Mom emailed us last night and said: "You are driving my car too fast!"... OK mom, we'll slow down.
I wake up at a semi-reasonable time today, despite being up until
way past 1 am playing catch-up for my web audience. I *really
suck* at HTML, but as many of you have figured out I really just
re-use the same old page over and over. Until I uploaded this
page many of you were reading the 'saturday' page from last year's
La Carrera Nevada. Oops. Pay no attention to the idiot behind
the keyboard. heh.
Breakfast was awesome. We were late, and missed the early rally
checkout times, but it was worth it to enjoy the leisurely pace
one should live by while on the seashore.
We get a good checkout time and after an initial missed turn following
an over ambitious acceleration from the start line, we amble off
on segment one... actually our single timed leg of the day. The
day looks fine, the weather is actually cool for a change, and
the route looks nice. We have one weird thing happen. On a four
lane stretch of a US highway our radar detector just about explodes
off the windshield with a full-on Ka-band assault. It indicates
that it is behind us, but we can't see anything behind us. The
signal stays *real strong* for about a mile... which is very puzzling
since Ka is usually used for 'instant-on' short range nabs. Those
troopers that sit behind bushes always use Ka and pull the trigger
when you have no time to react, even with a detector. So the thing
wigging out for a full mile is really spooky.
Oh well, no trooper, no ticket. I'm happy. We weren't going that
fast anyway, so I guess it is moot.
We follow some good roads through nice country and arrive at the
checkpoint about 17 minutes early. It is behind a Texaco station,
and since the leg was relatively easy, and quick, there is a huge
crowd of rally cars loitering about awaiting their final runs.
Thankfully most leave before our turn, but sure enough the added
mixture of local folks pulling in for gasoline makes for some
tragi-comedy now and then. One guy in a pickup with a long trailer
parked right in the front of the 'start' part of the checkpoint
and I thought some of the Ferrari guys were going to kill him
'LA Riot Style' (thankfully the pickup guy got a clue before things
got out of hand.) I'm sure the drama replayed all morning on some
scale or another.
Left: Local yokel in white pickup ambles unknowingly into the
rally danger zone.
Our turn arrives and sure enough, 45 seconds to go and there are
two rally cars blocking the checkpoint chatting with the staffers!
I want to have no repeat of the 'Yellow Ferrari Incident' of Monday
and honk the Merc's horn. That seems to get Dad upset for some
reason. Maybe because he knows the folks that are in one of the
cars chatting with Ian the timekeeper... but given how ticked
off dad gets when we miss a checkpoint I just laugh it off knowing
that this is the far lesser of the two evils. Heh, I'm sure at
some point in his life Dad has thought that chatting up a timekeeper
for over almost two minutes should be a death penalty crime. The
honk works and the way clears, so no harm comes to anyone... least
of all us.
We finish the segment with zero penalty seconds and switch drivers
for the 83.5 mile trip to Tarpon Springs and lunch.
It is quickly obvious why this leg is a transit stage as the roads
are crappy and choked with cars, trucks, and all manner of rally
hazards, worst of all of course is The Wizzened Florida Blue Hair.
This animal, numerous in warmer climes, usually seen in a older
model Chrysler or Ford product is incapable of distance vision,
acceleration greater than a mildly motivated terrapin, or top
speeds higher than what your average bicyclist can do in a Wyoming
headwind. Thankfully I'm not driving. Heh. Dad gets to suffer
at the wheel for this leg. I'm left to do navigation duties -
which on transit stages is pretty laid back. In fact, near the
end of the segment I casually remarked, "Just follow that duck."...
and sure enough, the duck lead us all the way to the finish. Nice
duck! Give him a call at 866-831-DUCK!
At Tarpon Springs we head on foot for the 'Sponge Docks' a fab
florida tourista trap (yuck) where our appointed lunch stop awaited
us in this little slice of Greek culture on the Gulf of Mexico.
I had a kick ass gyro at the Hellas Restaurant. Despite being
packed to the gills, the service was excellent and the food even
better. I highly recommend it.
After lunch we headed for Al Weissman's Classic Corvettes & Collectibles Museum and Showroom. The collection is excellent, and the location
in an old car dealership is nice, but not real good for photography,
but since I don't have too many images from today except theses,
here you go:
(looking at these later I realize I took NO photos of their Corvettes!)
The layout of the 'show floor.'
1955 Packard Caribbean. Pink, Blue and Cream! Plus a 'Wunderbar
Radio!' What more could a sorority girl ask for?...
...a nice rack of course! heh.
Isn't America great?! =)
The truly weird lines of a 1938 Lincoln.
"Say Nigel, let's take the Merlin ou' uf the Spitfire and drop
it the old man's Rolls Royce. Wha' a goer tha'll be!"
Of course you would *need* 1100+ horsepower just to get the big
green beast to move.
A Paige 'shark nose.' They went out of the car business in 1940
and started building tanks for the US Army.
It can only be a Caddy. "There's nothin' lackin' when you're Caddilac'in."
Dad & I skip the rest of the day's activities to hit the road
for the hotel. It is over 110 miles away through some high-traffic
areas. It was a smart move since the traffic and the weather get
bad as the day goes on. The clouds roll in (even though it seems
to get hotter too.) The driving sucks and it takes a long time
to wriggle free of the strangling traffic. The worst part is that
it is my turn to drive! The 300 is a great highway car, but it
does not do well in traffic. It has a racing engine that really
wants to rev high, but that is hard to do at 'normal' traffic
speeds. Plus the steering gets heavier below 50 mph.
I have to say that we are getting soaked by gas prices in the
Pacific Northwest. They are paying about 20% less in Florida.
As we finally break free of the strangling traffic and happily
find ourselves in rural highway splendor we come to what I have
jokingly called the "central Florida mountain range." It is the
part of the state near Mt. Dora that actually has some relief
to the usually universally flat topography. Of course by western
standards these orange grove and pine covered lumps are molehills,
but here they are a veritable 'Cordilliera!' Above is probably
the highest of the 'mountains.' =)
We arrive at the hotel just before dark, and I expect to have
a stunning view of this impressive 'range' only to find it filled
with an oil refinery. oh well.
Dinner was excellent. Tomorrow is the last day.
On to the next day: Thursday