first event to work as well. I have a hotel room and I've
signed up to Marshal.

Now my question is, what kind of things do I need to bring with me in
to the woods to Marshal? Water, camp chair, flashlight, trail mix,
rain poncho is kind of my list so far. Anything else you can think
of? Is this too much? Too little? I realize I'll be in the woods
(Oh yeah, bug spray!) and I figure I'll be there for a couple of
hours? I'm guessing here. The voice of experience from those who
have done this before is appreciated.
Mark Larson said:
Don't forget your camera.
Jeff Secor said:
Oatmeal cookies ... no really, Having crashed out and a marshal hands me
(and my driver) a bunch of cookies helped a bunch!
(Reminds me, that I think Dave Parps handing out candy to start and finish workers is a nice, tangible token of appreciation for rally workers)

K Travis said:
Roll of toilet paper :eek:)
....and Depending on the time you will spend in the woods on your assignment(s) - some sandwiches or a little gas grill to BBQ between assignments
Ryan LaMothe said:
I would bring long pants/sweat pants and a fall jacket. It can get
fairly chilly at night out on Stage and especially if there is a
delay you can be out on Stage until 12:00AM or longer.

Optional: I would also look into buying a cheap listen-only handheld
HAM radio so that you get a better idea what is happening on Stage.

Other than that, have a great time!!!

PS - Oh, and don't forget the toilet paper :)
Mark Holden said:
Make sure you've got good bug spray. 3M Ultrathon is what I and some
other rally people swear by. Lasts the evening without needing to be
reapplied over and over. And the mosquitoes in the forests up there are
typically thick.

Good shoes (hiking boots are best) and know how to spot poison ivy. By
this time of the year a lot of it will be turning red and be easier to
spot, but it's all over, and you don't want to get into it.

Help out with bannering! I know your car is good to go and it's a great
way to see the stages before and after the competitors. And you get to
experience the routebook too.

A scanner (or better yet a ham radio and a license to use it, but that's
something to look at down the line once you're hooked...) is a wonderful
thing to have. If you are on a stage that is re-used, you may actually
be waiting for a few hours between the runnings, and being able to
listen in to what's going on is a lot more fun that sitting in the dark.

Be prepared to spend a long time in the forest, depending on your
marshal point, you could be out there longer than you think. Bring
something to keep yourself entertained in the down-time.

Bring some extra layers of clothing in case it gets cold once the sun sets.

Best is to bring some friends and a camp stove and some
burgers/brats/hotdogs and grill :)
Jimmy Brandt said:
It's hard to have too much (but then I usually overpack).

Maps, gazetteer, compass. Scanner. FRS radios. Flashlight(s). Extra batteries. Clipboard. Pen/pencil/highlighter. Knife. Whistle. Racer (duct) tape.

Reading material.

Food, drink. TP. Meds that you take/need (aspirin, sunscreen, sunburn stuff, 1st aid kit).

Rain gear, warm clothes, umbrella.

And, THANK YOU for working.

Breon Nagy said:
Water, water and more water. You'll need it. More often than not, someone
else forgot their water as well. Sharing is caring. Energy food of some
sort. I usually brign a lot of fruit....mmmm bananas. Also, bring a big
trash bag. You'll have to haul away all that garbage that you and you
waterless friends generate.

Pego said:
For whoever said bring a trash bag, make that more than one. If it
starts to rain you will want to keep everything dry, like your
backpack or whatever you put everything into, your chair, your
electronic gear if any. Yourself if it rains hard enough.
Anything you think you might need is worth putting in your car if not
your backpack And whoever said water was right, bring tons of it,
because you will end up sharing.
But most of all bring a sense of humor and have a great time.

Dave Grenwis said:
Don't forget your cow-bell.


Bring some friends too, it can get lonely out there.

(Editor's note: Please forget the cowbell. For the love of humanity, leave it home...)



Dean Rushford said:
Forsure on food, and the self caring items. Take changes of clothing and
footwear.
Tennis shoes are great but if it rains, rainwear is best. You should plan
for the worst, start with lest, you can always change.

Bring a box of large garbage bags. If you work an area where there are many
people, place one at the front and back of your car, people are glad your
willing to handle it otherwise they toss it in the woods.

Also a work light and convertor from say Walmart, 40.00 gets you a convertor
where you can plug stuff in and run it like an outlet.

