Follow along as we drive the Mobil 1 Camaro from the home office in Topeka, Kansas to the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska where we will participate in the United States Road Rally Challenge and then drive from there to Indianapolis for the 2017 SCCA Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Along the way we will try not to get lost, avoid bears, see much of two countries and drive the Mobil 1 Camaro 7,500 miles in 14 days.
Friday September 22: 7:05PM Eastern Time
12 Days and six minutes.
8,243.8 Miles (4,0227 Miles back)
224 hours spent inside the car.
What a trip.
I am sure I will have some more thoughts, a lot of thank-yous, some final notes and details that are rattling around in my head. but now, I am kind of dazed.
Friday September 22: 3:15PM Central Time
The Mobil 1 Camaro has crossed into Indiana (Back Home Again)
Chicago sure does know how to mess up an ETA. So much for making registration tonight.. Guess the "official" arrival will be tomorrow morning, but expect a photo from outside the track tonight at least.
150 miles to go.
Music: Mark Knopfler - Speedway At Nazareth.
Friday September 22: 10:00AM Central Time
500 miles to go until the Mobil 1 Camaro pulls into the Indianapolis Motor Spedway.
I'd love to tell an adventure story about last night, but I have none. The clerk came right to the desk, I had a room within five minutes, the water was hot and the bed was soft. You all can comment/tell me in person whether I wussed out by getting a room and not coming all the way back sleeping in the car.
So with roughly seven hours of driving left, I should get to the Speedway sometime in the early evening or just after rush hour in Indianapolis. We will see if the trip stays on time.
Thursday September 21: 7:00PM Central Time
Back in the USA.
Warning - If you come south from Winnipeg into North Dakota.. be aware you need to plan for 70 miles of driving before fuel. I made it.. but on fumes.
It's good to be back, it's good to have 75mph speed limits. Especially since the day of traveling in Canada proved slower than I initially thought because of lower speed limits and construction. I'm about 4 hours behind where I wanted to be. I'll probably relieve the scars of last nights camping be getting a hotel tonight. That will end up pushing my arrival time in Indy back some, but at some point.. enough is enough. I am 3,000 miles into the trip and still have 900 to go and admittedly, the time in the car - even this awesome Mobil 1 Camaro - is wearing on me. (I have spent roughly 200 hours in the past 12 days inside the Mobil 1 Camaro.)
Wow, when I measure it like that, I see why it's wearing on me. I guess it's kind of like racing budgets.. never count them right?
So, my dinner is finished, and it's time to go climb back in and turn the radio up for a few more hours tonight...
Thursday September 21: 8:00AM Mountain Time
After the sun went down last night, it was time to play the usual, "dodge the animals" game. Nothing as exciting as the Porcupine and duck-goose, but a Coyote, many rodents and an owl all took turns dancing in the headlights of the Mobil 1 Camaro. All of them went on their way intact.
As midnight neared, the eyes got that familiar burning sensation that comes with hours on the road and I decided it was time to sleep so I punched in "Rest Area" into the GPS. 30KM ahead it let me know. Not bad at all.
When I got there, it seems that my definition of rest area and others seems to differ. The first problem was it said, "turn left on unpaved road" and then led me down a trail to an open area with camping grills along the treeline. In the daytime I am sure this is fine, but at midnight, in the dark, while tired, it looked at lot like Mrs. Voorhees home for wayward serial killers.
Telling myself there were probably not any Canadian serial killers, or at least none of the famous ones I have heard of were from Canada I parked along the trees and went to sleep in a setting from a Scooby Doo cartoon. I did text friends at home to let them know where I last was in case the sun came up and I didn't.
The sun did come up, I am still here and working my way to Winnipeg before turning south to cross the border.
Wednesday September 20: 7:00PM Mountain Time
The sun is going down on a long day across Canada, and still nearly 600 miles to go before I cross the border back into North Dakota. Before I go further I must express some car-guy love for Canadians. I got stuck in traffic in Edmonton a little while ago, stop-and-go for an accident on surface streets and wow - they are really good at absolutely avoiding gridlock here they simply do not enter an intersection unless they know it's clear for them on the other side. We have some states that could use lessons. (You guys know who I am looking at!)
