Saturday…prep day, and I was ready to officially start my eggadventure!
A typically entertaining Southwest experience with our inhouse comedian Bob the flight attendant, was followed by a quick taxi ride to Tempe stadium. Cars had already started to be placed on the in-field, race decals were being fixed, and everyone was smiling. Joining the line of registrants, I waited to collect my goodies; race jacket, the route map and of course, my number!
The register came back with my bag, and a slightly peturbed look on his face. It seemed that for some reason, #23 had not made it to the check in. My heart sank, as the idea of driving naked was not something I’d anticipated, or was even sure would be allowed in the rule book. Fortunately, I was in the hands of professionals, and whilst ideas involving paper cut-outs and sharpies percolated my brain, an alternative was located…..and in less time than it takes to say “happy birthday”, I’d gone from 23 to 29. Still consideraby younger than my real age, so no complaintes here!
Once the Egg was dressed, we started to investigate the rest of the entrants, and by the end of the afternoon had met a great mix of newbies and rally regulars. It soon became apparent that I’d selected a more fun than furious option; as all the stories contained the same ingredients – good people, great roads, and the only requirement was to enjoy every moment. By the end of the afternoon, I’d also had a pretty good lesson in American geography, as the other drivers had come in from, literally, all four corners of the country.
My years of trawling auctions with Bud, or hanging out in garages and racetracks, have clearly served me well; as I came to realise that not only do I know the difference between Pininfarina and Bertone, I can completely appreciate the phrase ‘Zagato Jaguar'(and it is really is exquisite)!! However, the high spot of my day started when a total stranger walked up and said, “so I’m glad to see you haven’t cracked the egg”. He introduced himself as one of the Copperstate organisers, and let me know that he’d not only found the blog completely by accident…he was still reading it!!
Sunday..first rally day. Our route was to be 300 plus miles from Phoenix to Flagstaff, taking us through some beautiful countryside and on one the most fun roads I’ve driven, EVER…….! The morning started early, as the stadium opened at 8am to the general public; and by 9am we’d all assembled for the drivers meeting.
After we were all instructed (avoid speeding tickets, don’t panic if you break down, remember to stop for food), everyone headed back to the cars and waited, not all so patiently, to head out of the stadium to a combination of waving and cheering. Once out of Phoenix we turned off the freeway and headed out to driving country.
The routes are selected to give all the cars an opportunity to stretch their pushrods. No matter what the marque, the variety ensures that all the vehicles are able to be pushed to the limit of the driver. I’m happy to report that we did a fair amount of overtaking, and the Egg seemed more than happy to sing at 80 plus. However the piece de resistance of the day was our lunch bookend. Heading north on I-93, you’ll come to a right turn onto the 97 to Bagdad; and it’s sublime. A collection of gentle sweeps and slightly more aggressive switchbacks combined with dips that create a slight “rollecrcoaster sensation”. The road seems almost too good not to have been manufactured, except that the surrounding countryside is just as spectacular.
The afternoon took us on to Flagstaff. Clouds in the distance inevitably crept closer, and snow began to appear on the side of the road. Fortunately the 6 – 8 inches that fell last night hadn’t all remained, and I finally realised the value of all weather tyres. Sleet and rain interspersed, but the Egg continued unperturbed. In fact, I think she actually quite liked it…temperature gauge sat happily at mid range, and no sense of a slippy back-end.
Pulling into the final stop, I’m happy to report that although Porsches hadn’t fared too well today (three being worked on by the mechanics), mine wasn’t on that list. Most of the cars already parked for the night were at the bigger end of the engine scale, or had fancy Italian pedigrees..so I didn’t feel too bad with our performance! On to tomorrow………..