Lucy and Ethel... without Ethel!

Our good friend Jocelyn called the route book incident perfectly, so I thought I would provide a few more stories from our Peking to Paris adventure.

Bathroom situations, or, as Marti refers to it, "A bit of a wee"

So... I've learned to carry my own toilet paper. Apparently it's not a thing in China, Mongolia and Russia, and I should have been doing tons of squats before I left. I had a few too many teetering moments where I thought, "If I fall in, I'm not sure Tony will rescue me out of this 6 foot hole." The outhouse hygiene was so bad at one stop I had to ask Walid to stand guard while I went on the back side. 

On our second day in Mongolia the fuel stop actually had a bathroom inside the building. Of course there was a window facing the road, but at this point I didn't care. I went to exit the bathroom and found I was locked in! There was another rally competitor on the other side and he was trying to help, but no luck. Thank goodness for the window... Up on the ledge and out I climbed.

Never thought I would say this, but... I'm dreaming of the I-95 rest stops.

Never thought I would say this, but... I'm dreaming of the I-95 rest stops.

Black Lung

Only Tony! Once again, we were aiming for max lateness and I missed the turn into the hotel and went right to the parking lot... only to find out that the MTC (main time control) was in the lobby of the hotel. The shuttle buses to take us had just left, and we had to wait for the next.

At this point, we had 12 minutes to beat maximum lateness and keep the gold, and I am not calm, cool OR collected.

The next shuttle arrived. We load up, and it took off... only to get stopped in traffic. Tony told the driver to let him out in the middle of the road, and he will run as only Tony will do. 

Tony arrived with 3 minutes to spare and got us checked in. I arrived shortly after to find him barely breathing; apparently he inhaled most of the Gobi desert on that day's drive!


Not exactly my strong suit. I was a damsel in distress going into the campsites on many occasion.

As noted earlier, we were last into camp on most nights. That is not to say there weren't other late arrivals with many car issues too, of course! Tony would head with the car to the ER area and I would set up our tent.

Now, I am the girl who had to YouTube "how to set up a tent" on the night before our car was shipped. Nigel and Richard had to come to my rescue on the first two occasions. (If you know me, you know I've had other issues with setting up cabanas on beaches and having the whole beach watching and laughing at the hilarity.)

On our second camping night, we actually arrived during daylight. That said, it stayed light until 9, then 10, then 11 p.m. 

I was off to the shower with my microfiber towel and ready for the experience. There were not hooks in the tent showers, they don't have roofs, and they are a foot off the ground. I was prepared, though; I had my waterproof bag with clothes, shampoo, etc. I put my shoes just outside the shower (because of course I had forgotten my flip flops in the tent that I brought for this EXACT thing). I hung my pants over the top and began my shower. There was warm water but it was windy, so it was quite chilly.

I finish my shower and reached into my bag for my towel... only to realize I left it on the bench! I called out to see if there is anyone who could help, and the woman in the next shower went out to grab it for me, even though she was half-dressed herself. Rescued once again. Survivalist, I am not!

We keep laughing at ourselves, so we're doing great!

XO, Jill, Tony and Java

PS: We're almost to the finish line; follow our progress on the live tracker!

Days 8, 9 and 10: Where Our Real Issues Began

We are currently on Day 24, in Belarus heading towards Minsk. Click here for daily reports, and continue below for the full story from our second week in the Peking to Paris race, written by Jill. 

Travis is the Porsche engine guru of the sweep mechanics. He and the guys are constantly adjusting our points, cleaning our filters and distributor, and giving me hugs and words of encouragement. We just can't seem to keep Java running. Late into every night they are with Tony, trying to keep Java and us in the rally. 

Java sputtered to a stop on day 8, in Mongolia between Murun and Uliastai. I put the OK sign up, but Mike and Georgia from Car 42 stopped anyway. We fiddled with a few things and Java started back up.


We went about 5 kilometers down the road and stopped again. I went to put the OK sign and my route book back on top of the car, when I realized that I had left it on top when we stopped before. It had fallen off somewhere in the last 5 kilometers!

Tony called for assistance and I headed out looking for my book. I walked about 15 minutes and a car of Mongolians drove up to offer me a ride. I shook my head and made the shape of my book with my hands. They carried on and so did I, on foot. But thankfully, a few minutes later, they returned with my route book in hand and offered to drive me back to Tony, which I accepted while thanking them profusely.

We later got stuck in mud and had to be towed out. At this point, it was 8:30 p.m., we were last on the route with 50 kilometers to go, and we were being followed in by an ERA red truck. The camp site was changed and I couldn't find the track. It was our first escort, and we made camp at 10 p.m. 

On day 9, we started from Uliastai with a great navigation tip from Christine in Car 65. On my Garmin compass screen, there is a countdown to the next waypoint, making it much easier to determine the exact turns we need to take! 

We were traveling at a better pace, and doing our best on time trials. Instead of going 1 kilometer off of a bridge, we went 8 kilometers and landed hard. There was lots of concerning banging sounds, so we stopped. Charbel and Walid of Car 61 to the rescue again! 

We got off and running, but soon got stuck in the sand. Car 90 with Stephen and Bryon, the photographer, and the crew to the rescue! We missed our final time trial finish and lost gold, limping into camp with the engine stopping at random and our rear dragging. Kudos to our great friends Charbel, Walid, Bryon and Stephen, who all made sure we got to camp near Chjargas Lake.

It was day two without a shower for Tony, as he was spending late nights trying to figure out Java's issues. 

Day 10: An absolutely beautiful day in Mongolia but the route to Olgiy almost took us out. Our engine failed multiple times, we had issues with our shock absorber, torsion bar, axle, etc. We had more ERA vehicles stopping to keep us limping along. 

Tony had to get out and walk different paths to figure out which Java could make it through. We were towed through one river crossing and plowed through another, not knowing we were supposed to be towed through it too. Andy and Tony (the ERA sweep mechanics/wizards) were following us at this point, and they were were amazed; we cried with joy and excitement.

It was another long day on the road. We were hoping to reach camp by 9 p.m. and heard a honk... we werere leaking oil. Our sump plate bolt was sheered off by some rock, and the guys made a makeshift plate out of a competitor's Peking to Paris license plate.

At about 11 p.m., it was getting dark and we headed towards camp, only to have the engine quit 50 yards later. Fancy fuel systems were torn out and the original one was hooked up. It was freezing cold, windy, rainy, and hailing. The guys gave me hugs and put me into the warm vehicle.

At 2 a.m. and we headed out again. The dust was terrible, so they asked if we wanted to go in front. It was pitch black and I could barely see; I am weak at navigating on a good day and this sent me over the edge, so we followed in the dust. Further down the road, a guy came into the middle of the road on a steep grade and flagged us down to tell us our DC license plate  was hanging off. We moved on after Tony removed the plate, heading downhill, and Java's engine stopped again. This time they thought we were out of fuel, so we were toward a couple kilometers to a fuel station and finally were good to go. We entered camp at 3 a.m. No dinner or showers.

We still wouldn't change this experience for anything in the world. 

Much love, 

Peking to Paris 2016 Has Begun!

Hello from China! After a crazy couple of days preparing, we are finally on the road. 

Our car passed scrutineering, and we were told to watch our roof rack, as apparently they like to fly off the car. Who knew?

We initially got lost  in the Chinese countryside, but made it successfully and on time to our first Peking to Paris checkpoint. 

We even have a team: Three 356! We drove all day with Chalad and Walid, our new bffs. 

Don't forget to follow our progress on the live tracker