The 2nd Trans-America Challenge 2015

7th - 28th June 2015

Day 7 - Buffalo - Rest Day

Another rest day; so soon after the last one, you ask? Well there’s a good reason, a very good, good reason for this. One that pours away around 2400 cubic metres of water every second, that forms a border between Canada and the USA and drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.

No visit to Buffalo therefore, is complete without a trip to America’s oldest State Park at Niagara Falls and a jaunt aboard the Maid of the Mist. Donning the regulation blue capes, our plastic wrapped rallyists joined the throng of tourists and day trippers waiting in line for the chance to get thoroughly wet on a voyage which proudly bills itself as the most amazing boat ride ever. The falls themselves are only around 50m high but they are wide. The three individual parts;  Bridal Veil Falls, Horseshoe Falls and American Falls span slightly more than 1km from the USA to Canada.

Apparently 90% of fish which find themselves being swept over the edge survive the fall as have a number of people who, for one reason or another, have found it necessary to fling themselves over the same in a barrel. It’s illegal as well as downright foolhardy but to date, no fish has actually been prosecuted for this crime.

Back in the carpark of the hotel though there was serious and perhaps some not so serious spannering going on. Hok Kiang Sia had received a package from an American Rolls Royce enthusiast and was looking to fit the new push rods he’d been sent. This could be described as serious. Marco Marinello was seen to be adjusting and cleaning the carburettors of his Porsche trying to squeeze out every last BHP for the coming days whilst John Henderson and Jeff West, more concerned with stopping than going were planning to replace discs on the Corvette.

Roger and Christian Clark tell us that their Daimler SP250 is perhaps burning bit too much oil but generally it’s doing very well and today’s maintenance was fairly minimal. A wash and brush up with a bit of Rainex applied to the screen. This clearly falls into the not so serious category.

We are pleased to report the return of Richard and Isobel Squire, their - Shelby 350GT Mustang was fitted with a new differential in Montreal and they spent the morning drying out the footwells like so many others.

The rest day concluded with a trip to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Motor Museum and we were treated to a fascinating talk and slideshow given by Geoff Mahl recounting the experiences of his great Grandfather, George Schuster, in the 1908 New York to Paris Race which he won in a Thomas Flyer. We expect to see this very car when we visit Reno next week.

Long distance driving against the clock? It’ll never catch on.

In 2011, Ed and Janet Howle 're-enacted' this Great Race along with Geoff in the very same car, a VW Beetle, that they are driving with us today.

The museum itself is packed to the running boards with fine examples of motoring history and has an installation of the 1927 Frank Lloyd Wright filling station which was actually never built but has been expertly recreated here. As an added treat, one of the great architect’s cars was also parked up on the forecourt.

Tomorrow we point ourselves westwards and head towards Bay City in Michigan.

Press on, it’s a Rally.

Syd Stelvio




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