Jerry Winker said:
1) Bugspray... don't skimp!
2) Water or Gatorade
3) Flashlight
4) Small cheap Wal-Mart one time use grills
5) Aluminum Foil
6) Jack's or Totino's Pizzas, Pizza Rolls, or Chicken Drummies
7) Baseball bat to fend off any carnivore that smells what is cooking.
(I've been visited by racoons, skunks, bats, a bear, a shrew, and a fox
in past years. The bear was actually in the Chippewa Nat'l Forest and
we don't run there anymore, FYI. I know there are fishers and other
weasely-type mammals as well in some areas. Beavers, porcupines, mice,
and red squirrels have been seen as well. No moose or wolves, but there
was supposedly a red-haired bigfoot that was spotted in the Two Inlets
State Forest 3-4 years ago. Hence the bat.)
8) Buttwipe
9) Books, magazines
10) CD's
11) Camera
12) More film than you think you'll need
13) Garbage bags (make great rain ponchos or camera protection as well)
14) SPARE TIRE (make sure it's inflated!!!)
. Long story about being in
the middle of PA woods at STPR '98. Luckily someone's crew was picking
up a dead car and had an air tank that was half full.)
15) Blankets
16) Sweatshirt and sweatpants
17) Parka
18) Bikini
19) Suntan lotion
20) Folding chair
21) Pruning shears (for getting pesky branches out of your photos)
22) Batteries!!!
23) Scanner if you can afford one or find someone who does
24) Minnesota Atlas or other good maps
25) Salted-in-the shell peanuts
Greg Donovan said:
the best way i have found to deal with all that stuff is a
rubbermaid tub. they keep everything dry (and dust free) in a
pinch. you can toss everything in it really fast and they can
double as a "table" when luch time comes around.
 

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Thanks a bunch Mark! I linked over to the rally-mn mailgroup that you posted, but was reluctant to sign up, didn't want to add another "lurking" member who rarely contributes.

This thread is nice, a very good start. I am a planner by nature, have lists all over the place, wife hates it. Who knows, me & my son may just be out in the woods next Oct, offering our meager assistance to LSPR...
 

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I keep everything I need to participate in a rally (except for seasonally apporopriate clothing) in three of those plastic storage boxes with the hinged tops. This includes a few things that might seem unnecessary on the surface, but are there because they get used. 300 ft. of outdoor extension cord, for example. My kit is also pumped up with extra 1/10 sec tod clocks, control boards, and waivers, because on more than one occasion, having such things allowed a stage, that would otherwise have been cancelled, to run. Don't

Packing becomes easy; toss the boxes in the back of the Pilot and go.
 

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Thanks for posting this up Mark. These are some great recommendations and they got me off on the right foot.

Thanks to Jimmy adding racer tape to the list, he really saved my bacon with that one. I'm sitting in my camp chair on OFPR stage 5 and as the first rally car goes by I watch the tripod leg on the timing light slowly start to sag taking the beam out of alignment. *Yikes!* I kneel down to hold the light back in alignment, while hollering for my coworker, Carrie, to look in the rubber maid container in my car for duct tape. She brings it over and by the light of my head lamp I wrap the tripod leg, twigs, grass and whatever else gets in the way with tape to hold it in place for the remaining cars. We didn't miss a single car with the timing light!

As to the HAM radio license? I guess I'm hooked, I passed two weeks ago. You can now call me KC0YSA. Now I just need to buy a HAM radio.

By all means help banner too if you have the time. It's a lot of fun.

A newby working finish with on Passmore at LSPR had a great idea for marking the location of the near timing light when you have to sit well back for safety and its very dark. She took the light stick from our volunteer worker bag and tied it to a twig over the light so she could better see where it was and judge when to call the, "mark".

See you all at Sno*Drift
-Amy Springer
 

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ScandiaWRX said:
Thanks to Jimmy adding racer tape to the list, he really saved my bacon with that one. I'm sitting in my camp chair on OFPR stage 5 and as the first rally car goes by I watch the tripod leg on the timing light slowly start to sag taking the beam out of alignment. *Yikes!* I kneel down to hold the light back in alignment, while hollering for my coworker, Carrie, to look in the rubber maid container in my car for duct tape. She brings it over and by the light of my head lamp I wrap the tripod leg, twigs, grass and whatever else gets in the way with tape to hold it in place for the remaining cars. We didn't miss a single car with the timing light!
Amy, did you leave the tape on that tripod so I can replace/repair it? Or do I have to go over all of them? Quick thinking!

Bruce
Equipment guy
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bruce said:
Amy, did you leave the tape on that tripod so I can replace/repair it? Or do I have to go over all of them? Quick thinking!

