April 13. 10:30 am. They are all here and they look formidable. I think every one of the around-the-world cars represent an investment of at least 10 times what Stewball did. As Thurman said to Marie-Claire, “What’cha doin in that cheap ole Betttle anyway?” But Jan says she doesn’t mind, and that’s what’s important to me. I think.
And this hotel at Times Square, $24.95 for a continental breakfast and $14.95 a day for internet. Tomorrow like Ed Talbot, I’ll eat peanut-butter and cheese crackers from my own supply before our departure. Rain this morning, probably tomorrow too. But I need to focus on motto from the Great Race: “To finish is to win.”
5:00 pm. We’ve had our meeting and the word is out. This is not a rally, it’s a race. That’s unofficial of course, but the rules state that we will be given the time we must cover the distance for the day. For example, from St. Louis to Kansas City, we must cover 252.6 miles in 3 hrs. 50 min. + 50 min. for lunch and fuel. We can set our own route by GPS and the car that reaches the hotel at our destination closest to the stated time gets the best score. Now there are some additional things that can add or subtract from your daily score. There is no penalty for getting to the destination early. We can just wait in the parking lot and check in at our designated time. If we get stopped for a school bus, train, traffic or weather, we must make up the time. That will mean in some instances, fast driving. We will have 12-15 questions to answer, most of them based on information about the towns or states we travel through or information from the 1908 race. We are allowed to use any technology we want to get the answers. For those of us in the antique cars, we will really have to push. The times are taken from GPS and anyone who has used a GPS knows, it’s hard to beat that time. GPS was not designed for antique cars that can’t maintain modern road speeds. It also doesn’t know about school buses or traffic jams. We know this means days with no lunch stop. We plan to carry snacks to get us through. I’m going to have to push Stewball much harder than I expected to, I just hope I don’t burn up the engine. Just what have we signed up for! It will be hard to sleep tonight.
Tomorrow, the road to Paris,