I finally cleared the rain, and the snow. Did I not mention the snow? Oh yes.. and sleet.
I did get texted a picture of my paddock spot at Indy today. it looks lonely, but not for long. 25 More hours of driving, about 12 more hours of sleeping puts my ETA at the Speedway sometime Friday morning.
Wednesday September 20: 12:00PM Mountain Time
Another tough drive last night. The goose or duck or whatever it was wandering drunkenly around the road should go marry the porcupine I mentioned in the previous update. They should walk down an isle lined with cones.
Heading down the Alaskan Highway, the curvy twisty roads give way to the oil field areas - which, the loss of scenery didn't matter to me much because it was dark, and rainy with truck traffic rutted roads filled with water. The bad news is it creates hydroplaning. The good news is the ruts are deep enough they kept me on the road like some demonic version of the Disney World go karts which despite having a steering wheel - the center metal rail keeps you on the track.
I opted to postpone the e-ticket ride and stop for the night. When my alarm went off at 5:30 it was still dark and raining, so I slept for another hour until it was only one of those.
We have completed the Alaska Highway portion of our journey and still have another day in Canada before I cross back south of the border. With this nearing, I had a revelation today: This journey ends at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where myself and roughly 1,000 other SCCA drivers will strap in our cars to race at the Brickyard. I mean - we knew this, but it's a big deal and I will probably mention it a few more times during the next two days..
Tuesday September 19: 8:00PM Pacific Time
The sun is setting in Fort Nelson, British Columbia and it's dinner time for people and car. I will fill up on a hamburger, the Mobil 1 Camaro will get filled up at the Esso station.
Today's trip was full of great views - not only of the landscape but the wild animal park (with actual wild animals) that the Alaskan Highway is. I was about to give up on taking pictures of Bison I had seen so many, when I came across a heard milling about with maybe 80 of them of all shapes and sizes. The one I saw on the way up and described as a "furry tank" - yeah, turns out that one was medium sized. One of them today looked to be twice as large.
We have knocked out nearly 700 miles so far today, and going to try to put away another couple hundred before bedding down for the night, and I am going to try to get back on Indianapolis time (Eastern). Until sleep, the sun is down and I'm going to go try not to hit any of the aforementioned wildlife.
SCCA Skill Level: A porcupine somewhere out there in the Yukon owes the rest of its life to way too many days spent dodging cones in parking lots.
Tuesday September 19: 8:00AM Pacific Time
We have crossed into Canada again and worked our way back into the Yukon. We stopped overnight at a "rest stop" sleeping in the car and when I woke at 3am, instead of driving I lay awake looking out the window and watching the faint glow of the Aurora rise and fall dimly through partial cloud cover.
I did see a new animal for the trip last night - Caribou. These might actually be more impressive than Moose, as the males stand up tall, stare you down and with their antlers seem to be about 12 feet tall. It's impressive. At about midnight I slowed way down and drove through a heard of them, but any time I tried to take a picture, they wandered out of my headlights.
Today we will keep working southeast, and the GPS says there are 49 hours of driving until the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, so it's a matter of keeping on keeping on.
Mental Condition: Thinking a lot about Runoffs, what my game plan is for my own competition, and what to do to make sure we bring the story here for those of you who can't make it.
Monday September 18: 3:30PM Alaska Time
The sun is slowly dropping on the horizon and I am 550 miles into the trip to Indy and have 3,330 to go as I fill up the car in Tok, AK. 90 miles from now I will cross back into Canada and begin the trip across and down.
As I watch Alaska drift into the rear view, I would be lying if I said it wasn't a little emotional as this trip and week moves on.
Before I left I did make a small detour to Tannacross DNR tanker base - the airfield which is transformed into a road course for races here in Alaska. I figured it was a fitting final stop as I make my way to the premier SCCA road racing event.
Correction - In an earlier version I mentioned SCCA Road Races at Tannacross, but the Alaska Sports Car Lions Club sanctions the road racing at Tannacross.
