After an interesting night spent huddled up in tents, cars, and the trailer to shield ourselves from the downpours, we woke up to a miserable sight: heavy clouds and a reading of 0.166 Amps on the test solar cell on roof of our chase car. Needless to say we were not getting a morning charge, much less making the next checkpoint before closing.
So after some reluctance, we started off the morning with the car in the trailer – our first time since we had started the race some 1901 kilometres prior. We were all a bit disappointed to have to pack Chopper up inside, but pretty proud of how far we had gotten considering we had run the entire race on 16kg of lithium-ion cells (when rules allow 21kg) [Why? see this blog post] as well as faced some other significant hurdles.
Chopper del Sol underneath an overcast sky.
We did manage to get a brief charge in to drive further, increasing our solar kilometers travelled. Couple historical landmarks passed include Australia’s Dog Fence which, at 7000km, is the longest fence in the world. It keeps the wild dogs (dingos) out of sheep country in Southern Australia. With all that hype we were expecting something more dramatic, but turns out it was just a cattle grid and some barbed wire. We also passed a lot of opal mines along the way.
The weather remained dreadful all afternoon. We kept driving along, watching the Amp-hours consumed slowly increase on our battery pack. To show how rotten our luck has been, here a screen shot of the satellite imagery of the mass of clouds sitting mostly immobile above the Stuart Highway for today:
The clouds sitting over the Stuart Highway.
We’re camped out in Glendambo, some 600km north of the race finish, waiting for some sun tomorrow to hopefully power us through the finish to Adelaide. The forecast is looking good and we saw a couple stars tonight.