Bruce
Equipment guy
That was, according to her post, back at OFPR, so if you didn't notice it at Cog or LSPR, I'd guess the answer is no. ;)
 

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Mark Holden said:
That was, according to her post, back at OFPR, so if you didn't notice it at Cog or LSPR, I'd guess the answer is no. ;)
That's the point...I haven't seen any fainting tripods...I'm wondering if it healed...or somebody put a new one in...or what else happened. I go through the equipment after every rally, and I didn't even find any racer tape residue.

Bruce
 

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Sorry Bruce, I wasn't thinking that far ahead. To my recollection it wasn't one of the tripods with the lever locks, we used those at LSPR and didn't have any trouble with sagging of legs on timing lights. Sagging worker brains at the end of Passmore at 2 a.m., maybe. I think Ed Steenken (sp?) did something to the offending leg Saturday at OFPR to get it to stay in place and it was doing better. We were having some issues with multiple timing hits at the flying finish of Brockway though but I think I may have set the lights too low and was getting wheels. I am definitely still learning....

Speaking of Course Opening, Mark, I'm hoping to make that one of my long term goals. :)
 

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Since we camp out in the stages at our marshall location, our list is quite a bit longer, but has been evolving over the years....

we usually go in a group of 2-3, so we have to room to pack:

Pop up canopy!! 10x12
self-contained all steel firepit/bbq combo.
matchlight briquettes and wood
fire extinguishers
shovel
towstraps/rope and twine+duct tape
extra jackets/shoes socks.
pillow! (sleeping in the car for 2 days, the headrest get's old)
extra batt. and tape for the video camera,compressed air for dust in camera and plastic bag to shield from the rain
heavy duty gloves (to move firepit,haul more wood or box Yeti's)
pruning shears,must have!
also not bad, a small 12" x 12" square of plywood for flattening out pesky stickerbrush
pack out what you packed in
food food food
water at least several gallons
26 rolls of TP (you haven't lived till you've had our rallyslop)
TUMS
please note: I did not include a bat for protection, the odor from 3 marshalls in the woods eating rallyslop is usually enough. If it isn't, a ladlefull of said slop in a sock will suffice as a pretty effective curmudgeon)
 

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as you know, we REALLY don't want that to happen......but if for some reason, you've got a 15 min. lead, you and Dave are more than welcome to stop in for a few brauts (I forgot to mention those) and take a few "souvenier" pics with the Sasquatch we always, inevetiably, run into and thus hogtie for a day or 2!
 

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Been there, done that for more than 20 years. I cannot stress too strongly that when you are away from town, one flashlight is none and two is only one. Blame it on Murphy's Law, but a few decent LED flashlights in the bag have saved many bad experiences that I have had working stages and even legs on brisk speed TSD's. Remember -- "It is better to carry a spare flashlight or three than to curse the f#*&ing darkness."

Hard candy keeps your sugar levels up, keeps dry mouth at bay, and brings the spirits up for those who have DNF'd or are still going but have had a bit too much to deal withover the past few minutes. Werthers rock, but don't forget root beer barrels and lemon drops. Mints are good too, especially when dealing with people who are handing you cards and are a little bit too far from the toothbrush and a little too far into the day.

Plastic storage bags hold radios and crap and keep them dry. Really big storage bags (2 1/2 gallon size or bigger, and even clear trash bags) hold clipboards dry in the rain. Radios will work inside of plastic bags.

Rig up a tape recorder or digital recorder to a radio. Now you have a backup for when the paper logs get soaked with rain or when the champagne the long legged blonde spills all over everything while the hot red head... huh? You don't...? I mean, what kind of stage crews do the rest of you work with? Sheeesh, amateurs!

Don't forget the Seinfeld episode about the space pen ("You kept the Pen!?!") and get a Fisher Space Pen. They really do write in the rain and, hey, you'll never guess, but Write In The Rain note pads and copy paper really do work when wet (Who'd have thought?).

A few feet of rope come in handy, too. Use your imagination but don't get too perverted. Aw, alright, go ahead... pictures?

Most of the above will fit into large, clear storage boxes. Well, except for the girls holding onto the bubbly. Some teams have fit them into boxes but the air pump keeps getting lost.

Just the thought of having hot coffee in the area can make workers giddy with delight. It is a pretty good diuretic though.

I have seen deer, bear, bobcat, and snakes whike working the flying finish timing line. I've got to get a stout walking stick to bang on the ground once in a while. Stomping 50+ year old feet gets thin after several hours. BTW, warn the rookies about the wildlife AFTER they get onto the stage, not before. Otherwise it is harder to get them to follow you out to the assignment.

Bring along a real good sense of humor. It helps if you are warped, but some really good, lame, clean jokes are good. Really bad "groaner" jokes are best.
 

