Monday, 29 August 2016

Day 2: Chicago IL - Springfield IL

Omnes1: So, ML Maire, wot iz u doning in Chicago, eh? EH??
ML Maire: This. This is wot I iz doning in Chicago!
A road sign, yesterday
Due to being jetlagged almost, but not quite, utterly to DETH I reached the above road sign well before eight this morning.  It is not actually as far east as you could go on Route 66, as the eastbound version goes a block further before its progress is curtailed by the very large and very very wet Lake Michigan.  Going the other way there is the fairly large and determinedly solid Art Institute of Chicago to get in the way, and even at that time of the morning there were a couple of hundred Kulture Vultures queueueueueing to get in.

Right, I said to Emily, take me to the junction of Adams Street and Ogden Avenue.  Right away, Boss, she said, before:
  • directing me in the opposite direction from Adams Street, and
  • getting totes confused due to the tall buildings infesting that part of the Windy City
Fortunately the Ratmobile's dashboard has a little direction indicator on it so you know at least whether you're heading west.  A grid street pattern helps too.  And so south to Joliet which, as any fule kno, featured quite prominently in the lives of these two gentlemen:
Messrs E & J Blues, yesterday
Around Joliet, in fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that Route 66 comes a poor second to the Blues Brothers with Stuffs like this:
The Reverend Cleophus James, yesterday
and this:
A The Bluesmobile, yesterday
scattered willy-nilly about the place.

But eventually the "serious" Stuffs take over again, or at least you recommence the game called "How Long Can You Resist The Temptation To Ditch The Original Route And Jump On I-55".  You should not do such a terrible thing, as otherwise you might miss some of the sights that make the trip famous, for e.g. this bloke:
The Gemini Giant, yesterday
That's the Gemini Giant, who's in rather better shape than the Launching Pad diner outside which he stands awaiting his turn to go and play on the ISS.  I met a couple of jolly Finns here; they're doing most of Route 66 but cheating by missing out Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma in favour of a plane from St Louis to Amarillo.

And if you stayed on on I-55 you'd miss the absolute gem that is Pontiac, with its Route 66-related museums and murals and things, like this:
Bob Waldmire's "Road Yacht", yesterday
and this:
TV's Dr Susannah Lipscomb2, yesterday
and even this:
A mural, yesterday
No, cruise the back roads at 50 mph and watch what appear to be medieval castles creep over the horizon before turning into medieval castle-sized grain silos.  No to mention the poor saps on the interstate queueueueing for miles because roadworks.  Pointing and laughing is encouraged.

There's tons more photos a mere click away, using the first link in the "Linky SCIENCE" wossname on the right.  I like this one:
No, really, Jacky, I haven't had a drop in more than thirty months!
but will also put up this one on the off chance that Larry Lem is reading this:
Canoodling corn dogs, yesterday
That's outside the Cozy Dog diner here in Springfield where, apparently the corn dog was invented.  I knew the place had to be famous for something...


A Lincoln: Corn dogs, FFS, wot about me, eh? EH?? Freed teh slavez, won teh Civil War, got killed utterly to DETH @ teh theatre? I was born here, u utter git!
ML Maire: Meh!
  1. Well, some of Omnes, anyway
  2. Lie

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Days (n-1)-1: Larrington Towers - Chicago IL

Scene: A second-hand ice cream van, parked just off Copacabana Beach.
C Boardman: O hai! I am TV's C Boardman and I am made ov teh Win!
S Brotherton: O hai! I am TV's S Brotherton and I, also, am made ov teh Win!
Omnes: FFS! U 2 clownz still here? Get tae fck! We want ML Maire 4 teh Funneh!!1!
FX: Big 'splodey Stuffs. Ice cream van, C Boardman and S Brotherton fly in2 teh air, umop-ap!sdn and on fire.
ML Maire: And so perish all enemies of the Queen!
C Boardman: MUNKEH...

Welcome to year eight1 of the Automatic Diary which, as you may have observed, is starting back where it almost started in 2009, viz. Chicago; the very first AD entry having actually been writted a couple of hours up the road in Madison WI. I went to Fort Larrington on Thursday rather than Friday because Bank Holibob traffic and have thus had a couple of days of dignified loafing and cooling-off after the perspiration-drenched Horror that was packing The Luggage in what the perfidious French call a "canicule". I thought that was a BEER chiller.



