So Bad, It Isn’t Even Wrong!*

June 28, 2012

* The famed physicist Niels Bohr said that about some student’s work – but it applies well  to our performance and some other events today.

Beautiful weather, bucolic scenery, and a very challenging course today.  Not many on-the-road pictures today.  It was a real two-handed kind of run full of twists and turns, starts and stops, hidden corners and missing signs.  Neither of us ever got sleepy, FER SHER!

Free Sample View! You non-Great Racers don’t often get to see America down the back roads like this! C’mon out NEXT year!

Still, nothing seemed to work out right.  LOTS of stops and starts, so lots of corrections – but we must be doing that wrong – we had over 2 MINUTES total error today, and each of the five legs were early, by 10-30 seconds!  Sheesh!  Maybe we should have just taken in the view instead of trying so hard – we’d likely have done better by pure chance.  We’ll go before tomorrow’s run and try some check times on our start-ups and stops – maybe the fading brakes are messing with those?  Or maybe our fading brains are doing it.  Who knows?  It IS all in fun (we keep reminding ourselves…)

We had a great lunch stop in Fairport, NY  (home to last year’s champs, Howard & Doug Sharp).  What a beautiful town, and they turned it all out for us!  The best locals car show yet, including exotics from an Isetta to a Fisker.  We had lunch on a seaworthy canal boat that had come from California via the Panama Canal, with the Fairport Fire Department Band playing on the roof above, while we floated on the Erie Canal!

How cool is THAT?!

Beautiful Fairport, NY – All Decked Out: from our Canal Boat Lunch!

Our Great Race family almost suffered a great tragedy today.  The Hedkes, riding as ever with their dear daughter Allie in the rumble seat, were rear-ended by a fast-moving driver that knocked their car right over.  No serious injuries, except to the cars though, so we’ll still be seeing them with us, just in the sweep truck.  And they won yesterday’s run outright.  What a sad reversal.

Sometimes, people just aren’t paying attention, or they’re paying too much attention and lose their focus on the primary task of driving their own cars.  For instance, our car is a wee bit wide, so it sort of fills the lane.  Often during timing runs on the four-lanes; people passing turn to gawk a bit and just kind of drift toward us as they pass.  Almost every day, I make some defensive moves from too-close-for-comfort approaches.

We were much more fortunate than the Hedkes today, but at one afternoon start, we pulled into traffic behind a very big, black pickup and ahead of a lady in a station wagon.  Then the truck pulled a sudden right turn (executed BEFORE signalling!) – right in front of us – that forced us to swerve and hit the brakes hard to keep metal from metal in front of us.  The lady behind had to do the same, but it must have made her less than happy with US, because she stomped it and passed ASAP with a friendly wave as she went by.  Poor woman, she seems to have lost three of four fingers on that hand she waved.  Whoops.  Sorry, Ma’am – have a nice day.  Of course, we had traded score for safety on that one – there was no way to tell how much our start time was messed up.  Maybe we can claim that for at least part of our awful scores today.

After the runs that count, we made transit to Buffalo and the new Pierce Arrow Transportation Museum downtown.  Great new place with plenty of potential.  To get there meant we had to use the good old NY State Thruway – America’s Best Toll Money Absorber!  I’m almost a native New Yorker (born in Va., but here since the 70′), so I can whine about this:

Nearing the End of a 1-Mile Back-Up to Pay 90 Cents Toll!
Sheesh! C’mon NYS, There’s GOTTA be a Better Way!

I think we burned more than 90 cents worth of gas, just waiting to pay that little toll!  On the other hand, one joy of an attractive open car is that it invites conversation, which we enjoyed with several of our fellow sufferers in the adjacent lanes while creeping along.  Hey!  We’re RACERS here, not commuters – and I ALREADY pay enough taxes in this state!

On a lighter note, I wrote how we are teased about our luxury ride in the Imperial, but just so you don’t think we’re complete outliers (don’t mention today’s score…), consider these three patrician rides that are here along with us – you see, not every other car in this Great Race is a rough-riding open wheeler!

The Other Cheap, Rough Cars In the Great Race:
Stahl/Karr Packard, The ONLY Rolls Royce, & the Croker Packard

We’re just a little wider, that’s all

The Buffalo turn out was terrific.  We enjoyed the crowd a lot this evening (New Yorkers CAN be fun!).  Then back to the hotel, where as I write, Dr. Perfesser Navigator Dave is building a complex spreadsheet to calculate the integrated effects of non-linear braking during transient events (blah, blah, blah….).  Think it will help us?  Hey, I once correctly figured the number (2046) of M&Ms in a big jar by similar methods, winning a Ben&Jerry’s Vermonster HUGE ice-cream sundae – so it COULD work here, too.  Right?

I’ll leave you with a wish (or two) and a riddle.  The wishes: #1 – Drive Safe (there’s fools and dragons out there).  Wish #2 – see image below.  Riddle:  Extra Points to anyone under 50 who knows what used to be on this building, to the left of the motto you can still read!

I thought these were long gone!
There’s still bits of bygone America on the Great Race’s Back Roads

15 comments about “So Bad, It Isn’t Even Wrong!*”

    • Right! You win our prize – an ope invitation to come along Next year on the Great Race!*

      *fees and the usual requirements still apply and anyway, I have no authority at all.

      thanks, jc

    • Even MORE right than Rob Bennett – You got the WHOLE jingle/motto. But I’m out of prizes I didn’t have to give away. You really MUST join us next year!

  • Glad to hear the Hedkes are okay – driving a vehicle takes a lot of attention. I’m just glad no one was seriouslly hurt!

  • Great seeing you in Watertown. Best of luck. Just love that great big convertible. Also, those were ESSO stations. Be safe.

  • Thank you all for stopping in our little town. A delightful group of folks you ralliers are and we would welcome you again. May i suggest taveling the Fingers lakes when you can, the driving can be exquisite for the sights, smells. elevation changes and the curves! best wishes to all especially the Hedkes

  • I saw several of the racers driving by my post office in Reno PA today…about 4 miles from Franklin. It took several attempts before I was able to read some of the stickers for “Great Race” and I was able to Google to find out what this was all about!! Looks like a super time….good luck on the last few legs of your race!!!

    • Nope – sorry. Two postings had the right answer -Esso! (itself a made-up word from the initials S. O. for Standard Oil, the company behind Esso – and now Exxon (how they came up with THAT made-up word is a whole other story).

  • Sitting on the front porch with whole family watching all the cars go by. I also noticed the sign on all the cars and Googled it. Really awesome that they all passed my house. Looks fun. Wish I was in it.

  • It was great seeing all the racers & talking “Imperial” w/ you John. Enjoyed the blog, next best thing to being there. The card w/ the big white ’61 is stuck proudly on my beer fridge!

    • Thanks – fun talking with you too, Tom! Not too many Imperial Club members along the route this year – fun to introduce the big beast to some new folks! jc

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