Did you ever see those cartoons where a guy is crawling his last across the desert, usually past a cow skull, as the sun bakes down on him? There’s often a mirage of water up ahead, too. Today, we drove about 30 Bazillion miles in two straight lines of the MidWest’s best back roads, at a constant 50.00 miles an hour, under that same cruel sun, and that same mirage stretched out on the pavement ahead of us. OK, we did have beverages on board. Still, this was a Test-The-Driver-Til-He’s-Dead kind of day. Dave just napped in the right seat. Well, not all day. He woke for the few turns and speed changes indicated. John Classen, you are a devious rascal! Our favorite Classen moment was when the next instruction said to watch for a curvy road (that wiggly arrow sign), and we could see the road about 10 miles straight ahead – but then it turned out OUR road veered off over the next rise. Devious and funny. Now that my legs, arms and skull are parboiled (yes, the top was down all day), we expect a little solar rest tomorrow – showers, so the Wimp Rag probably goes up (the cool water might feel nice on burnt skin, but it’s hard on the leather seats).
Our run began with a big send-off from Traverse City. A real great main-street show festival – and we had the prime spot in front of the corner brewpub! One-by one, the cars were introduced in a jam-packed downtown festival! There were well over a thousand people there. Even the Governor was there. Then off we roared – our first real competition day in Great Race 2012 – and the local folks not downtown were all along the route, for miles out of town, waving and cheering – What a great start!
The high point of the day (quite literally – these are rather flat lands) was crossing the Mackinac Straits bridge. That’s a BIG bridge, a bit like the Golden Gate in style and scale, but with rising approaches – so it seems even higher. It was at least 10 degrees cooler up there, too (nice to be ‘on the water’)!
We didn’t make any gross errors, had an 8-second day; and won our third ace! We have new goal – to keep our two-day streak going all week: to win at least one Ace each day. RIIIIGHT! Well, we’ll try anyway. The boys did well, too. Last night we made speed runs with both cars together and cell-phone communication of our speed, so they could calibrate their speedometer to ours. Then they used points cut from yellow electrical tape to make new, more accurate marks on their dial. They managed sub-minute times on all legs today – a major improvement. They’re hooked!
At Evening, we pulled in to Sault Saint Marie and onto the lawn in front of the world-famous locks, as the mighty freighters passed behind us (think Edmund Fitzgerald, but not wrecked). Good food, lots of locals – more fun than you can imagine. And then off to the local tribal casino for a ‘rest.’
Tomorrow, rain showers may keep us under cover, but we’ll try hard for our NEXT ace! We’ve also opened a friendly competition with our mentors from 2006, the Fredettes. They beat our time yesterday, but we got them today – so it’s One to One now…