16 October 2008

Monday, Oct. 13. Day 3: Part II

"So we can only go ten miles at a time?"

"Maybe twelve on a flat."

"We're going through mountains?"

"To cut across to Nevada, yes."

"Our odometer is broken."

"We'll call out the miles by the radios from the chase vehicle."

"Oh joy."

Bishop was almost 45 miles down the road, but it is a sizable town and could have a store to pick up more fuel filters.

We readied the Newman Tank. It was going to be a long laborious drive to Las Vegas, but it was our only choice, we weren't giving up.

It was past sundown now, and we got news that everyone reached Las Vegas safely.

Placing on the scoreboard was long out of the question. All we really wanted was to finish anyways. And by the Almighty we were going to do just that.

We had to stop to refuel on the average of every ten minutes. My Uncle Lowe, in the chase car, would call out the eight through twelve mile marks via radio. At first, we were slow to refill, but the actual time we took to refuel started getting shorter and shorter as we got into a rhythm.



When we reached Bishop, we stopped by a Kragen's which thankfully, was still open. We picked up more oil filters and a 1.2 gallon gas can that we hoped to replace the Newman Tank with. Theoretically, it should increase the range to around 20 miles. Unfortunately, we didn't think to install the "Newman 2.0" until AFTER we went through the mountains into Nevada.

After Bishop, we headed south to Big Pine, where we hung a left onto Highway 168 East, which would cut through the mountains and into Nevada where it would connect with the 95 South to Vegas.

There were narrow one-laned roads again, but thankfully there were no cliffs involved this time. But there were some climbs that cut down our fuel mileage.

As we drove through the high-desert of the California/Nevada border, the temperature was higher than in the Sierras, but it wasn't high enough at night for our oil to loosen up.

The clear sky, full moon, and lack of any man-made lights gave a seemingly barren desert landscape a picturesque quality of its own.

We passed through one or two 100-person communities and dozens of miles of open range. There were no fences along the road, and we saw dozens of cattle sitting by the side of the road. The prospect of an angry bull "removing" us from his territory was something I didn't need at that very moment, considering I'm facing my back toward the open country as I help Dad fill up the pitiful grape juice bottle.

Another thing worthy of note, is that the local jackrabbit populace hasn't any form of entertainment except making all the wary travelers like us swerve our vehicles excessively...

Alas, we finally made it to the US-95 and headed south, which would eventually lead us to Vegas.

Just before we turned onto the 95, we got a call from Jake saying that although we missed the awards ceremony, we had won some awards and everyone was rooting for us.

At a small town called Beatty, we finally "upgraded" the Newman Tank to "Newman 2.0".



The new tank extends our mileage to 18-20 miles, makes for an easier ride, as stops are every 18-20 minutes now.

It wasn't until after 0140-ish that we saw the glow of Las Vegas over the hills. Then the beacon of the Luxor casino became noticeable. It was around 0200 when we pulled into the Las Vegas city limit. When I called Jake to let him know, it was clearly evident that we was already in bed and sleeping when I called. And sure thing, everyone had retired for the night already. Oh well, they're having a get-together at the Sahara Casino valet parking area tomorrow at 0900. At least we can see them then.

We all breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled into the CancĂșn resort parking lot. We had faced and beaten the elements and the odds. We drove 600 miles without using a drop of petrol. We had finished the race, hours behind everyone else, but we finished.

And there we were, covered in veggie-oil and dead-tired, but TRIUMPHANT.

Now if you'll excuse me...



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