As these are an initial revision, questions and comments are encouraged by NASC.
We played all night
I really hate to leave you now
But to stay just wouldn't be right.
-- Neil Young (again)
Well, Michigan won the race. Principia finished a game second. Missouri S&T placed seventh, behind Calgary. The Germans, Waterloo and Minnesota came in third through fifth in some order. (Iowa State and a bunch of others finished behind S&T.)
Tomorrow (Wednesday), the S&T team will already be on the road back to Rolla. Fortunately, however, they are taking a different and (probably) more scenic route back: thru Montana. Meanwhile, we are going to jump on a big jet airplane and fly to St. Louis via Chicago.
Calgary is a big city that reminds us of the Pacific Northwest, without the water. Flannel seems appropriate right now, even in July. The University of Calgary was home to some events during the Olympic Games. Today we saw the Olympic flame and the oval where speed skating took place.
We might get a chance to put some kind of fitting wrap on this blog tomorrow or in the coming days. Or maybe that would just be overkill? Right now, our solar brothers (and sisters? we need some female team members!) are busy contemplating and celebrating a successful journey from Texas to Winnipeg to Moose Jaw to Calgary. We're sure the stories they now have to tell will last until they're old and embarrassingly successful and new sources of energy are available to all.
Drop of the hat and it's already started
Just like that and the deed is done
What I'd give for that hat to be medicine
The time is now to be on the run.
-- Son Volt
We made it to Medicine Hat, Alberta, where multiple native Indian tribes used to gather for meetings. Maybe they still do. Somebody's actually playing "99 Red Balloons" really loud in the parking lot here, over and over, probably out of respect to the Germans. Solar Miner VI ran about 200 miles from the eastern outskirts of Regina to the middle of nowhere today -- and then they trailered the rest of the way to Medicine Hat in order to reach the final checkpoint/stage stop before Calgary.
We finally reached the Canadian West today, lots of arid western features and scrub brush. It's hot.
Michigan (obviously), Waterloo, Germany, Minnesota, Calgary and Iowa State have reached Medicine Hat under their own solar power. Principia is still out on the road, we think. They hit a big pot hole late yesterday and have been having some problems out there, according to sources.
Most everybody (we think) is sick of "competing" against Michigan. It's one Big Market team versus lots of Small Market teams, which is no fun. Having said that, we may be biased about these kinds of things based on our (my) allegiances to the Kansas City Royals.
Also: Our team is having a rough go of it, which is making us punchy.
Tomorrow we hit Calgary! No more of this trailer business, if the team can help it. They plan to drive Solar Miner VI across the finish line. Then we'll ALL have something to celebrate. It will be a great achievement for our intrepid band of S&T solar car brothers, which has battled through electrical problems, a house fire, stubborn clouds, slaughterhouse stench, at least one sketchy motel and miles and miles of tedious landscape.
Calgary is actually not far from here. Can you believe it?
According to the latest official rankings posted last night on the North American Solar Challenge website, Missouri S&T begins the final full day of racing in seventh place. The standings and time are as follows (standings for elapsed time only and not taking into consideration other factors, such as penalties):
Our car is currently charging on the outskirts of Regina, Saskatchewan. The team will likely camp tonight and head into town in the morning.
This morning, the team decided to trailer Solar Miner VI out of the rain clouds near Winnipeg to the harmless puffy clouds over Brandon, Manitoba. From there, they ran well (from 35 to 55 mph) through a flat scenery of surreal yellow canola and bright blue flax fields.
At one point, we thought we were approaching a big lake, but it was a huge flax field. The Canadian prairie appears to be much larger than its U.S. counterpart, believe it or not. We must be somewhere north of the Badlands or Montana right now, but no sign of a western landscape yet. Until we reached Regina, there wasn't much sign of human habitation apart from the cars and trucks and solar vehicles on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Michigan made it to the checkpoint in Regina and has already headed out toward Moose Jaw. The other teams will have to make it through Regina and all the way to Medicine Hat tomorrow, no matter how they have to get there. We haven't really heard what the current standings are, other than the fact that Michigan continues to build a big lead over everyone, including, we think, over Principia, which wasn't really keeping up today.
For most if not all of the teams that don't have a wolverine football insgnia on the side of their car, this thing has pretty much turned into a gritty and determined challenge to get to Calgary somehow.
Some S&T team members did have a little fun last night at the Dinosaur-themed water park inside our hotel in Winnipeg. There was this really big slide and our big kids were anxiously waiting their turns to go down it along with a lot of little kids.
P.S. Now we wish we would have paid more attention when our third grade teacher tried to explain why it was important to learn the metric system. Fortunately, our real team members seem to know how it works.
P.P.S. The U.S. Dollar isn't worth the paper it's printed on up here, at least not compared to what it used to be worth. And the Canadians use a bunch of coins instead of printed money for everything up to $5 dollar bills.
P.P.P.S. It's Canadian Football League season up here, and some of the folks in Winnipeg and Regina seem to be into that.