Mongolia Moved the Impossible for Tony, Jill and Java

Sorry to drop off the face of the earth; this rally is a bigger beast than we imagined!

We were told in Beijing that the roof rack would be a problem. They were right!

We were told in Beijing that the roof rack would be a problem. They were right!

All of our fears have come to pass. Crazy bridges, water crossings, rocks, ruts, gullies, mud, washboard roads for miles, Tony driving on the rails for 8, 10, 12 hours a day (due to our low clearance), sand, dirt, dirt, and more dirt. All of that, but on steroids. Bigger and badder than we imagined.

Doing laundry at the campsite, China-style.

Doing laundry at the campsite, China-style.

Sometimes we were so stressed and anxious that I forgot to take pics of some of our great successes. But Tony, Java and I will always have those memories.

Our first sunset in the Gobi Desert. Driving into camp in the dark was one of Jill's fears, but we did it... many times.

Our first sunset in the Gobi Desert. Driving into camp in the dark was one of Jill's fears, but we did it... many times.

Mongolia is absolutely beautiful and I would return in a heartbeat... in a 4x4! That said, I wouldn't have traded doing this race in our car, Java, for anything.

Gave up on our tent; Tony and Nomad Tours to the rescue! 

Gave up on our tent; Tony and Nomad Tours to the rescue! 

What I've found on this road is that everyone is on their own rally and journey. Here's more of ours.

Finishing a time control (TC) racing section. This is when beating maximum lateness became our goal! 

Finishing a time control (TC) racing section. This is when beating maximum lateness became our goal! 

The landscape is unreal. Everything is so clear. 

The landscape is unreal. Everything is so clear. 

In the next week, we will be sharing many more updates from our time in Mongolia and Russia. You can also see daily reports on all of the cars remaining via the Endurance Rally Association team here

Much love, 

Stopping for Repairs Before Six Days of Desert Driving

Currently we are in Mongolia, near Khyargas Lake and approaching the Russian border.

Earlier last week, when we stopped in Ulaan Baatar, Java needed tons of small repairs. The suspension needed tightening, the front brakes were sticking, the oil was changed, there was grease all over the front components, and we tightened all the bolts and nuts on the car and engine. Not to mention cleaning up the car and fixing our broken roof rack.

ERA to the rescue! One of the ERA mechanics saw the rack and said we could land a helicopter on it! We hope he is right.

Some bumps hurt more then others. Damage to the skid plate was sustained on a big hit into a small ditch. That hit also moved our bumper higher on the right. We have been told to look ahead ALL the time! Tony took his eyes off the road to look at a bird and BAM.

Our rack is fixed and our spare tire is back on it. Our plan is to test the rack in the desert for one day and see if it holds, and then place a tire without a wheel on it and see how it does. If it fails, we will be doing the race down one spare. 

The Endurance Rally Association website has a daily report, which you can read here. We and Java made it into the Day 6 update, and it's definitely the photo OF the race! Java is airborne! 

As usual, don't forget to check the live tracker to see where we are and where we've driven since the start of the race! 

Taking It One Waypoint at a Time in China and Mongolia

We are heading towards the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar and the first rest day before we head back out into the middle of nowhere. It's beautiful, but also very stressful.

Java is dusty and muddy, but still running strong! Earlier this week our roof rack broke, and we were last into camp in the desert. Luckily, it was repaired quickly.

Our next start was stalled by a flock of sheep. So much for making our time trial on time!

We are making great friends. Matt Bryson, who has won the last two Peking to Paris rallies, has been our navigation guru. Marty and Kristine, too. We know having their help will make all the difference in the world! 

Onward we go... which road to choose?

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

One Last Celebration and then... We're Off!

Love, respect, family: The Kirkpatrick Connor McCarthy Dent Silva Clan.

Burning our spreadsheet, where we tracked every piece of equipment we'd need for Peking to Paris 2016!


See you later, Ber Ber and Boo! Enjoy 25 acres in Virginia! 

Jill's most treasured travel accessory: Java's half-marathon medal, which he ran with Jason McCarthy in Chicago in 2010.


How do you pack for 40 days in a Porsche? Here are some of Jill's never-leave-home-withouts: her Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater (that goes everywhere with her, to the bush and back); Belgian loafers, since a girl can't wear "sturdy shoes" for 40 days; a pendant to remind us that "there's more than you know;" and a prayer string blessed by a Buddhist monk in Bhutan.

Looking forward to Peking to Paris 2016

We are so excited to get going on Peking to Paris 2016! Follow our progress live with our Find Me tracker.  

As we prepare to head out on our big journey this weekend, we've been answering lots of questions from our family and friends. One question people have asked us frequently is, "What are you the most nervous about while being on the road?" Here are our honest answers:

Jill: Being stranded on the side of the road in snowy Siberia



Tony: What could happen when we try to cross rivers in our little Porsche!

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Empty Nesters' Au Revoir

Celebrating our 10th anniversary, the Empty Nesters book club threw me a surprise send off on a beautiful, rain-free evening. Barbara and Lark hosted us with cocktails on the garden terrace, followed by a sumptuous Italian dinner by Susan Gage.

My wonderful friends presented me with a glamorous Ferragamo silk scarf ("think Grace Kelly!") that actually looks like it was made with our rally car in mind. There will be many pictures of this scarf in the countries along our route!

Celia gave me Tula skincare products to make sure I keep up my beauty regime, Jeanne gave me a diary for all our memories, and Missy, the world's best photographer, will do a special portrait of Java #58, Tony, and me upon our return. 

Cheers to these amazing women whom are the dearest of friends: Celia, Lark, Ginny, Barbara, Jeanne, Missy, Sandy, Blythe, Katherine, Corine and Elizabeth. I promise to represent The Empty Nesters with dignity, grace, and a little speed!


A Champagne Send-Off for Peking to Paris 2016

Our neighbors, Gin and Jack Bell, hosted a send-off dinner on for us on Sunday night. Of course, the evening began with a champagne toast by Jack, followed up with lots of hearty good lucks, you're crazy's, "I'm purchasing life insurance on you two," and even, "I wish I were doing it also!"

In addition to our hosts, our wonderful neighbors and friends, the Bentons, Lamberts, Magruders and Nelsons, provided a feast unlike any we will be having along our journey. Not surprisingly, the evening was filled with a lot of car and navigation talk (there are a few car guys and adventure travelers in the bunch).

As the evening was coming to a close, we ended with updates—not about our children, but about all of our dogs, cats and a new DC obsession: bald eagle cam observations.

We can't wait to share stories of the rally and host everyone at our house upon our return!