We made it!!!
Through 11 countries. Over 13,695 kms in 36 days. An adventure of epic proportions… and so epic I just wasn’t able to keep up with my blog broadcasts as I had intended and envisaged. 🙁
Yesterday we drove from Reims, with the checkered flag being waved by young people rollerblading on random corners as we navigated on and off route toward Place Vendome in Paris. The black and white inflatable arch with the iconic orange ‘Peking to Paris’ logo expanded in the summer heat and marked the end of the driving part of the Peking to Paris rally; but not the end to the wonderful friendships that were made along this remarkable adventure, and the memories of the experiences which have shaped each of our futures.
After the first timed stage in Mongolia I stopped Max and said we needed to have a talk. I suggested we take it steady – and if we do that… we will make it to the finish line in one piece and perhaps even in first place if we just enjoyed ourselves along the way; adhered to all the criteria for the Gold medal; and looked after Penny.
So that’s what we decided to do together… and it paid off. We came first in our class… received our Gold medal; and felt so honoured to receive the “Spirit of the Rally” award for “for helping the other crews above and beyond the call of duty.”
We both worked together to navigate our way through China, Mongolia, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, France; in the heat, dust storms, hail, rain, mud, dust, and even snow.
There was only one morning we had a ‘sense of humour failure’ in the front seat and Max said if I had fallen out he would not have gone back to pick me up. LOL. We sorted it out; and if we only had one morning of ‘issues’ in being within two feet of each other for the past six weeks – I think we did remarkably well.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to Phillip Young whose vision for this event has enriched and shaped so many lives; not only for the competitors and their families, but for all those we have all come in contact with throughout the route. This is living. This is pushing boundaries. This is experiencing oneself and learning about oneself and I think it was truly the people and their own inner journeys which made this journey so rich.
I would also like to mention and thank all the people in the ERA and crews in each of the countries who contributed to making this such a successful event.
The ‘Sweeps’ are all the mechanics whose tireless efforts kept us on the road. This group of mechanics are the unsung heroes of this event. Thank you to all of you.
I just wasn’t able to manage even downloading my photos or writing in the evenings and needed to get some sleep so I do apologise for those who were really keen for daily updates. As I go through my images and post my galleries, I will let you know so you can see some of the remarkable landscape and places we drove through.
…..So.. now we are in Paris for a few days.. the off to the UK to see friends and then to Iceland to see the Puffins. I will be flying home in a couple of weeks and reconnecting with my garden and I’m excited about writing my book on this extraordinary adventure.