And were still choppin. The first thing we noticed was the cloud layer this morning - enough clouds to the east that our morning charge was far from expected. With that, we headed down Stuart Hwy at a conservative pace in order to charge the battery pack over the length of the drive.
Once again, nature put up a tough fight. There were some major fires to the south throwing up large smoke clouds - this led to a huge decrease in array power. We played it safe most of the day, recharging our pack but still making headway. We planned to pass the Tennant Creek checkpoint at 1pm or so, but found ourselves with a dozen other teams who had been held at the checkpoint.
Apparently a road closure further south due to the fires held up some teams for around 4 hours, so WSC decided to hold all teams at the Tennant Creek checkpoint by the same amount. What that means for us (and the other teams) is that we will camp here tonight, and continue on tomorrow morning when our hold is complete. Although this allows us to get a complete charge on our battery pack, it makes completion of the race a lot more difficult (since we've been delayed by 4 hours). We will work out our strategy tonight to figure out our optimal speed and gain on our competitors tomorrow. In the pic below were hanging out at Tennant Creek and charging.
One thing we noticed is that our conventional moped tires are performing quite poorly. There has been quite a lot of commotion surrounding tires at WSC, mostly because Michelin decided not to provide their tires to most teams, including MIT. With our own commercially available tires having a rolling resistance coefficient three times that of the Michelins, there is little chance that we and our moped-tire compatriots can stand upon the podium. We will continue with these tires even though it leaves us at a pretty big disadvantage.
For now, were staying at Tennant Creek with a dozen other teams, and taking off tomorrow. We'll update you with more info as we get it. Oh and check out the baby kangaroo!