Day 3

 

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Wow, what is today? Sunday? It seems like more than one day has passed. We covered 850 miles today departing Fort Saint John at 7:00. Took a bit longer to warm things up as the overnight low was -7F. Even in the cold the Rover started right up. We are getting used to the cold. I was wandering about in a turtle neck and fleece pullover taking a few pictures and didn't find it unpleasant. At any rate, we had a cold breakfast from our stash in the car and started a TSD section right off from the hotel. The timed section was a little frustrating with lots of trucks getting in the way.

After the timed section ended at 8:00 we set off driving. We passed through Fort Nelson and then 8 hours of totally empty territory, with the occasional (about every 90 miles) gas station. Dinner stop was in Watson Lake, home of the famous Signpost Forest. We got there just minutes before sunset and were able to get some pictures of the car, us and the signs. After eating we had a very short 5 mile TSD where Steve got to practice his low speed skills driving at 16MPH, 20MPH and other painfully hard to maintain rates. Straight after the TSD ended at 8:15 we headed out of town for the last 280 mile drive to Whitehorse, Yukon. Since Steve drove nearly all day and I love driving at night I drove this stretch. We arrived in Whitehorse about midnight.

The rally cars stayed bunched up a little better today with a spread of maybe 40 miles between the first and last cars. We were surprised that the rally radios can actually span 25 miles if the terrain is right.

Early in the day we saw a moose...being eaten by crows on the side of the road.

In the late day we saw two wild bison. Somebody called them Arctic Bison but I don't know if that is right.

The roads got narrower and snowier as the day progressed. We probably had 35% bare pavement, and 65% compact snow or ice. It is a little weird driving 75 down the highway on a nice shiny road, and when you stop and stand on the road find that you have to walk very carefully to avoid falling down it is so slippery. Perhaps I shouldn't share that type of detail?

We visited briefly with a nice RCMP officer. Apparently the local truckers didn't feel real good about the swarm of five cars passing in a group across double yellow lines. In defense of that group, they were using their radios to let each other know if it was safe. However, the RCMP was making stops to warn us and hand out a few speeding tickets.

We use a buddy system on the rally. We are car 16 and we buddied up with car 18 (a team from Anchorage). You are supposed to make sure that your buddy car is moving and keeping up. That seems to work out pretty well. We don't always drive right near them but usually stay within radio range.

Scores for day two moved us from our day one position of 7th to 12th overall. Our ice slalom results at the race track hurt, as did a couple of bad TSD scores. Initial info is that most teams held their ranking through today's events while spreading out their scores a bit. Official day 3 scores will be reported later.

Tomorrow we have another ice racing event. This time on a 4 mile track instead of a 3/8 mile oval. As before we won't be bathing in victory but it is great fun.

It is really amazing how much road there is up here and how little civilization.

Oh, wow, it is 1:45 and I need to be up by 6:30. That'll be all.

--Eric

PS Happy Valentines Day! Diana, little Valentines somethings for the girls (and you) can be found in my big desk drawer downstairs.

 

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