And We’re OFF!

June 14, 2011


Dave Ullman and I have hit the road for Great Race 2011! After he flew in Tuesday night, he and our super home-base support crew (my son Ethan), got the new wheels and tires mounted and the special digital speedometer into its dash mount (no original parts were damaged in the making of this removable mount!). We’re allowed radial tires this year; so I bought a set of wide whites (yes, they’re 235/75 R15’s – for those following that thread, but they still look a little small-ish). I was going to pull the steel wheels from a parts car, but didn’t have time, so with the OK from the Race Tech Committee, we bought a set of chrome wires and mounted those! It’s a nice look! Different, but nice.

I had to put in half a day Wednesday; but then when I got home there was little left to do as Dave and Ethan Had it pretty much all together. I threw in a few extra hand tools, packed my undies and despite protests from all others present and rumblings from the threatening sky above; hopped in with Dave, top down and we set off at about 5:45, 66306 on the odo. Task #1: get from our place in Melrose, NY to Chattanooga, Tennessee (928 miles) by Thursday night. Our plan is 5 hours tonight, 10 tomorrow.

It’s hot, near 100F, and humid, a perfect environment for summer thunder boomers (that’s the storms not the postWW2 babies). Within minutes of leaving, it’s clear we are chasing a thunderstorm: roads are wet, but it looks like we’ve timed it right, the sky is dry. In downtown Troy, just as I pass my workplace, the big, pre-downpour waterballs start to come – so we pull over and reluctantly put up the top. In retrospect, not a bad idea, as we are running on the interstates to make time and the top offers an illusion of separation from the monster Class 8 road trains. Lots of thumbs up and such. It’s the ones that run beside you to gawk and drift ever closer that as a bit nerve-wracking…. The new tires improve steering stability at the expense of ride quality. Expansion strips sound like gunshots! I think we may need to run lower than the 30 psi we have in there.

Just a TINY Sample of the Millions of Trucks on I-81

We roll at a steady 60-70 mph, down the NY State Thruway, around THE City on I-297, to I-78 into PA. We make only one stop, to refill (12+ MPG!) and refill (omelettes and salad at a handy diner: diners are truly a Great American Invention). We hit a Comfort Inn near Harrisburg, PA by midnight and roll in for the night. No car issues, but a little miss on the left bank at idle. Probably a slightly fouled plug – shoulda changed those!

More tomorrow!

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