Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day Six of the Great Race: When The Going Gets Tough...

While driving through rural upstate New York, battered and beaten from the awful roads and sore from trying to manage driving a 45 year old muscle car with power nothing at 10 miles an hour, I suddenly thought of the video above.

Before I forget, Dad wanted me to post something that he thought that y'all (the southern accents that so many people have on the rally are infectious) might find amusing.  As we were about to leave Chambersburg yesterday, Dad started to freak out because he couldn't find our directions.  He looked frantically around the car and could not figure out what happened to them.  "Someone must have taken them as a souvenir!!!" he screamed as he got out of the car, ready to search the crowd for our missing directions.  As he emerged from the car, I noticed that the directions were still sitting on the seat, right where he left them.  I told him what he had done and he climbed back into the car.  This story gets funnier every time I think of it.  My navigator lost our directions, the one thing that is most important to us in the rally.  Not only did he lose them, but he lost them under his own rear end.  I, for one, am truly amazed that we made it this far along and haven't ended up somewhere in Mexico.  Kudos to you Fred, for keeping us on track when the Great Race throws us the most complicated directions they can possibly create.  And kudos to myself, for getting us back on track when you:

-Miss the first turn of the rally instructions for the day, resulting in us chasing another lost car and then having to pass 22 additional rally cars in order to get back into position.
-Miss the first several signs on our speedometer calibration run, resulting in a totally scrapped calibration run, and then miss the sign to get off the highway because you are looking for the first several signs.
-Tell me that we will be accelerating to 10 miles per hour for 36 minutes when you actually mean 36 seconds.
-Miss hitting the stopwatch by five or ten seconds on a timed portion because you are too busy looking at tractors on the side of the road to look for our next instruction.
-Try to unlock the door to hotel room 324 when our room is 325.
-Can't find the elevator to get to our hotel room in the first place.
-Refer to stop lights as stop signs, and vise versa.
-Say that our next direction will be to turn left, when our turn is actually to the right, and vise versa. 

In all honesty, you've done a good job seeing that this is our first rally, Dad.  Navigating is much harder than driving and I would be lost, confused, misguided, and awfully late if you weren't on track when I was confused.
Today was by far the hardest and most tiring day of the Great Race.  The first leg of the championship run really beat us up.  We had to stop for three minutes and wait for a train to finish crossing our road at the second direction into the first leg of the morning.  Even though we filed a time delay form, that set the tone for the day and it just dragged on and on.  The cars around us got out of order after the train incident but we started to pull things together after the second checkpoint and ended up with a score of 11 seconds late for that leg. 
Lunch today was in Cooperstown, NY, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  We got some extra time to walk around Coopersburg and look at the museum.  Even though I don't follow baseball, I was really impressed with the museum.  It was very up to date and also had some interesting stuff from the early days of baseball. 

The afternoon portion of the rally went ok.  Our times decreased a little bit, but the roads did not get much better at all.  We did have a maze in the afternoon, which I think Dad and I handled rather well.  We made a point not to get messed up by other cars and to stick to our gut instinct.  Sadly, we couldn't drop any of the times from today, but I think our worst times came from the previous five days anyways.

The real treat of the day came in the form of our dinner stop at the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY.  There was an incredible Mercedes 300SL Gullwing parked on the lawn the lawn when I got in.  It was truely a work of art.  Inside the museum, they had an amazing display of old and new Italian cars with some old racing Ferraris (the centerpiece of which was a 1953 Ferrari 166MM Spider Scagletti, a quick google search returned that this car didn't sell back in 2009 at RM Auctions for $1,100,000.  The estimate was $1.4-1.8 million so I guess the seller figured he'd keep it).  The newest car was a 2010 Alfa Romeo 8C Spider, and there was an 1934 8C 2300 right next to it to boot.

Tomorrow will be the final day of the race.  It's hard to believe that it's already here, it seems like it's gone so fast.  I'll give it my all tomorrow as a driver and hope that somehow, we bump up a few positions from 43rd.

We passed this Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing on the way into the museum.  Truly an amazing piece of machinery and art.

A 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300.  Apparently the current owner drives it on European rallies.

The main display room in the museum.  The 1953 Ferrari 166MM Scagletti Spider I mentioned above is in the foreground.

The Corvette parked on the lawn at the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

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