Sunday, July 06, 2008

Arrival in Texas

Last night our team arrived at the MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas, site of scrutineering and qualifying for the 2008 North American Solar Challenge. Our arrival came after two full days of driving from Michigan covering over 1200 miles, as well as a stay in Dallas, Texas. The team will be staying overnight at the MotorSport ranch through Friday, living out of our support trailer and taking cover in our portable shelter. Thankfully, there are air-conditioned facilities for team members to use at the track, though showers are quite limited--this may prove uncomfortable as the week's temperatures hover at over 95 degrees.
Camp at the MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas

The team's voyage to Cresson began Wednesday evening, when the semi trailer departed our workspace with Continuum. Once again, America's Transportation Resources (ATR) has provided the team with a driver for the semi trailer, while Exel Logistics has supported the team with the semi cab. For the race, Lonnie Giffen from ATR will be driving the trailer, while David Menke, President of ATR, may be joining us later in the race. Thanks to the support of both of these companies, we knew our semi trailer would be in good hands for the trip down.

No sooner than when the rest of the team left Ann Arbor in our fleet vehicles from GM, did ferocious weather strike again. As we stopped at a restaurant just outside of Ann Arbor, torrential rain showers poured down on us, and gusts of winds at up to 70 mph threw tree branches onto the road. Once the rain storms died down somewhat, the team got back on the road, drove out of Michigan, through Indiana and into Illinois.
Alex snickers at any "racing fuel" other than the sun

After a full evening of driving, we arrived at a hotel in Illinois around 2 am, then departed the next morning. A full day of driving on Thursday saw us arrive in Dallas, Texas, where we were warmly welcomed by the staff at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Love Field, which had offered its support to the team again, after originally becoming a sponsor for our Mock Race. On Friday the Fourth of July, our team took the day off to celebrate the Independence Day Holiday in Dallas. Many team members cherished the opportunity to sleep in at the hotel, recovering from countless consecutive days of work. Much of the group even caught a showing of Disney/Pixar's Wall-E in theatres, before we headed off to a barbeque at the house of Adriel and Charlotte Givens, family friends of team member Jeff Rogers. We all greatly enjoyed the company and cooking of the Givens family--it was a pleasure to spend the holiday with them. As the sun disappeared and darkness set in, we moved to White Rock Lake Park and found a good vantage point for the evening's fireworks. From the park we were able to see the city's multiple fireworks shows as the night passed.
The team celebrating the 4th at the house of Adriel and Charlotte Givens

From left: Jeff, Adriel, Chito

On Saturday, July 5th, it was back to work for the team. After breakfast, we spent the morning and afternoon making final preparations before heading to the track. Engineers made minor modifications to Continuum and the fleet vehicles, while strategists reviewed their code and tested race strategy software. Our operations crew readied themselves for a week at the track, ensuring that the team would be able to function from our support trailer.

After an afternoon of working, the team left for the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb of Watauga, where we dined at OC Burger, owned by Ken French, a family friend of Paula Harrison and her parents, Joe and K.C. Harrison. Paula was a driver of Continuum during the 2007 World Solar Challenge, and her parents have always been great supporters of the team. We thank them for treating us to an amazing dinner, and we look forward to seeing them soon in Texas. The food at OC Burger was enjoyed by all--we recommend it to anyone visiting the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the race.
The team at OC Burger with owner Ken French

With our stomachs filled, the team set out on our final leg of our journey to the track in Cresson. Cresson, located about 30 minutes outside of Fort Worth, was a short drive from OC Burger. Once we pulled into the MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, we were greeted by the team from Durham University, one of the international teams who came here all the way from the United Kingdom. Durham had already set up tents at the track, so we set up next to them, had a team meeting of our own, then went to bed. We all knew we would need a good night's sleep for the upcoming week of events.



Blogger Vance Shutes said...


Congratulations on your safe arrival, especially after the storms while leaving Ann Arbor. All the best of success to the team in the race. I look forward to your regular updates via the blog.

July 6, 2008 at 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with Scrutineering!

By the way, you made it on ABC:

Jose Alvarez
UMSCT 97 / 99

July 7, 2008 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Freddy Ferdian said...

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July 25, 2008 at 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oc burger rocks! been there twice... disney vacation guide

August 6, 2008 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Madthas said...

It seems that most of us feel stuck in shallow conversations all the time, and really want to have an opportunity to just be themselves without having a need to wear a ‘mask’. I completely see hospitality as being the antidote to that.

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August 15, 2008 at 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Texas Direct Auto said...

Saw you on the news thats great that you have taken on this project and have support and funding necessary to do trips like this. You are the innovators of the future, hopefully with people like you entering the workforce soon we wont need the govt to bail out wallstreet and set us all back another 700 billion again..

Great work and great seeing you on the news here in Texas..

October 2, 2008 at 1:39 AM  

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