Omnes:ZOMG!!1! That was teh Terrible, ML Maire! Sum1 defenestrate him, quick!

Mohammed and his Mercedes whisked me to the big shed of impatience that is LHR Terminal 5 with considerable verve and a lot greater comfort than the cranky old grid of a VW people carrier Galaxy Cars afforded me last year. It even has a little light under the front passenger seat so you can check that you haven't left any toes behind in your haste to cram everything into the bulging maw of Luggage 2. Right, off outside for the last fag until Abroad, where the FOREIGNS come from.


Well, that was painless.  Connoisseurs of USAnian airport Tales of Woe might like to know that getting from the very back row of a very full 747 to sparking up the first fag outside Terminal 5 of Chicago-O'Hare took about thirty minutes.  Most of which being waiting for The Luggage to appear.  Natch the pickup area outside is a total bloody shambles, with the only system being "taxis to the right, everyone else to the left".  So the shuttle buses have to mix it with Ubermenschen and divers stray private motons and just stop anywhere they can find 2/3 of a bus-sized space.

Here is Chris.  Chris may look like a well-groomed and personable employee of Avis Car Rental, but this is a facade.  He is an Imp of Stan.  I can tell from the fact that the first sentence he utters contains the words "Corvette" and "convertible".  Mr Larrington is tempted, until he works out that a hundred and fifty dollars a day for twenty-eight days is, er, $BIGNUM.  No, says your author, I will stick with the Mustang.  Chris fights a desperate rearguard action.  Soz, he says, we are all out of convertible Mustangs but can do you a VW Beetle.

Driving a convertible Beetle - in fact any sort of Beetle - will immediately turn you into an estate agent.  Or worse.  I refuse to admit defeat and take the proffered hardtop Mustang instead, which is redder than, say, a red thing or a current F1 Ferrari.  I will try to update the photo at the top of the page in the next day or two, but not now because it is teatime.

Once I am out of the Field of Evil radiated by Chris, Emily the TwatNav wakes up to the fact that she is not in E17 any more and wafts me to tonight's caravanserai with nary a blip.  Unlike last year, when she had to be threatened with replacement by an inferior FOREIGN-bought model.

Fans of the Condensed Tour de France-stylee reportage for e.g. Mrs Pingu might like to know that hand-crufting the HTML tables is way too much like hard work so is unlikely to be a daily occurrence.

Edit: I have just noticed that the motor-car bears the licence plate "RAT 9691"2 so the chances are fairly high that it will hereinafter become known as "The Ratmobile".

Edit 2: Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Dave Minter, aka LittleWheelsandBig, who is currently in hostipal in Bangkok with a b0rked pelvis 
  1. Blimey! Eight already!
  2. Georgia, for some reason

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

And that makes the full set...

Today I picked up my newest Shiny Thing:

Two years, eh?  Time to celebrate with cocaine and hookers a nice cup of tea.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Day 21: Abbotsford BC - Fort Larrington

It is morning.  I cannot see the mountains, even though they across the border in USAnia.  This is because it is raining.
Again the Man with a Gun is a Nice Man with a Gun.  What is happening to border officials?  Have they had their heads stuffed full of insane management-speak nonsense about leveraging their core competencies in a customer-facing role or something?  Or what?  Imagine what might have happened if Hitler's Dad had been obliged to go on a customer awareness course...

Not enough "gas" to make it back to Sea-Tac.  Here is a handy "gas" station, which happily dispenses "gas" at a swipe of my card, without any of that tedious mucking about with "ZIP Codes".  This is important, so remember it.


Onto I-5 southbound.  The traffic is horrible, serving as a reminder never to go to Los Angeles.  I do not think I have time to divert to Redmond, there to destroy Microsith's global HQ, so instead continue south to Renton, for this.


You may, if you wish, curse his name every time you hear another mediocre heavy metal guitar solo, but to do so would be this: wrong.  This is a great improvement over the original Hendrix monument, in the African Savannah section of Seattle Zoo.  But it later made me feel very old, as the chap sitting next to me on the plane had with him a tasteful paper bag from Sub Pop Records.  Sub Pop's heyday was about twenty-five years ago.

