Make rash decisions when appropriate

Dan Breitmeyer (left) gives a tug on Furious Anger's pull start as fellow pilot Ron Dupcak looks on. The pull start, like the light bar on top, are purely decorative. The two men plan to drive the car from the Big Apple to the Big Easy — from New York to New Orleans — in the Baberally to raise money for the Glover Volunteer Fire Department. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Bethany M. Dunbar, May 3, 2011

This is a great time of year to make rash decisions.  So when I heard that two Glover firefighters had decided to drive from New York City to New Orleans in a $500 Ford car with no air conditioning, I thought, good for them.

It’s a fundraiser called Furious-Anger BABE rally.

Yes it’s a strange name.  When I got a Facebook request from the Glover librarian, Toni Eubanks, about this, I assumed she had been hacked.  Would I like to be friends with Furious-Anger BABE rally?  I don’t think so.

Then I ran into Toni and she explained it.  Okay, that’s a good story.  Intrepid Chronicle reporter Richard Creaser took it on and did a wonderful job (as usual) capturing the impulsive zeal of the two friends with spring fever getting ready to do something kind of crazy for a good cause.

Luckily, later in the week my horse Daisy did not decide to make a rash decision to walk over a non-existent fence and run away into the green grasses.  She is a good horse and she’s pretty used to her fence.

My neighbor moose came through in the night and the fence was down.  It’s only one strand of electric fence, which does a great job keeping the horse in but not such a great job keeping the moose out.

I wish the moose would just step or jump over it like the deer do.  But no.  They seem to feel obliged to drag a quarter of a mile of fence wire as far as they possibly can.  So there was Daisy, looking longingly at the delicious green grass from her muddy winter pasture while I frantically strung new wire.

About half way through I was pretty sure she had it figured out.  She looked at the place the fence had been and leaned forward and started running back and forth along the edge of it.  I began yelling and waving my arms.  This bought me a few minutes, and that turned out to be long enough to get the rest of the wire up.

Next week the grass in the summer pasture will be tall enough.  Over the weekend Jim and I fixed that fence, and this coming weekend I will let her in there.  She will run around like a crazy horse, and that will be fun to watch.  I will attempt to photograph the event.

But for now her spring fever is still living on dry old boring hay.

Visions of moose steak and stew are dancing in my head.  But I’ve never shot any living thing — and even though I’m slightly tempted to try for a moose permit, I’m more likely to make a less rash decision to just try to photograph them instead.

Here’s Richard’s story.  There’s lots more stories and photos etc. on the Chronicle’s web site when you get a chance.

Furious Anger is the 1992 Ford Festiva that Ron Dupcak (foreground) and Dan Breitmeyer plan to drive from New York City to New Orleans from June 6 to June 10. Photos by Richard Creaser

Big men in little car plan long trip to support Glover Fire Department, the Chronicle, April 20, 2011, by Richard Creaser

GLOVER —  Her name is Furious Anger but there is little that is overtly threatening about the 1992 Ford Festiva.  The name applies to the fire engine red color of her body.  This little car is expected to haul Ron Dupcak and Dan Breitmeyer at least 1,800 miles from Glover to Staten Island and onward to New Orleans starting on June 6.  Ideally it would run for twice that distance, getting the pair of Glover volunteer firefighters back home as well.

“I’m making sure I bring enough money for a plane ticket,” Mr. Breitmeyer admitted.

“We want the whole thing to come back, but at the very least we need to save the light bar and the stereo,” Mr. Dupcak added.

The men are participating in the Baberally rally car event.  The name notwithstanding, the rally has nothing to do with bikini carwashes.

“That’s been one of the hardest things to deal with,” Mr. Dupcak said.  “You tell people to check out the Baberally website and they’re like ‘Uh, no thanks.'”

Baberally is actually an acronym for Big Apple to Big Easy Rally.  It’s organized by Street Safari, an organization that operates road rallies in Europe.  This rally is not the usual get there as quick as you can race.  Rather it is a five-day photo scavenger hunt that carries the rally car teams across the country the short way.  Making it to the end is more important than making it there first.

Simply finishing a race doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, no matter how many photos you take along the way.  Consider then that Furious Anger is one of the nicer looking cars in the race.  A condition of the race is that the cars must be 1996 or older, must be safe to operate and cannot have cost more than $500.

“I bought the car last August thinking I would just drive it around on my land,” Mr. Dupcak said.  “Then a friend of mine who was looking for a specific make and model of car saw baberally.com spray painted on the side of a car posted on e-Bay.  He decided to check out the website and then contacted me.”

What followed was a short conversation that led Mr. Dupcak to contact Mr. Breitmeyer.

“As soon as he said ‘car trip’ I said ‘shotgun,'” Mr. Breitmeyer recalls.  “I didn’t even really know what he was talking about.  I didn’t want this but….”

It seems that the phrase “I didn’t want this but…” frequently when Mr. Dupcak and Mr. Breitmeyer join forces.  The circumstances are often bizarre and difficult to explain, even though the outcomes are amusing, bordering on tragic.  Driving a $500 car to New Orleans and back is par for the course, Mr. Breitmeyer explained.

