We leave the group

July 13-16:  Wednesday we arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania, a really old, beautiful city.

Our friends, Klaus and Maja VonDeylen, from Germany, surprised us. They were sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for us. Initially they had planned to join us here and finish the race with us, but when they found out it would not be a rally, they dropped out. We had been in contact via email, but were not sure if they were meeting us on the road or not. Their plan was to run the next two days with us to Berlin. Some of the World Racers objected because Klaus had not paid to be part of the race.  So that we could have some pleasant time with Klaus and Maja, we felt the best solution was to separate from the racers and have dinner with Klaus and Maja in the courtyard of the hotel and then Thursday, follow them with their 1957, 220S Mercedes convertible on to Warsaw, Poland. We thought this would solve the problem but some hard feelings on both sides have persisted and we seem to have become the center of this controversy.  Honestly, I think everyone is getting tired, of traveling, hotels and the daily grind of driving on unknown roads.  Not surprising. It has been a long time since arriving June 3rd in Beijing.  Jack was right when he said by the end of this, we would know things about each other we wouldn’t want to know.

The last radio contact we had with the World Racers Thursday on the run to Warsaw was Clay saying that his 32 Ford had lost power and they were stopping. That evening we learned that this was apparently some electrical problem that fixed itself. Later a mount for the front strut they had added to the car, broke where it had been welded back in Astana. But they took the front strut off and kept on trucking. Clay says he can tell the difference in the handling of the car but he can do without the strut. He is still adding water but his main concern is the back wheel bearing. He says if this holds up, he can make it to Paris.

Adding waterBorder between Lithuania and Poland

Our day was uneventful, other than a wrong turn at the start. We drove through small villages and well-tended farms. We arrived Warsaw about an hour before the rest of the racers and had dinner with them in the Old Town; dancing in the square to a band afterward. I’m sure someone has photos, but since I was dancing, I don’t. 

Warsaw, Old Town

Friday we again ran with Klaus and Maja, mostly on the autobahn through Poland with an 80 mph speed limit (130kph). We passed two air-cooled Beetles today, both green. These are the first we have seen. Jerry saw the opportunity to let his Corvette do its stuff and left the group with the lead van to run higher speeds on the autobahn. I’m sure he has been waiting for these roads and speed limits. Jerry beat us in.  It may be now that road conditions permit faster speeds, the group may splinter and will only be together at the nightly stops. We will see.  We did learn from Jack, that he had another flat tire. That makes three for him.

We are spending today in Berlin. I had the car serviced at an antique car restoration shop that Klaus has arranged for us.  It is in the old Berlin train station, which in itself is a sight to see. But in addition, we strolled through the best collection of antique cars we have seen since NY. This afternoon, Jan and I will join the afternoon tour of Berlin with our group.

I am beginning to have doubts about modifying a car manufacturer’s specs for an around the world run like this. It isn’t just Clay’s strut problem; I have heavy-duty shocks I wish I didn’t have. Could a shock mount fracture?

Next to the Czech Republic.


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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2 Responses to We leave the group

  1. joanie Alexander says:

    Bravo, great adventurers!

  2. TBC says:

    Jan and Ed,

    I can’t say I blame the World Racers for not wanting your friends to participate without paying. On the other hand, I think they had no right to be hard on you when you picked the only sensible solution. Besides, you rejoined the group.

    When you get to the Czech Republic, say hi to Aussig, just outside Prague. The name was changed during the Nazi regime to Usti, but the residents always thought of it as Aussig. Taussig, my middle name, used to be von Aussig which was then changed to t’Aussig (from Aussig), and eventually Taussig,

    I’d love to be there with you.


    TBC and Arnie

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