Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 7 - Zacatecas to Nuevo Laredo

One of us wasn't feeling that great when the day began.  I won't say which one of us that was.  But I will say that this person's shoes did NOT reek of tequila.  

After little breakfast, advil and plenty of water, we were ready to go.  This was the last day of the race!

La Bufa was our first race section of the day and the route book warned that the morning chill was going to make the pavement cold and slippery.  We took some extra time to warm up our tires in the short transit section, but we still had to take it easy. Several turns still had "gael" warnings and I started to think that Gael must have LOVED the tequila donkey walk in his La Carrera days.  

We were officially out of the mountainous regions of the race and into flat land.  Long straights, gradual crests - it was a welcomed change after 6 long days of difficult driving.   And guess what?  I found some donkeys.  You can never seem to find a donkey when you need one (last night) but when it's not the best time for them, there they are!  This donkey was wearing a backpack.  

Me and a backpack-wearing Donkey (Day 7 - Nuevo Laredo)

During one of the long transit sections, we came up to a military inspection post.  The car in front of us was stopped by an officer in camouflage who was holding a large firearm and had another large firearm strapped to his back.  Behind him were other men in camouflage who were also well armed.  The officer spoke to the driver for a moment, while Emil and I watched and worried.  Until now, we had been waved through intersections by the police, escorted through towns at high speeds, and waved at as we passed federal police in trucks.  This military officer did not look impressed by our race cars or interested in how the race was going - he looked stern and angry.  After their brief discussion, he stood next to the car and faced his fellow military officers.  One took out a camera and snapped his photo.  The the officer spoke to the driver again, and waved him through the inspection gate.  Whew!  We were also waved through but did not get to pose for a photo.  

The rest of the day was rather uneventful, which was fine with us.  When we got to the town of Nuevo Laredo, we were directed to line up near a park and then race into town past all the spectators lining the roads.  They hollered and cheered and waved flags as we all zoomed by them.   This was the last arrival of the race and it was just as exciting as all the others, but also sort of sad.  It was over!  

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The awards ceremony that night was at the Cultural Center.  All of the Unlimited Class teams sat together at a big table and we talked about the previous 7 days.   We all agreed that it felt like we had known each other much longer than that - going through an experience like definitely forms some strong bonds!  We couldn't wait to see each other again at the next La Carrera Panamericana!

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We came in 3rd in our class for the day and also 3rd overall for the Unlimited Class!

Later that night, we found the Sevens Only transporter in the parking lot of one of the hotels.  Everyone was loading up their cars for transport home. Tom asked me to move the GT3 into a parking spot to make more room - and I realized that 10 feet distance was the ONLY  driving I did all week.  

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