Peking to Paris, May – June 2007
It all began here and, in this as in so many other cases, it’s best to blame it on the dog. We only learned of the 2007 Peking to Paris Classic Car Motor Challenge, because a man driving a 1928 Mercedes Benz had the same breed of dog as we did, a Bernese Mountain Dog. That sparked a conversation, which led to the revelation that 130 teams, some in cars built before 1910, were going to mark the centenary of the original 1907 Peking to Paris race, departing the Great Wall outside Beijing end of May 2007 and driving nearly 8,000 miles to Place Vendome, Paris, competing against the clock every second of the way.
We signed up for the rally and bought a 1940 LaSalle (also known as Roxanne rebuilt it to be rally-worthy and shipped it to China. The route would take us through Mongolia and the Gobi Desert, into the southeastern reaches of Siberia, along Russia’s southern flank with Central Asia and into the heart of the gulag, to Moscow and thence north to St. Petersburg. If our car was still drivable, we’d exit Russia and drive south through the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, cross west into Poland’s Lake District and continue southwest from there through Germany and into France, finally reaching Paris 35 days after leaving Beijing. You can see the detailed route on the map.
All the rest of the trips we’ve done since then, and the way in which we do our drives, are the progeny of the Peking to Paris. And like many offspring, these trips are as opposite from their Peking to Paris parent as can be.
My dispatches from the road are full of interesting details. To sign up for my Dispatches Newsletter click HERE. If you have questions about where we went and where we stayed, post below and I will reply.