Great question! I hope you live in a warmer part of the country than
I can give you no better advice on this than that of the great
Canadian novelist Robertson Davies, who said A first-class picnic,
which has to be planned to the last detail, but which must also
pretend to be wholly impromptu, is a vastly more complicated
undertaking than a formal dinner for twenty guests, which moves
according to a well-understood pattern. (What Every Girl Should
Know, from One Half of Robertson Davies)
A car rally and picnic requires twice as much planning as a simple
picnic! However, I think you will find many helpful hints in the
articles listed below.
In general and I speak from experience I dont think you should
make it too difficult for people to find the food. It is probably
best to tell people where and when the picnic is, so that they can be
sure of finding it with conventional maps. If you do make the
location a mystery, make it an easy mystery and be sure and provide a
telephone contact for those who cant solve it.
Also, you mention that this is a social group and that you would like
everyone to find clues along the way. If the people in the group know
each other quite well, you can give them a route with directions along
1. [Assuming John's oldest son is named Hunter] "When you see John's
oldest son, take the next left" [your clue might be a mailbox for a
family named Hunter]
2. [Assuming that everyone knows Mike and Ann are about to celebrate
their 10th wedding anniversary] "From the intersection of North and
School Street, drive the same number of miles as Mike and Ann have
been married, plus 0.3, then turn right."
You can see how much work this could be, if you really got into it!
How to Organize A Car Rally
This is a one-page article from Shell Canada that gives you
straightforward instructions to organize a fun, family-oriented car
rally. I think this is perfect for you!
SCCA Rallymaster Ron Ferris begins with two core principles (1)
make sure everyone gets to the end and (2) make sure everyone feels
successful when they arrive. He plans his rallies using games that
people already know (e.g., Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy).
Here we have a PDF newsletter from a family (!) describing its 16th
annual family picnic, which included a picnic, a treasure hunt, a car
rally, old fashioned games, a Groundhog Court, and a bonfire! This
sure sounds like a family that has fun, and you may want to borrow
some of their ideas.
In Europe, where there is a long-establish rally tradition, many clubs
use unusual kinds of maps. I dont recommend this approach for your
first time out (you will lose too many people), but you could try
using this kind of map for at least part of the route.
"Teaching Basic Rally Navigation"
If you decide to use a rally map, I recommend using tulip diagrams.
This is a way of picturing junctions that was developed on the Tulip
Rally in Holland in the 1950s. "In the same way that a real tulip
grows from the bulb to the flower, a rally route using "Tulips" goes
from a ball to an arrow.
"How-to-Rally Articles from the Newsletter"
This article includes some sample junctions from a tulip map. A
classic case of a picture is worth a thousand words. (Personally, I
love tulip maps - that is why I am dwelling on them.)
SCCA Amateur Road Rally
I have a hunch that this is more elaborate than you want.
Car Rally 2001
Here are (as best I can tell) the only advance instructions for an
amateur photo scavenger hunt. To me, this is too loosy goosy. You
need more planning than this.
Mille Miglia 2002
The Mille Miglia is an astonishing Italian rally with a history that
started in 1927. Take a look at their Website (it has an English
version) just for the fun of it, and to see some gorgeous cars! This
is not your style It is a competitive time/speed/distance rally over
many days and many miles. And did I mention that you almost have to
be rich? However, the cars are gorgeous.
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How to plan a car rally
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sample tulip map car rally