August 17-18, 2000
Old age is sure hell! You run a great event, that has 8 cars driving approximately 1000 miles up and down the Mississippi River, you get 7 finishers, all of whom had a great time, except for Dave Mullis whose car broke down, the whole event followed by the Abingdon Weekend, then you suffer a middle-age (old age) moment, and donít report a darn thing. Yeah, old age is hell!
The big event started at Jumers, bright and early Thursday morning. Bill Mennel and I led off south towards Abingdon on the mileage check with all 8 competitors tagging along behind. But somewhere before we got out of town, we lost two cars. So much for the mileage check. We eventually all got back together and restarted the mileage check, but now we faced a much shorter route. Bill and I, being the creative guys that we are, decided to take off into the country and drive around until we put about 15 miles on our odometer so we could have a better check. We ultimately finished the mileage check on a small road, next to a corn field somewhere northwest of Abingdon. Bill and I pretty well knew where we were, but since everyone else had been following us on back roads, (and not necessarily paying attention to where we were going) they didnít know where they were. So the first challenge was to find themselves, then head north, towards Minneapolis and the first check point.
The route essentially traveled along the Mississippi River valley, crossing back and forth a few times during the rally. Most of the crossings were bridges but there was one ferry that could be taken. If you were really sharp, you realized that you could cross the ferry without your car, pick up the check point, and return on the ferry, thereby saving miles.
The end of the first day brought the drivers to a check point at a hotel in Northfield Minnesota where they could spend the night or pick up the check points for the next leg and continue on. The only catch being that the ferry mentioned above, wasnít open all night, necessitating a potentially long wait to cross the river.
All in all, everyone came back with smiles on their faces, and adventure stories to tell. Thanks to all who participated. The winners were: