Phileas Fogg used the most advanced means available to a contemporary traveler in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days. That restricted him to steamships and railroads, except for a brief trudge across the Indian jungles on an elephant – the only alternative to fighting one’s way through on foot. It still took audacious levels of creativity (and the International Dateline) for Fogg and his butler Passepartout to reach the Explorer’s Club in London in the 80 day time limit – thus winning a £20,000 wager with another Club member (about $1.6 million in today’s funds).
John Palmerlee of the CAFE Foundation board reports that a modern-day explorer from Santa Rosa, California is in the 28th day of his race to circumnavigate the globe in his Tesla Model S sedan. Alan Soule’ has been driving across Spain, flying over the Atlantic, and traversing the North American continent from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Los Angeles, California in an attempt to equal Fogg’s voyage by electric car (and an occasional airlift).
John Palmerlee, another CAFE Board member, reports on Alan’s passage through the bay area on his way to dropping his car off in Los Angeles to have it air freighted to China. “We saw Alan in Sebastopol when he arrived. There was quite a Chinese news show (haven’t seen it) filmed of him and the Chinese team in the Tahoe area. He is in china now – Guangzhou. I think he is waiting to connect with his car.”
Indeed, the attempt to reconnect driver and Tesla affected all the teams, and proved that China’s equivalent of the DMV would have driven Phileas Fogg dotty. Before Chinese officials would release the cars to the teams who had been waiting in Gungzhou, each person had to pass an eye exam, sit through a video on safe driving practices, and fill out enough forms to satisfy any bureaucrat.
With 50 of the 80 days to go, it’s probably understandable that any paperwork delays would be almost excruciating.
Alan’s blog helps to fill in details and provides an exciting travelogue of these modern-day globe-girdlers.