Information on this blog is raw and sometimes unverified reporting straight from the road by teams. The event will issue a media release for any events requiring an official notification.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Michigan: Route Survey - Day 6

Day breaks warm and humid in Darwin. We replace the broken inverter with a beefier unit purchased at Bunnings (essentially Home Depot). Mike does 3 victory laps at a nearby traffic circle. Purchase petrol and a selection of automotive fuses. Find the start location after some searching (route book is not terribly specific, though it will probably e rather more obvious on race day). Head out after a bit of fiddling with the gps units and we're off on the official race route at about 11 AM. Roll through the Darwin urban area and start climbing the hills out of town. Hit the steepest hill on the route, Hayes Creek Hill, 173 kilometers out. Doesn't look too bad (fans of Momentum will recall that the hill south of Port Augusta near the end of the race is quite a bit tougher). See a few more brush fires and smoldering patches in the trees lining the highway.

--Garrick Williams

We reach Katherine, the first control stop on the race. At 318 km along the route, Continuum should reach this point late in the morning of the first day if all is going smoothly. We pass Mataranka, site of some famous hot springs, and also where, by any luck, we'll be clear of the clouds from the ocean to the north. It's been clear today from Darwin on. Continuing south, the trees start to thin out. Make a brief visit to Daly Waters, a small community consisting primarily of a petrol stop, campground, and a well-known pub with memorabilia (ranging from souvenir trinkets to ladies undergarments) from visitors around the world. One of these includes a large decal of the University of Michigan seal.

Next control stop is Dunmarra, at 633 km. We eat some sandwiches and are accosted by about half a dozen begging stray dogs. We toss them some bread on the way out. Vegetation consists primarily of low scrub and small trees about as high as a person. This area south of Dunmarra will likely be where the team will stop for the first night on the race, so we begin scanning the road for suitable pull-offs and camping sites. We see a very large, flat, low cloud in the distance to the south, which Nate determines to be a cloud formed around smoke particles from the brush fires. We pull off at a parking area at around 800 km from Darwin, just as the sun is starting to set.

We decide to shave Mike's head. For those unfamiliar with Mike, he's a jolly Armenian fellow with a rather bushy head of curly hair and a similarly bushy beard. After some time and judicious application of scissors, electric clippers, and razors, Mike's head is smooth as a baby's. We determine that he has a well shaped, dome like head, and the look is approved.

Leaving the headlights on to shave Mike and read in the car has drained the battery, and, as of around 10 PM, the car won't start. Without much to do about it at that point, we go to sleep.