Final countdown starts now….

Saturday afternoon and I found myself landing in unseasonably cool, Phoenix weather.  At the taxi rank with a suitcase appropriately sized to hide a sumo wrestler (containing enough clothing to address a minimum of three completely different climates), I texted cousin dearest to advise of my impending arrival.

Without question, the sensation of automotive panic one usually feels at this point was noticeably missing; replaced instead with the realization I truly could meander through the next few days with a totally different set of priorities than usual (Factor 40 or Factor 70, hair up or down, just which of the multitudinous jackets should I wear today) – because it’s NOT my car!!! Hey, I can even pull a Clarke and sleep for hours, should I so decide!!

Meeting at the stadium, I sensed a gritty determination that was new.  Fervently polishing his chrome wheels, second guessing his decal placement, packing and re-packing the boot (trunk) to ensure it looked rally appropriate…dearest cuz was the human embodiment of a Tasmanian Devil in comparison to previous years, and it rather suited him.  I was introduced to the TR6, and I’m fairly sure he grew a couple of inches as he gave me the guided tour, fatherly pride apparent from every flick of the polishing rag.  It really was rather endearing.

Each car is decked out with race number and name of driver/co-driver.  However, it seemed only reasonable that we should be driver and driver this year; an easy modification thanks to the invention of scissors.  And I’m happy to say, the car really does look great.  Clearly loved by the previous owner; including a clean engine and nice straight lines everywhere you’d want to see them.  A combination of Royal Blue paint and tan interior; which is an elegantly understated choice, highlighted perfectly with the shiny spokes.

We started it up, and after a minimal amount of choke and coaxing, the engine came to life.  A slightly different note than the Egg, delivering a healthy consistency of rhythm that suggests many happy miles to come.  Clearly my offering of a Lucas wiring harness to the rally gods has paid off.

And then to the next best part of Saturday – catching up with old, and making new friends.  There’s a good percentage of first timers this year, a few faces we’ve not seen for a while as well as the closest members of my rally family.  Stories are swapped, introductions made, or just hugs and smiles shared with great people.  Having lived over here since 1995, the concept of family has definitely expanded, and I’m extraordinarily lucky to have such a varied selection of friends that contribute to my personal global village.

As the afternoon wore on, the sun decided to peak back out from the clouds, bringing that final re-balance.  It’s going to be another great rally, I can feel it!

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