The competition is over and the drive toParis commences.
The change in attitudes among thecompetitors is very noticeable. The guard is down. Almost suddenly there is agreater feeling of unmitigated friendship. No rally tactics to conceal orsecrets to protect any longer.
So, the short trip into Paris on the crowdedmotorway didn’t seem daunting. The day was overcast and cool. We still neededto follow the route book and travel through passage controls but these weren’tmandatory and just a formality.
Being Sunday, apparently it wasn’t busy,but to us it was busy. We needed to follow instructions so as not to get lostand to be at Place Vendome so that we would pass through the finishing portaland get our medals and be photographed finishing. The roads onto Paris werebusy. A wrong turn and you end up in the wrong district. The landscape changedfrom backroad townships into city blocks and the typical French architecture.
Noticeable were the homeless, presumablyrefugees who camp in the parks and roadsides into the city. These people walkedonto the busy intersections demanding goods and money. Not a good scene andthese people have nowhere else to live.
Then the long wait in the hot afternoonsun as we inched forward through so many sets of lights. Denise getting hot andwe too, as to dispense heat from the motor the heater was turned on. Like asauna inside the car but it works to cool the engine.
When we arrived at Place Vendome thecrowds had gathered to see what was happening and welcomed us into the square.
Among those gathered were Steve’s sisterJune-Rose and his wife Louise and my family son Brooke, who has been managingthis publication, thanks Brooke and daughter Tracie and grandchildren Amber andCody. So pleased to see these guys. Really neat.
So slowly we drove over into the podiumto do the official deed of finishing and recording. Great experience.
The feeling of relief that there wouldnot be the early rising and the concentration of rallying around the countryany more. Hugs if joy between competitors and shaking of hands, backslappingand congratulation.
The vintage winners: 1, Graham and Marina Goodwin; 2, Artur Lukasiewicz and Bill Cleyndert; 3, Keith and Norah Ashworth. For Classic winners: 1, Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson; 2, David and Susan Danglard; 3, Chris and Tjerk Bury.
Congratulations to them!
Very few people have had the chance toexperience the tour that we have been lucky to have made. In all we travelledsafely and almost free from any motor issues. Just maintenance.
Thanks to all the great people that wemet on this journey who made it interesting and possible.
Thanks also to the people whoparticipated in reading our daily progress blog and to those that made commentsin support, or corrections.
It’s been our pleasure to have been ableto bring you along on this fabulous journey.
C’est la vie!
Stephen and Corgi.