My plan thankfully changed from the time of my Corsa preview blog. Instead of working Friday arvo and then going to Canberra and then returning Sunday avro to work a super-duper early morning shift, I changed my plan. I managed to find a swap so I could work Monday afternoon instead.
I also decided to change my plan for the forward journey. Knowing that I would be (if things went well at work, that is!) leaving Sydney at 10pm, I decided to overnight in Goulburn then head to Canberra on Saturday morning. Midnight in Goulburn turned out to be a wise choice rather than about 1am or 1.30am in Canberra.
When I arrived in Goulburn, I was still wearing my work uniform. This led me to feel like I was on barracks working, a home away from home. Basically, barracks working is like leaving point A, driving the train to point B and then spending (usually) as little time as possible at point B before driving another train back to point A and then going home to your own bed. Sometimes, you’d go to point C, just like I was going to do.
After a lovely 6 and a half hour sleep, I woke up and headed to Canberra. The sun was out but there was a bit of a chill to the air. It was Goulburn, after all. So I headed to Canberra to the Uriarra forest for road closure duties.
The above photo was taken from my camera phone. I didn’t have long from when I first saw the car to when I got the shot. Current ARC (Australian Rally Championship) Champions Simon and Sue Evans were testing their TRD S2000 Corolla which team mate Neal Bates has been driving. Simon is eventually going to drive an S2000 car as well but as it is in development and his championship decision, the team so far has run Simon in his car from last year. The photo perfectly shows the surroundings I had pretty much to myself. While it isn’t the best photo I have ever taken, it is the first rally photo that I have taken with my mobile. Having said that, of course I am not going to make a habit of it.
Over the radio, cars were dropping like flies for various reasons, including Simon. Lucky I got that pic on the stage before he stopped/went off! Having said that, the cars that passed me were going mostly OK through my pretty slow turn left. It appears (as usual in Canberra events that I have been involved in) that this event will be a battle to see who survives the longest and that the event (as occurs in all rallies) isn’t won on Special Stage 1. Having said that, you can lose the event on SS1, especially if you turn the car into a ball.
Usually at an event, I do a couple of stages a day but this time I only had to do one. So unusually for me, I was out of the forest just after lunch and was in my hotel room by 2pm and having a bath by 2.30pm. I don’t have a bathtub at home so I was very glad (and surprised) to find that the hotel room had a bath.
Feeling much fresher, I headed out for lunch (KFC, unusual for me at this time of day at a rally!) at the Canberra Centre. When I was leaving the car park, I found a security guard at the top of the travelator warning me to hold the handrail and not to walk or run down the travelator. Then I noticed a sign warning some people not to use the device because of their types of shoes and the slippery surface of the tread. Call me Captain Obvious but you’d think that they’d have a non-slip tread that you can wear any type of shoe in a shopping centre!
And when I got to the bottom level, there was another security guard standing at the bottom of the travelator to do the same thing as his mate above. Then a line from the movie “Super Troopers” came to mind: “What are you, the Shoe Police?”
While I could have directed this quote at either security guard, they are only doing their jobs (albeit boring) and they could probably both think of several places they’d rather be.
While I added the photo and the original post from out in the forest on Blogger via my 3 Mobile, Blogger isn’t very user-friendly in normal mode on my mobile. Since getting my laptop, I usually take my laptop with me but because I was going to the rally via work, I decided not to. So the Saturday afternoon update (and addition of 99.9% of the text) is coming from the interweb terminal at my motel.
After doing Saturday’s report on the interweb, I finally finished listening to my backlog of podcasts that I gathered over the past week or so while I was catching up on episodes from new (to me) podcasts.
I had an early night, because frankly, I needed it. After a nice night’s sleep, I woke up and had (eventually) a shower. It took forever for the hot water to become hot and this was only at just after 6am!
Then I went out into the forest again for another stage. I always enjoy driving on gravel, especially when I am on the competitive stage. This was a nice stage. Although having said that, there were some parts of the course where there wasn’t even gravel but merely grass. While getting to my road closure point, we met up with some cows who were all over the place like, um, cows, and of course cows being cows, they don’t stay in the one spot. It’s not as if the cows were confined to a small paddock or anything. I suggested to the Stage Commander (who was travelling in his car in front of me) that the crews be warned and they were warned. Initially it was just a general caution (ie “you need to know about it but you probably don’t need to slow down”) but it then was upgraded to an extreme caution (basically “slow the f**k down and be super duper careful or else”) because the cows were wandering around like cows. The first crew said that the cows weren’t a problem but they were glad that they were warned about them.
Cows aside, there was little problem with the stage at my corner (another left hander!) and it was soon time to leave the forest because again, I only had one stage to do that day. So I was out of the forest by 11am (another early mark), which was partly to do with my original plan of rally Sunday, work super duper early morning Monday.
Indeed I was so early that I arrived at home in western Sydney before the last car would have finished the event in Canberra! As usual, my Forester was filthy. In the top photo of my wheel, this was prior to a high pressure wash which is what I normally do after a rally. The next photo is of the Forester after it was rinsed. While not perfectly clean, it is a million per cent cleaner than what it was when I left Canberra!
So overall it was a relaxing weekend albeit a lot shorter and easier than normal!