I am writing this from our hotel room in Edmunston ,Canada after a good day rallying.
If you look on Google Earth you can see that Edmunston touches the US border so we are close but we will stay in Canada for a few more days.
The day started early at 6.45 because we first had to drive 40 kms to the 'Petty racing oval' outside the town of Moncton for the start of the rally.
If you don't know a town it makes sense to leave early because of the rush hour traffic. Well we need not have worried because if this was Moncton rush hour I would move here straight away. More of that later.
The Petty race circuit sounds really something but when we got there we found a tiny oval track in a rather run down race park.
So I am not sure if this track was named after NASCAR legend Richard - the king- Petty of the the singer Tom Petty...
Any way to start the rally day we had to do 2 laps around the oval track with a finish at a dirt track on the outside of the oval.
On the oval they had placed some pilons that we had to avoid hitting while we were going around them at full speed.
Grace sat tight and I floored the throttle at the start. The little Pagode did really well and at the time we set the fastest time of that moment. Later a few more Porsches managed to go a second quicker but this little Mercedes is really very good on all surfaces.
After the Petty race track we started the 500 + km cross country run to Edmunston. We don't take the main roads and the route book shows us the real Canada country site. We passed some amazing gravel tracks and some less good off road sections but Grace found them all without fail . She has really got the hang of the navigation system with Tulips, tripmeters and stop watches in a very short space of time. In two days actually .
Anty needs to be careful because she could become competition.. for him.
Around 12.30 there was a time control at a pleasant restaurant location where we could have a nice light lunch.
As these time controls are a sort of regroup of the rally for the organizers most competitors arrive around the same time. Its a good time to exchange experiences and stories and we are already getting to know quite a few people.
So far we all find Canada amazing in scenery but looking and feeling quite poor economically .
The houses and cars we see are pretty old and in bad repair and it strikes us that there are so few people out and about. We really don't know where everybody is. There are a lot of pick-up trucks , the bigger the better. No BMW's and Audi's in sight..
It is also odd that nobody is really interested in our cars even at the coffee and lunch stops when all the cars are parked together.
Compared with Russia or China during the P2P 2013 where people gathered from afar there is no interest at all in our merry little group of mad motorists .
Maybe its this part of Canada and there are other parts that are more prosperous and car mad but we havent seen it yet.
En route today we visited a place called 'magnetic hill' where you're car optically rolls back up a hill. We did it and it is a weird experience. Look it up on internet - Magnetic Hill Canada.
The afternoon session was a lot of kms in fact 125km along one single stretch of two lane road through a forrest landscape. With the exception of maybe ten oncoming cars there was no traffic houses, petrol stations or people for the entire 125 kms.
Until lunch time the weather was really good with clear skies so we drove with the open top from the start this morning. After lunch time the sky clouded over and during the 125 km road session its started to rain a bit and then a bit more. We kept driving with the open top in the rain for the first 40 km of this road . If you keep going there is really no problem but the rain got worse so finally we stopped and got the top up in a Jiffy.
The rest of the afternoon the rain has been coming down in buckets. It made the driving interesting at times particularly when the road was full of pot holes that you could not see.
The day finished with regularity section of ten km on a closed of forrest track. It was wet and very slippery but we got through okay. Then another 40 kms to Edmunston where we arrived an hour and half early for our clock time.
So a good result and certainly it could not have been done with the efficient navigation by Grace. I have decided to bury the Tom Tom deep in the suitcase in the boot of the car because I think I don't need it anymore.
Tomorrow off at 8.30 for our drive to Quebec where we will have our first rest day of the rally. There will be more time then to tell you about this 'franglais' part of Canada where I think half the time they do not know if they are french or english or Canadian.
Many thanks for all you mails and good wishes and a special hallo to Teuni and Annie in Spakenburg who send us such a nice message.