The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015

7th - 28th June 2015

Day 19 - Elko to Reno

Every One's a Winner

Nevada is to gambling what Yorkshire is to cricket or France is to cheese wine and industrial action, or Rotterdam is to shipping, so as we awoke this morning and took breakfast we were relieved to see that everyone in the Rally still had the shirts on their back and had resisted the temptations of the tables or the call of the croupier.

Even David and Jo Roberts had managed to stay away from the slot machines and they had more reason than most to feel lucky as they've been double winners so far on the Rally. They won the fancy dress competition and the Yellowstone quiz "about the only thing we can't win is a rally" quipped David.

Everything seems to have a Casino tagged onto it here. Day care centres, dentists, gas stations, fast food outlets; they all use the suffix '..... & Casino'.

Because they often attract the weak, vulnerable and feckless the gaming establishments have strict admission criteria and wisely limit the numbers of those who don't fall into that category.

One of the last businesses we saw though, Randy's Ranch which flashed by on our right as we pulled out of Elko didn't have a casino and, I bet they don't have any animals either.

Anyway, straight down the road - and I mean straight - we had the first Regularity of the day. The 15 km Garden Pass which took us along part of the Old Pony Express Trail. This was a broken, hilly track with corkscrew turns and short punchy straights. Keeping to the average speed set by Kim Bannister, the Clerk of the Course, was a tough ask but six crews managed it with aplomb only dropping one second. Among them were Mick and Grace de Haas and Richard Worts and Nicola Shackelton. I bet they're pleased with themselves.

The Winkleman Porsche was left by the side of the road for a few minutes, possibly with a stone in his hoof. Mark has left the Rally and Colin has been joined by his wife Samantha as co-driver.

In the Toiyabe National Forest, which is strangely short of trees we found Stephen Partridge and Corgi Le Grouw by the side of the road attending to a fuel starvation problem with Betty the Ford. There was fuel in the tank but it wasn't getting to the carburettor. Nick and Dom Marmont had sportingly stopped to help along with Peter Holmes and Graham Clifton. This was a long hot drag to the Austin Summit before the long hot downhill to the coffee halt and Time Control down in the town of Austin. Betty recovered once she had cooled off a little.

Pulling out of the TC onto Highway 50, The Loneliest Road in America we headed for the second Regularity of the day at Eastgate, just along from the Reese River and alongside one of many shimmering white dry lake beds. This was fast tarmac territory which took us over the Churchill County Line and back onto Highway 50 to Fallon the Oasis of Nevada where we were to have lunch in Jerry's diner.

Signs by the road warned us to look out for low flying aircraft through the Fallon Naval Air Range and right on cue, today's Top Gun top cover was provided by two Blackhawks and Two Apache helicopters test firing and manoeuvring at low level. We could almost claim it as a fly past as we progressed dodging the wild horses on the road to Carson City and over Geiger Summit into Reno.

This is another gambling town but tonight we had something closer to home to enjoy. A visit to the Reno Motor Museum where we sat down to a silver service dinner alongside the original Thomas Flyer Motor car (see Syd's passim).

There have been problems for some today along the road, the most serious concerning  Marco and Carol Marinello's Porsche 912 which suffered a small engine fire. Damage was thankfully slight and it's already in a Porsche workshop in Reno where it should be repaired in time to take the start again on Saturday morning.

Tomorrow is the long awaited Reno rest day. I bet we'll all enjoy it.

Syd Stelvio



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