By Steve Hedke, who is representing ACM with his wife Janet and their daughter Allison in The Great Race, going on now through July 2. Follow along on their adventure here.
Today’s Route: Bowling Green > French Lick > Franklin/Indianapolis
It’s a good day when the car doesn’t need repairs, the weather is cool and clear, the scenery is delightful, and you didn’t go off course. It’s a better day if it includes good scores. We had 3 of the 4 legs work out very well, and one not as much. Sometimes though, it’s the rally itself has to overcome the hardships.
There is a team that runs a day ahead of the rally to make sure all the signs are in place and that there are no last minute issues with the course. Well, yesterday they discovered that the State Highway Department decided to repave part of the rally route, and close another. The rallymaster had to rapidly reroute the entire 122 car field using ’emergency instructions’. We lost a good portion of the timed portions of the day, but the transits through the countryside on good two lane roads made for a delightful drive.
Once again we came in to big, friendly crowds at lunch in French Lick and dinner in Franklin, Indiana. The folks go all out to cheer us in and welcome us to their town. We get ‘goodie bags’ filled with information about the town, snacks for the road and local souvenirs. We hang around the car after being parked to sign autographs in the race yearbook the spectators can buy, and to answer questions about the car and how the rally is scored.
When the crowd moves on to the next cars as they arrive, we head off for our hosted meal. In French Lick it was catered by a German restaurant, with brats, sauerkraut, schnitzel, and German potatoes: delightful! Franklin is one of those classic midwest towns with the courthouse in town square and the cars were parked completely around the building. The dinner was in the historic Elks lodge, and consisting of fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, a roll, a cookie and a drink. That’s a pretty average meal on the race, but while the cars must be on display for 2 hours it’s a relief not to have to search for a restaurant open late after leaving the parc ferme.
In terms of scoring, despite our one not so good leg today, the race does throw out 3 of the highest leg scores in the Expert division that we are in, so it went away. As a result we moved up 8 positions in the overall standings, taking us to 17th. Our goal is a top 10 finish, and that’s still within reach.
Tomorrow we’re off bright and early to Wapakoneta, Ohio for lunch, and Auburn Indiana for dinner at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum, which will be one of the highlights of the trip for us. Things are going well, and we expect to continue our crawl up the standings.
Steve, Janet, and Allison