Sunday September 17: 10:55PM Alaska Time
The 2017 SCCA United States RoadRally Challenge is a wrap - for teams, organizers and of course the crew of the Mobil 1 Camaro.
In the end, we did better overall, with the seventh best stock class score today, but it wasn't enough to drag us out of mid pack for the event. We were most proud of our two lowest check point scores - a 1 and a 5. Meaning, we met the goal time of those stages by 0.6 and 3.0 seconds. (For this event, scoring is 1 point per each hundredth of a minute off of the ideal time.) Of course - we also missed one checkpoint totally (+300) which caused us to take the maximum for the next checkpoint we arrived at (+250). Other checkpoints we made within 30 seconds and 15 seconds - not at all bad considering there were surprise construction zones with stopped traffic giving competitors fits.
Overall - our first formal RoadRally was an intense but wonderful experience, and as usual at an SCCA event, we made new friends. Leaving the end-event cookout was full of bittersweet moments where each team celebrated accomplishments while also saying good byes.
As I wind down in the hotel for a final night of rest before moving on to the next portion of this road trip, I do have some final United States RoadRally Challenge thoughts. First up - A massive thank-you to Rally Master Cheryl Babbe and the entire USRRC crew. The work going into each of the stages and legs is something I can't even fathom, and they put tremendous time into planning, finding and working each of these portions to watch the rest of us have fun - or get frustrated with them when we don't. I'd say it's a thankless job, but I am here giving them thanks so that wouldn't be accurate, and RoadRally is nothing if not exactingly accurate.
After the organizers - I want to give a big thanks to each of the other participants in the event. The encouragement, help and friendship really make the event something beyond just competition.
Next, I want to give a big shout out to the Mobil 1 Camaro. It may honestly be the most comfortable car I have driven - a tough feat when one is sitting in the seat for days at a time. It is also a great mix of sporty handling for the mountain curves while not feeling fragile as we bounced down dirt and gravel roads. I'll have to turn this car over for pace car duties in a week and as I think about doing the 2017 USRRC in and around St Louis, Missouri I get sad thinking that I might end up driving a different car.
Finally and certainly not least - a big thanks to Laura - for being the most amazing road trip companion and navigator I could ever ask for.
So what's next? Well, we turn our thoughts - and the Mobil 1 Camaro - towards the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 2017 SCCA Runoffs. Practice starts in seven days, and I am 3,800 miles away.
Stay tuned, we have an entire trip back across Canada, and you're still riding shotgun.
Sunday September 17: 9:30AM Alaska Time
We're in the morning meeting and about to head out on the final day of the 2017 SCCA USRRC. We are well rested considering our early-morning astronomical antics, and the fact we stayed up late hanging out with new friends and visiting the Salty Dawg Saloon on the Homer Spit.
Laura is going over the route instructions and crunching numbers, and each of us are focused and ready to go. We were ready to correct our mistakes from the past two days and hopefully minimize ones we made today.
Sunday September 17: 4:15AM Alaska Time
The alarm blared a little while ago - we set it for 3:45am. Why, you ask?
It's not a spectacular view right now, and whispy clouds which gave way to thicker ones eventually removed our view, but there was something very drive-in movie Americana-like as we sat in the Mobil 1 Camaro at the parking area at the top of the hill overlooking Homer, AK watching faint green pulses play like nature's silent film through the windshield.
Saturday September 16: 7:30PM Alaska Time
Another long day with its ups and downs. Sorry about the lack of updates - it turns out there is a serious lack of cell phone service on the Kenai Peninsula, which is great for vacationing and unplugging from the world, but not so good when trying to update this!
For the organizers, the day started out tough with a washed out road overnight throwing a disruption - and delay - to the day's events. Eventually two legs of the scheduled five were canceled for the road issue and resulting delays.
For us, the day was a mixed bag. We are pretty sure we nailed the first checkpoint with a near 0 score (lowest wins in RoadRally) but the second checkpoint was less perfect, and by less perfect I mean completely horrid and I think they sent out a search party.
The rest of the event was a mix of maximum scores and one good checkpoint. We did purposely abandon hope of a good score to stop and watch an Alaskan Peninsula Brown Bear hunt Salmon. Totally worth the "maximum" 300 point penalty.
