Note: Since I got so sleep deprived as the event wore on I stopped updating the site for the last 2 nights. I was just so damn tired after dinner that I couldn't stay up the extra hour or two to edit the pictures and write this stuff... So now that I am sitting on a delayed plane on the tarmac at LAX I'll finish, minus pictures. Pics will come later.
Friday, October 1st, Steamboat Springs, CO to Eureka, NV.
Murphy's Law of Mountain Driving: The opposite lane will remain empty until the solid yellow line leaves your lane.
We start the day with a minor problem. As we pull away from the hotel, Barry Brown, the excellent event mechanic checks out our parking lot puddles and pronounces the substance to be gasoline. We check under the hood at breakfast and sure enough, the banjo bolts on the carbs are loose (rattled on the long road I guess!) He helps us to get them sorted. We then head west out US 40, a road I have driven many times in my Seattle/Vail runs to get a few runs on the hill in the guise of a visit to see Mom & Dad. =)
We fly along, with our new Colorado Highway Patrol hats on to protect us from radar electrons. We pull up in Vernal, Utah for some gasoline and to tighten the last of the 3 banjos and wash the puddles of petrol out of the engine compartment. We also figure it is warm enough to jack up the Jag and bleed the clutch hydraulics. As the majority of the group passes us, we work on the car in a parking lot just off US 40. We get some genuine assistance from a rancher, and some genuine annoyance from several other gawkers who come over and interrupt us to tell Jaguar stories. We bleed it best we can and hit the road. We catch-up to several folks along US 191.
Left to Right Above: Bleeding the clutch in Vernal - The Bergman Jag and the Cunningham in Price Canyon - Delayed by Sheep!
The route does some serious wide swings through Utah, and several folks decide to short-cut some of these fantastic roads out in order to save time. I have driven I-15, and it doesn't hold a candle to the scenery and roads that those of us who stuck to the course saw! We come upon and 3 car pileup right in front of a huge Mormon Temple... We get stopped by a herd of sheep... we drive through verdant valleys high above the usual Utah deserts.
Left to Right Above: Approaching a 3 SUV pileup near a temple in Manti, Utah, 2 Jaguars, one old & one new, waiting for road work, and... Identify that species at 80mph!
We drop down to the desert floor near Delta and fly along US 50, "the loneliest road in America"... The scenery is awesome. I bet the British journalists in the Subaru are going dizzy at the scale of the surroundings. Dry lakes, alkali flats, sage, mountains, powerlines, and a narrow strip of asphalt vanishing at the horizon. The surroundings are so desolate that even the roadkill count drops from an all-week high on the stretch from Steamboat to Delta, to near zero... just the occasional jackrabbit.
Above: The Brits get gobsmacked by the wide open spaces... US Highway 50.
The area from Delta Utah west into Nevada is jaw-droppingly beautiful, in an austere sort of way.
Right after sunset and shortly before we come into Eureka we are stopped for a single-lane construction site. There are 3 cars ahead of us and the two Saabs pull up behind us. The pilot truck guides us through the work zone and we are again free to drive... The road is twisty and rolling and since it is dark I don't go too fast and just hang back behind the 3 other cars. As we come around a long right-hand curve I see a pickup truck going about 35 mph ahead of us. The road has a double yellow line, but I can clearly see the 3 cars ahead (they must have passed him when I was behind the curve.) I go ahead and roll around the pickup rather than dramatically braking since we lost our brake lights right before this event and have had to be real careful if someone was behind us. I'd rather make a safe pass in a "no passing zone" than have the 2 Saabs pile into our rear. About 2 miles down the road our rearview is filled with flashing red and blue lights and all 3 of us get a ticket for passing in a no passing zone... within a mile from the hotel. Grrrr.
Left: "Yes, sir."
Dinner was wonderful at The Jackson House in Eureka. Great little town. The hotel was nice too.
Roadkill Update: (If you are a small critter, *stay away from Utah!*... All I can figure is those LDS-folks mow down small mammals with impunity.) 1 Pronghorn Antelope, 7 Raccoons, 1 Case of Coors Light (I'm right about those Mormons aren't I?), 12 Gophers, 2 Cats, 18 Jackrabbits, 3 SUVs, 1 Snake, 1 Coyote, 1 Skunk, 3 Jaguar Carb banjo bolts, 1 Magpie (the single confirmed Cannonball kill... ironically enough by the Plymouth SuperBird!), 2 Deer strapped to a Ford Bronco with 2 camo-clad occupants, 6 Deer (though I suspect it was only 5, with one being split in two parts about 100 yards apart... we were going too fast to confirm), and 23 indistinguishable piles of flesh guts and fur/feathers.
Today's Americana: Since when is a shotgun a cleaning tool? Sign in a Sanpete County, Utah gas station. "All day of Fun!" ??
On to the next page: Eureka to Redondo Beach.