On the road with Sunsetters
American Solar Challenge 2001
Amarillo, TX to Santa Rosa, NM
Friday, July 20

by Jim Karg, Tim Barth and Eric Bradley

We broke camp this morning at 6:00 in order to charge at the abandoned gas station where we stopped the night before. Since we stopped yesterday before the official stop time, we are able to start today 15 minutes before the 8:00 official start time, and we were completely ready to go with one minute to spare.

No roadside stops and sparse Texas and New Mexico traffic made today's raycing largely uneventful, which is generally a good thing. The largest challenge of the day would be to conquer the continuous inclines ahead of us. Our goal was to make the 100-mile Tucumcari, NM checkpoint by noon central time, and see where our batteries were at that time. At 10:30 MDT we rolled into Tucumcari with a decent charge remaining in the batteries. We drove 50 miles farther uphill and decided to spend the night in Santa Rosa, NM. Ahead of us lies 120 miles of steep uphill climbing to the next checkpoint in Albuquerque, NM. We have decided to trailer this segment in order to completely recharge our battery pack tonight, and conserve energy for another uphill stretch west of Albuquerque and the remaining 700 miles to California. Overall, the last two days have been very successful covering about 350 largely uphill miles at speeds around 25 MPH without needing to trailer the solar car.

NOTE: For additional pictures please visit www.ekarg.com

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