Stage 1 - Jacksonville, FL to Tallahassee, FL

 Tallahassee, FL
Arrival Date: Saturday, June 19
The Crowd and Part of the Lineup at the Landing in Jacksonville, Starting Point for this Year's Great Race

Accommodations:Wingate Inn, 2516 W. Lakeshore Drive
Phone 850-553-4400
Weather: Hot, Humid, with
Heavy Showers
Events of the Day:

The good news:
We're safely in Tallahassee. The car still has all four wheels on the ground. We had a score today, over six checkpoints, of 28 seconds, ranking us 34th out of 85 cars that finished. Not a bad score; not a great score. But given what happened on the course, a miraculous score!

We arose to a beautiful morning in Jacksonville, and around 8:30 AM, started moving the cars down to The Landing. The crowds were enthusiastic and we answered lots of questions. It was hot. We were reluctant to drink too much in anticipation of spending several hours cooped up in a coupe with no place to go. Finally about noon, we started moving the cars forward toward the starting gate. The Army National Guard, one of the proud sponsors of this event, fired a cannon to mark the official start, and the cars began leaving at 30 second intervals.

We headed West on I-10 for about 25 miles to conduct our tire warm up and speedometer calibration. We were fortunate -- our speedometer error was 0 in 24 minutes at 50 miles per hour. This meant we wouldn't have to remember to make periodic corrections to our speed to compensate. One less thing to worry about.

As we arrived at our first timed portion of today's course, Bob noticed that Winston's "Free Wheeling" transmission was acting up. With only a couple of minutes to spare, he got out the tools, got under the car, and (we hope!) fixed the problem. After throwing the toolbox back in the trunk, we were off.

The first couple of segments in today's rally took us into mazes of streets and roads where we doubled back on ourselves. You never knew which cars were in which loops over the same streets. It's really prettty amusing, but there are lots of chances for errors. We had respectable scores of 5 seconds early and 3 seconds early. The next leg was about fifteen minutes long and we had an error of 5 seconds late. (Don't ask... I can't explain it.)

Then the fun began. On a seemingly endless stretch of road through the Osceola National Forest at a steady 50 miles per hour, Bob thought he detected a new vibration. He concluded that we had a wheel coming loose! After debating for a while, we decided to stop the car and do a quick check of the wheels, after which we started up again. The conversation went something like this:
Mead - "How long were we stopped?"
King - "I don't know.
I didn't think we were going to start up again. I wasn't keeping track. I think it was about 2 minutes."
Mead - "Oh, no.
I think it was more like 45 seconds."
And so it went...

We sped up to 55 miles per hour until we had gained back 70 seconds of the time we had lost, not really knowing what was going on. Our error on that leg was 8 seconds late!

On the last leg, we did have to actually tighten up the wheel that was coming loose. We made that time up under only slightly more control, and had a 4 second score. All in all, we were very lucky in lots of ways.

Tonight Jerry and Bob are putting some Loc-Tite on the wheel bolts. We'd like to keep the wheels on the car. More tomorrow. Birmingham or bust! 

The Crowds Were Enthusiastic!

The Grundy Insurance Company 
Owns This 1912 National

Ponca City, Oklahoma,
Provides One of the High School Teams

Here is Winston and the Bobcats
Leaving the Starting Gate
Enroute to California!

This 1932 Packard is What the Rich Folks Drove

Gab and Yvonna Joiner From Rio Rancho,
New Mexico, Have Driven this 1915 White Dolphin
in Several Great Races

Coker Tire Company of Chattanooga
Owns this 1938 Buick Powered Schaefer Special

Jeff and Karen Stumb of Hampton Cove, Alabama,
Leave the Starting Gate. Jeff is Waving to His Dad,
Who Has Navigated in Two Great Races.

... And the Team Arrives in Tallahassee
At Dark. Tired, But Happy.