Great Race 2016




Friday 6/17/2016

 Greetings from San Rafael, CA,

 The motto of the Great Race is “To Finish is to Win.”  Some of us are ready to change it to “To Arrive is to Win.”

 Herb & I were supposed to arrive in San Rafael in our 1951 GMC pickup a couple of days ago but actually arrived yesterday afternoon.  Tom & Suzanne Jones in their 1960 Ford, and Dick and Beth Crabtree in their 1939 Buick arrived earlier in the week.  Don Kloth with crew members Tony Palozzi and Lauren Matley arrived on Tuesday in Don’s 1930 Ford Speedster.  One of Don’s navigators, Mike Graven arrived yesterday.  We would have arrived with Don, Tony, and Lauren but had an unfortunate incident.  We were driving on I-5 north of Los Angeles when a large metal cylinder came flying out from under a truck in front of us and went under our car and put a very large hole in our oil pan.  We had to be towed to a garage in Lebec, CA.  We ended up spending two nights in Lebec as Edmond’s Towing  worked to repair our truck.  A job that they thought would take about four hours took 16 hours.  They worked until midnight Wednesday night and only charged us what they had quoted when they thought it would take four hours.  So if you ever need automotive service in Lebec, CA, we would highly recommend Edmonds’s Towing.

 Earlier in our trip from St. Louis, MO to Durango, CO for our grandson’s high school graduation, we lost our brakes as we were going down Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado and had to take a “runaway truck ramp” to stop us.  Right in front of us was a hairpin curve, so we feel very blessed that the truck ramp was there. 

 The Dysart High School team also had problems getting to San Rafael.  They had over heating problems with their 67′ Cougar but finally arrived today.  Also arriving today were crew members, Chuck Ulbricht, and Howard Johnson.

 Today was the “Trophy Run” which is a practice race before the actual Great Race.   We raced on very bumpy, curvy, hilly roads through wine country.  The Dysart team was not here in time to race but all of the others raced and finished without getting lost.  Don and Mike had the best time with an excellent score of 26 seconds/points.  Herb & I had a total score of 1:55 seconds/points, Dick & Beth had a little over 2:00 seconds/points, and Tom & Suzanne (with Quinci Rust from Dysart High School as navigator) had a little over 5:00 seconds/points. 

 The scenery today was gorgeous once we got through crowded traffic on the California highways.  Tomorrow we have the Opening Ceremonies in downtown San Rafael where 40,000 people are expected to see us off.  We will travel to Vacaville, CA for lunch and then on to Old Sacramento where we will spend the night.  We are just very grateful that everyone arrived safely.  That is why “To Arrive is to Win.”

 Pat Clark


Saturday 6-18-2016

Greetings from Old Sacramento,

The Great Race actually started today!  All of the Sun City West teams were able to finish without getting too lost.  Lunch was in charming Vacaville, CA , which is half way between San Rafael and Sacramento, the capital of CA.  It is nestled just East of where the Wine Country ends and the Delta begins. We were greeted by many residents as we entered town. There was even a band.  The afternoon start time was delayed 30 minutes because of all the traffic delays earlier on our way to the start of the race.  We saw three different accidents that had traffic backed up for miles.  We all agreed that we would like California better if there weren’t so many people who are all in such a hurry.
After the day of racing, Old Sacramento is where we will spend the night.  Old Sacramento was built on the Sacramento River during the Gold Rush which started in 1849.  Cobblestone streets and buildings dating back to the 1880’s greeted us along with many people.  We arrived in front of the California State Railroad Museum where we parked for Parc Ferme (a car show) so the local residents could enjoy the classic vehicles.
Don Kloth and Mike Graven had another good day.  Their score of 1:13 put them in 57th place. Tom and Suzanne Jones scored 2:23 for 75th place.  They were followed closely by Herb and Pat Clark in 77th place with a 2:32.  Dick and Beth Crabtree had a bit of trouble today and scored 5:03 for 92nd place.  And the Dysart High School team ended their day in 99th place with a 7:59.  We are happy that everyone finished the race today.  Remember the motto “To Finish is to Win.”  Don has commented several times that we have such a great crew consisting of Chuck Ulbricht, Howard Johnson, Tony Palozzi, and Lauren Matley.  The daily winners from today were the Martins who scored a :03 with three aces.  An ace is when you reach a checkpoint at exactly the second that was determined to be perfect.  We need much more practice to be that good.
We traveled through beautiful, hilly countryside with mountains in the distance.  We saw citrus orchards, vineyards, and strawberry fields.  We had two fawns and one adult deer cross the road in front of us, we had to drive around several dogs who just stopped in the middle of the road to watch us pass, we even saw a camel in a pen with some llama.  The weather was gorgeous and the views spectacular.  All in all, it was a good day.  We all have room for improvement so we will see what tomorrow will bring.  
Attached are some photos from today:  The Great Race Arch at the beginning of the race in San Rafael.  The Arch at the finish line in Old Sacramento.  The Dysart team at the finish of the race in Old Sacramentl.  Don Kloth and Mike Graven at the finish of the race in Old Sacramento.  
Tomorrow we will travel from Old Sacramento to Gardnerville, NV for lunch and then to Reno, NV for the overnight.  What a great experience!
Pat Clark  
Sunday 6/19/2016
Good Morning,

