Wednesday, December 4, 2013

We Won

Final days not lacking in drama. No, not at all. The 16 km gravel road between the borders of Argentina and Chile on our route is called "No Man's Land". Certainly no man maintains it. We pulled onto Rio Grande in disrepair with one hour to get to race track. An angel we had met in Buenos Aires, Carlos Menendezbehety, appeared with a full on suspension shop just around the corner.  A pack of wild mechanics patched us together, the angel led us to track with minutes to spare and we held our first position. Back into the shop from 5 to 11PM. After a delicious king crab feast we picked up Fang. These guys are the real deal, racers and artists. The shop was closed, the owner sat waiting in the dark. He would not allow us to pay him at all. We gave his sweet guard perro a steak instead. Now midnight Chuck and seemingly half Rio Grande needed fuel. Lines blocks long. At this point Fang evidenced a fit of wheezing and backfiring which had our worried driver outside at 4:30AM changing everything possible. Did I mention cold? Very.
This morning we reran the track in a Snowstorm! Slipping and sliding in an inch of snow with a clever go cart course inserted on the straight, we opted to just forget speed and stay on the track.
Now for a fun filled blizzard on 80 km of mixed deep mud, snow, hail, and cattle guards. Throw in a two minute flat out medal run and we are rallying for sure. 
When we got to the Tarmac, hours later, Carlos and his pretty wife Alicia, were waiting to cheer us on. Feeling cocky a bit too soon, the snow intensified, the fog rolled in and a scary mountain pass appeared.  
Not until the Clerk of the Course, Kim Bannister flagged us down with a bottle of champagne, did we relax. Just then Fang's fan belt let out a frozen howl.
What a ride.
WE and FANG hung on and won three weeks of racing by a minute... !

A well deserved, nap
Chuck notes:  Ran the track in snow.... Wow.... Engine backfiring ... Think a jet is partially clogged. wind so high, 40 K plus with snow and cold, could not even open hood.  Pressed on and gave up 20 seconds...Had enough left over and made the Last TC with seconds to spare...Huge mountain pass to climb in drifting snow and fog... So thick no photos of finish could be taken.  More like the movie the great race, times two!

Summer in Patagonia

Crossing the Straits


  1. Dear Pam, and Chuck
    WOW what a ride, thanks for letting us all tail along, awesome adventure, now drink, warm up, and be merry;)
    Hugs always

  2. Just remember
    A Whitbread round the world sailboat racer answered the question of why he kept coming back for the next race with........."Short Memory"