This year we were lucky enough to team up with The Polar Run Rally and provide full coverage of the event. We were truly excited because the last full rally we were able to cover was the Central Crown back in 2014. Since then the Crown has grown exponentially (possibly thanks to our awesome content), and spans multiple days in multiple locations. The Polar Run Rally, however, is just the right size, and temperate climate zone, for Short Shift to get in on the action.
A couple of weeks ago we published a preview of the 2020 Polar Run Rally and our goal this week is to post a plethora of great content from the event. Join me below as I introduce day one of the Rally!
Day 1 – Feb 7, 2020
The 2020 Polar Run Rally began bright and early at The Daily Grind Espresso Cafe in frigid Stillwater, Minnesota. Teams lined their vehicles up and went inside to warm up with coffee and donuts. At promptly 9:00, Hayley Rask (the boss) held a driver’s meeting explaining the rules of the Rally:
- This is NOT a race. It’s a rally to be completed within the State designated speed limits (winky face).
- Points are earned along the way by completing certain tasks at predetermined checkpoints. We were given some sheets of paper with said checkpoints including directions in case ol’ Google Maps couldn’t find a signal (This came in surprisingly handy).
- Traverse the backroads from Stillwater all the way up to Ashland, Wisconsin.
The most intriguing parts of this Rally were the checkpoints. Instead of reaching a certain location only to be given the next location, the teams had to get out of their cars and do something. Our first stop led us to a tiny antique store where we had to purchase an item to use as a prop in a picture. Our second stop brought us to a unique Cheese Factory Road sign which had been hilariously, and recently, replaced with a brand new, more formal designation. Later on one of us (me) had to take a shot at a bar, acquire some canned goods for charity, find the most expired item in an old convenience store, etc.
But before the last checkpoint, we came across the proverbial promised land for Rally participants. Our phones lost signal just as we entered the back country of Wisconsin. Silent, white flurries of snow danced in front of the windshield. We drove up over a hill, and there it was: An endless, snow-covered, curvy road just waiting to be played in. Steve and I looked at each other and smiled.
At first it seemed too good to be true. We were ripping through unpopulated gravel roads caked with untouched snow in a gosh darn V8 Ford Raptor! Over the next couple hours we kicked up snow, took incredible photos, tried some drifting, got stuck (thanks Steve!), and, most importantly, enjoyed the silent serenity. If heaven looks anything like the backroads of Wisconsin during the winter, then shoot me now.
Our final checkpoint for the day was Copper Falls State Park in Mellen, Wisconsin. It was beautiful under the blanket of snow, but the sun was going down and we didn’t have time to explore. So, we took our picture next to the park sign to prove we were there, and headed off to Ashland for the night.
Everyone convened at the AmericInn in Ashland, WI and filled their parking lot with happy cars and trucks. The day had been wildly successful. Steve immediately began updating pictures, I posted up on our social media pages, and then we headed out for some dinner, drinks, and great conversation at The Alley. Lake Superior was across the street, taunting us until the sun came up.
And, if you can believe it, the following day was even wilder. Come back for Steve’s account of The Polar Run Rally 2020: Day 2, an upcoming video of the whole weekend, and some free desktop and mobile wallpapers!