Edit: This happened not long after arriving back in Blighty:
Well the night I was born
Lord I swear the moon turned a fire red
With still a couple of hours to kill until the motor-car is due to be returned to its owners of record I head further south past Tacoma, in search of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  The shiny new(er) ones which replaced the one which famously fell down in 1940, killing Tubby the cocker spaniel.  There is nowhere on either side from where the bridges may be photographed, in spite of driving round in circles for an age.  Also compasses do not work on the west side.  Of it.
BRIDGE!!1!
I gave up and told Emily to take me to the airport.  It is 38 miles away.  Up I-5.  I have a hour.  Eek.  Not too bad as things turned out, except for nearly being sideswiped by some confused helmet anxious to show how eco-friendly he was by heading straight for the HOV lane without the use of mirrors, indicators or brains.  But soft!  I must top up the motor-car, lest Budget's minions do it for me, at nine dollars per titchy USAnian gallon.  Here is a "gas" station.

Curses!  It wants a "ZIP Code".  I try what I have been informed is a Sneaky Canadian Trick, viz. enter the numerical part of my postcode followed by two zeroes.  This does not work.  Thank you, Mrs Krause and/or Dr Reichert.  The cashier's machine declines my credit card.  And my debit card.  Could this be because it is already tomorrow back in Blighty?  No, because it isn't.  I give him twenty dollars which, fortuitously, brims the tank very nicely.

Ms Budget does not bat an eyelid at 5400.5 miles on the clock.  And so to the airport.  Mr B Airways' Boeing has a little more space inside it than this:

Rutan Voyager with its phone-box-sized cabin
The queue for check-in is commendably short.  The half-hour delay of the plane's departure is, however, uncommendably arse.  The queue for security is a mile long and once through a sandwich and a cup of coffee is ten fucking dollars.  And if the stuff that is sold by the "Seattle's Best Coffee" franchise really is Seattle's best coffee then I put it to you, dear reader, that the place's reputation for caffeinated excellence is founded on a thick and squishy mulch of Lie.

On a whim I try my card at the duty-free shop.  It works.  This after changing my surplus Canadian notes at a ruinous rate, lest I can't buy fags.  Bah!

There is free wifi, but no smoking area.  Nothing to do but chew the carpet then...  There is a passenger on my flight going by the name of Larry Smith.  Does he play the drums, I wonder?  Driver has his foot down so we actually make That London on time.  I note, after unfolding my limbs, that the bus from LHR to Woking has more comfortable seats, and more legroom, than Mr Airways' 777 chiz.


You do not, unless you are perverse like Mr Middleton, want to hear about the M25 or Mr Sainsbury's House of Toothy Comestibles, so I shall draw the 2015 Automatic Diary to a close.  Thank you for reading.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Day 20: Squamish BC - Abbotsford BC

I'll get this done early while waiting for BA's Online Check-In wossname to scroll down to zero hour...  The reset of the day will only consist of repacking The Luggage anyway.

You will recall from some days back Figure 1, on the subject of weather forecasting in these parts.
Here is the weather forecast...
Note that while the tops of the mountains are visible, the bottom isn't.  Note also that the Nice Lady on the Anbaric Distascope was predicting up to 50 mm of rain in the neighbourhood today.  And note also that the Canadians have retained a fine sense of irony and hence refer to this part of BC as the "Sunshine Coast".  Also getting to Vancouver Island, and off it again, requires the additional complication of ferries, with the outlay and being at the mercy of timetables and so forth.

I turned left from the hotel and headed back into the mountains for a fine1 morning of going back the way I came.  Fuel consumption was rather higher than the norm for this trip, because there are no junctions and hence Emily could be left on the floor rather than jumping into my lap all the time.  This Unit recommends BC-99 in either direction.

At Lillooet the sun came out again, though there was much baleful eyeing of the sky lest it change its mind.  Turn right here for Highway 12, which follows what is now the Fraser River in the general direction of south.
And the only sound you can hear is the snarling of chainsaws...
The Fraser is joined by the Thompson at Lytton, where there is much bridge action to be had.
BRIDGE!!1!2
I also found the bolt that used to hold together the dodgy ankle of Western Half-Devil Monster Face van Schaik:
And the creepy foot-fetishist who tried to follow me on Flickr last year can fuck right off.

