Two Aces! Up!
2-minute score today! Down!
Gained in the overall Ranking, to 50th place! Up!
So much wind my ears still ring from the buffeting. Down.
If I moved from old donut to stale french-fry yesterday, today’s heat had the added features of high humidity and high winds. Now my old bod feels more like dropped candy, crushed in a wet minivan carpet.
But it was lovely. I was thrilled to see hundreds of megawatt wind turbines across the fields as we drove, cranking out the juice pollution-free. They were driven by a steady cross wind of 20 mph or so, directed mostly into my right ear. The choice was that with window down, or parboiling in a closed cabin. It was difficult to be heard, as the wind whipping across us garbled all our words, even the few that made sense in the first place. I guess the week on the road is really wearing on us. And on the cars, too. Sven the Skveelar Volvo managed the whole day without incident, unless you count the boil-over and coolant dump once we parked at the end in Cedar Rapids, but that was more in protest than surrender, I think. Other cars did suffer breakdowns and there were a few DNFs (did not finish). I think we’re down to about 85-90 cars, of the 120 that started in San Rafael.
Wind Working Amidst the Corn
Today and tomorrow are “Championship Run” days – no more dropping worst legs. For those in the running for prize money (ahem, that would NOT include Team 38), this is where it gets serious. One leg was partly dropped today. There were unexpected construction delays, and rather than repeat the tangle that happened two days ago, the rally stopped all cars at instruction 38 and had us do an untimed transit to instruction 42, well past the construction. All times before that were dropped and we restarted in original order. Pete LaMountain really lucked out. He was running two positions ahead of us, but had missed a turn and was blasting back trying to make up a severe error when it was suddenly erased! Such is the flip of the rally coin. Pete got heads this toss!
Pete and Bill try to explain their luck, waiting for the re-start.
Sven enjoyed his first powerslide today. We started off well enough, but on the fourth leg missed a turn and did some fast slam shifting to try to correct. We got trapped by civilian traffic, though and needed to keep track of three nested times! Having only two hands and half a brain, Yr Fthfl Navigator/Scribe failed at that and we had a 38 second leg. Ouch!
From South Dakota, through Minnesota, into Iowa today (if it’s dinner time, it must be Iowa), and back to Central Time! Late lunch in Mason City – with delicious, wonderfully cold ice cream (I confess, I had two, strawberry – thanks).
For the legs 6 & 7 (Eight legs today!), we tried a different calculation for stop times where speed changes have to be figured against the ideal instant ones assumed in our instructions. Always til now, we’ve used the mid-speed estimates, marking our time down in braking and up in acceleration halfway, which is the same as the ideal time, if those speed changes are linear. Alas, Sven is a bit short-winded at speed, and sometimes (say, uphill or against the wind) 50 mph comes a LOOONG time after 40, so the halfway estimate is pretty far off, unlike in other cars we’ve used with more power. However, we figured if we mark the start of braking and end of acceleration, and know the hold time at zero between, however long those steps take, then the equivalent instant stop is the whole time plus the hold time, divided by two. Not perfect, but closer with non-linear performance.
We tried this, but without tables to estimate the expected accel and decel times, the hold times were just guesses and the correction calculations were too complicated to do quickly without practice, especially in the heat. We racked up a couple of 24 second legs. Yecch. We went back to the old method for now and earned our second ace of the day.
The run through Iowa was different from that through Wyoming. Where Wyoming was infinite hay, Iowa is infinite corn. It seemed every bit of land that was not housing, road, or stream was cornfield. As we approached downtown Cedar Rapids, we could see the grain elevators that looked as big as the office towers. Corn is king here.
Corn To the End of the Earth (or the End of Iowa, at Least)
Cedar Rapids Approach
Cedar Rapids gave us a fine reception, and we slipped off to de-grease at the hotels. Tomorrow is the last day of this Great Race. I suppose it’s back to the real world for awhile after that.
Sorry for limited images today I had my hands full with navigating.
Passed on the roadside today
Model A speedster