When we pulled into Paris last Sunday, Luke and John became the only two people in the world that we know of who have re-created the exact route of the 1908 New York to Paris race. It took them six years to do it! Luke led the re-enactment of the U.S. portion in the fall of 2008, where he met John. The two of them then worked together for more than five years to put together the Japan to Paris part of the trip. The dinner we had our last night in Paris was for our entire team, but Luke and John are the two who really deserve all the congratulations, because without their vision and persistence, the trip would have never happened!
Farewell Dinner: L-R Eileen Bjorkman, Susan Wills-Quam (John’s wife), John Quam, Leo Jannsens, Karen Bradbury, Luke Rizzuto (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Of course, we had plenty of help along the way, from Mir Corporation to do the detailed planning, from our guides who kept us out of trouble and smoothed over customs issues, and from many strangers who jumped in with everything from repairing a flat tire to helping John work visa issue with the Russian immigration folks. It would be impossible to thank everyone who helped us, especially since we don’t even know many of their names.
For our last day in Paris, Karen, Leo and I took a short cruise on the Seine River. Because it was Bastille Day, in addition to the usual tourist sights, we were treated to fly-overs by three different military helicopters, with the last one turning right in front of our boat.
Helicopter flyover on the Seine River (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
Our farewell dinner was at the Verjus restaurant, where we indulged in a tasting menu of eight different dishes of French cuisine.
The Verjus restaurant (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to take in the breathtaking fireworks display over the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. The picture below is of fireworks over the Seine; I’ve got some video of the fireworks set off from the tower, and I’ll get that posted later.
Fireworks over the Seine River (Eileen Bjorkman photo)
I arrived back in Seattle last night about 8:30 local time. Due to jet lag, I woke up at 4 a.m. today and was treated to a nice sunrise and 55 degree temperatures for a perfect morning run. I’ll miss the travels, but it’s good to be home!
Sunrise over the North Cascades this morning (Eileen Bjorkman photo)