Day 37 Troyes to Paris

Well, this is it – the last day of our 9000 mile, 14,000 kilometer odyssey across two continents. I bet there were many who thought we would never make it this far including most of the organizers. I’m pleased and proud to say that we fooled them all. Of course as the saying goes, “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings” but I can hear her warming up in the background.

It’s raining this morning in Troyes – not an auspicious start for the final day of this marathon but we’ll hope for the best.

What a shame – on the last day to have to ride, Peter Banham our chief mechanic told me as we pushed this car up on the trailer that they had blown the transmission but he hoped there was enough left for it to go 100 meters across the finish line on its own. I’m sure if that is remotely possible, Peter will make sure it happens – what a man.


Speaking of the Banhams, they were in charge of the Main Time Control for our departure today (actually Betty was in charge as Peter has enough to do keeping everyone running) – they are two of the nicest people you could ever want to meet and he is an incredible mechanic. Meeting them and getting to know them a little has been one of the high points of the trip from my prospective.


As the morning progressed we got a little blue sky but that was about it. The countryside here is flat and huge tracts are plowed in very neat rows. I have no idea what is growing here but it sure is green.


This is a war memorial at a road junction in the little town of Bonval. Per our usual modus operando, we did not stop to determine which war.


Just a pretty house on a corner in Diant …


Think we stuck to the back roads ??? They certainly were beautiful. This was taken on the road to Fontainebleau.


The route book identified this as an aquaduct (although Word doesn’t like this spelling) – I certainly can’t disagree on what it is.


Our route took us past the Palace of Fontainebleau which is 55 kilometers from the center of Paris. The palace as it is today is the work of many French monarchs beginning with an early 16th century structure of Francis I and is one of the largest French Royal chateaux. The building is arranged around a series of courtyards. The Forest of Fontainebleau located nearby is a former royal hunting park.


Fontainebleau is a very busy tourist stop with lots of busses and traffic – a far cry from the Gobi desert.


We are getting close – that is the River Seine and we were very happy to see it. Right after crossing the bridge, we proceeded to get lost for a few minutes at what was labeled “difficult junction” – certainly was …


Finally the last Time Control which was supposed to be 7 kilometers from our final destination. Unfortunately, the “early departers” all arrived at about the same time and wanted to cut in line causing a big traffic jam and the location had to be moved further down the street leaving the later arrivers wondering what was going on. Fortunately the crew manning to control scurried around and put up Peking to Paris orange arrows to point the way – these arrows have been very helpful all along our journey – they must have quite a supply of these things – wonder what they will do with the rest of them now. We got sent off in groups of about 10 at a time to negotiate Paris traffic and the final stop. We were assisted by young folks on roller blades waving checkered flags – very good idea.


Bet you can guess this one – right the Arc de Triomphe – never thought I would be this glad to see it.


Then down the Champs Elysees …


Then moving smartly through traffic into Place de la Concorde.


And then into Place Vendome …


Not much to add to this one – it is self-explanatory and a very welcome sight.


I looked up and there was cousin Art and “the boys” who came down from Holland to see the car show and meet us at the finish – what a wonderful surprise.


And they brought us flowers – how nice. I decided to give them to Lloyd’s wife to enjoy as they were staying several days in Paris with friends so they could be enjoyed during their stay.


Lloyd’s son and daughter-in-law came to greet him along with their two boys (who rode the last several blocks with us in the car and then totally enjoyed putting it to good use as a slide – it was very cute.


The Itala made it to the finish under its own power – pretty remarkable for a 1907 automobile. Congratulations to Karen and David Ayre for a remarkable effort – they passed us as we came around the Arc de Triumph – wonder where they had been as they should have been the first ones to the finish. I hope Karen doesn’t fall out of this car ever again – they were a lot of fun to be with.


Having come all the way from Holland, we had to have a beer to celebrate – well, ok, we had more than one but these poor guys had to drive back home tonight.


This little girl was at the table next to us when we stopped for a beer and was both cute and curious – must be fun to be that age …


And of course this is Gerry Crown, the winner of the entire rally. He is a true gentleman and it has been a pleasure participating in this event with him and his co-driver Matt Bryson. Gerry is 78 years young and I hope to be just like him if I reach that age – well done Gerry!


And Dave Staples whose daughter (left) and her friend came to meet him. Of course they also came to meet his son Garrick who never lost his sense of humor despite some major problems with his car.


The big banquet at the end of the journey where some of the thousands of pictures taken by the professional photographers who accompanied us were shown and awards were presented – we did get a trophy as we finished 2nd in our class thanks to Lloyd’s excellent driving skills. Most of the pictures were taken in Mongolia where the scenery was spectacular and the cars were alone running in the desert – fabulous.