Highway 12 peters out here as it runs into Highway 1.  This seems officially still to be part of the Trans-Canada Highway but anyone Trans-ing Canada with an ounce of sense in their head will take the freeway alternative between Hope and Kamloops, not least because it is about ninety minutes quicker.  Not that I care.

It takes me a while to notice that I came up the Fraser valley on September 6th, but I do eventually.  Isn't there a footbridge across the road at Hell's Gate?  Why, yes!  Yes, there is.  I stopped to snap a pic of it from a handy layby, and met Ursula and Farley:
Ursula is the one with glasses
The spooky thing is that I had already chatted at length with Ursula, and tickled Farley's ears, some 1200 km to the north-west, on September 8th.  She's been as far as Alaska Proper in her aged VW Camper but is now returning home to a place with a tongue-twisting native name, just north of Vancouver.  The ferries go to Vancouver Island from there, except the ones which go from somewhere else, obv.

It started to rain again, though when I popped out just now it had stopped. And But I could see the mountains.  Twenty-five minutes to go now, and if the network plays up at the crucial moment there will be Bad Swears...  But at least I have found out - albeit belatedly - how to make DJ Random on the iPod play through the car's USB port.
  1. As in "enjoyable" rather than "sunny".

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Day 19: Kamloops BC - Squamish BC

A day comparatively short on distance but long on jaw-dropping scenery.  And bridges.  Lots of bridges, oh yes.  This one was within a short distance of the night's resting place:
BRIDGE!!1!
and had nearby a chap originally from Hull, walking his dog.  He has, however, gone native to the extent of wanting to chat about everything.  At length.

Followed BC-97 west parallel to the Thompson River as far as Cache Creek, where the river goes south and the road north.  West of Kamloops the Thompson does this:
Kamloops Lake
I also go north for a bit before heading west again on BC-99, which disappears into the mountains in a pleasingly three-dimensional sort of way.
The horizontal line on the right, above the river, is a railway line, built by a madman.

About some of the way along BC-99, which ultimately goes to Vancouver, is Lillooet, which you reach across the intriguingly-named Bridge of the 23 Camels.
Camels not inclluded
It seems that some Victorian chump thought that bactrian camels might make excellent beasts of burden for the wilds of BRITISH Columbia so he imported a bunch from the distant steppes of, er, Arizona.  This was not a success as the rocky terrain was unkind to their little camelly feet while they also scared horses, cattle and, occasionally, people.  They were ultimately turned loose to fend for themselves but, unlike the dromedaries now thriving in the centre of Captain Cook's Mistake, they all died off by 1905.  Some authorities believe camel sightings may have helped fuel the stories of the Sasquatch, a.k.a. Bigfoot, in this part of the world.

There's also Stuffs like this:
and this:
and even this:
Logjam.  Canada.  Wednesday.
After a lot of This Sort of Thing it goes downhill quite rapidly, to the extent that Emily thinks tonight's lodgings are five meters below sea level which, I can assure you, they are not.  The reason for the downhill-ness is that we've crossed the coastal mountains.  Everything is a lot greener over here, because it rains.  A lot.  When I popped out earlier this evening I could see the tops of the mountains, but their middles were firmly wrapped in clouds, and it was raining with a determination clearly borne of long and intensive practice.

The rain may at least wash some of the desert muck off the motor-car andit did a sterling job of hiding the ski resort of Whistler.  Ski resorts are usually horrible when there's no SNO around but you can drive right through Whistler and scarcely even notice that you've done so which, in my book at least, qualifies as a Good Thing.
Bear with me a second
I would have thought the BEAR would have been holed up somewhere warm and dry rather than hanging around a parking lot sandwiched between a main road and a railway line, but who am I to fathom the ursine mind?

Decision time for tomorrow: cop the ferry to Vancouver Island or go back over the mountains to where it isn't raining?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Day 18: Omak WA - Kamloops BC

Today we follow many roads, many of which carry the number 97.  US-97 first up the Okanogan valley.  The Okanogan hav a very interesting history ect. ect. including the fact that north of the 49th parallel it is called the Okanagan.  And, er, OK, not that interesting.  It also smells of apples, or would if it was warm enough to have the roof down.  Which it isn't.  After not very many miles there is a big Sheds.  On the other side of the Sheds lies Canada.  In an appendix to the Sheds is the Man with a Gun.  Who in this case is a Lady with a Gun and very pleasant she is too.  Not like the grumpy sod at Abbotsford.

