In the Footsteps … the night before

The Night They Invented Champagne! Tim & Heather toast the next 100 days on the roof of Hotel Vancouver - Jack Wong photo

The Night They Invented Champagne! A slightly younger Tim & Heather toast the next 100 days on the roof of Hotel Vancouver – Jack Wong photo

Hard to believe, but exactly 20 years ago today, on September 1, 1993, my wife, Heather, and I embarked on “In the Footsteps of Champagne Charlie” —in what turned out to be, truly, the adventure of a lifetime.

“In the Footsteps…” was a 100 day race around the world, using only ships and trains, as a promotion for Charles Heidsieck Champagne.

Needless to say, we got talking about it last night and started re-living some of the experiences of this amazing odyssey that took us across four or five oceans and a score of countries in 100 days, across North America, the Atlantic, Europe, Russia, China and Japan, down to Singapore, eventually to Fremantle, Sydney and Auckland, and back home across the Pacific.

Along the way, I was filing stories weekly for the Vancouver Courier. (The North Shore News didn’t think it was that interesting, so they didn’t take them!)  Sending was easier said than done, in those pre-email and internet days, when even getting a computer fax to work depended on having the right phone jack for the country—or a satellite connection on board ship. CBC Vancouver also kept tabs on us, as well as a few others …

We met many remarkable people along the way. And had lots of help from quite a few who’ve since become lifelong friends.

Over the next three months I’ll post about the trip when the mood hits—especially if and when the topic seems still relevant.  In the meantime, the image above was taken on the roof of the Hotel Vancouver, at our farewell soirée on the evening before we left—by hovercraft to Victoria, then hydrofoil to Seattle, The Coast Starlight (Amtrak) to Los Angeles, and onwards to El Paso (Amtrak’s Sunset Limited), before crossing the Mexican border into Juarez …

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