So, how to conclude this essay? Great Race 2016 is all done, but I still have a bit to say, both about today, and some broader notes. Bear with me, but I’ll be brief.
It rained hard in Cedar Rapids last night. Our flag was soaked, and it seems the windshield seals leak. A lot. Footwells and everything in the underdash tray were soggy this morning. Ethan had repaired one flopping fog lamp that had stripped threads by using two of our box wrenches as thick spacers to reach some un-ruined threads. Clever Guy! McGiver 101 in action. Magic Wrench Spacers – Another Fine Innovation from Team 34
Weirdly, after staying put on the dash for most all of the Race, the wetness seemed to free Fat Farley from his cosmic bind to the glass. He fell from his perch repeatedly so we had to make him a safety belt and head restraint – duct tape to the rescue again.
Farley Goes for Safety
We rolled back out of Cedar Rapids past the big Quaker Oats factory and offices, now bearing the Pepsico label, too (they must own Quaker these days). Through farms and towns that look much more like those we have back in New York and less like the western style, we rallied in corn to the last instruction! They all came fast and furious, with 5 legs in this abbreviated last-day stage: no complaints about long highway drones today! Sven the Volvo kept his promise and we made it to Moline with no further incident but some coolant loss as we sat in the hot sun at the finish. This is a strong little car, low on power to be sure, but with great brakes and good handling. We’ve had four expressions of interest already, if we choose to sell.
Our Final Waypoint (in corn, of course)
Once off time, we crossed the Mississippi. For lunch, we stopped at IOWA-80, “The world’s biggest truck stop.” Could be. I can say we saw large on wheels there: blades for one of those megawatt wind turbines we saw out here. Lunch was followed by visiting the truck museum on the IOWA-80 site. Pretty cool, and helps remind us that sore or not, earlier vehicles were even rougher, right up to wooden knobby tires!Wind Turbine Blades inTransport
We had a pretty good score today, enough to successfully defend our position in 50th place among the 85 cars that finished, of the 120 that started! We scored three 5’s, a 4, and a 1 second leg. I’m thinking that since those 1 second legs are statistically indistinguishable from 0’s that would win an Ace, we should add new awards next year for those almost-ace, 1-second legs, too. Maybe a little sticker with a broken heart image, spelling out G-reat R-ace A-lmost perfe-C-t l-E-g: G.R.A.C.E.
As in years past, the event ended with the awards banquet. We didn’t expect to receive any awards, but there was free food, so we had to go!
Banquet Time, Official AppearancePost Banquet Activities with the Wandering Troubadors of Finland
Who should we thank in this final blog for GR2016? Can I even come close to fair notice for all who made it possible? Number one must be Ethan, for a great driving performance and a superb and fun week – two guys working/playing together, father & son. Second would be Sue, who let us go off for so long, leaving her to mind the home front alone. Thanks, too, to my colleagues who covered for me at work. Thanks to Mike & Cindy of Reliable, for getting the speedster out to CA (and back again…. sigh), Special thanks to Charlie Goodman who linked us with Rhody Ringrose. And to Rhody for parting with our Volvo, Sven, so we might stay in this race. Thanks to Dale Kasson, one of the GR volunteers, who made sure to get us a replacement tire before the store closed in the next town, when one blew and we knew we would not arrive in time there that evening. Special thanks to Steve & Vicki who patiently provide our instructions each morning. Thanks to Jeff, Corky, and Teresa for sponsoring and organizing this circus. And thanks to all those whose encouragement and enthusiasm kept us going through the madness this year. And last but not least, thanks to those who had the vision to conceive, build, and maintain this fine country for driving and living in. Don’t ever believe America is not Great already!
Get Up Tomorrow, Kick it Again!
See ya next year, and thanks for following this blog. AFN, jc