The second day of dancing; with a few stumbled steps
Today marked the second day of the competition, which started out somewhat rough.
Soon after we left the hotel our car started backfiring, stuttering, and not accelerating. All of which was not the way we wanted to start the day. All of which seemed to be when we were either changing speeds or going over 55mph. We limped to the hotel where we could pick up our directions and devised a game plan on what to do.
When we go to the hotel it was decided that Jake & Tony would replace the points & condenser while Austin & I went to receive our course instructions for the day at our scheduled time, ( half an hour before we were to leave). Soon after, Jake & Tony finished up on the Fairlane and we headed off, with unfortunately not much improvement. After navigating near the start line, we pulled off and replaced the plugs which didn’t look too bad, (not a good sign), jumped back on the road and headed to the starting point. We were still chugging, but the situation had improved slightly. We pulled off into parking lot where everyone else was gathering, not but 100 yards from the start and decided to rapidly replace the coil. Luckily we had all of these parts lying in the trunk for situations like these.
After that we jumped in the car and started up, and she was running like a champ again. Of course (Murphy’s Law abounded this morning), we found we were at half a tank and four minutes till we had to start. The gauge had been finicky yesterday, so we were not sure how much gas we really had and were praying that it would last until the first transition period to fill up. However, time was up and we were off.
Navigation went fairly well for most of the time; we did miss one turn and had to double back. We recovered time by thoroughly testing out the Fairlane at high speeds, passing not one, but two racers to get back into our spot. This technique is called hacking, in which you gauge where you are supposed to be by looking at who is supposed to be in front of and behind you. This worked out fine, because a Cadillac was close on our tail for the longest time, so we merely jumped in front of them.
From there till lunch we had smooth sailing, finally. The scenery was extremely beautiful and heavily wooded. Too bad for Tony, he couldn’t appreciate much of it, as he had to look at the speedometer and the road the whole time. Eventually we weaved our way to Benngington, Vermont where we had lunch. Luckily our gas held up. I am always impressed at how the town gets involved. We had lunch inside the fire department’s building and occupied the nearby parking lot with all the racers. Droves of people were there to cheer us on and see what was happening, matched with dedicated volunteers at each town to help out as well.
After eating lunch we followed the directions, which led us by Hemmings Motor News Headquarters, in Bennington, as well as the full service gas station next door. There was a museum that was available to go through, but many of the racers, including ourselves, wanted to get close to the start line, and not risk leaving late.
From that starting point to the end of the race we had fairly smooth sailing again, except one more missed turn. This one however we made up a little more gradually. We enjoyed our long cruises that involved fewer starts and stops and more of just turns and straightaways. It was a time where we could relax a little and enjoy. Eventually we made it to Poughkeepsie, New York after an unusual turn of being on a local interstate, while still on the clock.
We made it through Poughkeepsie and to the parking area, next to the Hudson River, where we met up with Brian Martin, again, and another student from the college, Matt Lynch. As soon as we got out of the car we were swarmed by three groups of people. Two were Great Race related, merely wanting to talk and film, asking us how things were so far. The other was filming a car culture documentary for National Geographic and wanted to ask us about the school, our passion for cars, and The Great Race. After all of which Brian took us out to dinner to discuss our scores. We had slightly disappointing scores for the day, but as the saying goes, “Tomorrow is another day”. After much discussion, we linked our failures to reading some wrong signs, because there were other racers, whom had almost identical times in those legs as well. The others were thought to be due to the missed turns.
We traveled through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and finally ending up in New York. All of which were beautiful in their own regards. Our road trip continues, and hopefully we have found the last kinks in our system.