Monthly Archives: September 2009

TC 2009 Day 2 – St Louis to Denver

It took some gear grinding but I made over to a nearby mechanic this morning after checking out of the hotel. Their suspicion after a test drive is a bad bearing in the transmission. But it’s Saturday so the earliest they can do any real work would be Monday. And my car is not made anymore so it could take a day or two to find parts or a used tranny (it’s a 99 Suzuki Sidekick BTW).

The car is semi drivable. 1st and 2nd grind a lot. It’s real hard to get out of 4th. But 3rd and 5th seem OK.

After some serious thought I decide it’s best to head home now. I just don’t want to risk having it fail completely heading even further from home. So I fill the tank and make it onto the highway toward home. It’s a stressful drive not knowing if and when the car may get stuck. The stops are the worst. It’s not too bad on the highway in 5th gear.

I had a few scares with weird noises but I made it fine until my last gas stop. As I tried to leave the station the grinding was the worst it’s been. Somehow I grinded enough in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd to get into 4th at about 25mph going up the ramp back onto the highway. I tried 5th and it was terrible too so quickly back into 4th. And there I stayed for the next 200 miles going 55-60mph the rest of the way home. Luckily I live only a mile off of the highway. I was able to time the three lights green. Once in my neighborhood I ran two 4-way stop signs to get to my house still in 4th gear. One benefit to getting home late – no one around.

Ugh. So no Team Challenge for me this year. I was pretty bummed driving back home thinking about all I’m going to miss this week.

I was away from my house for 38 hours. I spent 26 of those actually driving. The rest was gas/food stops, a nights sleep, and some time at the mechanic. And I drove 1650 miles. I got to see eastern Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. Twice, each. In as many days. Booorrrriiiinnnnnggggg!

OK, so what is with Missouri? At least along I-70? I have never seen so many pro-life billboards, church and Jesus billboards, and porn shops. And did I mention billboards? Millions of them. At least the gas was cheap(er) there. I payed about $2.15 in MO. The most was $2.59 in Kansas.

Sorry there is no flying in this post. But my glider got to see a bunch of the country. I will say one thing. Get a Gunnison Gliders travel bag. I drove through some nasty rain and was very glad my glider was all nice and safe in that heavy bag.

OK, I’m totally exhausted. It’s bed time for me.

To those that are at the Team Challenge – enjoy and good luck.


TC 2009 Day 1 – Denver to St Louis

I haven’t written anything since WW Demo Days so I thought I should get back to it. I left Denver about 9:30am. I stopped about 11pm near Offallen MO I believe. Kind of near St Louis. I still have about 7.5 hours to Dunlap.

Other than a bunch of rain it was an uneventful drive right up until the end. I was starting to look for a place to stop for the night when the traffic came to a stop. There was some sort of accident. I was stopped a 1/4 mile short of an exit with a few hotels. Ok, I’ll get off here. Strangely my car decided it was time for the clutch to go. I was grinding gears trying to make it to the exit. I hung out in the shoulder incase it died for real. But luckily I made it to the exit and 3rd gear wasn’t bad at all. I made it to the hotel after some more grinding in 1st, 2nd, and reverse.

I guess I better go straight to the nearest service station in the morning. Saturday should be fun. Spending lots of time and money on the car. And it’s supposed to be thunderstorms too. I guess I’ll be late to Dunlap. Ugh.

Ironically I was talking with another pilot about his clutch going bad in his car just a couple of weeks ago while we were driving to launch in my car.