We camped out near Goodwood race track with about 100 other teams. Tent went up fine and we slept well after Andrea had a chat with the loud English numpties next door to us. I cried a little because I had worked myself up so much during the day but once we had a good night’s sleep I was better. Woke up around 7:30am and started organizing and packing and unpacking the Bus. Pain au chocolat and espresso for breakfast and learning how to attach come-along-straps to the top of the bus took up most of the early morning. It had rained a little during the early morning hours so we set the different parts of the tent out to dry, hanging them all over the bus in the beautiful sunshine that peaked out around 8am. The day got warmer and more people woke up in the campsite. The energy rose and rose until at about 10am many of us drove out of the campsite just down the road to Goodwood Race Track!! About 300 teams and families and friends of teams congregated at the historical motor circuit for several hours while we all got registered and t-shirted and given parking spaces to show off our vehicles.
After a couple of hours of waiting and talking and being complimented on the Bus and our large sticker maps along each side (thank you Dirk for creating the image and thank you Jeff at Design flow for making our Big Blue Bus really stand out!), we heard the MC say that it was time to drive a loop of the Goodwood Circuit and head off on our trip. Probably the slowest part of this trip was waiting to get on to the track. But finally we were there, surrounded by other teams in ambulances, small cars, and motorcycles. Fans and family were waving at us from the sidelines. We got to see Bruce’s family waving from the grand-stand as we revved our engines and took off. Top speed… about 30mph but it was still awesome. After the lap, we drove off towards Dover. Both Bruce and I were giddy to have begun our first real adventure together. Both of us couldn’t stop smiling. The bus did very well on the small narrow roads and did even better on the A27 and M20 (large British highways). Our only concern is that the bus smells like exhaust at times. We noticed it when we were in Massachusetts before we left (especially after a winter of not really driving it too much). So we think that the smell will die down the more we drive it.
We are now in Dover. We had dinner of baguette, cheese, and fruit on the White Cliffs of Dover overlooking the port. We watched many of the Mongol Rally teams queue up for earlier ferries across the English Channel. We are catching our ferry at 10pm our time. …. A few hours later….
As we waited in lines of cars on the docks we met up with 3 other teams that were going to be on our same ferry. We all decided to camp together tonight when we get off of the ferry near Dunkirk, France. We all thought it would be a good idea to camp early and get a good night’s sleep before the long (10 hour) drive to Prague. We are planning on passing through France, Belgium, Netherlands, and ending in the Czech Republic just outside of the city of Prague.
Thoughts of the day: Organization is a real issue for the Adventurists. They couldn’t even get breakfast right. They had us standing in line for breakfast when they didn’t even have any gas for their stoves. They also only had one food cart at the Festival of Slow, where they knew that there would be at least 200 cars of people plus families, friends, and locals. I am disappointed in how they have been handling us. We did pay them a good amount of money to take care of the logistics of these events.
Other things: Bruce lost his voice almost completely and he sounds like a grumbly old man. We are trying to take it easy but it is hard not to talk when you are so excited about an event as big as the Mongol Rally. Wish him well and to get his voice back soon!