The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015
7th - 28th June 2015
Day 22 - Eureka to San Francisco
Easy, like Sunday morning
Sunday mornings are usually a chance to grab an extra few minutes in bed with a coffee perhaps, or some other distraction. It's a time to kick back and chill out, perhaps even to go to church….
But not this morning. We had a Rally to finish, miles to be done and the Golden Gate Bridge to be crossed. So, despite the damp foggy weather and the effects of the tailgate party last night we downed an omelette and a strong coffee and made for the carpark where all manner of last minute, end of Rally tinkering was going on. No one wanted to breakdown today - of all days.
Albrecht Haase's Sunday though wasn't going to plan. His Jaguar wouldn't start because, last night he'd freewheeled into town having run out of fuel at the top of the mountain. As a result his battery was flat and it was going to need more than a cup of coffee to get it going. What he needed was a bump start and, the sweeps were happy to oblige.
From Eureka, it was a pretty straight drive down the coast to Mendocino where the final MTC was located. Firstly though we had the pleasure of driving through the Humboldt Forest with its amazing giant Redwood trees, one was so big that you could actually drive a car through it, although not a Malaysian Rolls Royce Phantom it would seem.
Once we'd cleared these amazing trees in the aptly named Avenue of the Giants it was down onto the coast and, with the fog gradually lifting we enjoyed a superb run down Highway One towards San Francisco.
This is a must do drive, the Tarmac is exceptional, the views across the water and over the craggy shoreline are amazing and there are plenty of places to stop, eat and take it all in. We weren't in a hurry today as there was no competition so we could really enjoy the journey to the Golden Gate alongside the Ocean.
Pulling up to the finish arch outside the landmark Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, our worthy winners were Peter and Zoe Lovett. This is their second consecutive long distance win and they were naturally thrilled saying that "this was a habit that they could get used to". The equally well travelled and indefatigable Martin and Olivia Hunt meanwhile topped the Vintageant Class in their Medcalf prepared Bentley.
We were very pleased to see some old friends in the crowd outside the hotel who'd flown or driven to San Francisco to welcome the crews home. Lloyd and Treacey Reddington were trying out their car for a second Peking to Paris 'assault'. They'd driven down from Canada and were pleased to report no problems. We look forward to seeing her again next year. More P2P veterans, Robert and Jane Abrey had driven their own Coast to Coast route in their Flying Scotsman, crowd pleasing Chalmers whilst Hayden Burvill was also there checking up on his Porsche engines and cheering on Alastair Caldwell with whom he'd also driven the London - Cape Town World Cup Rally.
An excellent dinner tonight was served on the 24th floor of the Fairmont Hotel overlooking the Bay and Alcatraz Island and, as the silverware was handed out by Kim Bannister, the Clerk of the Course, a long night and happy looked likely.
The discretionary spirit of the Rally Awards were won firstly by Sia and Eric in the Phantom. They've not had an easy ride in their Rolls Royce but have enjoyed every minute of it and have been great company. The second went to Richard Martin and Travis Cole for their well documented efforts with their Datsun 240Z.
It's been a great Rally.