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I don't think anyone mentioned a hammer. We always try to have a big hammer for putting stakes in the ground to hold up the control signs. I had not thought of pruning shears, but there is always brush in the way of where I want to put the signs.
I always try to take extra stuff, there will always be newbies (and some experienced ones) who don't have something they need or want. After the first year at 100AW when I took some food but didn't anticipate how looong we would be in the woods, I always take a couple of full meals worth of food and plenty to share. I also like to have enough water to share with any navvies or drivers who might want some.
I really don't think it is impossible to have too much stuff. What you don't need you just leave in the car for next time.
Oh, one more thing. One year at 100AW one of the co-drivers handed me a Hot-Hands hand warmer after he saw how cold I was (I was warming my hands over his engine) so now I always have some with me. I don't remember which co-driver it was, but if you happen to be reading this, I am still grateful to you.
 

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No updates to this sticky in a long time, so here are a few to Google:

Hammers -- look for a "hand drill hammer," a short handled hammer with a sledge-like head, usually about 3 lbs. Drive something in with one of those and it will stay put! Use a little care if you want to pull it back out of the ground anytime soon.

Flashlights -- lots of newer, better, brighter LED lights. Pricier than your mini-mag but way better and much more dependable. Check out candlepowerforums.com for way more information than you ever wanted.

Batteries -- AA or AAA lithiums are the way to go if you want to use something in very hot or very cold weather. They cost more but weigh less than alkalines and have a shelf life of over 10 years. If you use 123 batteries, SureFire (a flashlight... 'scuse me... an "illumination tool" company) has them for under $2 each if you buy in quantities of 12 or more. These batteries are also used in many cameras and can cost over $4 in many stores. SureFire items are available at Gander Mountain and other stores as well as at their web site. They also make expensive but incredibly tough and bright lights, the difference between them and a Mag is like the difference between a soda can and 3 inch armor plate.

Gadgets and Gizmos -- check out NiteIze. They make holsters for flashlights, multi-tools (like a Leatherman), cell phones, etc. They also make clip-on and wrap-around LED marker lights to keep you safe and to keep you from losing you keys and stuff. "But wait... there's more!" They also make "S-biners" and "Figure-9's," which are attachment devices. S-biners are like double ended mini-carabiners, but better and stronger. They have gates at both ends and a bar in the middle. Figure-9's let you secure items with cord but without having to tie or untie knots. Keep stuff from bouncing around in the trunk or secure that timing tripod to a post or tree without knots and remove it easily, even when wet!

Thermos/Nissan -- drink hot coffee or hot chocolate hours after you made it. The Thermos/Nissan Backpacker 16 oz. bottle cost in the mid-$20 range, but nothing I've found beats it for keeping stuff hot for hours. Great drink-through cap, too.

IPod Gizmos -- Never use your iPod while working, but what if it dies during a break or lull in the action? Energizer makes an "Energi To Go" iPod dock that uses 2 lithium AA batteries.

Anybody got anything else that's new?
 

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One of the photogs at OTR had a dust mask.... I wish I would have had three. One for my mouth and nose and then one for each ear. It may not always be dusty, but I will be throwing a few of these in my truck for the next race just in case.
 

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I usually have a 3 pack of dust masks (not only for multi-day rallies but also for others who didn't think ahead) but it might be just as easy to take along a few bandannas which are of course multi-use items. Whatever works. A box of facial tissues to clean out the road dust from your sinuses helps too. Saline solution for eyes or a bottle of artificial tears are also a good idea (come to think of it I should get an eye wash cup for my first aid kit).

One thing I used to do was to pack stuff in a 5 gallon bucket. You can get stackable divider inserts for them and "bucket buddies" are also really cool for organizing worker gear. Also you can get a padded lid for the bucket so you have an almost comfortable place to sit.

All you have to do for a rally is to plan for ice, snow, cold, rain, mud, sun, heat, dust, bugs, snakes, deer, bear, bobcats, drunks, idiots, dark, lightning, etc., etc.

No problem.
 

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Microfiber cloths are great for dealing with rally dust. They'll pick up dust from dashboards, glasses, electronics, etc. without pushing it around or scratching the surface. They're especially important if you use a mag-mount antenna or a magnetic sign on your car, because if you don't remove the dust from under the magnet it will grind it into the paint.
 

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Here's another tip: Print out two or three copies of the spectator guide and take them with you. Sooner or later someone *will* ask you where they can spectate and it's much easier if you can just hand them a copy of the guide page for the stage they're asking about. Plus, if the stage you were supposed to work gets canceled, you can go spectate somewhere else.
 
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