The anxious wait

April 13. 10:30 am. They are all here and they look formidable. I think every one of the around-the-world cars represent an investment of at least 10 times what Stewball did. As Thurman said to Marie-Claire, “What’cha doin in that cheap ole Betttle anyway?” But Jan says she doesn’t  mind, and that’s what’s important to me. I think.

And this hotel at Times Square,  $24.95 for a continental breakfast and $14.95 a day for internet. Tomorrow like Ed Talbot, I’ll eat peanut-butter and cheese crackers from my own supply before our departure. Rain this morning, probably tomorrow too. But I need to focus on motto from the Great Race: “To finish is to win.”

5:00 pm. We’ve had our meeting and the word is out. This is not a rally, it’s a race. That’s unofficial of course, but the rules state that we will be given the time we must cover the distance for the day.  For example, from St. Louis to Kansas City, we must cover 252.6 miles in 3 hrs. 50 min. + 50 min. for lunch and fuel. We can set our own route by GPS and the car that reaches the hotel at our destination closest to the stated time gets the best score. Now there are some additional things that can add or subtract from your daily score. There is no penalty for getting to the destination early. We can just wait in the parking lot and check in at our designated time. If we get stopped for a school bus, train, traffic or weather, we must make up the time. That will mean in some instances, fast driving. We will have 12-15 questions to answer, most of them based on information about the towns or states we travel through or information from the 1908 race. We are allowed to use any technology we want to get the answers. For those of us in the antique cars, we will really have to push. The times are taken from GPS and anyone who has used a GPS knows, it’s hard to beat that time. GPS was not designed for antique cars that can’t maintain modern road speeds. It also doesn’t know about school buses or traffic jams. We know this means days with no lunch stop. We plan to carry snacks to get us through. I’m going to have to push Stewball much harder than I expected to, I just hope I don’t burn up the engine. Just what have we signed up for! It will be hard to sleep tonight.

Tomorrow, the 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 The anxious wait

  1. Carla says:

    Stewball may not be the most expensive car, it’s definitely the cutest one 🙂
    You made me smile with your remarks about the cheese crackers and peanutbutter. Now we’re talking real world traveling with lots of improvisation and being practical.
    Have a blast, you guys!


  2. Lilla says:

    Chad says, as someone who has driven Beetles long and hard, don’t worry about burning up the engine – they’re more than capable. Go, Stewball, go! 😉

  3. TBC says:

    Stewball should be just fine. After all, think how old he is, and he keeps on tickin’, just like that strange bun-rab in the battery ad.

    As to snacks, great, but don’t forget hydration. You don’t want to get fuzzy headed from not enough water.

    Hugs and have a blast!

    TBC and Arnie

  4. rdsieber says:

    Hey, guys:

    Good luck with your cross-country run! Remember to keep your engine “hydrated” as well as yourselves; VWs don’t have much of a sump, so watch that oil level. And the temp!

    Have you contacted folks on The Samba web site about your adventure? In case you don’t know them, that is a west coast site where all the VW fans hang out. That might be a very resourceful group to connect with, since you are headed that way. Parts, support, publicity, book sales. Whatever.

    Have some fun! We’re all rooting for ya!

  5. Anggie Thompson says:

    By the time you read this, you will be well on your way. I wish you the best of luck and really look forward to living the rally vicariously through you and look forward to more posts.

  6. ejhowle23 says:

    Thanks all. Yes, Stewball is ticking. Today HIGH winds blew us around some but no other problems. Tomorrow, Dearborn, MI!

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