On the Road Again

July 25: It should have been an easy day. We took our time, had breakfast in our favorite cafe and left the Pullman with Stewball for the drive to Nieuw Vennep just outside of Amsterdam to ship Stewball back to the US.

tiny Stewball at Global Pieter Smit

We had enjoyed Sunday evening with Parisian friends, Stephan cooked, which is always a pleasure. This time, salad, homemade lasagna and a strawberry tart! Julian enjoyed a ride in Stewball and we caught up with Valerie on the changes in their lives. For those who don’t know, Valerie provided us with Marie-Claire’s last name- Levieux- and read

Stephane, Julian, Valerie and Stewball

and supported us through many revisions, providing the “French connection”.  

But now, back to Holland. We put our destination in our GPS, but the GPS doesn’t know about the Etoile! Sure enough, here we were facing the Arc du Triumph the place we always avoid, even at the cost of extra mileage. This is especially scary with no right side rear-view mirror. There are no traffic lanes here and the rule is the guy with his front fender in gets the right of way. Or at least that’s how it appears. Horns are not an accessory for this drive, but I think it’s a great cardiac workout. I know my heart beat fast and I’m sure Ed’s did. I must say Ed performed flawlessly amid the cars, trucks and motorcycles-shades of Beijing!  Not even one car honked and we found our exit the first go-around.

On to Holland and easy go on the A1. Good roads, light traffic all the way. Even GPS knew to avoid Brussels! Holland is beautiful, usually flat county has no real appeal, but Holland really is a lovely place. This photo is so typical, but the real photo I didn’t get because a big truck got in my way and by the time it passed, the perspective for my perfect photo opt was gone. Behind this traditional windmill were two new wind generators! It would have been the perfect shot. The old and the new.

No problem finding our shipper. Not like Oakland where we drove around for 3/4 hour trying to find the right warehouse. This one was well-marked and ready for us, Stewball’s check-in- or check-out took no more than 15 minutes.  Ed was invited to drive Stewball into their warehouse and park next to a 1930s-something Hispano Suiza, valued at more than 2 million dollars! Another car Ed had never seen before. Stewball looked a bit small and ordinary sitting beside that beauty, but he could puff up his chest knowing that he had traveled roads, countries and continents that this beauty will never experience. 

After all was done, we were offered a ride to the airport which also has the train station, caught a train to Paris that was leaving in 20 minutes. Our train connected with a fast train in Brussels and the trip from Brussels to Paris was only 1 hour! European trains still amaze us.

Then the fun began. OK, we know Paris, we were only carrying our overnight clothes (not knowing if we would return that night, we were prepared to stay over) so when we arrived at Gare du Nord, we planned to hop the metro and make our way via metro to our hotel.

First problem, the station where we needed to change metros was closed. No problem, go a bit further and change to the RER. However, when we got off for line C, it was closed too! Never have had that happen all the years we rode metros and trains in Paris. So, we took the bus outside the RER stop that was substituting for the train and rode it to Les Invalides Now, just a 1/2 hour walk along the Seine to our hotel.  All in all, it took us 1 1/2 hours to make our way across Paris, longer than the train from Belgium! At least we were honored with this lovely sunset looking across the Pont Alexandre II.  Travel is always interesting! What will be next? Australia? Has anyone travelled that country? Advise?   Jan

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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9 Responses to On the Road Again

  1. TBC says:

    The adventures never stop, do they?

    Now, you didn’t say what that other interesting car was behind the red beauty. That looked very interesting, too?

    Oz? Did someone say Oz? I’ve driven all but one state there (NT). The roads are great, but one does have to watch out for roos there. Rather like Moose in Newfoundland!

    When does Stewball arrive back in HB?

    Hugs and misses,

    TBC and Arnie

    • ejhowle23 says:

      We will be back long before Stewball. He is due back early September, shipping out Aug. 8. We return Aug 1. Who do you want to see more???? :Paris is great, but home will be quite welcome. Long time away. See you both soon. J&E

    • ejhowle23 says:

      Margo, don’t know what the car was behind the Hispano Suiza. We (make that Ed) has now looked at it close up-I do have a better photo of it, but still doesn’t know. He was so taken by the HS that the other one didn’t get his attention. Stewball will be back Stateside about the first of September. We will pick him up in Savannah. See you soon,

  2. Tom Miller says:

    Thank you for sharing your newest adventure. wonderful stories and great photos that you have shared also. I know that you have a lot more to tell. Be blessed and stay safe. Tom

  3. Harris johnson says:

    This has been a magnificent experience for us chair bound participants. Thank you, thank you!!

    Australia will be fantastic as well. The train from Sydney to Perth was a highlight. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen New Zealand, it provides some marvelous driving experiences and will not present the challenges you have just overcome.

    The sky is still Carolina Blue here and the heat will welcome you.

    Harris Johnson

  4. kate says:

    So sorry that you had a longer journey home! I also got caught in the RER closure for the Line C…..sorry I didn’t mention it to you over the weekend! But, glad you made it to NL and hope that the journey home is easy!!

  5. jackie salitan says:

    Another completed adventure! Paris is the bonus you never tire of in the end.

  6. Dennis Hermanson says:

    Hello Jan and Ed,
    We were entranced by your successful world explorations, and so glad that you are already in our neck of the woods, while the magnificent machine Stewball is due to take it’s start to come back to you TOMORROW. In this day of instant “communication” and milli-second information exchange (which makes investment into chaos, as we have seen. The computers are making it happen!) – it’s great that adventurers like you and Ed are still making the real travels of a lifetime happen. As your fellow travelers in his historic event said in words to the effect… “The trip of a lifetime… we would not do it again…”

    We await seeing you personally soon, and only want to thank you for being so bold and so giving to all you have encountered along the way, and in your “quiet” lives.


    Dennis and Mary Hermanson

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