Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Race of Fools 2009 - Muddin'

The story of an underground road rally as told by the navigator of a cranky '64 Sunbeam Alpine.

To read Part II, go here.

Omaha Springs - a place so exotic and hidden, it baffled the GPS.

Ballard and I left the elephants of Godfrey in the dust and headed towards our first official check point. Although the GPS remained clueless, I quickly located the village on the map and we pointed the Sunbeam towards Eatonton and beyond.

As we approached the Jefferson County line, a scream erupted behind us. A Triumph which began the race ahead of us was now hurtling towards us from the rear. I pumped my fist and screamed at my driver that superior navigation will always...well...triumph.

Our celebration was short-lived as the six cylinder beast tore past us. Ballard floored it and the Sunbeam squealed in angst. Although our little machine was a gamer it could not match the speed of its larger bore brother.

The Triumph flew around a bend in the road and I knew we had them once again - they had passed the turn off to Omaha Springs. I motioned for Ballard to make a right but he hesitated. It was a dirt road and it was not in good shape. The biblical rains of the previous week left many a mud puddle in between the washboard ruts.

We pulled over to discuss the situation. I explained I was 100% positive the little hellhole road was our route but if there was doubt, I could find an alternate. Ballard looked at me and grinned with that toothy smile that could scare the devil.

"Let's try it", he grunted.

We proceeded down the dirt path at a reasonable pace until we reached a puddle the size of a small lake. We stopped to inspect its depth and ponder the wisdom of plowing a 40 year old British car with British wiring through a fair sized water hole.

At this moment the Triumph re-appeared.

Having discovered their error, our competition circled back and followed our track onto the side road. Now, they were again travelling full tilt boogie towards our position. Where as the slowness of aged wisdom caused our pause, the bullet-proof stupidity of youth led the Triumph's team full speed towards a collision with mud.

It hit the water and immediately went wobbly. The back end spun wildly towards the ditch and fearfully appeared destined for a tree. Ballard and I watched helplessly as the driver frantically spun the steering wheel. Then with the grace of the angels who watch over idiots who drive too fast on country roads, it straightened and flew out of danger in an eruption of rooster tails.

I looked at Ballard and said, "I think we can make it if we follow their ruts."

"But not quite as fast", I quickly added.

To continue to Part IV, go here.

1 comment:

Rusty said...

We were in Eatonton last March. Didn't tear through any mud puddles, but we did see a life-like Brer Rabbit statue.