North of the border is much the same as south of it except that the apples give way to grapes and you cannot go more than half a mile without passing another winery.  I have never sampled Canadian wine and doubt that I ever will but given that the 49th parallel also passes smack through the middle of Karlsruhe there is no reason to exclude it from consideration on the grounds of being Too Far North.

US-97 does not have a visa to enter Canada, obv, but disguises this fact by turning into Highway 97.  North to Penticton and then up the west side of Okanagan Lake.  The lake is a bit like Loch Ness in that it is long and thin and has a monster in it.  No, really.  The monster is called "Ogopogo" and tales of Ogopogo date back to the 19th century or, put another way, suspiciously late.  I have a notion that the First Nations of the area may have made it up to take the deserved piss out of the white man.
Man attempting to catch Ogopogo to the vast indifference of his girlfriend
Halfway along the lake the road turns east and crosses this:
BRIDGE!!1!
The William R. Bennett Bridge (for it is he) actually floats, but feels a lot more solid than certain bridges which don't.  Yes, you, Royal Gorge bridge.  After passing through Kelowna Highway 97 takes fright and heads north up a parallel valley with only wanky small lakes in it.  You can turn back south at the top end of the lake and follow the shore back to West Kelowna if you feel so inclined.  I did.  They are very sensibly widening a single-lane stretch which has a vertical cliff on one side and an equally vertical drop into the lake on the other, which necessitates a lengthy wait.  I have had far worse things to look at while stuck in traffic than this:
It would appear they still transport trees by water hereabouts:
Logs.  Canada.  Tuesday.
No brawny check-shirted lumberjacks in evidence though, singing or otherwise.

Not far from here one is back on Highway 97.  Well, Highway 97C.  Travellers should note that if one is planning to travel roughly 90 kilometres along Highway 97C and one's motor-car says that it carries enough motor-spirit to travel 100 kilometres it should not be assumed that the available range will be greater than the remaining distance along Highway 97C.  Because there is a 1000 metre big mountain in the way.  Fortunately there motor-car recovered its composure to tell me I still had 2 km outstanding when I reached Merritt, being the first place along said road wherein motor-spirit might be obtained and no, it appears that I have not learned my lesson from last year.

From Merritt one can stooge straight up Highway 97 5 to Kamloops, or one can take the imaginatively named Highway 5A, which is not a dual cabbageway and has corners on it, and lakes and so forth.
Nicola Lake ["Who she?" - Ed.]
I thought I saw a monster in here but it turned out to be some kind of grebe or other duck-sized waterfowl chiz.  Highway 5A is mostly empty until it encounters Kamloops, which is not empty to the tune of over 80,000 people.  And has some bridges in it.
BRIDGE!!1!
I couldn't get all of it in without borrowing the boat which is just out of shot or else walking on the water.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Day 17: Bend OR - Omak WA

Robert Pirsig didn't like US-97 in Oregon, equating it with:
this hyped-up, fuck-you, supermodern, ego style of life that thinks it owns this country
I didn't like it much either, because it's busy and infested with roadwork and when you do finally find a clear piece of road suitable for overtaking the pack of Tractors Harleys which has been making life a misery for the past twenty miles some git comes along and starts resurfacing the road and makes you wait for twenty minutes.  In its favour, it has some wik mountains near it:
Mountain.  USAnia.  Monday.
It was a relief to get into Washington and onto I-82, but that didn't last because I-82 collides with I-90 and stops.  And I-90 is only marginally useful because it goes to all the wrong places, like Seattle, and Boston.  On the other hand both are pretty scenic as motorways go:
I-90 being Scenic near Vantage WA
Mount Rainier being Scenic from quite a long way away
Emily has, however, routed us off US-97 for a bit and a good thing too.  She sends us down the Grand Coulee, a rather attractive canyony valley type of gorge thing with small lakes.  In it.  Confusingly it is not dammed by the Grand Coulee Dam; rather the said dam blocks the Columbia River at its confluence with the Grand Coulee.