What makes this trip a little different from their norm is the fact that the men will be raising awareness of the service provided by firefighters and raising money for the Glover Volunteer Fire Department.  How that money is raised is entirely determined by whomever makes the pledge, Mr. Dupcak said.

“We’re open to pretty much anything,” he said.  “People can pledge by the number of miles we actually drive, by the number of stages we manage to complete, or whether or not we actually finish.  If people pledge money to have us drive with the heat on for three hours in Alabama, we’d be open to that too.”

In the event that Furious Anger does win a prize, her prize money will be donated back to the Glover Fire Department, Mr. Dupcak said.  The top prize for the race is $1,500, with a second prize of $350 and a third prize of $150.  All the funds raised through pledges will also go to the fire department, Mr. Dupcak said.  Though the men expect to incur expenses along the way for food and lodging as well as gas, they will bear those costs on their own.

“I think we have a good shot of winning,” Mr. Dupcak said.  “This car actually needed very little work to pass inspection.  Some work on the brakes and the E-brake and some bodywork and it’s good to go.”

Interestingly enough, inserting the stereo system appears to be the only concession to creature comfort in the car.  The stereo is of suitable vintage, though not factory equipment, Mr. Dupcak said.  Opening up the hatchback, he revealed that the speaker system takes up the entirety of the admittedly tiny cargo space.

“It’s loud and it’s probably excessive,” he said.  “But you need to have tunes.  When it’s going, the car doesn’t lose power, really, but the dashboard lights dim a little.”

Driving south in the heat of early summer is a complication the men have given some thought.  Though the 1992 Festiva comes factory equipped with air conditioning, Furious Anger’s AC is inoperable.

“We thought about fixing it, but decided it was probably against the spirit of the race,” Mr. Dupcak said.  “So our only rule is we must take showers.  I can just imagine crawling back in there every morning with the seats still soaked with sweat from the day before….”

“I might put something together to make a wind scoop to get air into the car,” Mr. Breitmeyer said.  “But it would probably slow us down.”

Given the length of the drive and the age of the car, roadside mechanic’s skills are expected to come in handy.  The car appears sound, Mr. Dupcak said.  If anything goes, it would be features such as the starter or alternator, he said.

“If we have duct tape, we’ll be fine,” Mr. Breitmeyer assured him.

Mr. Dupcak is the fountain of bubbling energy to Mr. Breitmeyer’s stony calm.  Their complementary demeanors will probably serve them well during the five days of the race, and likely five or six days back.

“I’m really glad to have Dan along for this,” Mr. Dupcak said.  “I wouldn’t want to do this with another me.”

Mr. Breitmeyer said that he would try to keep the folks back home updated about their progress south.  As the event is broken up into five stages, the men expect to have a nightly opportunity to post updates or pictures to Furious Anger’s Facebook profile, assuming they can find a wi-fi connection.

One thing the men do want to do is try to visit the local fire station in the town hosting the daily checkpoint.  Not only will it be their way to raise awareness of fire departments around the country, it will also be their chance to meet and bond with fellow firefighters.

“We might swap hats or T-shirts, and we’ll definitely try to get pictures for a scrapbook back here at the department,” Mr. Dupcak said.  “This rally is going to be a lot of fun and silliness for Dan and I, but we are also representing this department and firefighters everywhere, so we might need to tone own the hijinks.”

The hijinks might be toned down, but the image will remain of two tall men folding themselves like origami cranes into their tiny car.  Low to the ground and in close quarters, the men do not appear uncomfortable in spite of appearances.

“Yeah, it looks like a clown car and we probably would have a hard time picking up a fellow racer if they need a lift,” Mr. Dupcak conceded.  “But silliness is part of the attraction of the race to us and the people we’ve talked to.  I just hope people check out the website and decide to support the department however they want to.”

Donations or pledges to the Glover Volunteer Fire Department on behalf of Baberally can be made by contacting Mr. Dupcak or Mr. Breitmeyer via their Facebook page, by contacting the fire department directly, or via the Glover Town Clerk’s office.  For more information on the rally itself, check out http://www.baberally.com

Captions:

Furious Anger crew

Furious Anger is the 1992 Ford Festiva that Ron Dupcak (foreground) and Dan Breitmeyer plan to drive from New York City to New Orleans from June 6 to June 10.  The men will compete in the Big Apple to Big Easy Baberally while raising money for the Glover Volunteer Fire Department.  Lacking in creature comforts such as a working air conditioner and even head room, Furious Anger comes equipped with a kickass stereo system that will help fuel the men to the Deep South and, hopefully, back again.  Photos by Richard Creaser

Furious Anger pullstart

Dan Breitmeyer (left) gives a tug on Furious Anger’s pull start as fellow pilot Ron Dupcak looks on.  The pull start, like the light bar on top, are purely decorative.  The two men plan to drive the car from the Big Apple to the Big Easy — from New York to New Orleans — in the Baberally to raise money for the Glover Volunteer Fire Department.  Photo by Richard Creaser

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