Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two Days Until the Great Race: It Could Be Worse, Plan B, and Salvation

Well, were stuck in Nashville for one more night.  We got a call around 1:45 Nashville time from the dealer.  I handed the phone off to my Dad and started to shut down my computer so we could get out the door and to the dealer as fast as possible.  However, the phone conversation didn't go exactly as I thought it would.  From our end, I was expecting to hear: "Yup...We'll be over right away...Thanks a lot".

However, that wasn't what I heard.  There were a lot of "OKs" and I didn't hear anything similar to the above.  Dad hung up the phone and looked at me and said "Well, it'll be ready Tuesday or Wednesday".  In order to change the bearings on the wheel, the mechanics needed to remove the spline (I think that's the name for the part, the thing that goes into the rear axle and attaches to the brake rotor, the name escapes my mind at the moment).  However, the spline had somehow fused itself (probably due to how hot it's been in Nashville over the past few days, and the heat that the unit has been creating due to it's extended use).  In order to get the spline off, they would need to cut it off and it would take another few days to get a replacement.  

I was dumbfounded and speechless.  It would have been comparable to being a 6 or 7 year old and watching Christmas presents vanish from under the tree on the 23rd of December.  I had been looking forward to the Great Race since January and now it wasn't going to be a part of it. I replied with several four-letter words but I was then thankful for our situation.  We could have simply ignored the sound yesterday and kept driving.  Who knows what could have happened?  The car and us could have been in much worse shape.  We were truly in the best situation of a worst case scenario.

Dad and I then started to discuss viable options pertaining to how we should continue:

A. We pick up a desirable rental car (something like a Corvette, Camaro, or Mustang) and run the rally in that, with the approval of the Great Race.  After several phone calls to various rental companies, nothing desirable seems to be available in the greater Nashville area.  Besides, new cars have no soul.

B. We pick up a less desirable rental car and just drive along from city to city with the rally.  We'd enjoy everything the rally has to offer but the competition itself.  Although it would be astronomically expensive, this is still an option.  Even though we'd still be along for the ride, we'd be watching the rally longingly from the sidelines.

C.  We wait for the Corvette to be finished Tuesday or Wednesday, head north as quickly and safely as possible to meet up with the rally.  By the time we'd leave the rally would be in Pennsylvania or New York and slowly making their way north.  We probably would not meet up with them until the second to last or final day of the rally, which would not be worth all that driving.  

D.  We'd rent a car and drive from Nashville to Chattanooga to do the first formal dinner tomorrow, go to the auction, and maybe the see the cars leave on Saturday morning.  Then, we'd hop on the first available flight for Allentown from Chattanooga, pick up the MG B and do half the rally.  We'd meet up with everyone in Hershey, PA (roughly two hours from our house) on Tuesday night.  Even though we'd miss the first half of the rally, we'd rather be there for half of it rather than miss the whole thing.

E.  Pick up the car from Walker Chevrolet and take it down to Chattanooga.  Wes Kliner and Jeff Stumb of the Great Race/Coker Tire fame called up to lend us a trailer, a mechanic, and their expertise to get us to run the rally from the start.

or the least desirable option:

F: Quit now and go home.  No.  We've looked forward to this too much and we're not gonna bail out now.

So, we decided to go with option E.  Tommy Hudson from the Great Race will pick us up at Walker Chevrolet at 7am tomorrow to put the Corvette on a trailer and take it down to Chattanooga so the guys over at Coker Tire can get to work on it right away.  They're confident that they can get the car fixed by 10am tomorrow morning for the start of the rally and I'm confident that they get it fixed too.  If we can't get it fixed in time, we'll physically push the car over the starting line so that we officially started the race.  If we can't get it fixed after that, we'll move to option D and meet up with everyone in Hershey on Tuesday night with the MG B and hope that our British car doesn't live up to its stereotype of unreliability and break down on us somewhere in between Hershey and Bennington.  It should do just fine seeing that we picked it up from an engine overhaul just a few days before we left home.

Personally, I can't thank these guys enough.  They literally came through to save the day.  If the dealer was open, they were planning on driving up tonight to pick us and the car up and bring us down to Chattanooga so they could start working on the car bright and early tomorrow morning.  Judging that we haven't even met these guys, it really speaks volumes about the content of their character and I'm truly thrilled to be participating in the Great Race with men and women like this.  Tomorrow should be an interesting and exciting day to say the least!

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