Today was my first shift driving the solar car in Australia. The morning shift was really chilly in the Southern Territory so, for the first time ever, I was actually glad that the solar car was hotter than the outside air. In the beginning of the drive, we passed Michigan going the other direction down the Stuart Highway. “Michigan be ‘miring,” Darren commented over chase radio as Michigan photographed our solar car from their scout vehicle. Shortly after we passed their scout, I passed their solar car! I waved at them from the solar car, unsure if they waved back. It was too bad I couldn’t just suddenly hands-free drive the solar car and whip out my phone to take photos.
We did speed runs up and down the highway until about noon, when we swapped drivers and had a practice control stop. People took bathroom breaks, and so did Hayden (see photo)!
Hayden thought that the scenery was so beautiful that we should take a team photo, so he started practicing with his IR camera trigger.
And we were off and driving again! Except someone in lead took the scout car’s keys, so all of us in scout were stuck waiting at the turnaround point until the convoy came back. In the meantime, two huge road trains pulled over where we were. It was pretty neat. The driver of the swankier road train even let us get up into the cab of his car to take a photo!
As you can see in that last photo, the chase vehicle rolled in right about then and handed off the scout keys. Then we hopped back into scout and rejoined the convoy. Later on, scout did some scouting separate from the convoy and scouted the roads ahead for flat, straight roads to keep building our strategy model on. We ended up in a “4-star” campervan park in Coober Pedy and are camping out for the night. We’ll be staying in Radeka Down Under Hostel tomorrow and then this campervan park again the next night.
Coober Pedy is a mining town, so they just dug a bunch of holes and left them there. There’s a “famous” sign that warns not to walk backwards, and earlier on I even saw a sign that flat out said not to run at all.