The fat lady has sung and it is all over!!!!! We have met the enemy and WE HAVE WON!!!!
Although it was at times somewhat diffcult for us to make this journey in 2009, it must have been really "hell" for the 1909 drivers to have made this run.
There was some anxiety about the drive to the University of Washington today, as our police escort had been cancelled, but it turned out to be alrght, as we did have a volunteer leading us. Plus there were other volunteers from the For Culture group who signaled turns at corners. We crossed the Finish Line this morning at Drumheller Fountain at the University of Washington. What a magnificent sight when we crested the hill, and there in front of us was the Finish Line and the fountain and the CROWDS of people waving flags and cheering our arrival. I can tell you it was so overwhelming for me, that I choked up and could not speak (no comments, please!) To think that all these people had taken the time to come out on a cloudy and threatening rain kind of day, to see our group of Model T's was just overwhelming.
We parked the cars around the fountain - they were all backed in so they "radiated" out from the fountain. We were met by the cast of the Kitsap Forest Theater, who immediatsly climbed into our Model T for their publicity photographs. They have an upcoming performance called "High Button Shoes" featuring a Model T, to be performed at the Forest Theater near Bremerton. It will be on for the first four weekends in August. The cast then gathered to sing one of the songs from the show about the
Model T Ford. It was excellent and really brought tears to our eyes. Or - was that rain running down our faces, as it started to rain quite heavily for a few minutes just after we got parked. We then heard speeches from the Assistant Mayor, a member of staff from the University and members of For Culture organization. Then Peter Bernhardt and John McLaren, our leaders from the Model T tour were invited
to speak, which was very moving for all of us 2009ers. We answered lots of questions from the crowd about our cars and our trip and Steve Shotwell was again holding sessions on the operation of the
Model T Ford. We had friends who came and welcomed us at the finsh line - Jim and Lois Woods, Laurel Stone, Don amd Sean Lorimor and their Chinese exchange student, Steve and Diane Tomasso. It was a really special gift to see good friends in the crowd and have the chance to visit with them.
There were group photographs taken of the drivers and navigators, etc and then a photograph of each car and its driver and navigator was taken individually in front of the fountain. People were cheering and taking photos of all of us the entire time - totally amazing to us - it was very moving!
We returned to Issaquah via the US520 floating bridge and a short session on the I-90. We gased up at Costco and ate lunch there before returning to the Holiday Inn, where we relaxed for a while to try and let everything "sink in" before we got ready for our banquet this evening. The banquet was another emotional experience (at least for me). It is so difficult to say goodbye to this group of people with whom we have had such a wonderful experience. There were the usual speeches and then the team of each Model T that completed the race was presented with a silver cup commemorating the event, as well as a group photograph and copy of the book "The Big Race", written by Jack Scott, son of Burt Scott, the 1909
winning driver. We had a good prime rib dinner, with mixed vegetables and chocolate cheese cake for dessert. No-one wanted the evening to end, but it did come to an end at 10:00pm, when we all returned to our rooms for a good night's sleep before headng off in our various directions tomorrow. I can imagine what it will be like in the parking lot tomorrow morning!!
How VERY BLESSED Gary and I are to have been able to be a part of this piece of history and how very blessed we are to have the love and support of so many people in our lives. Of course we must not forget LENA - who made the entire journey running as "sweetly" as only Lena can. We give thanks from the bottom of our hearts. Tomorrow we will get all packed up and will drive Lena "home" to Port Orchard, where we are sure Henry, our beloved Sheltie, will be VERY HAPPY to see us. We have our Kitsap Peninsula Model T Club meeting tomorrow evening in Poulsbo, and we hope to drive Lena to show her off! Thank you all for being such a good audience for our daily "musings". It has been wonderful to reach out to you in this way.