Wilmington, NC to Mount Pleasant, SC: a day of transits and the LOOOOONGEST zero instruction leg ever (43 minutes at 40 mph with no turns, speed changes, or timing). Fortunately it wasn’t as hot or humid as yesterday, or we’d all have gone raving mad.
We had an interesting evening venue on the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown – this is the first venue attraction on this route (I kinda miss the museum stops and such we have visited on other Great Races). The driving with friends and old cars is the core of the fun, of course, but it ain’t everything, especially for non-expert muddlers like us.
Anyway, our team (Old Age & Treachery) is driving the famous NO XQS, our big Imperial – that’s its license plate. It means No Excuse; and our motto is now encapsulated in the sign we found and have placed on our dash:
So, let’s look at the positive side. We didn’t make any significant errors so we had a respectable score today (about 20 seconds total, but no aces for us or the boys of #63). We had time to ponder the traces of a long-past ground fire in the woods along that 40-mile Avenue of Infinite Pines, and to wonder who ever built or used the single human structure midway along it: a little wooden, abandoned church – at least 15 miles from anything else at all! And not least, who the heck built this long, long empty road and why? And why did we have this long timed leg here? And why didn’t we get a perfect score, just driving along at one speed? Ah, well -mysteries all.
(here’s a tiny sample of the bazillion trees, scarred with fire that blew in from the northwest: see the one-sided burns).
The USS Yorktown is awesome. My father-in-law, Bill Sallada, served as XO of the USS Enterprise, so I’ve been privileged to visit that ship (now retired in NYC). This one seemed familiar and carried some planes that he would have flown. The men who served on these ships accomplished truly great deeds! How they did it and rose to the great challenges they met is yet another mystery to me. Wow.
Dave noted that we have yet to put our faces in this blog to prove we were here, so I’ll slip those in now:
That’s Dave Ullman, Navigator Extraordinary, on the left. That’s me on the right; and Tom Nawojczyk in between. Tom is a fine fellow; a novice Great Racer with a Primrose Yellow Jaguar sedan, having a very good time over from the UK with his navigator Wally Leach. This is a great crowd this year and other lands are very well represented amongst the usual suspects. I’ve asked that Great Race offer an opt-in to share contact info, when we register, so we can keep in touch through the year. IF you read this and agree, please let Jeff Stumb or Corky know we ought to do that.
We had a fine meal on board to close the day. Well, almost. As we left the Yorktown, the clouds dumped about 6 gallons per square foot of ground on us. The boys in the Hudson found their vacuum powered wipers were not up to the task and without functional defoggers, they were effectively blind. Dave and I had already reached the hotel when we were called back to lead them slowly through the storm (actually we went back but then waited out the worst of the water dump there at Patriots Point by the Yorktown, before moving with them to the hotel, fortunately nearby.
At this stage of the game, tempers are shorter, every little problem seems a bigger challenge and the risk of error rises. My left arm is almost as tan as Jim Menneto. The boys (Team 63) are really feeling the limits of their strength, their vehicle, and the size of the task, pushing an old car to these limits. I even barked at Dave this eve (it’s usually the other way around).
But we have NO XQS. And we stand for No Whining. Of course, we can’t be in the money, having missed Day 1 with the broken Buick. Jeff & Eric Fredette are the leaders, close by with two-time winners the Jasons. Awesome performances! We will P.O.R. (press on regardless)!
One last item today: if you’re with us, you may have noticed me getting down low in front of the cars to take pix of their ‘faces.’ Once I get all I can, I’ll combine them into a poster, as I did in 2011 (below). IF you’re interested in this year’s version – just let me know! jc