This bit of Washington smells strongly of apples, and at this time of year there are untold thousands of wooden boxes at the roadside awaiting this year's crop.  Signs forbid you to bring home-grown apples into the area for fear that apple maggots will jump out of your moving car and eat the trees before hitching a ride to the next orchard.  Possibly.  In contrast, northern Oregon smells of curry powder1.

I-90 crossing of Columbia River
The Columbia River is big news around here and gets crossed by loads of lovely bridges; however the clots responsible for such things have declined to create parking facilities for those who want to stop and point at them.  Sorry, Crinkles.

Anyway I have had pizza, and et the last of the stroopwafels, and tomorrow I am going back to Canada, so I am happy again.

  1. Trufax!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Day 16: Battle Mountain NV - Bend OR

I could quite cheerfully have remained abed this morning until Nice Lady Maria had me bodily thrown out of the Super 8, or at least charged me for another night.  A lot of people had already gone by the time I surfaced and most of the rest were shambling around with bags and boxes and the sort of thousand-yard stares one normally associates with an Audax control in a draughty church hall at two in the morning.  Not us though, because our table at the awards bash drank nothing stronger than water all night, boring old gits that we are.  My grate frend Mr Woolrich had not been spotted by the time I left.  The car park of the Big Chief motel, home to large parties of PSOs, was also suspiciously quiet and the Scousers' truck was still parked outside the Civic Center...

I-80 west of Battle Mountain is going up in the world.  I'm sure there wasn't a "gas" station at Valmy the last time I came this way.  North up US-95 from Winnemucca.  The roads are mostly dead straight and afford ample opportunity for dozing off even though today was the first of the trip on which I'd had the top down from the off.  I stopped at a rest area, because you can't smoke in a moving convertible without at the very least setting your eyebrows on fire.
Monument.  USAnia.  Sunday.
The above commemorates five volunteer firefighters killed utterly to DETH fighting a wildfire near here in 1939.  A Nice Man told me that a heatwave was expected in the west for the forthcoming week.  This news made me happy.

As you can see from the above the scenery round here is very little different from the rest of Nevada, and it doesn't change much when you cross into Oregon.  The wet bit of Oregon, with the trees and Bigfoot, is on the other side of the mountains, y'see.  This bit differs mainly in slapping a 55 mph speed limit, which everyone ignores, onto a road that had a 70 a mile away.  Also in Oregon you are marginally more likely to see a tree.

Fed the motor-car at Burns, where I spent a night in 2008.  The next morning Hertz'  idiot Sat-Nav tried to send me and a car with a ground clearance lower than an adder's armpit, down a logging road with ruts that might stop a Jeep without too much difficulty.  I shall stick to the paved road today, I think.

And so to Bend.  I am paying a small fortune for this room, because I was seduced by the words "whirlpool" and "tub" in the description, and I have just spent an age in it and have mostly stopped aching.  The place is an order of magnitude less poncy than Chateau Jasper at a similar price, but the room is actually a suite with two tellies, a sofa and an armchair, a decent kitchenette and a four person dining table.  All for meeeeeee!

However, Burns is still a bit third world in that, while it has whirlpool baths anna big branch of Target anna Volvo dealership, the nearest branch of Pizza Hut is seventeen miles away.  Hence by the time of publication this photo
Nom nom nom
may not be accurate in its depiction of how few stroopwafels I have et today.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Day 15: Battle Mountain NV