Finally, I have to thank Jim Taylor for my “Old Guys Rule” hat. I wore it every day and based on how the car performed (flawlessly) I decided it was a lucky piece. Good thing the picture doesn’t show all the dirt – it was worn hard but it hasn’t been put away yet.


The Intercontinental Hotel here in Paris is a beautiful old hotel providing truly first class accommodations. Lloyd would have been upset as the room had a king size bed – not the best for two guys. Fortunately, he was staying with friends in Paris so I could luxuriate in the room by myself – seemed a little strange after sharing all sorts of rooms for over a month.

Over the next couple of days I will try to organize my thoughts and attempt to summarize my feelings about this trip. There are many emotions involved so we’ll just have to see what I come up with. Please check back with the blog in a few days and that’s for all your interest.

I would also like to thank all of you who have made contributions to the Scleroderma Foundation – it is a very worthy cause but of course, I’m prejudiced.

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14 Responses to Day 37 Troyes to Paris

  1. Terry Langdon says:

    Congratulations guys you made it!

    I have watched & followed your daily progress across the continents via the tracker & the great blog.

    You deserve a beer or two, I will miss the tracker up-date every couple of hours checking how you guys were doing.

    I wish you a safe trip home to your loved ones & friends.

    Atvb Terry Langdon

  2. Lisa Tucker says:

    Bravo! You guys are relieved to be at the end of your journey, but I am not so glad — I will miss my daily lessons in geography and sociology and international relations and mechanics and good sportsmanship! Big congratulations from all the Tuckers — and happy trails to you both from here on out. xoxo

  3. Lyn says:

    Congratulations!! We are all so proud of you both – and so grateful for all of the advice and effort that went into making your adventure such a success on so many levels!!
    What are we to do each day without the daily account of your journey? You brought such an exotic adventure into all of our lives – thank you for sharing!! So glad that you will be home this afternoon!! Love, Lyn

  4. Brilliant! Simply Brilliant! To you the glory!

    To paraphrase Henry V: And gentlemen abed in England shall think themselves accursed that they were not with you on this, Peking to Paris day!

  5. Keith Carlson says:

    Peter’s always a tough act to follow, but I’ll add Proverbs 25:25.as being equally apt.
    Congratulations and many tks for all the postings and photos. A very enviable trip, in theory.
    On a ferry approaching Victoria BC where we’ll dine this evening w the pres of the Bristol Owner’s Club and wife doing.a two-yr ’round the world; they’d stayed w us in Boston in Aug. Slightly different trip.
    Best to you both, pls give my regards to Lloyd.

  6. Adriane says:

    Welcome home, Chuck! Sorry I couldn’t be there for your arrival. I can’t wait to hear more about the trip soon. I know everyone is happy to have you back (Teddy told me so over the phone last night). What a great journey, thank you for sharing!

    Lots of love,
    Adriane

  7. Spencer Merz says:

    Please add my congratulations to your list! And sleep well – – .

    I look forward to your windup blog also.

    Spencer

  8. Craig Conti says:

    Congrats Lloyd and Chuck. I too will miss the daily blog. Great driving, navigating and mechanical work. Safe travel home.
    Craig

  9. Rob De Vries says:

    Congratulations, to the machine and to the men. What stories well will welcome in the months ahead.
    Rob

  10. Aart Goedewaagen says:

    Hey Chuck,
    Did you have a good trip back home? We were at home in Holland at 1 o,clock. Her a have some youtube links starring Chuck and Lloyd. We are very proud of you.

    The pictures follows.

    Greetings Aart

  11. Aart Goedewaagen says:

    Hey Chuck,

    Did you have a good trip back home? We were at home in Holland at 1 o,clock. Here I a have some youtube links starring Chuck and Lloyd. We are very proud of you both.

    The pictures follows.

    Greetings Aart

  12. Spencer Merz says:

    OLD GUYS RULE. Sure enough.

    You will have to readjust to real beds, adjoining bathroom facilities, hot water. Lights.

    Spencer

  13. Craig Conti says:

    OLD GUYS RULE … I just hope the French don’t take that the wrong way. You still working over 62 … BAD EXAMPLE in that culture … hope they don’t burn the Caddy…

  14. Anne Moran says:

    Lloyd and crew – congratulations on such an awesome journey. The photos are absolutely splendid. What a trip! Any chance you can send jpeg files for Bob or load on a CD for him? I’m always looking for unique Christmas items to give “the man who has everything”! Anyway, great trip and glad you are home safely.

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