Thrills and Spills

Award for completion of the US leg

Day 12: Our longest, hardest day. Salt Lake City to Reno. 541 miles. Snow, rain and sleet. Lots of climbing. Crossed Sonoma Peak at 9395 ft. Then, it gradually dawned on us, even in ideal weather, no one could make the alloted 6 hr. 11 min. for the new cars or the 7 hr. 11 min for the antiques. I calculated the average speed for the new cars at 88 mph. I didn’t bother to work out the speed requirements for us, but immediately tried to call the race committee. We had only spotty cell-phone coverage, but I finally managed to get through to Jeff. They had neglected account for the time zone change. They added an hour for everyone but then a high wind alert was issued on the highway with winds up to 50 mph. Jan and I traded off driving several times, as the difficulty of keeping Stewball on the road cramped our hands and shoulders. We did make our time with 20 minutes to spare. but it was a LONG, tense drive. Jack Crabtree fared worse. He had engine problems, a piston problem. He almost missed the banquet and award ceremony having to drive slowly. He is having a new engine shipped to Frisco today and will replace his engine-again-before we ship to China. This istrue grit.

 We had another surprise waiting in the plaza of the Harrah Hotel. Four of our friends from the 2008 centennial Tour were here to meet us. We had no idea they were coming. Two from Canada and two from California. It was like a class reunion  with Luke, Ray, Patrick and John. Then a quick change of clothes and off to the National Auto Museum with Harrah’s car collection and the 1907 Thomas Flyer center stage in our banquet room.

We were all awarded beautiful glass etched globes as awards for finishing the US leg of this world race. Jan has posted this today instead of the tulip she had in the bud vase. The photo doesn’t do it justice. It was made from sand that was collected from the route the Flyer took across the US in 1908. A very meaningful and personal award.

Tomorrow morning many of us will be in tears. The Thomas Flyer, winner of the 1908 race will be started (hopefully) and will lead us out of Reno under the old Reno Arch. Jeff Mahl, great-grandson of George Schuster, winner and driver of that same car, will sit in the passenger seat, dressed as his great-grandfather did. The Flyer has been restored to the condition it was in when it finished the race, complete with dents, chipped paint and mud. Once the Flyer pulls aside, the torch will pass to the cars who hope to go the whole distance to Paris and we continue to San Francisco to complete leg 1.  We part with many of our friends who will go the distance only vicariously by following our adventures on our blogs. We will miss them, but I know these friendships are forever.

Finishing the first leg of the Long Road to Paris,


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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6 Responses to Thrills and Spills

  1. Laurie Horn says:

    Congratulations on the completion of Leg 1. I do so love living vicariously through the two of you. I’ve been curious about one thing that I forgot to ask when I saw you.. is Jan the only woman competing in this rally?

  2. Klaus says:

    congratulation janet and ed, well done
    how nice that the 4 from 2008 came to wellcome you
    I wish, we had come as well…..
    love from klaus and maja

    • ejhowle23 says:

      Guess who met us in Reno and drove to San Francisco? Luke, Ray, Patrick and John from Luke’s 2008 tour. They were disappointed not to see you also. They thought you would be here too. I told them you would be joining up in Latvia.

  3. TBC says:

    Congratulations on successfully completing the first leg. Stewball held up, as we all thought he would, and his owners finished in grand style, too!

    Now, to a leather cover for the steering wheel. I remember many of my friends had them on their mis-60s bugs.

    We miss you back in HB. We’ll see you soon before we head out.


    TBC and Arnie

  4. Carla says:

    Yay, you made the first part!
    It’s quite intriguing to read it all. I’m sometimes behind because of travels and work. Glad you guys are still doing ok, although it does seem to take some physical toll too. Next to all the spare parts, you need a masseur in the trunk as well to take care of you when the day’s over 🙂
    Celebrate the first leg!
    Hug, Carla
    ps. To photo 3: compliment to Jan to still whip out some business chique and heels after a tiring day in the car 😀

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