Driving Day 21: Snyder to Austin – 466.7km

After the previous night’s excitement, the team was keen to get in a good night’s sleep. But time was of the essence; we had a wind farm to visit and another 290 mile drive ahead of us, so it was with great effort that we awoke on time and rolled out of the hotel exactly on schedule!

It is perhaps the right time now to mention RGE’s timekeeping; throughout the project we have tried exceedingly hard to stick to a planned and well thought out schedule, and this has served us extremely well. Here we were, after a month on the road and over 10 months since we promised National Instruments to be in Austin on or before the 2nd of August, just 290 miles away from our final destination. But we’ve come to appreciate Sod’s Law whereby things just seem to go wrong at the most inopportune time, so we were not counting our chickens just yet!

Anyway, a short drive from the hotel and a quick detour off the main road, we found ourselves driving through what was, by far, the biggest collection of large wind turbines I had ever seen. Off into the horizon they stretched, and it was here, in the midst of these giant machines that Andy and myself did a piece to camera about wind energy, what’s good and bad about it, and how their use relates to electric vehicles. The video of this can be seen at http://www.racinggreenendurance.com/videos.php.

After our quick video shoot, which lasted for around an hour, we headed onwards, and when hunger struck we stopped at a restaurant promising an all you can eat BBQ. I think by now you’ve heard too many of my endless food ramblings, so I’ll leave it out and save it for later, but suffice to say that the food was really exceptional! It was one of those perfect days; great weather, car driving perfectly, delicious food, but as always, just at the time you least expect it, things go wrong…

Rick suddenly announced that he would be leaving us. This may not sound like such a big deal, but for us it was. For weeks he had helped Claudio with the filming, helped navigate, entertained us all with great stories, and was an all round amazing travel companion. For personal reasons he had decided to leave, and while we are upset to have him miss out on the fantastic journey ahead, we wish him all the best for the future. He was at least planning on coming with us to Austin, so we vowed to give him a night to remember, and we got on with the driving.

The scenery was spectacular, and drive was only broken by a couple of stops by the local police. This was our first time being stopped since Yreka in California, and we were beginning to notice a very spooky trend. I will embellish more on this in a special blog post, but for now all I can say is that we were beginning to see a very unusual pattern emerging. But anyway, we carried on rolling through the countryside, which looked very similar to the English countryside, with rolling meadows fringed with oak trees; very different to the preconceived perceptions we all had.

Finally, the glistening city of Austin appeared in the distance. Smart but not ostentatious sky scrapers sparkled in the distance, and our final destination was almost in reach. I say almost, because we had one further obstacle to navigate; the STOP signs. In the US, these signs are at every crossroad where there isn’t a traffic light. The idea is that from whatever direction you come from, you come to a complete halt, and whoever came to a complete halt first, gets to go first. On the route into Austin, there was an long section of junctions with these signs, and so I did what I was taught in the UK; slow down as you approach the line, but if there is no one coming, then carry on through. I did this 3 times before a flash of red and blue appeared in my mirrors and I was forced over by a police car. Two more cars subsequently joined the fracas.

The police surrounded the vehicle, and one of the officers came up and asked how many more stop signs I was intending on running tonight. I explained my reasoning that in the UK, stopping when no one was there is considered an entirely pointless exercise. While he agreed, he still said it was against the law and at all times, one must come to a complete standstill at these signs, regardless of the number of cars in the vicinity.

After checking my driver’s license and conferring with his colleagues, he said it was stupid for him to give me a ticket as I would soon be out of the country anyway, but he did proceed to give me a warning ticket, which fortunately is not recorded and as he put it “will be merely a souvenir from your trip to the US”. Phew!

After the police disbanded and left us to our own devices, we headed a few blocks south towards our hotel, the Marriot on 4th street, which NI had kindly provided us. Upon arriving, the hotel staff were delighted to have such a car in their driveway, and promptly freed up a spot on the concourse where we could safely leave the car in full view. It reminded me a lot of our experiences at the Fairmont in Seattle, and the Mirage in Las Vegas.

However, the overwhelming feeling among the team was that we had made it exactly on schedule! After months of planning and over a month on the road, we had arrived exactly as promised. We had pushed so hard for this moment, often leaving very early in the morning to keep our schedule, especially in the northern section of the trip through Alaska and Canada. On any one of these days, had we not been bothered and just had a longer sleep, we would not have made it to Austin on Sunday night. I must congratulate the team, and all our supporters and sponsors who have helped us along the way, for the most incredible sustained and determined effort to make this happen!

