Brake Dancing (and a Word About the Finns)

June 25, 2014

A hot, flat world. That’s what we saw today as we rolled down from Valley Forge, PA and the length of the Delmarva Peninsula. Lots of speed changes but not too hard to stay on course (the Prime Directive in this game). Still, we erred in the stop-starts and ran consistently early. Our 2006 mentors, the Fredettes, pointed out an error in how we handle those and maybe that’s why we ran a full minute total today – all early, even though we adjusted our Timewise to slow us a bit. Grrr.

We ran over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel – a 17 mile span connecting the peninsula to mainland Virginia. Virginia is the 8th state this race has crossed so far (ME, VT, NH, MA, NY, PA, DE, VA). Quite a piece of work. I’d never run a close tunnel against trucks before – in a wide, top-down convertible. What a Noise! We also met family at our evening stop in Portsmouth, VA.  Brother-in-Law Rob Sallada and his daughter, my niece Leah came down to check out the show.  As I’ve lived mostly on the East Coast, we have met local friends and family at every stop. Life doesn’t get much better.


We broke VERY little today – a minor contact problem knocked out our left turn/brake light in the back – an easy fix. On the other hand, our old bugaboo was back: the grabby, draggy left front brake. When this goes bad, the engagement becomes random in both pedal and direction of car motion. You never know just what you’ll get when you press for binders! We call it ‘Brake Dancing’ It sure produces a lot of dust: we can hardly see the whitewalls. The pedal is low, now too, from the extra wear. I’d like to adjust it, but fear more grabbing and without a way to get the wheels off the ground to balance the adjustemnts, it might also develop a worse pull. We’ll ride with the low pedal tomorrow. And run without a spare – we can’t get a new wheel in time.  We’re running on the edge – one flat or another spoke failure and we’re out!  I’ve put out the call to our Imperial Club – maybe we’ll get a loaner from a local Imperialist.

Now, a quick word about the Finns, as promised. There’s a team here called the Wandering Troubadors of Finland (aka WTF – say no more!). They are running a very cool speedster on a 33 Auburn frame, but with a Buick 8 engine – with four carbs, AND two head fairings! Hmm, sounds a LOT like the one I expected to be driving here, too. Great minds think alike? You be the judge:


Hey, Have you ever noticed that Finnish (language and names) have excess vowels? And that left Eastern Europe with excess consonants! I think it’s a clear case of a Vowel Movement (to Finland) and Consonantal Drift (to Poland and Slovakia). Silly joke- it must be very late.  Anyway – nice Speedster, WTF.  Very nice.

Tomorrow we push on to North Carolina.  I suppose we’ll have to pass through the Great Dismal Swamp! That will add humidity to the heat!  Bring it on.   jc

5 comments about “Brake Dancing (and a Word About the Finns)”

  • John, I’ve driven the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel myself. It is quite an experience as you discovered. I did it in an enclosed car with the a/c on. You did it way cooler! Good luck the rest of the way and keep that Imp going!

  • It was a pleasure to meet all of you on Tuesday in Portsmouth, VA
    We the Elks had the privilege to help with the parking of the Cars. We really enjoyed doing so.

    Thank you for stopping in our great State

    Beverly Hamby
    Virginia Elks State President

  • I met with 5 drivers and their cars while they were on their way from Clinton to Wilmington on Thursday. There is no doubt their cars were in the Great Race with all the decorations on their cars. My friends and I began the classic car club “Port City Mopars” in the early 90’s in Wilmington and really adore all the cars in the Great Race. Thanks for stopping in our town of Wallace NC.

  • We love old cars and planned months in advance to experience
    your arrival in Jacksonville. We drove our 39 Chevy coupe (no air)
    forty plus miles from south of Green Cove Springs. I complained to
    the driver (my husband) the entire trip about the heat. I tried to
    Navigate him to stay in the right hand lane, as it seemed to be a
    couple of degrees cooler. The car was running hot and so was I.
    When we turned on Main Street the car sputtered and rolled to a stop.
    To say the least it was very impressive to see the cars roll through town
    With windows down and navigators still smiling after eight days of heat.

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