Friday morning dawned clear and beautiful. Service was set up in the parking lot of the local Wal-Mart with things a little crowded. But as usual, we managed.

It was only when we got out on the stage roads that our next set of problems showed up. Not only were we debuting a new car, be we were also using a new type of route book for the very first time. Instead of having tulips which are simple line drawings of each turn, we were using computer generated notes. These notes are supposed to list every little twist and bump in the road. Now unlike tulips which are notorious for having miles between instructions, notes have yards between instructions. All of a sudden, we had information overload. Juanita was reading the directions in Japanese while I was hearing them in Chinese.

Now while these two languages are closely related, neither is a language either of us understands, domo arrigotto (thank you very much in Japanese). In other words, we were getting close but missing by a mile. But eventually things started getting better. We were getting a rhythm down. Then came stage 4. It was just getting dark. As we pulled into the start, Juanita had to jump out of the car. As she got back in, her seat belt had slipped out of reach. Our start time came and we had to pull away and stop until we could get her safely fastened in. Once we got under way, the intercom quit. Oh, by the way, it was a new intercom also. We got passed by two cars. Oh did I mention that as it was getting darker and I turned on the driving lights, only 2 of the 4 worked. And the 2 that worked were set up for lighting up to the side and not straight down the road. Oh thank you God, we only had one more stage before Friday was done. Stage 5 was only slightly better. We got the intercom working by swapping plugs. The driving lights still weren't working but at least I could hear my instructions on where to go. We managed to pass one of the cars that had passed us and made it back to town.

I drove the Mustang back to Riverbirch Lane while Juanita and Dick went and got pizza. After warm food and cold beer, things did not look too bad. The lights we could fix in the morning.

Saturday morning did not dawn. It was cold and rainy but rallys don't stop for a little weather. Heck, we don't even go inside, we just put on foul weather gear and continue on.

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Photos by John Manes