The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015

7th - 28th June 2015

Day 8 - Buffalo to Bay City

A Tale of Two Lakes

Today we play name that tune as we drive the route between Lake Ontario and Lake Huron and slipped seamlessly between two unlikely lyrical bedfellows. Simon and Garfunkel, the pride of Queens, New York and The Bay City Rollers - once the pride of Scotland, in 549 easy listening kilometres.

We enjoyed an early start as there was a lot to get through today and, following the visit to the museum last night it was a case of So long Frank Lloyd Wright as the Rally pulled out of Buffalo at precisely one minute intervals and turned onto the Peace Bridge, which led us right back into the country of the Maple Leaf. We'd enjoyed Canada so much that we couldn't resist spending a few more hours there on our way to Bay City, and it was also the shortest way to get there. By a happy coincidence, the uncle of Marco and Carol Marinello runs a service station on the route and he was kind enough to host the Rally for an impromptu halt where we found a warm welcome and fresh cookies. Many thanks from all of us.

There were two gravel Regularities today. The first one at Grand River and the second one at Old Stage Road. We slipped and splashed our way across flat, fertile and wide open farmland with the thread of gravel rising and falling its way to the horizon.

Three crews managed a perfect zero for the entire day, Greg and Liz Newton, Jean and Anne Steinhauser and Richard Worts and Nicola Shackleton, our defending champions. Could they be staging something of a fightback?

Unfortunately the rain, as you will have gathered, fell in buckets again today but spirits weren’t dampened by this and, by the time we’d finished lunch, in the North Star Restaurant in Elginfield the Rally was raring to get going once again.

Sadly, the highly anticipated test at the Grand Bend Speedway had to be cancelled because of the heavy rain, so David and Jo Roberts reluctantly stowed away their nitrous bottle and rejoined us on the road back to the USA. ‘Slow Down you're moving too fast’, rang in their ears as we made our way out of Canada and across the Blue Water Bridge which spans the St Clair River a full 64m below and leads into Port Huron with a cheery ‘Welcome to the USA. Pure Michigan’ signpost letting you know that you’re safely in.

For some, the border crossing wasn’t without drama though. Trevor Finn and Lorna Hackett blew a top hose from the engine of their Chevrolet Camaro only a few metres from the crossing point and, as green river of coolant spread beneath them a queue formed behind them. Luckily a sweep crew was minutes away so they were quickly back on their way.

It might have taken Simon and Garfunkel Four days to Hitchhike from Saginaw but once we got onto the Interstate we motored right on past it in about ten minutes and, by the time we reached the hotel we’d all become Bay City Rollers. Especially the sweeps who are still busy rebuilding a magneto for the Malaysian Rolls Royce of Hok Kiang Sia and Eric Rong Sia.

Nothing has changed on the leaderboard this evening. Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown still lead from the Peter and Zoe Lovett,  Alan and Tina Beardshaw look comfortable in third place while Clint and Dawn Smith are holding on to fourth.

There was a Monsters Ball theme to dinner this evening. Some of the attendees have hideously huge, mis-shapen facial features, missing teeth, deformed bodies and wild and unkempt hair; and the costumes they chose tried to reflect this. A good effort all round. David and Jo Roberts were declared the winners based on the audience clap-o-meter response.

Syd Stelvio



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