Day 20 – Rest day in Reno

We are at the Peppermill Casino Resort Hotel in Reno. Please take the time and Google it and tell me what you think…

It is a massive money factory with a rather cheap clientele who book their two weeks holiday in this place to gamble eat and drink. They are even allowed to smoke in the Gambling rooms. It is a bit like a big cruise ship.

For our rest day stop it is okay though, because the rooms are large with TV’s everywhere including the bathroom. There is enough space to unpack our two suitcases get the laundry of 6 days done and repack.

There was also no alarm clock this morning and no rush to get dressed and ready for the next stage of the rally.

Yesterday was tough day in the Nevada desert and we worried all day about the car stopping again.

In the morning the temperatures were still acceptable and we managed our first regularity of the day with a zero and a one penalty. It was a fairly rough off-road section of about 12 km distance and at about 1900 meters altitude. The car started to get really hot again but we got through all right.

At the lunch halt we parked the car in the shade with the bonnet open and just before leaving a packed some ice in freezer bags against the fuel pumps in the boot of the car.

The second regularity of the day was on tarmac with two intermediate time controls. Again despite the heat we came through with one and a two second penalty. 

It was Grace’s best result of the rally and it was nice to see our names on top of the day results leader board.

We then had a fairly long run to the MTC (main time control) of the day. This was not at the Reno hotel but about 110 km before Reno. It gave us time to cool the car down and have a salad in a very original American diner.

It was about four o’clock when we went on our last non-rally leg to Reno. It had become very hot by then and Anty and I decided to drive this last part of the trip together.

Despite the heat everything went well until we hit the Friday afternoon traffic at Reno.

Getting to the hotel meant a few turns and lane changes with busy traffic around us and in many places no hard shoulders to park in case of trouble.

Then at the worst possible place the engine died and we managed to squeeze between some traffic cones to let the one lane traffic trough. Anty and Sonja managed to park behind us. Bonnet open and wait until the fuels cooled a bit but it must have been 38 degrees in that spot.

After five minutes we got it going again and managed to find the hotel entrance after which the engine died again. Grace found a luggage trolley in this immense complex and we unloaded the car and waited until it cooled down again.

Eventually I managed to park it and get a shower.

The day was not over yet as the organisation had planned a dinner at the Harrah car collection at the Reno car museum. It was worth the trip because the museum has some very nice and interesting cars and the dinner was very good and enjoyable. Not everyone came, as we are all very exhausted from the driving and the extreme heat.

Many cars have hit trouble the last few days and we all hope we can get through this heat in one piece.

Today after a late breakfast Grace took some time off at the Pool of the hotel (for the first time) and I took our little Benz around the corner from the hotel to a car wash.

The car was hand washed and vacuumed inside by a team of Mexicans- there are quite a few here in Reno- and then the car looked as new again. After the wash I drove to a local auto shop to buy some exhaust insulation material and some other insulation material to protect the fuel tank from the heat of the exhaust.

I also wrapped some of the other insulation material around the fuel lines in the engine bay. I was also given some special fuel additive that should keep the fuel in better shape with the heat. It was a few hours work to get it all fitted but fortunately the hotel has a large multi-storey car park that provided a little shade against the afternoon heat.

The man at the auto shop told me that the fuel in his scooter would often boil if it were parked in the sun.

I hope all this effort will help a bit as we only really have another half day of heat tomorrow. Thereafter it will cool down a lot on the way to Eureka. Temperatures in Eureka are tomorrow 18 Celsius so for once we will welcome the cool air of the ocean.

Tonight we had dinner in a local steak restaurant with the other three Dutch crews. I have been craving for spare ribs for over ten days and we could never find them. Today Tom van den Berg found the place across the road and Grace and I treated the others to spare ribs and steak.

Tomorrow one more difficult rally day with three regularity sections probably in the mountains but we will enter California quite soon after starting and then one more day to San Francisco.

Good night,

Mick and Grace