Day 8

 

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(also written after being back in the lower 48, so the details are a bit sketchy)

Details?  I can't even remember what we did that day.

Though I do remember the night before.  The Captain Bartlett Hotel in Fairbanks, does, well, does hav a bar.  A bar complete with its own competition racing outhouse. 

It's funny how many pictures of cars we hav and so few pictures of people, yet my fond memories of the trip are about people and not those mechanical mules that got us there. 

The Pacific Northwest has many great rally drivers and navigators.  However, this rally brought together many of the best living TSD rally people.  Occasionally, these great rally people are even personable enough to spend some time and beer with.  Needless to say that's how spend the evening.  Some good new friends who hav been rallying longer than -- well, rallying for awhile -- let flow some of the finer points of doing this rally thing.  At times I felt like I was on that first Friday Nighter rally finding out what rallying was all about.

The schedule says we did two TSDs on day 8.  I kinda remember the one that has been nick-named by many of the competitors "School Zone" since that's where most of it was.  If a school bus has flashing red lights to indicate no passing, what color are the lights to signify that you should pass it on an up-hill double-yellow while trying to make-up time?  And what about pauses after stop signs?  And who the hell let all of those civilians on the course?

And in the heat and noise (Eric say's I talk too much) of battle we missed a turn and went four minutes off.   Well, it was a hard section to stay on-time with and even more impossible to make up four minutes.  So, we cooled our jets and took the max score of 200 for the leg.  How could I hav forgotten?

Eric reminds me of the other TSD this day.  It was very straight forward, one road, one big hill, and a mediocre score for us. 

Lets see, what else happened day 8... oh yeah i kind of crashed the car.  O.K.  not really, but it was an exciting few seconds.  On the way down the Parks Highway we were having a nice spirited drive to Anchorage.  The sun was out and the temperature was mild; this caused melt which lubricated the road nicely.  I went into a turn a little too hot, my lawyer advises me not to say exactly how fast, but too fast.  So fast that the momentum along the straight vector was higher than the force applied to the ice by the turned and probably spinning front wheels.

Newton's 2nd law, "The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impressed; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impressed."  Which means I travel in a straight line across the curve unless my studded tires hav enough traction to pull me in the direction I want to go.

At the last fraction of a moment the car flicked into the direction of the wheels and the tail of the car abraded the relenting soft snow bank.  The ride wasn't over since the car still wouldn't be considered under-control. 

Through expert driving and kick-ass tires I kept the car mostly on the road, though for a while perpendicular to the road.  The car behind us didn't see anything but a plume of snow as I ran the rear wheel through a wall of snow as high as the car. 

We left a beacon, a light on a rocky shore, to alert others of a perilous approach.  A black plastic bumper end-cap remained perched on gouged-out snow bank, right where it had been prized off the car by the rushing snow.  For miles on down the road we heard other ships remarking on that odd piece of plastic and those nice squiggly tire tracks on the road over our radio. 

Just after our Rover beaching attempt we came upon a GMC Yukon that was wedged about six feet off the road and easily six feet above it.  Even after our trip it left some imagination to see how someone could explore that far off the road, backward. 

Even before the stuffed Yukon we passed the sand truck going the other way sanding the road.  Months later when retelling the story ("I was going about 190mph, we rolled the car, and the fish was thiiiiiiiiiiiis big") Eric mentioned that it wasn't the scariest spot of driving on the rally, hmmm.

 

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