Left Behind

May 24:We’re sitting in our hotel room in Kalispell, Montana. Our forced day off. We’ve talked to the VW restoration shop and we are still hoping Stewball will be ready later this afternoon. It was a strange feeling to see everyone start off this morning.

Left behind

Earlier, after our stop at VIR in Virginia, we had to make up two days because we left the rally to dip down into N.Carolina for our daughter’s graduation. That was different, we left them. This time they left us. Reminds me of when I was a child, my face pressed against the window, watching all the neighbor kids walking to school when I was home recovering from polio.  An empty feeling.  And it doesn’t help that it is a cold, rainy, grey day.

Terry and Shelia and their 1967 MGB GT are even further behind having had to be towed back to Bozeman, MT with a drive-train problem. We last heard he had located parts for a repair. We hope they catch up by Vancouver as Terry ws so looking forward to meeting up with a friend he has not seen for 40 years or more. We miss them.

Stewball’s Chinese license plate

Now, those of you who know about our participation in World Race 2011, you will appreciate this. We have no car, the hotel restaurant is not open for lunch so we ordered Chinese delivery! It’s the very first time we have had Chinese food since our 21 days crossing China almost exactly a year ago. It has taken that long to even want to look at Chinese food. You know what? It was good!

One more thing for today’s blog. We have learned that our blog is linked to Endurorally’s blog and we have some new followers, some of whom are competitors on the Trans-American Challenge who are reading our blog for the first time. Endurorally mentions that the name of our blog is a bit confusing since it refers to the novel we wrote and published last year. For those of you who are car rally enthusiasts, let me say that the setting for the novel is a fictional world rally set in 2008. That was the year the 2008 Great Race was scheduled, a centennial celebration of the first world race in 1908. It was cancelled when China withdrew our travel permits so we fictionalized that event, adding spies, sex and secret technology from WWII. But the plot’s twists and turns unfold while our protagonists ( a driver and his beautiful, resourceful, secretive navigator) are rallying around the world. You will see that the rally rules in the novel follow the format of the American Great Race and not Endurorally, but in both cases drivers must drive with precise speeds and navigators must follow tulip diagrams and navigate with constant attention.


P.S. If you’re reading this because you are on this rally, this footnote is to let you know we have a few copies of the book with us and will be happy to autograph one for you when we meet up again in Canada. Cross your fingers that will be tomorrow.

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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7 Responses to Left Behind

  1. John says:

    Following you posts with interest as I’ve entered next year’s Peking to Paris Rally in a 1970 Beetle. I’ve had vapor lock many times, but never in a Beetle! Synthetic oil won’t hurt your engine, but generally it’s a waste of $$ as you really should change the oil every 2,000-3,000 miles. Best is a diesel oil 10/30 or 15/40 for that air cooled engine. Bonne chance!

  2. John says:

    With regard to cooling, do not prop the engine lid open at the bottom because this encourages recirculation of hot air from the exhaust region. Reconfirm this with your VW restoration shop. Rally on!

  3. We do hope we see you and Stewball in Ooosoos today. Tania and I would both like to buy a copy of your book as a momentous both of this trip and of meeting you. Best wishes for a safe trip today, love Caroline (car 7 – Daisy) x

    • ejhowle23 says:

      John, thank you for following our experience. Everyone has opinions and advice but we have only one piece of advise to you as you prepare for the Pekihng to Paris rally, is; take to heart the book that you have received from Endurorally on preparing a rally car. You will be on very rough roads at high speeds and any thing that can shake loose will! We carry lots of spare parts and that has served us well. The one advantage the VW Beetle has is it’s light weight. We have had no tire problems. Many of the cars have had to change and replace tires, even rims. If we can help in any way, please stay in touch.

      • John says:

        Many thanks, J&E! Much appreciated! Of great help would be a list of your top 10 (20?) spares that you consider to be must haves! Is the engine back together? Are you back on the road? Rally on! John

      • ejhowle23 says:

        First, yes we are back on the road, Vancouver tomorrow. Here is Ed’s list. Those marked with the asterisk are items we used. Please remember we have not driven Peking to Paris. On the World Race 2011, we took an easier route at slower speeds so we are certainly no experts.
        1. 2 new spare tires plus 4 on the ground
        2. windshield wiper parts *
        3. fuel filters (ERA will probably have some that will work)
        4. brake hoses and fuel
        5. fuel pump
        6. distributor *
        7. wheel bearings *
        8. carburator
        9. spark plugs
        10. skid pan to protect the engine.
        Good luck, if you blog this trip, we will follow you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.

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