Day 26 Trying to Hang on to 7th Place

Today, was our second to last day on the Rally. It was a very beautiful drive, which I'll discuss below, but first the Rally.

The Car and the Rally:

Our car has not received much attention in these blogs, but that is because she has performed perfectly. Brant has built a great car and she continues to perform in all situations. She loves very rough terrain and runs smoothly on the open road. We've tightened a few bolts and got her four new tires back in Thailand, but other than that, she has not needed a lot of attention.

We had one Regularity Stage today. It was one that required the crews to change speed three times during the approximately 9 km Stage......60kph for about 4km up a steep hill; 20kph for about 2 km on a very rough dirt section, and the balance at 50kph downhill. We ran too fast through the 20kph section and finished 19 seconds too early. This was a very bad time, but we did hold onto our 7th place. We started the day 23 seconds ahead of the 8th place car, but with our poor performance today that margin has been reduced to 10 seconds. Tomorrow, the final day, has two Regularity Stages, so this has become neck-and-neck race for the 7th position.


The drive today was one of the prettiest and most pleasant. We are headed south and hugged the coastline. We saw hundreds of miles of clean beaches with white sandy beaches and pale blue ocean. There were many coves and bays full of sampans used mostly by the locals as fishing boats. Along this coast road, there were many open-air fish restaurants catering to tourists from everywhere. When the road did turn inland, we drove into beautiful valleys growing all sorts of produce. At one point I remarked that there must be a hundred shades of green in these valleys.

Of the five countries we have traversed on this rally, Vietnam certainly had the most beautiful landscape for me. I've been here several times before this trip, but never traveled the distance we did on this rally. The sheer beauty of the landscape came as a surprise.

Sure, there were poor sections where poverty was obvious (especially in the very rural sections off the beaten path), but most of the country is improving the quality of life for citizens and doing so while preserving the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

Our hotel tonight, The Cliff Resort, is in the town of Mui Ne, another one of those beach towns catering to tourists. This one is not as big or as elaborate as Nha Trang, where we were last night, but still very nice in its own way. I noticed that our hotel seemed to have a large delegation of tourists from Germany. They seemed to be enjoying themselves.

While Vietnam was the big surprise for me on the upside, the big disappointment for me was Cambodia. Other than the ancient temple ruins around Siem Reap, there was not much more to see. They continue to struggle economically and the land looks tired and neglected. If you're traveling in this part of the world, surely see Angkor Wat and the other temples, but then spend the majority of your holiday in Vietnam.