Day 10 St Ignace to Duluth

Another long day out in e forests of the lakes around Michigan but car 23 came home in time and in one piece.

After the intense day of yesterday it promised to be a long day with two regularities in the morning and then a long run to Duluth in the afternoon. We had barely left the hotel at St Ignace when we turned into a dirt road in the forest on the way to our first regularity section.

The regularity section was quite fast – 60 en 65 km average speed- and often over loose sand or gravel. We did well and according to our time & distance chart that Grace keeps checking during the 15 km section we should be off the target time by only 3 seconds. At the end of the day when we hear the official result we find like yesterday that we lost 10 seconds on this test. We are mystified and the only two reasons we can think of for this difference is that or our trip meter shows less distance because of the wheel spin on the loose service or the time controls give us the wrong times.

After two days of this happening we will ask the rally director if he can explain the difference as all the times are noted on our time card every day. This is probably too technical for the non-rally experts but it is frustrating because we are doing really well.

The second morning regularity first brought us seven km down a very wet and muddy forest track called the Creighton Truck Trail before we got to the start of the regularity.

Those seven kms were so muddy that several cars got stuck. Even with stranded cars you have to try and keep moving your own car past them because when you stop you are stuck yourself. In the distance I noticed Anty carefully navigating his MGB V8 through the mud tracks but like us he stayed well out of trouble to get to the regularity start in time.

This 16 km section with one time control stop and an average speed of 65! Km was quite rough and to keep to the 65 km average one had to really push on the short clear straight stretches of gravel. Great fun and again we did well but our calculations were a bit better then the official results at the end of he day.

Speaking about results, we did regain our circuit time from yesterday which was 42 seconds instead of the official 1.05 min last night on the result board. This made us sixth fastest on the track (39 cars) and in this case I think we could have set fastest time if I had not missed a gear. If , if , if….

Before lunchtime we had already reached the shores of Lake Superior a Lake that we would continue to see for most of the afternoon. Lunch was in a small town called of Munsing where we choose a different eatery from the rally-designated place.

It was a bagel restaurant, that had just opened and they served very good bagels and reasonably good coffee. Compared with some of the junk food that is available everywhere this was a nice and reasonably healthy meal. Lunch was with the other three Dutch crews. Anty and Sonja, Tom and Femke and Emile and Marjan.

After lunch there were no more games in the forest just a 450 km run to our night stop in Duluth. We are not quite sure how you pronounce this name so we are open for suggestions.

The roads varied from wide two lanes to smaller local roads. Many times we road along the shore of the Lake Superior sometimes passing through small sleepy villages. Along side the roads we found many roadside sixties style motels that were often closed and boarded up. The weather en-route was good but it got gradually colder particularly near the Lake and at the end of the day we left Michigan to enter Minnesota and into Duluth where we checked into a Lake site hotel at around 17.45.

We have also gone back one hour so the time difference with Holland is now 7 hours instead of 6 hours.

The car is still going strong, the fuel breather fix of yesterday seems to work and the fuel pumps keep working. At the end of the day the throttle cable was a bit sticky but I found later that all the mud of the morning regularities caused that. The car looks great in the mud but probably weighs a few kilos more. It will rain tomorrow so most of it will wash away.

This evening at the hotel a package was waiting for me from Holland. My replacement headlight has arrived from Altena. Now I have to find some time to fix it, which will probably note be before Friday. Thanks team Altena!

Tomorrow an early start and quite along day.

Good night

Mick and Grace