We left Troyes,, a very old city on the Seine about 90 miles SW of Paris. It was not damaged during the two world wars and has a very picturesque city center with many 17th century houses and buildings.
We only had a short run into Paris so once again, we took secondary roads before finally hitting the auto route. The only problem today was rain. Clay left the group and ran ahead meeting us in Paris. He had lots of family waiting for him, including his wife and apparently prefered their company to one more day of racers!
The group was a solemn when we started out, even Jeff admitted to feeling a bit empty. I think we all knew what Scarfoglio described when he said; “It is the same and we are the same as then… we have traversed the world…to come here to gather happiness. But it is the destiny of man that all beautiful things wither in his grasp.” (pg. 313, The Long Road to Paris) I don’t think anyone knew exactly what they would feel when we finally reached Paris. Our adventure was over and I think there was a sense of loss and maybe a little disappointment. We had traveled so far and now it was done. But as we approached the city, I called Jeff on the walkie-talkie and asked how he was feeling. He had never been in Paris. He said, “I couldn’t be happier and I am so glad you are all with me at this time. We have been through so much together.
We had consulted with our guides and drivers who had not been to Paris and finally as we approached the city they asked us to lead in. I was driving while Ed gave directions for turns on the walkie-talkie. It was a bit unnerving as driving in Paris always is, and I didn’t want to get anyone lost. But NO WRONG TURNS! Ed said, my driving and directions were flawless. We arrived at the Eiffel Tower as planned with a break in the rain combined with a lifting of our mood.
Lots of picture taking and champagne before we went to the hotel and had more champagne and rich chocolate cake.