While the scenery was spectacular the scores dipped a little bit.  Many of the Great Race teams we are competing against are veteran racers with years of experience.  Sunday’s Father’s Day scores were as follows:

Place                    Team Time/Score
 76                      Tom & Suzanne Jones                             3:18
77                      Pat & Herb Clark        3:25
 78                      Don Kloth & Mike Graven                        3:28
 89                      Beth & Dick Crabtree        5:25
 95    Dysart H S Team                                   10:24
Today will be another grueling day as we head for Elko, Nevada on the beautiful backroads.  We will be traveling “The Lonliest Highway” in the U.S.  Our lunch destination is Austin, NV, which is the smallest town to ever host a Great Race event.  Austin boasts of having 150 residents.  The Great Race will nearly triple their population for the day.
No complaints…we are still married! 
Monday 6/20/2016

Greetings from Elko, NV!

Great things happened to two of our teams today!
The Dysart High School team, consisting of Mr. Woods, Quinci, Chris, and Miguel got an ACE!  An ace is getting to a designated check point at the exact second that was predetermined to be perfect.  Congratulations to all of you!  You made us proud!
Dick and Beth Crabtree ended the day with a score of 38 seconds.  This is an outstanding score and what makes it even more spectacular is that they missed a turn and had to backtrack.  Good job, Dick and Beth!
The rest of us had okay scores.  They were all a little over 2 minutes.  We all came within one or two seconds of getting an ACE.
Leaving Reno this morning, we traveled on the original Lincoln Highway, now called highway 50 which is known as the “Loneliest Road in America.”  We found out how it got its name.  I think I could have counted the cars that we saw on my ten fingers.  We saw a lot of high country desert, rolling hills, and wheat fields, but the most exciting things we saw were prairie dogs running across the road, and a UPS truck passing us.  Our goal was to get to Austin, NV for lunch.  We all made it!  Austin’s population more than doubled as all the Great Racers arrived in town.  The population of Austin is less than 200.  Thanks Austin for a delicious lunch.  Thanks to the Girl Scouts for helping and for serving Girl Scout cookies.  It is a very friendly town and we would like to return  some day.
After lunch, it was off to Elko, NV for the night.  This stretch of the trip was almost as exciting as the morning stretch.  Herb and I had to sing to stay awake – and we are not good singers.  The Parc Ferme tonight was in front of the Elko Convention Center.  Again we were greeted by thousands of residents.  Elko is half way between Reno, NV and Salt Lake City, Utah.  Elko has hosted overnight stops for the Great Race four previous times.  Nevada is called the “Silver State,” but Elko is best known for its gold mines. The largest mine is the “Goldstrike Mine.” 
I hope you are enjoying these updates.  Thanks for the comments that have been coming in.  A special thank you to Allison Adkins for your kind words and for the Father’s Day wishes.  We miss you Allison and wish you were with us.  
Tomorrow it is off to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and then to Evanston, WY for the night.   
I’m attaching a photo of the whole ARC group with the Dysart High School team.  Front row:  Mr. Woods, Quinci, Chris, and Miguel.  Back row;  Mike Graven, Herb Clark, Pat Clark, Beth Crabtree, Dick Crabtree, Tom Jones, Suzanne Jones (in front of Tom), Chuck Ulbricht, Tony Palozzi (in front of Chuck), Don Kloth, Lauren Matley, and Howard Johnson.  It was not easy getting everyone together!
Good night,  Pat Clark
 6-20-16 group pic
Tuesday 6/21/2016

Greetings from Evanston, WY.

