The Trans-America Challenge 2012

7th May - 8th June 2012


Knoxville to Memphis

MAY 11TH, 2012

Pulling out of the hotel on a second consecutive warm and sunny morning – let’s hope this sets a pattern - we drove the first 30 miles or so through what Jake Auerbach (a New York native) described as 'ribbon mall development' and what was on offer along the road was truly varied and diverse including a drive through ice store.

We're skirting bible belt now and as we passed through the beautiful rural Tennessee countryside we were exhorted by many a roadside sign to fear God, love our wives and do good to all men. We pondered this a while as we drove along but after then being told that “God knoweth our every thought” decided to just agree with it.

As the Rally has rolled along we've all been touched by the helpful and friendly nature of the American people. This morning for example a team mowing the grass verge agreed to hold back until the regularity section had finished. But as both George Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill both observed we are indeed two nations divided by a common language. Two of the marshals, Peter Stone and Jim Smith engaged the team in conversation and explained that we were driving more than 40 classic cars to Alaska. The workmen were astounded and one of them turned to his colleague and said, “did you hear that, they're taking 40 cows to Alaska”.

Leaving linguistics aside however there was some competition today which saw Piper and Piper in the red Aston Martin doing particularly well dropping only three seconds through the twisty regularities.

Paul and Sandra Merryweather took their Mercedes 450SL to second place overall by dropping only four seconds all day. Steve Hyde and Janet Lynne in their beautiful (yet thirsty) Porsche 911 ran out of fuel on one of the sections and lost 1m57 on the day. The E Type of Garratt and Brown however still tops the results.

Away from all of this hectic activity we chanced upon John & Isabel Rowe calmly sat by the bank of Morrison Creek enjoying a picnic lunch.

Bad news however reached us this morning when we heard that the #1 Bentley of Claudia and Sonja Schaefer had been hit by a local car. Details are still sketchy but we know that both girls are being well looked after being quickly taken hospital in Knoxville.

Later in the day on the run to Memphis we came across car 11 sat by the side of Pea Ridge Road with a slight overheating problem caused by a broken cooling fan. The sweep crew of Rob Dominy and Bob Harrod soon had them going again for the long blast down the interstate.

We're now well settled into Memphis and as tomorrow's a rest day this should give our old friends tinker and fettle a chance to get busy with the spanners. The rest of us will probably head into town and enjoy. Incidentally, Memphis is in the Central Time zone so we are now six hours behind UK time.

As a one-time famous resident of Memphis said ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.


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