Sept. 16: We are five days into this rally and I have yet to find the time to blog. If I don’t start soon, it will be over before I begin. So, this will be a bit of a summary, hitting the highlights for us. I’m not sure any of this will be important to other competitors.
We flew into Nice a day early to begin the arduous process of getting over jet lag. Our hotel in San Remo, Italy can only be described as Shabby Chic. I’m convinced it had its hay-day in the 1930s. It’s the kind of place you’d expect to see Woody Allen in the lobby setting up to film his next movie. We had a great corner room overlooking the Mediterranean. Best yet, Stewball was parked in front waiting for us. The most difficult thing was finding and paying for fuel. We were on empty and needed a fuel stop very close to the hotel. Found one close by, then had to work out the self-pay system in Italian.
Day 1: From San Remo to MOBY ferry to Corscia: A beautiful drive on winding narrow mountain roads. We had no clue this would be the norm. We had a great lunch in a charming restaurant with another beautiful view. I’ll try not to use the word beautiful too often, but this part of the world is spectacular and our weather has cooperated. Then there are the small villages, each with at least one church.
We spent the night on a ferry. Can’t say anyone slept well, at least not anyone we talk to. Dinner was a disappointment, but more so was the sleeping arrangement. We had bunk-beds. I had the top until early in the morning when we decided to both try the bottom bunk. I know we have a repeat with another ferry from Sardinia to the mainland, but we will see if there is an option (upgrade) to a cabin with a double berth. It’s worth the try.
Day 2: Now in Corscia, a part of France, and I can read the road signs. I have yet to catch on to Italian road signs, but I am learning some new British English. I now know what a “lay-by” is. Think pull-off or rest area. I’m also learning some Corsican road terms. A Main Road can be defined as usually having two lanes (one each way) and may a center line and guard-rails. But don’t count on it. Roads in general have no shoulders and are shared by bikers, hikers and tourist taking photos. It’s a challenge since so far all the roads wind around and up and down. Hard on the shoulders since Stewball (and most of the other cars) have no power steering.
Day 3: We are at the same hotel for three nights right in the Mediterranean. Almost like having a rest day. No packing up luggage each morning. Just grab the road book and time card and go. Just so you don’t think this is a tour, we do have Regularities each day. Three usually. For you non-rally readers, a regularity is a precision driving section. You are given a speed table that tells you how fast you are to drive some unknown distance. Sometimes the speed changes at a given point-say in 2 kms and then again at 5.6 km. You don’t know where the checkpoint will be so the goal is to come as close to the correct average speed as possible at all times, taking into account, turns, bikers, hikers and traffic. Now the speed table is critical. But on this day, I forgot to pick up the speed table. When we got to the start of the regularity, I was driving, and I told Ed we just had to wing-it since I had no idea how fast I was to drive. Well, it hardly gets better than this, I missed the precise time by 1 second! Never on these events have we done this well.
The second thing of note today was driving through the Callanches de Piana. This is a World Heritage Site and has magnificent show of rock peaks, needles and red granite cliffs. Unknown to us, it clearly contains the Heart of Corsica. Do you see it?
That’s all for now. See you on the road.