We’ve traveled eight-thousand miles in about a month. The days pass by quickly and we're finding ourselves reflecting on the journey so far —
It has been and continues to be a joy to be welcomed into each small city, eating with and like the the locals. These are places we otherwise never would have found ourselves in, and it’s a privilege to be here. Now that we've successfully exited Russia and entered Europe, we're crushing miles and quickly passing through cities and countryside. It makes a huge difference not having to do border crossings.
The roads have softened up but the country continues to throw crazy things at us as we drive through it, like the torrential rains that came down in Poland as we drove on the back roads without wipers. While we’re still going strong, the cars falling behind us due to their thrashing earlier in the rally are a constant reminder that anything can happen to us. It does feel like the major stresses are over, though, and despite burning over a quart of oil every couple hundred kilometers, we feel confident we will cross the finish line in one piece.
Our primary goal is to arrive in Paris, but we're making a point to relax and enjoy the evenings while we're on this journey. We entered the rally without the pressure to win, which has allowed us much more freedom to take our time and appreciate where we are. We're finding it easier to savor each day.
While completion of a rally like Peking to Paris revolves around a reliable and well-built car, it just as importantly requires a healthy relationship between driver and co-driver. Our mission has remained the same, but our expectations have shifted dramatically as we go from country to country. Fatigue sets in as the miles roll away, and the rough conditions and repairs needed on the car can cause frustration and stress. Despite our struggles with the roads and the car, we're doing well. There’s a unique friendship and sense of loyalty that evolves out of participating in such a long and challenging rally with another person. Now that we’re so close to Paris and have run out of rest days, we're hoping for very few complications.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's easy to dream about the next big adventure. Peking to Paris has been the most tremendous and unforgettable experience, but it also has served us the largest learning curve. We've learned a lot. While we mourn the hours lost over the repairs needed on the 912, we take it all with the understanding that this isn’t going to be the last adventure we find ourselves in.
Right now, we’re stoked for the last leg of the journey, and cannot wait to enter into Paris with the other cars that will make it through.
We'll soon be in Germany, Belgium and France but these are the countries we’ve traveled through this past week in Europe:
Less than 1,000 miles to go!
Cover photo by Gerard Brown