DAY ONE – GETTING TO THE BATMOBILE IN FLORIDA
Looking ahead and trying to keep the costs down on this adventure, I scheduled it so I would skip as few work days off without pay as possible. I would work Thursday, then fly out on the red eye sleeping all the way, then show up with a whole day to get to the car, check in to the hotel, and go to the driver check in at 3pm, and the first party at 6 pm. That was the plan!
Christopher was working at Jack in the Box until 8 pm that day, so we picked him up and had dinner together at Jacks, then he changed and we went to the airport. Smooth check in, and we read through some info I had printed out that day at work on “gimmick” rallies. We read through the books, checked in and boarded. The flight was a little bumpy, and I was a bit queasy. Combined with very cramped chairs I realized I wasn’t going to get much sleep. Chris nodded off for a bit, but then the in flight movie came on, and he proceeded to try and read lips as he could sort of hear the movie. I scrunched up my batman jacket and leaned forward, sideways, and got a few short naps. We arrived at 3 am our time, 6 am Orlando time, got picked up by fireball staff and instead of being taken to the Batmobile or the hotel, we went to fireball headquarters. We were running on adrenaline at this point. We waited to see if we could check in early, calls were made, and in the mean time I decided to go across the street to get some breakfast. We had ordered and I looked out the window, and saw all of the fireball support vehicles taking off! So I told Chris to wait for the food, I ran over and stopped J from leaving us behind, and we went to the OIA office where the driver check in meeting was supposed to take place. Then we got a ride from an intern to the Rolls Royce Dealership where the batmobile was. Inside we looked around for the car. The Batmobile was in the front showroom, and there was a guy already behind the wheel, it was started and he was pulling it out of a double door with about 2 inches to spare on each side! I said “Hey I will do that” and he gave me a look that said “I am driving the Batmobile, and you will not stop me!!” So he then started to hit my rocket switches as he was clearly living a child hood fantasy but I wasn’t sure if they were disconnected! I stopped him, not sure if he believed me that they worked. He pulled it out and it was running rough, but after a few photos Chris and I hopped in and GPSed to the hotel. It was about 25 hot humid miles to this great hotel. They had made a special place to park the Batmobile, not under the roof, but out in the sun in front of the main fountain. Black car, hot sun, Florida rain. Great!
NIGHTWING READY FOR ACTION!
THIS COULD BE IN THE STAR CAR CLUB, NOW THAT’S A WHALE TAIL!
LOOKING OUT OUR FIRST NIGHT ROOM WINDOW, INSIDE WITH AIR CONDITIONING MUCH BETTER!
We got out, and sort of unpacked. After we checked in and walked around a bit we then went to take a nap. I called for a wake up call for 3 pm as the driver check in was at 4pm. Chris hits the bed and went OUT. I looked around and realized I don’t know where the camera was, so I search the room. Nothing. So then I remember us putting on the sunblock we bought at the hotel out by the pool, and he set the camera down. I wanted to sleep so badly, but down I went and it was a LONG walk to the pool to look around, nothing. So I talked to a guard, he kept me standing in the heat while someone checked for lost cameras. I didn’t know the maker, it’s just silver and the lens cover sticks. So I went back up to the room. Then someone tells me that it rains every day, and my car will get wet. So I go back down and put the cover on my car. Back up to the room, I thought as I lay down, maybe the camera is by the car? But I was so tired I just figured if it is to be it will be there in an hour when we have to get up. Alarms go off and I ask Chris if he remembers where the camera is. “Sure, it’s in my back pocket.” The camera is needed for the race so I was glad to have it, but sorry I missed out on a longer nap. We headed out, uncovered the bat, hopped in and started driving the 20 miles to check in.
PROMOTE THE WEB SITE! WHAT’S A FEW MORE STICKERS?
ALL DONE, BUT DIDN’T GET TO THE OTHER SIDE UNTIL DAYS LATER!
It’s Friday night work traffic! Oh yeah, people live here and go to work. So it is DEADLY hot and humid as we sit and I watch the temperature of my car all the way.
We finally drive up after the meeting is over, just in time to get in the photo of the fireballers, us up front. As we pose for the last photo, it starts to rain. Then it DUMPS! Chris and I jump in to put up our untested roofs, and side windows, everything fogs over and water is pouring through my electronics and dash and everywhere. I drive around the building looking for cover and find a two car tent and zoom in. We start duct taping and bailing as the rain comes down in buckets.
We put the cover on the car and I tell Jay “Lets just get someone to drive us to the party, and we will come back for it and drive it to the hotel.” But the party is SORT of near the hotel and there is a break in the clouds, so J convinces me to go for it.
We drive and drive, it’s raining and raining. I pull in as it starts to rain hard again, and Jay buys some paper towels and diapers to mop up and protect the dash. The rain slows down, so we go out again, but jay is out of gas! So back under cover, then on to the party. We get there and all of the food is gone, except for some chips and we are starved because a sausage muffin at Burger king was our last meal.
I sign in as a contestant for the rally, get half registered, and we spend the party putting on the rally stickers all over the car.
THE HOOD STICKER LOOKS PRETTY COOL!
THIS IS AFTER THE RACE, BUT COULDN’T FIND A GOOD PHOTO OF ALL THE STICKERS! SORRY IF I RUINED THE ENDING!
Then I am standing in front of the car, and realize the cooling fans are still running. I pull the relay, talk to Dale who installed the heat sensor, and we decide to interrupt the ground and put it on a switch.
So I spend the night rewiring that, but I can’t get to my turbines switch because a screw on the right of the under dash cover won’t come loose, so I use one of the other switches in the dash. Fans go on, fans go off, great but the battery is dead! So they want me out as the party is over, give me a jump, fans on, and off to the hotel. Cover the car hook up the trickle charger I had with me, and spend about 20 minutes in the spa as my back is in a knot after all of that, into the cool pool, spa gain pool again then fall into bed. Tomorrow will be better!