Soooo… Today we had scheduled registration and tech inspection as our main obligations. We were docketed for 1:22 PM. We wandered off in the morning, in search of cheap eats for breakfast, and found a Panera just over the river (thanks, Siri). Then we popped into an auto parts store and collected some extra cleaning supplies. Dale introduced me to a kind of super chamois that came in handy after the evening rain to wipe down Bender so he won’t be leprosy water-spotted tomorrow. Nice! Learn something every day (if we’re lucky).
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (aka Hyatt hotel), we were all the way up to 10:45 AM. What do we do NOW? We chatted up others waiting their turns. We stood in the back of Bill Croker’s Novice Clinic (he tells great stories while laying out the basics of this game). I call TSD rallying a game, where Bill calls it a sport. Nope. sorry not sorry. Sports require three things: non-judged scoring (that takes out, say, ice dancing), actual competition (that takes out running for fun, though racing on foot is still in the running, so to speak), and significant athleticism (that takes out chess, cart-riding golf, and yes, rallying in cars – though sweating and bouncing in some of the rougher rides might clear this bar).
So, now it’s 11:30 AM, just 2 hours to go. Come on, we’ll have an extended lunch. It’s a buffet, so that’s very do-able and we did. Not bad. I was surprised to see the bowl of ridged potato chips (that’s crisps for our left-driving Brexiteers) under a heat lamp at the buffet! Who wants heated potato chips??? With some thought, I gathered that it’s a sneaky way to keep them tolerably crisp in the high humidity that the refrigeration (oops, I mean air-conditioning) in the hotel can’t fully banish.
At long last, the magic hour appeared. We entered, were pronounced all in order and sent off to the fields a few blocks along to get tech’d and stickered with our number 39. Extra points for the volunteers there, working in limited shade all day to get that done on 120 cars (they had wisely done many of the sponsor stickers on the shipped-in cars, while they were in the garage the day before). We were right next to Wally and James Leach (see note above re Brexiteers), a wonderful father-son team that last year ran in the world’s least reliable Jensen Healey. Ethan and I had a terrific car-to-car ice-cube battle with them during a particularly hot stop then. Great fun. We won of course, because their open car was a much more receptive target. Anyway, just to add a bit more challenge, this year they brought a freshly purchased Sunbeam Talbot (don’t feel bad, almost no one has ever heard of a Sunbeam Talbot!). Lovely if slightly weird car that had already broken down by this evening (bad weld on a brake mount!). Should be… …challenging (yeah, that’s the word!). At least it’s left-hand drive.
We heard sponsor presentations in the afternoon and headed off to the JAX zoo for a dinner by the Jaguar Trail. Maybe the Zoo Keepers thought Jaguars (being a car brand) might appeal to car folks? Certainly more than anteaters and Sloths would, anyway. Good dinner and back to the hotel and this waiting day is done. Tomorrow: up early for a 7:45 General Meeting, then we wait some more. We drew start order #90, and the official start time is 11:30, so we won’t actually get on course for the Trophy Run til 1 PM! Ah well, another leisurely lunch likely! We’ll have long, hard days yet ahead. AFN, jc