SAWYER — There are a lot of unique roadside attractions in Southwest Michigan (even a skeletal T-rex with deer antlers!) and participants in the Sunday, Oct. 18, Rotary Club of Harbor Country Road Rally got to experience quite a few of them up-close and personal.
Club President Georgiana Gormley said teams signed up online and registered at the starting/finishing point of Corvette Central in Sawyer where they received Road Rally route and questions paperwork along with treat bags filled with apples, candy and cookies shaped like Michigan and Corvettes.
"It's basically a visual scavenger hunt," said her husband and club member Jim Gormley. "It's about a 52-mile loop around Berrien County with questions to answer on … points of interest."
Georgiana said the couple spent "probably a month driving around in circles" to plan the scavenger hunt.
"There's some very interesting stuff on the back roads of Berrien County," Jim noted.
There were 69 questions to answer plus two bonus queries ranging from "What is the street address number for the River Valley Senior Center" and "What kind of military vehicle is in front of Wee-Chik's Legion Post 518?" to "What animal is on the weathervane at the top of the gazebo (in Three Oaks' Dewey Cannon Park)?" and "How many times did you cross over or under I-94?"
Georgiana said five Rotary Club of Harbor Country projects (such as adult exercise equipment at New Buffalo Township's Memorial Park and trail marker signs at the Chikaming Township Park & Preserve) also were part of the Road Rally mobile scavenger hunt.
Jim said the number of correct answers and covering the right mileage were factors in determining the top finishers.
A pair of teams tied for first place — the Gas-n-Go Gundersons and Silver Spirits (each received $100:
Second place and its $75 prize went to the Honda Hustlers while the Road Runners came in third ($50)
More than 30 teams took part.
Vehicles carrying Road Ralliers included a 1959 Edsel Ranger piloted by David Baldwin of Three Oaks.
"It's painted in a bumblebee color scheme," he said.
The "Silver Spirits" Road Rally team of Eric Soya, Todd Barnhill, Steve Lems and Tom Evans drove all the way from Grand Rapids to participate in a 1982 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit.
"Driving from GR to do the rally and back up we did about 275 miles. (comfort doesn’t come cheap at 11 mpg, lol!)," Soya said. "We all had fun. What a great opportunity for us to get out and see part of the state we aren’t in very often."
Caroline and Richard Ghareeb shared the journey in the cozy confines of their 1999 Mazda Miata.
Georgina Gormley said money raised through the Road Rally will go toward the Rotary Club's community projects such as literacy and nutrition support for local school districts; hats and mittems for students; and holiday baskets that are distributed to local families.
She noted that the club's normal Rib Fest summer fund-raiser didn't happen this year due to the pandemic.
"The money from this is making a huge difference," she said.
Road Rally sponsors included: Alapash New Home; Hungry for Harbor Country (Third Coast Kitchen); Choose Chad (Chad and Heather Gradowski); Vickers Theatre; Pristine Pool and Spas; The Peasant's Pantry; Honor Credit Union; Friends of Berrien County Trails; Whistle Stop Grocery; Fifth Third Bank; NMK Design Studios; Siemans in Bridgman; Classic Catering and Events; Drier's Meat Market; Corvette Central; The Acorn Theater; State Farm Insurance Tom Rossman; Big C Lumber; Stephen LaGutatta LLC; Jackie's Cafe; Three Oaks Dentistry; Black Currant Bakehouse; Susan's Sawyer Restaurant; Cafe Gulistan; Customs Imports; David's Delicatessen & Coffee; Poppy Hill Vintage; Greenbush Brewing Co.; and Patellie's Pizza.