Second Annual Spokane Braille Rally
Courtesy of Greg Wing, INL Computer Training Program Instructor
I had a great time at the 2nd Annual Spokane Braille Rally! This year’s event was bigger and better than last year. I was once again treated to the excitement and fun of racing shot gun in a Porsche Carrera 911 Targa. This was truly a very special car. Targa means convertible. Unfortunately for us it was raining cats and dogs all day long. We never did get a chance to lay the top down, but know worries, it was still an awesome ride with an equally awesome driver.
After meeting my driver, Kieth Martin, at check-in we quickly gathered our gear for the race. First thing we needed was our driving directions. These were, of course, in braille. This time I was a little better prepared than last year. Knowing the braille challenge I was about to accept, I practiced my grade two reading skills several weeks in advance so I could keep up with my driver on the course. Navigators need to be able to read contracted braille quickly and accurately when directing the driver. Even the smallest mistake in translation from braille to speech could be detrimental to our winning the trophy.
We then made our way towards the race car. We climbed in and made ourselves comfortable. If you have ever been in a Porsche you know they are built for high performance, not luxury. You can most certainly tell this car was made for speed. Every little curve and nuance of this car seems to be designed with exactly that in mind. Nice leather interior with bucket seats that cradle you just right for taking corners at high speeds.
We fastened our seatbelts and fired up the 3.6 liter air cooled engine. Sporting over 280 HP and probably even more foot pounds of torque we approached the green flag being waived by the honorable Mayor of Spokane: David Condon. At this point Keith is solely dependent on me to read him the rally course directions in braille. He has absolutely no clue where I am going to lead him for the next 60 miles. I can only imagine it was just as nerve racking for him as it was me. We had just met each other for the first time five minutes ago and now we are completely dependent on each other to win the race.
Once we got a few miles into the race we both started to find a groove. I began to get the hang of his driving style and he seemed to be getting used to my directions. It’s exactly like you see in off-road rallies on ESPN, only we are on city streets in high performance cars. And of course obeying the speed limit at all times. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!