Turkeys, Lilys, No Moose, No Ace

June 25, 2012

Today we raced through beautiful, northern rocky woods, down roads alternately paved and unpaved, rain-damp and sun-baked.  This country looks like the world’s biggest model train set!  Of course, it’s hard to take good pictures when you’re driving and holding precise speeds, so I haven’t much to share in that way, but here’s one of the Boys, at lunch in Parry Sound on Georgian Bay – it gives a wee, little flavor of the place.  Lunch was excellent, by the way – especially the raspberry-coconut tarts.  I’m probably not losing weight on this year’s race.

Youth & Skill (Ethan & Nick) Lunch with Another X-Cup Racer, Parry Sound

There are white water lilies all around here, blooming on every pond and puddle.  As we fly by it looks like they’ve all been sprinkled with giant marshmallows.  Our only wildlife sighting (not counting the other Great Racers or the ever-present lucky buzzards that seem to circle over us wherever we go) was a family of turkeys – Mom and half a dozen little turklets in tow.  As with Canada geese near home, these cross the roads in line, at their own pace, and fully expect all cars to stop and wait.  Apparently they did not get the memo about the Great Race coming through and all that keep-on-time, running on the clock stuff!  Fortunately, they past our path before we did – so no loss for either species in this meeting.  No pix that time, either.

The Imperial continues to hold up well, despite the rough roads (think: blind left sweeper in loose gravel at 40 mph).  We had some real ups and down and some long steady runs, too.  The weather was cool and cloudy but clearing, so the top went back down late, at the first de-watering stop – instead of first thing in the morning.  The missing at idle continues to worsen.  I can tell from the exhaust stumbles that at least one right side cylinder isn’t firing well.  I really need a nice 40,000 volt Pertronix coil for this car!  For now, I just have to pull and clean (or maybe change) the plugs on that side.  It’s late tonight (and the engine’s still hot despite the cool air), so that will have to wait for morning.

Today’s course offered even more variety and challenge.  Rallymaster John Classen gave us a fair workout today, including one section where we looped back over the same path, entangling cars that were not going the same way or in sequence, on the same roads.  They call that a Maze, and it can be as confusing as the Minotaur’s Labyrinth!  The course IS beginning to take its toll on the weaker cars, though.  We had several DNF’s (did not finish) today, as little parts but necessary failed or fell off some of the rides.

One really interesting stop was at the Big Chute Marine Railway, said to be the only such system in North America.  There, they lift boats across the levels between a big impoundment for hydro power and the lower water downstream – about 18 meters (nearly 50 feet).  Here’s an image of a boat coming up the rails on this special cable car that does the job!  Astonishing.

Big Chute Marine Railway: Like a 1970’s Playtex Bra – It Lifts & Separates (boats).

We were right on our game today.  As we came in, we were sure we had completed the day without a single unforced error, just minor accuracy variance – was another Ace waiting for us?  No.  The first four legs were good, just a few seconds early (we recalibrated the speedo this morning, did we cause that)?  Then the last leg, we were 18 seconds off!  Bummer.  We lost to the Fredettes AGAIN (now 3 days to 1), but we remained above them in overall standings.  We slipped from 16 to 20th place and from 4th to 5th in Sportsman.  We don’t know what went wrong there.  That makes it hard to fix.

Dinner and Evening Show was in Barrie, Ontario – a pretty city with a big waterfront park.  We filled it with cars and it was good to see some familiar local faces.  Then the downpour came.  We got the top up, and it was over in minutes, but it quite literally put a damper on the show.

A quick note I forgot to mention yesterday.  At one break, we were gathered in our cars as we do, just past a moderately busy intersection.  One by one, the cars pulled off the shoulder, then sped away at their appointed moment, from a roadside sign that served as our designated starting line.  As our turn came, we too crept out into the traffic lane (one can’t start accurately from the gravelly shoulder) to wait our time.  Just then a non-participating car approached from behind.  I signaled with my hand out the window, for them to wait a few seconds until we launched.  As I turned to look forward again, I saw that a local gendarme had pulled up alongside me, coming down the road from the other direction. “What’s the hold-up, then?” he asked, just as Dave’s launch countdown reached zero.  As I mashed the go pedal, I called out ‘Timed Event, Officer!  See Ya!”  Fortunately, he was of good nature and did not chase us, or arrest our friends in the next car (Pat ‘n’ Pat) whom I may have silently, psychically suggested to the cop that they were the ones in charge!

After two fun but frustrating days, where we did well, but didn’t score as well as we  thought, ye olde Corey family all-purpose motto once again applies: Get Up Tomorrow and Kick It Again!

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