This is Boppard, Germany - the last pit stop on our whirlwind tour of Germany and it was here that our remaining three teams spent the last twelve hours resting and socializing before the final leg of the Amazing Photokina.
Each of the teams was up by 6:15 am local time. Team Rick was the first to leave at 6:55 am because they chose to skip hotel breakfast and get an early start.
Team Duffergeek was the next to leave at 7:30, followed closely by Team Tomasz in the giant van. Due to space constraints, Team Duffergeek needed to transport two of their suitcases in the Team Tomasz 'swat van'.
Team Duffergeek headed off north, missing the turn to the highway but based on previous explorations knew that the more scenic route was just as fast. After a few kilometers, they turned west and headed across the countryside to meet up with highway 61. Once on 61, the fun of Germany highway driving really took effect. Averaging in the 160 to 170 kph range Team Duffergeek was in the zone and the Mercedes wagon was happily humming along. Through some excellent navigation and a series of accidental optimizations, Team Duffergeek was able to avoid much of the traffic that slowed the other teams.
Team Duffergeek arrived at the airport only about 3 minutes behind Team Rick and could have made a beeline to the finish line at the gate, but they needed to wait for Team Tomasz to get to the airport and collect their bags. An unfortunate yielding that could spell doom to TD's chances of winning. Team Tomasz rolled in about 15 minutes later and the Team Duffergeek contingent was off and running for the airport.
They checked their bags just behind Team Rick and headed for the gate. Team Rick chose this opportunity to eat breakfast, leaving the perfect opening for Team Duffergeek to race to the gate and the championship!
It's a good thing we defined the finish line as the gate -- and that we didn't tell anyone else we were racing.
The flights that followed were long, though uneventful. The flight from Dusseldorf to Copenhagen was on a turbo prop and the vibrations made my seat feel kind of like an iJoy. My iPod slid across my iTrayTable from the vibrarions, dancing to it's own rhythms.
When we got to Copenhagen, everyone had their own seats on the flight back to Seattle, except for the Poo. He had to wait for a seat assignment while the rest of us got through to the gate. Still no sign of the Poo as we boarded the plane. I did see the other Davids who were in Economy Plus get bumped up to business class but it wasn't until after we had taken off that Lara and I headed up to see if the Poo had also been afforded such luxury due to his name also being David. Sure enough, there they all were, looking quite content with their business class socks on.
Throughout the flight they would occasionally come back to the slums and visit (and gloat). We did guilt them into bringing us back a couple of cookies. The rest of us in cattle class would meet in "The Spa" between movies. The Spa was the back galley of the plane -- part of the floor next to the emergency exit was very warm and just a few steps away it was much cooler, so we would take turns warming and cooling our feet while chatting. It sure beat sitting in the chairs for 10 hours.
We arrived back to Seattle a bit behind schedule, did the Seattle Internations luggage dance (pick it up at baggage claim #1, walk it through a door, put it back on a conveyor belt, go to baggage claim #2 and claim it again) and headed our separate ways.
tens of thousands of pictures
hundreds of beers
one Amazing Photokina.