Tonight we are stopped in Homer, Alaska and staying at the Ocean Shores beachfront lodge, the owner of which is a car guy like the rest of us, and drives an LS (V8) swapped third generation Mazda RX-7.
Tomorrow we RoadRally again, but for now there are some very fresh oysters waiting for me.
Friday September 15: 7:45PM Alaska Time
Whew. Four RoadRally legs today, some better than others and we are hoping we can take a serious look at what we did right and wrong today to apply it to tomorrow and Sunday.
As promised, this is an amazing location for an intense day of driving, with roads, stops and views well picked by the organizers. Alaska offers a lot of moments you must remind yourself to keep your eyes on the road instead of out the various windows offering postcard views. There might have been a couple times today where I said, "I say we just take the maximum penalty points for each leg and drive around at 20mph with our jaws on the floor."
During the drivers meeting last night, I announced to people that I didn't want to just say what RoadRally is, but also how RoadRally is. Meaning - To describe the nuts and bolts of RoadRally can honestly be kind of bland. There just isn't an exciting way to talk about averaging accurate speeds and following exacting directions. But - to describe how it feels to be involved is a much easier task. At different times today we were nervous, focused, frustrated, exhilarated, energized and as I sit here typing this - a little exhausted. The same roller coaster of emotions I feel when I go road racing or autocrossing.
For the lows of today, I thought it was one of the two times we ended up off course. Notice I don't use the word "lost" here - I never felt in danger of being abandoned to the wolves or bears, but there is a moment when your heart sinks when you realize you missed the nuance of a direction. But, I digress - notice I said "thought" those were my lows. The real low came when SportsCar magazine's Philip Royle said to me that he hadn't seen us at one of the checkpoints - meaning - we thought we were on course, but totally missed a checkpoint without even knowing.
As far as the highs - reaching a checkpoint covering 14 minutes of driving within 4.2 seconds of our target time where the directions involved three speed changes and two time allowance adjustments for road conditions. It involved math in two directions, and then a steady right foot to stay on target. Of course that makes this sound amazingly convoluted, so I'll put it in more simple terms: For those of us who pride ourselves at being aware of our driving skills, RoadRallying pushes your inner clock and awareness to its limits. This isn't just carving through a clover-leaf or set of curves kind of skill, but being aware of where you are, how far you have gone and where you need to go.
The good news is - for those that might not want to even be that serious about it, there are a lot of smiling faces and self deprecating humor at the end of each leg, and as usual, the people less concerned with how they do seem to be having the most fun. I suppose we could go for that, but Laura is looking at some RoadRally applications for the phone, so somehow I doubt that's going to be the case for the two type-a personalities at the helm of the Mobil 1 Camaro...
Friday September 15: 12:33pm Alaska Time
A week ago at solo nationals, while talking to a couple of competitors who had less than optimum events the phrase, "if it was easy we wouldn't do it" came up. RoadRally is easy to participate, but much harder to be perfect at. Complicating things is the fact that roads being living breathing things at times (think surprise construction) some of the difficulty is thrust upon you by factors other than yourself. For both competitors and organizers this is a major challenge, but I admit at the moment I am having a harder time that I would like "moving on" so to speak.
So it's time for leg number three, reset the brain, take a deep breath and get back to focusing.
Like I said after leg one - intense.
Friday September 15: 10:11am Alaska Time
First leg of the RoadRally complete. It is, as described intense.
There are lots of rules you get told for RoadRally. Main road rule, rules for abbreviations, rules for classes.. I have the most important one for anyone considering RoadRally, which no one told me.
Go to the bathroom before you start.
I'll describe more feelings later, but it's time to get back on the road.
Thursday September 14: 9:00PM Alaska Time
We made it.
After 3,595 Miles and four days two hours and thirty minutes of driving since we left the SCCA home office in Topeka we pulled into the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage, AK.
