Before continuing with Kathy's narrative, let me tell you briefly what's happening at the moment. It is Wednesday July 25 and both of our pilots are in the air. It is the first official practice day. The task has 6 turnpoints, going south and then back north for 264 km.
Alright--back to July 20. Our car and driver arrived at 1pm as promised. Unfortunately, it was the car we were going to be using in Rieti, and we struggled mightily getting all our luggage, equipment,team box and four passengers into the vehicle. But succeed we did, and we were off to Rieti. Our driver was a wonderful Italian who spoke no English. But with Kathy's innate ability to combine English, German, French and a little Spanish together, we were able to achieve some success in communication. On our trip we experienced some of the best in Italian driving. And we were even able to see our driver's eyes widen as we were passing a car going up a mountain, while another car was passing a car going down the mountain. Four abreast on a two lane road and all sideview mirrors remained in place!
Arrived in Rieti, took care of the paperwork and took the keys. We're on our own now. I haven't driven a stick shift in a few years, and I imagine it was a bit comical for the rental folks to watch this crazy American try to start the car without depressing the clutch. At least Mike and Kathy thought it was pretty funny! I haven't heard the end of it yet.
Onto the expressway and off the exit for Contigliano. Oops, you have to depress the clutch when you stop. Now Mike and Kathy are getting worried. We didn't have directions to San Pastore since I had been unable to get online or to e-mail since leaving the States. But with a good map and great navigators, we finally made it. Four U-turns later. I should tell you it appears that in Rieti all roads you're told to go straight on inevitably come to a Y, no roads are straight, and street signs are either non-existent or there are 12 signs on the same post.
We arrived at San Pastore where we Met with Gunilla Flodin and checked in. The accommodations are quite nice. Now it's about 4pm and with directions in hand we're off to my B&B. After a similar driving experience, I'm checked in and we're on our way to the airport to check on the rental gliders with more directions from the wonderful proprietor. Drive straight for 6 to 7km (see comment above about straight) and eventually follow the signs (see comment about signs above). We arrive at the airport about 9pm and are lucky enough to find both of them. The LS-8 dampened our spirits a little, but we had two gliders.
Now it's late and time to find our way home, get something to eat and prepare for July 21.