It was Tom and Suzanne Jones who had a good day today.  They had an ACE and ended up in 61st place for the day.  Good job guys!
Today Don Kloth had a new navigator.  Howard Johnson made his Great Race debut and did pretty well.  Don and Howard were 73rd for the day.  Mike Graven flew out today and Don’s grandson, Chris, flew in.  We will miss Mike’s laugh!
The Crabtrees ended up in 75th place and the Clarks were 77th.  Dysart High School ended up in 89th place for the day.
The cumulative standings through Stage 4 are:  Crabtrees – 71st, Jones – 72nd, Kloth – 77th, Clark – 81st, and Dysart HS – 92nd.
This morning, we left Elko, NV and traveled to the Bonneville Salt Flats outside of Wendover, UT.   The Salt Flats were flooded so we were unable to take our cars out on them.  The Dysart team really seemed to enjoy the Flats.  Our scenery was mostly fields covered in salt.   
After lunch, we headed into Wyoming and arrived at the Union Pacific Railroad Roundhouse in Evanston.  Evanston is a railroad town and has spent millions of dollars restoring the Roundhouse into one of the finest meeting places in this part of the country.  Dinner was at the restored Machine Shop.  Herb’s daughter, Becky, surprised us and was waving as we pulled into Evanston.  What a nice surprise!
Some people have said they don’t understand the concept of the Great Race.  It is not just a speed race.  Speed, time, and endurance are all a part of the race.  We are given a crude set of instructions one half hour before our start each day.  We are not allowed to use a GPS, cell phone, any other electronic device, or map.  The cars are handicapped according to age.  The older cars get a handicap and the newer or restored cars get a penalty.  This evens out any advantages.  The course is set to the hundredth of a second.  We are given speeds that we must follow for a certain amount of time.  An ACE is awarded if a car reaches a check point at the exact time that was predetermined.  There are usually from 4 to 8 checkpoints each day.  We do not know where we will encounter them.  We are penalized if we arrive early or late at each checkpoint.  Each day we draw for the next day’s start position.  We know ahead of time where we will go for lunch and where we will spend the night.  We just don’t know how we will get there.  
There are people in the Great Race who have participated in it for over 25 years.  They seem to have figured out how to reach those checkpoints at the exact time.  The leaders in this year’s race, have a cumulative score of about 5 seconds.  Endurance applies to the cars and the people.  These days are grueling!  We saw about half a dozen cars pulled over on the side of the rode today with problems.  We are very thankful to still have all five ARC cars in the race.
Tomorrow we will head to Rawlins, WY for lunch and then finish crossing the state to Cheyenne for the night. 
I’m attaching photos of: Tom and Suzanne Jones with their 60′ Ford, salt fields in UT, and Howard Johnson and Don Kloth waiting for the start after a transition (break).
Pat Clark
Wednesday 6/22/2016

Greetings from Cheyenne, WY.

We left Evanston, WY this morning and headed across the state to Cheyenne, the state’s capital.  Don Kloth’s grandson, Chris Kloth, flew into Salt Lake City yesterday and is now navigating for Don.  We stopped in  the middle of Wyoming in Rawlins for lunch at the historic depot.  It was a very pleasant stop in Rawlins.  There were many people to meet us and they really seemed to be happy that we were there.  Lunch was smoked beef and smoked turkey with all the trimmings and a great dessert of fruit shortcake.  Local children and adults served us.  We were greeted by the city councilman and given a gift bag.  They even asked for our autographs.  Best lunch stop yet! 
After lunch, we headed into the Snowy Range Mountains toward Cheyenne.  We climbed and climbed and reached the top to see spectacular views.  On our way, Herb saw a mare give birth to a foal.  (Of course, I had to keep my eyes on the speedometer and road.)  Several vehicles couldn’t handle the altitude and the climb up the mountains.  We saw a lot of “carnage” along the roads.  The Dysart team blew a fan belt and had to be towed in.  Sorry that they missed the view from the top.  Hopefully, they will get their car running for tomorrow.
This was really a long day.  We were all happy to arrive in Cheyenne at the Depot Plaza.  Thousands of cheering fans greeted us.  They enjoyed the classic cars at the Parc Ferme.  Dinner was at the historic depot.  
After today’s stage, here is how the ARC teams stand in the cumulative scores:
Tom & Suzanne Jones – 74th cumulative score, 67th today
Don & Chris Kloth – 75th cumulative score, 61st today
Herb & Pat Clark – 81st cumulative score, 74th today
Dick & Beth Crabtree – 82nd cumulative score, 90th today
Dysart High School – 96th cumulative score, DNF today
Again, Herb & I missed getting an ACE by 1 second.  Would sure like to get one.  The others didn’t tell me how close them came.
Everyone is still having a good time.  Tony Palozzi commented that the host cities are all so friendly.  He especially was impressed with the friendliness of Cheyenne, WY tonight.
I’m attaching photos of Herb & Pat Clark with their 1951 GMC, the view from the top of the Snowy Range Mountains, and Jessi Combs from the All Girl’s Garage TV show. (Jessi’s car has been having problems and she has had to be towed.)
Tomorrow will take us to Lusk, WY for lunch, then on to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.  We will spend the night in Rapid City.  It will be an early morning so its off to bed for me.
Pat Clark
Thursday 6/23/2016

Greetings from Rapid City, South Dakota.