The trip into Anchorage was amazing – I already mentioned the restaurant, but it got even better as the road wound around a mountain range and along a river while water planes took off beside us and clouds crested the icy mountain tops. I was torn between driving as fast as prudently safe on the twisty road with its bounding elevation changes, or creeping along to enjoy the super-saturated yellows of fall colors, the glaciers, or the river running beside us. As a car guy, maybe I should be embarrassed to admit the Mobil 1 Camaro was being driven at horse and buggy speeds much of the time on those wonderful roads. Then again, maybe not.
At check-in, we added more stickers to the growing collection on the Mobil 1 Camaro (Rally door sticker, windshield banner and bumper number) and went through tech and safety inspection. We worked through registration, ate pizza (Thanks Chevrolet!) and now sit getting a crash course in SCCA RoadRally – which, I might not have mentioned I have very little experience with.
The location is excellent, the museum boasts a collection of planes including a P40 under restoration and an F-15 fighter jet - all parked within a few yards of the Mobil 1 Camaro. RoadRally people talk about tricky directions as “traps.” For this speed freak, the first “trap” is the distraction of these amazing machines so close.
Tonight, we will go get some rest and get ready for tomorrow, which starts with a breakfast meeting and an “odometer check” before heading out on the route south. It would be wrong of me not to make note that fellow RoadRally and SCCA member Rose has offered up her house for Laura and I to stay in tonight. After the car and the rustic hotel, it's like getting upgraded to first class.
Thursday September 14: 11:40AM Alaska Time
Well, we thought it was going to be a 3-hour drive into Anchorage, but it turns out that when every turn in the road produces a view you want to pull over for, things don't go to plan.
We have about 100 miles to go before we reach the aviation museum, and are stopped at the Long Rifle Lodge as suggested by SCCA Targa RoadRally master Peter Schneider. We second the recommendation, as the food is good and the view is spectacular with a foreground of fall colors giving way to the bright white of the Matanuska Glacier and a backdrop of jagged snow capped mountains.
Thursday September 14: 8:45AM Alaska time
It's amazing how much better one feels after a night laying in a bed and those things where you stand up and let the water run over you? I forget the word.. oh yes a, "shower." Those are wonderful and I predict they will be the next new thing when they catch on.
In all seriousness - the intention was to use truck stop showers. Turns out I was just happy for the right gasoline (Yay for the Esso station with Synergy Fuel Technology available in Fort Nelson!)
So, now we sit after having enjoyed a nights sleep in a hotel, but still with 190 miles to go before we reach Anchorage where we hope to refresh our provisions and find a car wash because, as much as I love the story the dirt on the car tells, I don't think I want to pull up to the welcome party trailing a cloud of dust.
Also - a note: Be sure to check out the gallery below for more pics from the trip.
Wildlife: Yep that really was a bobcat last night.
Hotel: Rustic, but anything is a 5-star after living in a car for a few days.
Wednesday September 13: 8:45PM Alaska time
We made it to Alaska. We still have 300 miles until we are in Anchorage and are sitting in the town of Tok. It has two gas stations, an airfield and a hotel/restaurant. We are taking advantage of the restaurant because the next food is 93 miles away.
We hope to get to that town and get our first hotel in three days, then finish up the drive to the welcome party after we sleep in a little.
Forgotten detail: while on the overnight drive I mentioned in the last post, there was a point where I went 2 hours and 25 minutes without seeing another car. If you are ok being alone, this is your kind of trip.
Stories you don't hear back east, but the people are joking about at the table next to us: "so the bear evidently ripped open his garage and when he got home, it was in his kitchen."
Wednesday September 13: I can't even tell what time it is anymore.
I say that for so many reasons. The views, the wildlife, the distance. Since we left you last, sitting at a pizza place in Fort Nelson, we have covered enough distance to cross Texas.
Whoever coined the phrase "everything is bigger in Texas" hasn't made this trip.
Last night's drive was one of the hardest I have done. It was dark, it was rainy, it was foggy, it was curvy. There were moose greeting us with green glowing eyes which towered above the car. There were deer. There were fox. There were sheer rock walls. When day broke, there was a
Buffalo Bison* wandering down the road. He ignored me when I took pics of him. I guess when you are a giant furry tank, you don't have to care.
