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I did not see Paul and Laura go by us on the highway during this time. Not a good sign.

At the last check point before the 75 mile highway transit into the Bay of L.A. we waited. . . and waited. No radio communication. No word from NORRA or their sweep crew. No word from any other drivers. Would we have to back track along the course? We were losing daylight. The NORRA check point workers folded up their little tent and left. A tumble weed blew by.

Paul and Laura making time across the dry lake bed until the left rear strut folds like a cheap suit. A tie strap, wheel spacer and quick fender flares keep it rolling another 300 miles! All this while we waited and wondered.

I stood and stared down the long dusty road that they were supposed to come down. Nothing. Did the Subie motor seize? A couple other teams were in the dirt parking lot behind me. They were either fixing flats, or loading up their cars on trailers. One team had managed to break a trailer axle! The Mexican desert is no respecter of machinery.

 

Finally the radio crackled or was that Pauls raspy voice? It was both. They were headed our way under their own power! Finally a pair of head lights and fog lights shown through the dusk and dust. I lifted my cheapo Wal-Mart camera and flicked it to video and hit record.

 

Paul hit the flashing lights and siren as if he was the first across the finish line for day one. Not too many heard it. No one cared, except me and the chase crew (Ted and Mike). We were all smiles. Paul told me to look under the left rear fender. Aside from some new body work (homemade flares), I bent down and noticed a ratcheting tie strap holding the strut in place.