Nice and Clean

We finished the trailer and, with the help of a VW lift operator, lifted it onto the rented tow bed. Unfortunately, no car trailers were available, so what we ended up getting was very… tall. As a result, we have a very lofty trailer setup that requires the help of a ladder.

Logan discovering fun activities at VW
Logan discovering fun activities at VW

Also, Logan found a tiny table and chair and a coloring book.

We were invited last-minute to a friendly lap with the U of Michigan and U of Adelaide solar car teams. The event was held at a track in Adelaide that had once been part of the Formula circuit. When we arrived, a spectacle of old indy car, Michigan solar car, horse, drag queen, track star, karate champ, reindeer and elf, and some other weird stuff…

what
what

Everyone was standing still except for the reindeer and elf, who were dancing together the whole time. No one else thought it was nearly as funny as I did, as the stony-faced others stood for the cameras as the smiley-faced Christmas critters bobbed around gleefully. Supposedly the gathering was for a news preview of upcoming events in Adelaide. Not sure what the dancing reindeer and elf were doing there, though.

was rooting for the Mazda to pass the solar car
was rooting for the Mazda to pass the solar car

For different reasons, neither Michigan’s nor Adelaide’s car were driving, so the friendly lap became a race against ourselves. We did the ceremonial loop with the Mazda-become-Mustang following as the chase vehicle, then packed up and headed back to VW.

wheel alignment
wheel alignment

VW again assisted us, this time with their fancy wheel alignment jig which provided the final alignment for our car’s wheels before the race. While that was happening, I put the finishing touches on the trailer by adding our team name and number.

Movenpick: the art of Swiss ice cream
Movenpick: the art of Swiss ice cream

The team ended up working a little too late to wait for all the preparation involved in cooking a team meal, so everyone split up and ate out again. Hayden and I found the Australian equivalent of Chipotle (overpriced, smaller portions, and just not as good) for dinner, along with a Swiss ice cream parlor for dessert. The ice cream completely made up for the sub-par Chipotle dinner.

Hayden's embarrassingly shiny new shoes
Hayden’s embarrassingly shiny new shoes

Our final day in Adelaide was a rush of getting all our last remaining civilized tasks done before departing civilization and heading into the outback. After our morning run, Hayden and I went to an athletic store to get him (overpriced) new shoes, since the rubber bottoms of his old ones had begun to shed. He grumpily purchased the ones that he thought made him look like a dad. We also attempted to find a spare GoPro battery, but the local electronics store only had GoPro accessories and knockoff GoPro batteries (ugh, thanks, local establishment).

During our time in Adelaide, I have noticed a distinct lack of omnipresent big name establishments when shopping for everyday goods. The United States must look like a monopoly paradise to foreigners. While the cute local establishments are cute and quaint, they lack the modern conveniences of the U.S. big name brands. After our first failure in what became known as The Great GoPro Hero 4 Battery Hunt, we went to the Australian equivalent of REI, which only had Hero 3 batteries. The customer rep at Australian REI sent us down to the Australian equivalent of AutoZone, called AutObarn, which sounds just like “Autobahn” when pronounced with an Australian accent. AutObarn only had GoPro accessories and no batteries, so we lugged ourselves to the Australian equivalent of Best Buy and, at long last, acquired the stupid battery.

We have had similar trouble finding Isopropyl Alcohol for team use. The hardware store, auto store, and convenience store were all completely devoid of IPA. We did, however, find “methylated spirits,” which seem to be in no short supply in Australia. Darren informed us that IPA would only be available at a “chemist,” the Australian term for pharmacy. At the chemist, we only found tiny bottles of a kids’ version of IPA used for cleaning oopsie doopsies. Perhaps I will call this The Great IPA Hunt, still in progress.

In other news, while IPA and GoPro batteries are hard to come by in this country, furniture outlets abound! The whole shopping center is full of mattress and furniture stores for your home decorating needs. There were at least six such stores. Perhaps Australia could export furniture stores in return for IPA imports.
On the solar car front, Darren made the array nice and clean. Hooray!

Mommy Darren taking care of baby array
Mommy Darren taking care of baby array

We cleaned up at VW and will be heading out to Glendambo early tomorrow morning for outback testing, canned foods, and general roughing it.

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