 It’s hard to believe it is already Thursday!  Our days are long but this week is sure going fast!

 What a beautiful day today!  We left Cheyenne, WY and headed North toward the Black Hills of South Dakota.  What beautiful country we saw, including Guernsey State Park and the Guernsey Reservoir.   Our lunch stop was in Lusk, WY which has a population of 1200.  Lusk is the county seat of the least populated county in the least populated state in the country.  Lunch was great and then it was off toward the Black Hills.

We had twisty, winding, hilly roads and a lot of road construction as we headed toward Mount Rushmore.  We even had tunnels.  We were in the Black Hills and also Custer State Park where we saw buffalo along the side of the road.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt are still watching over our great country. 

 We arrived in Rapid City and were greeted by about 10,000 people who really know how to party.  There was a band playing and people everywhere.  What a welcome!   They party like this every Thursday so if you plan to visit Rapid City, make it a Thursday night if you like to party.

 Today was great for Herb and I!  We got our first ACE!  We were very surprised when they handed it to us at the end of the race.  It was a tough, long day. The other teams did well too.  Dysart had a DNF though but I didn’t get a chance to see what happened.


Here are today’s results and also the cumulative scores:


Don and Chris Kloth –  :45 seconds – 52nd place, 70th cumulative place.

Tom and Suzanne Jones – 1:08 seconds –  64th place, 71st cumulative place.

Herb and Pat Clark – 1:39 seconds – 68th place, 78th cumulative place.

Dick and Beth Crabtree – 1:45 seconds – 70th place, 79th cumulative place.

Dysart High School – DNF – 89 place, 95th cumulative place.


 Tomorrow will also be a long day.  We will travel from Rapid City all the way across the state to Sioux Falls.  Lunch will be in Chamberlain.

 Attached are photos of Mount Rushmore and the Great Race arch in Rapid City.


Friday 6/24/2016

Two more ACES today!  Beth & Dick Crabtree got an ACE, and Don and Chris Kloth got one.  Congratulations!  Now every SCW team has gotten an ACE!

Beth and Dick attribute their ACE to a $10 measuring tape they bought to set up their Timewise speedometer.  Whatever works!  Dysart had a good day.  I think it was their best day so far!

 We left Rapid City early this morning with the whole state of South Dakota to cross.  Herb and I had more bad luck with our GMC pickup.  Shortly after leaving Rapid City as we were doing our speedometer calibration, it felt like a wheel fell off our truck.  It ended up being a ball joint that broke.  We thought we would be done with the race as we were once again towed to a garage.  But the guys at the garage found a new ball joint in town and installed it pretty quickly so we made it to the afternoon part of the race.  We rushed to Chamberlain and made it five minutes before our afternoon start time.  Missing the morning session though gave us a nine minute penalty.  Guess we won’t be winning the $50,000.  Oh well, at least we are still alive.

 The highlight today for the others was a delightful trip through the Badlands.  It was very windy which added another challenge to the race.  It would especially affect the Kloth’s with their open car.  It must not have affected them too badly though since they got an ACE.  What a beautiful place!  The Badlands were carved by the winds for millions of years.  They were an obstacle to travelers hundreds of years ago but are now a top tourist attraction.  The racers also made a stop at Wall Drug in Wall, SD.  Wall Drug became famous when the owners of the drug store put signs out on the highway offering “Free Ice Water.”  This was in 1936 when their five year old drug store was suffering from no customers. Soon after the signs, people started stopping in and buying other things besides getting the free water.  The rest is history!   

Lunch was in Chamberlain, SD which sits on the Missouri River and was once a camp for Lewis and Clark on their journey west in the early 1800s.  The racers were treated to Indian Tacos at the Community Center.

 After lunch, we headed toward Sioux Falls where we will spend the night.  Thousands of locals and several family members greeted us.  It was hard to leave our great grandchildren who came with their parents and grandparents to see us.  This was the longest day of the race.  We crossed the Missouri River and changed time zones. 

 I forgot to mention last night that several people from  SCW greeted us in Rapid City.  Jerome and Marilyn Knudson, Lorence and Renee Johnson, and Butch and Sue Byram were at the finish line when we came in.  Thanks for joining us!

 Tomorrow we will leave early to head to Mason City, Iowa for lunch and then to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the evening.  The end is getting near!  “To Finish is to Win.” 


