I woke up this morning to find my car boxed in by my neighbors which means I had to walk to campus, which means I was late for bowling. Rather than show up late, I decided to skip it, and bore you all with my tales of adventure from the Minnesota Winter Rally. This was the same event we participated in last year that got us hooked on this crazy driving around in the snow stuff. Last year we took second to last, this year we took second. A nice improvement.
We had a bit of a problem getting started, seems that I slept right through my alarm clock and Matthew actually woke up on time. So, in line with tradition, we were a few minutes late out the door. This was bad. The roads to Duluth were terrible. We didn't make it in time for lunch, but we did make it on time for registration. One slight hang up, it seems that the guys in the VW decided to give us some serious competition in the car graphics department. Matthew and I were all excited about our keen new Timebandits Rallysport logo (above), when all of sudden we spot the black VW with the cool Spaceman Spiff Logo. They even had a real sponsor and matching sweatshirts. Before the rally even started we felt horribly out-classed. No match for the quick signs in the windows and matching "do-rags" we opted for. Also, it appears that Audi Quattros have become some sort of series requirement. I counted four! (Four Quattros?, hmmmm...)
Things progressed surprisingly smooth until stage four, when everything went crazy. That stage was *fast*. Normally Matthew and I are the TA kings, but we've never had to take one because we couldn't maintain CAST (40mph this time). I think it was about this stage that the White Audi of Goetz and Bitle decided to demonstrate its natural camouflage and headed for the snow bank. It looked like a fellow Audi in a more obvious plumage came to their aid. Then it was on to the railroad grade, another favorite section of mine. A great chunk of one-lane road, but what happens when you come across on coming traffic? There isn't even much of a ditch to head to. Thankfully the situation never presented itself, we were the only weirdos out there. Then we headed out to cruise along the shoreline and pass through some slick tunnels. Then it was back along sky-line drive to the finish.
Hmmm, come to think of, there actually wasn't much adventure. The odo was much more reliable this time, our laptop never bombed out on us. The only real challenge left for us is trying to turn those nines and tens into zeros and ones and that isn't too exciting ("Upon arriving at NRI 132, navigator James jumps into action and knocks a couple of clicks off the odo!" Nahhhh...).
With the black Honda CRX of Gary Starr skipping out on this rally (Visions of snowbanks dancing on his hood?), and a major mistake by Schmidt and Irwin (Whoo Hoo!^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H I mean, Gee, that's too bad) it looks like our standing in the championship has improved somewhat. My thanks go to Rallymaster (or is that technically Rallymistress?) Diane Sargent and Chairman Tim Winker for another great event. We'll be back for Northwoods Drift next month if we can find an Audi Quattro.
Watch http://astro.tc.mtu.edu/~jpbialas for pictures and maybe a few soundbites from the in-car tape recorder. (not suitable for children under the age of 40).
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