We had to celebrate. Apparently 6th street was the place to be, and so after throwing our bags in the hotel room and having a quick dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, we headed the two blocks towards 6th street. It was a really great place to party; very European in style with bars and cafes spilling out into the street. Along with Rick and Claudio, we enjoyed our first night in Austin until the early hours of the morning!

4 Responses to “Driving Day 21: Snyder to Austin – 466.7km”

  • James Lu says:

    Congratulatory Letter to “Racing Green Endurance” Team

    Dear “Racing Green Endurance” Team Friends, Colleagues and Comrades:

    You have been working so hard!

    We are very pleased and encouraged when we get your news from news.Xinhuanet.com. Not only your “Platinum Sponsor”, we and you are all colleagues and comrades in the world’s new energy revolution, and we are all working diligently hard in this new energy revolution.

    Your “epic journey” is both a Pan America trip and a world tour. On July 4th, you stared from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, heading all the way south, passing through 14 countries, expecting to arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina in 84 days, to complete the full 26,000 kilometers of the Pan America Highway. Your “epic journey” is a great undertaking in the EV history, shows the life and vitality of the lithium battery electric sports vehicle – lithium battery pure electric cars. Your actions affect the conscience of the world!

    Your green concept in “sustainable transportation” shows the mankind’s motive on the new energy revolution. After the mankind entered the post oil / gasoline engine era, human being’s civilization reaches a new node of innovative ecological culture where industrial civilization must be abandoned; Human being’s walking civilization also reaches a new node of innovative ecological pure electric vehicles where you must abandon the fuel vehicles of the industrial civilization. The addressing reality issue in new energy revolution is innovating lithium pure electric vehicle to realize “sustainable transportation”. Your SRZero electric sports car’s speed reaches 200 km / h, worthy is the most outstanding lithium battery electric vehicle now.

    Your “Racing Green Endurance” action is of great significance and far-reaching. Today, mankind has entered the Age of Lower Carbon, lithium pure electric vehicles are directing the development of automobile industry in China and even in the world. Lithium age is already “budding” in the post-oil era; EV civilization has “Birth Fetal Movement” in car’s post civilization. You are creating success stories of innovating EV civilization and abandon gasoline car’s civilization, which will be recorded in Human Walking Civilization History.

    Your core values, not just “add excitement”, and “encourage the next generation”, you will inevitably impact new energy revolution, will affect the auto industrial revolution, and will also affect human society’s the sixth industrial revolution – and will write the most brilliant pages of ecological civilization – Lithium Age / EV Civilization!

    Shoulder to shoulder with us, for the world’s green depict the most exciting touch!

    Wish you a safe journey home!

    Congratulate RGE Pan-American tour a complete success!

    China Thunder-Sky Battery Limited











  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    we have been rather ” beezzy ” , so we have not
    had the opportunity to scour your web site for
    the latest news and photos , which have provided
    a lot of pleasure and conversation .

    So this is a little reminder , that we desperately
    request some more !

    Best regards from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in budding South Africa where winter has
    decided to take a temporary backseat ,
    Charles and friends .

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    we cannot agree more with China’s Thunder-Sky
    Battery Limited and Mr James Lu that this Epic
    Journey is the stepping stone for the Energy
    Revolution and that you are those courageous
    very often humorous pioneers amongst others
    of the Ecological and Energy Revolution .
    Nevertheless , while these accolades are
    an endorsement of your achievements , from which
    new challenges have to be embraced with the same
    vigour .

    Best regards from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in sunny South Africa , where at last the sunny
    side of South Africa is being put to good use ,
    to exploit Solar Power , which has been a
    “ no brainer ” for such a long time , starting
    with a competition for solar powered vehicles ,
    Charles and friends .

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    we are shocked and thrilled to observe that the
    photo scenes which we have witnessed between Synder
    and Austin are so similar to some of the scenes
    we have in South Africa , down to road conditions
    with the respective litter on the side , the weeds
    growing on the verge and the general surrounding
    country side except the heavy duty population
    of overhead electrical conduits . That wonderful
    photo you took of the large moon on the horizon ,
    reminds me of a question which I like to ask when
    I teach science and mathematics voluntarily to high
    school scholars – why is the moon and the sun for
    that matter , so large when seen on the horizon ?

    Another page has been turned in the journal of your
    journey and we wonder if it can all be absorbed
    appropriately as it unfolds or will you need a
    debriefing period ?

    We wish you all the best again and again as by now
    living like a nomad or gypsy has either become
    your temporary way of life or at times it has been
    awkward . However , the lessons that are being
    learnt will definitely prove invaluable in the future ,
    from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal ) in South Africa
    where the weather has decided to act contrarily
    to the predictions , Charles and friends .

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