We did stop to sleep - for about 2 hours next to an airfield of some type. I couldn't see it but knew it was there because we parked near a sign that said, "active airfield, keep off." When the sun finally got above the trees, we stopped at the Watson Lake Sign Post Forrest - a place where travelers leave their "mark" by putting objects on one of hundreds of posts. Confession: SCCA might have given up an SCCA cone to the roadside attraction... (I blame it on the person who left the cones in the trunk of the Mobil 1 Camaro.. I mean.. what was I supposed to do?)
We did fine on fuel, perfecting the distance to the large town with our five gallons of 93 octane we bought. Warning.. there is fuel, but good luck finding much other than 87 octane.
We now sit in Whitehorse, Yukon. Bleary-eyed and the "to go" distance is still above 700 miles.
*Turns out the Canadian light-up DOT sign called them Buffalo, but more accurately they are Bison. Africa has Buffalo, North America has Bison.
Tuesday September 12: 7:54 Pacific Time
It’s a very strange feeling when the GPS voice comes over the speakers and says, “Turn left in 976 miles” but that’s exactly what happened when we turned on the Alaskan Highway at 4:00PM Mountain Time.
Since then we have driven through rain, a road covered in enough mud to make me question if there was asphalt somewhere under my wheels, dodged an oncoming 18-wheeler making a very optimistic pass, a sky so saturated in color it reflected bright blue in the rain-soaked road and one hell of a sunset.
Despite slipping and sliding and dodging death, the views have made the trip worth it. With 700 miles to go before we turn, we hope to see an amazing dark sky, and most likely a sunrise before we reach the Alaska border.
For now – we are stopped to eat and get gas in Fort Nelson, British Columbia and I feel comfortable with about 10 hours of travel time in fuel lest we run into closed gas stations.
Car condition: Covered in streaked dirt.
Weather: Getting colder.
Tuesday September 12: 12:30 Mountain Time
Halfway point reached and we are stopped for lunch in Valleyview, about 65 Miles southeast of Grande Prairie where we will pick up the Alaskan Highway.
Each of these towns are like little oasis in a sea of rolling hills and trees - some of them larger than others. The smaller ones are little more than outposts and we are not even really into the "wilderness" area of what we're going to travel through. The gas stations at them have older style gas pumps, so even though I was told "you'll be fine," I am not convinced of my ability to get gas in the middle of the night tonight. I suppose when we get closer to 9:00PM, I'll fill the tank and the spare gas can which should give us 9-10 hours of fuel range.
One other thing we are noticing as we get further north. Not many sedans at all. Lots of trucks and SUV's but we are one of four "cars" we have seen in the past hour. As if the Mobil 1 Camaro in its blue glory doesn't stick out enough!
Lunch: A&W. (Yep, the root beer guys.. even got our drinks in frosted mugs.)
Extremes: Jon is as far north as he has ever been. (Previous record was in Amsterdam) so each foot is a new "farthest north."
Tuesday September 12: 8:00 Mountain Time
The sun has come up and the trip through the night was uneventful other than a few sprinklings of rain. What did happen during the night is the landscape grew trees. And rolling hills. We stopped for a couple hours of sleep at a rest area just past the Alberta border and then drove in to Edmonton for breakfast and an internet signal.We now sit watching rush-hour traffic stream into the city, updating this and getting ready to head west.
We are 38 hours into the trip since we left Topeka, and sometime before lunch, we will break the half-way barrier of the trip. We might even reach the Rockies before the sun pummels us through the windshield in those last couple of hours before darkness.
Observation: Evidently goat farming can be lucrative up here. At least as evidenced by the Maserati parked at the goat farm outside of Edmonton.
Quote: "Turns out with ear plugs, a travel pillow, a sleep mask and some Tylenol PM, you can get a decent night's sleep." - Laura.
Monday September 11: 8:30 Central Time
24 hours down and a little more than 2,300 miles to go as we stop for dinner in Saskatoon.
The first leg of the trip seemed to go faster, with multiple states and a border crossing to look forward to. When we settled into the Canadian leg of the trip, there was little bit of "odometer shock" as the mileage to go was still more than most cross country U.S. drives. This is compounded by wide open straight roads and 68 mph speed limits.