This morning was just as chilly as yesterday and with a more capricious wind blowing around the ankles of the masses. No legal winds at all for the riders who ran on the full course, Dave and Ken in the AR1 and Thomas and Alan in Vortex.  Slightly better for the short course runners.  Sherry finally completed a run, albeit in Vortex as Bluenose is quite badly banged up after the cavalier treatment it's had lately.  As is Velox V - they found that the front part of the fairing would no longer fit into place and have reluctantly decided not to take any further part in the event.  It's not been a vintage year for the HPT youngsters.
HPT Delft/Amsterdam, with the damage artfully hidden
A better year for Team Kowalik as Genna stormed through at 40.7 mph.  But with illegal wind.  Some jibbling with the timetable saw her able to do another run, this time in legal wind, for 37.29 mph and a new record for the 11-and-under age group, in spite of having been lifted out of the bike a few minutes earlier.
"I want coffee and I want it NOW"
Mark has managed to get his car fixed.  Then he let Sherri drive it!  Here, Sherri and Joyce prepare to re-enact the finale of "Thelma And Louise":
Sherry with a "y" also got a second run in after a misaligned sensor meant no time for her first; a legal 51.44.  Liz has had her wheels balanced by the indefatigable Barclay Henry, but it didn't make a whole bunch of difference to her speed.  She needs some lace trim:
Then back to town for the debrief, photo-op and arrest of serial Bad Man Dr T Reichert of Toronto.
Sergeant Aten adds to his impressive arrest record
Released early for good behaviour
Noes!!1!  It's the Western Half-Devil Monster Face again!
World+Dog: L-R: Velox V, Eta, Seiran, Red Lightning, Cygnus Chronos, Bluenose, Vortex, PulsaR, Micro-Moby, Beagle, CO2, Beluga, Velox XS, ARION1, Eivie 4.2
One more set of runs to go.  Weather good.  And I have a free hat!  Updates when time permits.

Not only do I have a free hat and a free pen but also not one but TWO packets of stroopwafels.  It would appear that Team Cygnus smuggled about 8 kg of the yummy biscuity snacky beauties into USAnia, presumably without declaring them.  From which it may be deduced that I am back from the evening runs and the awards bash.  I have way too many pictures to caption and upload tonight so you'll have to make do with the Executive Summary for now.

  • Todd edged his world record out to 86.65 mph.
  • Damjan finally got his long-sought-after 80 mph hat before totalling the bike in what was apparently a very spectacular wreck in the deceleration zone.  Flat rear tyre, I subsequently learned.
    Tail not supposed to be at that jaunty angle...
  • Dave took the BRITISH record off Ken with a 70.60 mph run.
  • Ken promptly took it back with 75.04.
  • Andrea took the Italian record to 72.19
  • Sherry got a run on the full course and didn't crash.
  • Teagan got a 65.57 and one of the biggest cheers of the week.
  • Jan-Marcel went over at the launch again tonight, albeit only once.  Frans, your country needs you!
I aten't uploaded any pictures yet coz it's late and I'm tired and any Scousers carousing under my window will be met with the pointy end of Chris the Broom Handle and, optionally, a bucket of cold water.  Though this is unlikely as they're in a different motel.  There shall be pictures and more Stuffs tomorrow night and now I'm going to have a nice cup of tea and maybe a stroopwafel or two before going to Bedfordshire.

Not really that much to add; since the event started having these new-fangled modern-type morning runs everyone is too knackered to do much more than fitful party-type activity.  But here are some extracts from the Rogues' Gallery.

Jan-Marcel attempt to bribe Sergeant Aten with stroopwafels.  Western Half-Devil Monster Face van Schaik gets in on the act.
Did you ever see a more sorry-looking bunch of crims in your life?  Citations are issued for lane discipline violations (i.e. crashing), speeding or, in some cases, both.  Todd, Jan-Marcel, Andrea, Damjan, Ken, Sherry, Robert, Lieske, Dave
Almost all the riders - Adam Kyte had already had to leave.
Back: Lieske Yntema, Jan-Marcel van Dijken, Calvin Moes, Allan Pettit, Sherry Shi, Ellen van Vugt, Todd Reichert, Damjan Zabovnik, Teagan Patterson, Tom Amick, Thomas Ulph, Ken Buckley, Dave Collins
Front: Jun Nogami, Genna Kowalik, Ceci Kowalik, Robert Braam, Liz McTernan, Larry Lem, Andrea Gallo, Natasha Morrison, Florian Kowalik
The event awards Hats to those who have a legal run faster than 50 mph, in 5 mph increments.  This year's crop:
Todd (85), Tom (60), Thomas (50), Damjan (80), Robert (60), Sherry (55), Lieske (55), Allan (55), Teagan (65), Larry (65), Dave (70), Andrea (70), Ken (70)
Note how drab Todd's 85 mph Hat looks - as though it had been left on the dashboard of Al'n'Alice's minivan since the idea was first mooted.  Use your Junior Pocket Microscope (Model 3a) to spot the contrast with the old-skool hot-rodder's dream that is the 80 mph variety.  Or click the picture to embiggen it.