Last night Michigan camped a little over 200 km north of Alice Springs and Continuum did not have to pull over even once. This was the first night since the accident that everyone could get a good night’s sleep. It took Continuum just under 3 hours to reach Alice Springs this morning, which was treated as a normal control stop. This unfortunately means that we were not able to recharge our batteries like the Teams that arrived the day before. We plan to cross into South Australia this afternoon and will hopefully approach the Cadney Homestead Control Stop by the end of the day. At the border of the Northern Territory, the speed limit drops to 110 kph, limiting the speed at which Teams can cruise. Because of the control stop, everyone is only about 3 hours ahead of us on the road (a bit more for total elapsed time). Consequently all other Challenge Class Teams should experience the same weather, so we should be able to catch up with a fair number of them.
The Weather Team is 60 or 70km ahead of the rest of the Team. We started off the race as prepared as we could be. The forcasting went really well. The only issue was with the Intermet hardware, but after speaking with Intermet to troubleshoot hardware problems, this was fixed. We have had several successful weather balloon launches so far and launch them 4 times per day – at 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm. The UAV has yet to be launched, but once we reach Southern Australia we will do that, too. There was a 250 km wall of clouds that slowed us down quite a bit before Alice Springs. Right now we’re getting about 25 or 30 mph headwinds that are slowing Continuum. After seeing the control stop leader board in Alice Springs we realized that we aren’t doing all that badly especially considering the one day that we lost in Darwin. Everyone is excited at how well Continuum is performing after the accident and we hope to continue passing other teams in South Australia!