A Shaky Day and Then: NO SCORE!!!

June 24, 2017

We made no errors today, at least in our rally procedure. I believe it was all due to our mascot Bender the robot (our car’s namesake) taking an active role in the proceedings. We mounted him on the front fender (the Bender fender, of course) and asked him to put his foot down. He did and we clamped it in the hood so he would stay put to guide us.

On the other hand, we had ignored a putt-putt exhaust leak that developed the day before, figuring a little noise was no big deal! Wrong. As it turns out, that little leak got bigger, and the bigger leak sent lots of hot gases into our engine bay on a very hot day, which together raised the temperature of the gas in the carburetor just above its boiling point. Whoops. Caburetors don’t work well with bubbly frothy vaporous fuel. They like nice clean liquid fuel. Ol’ Bender spit and coughed and gagged and would barely hold 45 mph, and he took about half a week to get to that. Made keeping on time a wee bit harder. We didn’t get lost. We didn’t make a single wrong turn. We THINK we made up much of the time we lost due to Bender’s maladies, but its hard to be sure. We figured we would find out when we got to the finish line today in beautiful downtown Tifton, GA (really pretty downtown, where they treated us superbly and fed us marvelously. Thank you, Tifton: you’re now in first place for Best Overnight Stop City). But no, it was not to be. When we pulled up to Rally Master John Classen, who NEVER makes mistakes, he had no score sheet for us, car #39!!!! Unbelieveable, and as I write, we still have no official score for our day’s work. Bender was so distraught after struggling like a dying man across the desert without ever letting us down (totally), and then to be left scoreless (when he was SURE he won some aces today), he turned to drink! The Wandering Troubadours of Finland (aka WTF team) saved the day and presented him with a pack of his own BENDER BEER!

Just right after a long, hot, trying day – scoreless. NOTE: NO ACTUAL BEER WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS PHOTO. Afterwards, we gave Bender a nice toddy of 20W-50 oil, Dale sang some wrenchy lullabyes that tightened up the loose and leaky parts we could find and we went peacefully to rest (thanks to Bill Croker for the magic double-wristed, 13/27 quantum ratchet that fits only the hidden screw on the right exhaust manifold of a 54 Studebaker – it was in his support trailer under the secret formula for Coca-cola, the map to the Lost Ark of the Covenant and some old newspapers announcing the discovery of electric light).

In other news, We had a great send-off, as we all knew we would, from Jacksonville. Dale’s daughter Trisha came up from Sarasota to help see us off, too. Lots of crowd interest. Great fun in the Summer sun (ahem: LOTS of Summer sun).

It was already well past lunch time when we finally got to real rallying, which, coincidentally is precisely when Bender started choking on his meatballs (please refer to first paragraph above). Oh well. A super dinner at a lovely site (City hall, in a renovated classic hotel in Tifton):

Then off to the hotels, with a stop at Tractor Supply and Advance Auto for bits to repair what we thought was a simple exhaust leak, but turned out to be a VERY loose manifold and associated heat issues. Finally to blogging by 10:30 tonight. As ever, Tomorrow Is Another Day! jc

13 comments about “A Shaky Day and Then: NO SCORE!!!”

  • Enjoyed seeing all the beautiful cars in Tifton this evening. I am new to this type of racing. How do time, speed and the check points figure into the results? I hear that its not about having the fastest car. Thank you for any insight you can provide!

    • Every morning. Thirty minutes before we leave, we get a pack of printed instructions, step by step telling us to turn, go a certain speed, change speed at so many seconds after a previous step, or at a visible sign, and so on. The organizer has carefully measured the distances and so figured to the second when we should be at hidden checkpoints along the way (4-6 each day). Our scores are the sum of errors from that perfect time no matter if early or late.

      • Thank you John! That is incredible. How do traffic lights and trains crossing the roads along the way figure into the precision timing?

        • For traffic lights, we’re allowing a few seconds, needed or not and can burn off excess but waiting longer or going slower for a bit. For the unexpected, like a long train, we can put in for a time delay, if we know how to measure the loss.

  • Would love to take my 11 year old. I’m just north of Atlanta what is the route from Newnan to Chat. TN?

  • How can I find out the route from Sault Ste. Marie to Traverse City? We live north of Traverse City and close to the normal route, but I bet you won’t take that.

    • I guess you’d have to bribe the Rally master! We DON’T KNOW the route – that’s part of the game. Please come see us at a stop. THOSE are posted for all to see.

  • Hi John, I always enjoy your stories. I hope that Bender steers you right and a little help from Bill is always appreciated. Bill has whatever anyone needs including air conditioning, rumor has it. I miss being in the hot seat with Terry Riggs (#105) but know that our nephew Steve Boutin will keep the Volvo team in fine standings. Godspeed to you “Two Studs in a Stude” and I will see you in Buffalo.

  • Some members of the Heart Of Ohio Chapter of the Studebaker Driver’s Club hope to cheer you on during your lunch stop in Wapakoneta, Ohio on Wednesday. Good luck!

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