uh, hello from the New Caribou Inn in Glennallen, AK.
(we alternate between the two of us writing these messages, tonight it's Steve's turn. Typically the other team member is asleep by the time it's sent and neither of us hav read messages written by the other. So, if we repeat things that's why. Hopefully, we'll hav different perspectives on things so it'll be interesting the second time around.)
Day four executive summary: Tired and more tired. We drove from Whitehorse, Yukon to Glennallen, AK with 2 short, but well executed by us, TSDs and a slalom on a frozen lake in between. Even though the previous day was longer with more miles the slalom took a big amount of time and energy.
Whitehorse is a bustling town, and was the host to two scenic morning TSDs and the slalom. The TSDs started at 8am and we got scores better then some of the top teams (though many of those high scores for the top teams are being contested).
The slalom was a big course plowed out on a frozen lake used for snowmobile races and ice-motorcycle racing. The course was 3some miles long and had a good mix of straights, S curves, and long sweeping curves and a hairpin thrown in for maximum possibility of going off. The ice was ok and had a good amount of traction (with studded tires) but fine snow would come off unplowed parts of the lake and lubricate it. The un-plowed snow around the course was very hard in places and going off course would usually require being pulled back out by one of the course workers. Steve took a gentle run with the twin goals of not going off course but still having fun. Eric took a solid fast run that left him thirsting for more; more was not to be found in his 2nd foreshortened run. Steve got to ride along and took some in-car video footage (motion sickness drugs may be required to watch the video).
The drive from Whitehorse to Glennallen was beautiful. Mountains of majesty above the fruited plains (trees and natural gas are harvested here plus there's a bunch of fruity rally drivers) were stunning and exhilarating. The weather has been holding out nicely with the only precipitation being a little ambient snow this morning. This is common for the Yukon, BC, AK interior. We may be seeing precipitation in the coming days. The roads are generally good with about a 1/3 mix of clear, half clear and snow pack. The car is fine with no obvious damage except for the windscreen wiper fluid reservoir lid restraining strap that snapped in the cold (not the lid, the thingie that kept the lid from going missing once you took it off) and some new minor windshield chips.
Eric has some mystery disease/infection/virus/whatever that leaves him unhappy in the evenings but fine during the day. We've been hitting drug stores along the way trying to find an otc solution for what's ailing him.
Scoring has been slow and confused by the number of competitors and limited time available to work. We think we're currently in 13th place overall, not great, but i know we're having more fun than anyone else. A young, relatively inexperienced driver continues to piss-off the professional drivers hired by the well-funded teams by beating them by a comfortable margin at the slaloms. The harder the big teams try to push it and save their reputations the more likely they are to hav problems. The slaloms don't contribute hugely to the scores and the overall standings are the #1 Isuzu car in first, an unaffiliated (but well funded, and supported by friends) Subaru in second, and then two Team Subaru cars followed by everyone else.
Since someone asked; yes, Eric and I are still friends, neither of us hav tried to kill the other. However, the waitress at dinner tonight tried to strangle Eric, but i think that was more a sign of affection. Fortunately we've done at least enough of this together to know to tread lightly when the other is screwed up or cranky. Of course, I never screw-up or get cranky, so it's easy for Eric :)
Feel free to send Eric or I questions. In general we don't know what you know or don't know about this rally thing or about this magical northern realm. it will take us a day or two to answer them but if we can we will. Remember, the only dumb questions are the ones we don't know the answers to :)
day 4 by the numbers:
1st event started: 8:00am pacific
Here's Steve's version of the rally itinerary, don't ask about the goofy mileages, we can't explain them:
having fun in the northern sun (and moonlight), Steve and Eric
(news update: what was believed to be the cooking channel turns out to be a 2nd Christian station. it probably explains why the cooks looked like they were posing for a Norman Rockwell print. This hotel is obviously big on god as evidenced by multiple hints like the radio alarm clock tuned to a Christian music station and no option to change it, we'll be waking-up with jesus)