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.

Note that links in blog entries are not maintained, so while a link may be verified to work on the day of publishing, this is not guaranteed beyond that day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Student Blog @8 29 Oct

28th of October – Blog from the Bus

Our return to a sheltered sleep overnight was followed by relatively calm sort of day, compared with the three that preceded it. In the south wing of our bunkhouse was a primary school group from Jervis Bay. As we charged the array in the morning they came to take a look, and we answered questions from both their students and teachers.

After pointing our array at the morning sun, Hammerhead and its support crew left Alice Springs at 11 am whilst the rest of the team went for a look around town. By 11.30 the whole team was on its way toward the Northern Territory/South Australian border. At a roadhouse in Stuart's Well we were lucky enough to be given a performance by Dinky the Singing Dingo, a dingo that howls to the tune of music. Ellie was our (un)willing pianist and the pair gave us a lovely double act.

The unfortunate shortening of the event from eight days to five and a half means that slower teams like us have had to trailer our cars long distances to get to the control points in time. The steep inclines and headwinds we encountered over the first couple of days haven't helped much either.

However, now that we have passed Alice Springs, the route is largely downhill, the weather is clear and sunny, perfect for solaring our way to Adelaide and the officials in charge of the event have allowed us to miss more than one control point. We hope to get as many solar kilometres in as possible on this short leg of the trip. The support crew rearranged themselves after lunch and we continued down the Stuart Highway. We'll be camping at Kulgera tonight, and are looking forward to some of Mr. Sheppard's (very) well done steaks.


- The Team

P.S. Hammerhead was driven under solar power for the whole of today (barring the last half hour to 5 pm, trailered in order to make the checkpoint) travelling a distance of 187 kilometres. A new record for one day of driving! This brings us up to 596 solar kilometres for this race so far.

29th October – Blorg

For a lot of people, last night was the best sleep we've had in tents so far (the first night there were tonnes of cane toads and bats, the second night it was very windy and everybody forgot to peg their tents down, and the third night we stayed in dorms in Alice Springs). The nights and mornings are beginning to get a little bit colder, so there were a lot of people who wanted their jumpers but couldn't be bothered getting them because they were at the bottom of their bags – not that the team is lazy or anything.

The honour of dawn patrol was also particularly chilly. Because the batteries were very low from yesterday (again), we had to spend from the end of racing to sunset last night and from dawn to 9am this morning pointing the arrays to the sun. The conditions were pretty good the rest of today though; warm with almost totally clear skies, and we were able to start the day off with Hammerhead on the road. Unfortunately, just as we were pushing Doug and the solar car back onto the Stuart Highway, it decided not to start. The problem turned out to be the brake light switch, of all things.

Normally, when the brake pedal is pushed, the brake lights go on, and our hub motor cuts out. The switch that controls the brake lights was stuck in the "on" position, in turn causing the motor controller to think we were pressing the brakes and proceeding to cut the motor, even though be weren't touching the brakes at all. Mr. Morgan cursed a stripped plastic thread that was causing the problem and we were back on the road in less than five minutes.

Less than 20 kilometres in, team bus came across the Northern Territory/South Australian border. We were met with a giant sign saying "Welcome to South Australia" on one side, and "Welcome to the Northern Territory" on the other. We waved at the solar car as it drove past, before posing for team photos on both sides, before and hitting the road again.  We overtook the solar car and continued on to Marla, which had a nice café and lawn for us to sit on. We will be staying in Coober Pedy tonight, which we all have been looking forward to. We've got reservations in an underground backpackers place (Hope no one's claustrophobic) and we'll be having dinner at "the best pizza place in Australia".


 - The Team

P.S. Yesterday we beat our personal best for one day of solaring. Today we did it again. 213 kilometres in eight hours! Total distance under solar power stands at 809 kilometres.

1 comment:

robwootton said...

Wooohoo we hear you have crossed the finish line..Yay and you have whipped willo. Well done, its seems to have been a long tough journey but you have battled and won your challenge with your fantastic team. Well done Team!!!