Thursday, June 20, 2024

Rally the Globe Alaska-to-Mexico Marathon passes through Washington

Peking to Paris and all points world

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BREWSTER – The bumper-to-bumper vintage Bentleys that slowly motored past rural mailboxes along the off-grid gravel road last Thursday, Sept. 7, was reason enough warrant a second look. One does not see many Bentleys – let alone Roaring Twenties-era models – driving the Colville Reservation roads these days.

It was the red and blue plate reading “Alaska to Mexico Marathon” adorning the grilles that piqued curiosities and prompted further investigation into the caravan of mad globetrotters who waved to passersby as they proceeded on their merry way.

The trail of vintage rides paused for lunch at Lone Point Cellars in Brewster just long enough for the tag-team drivers to regroup, repair and recharge. They brushed off the dust and breathed in the vista overlooking the Columbia River before proceeding to the next stop at Leavenworth, 84 miles distant. After 11 days and some 2,250 miles the caravan still had 19 days and 2,300-plus miles remaining to reach its destination in Cabo San Lucas, Baja, California. The line of travel routed through Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and will take in Moab, Utah, and Tucson, Arizona, before it’s done. In the process the trip will visit three countries and cross 38 lines of latitude.

The marathons are organized by Rally the Globe (rallytheglobe.com) a not-for-profit vintage and classic car club that sees the world as so many distant points connected by anything from paved roads to primitive cow paths. The club’s motto: Epic Ventures and Everlasting Memories appears to exemplify truth in advertising.

Jim Gately calls Lake Tahoe, Nevada, home when he’s not bouncing along some outback byway with Tony Brooks, his British co-driver of 15 years.

‘I’m one of the founding members,” said Jim of the half-decade-old club. “We do 7,400-miles in old cars.”

Gately said he hooked up with RTG through rallying,

“Every corner of the world is represented in this group,” Gatley said.

As he closed the hood on his current classic, a 1937, 4-door Cadillac convertible, Gately said the 86-year-old road veteran already has three marathons under its hood.

“The longest we did, Peking to Paris, was a very interesting one,” said Gately of the 2019 trip. “We did 12 different border crossings; Russia twice.”

Fifty cars signed up for the Alaska endurance event. They are supported by an expert team of sweep mechanics who were busy assisting tire and engine issues with many of the vehicles parked in the Lone Pine staging area. An on-call doctor or paramedic is always close by.

Keith Ashworth, a veteran of 50 marathons, is also an original RTG founder and hails from Shropshire, England. He and co-driver Norah Ashworth pilot a 1926 Bentley and said their next event will be in Southeast Asia.

“These two cars and that one,” said Ashworth, pointing to a third 1924 Bentley parked nearby, “after Cabo will be shipped to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,”

The trio of British classics will be loaded aboard shipping containers and freighted to their next adventure.

“We’ll meet up with the cars at the end of January,” Ashworth said.

RTG is planning many more excursions for 2023 and beyond including marathons from Mexico to Panama, Cartagena to Cape Horn (Pan America in three parts), Seoul, South Korea to Sapporo, Japan, and London to Cape Town, South Africa.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483, mike@ward.media


 

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