Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Four of the Great Race: It's Lonely at the Front

For most of today, we were back in Pennsylvania.  Even though today was our worst day point wise, we were much better off than most.  It seemed like cars were dropping like flies.  In the end, we were just happy that we finished.

We started off the day in Cumberland, Maryland.  It was the first time the whole rally that I could honestly say I had butterflies in my stomach.  We led off, and for us rookies, that was particularly daunting.  For the first time, we didn't have anyone in front of us to help us keep on track with time.  For the whole rally, we had been running late at almost every checkpoint, and my goal for today was to drive a little faster here and there to hopefully compensate for my natural tendency to be late.  However, we did have someone behind us, Steven and Edward Tourje in a 1946 Ford Coupe.  They were 11th overall as of last night, so we knew if we could see them in our rear view mirror, we were running late.

I thought the morning went well.  Our first stage didn't feel that good, but I felt like I did reasonably well on our second and third leg.  At our various rest stops, we talked to the people driving behind us and we all felt comfortable about our position.  It was a little strange knowing that I was at the front of the pack.  However, we got our directions correct (most of the time) and ended up in the right place for lunch and dinner.  At lunch, we noticed that the Tourjes were nowhere to be found.  When the #3 car for the day, Mary and Michael Bitterman in a 1966 Dodge Charger showed up, I really started to wonder what was up.  Apparently they broke down on the last leg and the problem was bad enough that they had to call it quits for the whole rally.

That would leave us in a stressful position for the afternoon.  No one in front of us and the closest car would be at least 2 minutes behind us.  However, we tried our best to do things on our own and I felt somewhat confident going into the afternoon portion of the rally.

Dinner tonight was in Hershey, PA.  We got to see Joan and introduce her to some of the friends we've made on the rally.  I think she enjoyed getting a taste of what we've been doing for the past few days and she wants to do one in the future.  My girlfriend and college roommate also surprised me by showing up so it was cool to see them as well.

Here are some pictures from the day.  I've only got two for now.  Mom took some pictures at dinner so I'll upload those sometime tomorrow if I can.
All lined up for the start of the rally in Maryland this morning.

The cars at our lunch stop in Chambersburg, PA.

We'll leave Hershey tomorrow morning and head to Binghampton, NY.  Tomorrow will also be the last day of the regular rally.  After tomorrow, we will drop our 5 worst legs and then we'll have to take everything we get for the championship run.  Hopefully we'll have figured things out by that point and we'll get some ground back on the competition.  But, as always, I'll just be happy to finish in one piece.

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