The Peking to Paris Rally is a recreation of the 1907 challenge issued by Le Matin, "Is there anyone who will undertake to travel this summer from Peking to Paris by automobile?"
The 2016 version will follow a route of 13,695 Km (8,510 miles) and take 35 days. We are travelling in Rhubarb and Custard, a 1936 Buick. We know nothing about cars or rallying.
Monday, 15 August 2016
PtoP 2016 seems like a world away now, the planning the anticipation, the excitement the frustration the long hours the hard work and (in our case) the collapse at the half way point are all forgotten. But everyone wants to hear the story about how the trip was and everyone asks, 'Would we do it again?'
For me the answer is, "No." there are too many other adventures in life to repeat this particular one. there are other places I want to visit and experiences I would like to have. I couldn't take another three years out to plan a second attempt. that doesn't mean we wont do other rallies - the Flying Scotsman is already booked for 2017 but in a way that is the point - there are plenty of rallies to go on and (this is now the heretical part) to be honest I think you can have 80% of the fun of PtoP doing a one week rally. Of course you don't get the bragging rights and the wow factor when you mention it to others but I enjoyed the Alpine Rally and 2015 Flying Scotsman just as much as PtoP. The shorter rallies had all the ingredients - scenery, great roads and beautiful cars, but didn't completely disrupt our lives.
One thing rallying does teach you is that things go wrong. Old cars break down, the navigator makes mistakes, the driver loses concentration. It's a humbling experience that reminds you that we cant control all the things that go on in our lives. Bad stuff happens unexpectedly even with the very best preparation. But good stuff happens unexpectedly too, the kindness of strangers, a beautiful view, new friends, a shared experience. Rallying may be slightly silly and ultimately rather pointless but it's also fun and life affirming.
I shall be looking forward to our next ride in Rhubarb and Custard - once we get her back to England.