Day 0 - Early
Day 1, 5:27 AM
Having been busy all night, between checking Darkshine5’s wounds and putting up with at least two teams and their louder-than-needed music, Luke grabbed his keys and prepared a little ‘wakeup ceremony’ for everyone there. As it had gone mostly quiet when most of the teams had gone to bed, some as little as four hours ago, Luke knew this was the time to act.
He placed the keys in the ignition, turned them to the start position, and waited, hearing the quiet whining of the inertia starter’s flywheel spooling up. “One thing Sinistra did right, this SureStart system is really good. ‘Starts the first time, every time, even when cold.’ Damn right it does when you slam 10 pounds of steel turning 10,000 RPM into the flywheel.” he said to himself quietly, watching the dashboard for the “Starter Speed” light to ignite.
The crimson glow of the light flared, and Luke released the key. To Luke, it felt like an eternity, but the instant Luke released the key, the starter solenoid kicked the fast-spinning flywheel into the V8’s own flywheel, immediately causing 662 cubic inches of twin-turbo V8 to roar to life.
Luke pumped the gas a few times, causing the car to rock as it snarled and roared, then hissed as the blow-off valves released the excess boost.
Within seconds, the Storm team was awake, with Amy Storm leading Linda Regale out of the big tent, and Scott Regale making a break for the porta-potty.
The roaring V8 woke the kids in the camper near team DSD, as well as echoed across the whole campsite. Rolling clouds of smoke poured from the exhausts as Luke let the Savage idle at last, turning 1100 RPM.
“I would just like to say, Luke, that is one hell of an alarm clock.” Amy said, folding the tent and stuffing it into the trunk. “And probably everyone else is going to be very annoyed by it. Not that I give a fuck after the music last night.”
Linda yawned and grabbed a few granola bars out of the glove compartment, then slumped into the back seat. “Well, 'least we somewhat knew it was coming.” she said, yawning again as she fumbled with the plastic wrapper.
Scott staggered out of the porta-potty, packed his tent up, and dumped it equally as unceremoniously into the trunk. “Wouldn’t go in there if I were any of you. I feel a lot better.” he mumbled, then climbed over the side of the car and fell into his designated seat.
“Better in the shit-box than in the back seat of our shitbox.” Luke said. Amy smirked and settled into the passenger’s seat, then passed a map back to Linda.
“Once you’re done eating my granola bars, please, feel free to plan a course for us.” Amy said.
“Needed something to eat.” Linda responded, though grabbed the map and started poking about at it.
Day 1, 7:30 AM
The driver’s meeting went about as well as expected. Luke switched on his internal GPS, as well as the store-bought model they’d stuck to the dashboard, Linda scribbled on the laminated maps with dry erase markers, Amy cleaned and organized the wrench kit under the seat, and Scott tried to keep awake and not snore through the meeting.
Day 1, 7:39 AM
Luke settled at the starting line, the snarling Sinistra chugging away, idling around 800 RPM with it in gear. He pulled it down into Low, choosing to shift the car on his own, over-riding the automatic in favor of not burning the tires off of the back of the car early on.
The flag was dropped, and Luke floored it, causing Amy, Linda, and Scott to yell as the car lunged forward, already screaming at the 4500 RPM redline. Luke grabbed the column shifter and stuffed it in Drive, giving the car some control back.
“Luke, you do know where you’re going, right?” Linda asked.
“Of course. This part’s the easy bit, it’s all pavement, gravel, maybe a little dirt. She’s a highway cruiser, I’ll just keep her all wound out and she’ll make it.” Luke said, the engine roaring as they started the climb.
Scott gave a grunt as he felt the whole car lurch from the downshift from Drive to Third, the transmission doing what it did best. “Old Man Sinistra could’ve at least had the courtesy to make this GearMaster Performax shift smoother than that.” he said.
“It’s doing fine. Keep in mind, late 70’s, this was the closest thing you could buy to an emissions-legal muscle car. Didn’t sell real well because of the terrible gas mileage right after we had that whole gas shortage thing.” Linda said. “So the rough shifts, they’re because the car’s trying to keep in the power. There’s very little in the way of computer control in this thing, she’s all mechanical. Fuel injection, hydraulic-valve-body transmission, the only thing computer controlled is the damn starter.”
“Not even that. Magnets in the flywheel plus a couple coils. Basic magneto, except all it’s doing is making a light on the dash glow when the starter’s at full speed.” Scott said. “Very simple engineering, not a computer in this thing, short of the one that’s driving.”
“Did I remember to put an ejector seat in here?” Luke said, causing Amy and Linda to laugh.
They followed the service road up to the parking lot at Blackjack Pass, where they pulled the car into one of the many available parking spots. Well, technically, they managed to block 8 of them with the huge sedan and Luke’s intentionally shoddy parking job.
Day 1, Leg 1 Aftermath
“Now, that’s what I call fun!” Scott said, climbing over the side of the car and wandering a little way away from the car. Despite the distance, the rest of team Twin-Snail still heard the fart.
Luke opened the door and pulled the hood release as Amy and Linda got out and started grabbing supplies.
“Looks like we’re okay. Top the fluids up and we’ll be fine. She’ll need about a quarter-quart of motor oil because she smoked the whole way up the road, but otherwise, she’s doing fine.” Luke said, checking the dip-sticks for the engine oil and transmission fluid.
Scott slowly made his way over to them, then asked Luke, “So, how’s the voltage regulator holding up?”
“Seems okay. With the car running, battery charging, and lights on, the regulator’s at…” Luke reached up and touched the heatsink, reading the temperature, “… Looks like 82 degrees Celsius.”
“And in real numbers?”
“355 Kelvin, roughly.”
“You know what I meant.”
“Oh, you want that scale that’s only really good for air temperature. Then it’s 179.6 degrees Fahrenheit. So don’t touch it or you’ll lose a finger.” Luke said, before closing the hood.
“So now what?”
“We wait, we plan, we defend. And we wish ill on the other teams.” Amy said, before handing Scott a plastic bag full of beef jerky. “And we enjoy a snack or two while the results roll in.”
“Wait, that’s mine!” Linda shouted.
“You ate my granola bars. Didn’t you think there’d be revenge at some point?” Amy yelled back.
“Ah, the sounds of chaos. Dunno about the three of you, but I’ve got some supplies in the car.” Luke said, before opening the center console and grabbing several items.
First, he put the 8-track to Cassette adapter into the Sinistra’s old 8-track player. Then he dropped in a cassette to 3.5mm audio adapter, and finally, plugged in a cheap MP3 player. He turned on the radio, then decided the appropriate song for the end of the first stage would be Iron Maiden’s Aces High. Played obnoxiously loudly, of course.
“Really, Luke? Now you’re being the jerk with the loud radio?” Amy asked.
“Well, it just seems appropriate given…”
“Hey, I like this song, so it’s not that bad.” Scott said, interrupting Luke.
“…that we got kept up extra late. No point in fighting a war of noise when our radio isn’t that great.” Luke finished, before checking supplies and attempting, unsuccessfully, to unstick the top cover so they could get the top back up.
“And that’s still jammed, so the top stays down.” Luke said, after having bent a cheap screwdriver while trying to use it as a pry bar.