 Here are the scores from today’s stage:

 Jones – 29:45 – 51st place today,  64th place cumulative  

Kloth – 52:00 – 65th place today.  67th place cumulative

Dysart High School – 2:21 – 80th place today, 93rd cumulative

Crabtree – 2:29 -81st place today, 77th place cumulative

Clark – 9:08 – 91st place today, 80th cumulative

 I’m enclosing severel photos tonight.   The Kloth’s 30 Ford Speedster, The Crabtree’s 39 Buick “Sweet Vanilla,”  The Clark’s great grandchildren, the Clark’s ’51 GMC.  Enjoy!

 Pat Clark


Saturday 6/25/2016


Good Morning from Cedar Rapids, IA.


Sorry I didn’t get an update out last night. The unbelievable happened!  We had another ball joint break on our way into Cedar Rapids last night. So we have had four tow truck rides this month. We are believing that maybe that metal thing that took out our oil pan in CA may have done more damage than first thought.  Anyway, by the time we got to our hotel, I was too tired and frustrated to write an update.


We actually had a pretty good day yesterday even though it won’t count. All the other teams completed the race too and had good scores. No ACES though!  I’m doing this on my phone in our rental car so I don’t have the current standings.


Today they will go from Cedar Rapids to Moline, IL for the finish. We will be there even though we won’t be going over the finish line. We are proud of all our friends who will be finishing.


We have all had friends and family greet us alone  the way. The Dysart team is still hanging in there and having a good time. It’s been quite an adventure for most.


I will send a wrap up tonight or tomorrow. Thanks.


Pat Clark


Sunday 6/26/2016

Last day


The 2016 Great Race is history!  It didn’t quite end the way we hoped it would but what an adventure!

 The winners were Pike and Hadskey who drove a 1916 Hudson.  Their score after nine days of racing was 1:02.4. That is absolutely amazing!

 The ARC teams finished respectfullly. Don and Chris Kloth finished in 60th place with 9:40.8. Tom and Suzanne Jones placed 63rd with 11:36.35.  Dick and Beth Crabtree finished in 65th place with 12:39. And Dysart High School  finished with 39:47.88 in 79th place.  Unfortunately, the Clarks did not finish and our truck is still in Cedar Rapiids waiting to be repaired.

The race on Saturday went from Sioux Falls, SD, into Minnesota, across Iowa to Mason City where we were served a delicious lunch of very appropriate sweet corn, maid rites, and homemade ice cream. I got a little emotional as we passed the cemetery in Bancroft, IA where my grandparents and many other relatives are buried. The farms looked beautiful but some of the aromas were not so good. We got to all of the checkpoints on Saturday and it was on our way into Cedar Rapids that our right ball joint went out so we were not able to get to the finish line in town.

 Sunday was a short day for racing. They had a couple mazes to manouver through and then had lunch at the     I-80 Truck Stop in Walcott, IA which is the largest truck stop in the U.S.  They served pork chops which we heard were delicious.  After lunch, the 92 cars that were still left in the race crossed the Mississippi River to the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL to the final finish line. Thousands of spectators greeted them.  

 Dick and Beth Crabtree got another ACE on Sunday. They also had a score of 0:25 for 49th place for the day. Good job, Crabbys!  

 The final dinner and awards ceremony were held at the IWireless Center.  $158,750 in prize money was handed out.  Needless to say, we did not get any. Herb and I did receive “The Monkey on your Back” award for having the most breakdowns.  We really earned that!

 We are so proud of the Dysart High School team. They finished the race and the navigators, Quinci, Chris, and Migual, received a $1500 scholarship towards their future education. Thanks to Mr. Kurt Woods, their teacher and the driver, for getting them to San Rafael and through the race to Moline.  I asked the students what their favorite thing about the Great Race was. Migual said it was seeing the Bad Lands because they were so different than anything he had seen before.  Quinci said it was the Snowy Range Mountains because they were so beautiful and still had snow on them.  And Chris said his favorite part was when they broke down because then he got to fix the car and learn why it broke down. I think we might have a real mechanic in the making with Chris!

 It is good to be home but sad to leave new and old friends we have made on our adventure.  In the beginning there were 137 cars signed up for the Great Race. 120 cars actually started the race in San Rafael, CA.  Everyday we saw “carnage” along side the roads. (Cars that didn’t make it.).  A total of 92 cars finished having driven through eight states.  Four of the ARC teams were winners because “To Finish is it Win.”

 Pat Clark


Thank You Pat for keeping us informed about all the ARC entry experiences at the end of each hard and long day.