Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peking to Paris 2013 Update #11...Marching into Paris

6/ 28/ 2013- As we left Stanley and Brant in the last post, they were in the final day before reaching Paris. This post follows up on that, and includes Stanley's comments after they reach Paris, with an overview of the event.

"Long drive today....or after 30 days on the road they all seem long. Many of the cars are barely operating. Instead of doing the route and special stages they take the motorways directly from hotel to hotel. Not a lot of sport there, but they are desperate to hold their cars together and get to the Paris finish line tomorrow. On the other hand, we had our problems in Mongolia and since the car was fixed in Novosibirsk we've done most all of the stages, transits, etc. Today there were 10 Passage Controls and one Special Stage, a Gymkhana. We did them all."

© Photo courtesy of Tom Miller

 "We crossed the Swiss-French border late this afternoon and it was very easy. The Swiss waived us through and there was no one on the French side to even look at our passports. The highway system in France continues to amaze me; for a long time I have believed that France has the best roads in the world. As soon as you cross the French border you see vineyards everywhere. France continues to produce great wines and they don't all have to come from Burgundy or Bordeaux."
"The crews of competitors were almost 'giddy' tonight in the bar. They can taste Paris and can see the end of this ordeal."

6/29/2013- "We made it!"

Rolling through the finish in Paris! Image © Stanley Gold

One happy man, Brant Parsons! Image © Stanley Gold

Jennifer, Ilene and Stan at the Finish in Paris. Image © Stanley Gold

As you can see, our team of Stanley Gold and Brant Parsons rolled through the finish with their heads held high. Their 1965 911 finished well, but the real goal was to soak in the adventure. This was achieved with gusto! Most of you don't know, but Stanley has done some pretty cool stuff in his life, an example climbing halfway up Mount Everest with his daughter! Ah, but back to the story, here are Stanley's final reflections.
7/6/2013 Reflections on Peking to Paris Rally       
"Trying to reflect is hard.....I remember only the good or pleasant things.   The difficult moments fade quickly and are replaced by uplifting thoughts.  I have to make myself remember the dust, wind, and more dust of Mongolia.   The sleepless nights in the back of a 4X4 are replaced by the delightful night spent in a yurt. Instead of remembering hours of driving through boring wheat fields,  a la Kansas, my mind remembers the green valleys and mountains of Siberia or the spectacular mountain passes of Switzerland or Austria."

 "What was hard work or frustration at the time has become but a faint memory; overwhelmed by the new, the interesting and the surprising sights and experiences of the trip.  To say that I enjoyed the trip would be an understatement; I loved the adventure.   It afforded me the ability to see and learn about places that I would not have otherwise experienced.  It afforded me time to reflect on the situations of others.....and in so doing, it afforded me the time and space to reflect on my own life."

 "What one learns most on a trip like P2P is about yourself.   Can you overcome the hardship, the unexpected problems, the physical discomfort? Can you make good decisions at critical times?  Can you persevere and rely on only your own judgments and decisions?"

 "Maybe I'm masochistic, but I still enjoy challenging myself once in awhile.  As one grows older it is easy to avoid challenges, but to overcome challenges/adversities made us what we are.   So a few more challenges helps us to continue to grow (and if you're still growing, you're not dying)."  

 "At this point in the commentary, some of you must be saying......"but what about the car rally?"   My love of cars (Porsches in particular) has afforded me the opportunity to participate in many different activities over the last 20+ years; concours, tours, track racing and rallies, but the real pleasure in participating in these events was meeting new and interesting people, many of whom have become good friends."
"The Peking to Paris Rally provided just such an experience.  Once the Rally began, most of the participants offered help and assistance to fellow competitors.  Everyone wanted all the other competitors to finish in Paris.  When things were bleak for us in Ulaanbaatar, I received lots of encouragement to find a way to get the car fixed and catch up with the parade.  The person who gave me that advice in Ulaanbaatar, broke down in Samara and it was my turn to encourage that crew to ship their car to Kiev for repairs and continue on from there; they did and finished in Paris."
"As much as I enjoyed the countries we traveled through, I continued to be reminded of how lucky I was to be born and grow up in America. That particular thought came to me touring Kiev, from where my grandfather, Samuel Gold, emigrated to the US around 1900.  That was my good fortune and I will always be appreciative of that lucky break.   Surely, there are other nations and cultures that have lots to offer, but I am sure that there is no other place, like America, that offers so many opportunities to so many of its citizens.  That is my good fortune...and one I do not take lightly."
"Finally, I want to say thank Stephen Wong and Denise Greskoviak, for helping me put this blog together.  They kept it current and Brant Parsons, without whom I could not have undertaken this Andy Prill, who flew from London to Novosibirsk, and back, to bring me the needed repair part so I could my wife, Ilene and children, Chuck and Jennifer, who encouraged and supported me in this venture....and to all of you who followed my journey on this blog and forwarded your words of encouragement."
"This will be my last commentary on the P2P Rally. I'm seriously considering the January 2015 Road to Mandalay Rally, which starts in Singapore and runs through Malaysia and Thailand (lots of jungle) into Burma (Myanmar), reaching Mandalay and finishing in Rangoon.  If I actually do it, we'll revise this blog with new sights, sounds and observations." - Stanley Gold 

Well done Stanley and Brant!...If you do another "Along For The Ride" will be there to cover it.

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  1. John, Great great job on your blog covering Stanley's adventure.. Your perspective was clear and clean... It has been a pleasure reading your blog all the time... your car buddies...Skip & Leslie Shirley