Sunday, July 24, 2016

7.23.16-The End

We awoke to clouds and drizzle on our final day of the race. Our original plan was to trailer the car  and drive sixty miles or so closer to Minneapolis, beat the rain, put the car on the road, and get as many miles as possible. We drove for twenty miles on a perfect road for a solar car—many miles of flat and smooth pavement. We then decided perhaps it would be best to return to near our starting point, wait for the rain to clear, and begin our journey with the advantage of the flat road.  We located a truck stop and found ways to amuse ourselves. 

The Solar Car Challenge crew declared the road safe for racing around 10:30AM and we were told the race had to end at 4:00PM; this limited the number of miles we would be able to make.  We put the car on the road and it ran beautifully. The only problem was the overcast sky. Without the sun, it took quite sometime for the batteries to charge. We were able to make a few short runs of ten miles or so before we were forced by the clock to put the car on the trailer. We added 35.4 miles to our  mileage tally. Later that evening, at the awards banquet, we learned that our grand total was 229.3 miles. Our competitors from Plano, Texas completed the race in 229.6 miles. A very close race! Surprisingly the disappointment of not winning first place was minimal. The Plano team came to congratulate us and both teams did a bit of horseplay while posing for trophy photos. 

The first rain on the trip.

 The Lucks Tux. Mr. Lucks is dressed for success!

Steve checks the fuses.
Final Team Meeting

1-2-3, Volt-Tech!

Here is a video of the final morning meeting.

Cameron accepts our trophy for placing first on day six of the race.

Here is a link to yesterday's KCAU interview:
KCAU Interview

Here are a few images I took while trailering the car and trying to beat the rain.

Waiting for the sun at a truck stop

Our judge for the day was Bill Floss. We discovered that he is a retired New Paltz Earth Science and Chemistry teacher, and a friend of retired BOCES Small Engine Repair instructor, Roger Cosh. It  was nice to meet someone from the Hudson Valley. 

Elijah is an AMAZING dancer and entertained us while waiting for the sun to return. 

Chris and Steve chatting with people interested in hearing our story. 

The rain prevented a grand entrance into our final destination, but we were very pleased to discover that Dr. Khoury and Alex's Aunt Dotty were there to meet us. We felt badly that due to the weather they were not able to see any solar cars running. Aunt Dotty made a congratulatory sign that made us all smile. I would like to also point out that while in Manhattan, Kansas working on the car in extreme heat, Chris's Aunt Lisa met us, bought the kids a delicious lunch, and traveled part of the race with us. We are thankful to have had the support of family and friends.

Cameron only found out one day prior that as team captain he would have to speak at the awards banquet. He spent part of the day writing his speech. It was a thoughtful speech and he made all of us proud. Here is a video of Cameron's speech. 

Some of the captains at the head table. 

Cameron was given an award for "The Order of the Solar Cell"

After dinner, Wiliam  Shih, Assistant Director of the Solar Car Challenge, announced the winners for each division. When he got to our division, Electric Solar Car, he said that he had never seen a race so close. Our team drove a total of 229.3 miles and took second place. The first place team drove 229.6 miles and were awarded the first place trophy. 

Team Volt Tech with their trophy. Front row: Mr. Lucks, Tyler Brown, Cameron Miller, Chris Garrison, Steve Scribani, Nick Vincent, Elijah Leveque, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Lord
Back row: Mr. Harris, Jackie Gleelan, Marisa Jankowski, Alex Trelor

First place winners from Plano, Texas congratulated us and we decided to take  a group photo.

The trip really wasn’t about the car or the race, it was about learning and growing. In the span of ten days students learned to listen, be responsible, communicate, help, and practice tolerance.
It was a privilege to be with these young adults. I  witnessed them break down barriers and accept one another for who they are and become caring and supportive friends. I watched dedicated teams of teens from across the country work together to ensure a successful day of racing. During the precious hours of down time, these same teens conversed with their competitors about their cars, home states, schools, and common interests. It was an extraordinary experience for all of us and we are grateful to have participated the Solar Car Challenge.

Friday, July 22, 2016

7.22.16- Nearing the End

Team members met in the lobby at 6:00AM for a quick breakfast. We welcomed two people: Tyler Brown, a team member who joined us for the remaining days of the race, and Jeremy Bout from Edge Factor.  Edge Factor uses videos to highlight innovative technology and visited Ulster BOCES earlier in the year to begin filming students in preparation for the Solar Car Challenge. It will be interesting to see the completed documentary about the event.

Thankfully, the day went smoothly. Yesterday, we blew a couple fuses and Mr. Lucks was able to find stronger replacements, but they did not fit properly. Under Mr. Luck's guidance, students constructed a fuse holder, and we made it through the day without blowing a fuse. We drove the most miles of the day—over sixty! We traveled north through Nebraska, into a section of Iowa, and ended the day at the Worthington, Minnesota Civic Center where cars were on display and teams were treated to a BBQ.

We are very near to the end of the race and it has been a pleasure to see students take over ownership of the car, delegate tasks, follow competition rules and politely remind one another of them, but what has been the most heart warming has been witnessing them bond. When not behind the wheel of the solar car, long hours are spent together in the vans where music, laughter, conversation, and sleep are shared.

Tomorrow we will end the race in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.

Packing one of the vans before heading out to the parking lot where the solar car was parked all evening.

Marisa cleaning the solar arrays. 

Steve preparing to add air to back tire. 

Tyler listens as Chris goes over information on the car. 

Elijah shows us the fuse holder.

The Edge Factor crew was with us throughout the day. Students were interviewed and video cameras ran non-stop.

Video of team meeting

Chris and Marisa were the first to drive, and their good driving skills gave us almost an hour of sightseeing before the battery had to be switched.

Nebraska still has quite a few old barns. I hope that the National Barn Alliance  will be able to save some of them. It would be sad to see crumbling foundations or partial walls become relics of the past like wagon wheel tracks and buffalo wallows.

Our task of the day was to stop at a convenience store, buy a six pack of Diet Coke, and secure it in our basket. Six packs where not available, so a twelve pack was purchased, cut in half, and securely duct taped. 

Here is a short clip of the car driving into Oakland, Nebraska

The Edge Factor crew waiting for us to drive by.

Lunch was at an authentic and delicious Mexican restaurant

Cameron flagging near a large grainery

While at the grainery, a woman from KCAU news interviewed Elijah. Here is a link to the interview:

Eliah and Alex take over the wheel.

Changing the Battery Roadside

The Sioux City Air National Guard were doing touch and goes with a very large, what I believe to be a KC-135E

Alex and Jackie napping. Don't they look angelic?

Chris napping after his successful drive. 

The day ended with a  hardy supper provided by the Sioux City Chamber of Commerce. 

Alex conversing with curious Minnesotans

Playing jump rope with a team from Mississippi