Wildlife: one moose which fought an 18-wheeler to a draw.
Scenery: a lot like the Dakotas, just more of it.
Monday September 11: 3:30 Central Time
So, turns out when you swap from "standard" units of measurement to metric because Canada it's not just the speedometer which changes, it's all the gauges as well. 700' c is an ok water temp right? (Just kidding, water is fine at about 90' c)
As you might have guessed, we have crossed into Canada and are in Saskatchewan with no issues. It is always fun when the border agent asks, "are you driving the racecar outside, what's that about?"
Internet: Spotty. Phone isn't working as promised. Data roaming for the iPad is turned on until the home office decides they don't love us anymore.
Monday September 11: 1:00PM Central Time
As we work through the corn fields of central North Dakota, seeing few people, less traffic and one abandoned 1800’s schoolhouse - we learned that contrary to what it feels like, we are actually in the middle of everywhere – the geographic center of North America in Rugby, ND.
Fuel fill up number two was in Minot, ND at right at 900 miles and 19 hours into the trip. Our earlier fuel estimates were a little optimistic considering the 75-80 mph speed limits in the Dakotas.
Monday September 11: 7:54AM Central
After a four-hour sleep break in the North Dakota Welcome Center, we're back on the road and enjoying breakfast in the Fargo historic district. We have about 300 miles to go before we cross into Canada, but we might take a slight detour a mile or so east to visit Minnesota and add another state to the trip, because that's what you do on these kinds of things.
Breakfast food: Donuts
Rest factor: You might be surprised how well the Mobil1 Camaro seats are for sleeping.
Monday September 11: 1:00AM Central
First gas stop done at 460 miles into the trip and it looks like we will be getting about 500 miles to the tank, averaging just a smidge more than 28mpg. The longer range is good because we were worried about fuel availability on the overnight drives over the Canadian Rockies and through then Yukon.
Sunday September 10: 10:00PM Central Time
The motor is running on the Mobil 1 Camaro and we’ve been on the highway for about four hours. Bugs are collecting on the windshield as we wind north through Iowa cornfields. We are ahead of schedule, as we originally planned for a Monday morning departure, but have made the decision that earlier is better when it comes to tackling a 59-hour drive.
Music on the radio: 70s channel on Satellite radio. Is it safe to do the YMCA while driving? Uh.. asking for a friend.
Wildlife: One coyote, slinking across the road in Nebraska.
Sunday September 10: 6:00PM Central Time
When we take a good look at the SCCA, the thing that stands out and transcends the ultimate speed and ultimate handling of our vehicles, the theme which binds us is the concept that all of us – on a corner, in the control tower or behind the wheel are having, “Fun with cars.”
In the history of the automobile, the call of the enthusiast is the phrase, “road trip!” Often uttered loudly and with excitement. Hollywood tells Road Trip stories, iconic roads like Route 66 stand as monuments to them and there is no doubt that for many of us, our fondest memories took place in a world filtered by road grime and bug-coated windows.
So – what better to do in a quest to have fun with a car than to take the SCCA Mobil 1 Camaro on a 14-day, 7,500-mile trip across two countries, through ten states and four provinces to participate in the SCCA United States Road Rally Challenge and then deliver the Mobil 1 Camaro to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2017 SCCA Runoffs.
So – call, “Shotgun” and ride along with us here as we traverse plains, mountains and bridges, go through four border crossings and potentially drive through heat, cold, rain and snow while stopping to see the sights, compete and learn about the world while having fun with a car.
Meet the Mobil 1 Camaro
The SCCA Mobil 1 Camaro is a 2017 turbo four-cylinder version of the Chevrolet pony car, and has participated in many SCCA events during the year including Track Night in America, the SCCA CAM Challenge, SCCA Solo Nationals and SCCA Targa. Along the way it has been driven by novices, SCCA Solo Champions, and perennial SCCA runoffs contenders in each test of its abilities and performance.
Meet The Team
Jon Krolewicz: Jon calls the South Carolina Region home, works in the marketing and experiential department of the SCCA and can frequently be found managing Track Night in America events across the country. On his “days off” from work he can be found autocrossing or road racing in Formula F.