Through rain, fog, heat, cold, bum directions, unmarked roads, one way streets, indecipherable toll instructions, hairpin turns, mideavel alleys, dead end tractor paths, cobbled catastrophes, village squares, vertical descents and urban traffic jams, Russ has persevered. Un-daunted, un-fazed, but not - by me at least - un-appreciated.
All hail Captain Russell
For 7 weeks Russ has kept his eyes on the road (mostly), while I've been free to watch the unfolding spectacle that is France. Look! Oh, my god! Did you see that? Stop, I have to take a picture!
AND he managed to:
A - find parking places (Mideveal Cites and cars/parking cars is NOT a match made in heaven)
B - get the car into the non-car-sized slivers
"Ten and two, Sarah, ten and two. Remember, you do have control of the vehicle if your hands are not at ten and two."
I, on the other hand, have been a Model Passenger. A bastion of patience, tolerance and understanding. When faced with on-coming trucks, clearly wrong turns, brain jostling stops, and whip lashing starts - what do I do? Precisely nothing. I close my eyes, grit my teeth, put my life in the hands of The Fates and Captain Russell, and lay low. I mean Lay Low. And REMAIN SILENT. No matter what. No matter when. No matter how. I will NOT complain, criticize, or shriek like a wimpy female - even unto death. And if I had a blooming centime for every moment of impending death I've faced on the roads of France with Captain Russell at the wheel, I could fund another 7 weeks of French gites - no problem.
"Thank you, thank you. It was nothing, really. I can only thank Mr Russell for making it all possible. Captain, my Captain. How could I complain, let alone take credit, when you did all the hard work?"
And, bottom line - we made it. Captain Russell did not collide with the on-coming truck. He did not hit the Mideveal wall. He did not stop traffic in even one of the five-thousand Round-Abouts we navigated. He did not drive over the precipice (despite a diagnosed case of vertigo and instructions from Miss GPS to do so). Hat's off to you My Captain. You did it, and Lord knows, I couldn't have. You are My Hero.
So, I hereby award you, Captain Donald Wayne Russell, the Challenged Foreign Driver of the Year Award. You earned it the hard way.
And she lives in this little box.
"If possible, do a U-Turn" (on a bridge)
"At the next round-about, take the third exit" (#3 Paris - we're headed to Bergerac)
"At the end of the street, turn left" (onto a one way street)
"At the end of the street, make a right turn, then turn right, then turn right again" (back to where we started from?)
"Bugger that!" Exclaims the Captain.
"Thank you my girl, but I'll take it from here."
There endeth my Ode to Captain Russell.
Alas, 7 weeks have come and gone and our Adventure in France is now over. As I'm typing, Captain Russell and I are on the long road home to our barn in Maine (where Spring has not yet sprung, and fresh croissants hard to come by.) But, I have mountains of photos and a more to say, so may extend by a few posts. Thank you all for joining us on our grand backroads tour of glorious south-west France. Stay tuned for a bit more. Might help me hold on a bit longer to the many impressions of France, and ease back into my new old American life.