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143.jpg (12347 bytes)DAY 44, JUNE 30

(MATT) I slept amazingly well considering the circumstances and awoke feeling well and refreshed about 7:30 a.m. We went to the Renault and dropped off our now much used and even abused, but clean Renault #19. We had a total of 12,998 kilometers. Our top speed was achieved by myself making out (downhill) at 187 kilometers, Jon came in a close second at 185 (downhill.) Technical points: The trip cost $2100 for myself. This amount includes absolutely everything including all souvenirs (save the hat and shirt from Czek.) All of us spent very close to this amount. The only difference being souvenirs, phone cards, etc.

I must thank Chris for his excellent guesstimations on money and his leg work in getting us the car and plane tickets at rock-bottom prices; Jon for all his time driving, especially the big cities. Thank you also Jon for forcing us to buy charcoal and a grill even if we did barbecue in the rain four or five times. Sam, thank you for doing "everything that we wanted to do," and for gently pushing us through the Eternal City. Thanks for always being willing to do what anyone else wanted to do even when you felt like killing us. Thank you for punching me in the arm too--well, a "Matt, shush," would probably work as well.

((CHRIS): And for being our Commie banker.)

(MATT) Oh yeah, thank you Sam and Chris both for remembering and helping me to remember all that Dr. Carroll taught us about those places. Your stories really brought this trip alive. Thank you Mr. And Mrs. Foley for the parking in Toronto; Mr. Carlson for getting Jon a ticket to Wazuka to see Sherri; Andrew for his generosity, words of wisdom, and friendship; the Seifferts for their overwhelming generosity and kindness (and clean laundry); Jean the French King for a gentle landing in Europe and friendly Bon Voyage; Louis L'Amour and The Walking Drum (Jubal) for company; the inventor if hacky sack for keeping us humble; the Renault dealer that tipped us off that diesel is considerably cheaper (he was right and saved us tons of money); the cities of Rome and Prague for their "boots"; Heather for spicing up the Romantic Road; Jodi; Jolie; Treena; Monica; Teresa; Jenny; Jen; Daniella; The Seiffert girls (especially Katrina and Maria); Katrina and Maria Fedoryka; Sister Bumbalina of Ars; Sister Helena of Fatima; and all the women of Europe who gave us their company, smiles, and well, that's about all I have to write about that. Overall, thank you Europe for your heritage, charms, kindness, and generosity. Oh yes, one more, Rick Steves and your back door teaching and style and to the German family that took us in in Augsburg (Bavaria) and fed us and gave us much to drink.

(CHRIS) I am sure that we owe many others many thanks. Their names, though not recorded here, will be written somewhere in the golden book of life. I would like, however, to reiterate my tremendous gratitude to my traveling companions. Matt, Sam, and Jon, you are men of honor, courage, ability, and virtue. A guy could not ask for better friends. I hope to travel again with you guys and to be life-long chums. TOO MUSHY--on to the dramatic conclusion...

The LOG is up to date. We are on our flight to Toronto, on time and no engine problems yet. We had no trouble getting on board or turning in the Renault. We land in Canada at 1 p.m. (7 p.m. Euro-time.) And as we drift (well, I guess its not really drifting at 700 mph) over the Atlantic, we look back with fondness on the seat of Western civilization. Europe, you have been good to us, and we all hope to return one day to the cool harbor of your hospitality. Though we cannot express the inertia of our joy at returning to our native land (Yes, Heather, the USA is #1,) we also have trouble forming into words the bitter sadness of our departure from Europe. Goodbye--we will never forget these past six weeks; this we guarantee in the name of EUROLOG (a division of Tumbleweeds Incorporated, copyright 1995.)

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