Alcan – Day 2

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Day 2 of the 2008 Alcan complete! Another full day with no lack of excitement. We essentially got to do 3 types of rally today- TSD, performance/stage (sorta), and gumball (sorta).

We started out this morning in Quesnel at a mild -1C. We were all prepared for some ice racing, but they weren’t able to plow the racetrack so it was replaced with another TSD stage called “11%” from a previous here. Here’s a picture of Kristin and the car before we departed in the morning.
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I also noticed that there was an exhaust leak, and upon trying to tighten it up I sheared off the bolt. Obviously there was some minor damage from the incident with the snow bank in WL last night, but nothing a metal zip-tie couldn’t bandaid until we could find a hardware store.

Because the 11% grade TSD was last minute, the instructions and mileage were from a previous Alcan so were anything but accurate. We were up until 2am doing the calculations for the day’s TSD’s, and quickly realized in the first one we still had some issues to work out. We managed to keep our cool, still have fun, and complete the TSD although still significantly off our ideal time. It can take a couple stages/days to work through the calcs and communication issues, and by the end of the day things were getting much better. Post the 11% TSD we made a pilgrimage stop at Tim Hortons for donuts and coffee, and headed over to West Quesnel for the Blackwater TSD and transit. We also found a hardware store to get some parts to fix the exhaust.

Now the Blackwater has some serious history with the Alcan, and is essentially a 150mi backroad from Quesnel to Vanderhoof (bypassing Prince George). It can be pretty gnarly, and has eaten many cars in the past. The TSD itself was pretty uneventful, and again we quickly realized we were off our calcs as the next car behind us was pretty close. At least we were perfectly wrong (if that makes sense), but still had some work to do. After the TSD we were cleared for the 150mi Blackwater transit to Vanderhoof, which had to be confirmed by the workers as the last 20mi can be really bad, and if you have to turn around there is a good chance you’ll run out of gas. Now this road was -fun-!!! Kristin got her first taste of a pseudo performance/stage rally, as it was a pretty fast 100% snow covered road that we more or less had exclusive access on. All the drivers got to ‘play’, and get some serious experience with limited traction winter driving. We had a pretty close call coming in too hot into a 90-degree right over a bridge, and the car was a bit wide and the rear drivers side bumped the snow bank on the bridge which tossed us right back in line. Others had various issues as well, including this pic below (looks like my car but isn’t); our buddy crew #18 Doug and Bill quickly towed them out and our convoy of about 10 cars was back on the snow covered roads.

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About 70 miles into the road, there was a -really- nasty sweeping right into left going downhill, that was sheer ice. It had already claimed a number of cars before us which we heard on the radio, and as soon as we went into the 2nd turn the car completely lost grip and we were more or less sliding out of control. Thankfully the training I received at Team O’Neil kicked in and a short tap on the acceleration and minimal steering and we managed to get things under control albeit nearly missing the 3 cars parked off to the left who weren’t as lucky. We heard lots of chaos on the radio from the cars after us, including the sweep crew of the rally (not sure who would tow -them- out!).

When we hit Vanderhoof we topped off with gas, and thought we only had 5 miles to goto the next TSD. After stopping for a quick lunch, we got in the car and realized we had about 20min to go ~30 miles. I won’t get into specifics due to incriminating evidence, but let’s just say it was a gumball style rally, and yes – we made it on time (actually with time to spare). Don’t think Kristin had ever been that fast in the Subbie before, so it was again another ‘first’.

The last TSD we -finally- got our shit together and did exceptionally well and only got 23 points (seconds off) for the entire ~20mile TSD. Considering we pretty much had 200+ points on the other stages, we were happy and did much better than many of our competition.

After that TSD we stopped for a complimentary lunch in Burns Lake, where one of the competitors was friends with the owner of this fantastic healthy food cafe. What a great little place with incredible home made healthy food, which was a total surprise in a small town like that. Stevan took advantage of the daylight to fix the exhaust, and then we were on our way for the last transit of the day. We made it to New Hazelton around 8pm, checked in, had another drivers meeting to prepare for tomorrow, and are now back in our room recovering and preparing for our MARATHON day tomorrow.

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Tomorrow is an 800mile day from New Hazelton to Whitehorse, with a hopeful photo-op at Bear Glacier. Considering how tired we are after the past 2 days at about ~450 miles each day, I’m having a hard time thinking about what tomorrow will be like. We’re getting an early start at about 6:30 tomorrow to try and drive in as much daylight as possible.

Thats all for now. We really appreciate all the comments from friends and family.

– Kristin and Stevan

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8 Comments on “Alcan – Day 2”

  1. MikeP Says:

    Good job for surviving day 2! Now that you are past Burns Lake you are farther north than I have ever been 🙂 I have eaten at that cafe in Burns Lake. Delicious! Can’r wait to read what happens on your next leg of the journey.

    –MikeP

  2. Barb/Gerry(Mom/Dad) Says:

    Stevan/Kristin – great job of stepping up and meeting the gruelling challenges of Day 1 & 2 of the race. Good work on figuring out the TSD formula, had NO DOUBT that that challenge would get sorted out. We can’t even imagine the concentration required by the both of you in order to complete each section of the race. Good team work!!! travel safe, tks for the opportunity via your daily journels for letting us take this facinating trip with you. Travel safe, enjoy Whitehorse and try to get some rest the next couple of days. Rally on!!! The weather Gods are still blessing the Rally.
    Love and hugs

  3. Tina Says:

    Sounds like quite the adventure out there. I can’t wait to see all the pictures when you get home. I think we need to have a rally party.
    Take care,
    Tina

  4. bob and Louise Kelly Says:

    Stevan and Kristin – BRAVO !! You are doing an excellent job of providing all your admirerers with an Arm Chair Travelogue of the Acan 5000 Rally – thank you, we are thoroughly enjoying the ride. Awesome adventures ahead. Stay safe and enjoy. Bob and Louise xx

  5. James & Michal Says:

    Really enjoy reading your adventures. Seems like you are quite the MacGyver. The photos really give a sense of place. Brrrr!!! Your cats appreciate the photos too. Best – James & Michal

  6. helen brandon Says:

    Is that a PINK tool kit you’re using Stevan? Nice to see you in touch with your ‘feminine’ side or are you using Kristin’s ? Good on ya, guys. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the updates; keep safe, wear your mittens, Helen


  7. Stevan and Kristin – BRAVO.

  8. Ron -- 00 Says:

    e-mail and I’ll attach pix from 11% Grade and Blackwater


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