Across America in a 2CV
Episode III : The end

The scenery built for the movie "Fort Alamo" directed by John Wayne is still in good condition and is now a little theme park with duel every hour (but no beer at the cantina...).
The fort itself is of a strange architecture. The walls around the big door are higher than the door but, as they go away from the door, they very quickly decrease. After no more than thirty meters, they are so small that even children could jump them. One can easily understand why everybody was killed at Alamo !
In fact, this "stupid" architecture is very clever : in the movie, it gives the sensation of a very deep courtyard surrounded with walls of equal high.

Alamo village
The 2CV parked at Alamo village

The access to the Carlsbad Cavern is a torture... for the people following our 2CV. The road is long, narrow and steep. And the 2CV really very slow. Despite Sylvain is crushing the accelerator, we can see an impressive traffic jam growing behind us. On the parking of the cavern, one man from the traffic jammers comes and says : "Hello, sir, what is that gorgeous car ?"

Later, the climb up Lincoln Forest is amazing. This mountain is on the desert. It looks like a green melted sandpie. Despite the steep climb, the 2CV goes a surprising 70km/h among the gigantic trees. At the top, we can see a terrific landscape : black storm clouds over the white sands desert.

Two strange things happens at our motel in White Sands. No more than ten seconds after we entered our room, we can hear a loud and long crackling. We go out and see, with horror, hailstones as big as peas. Fortunately, there will be no damages to the 2CV.
We go back to our room, switch on the TV and seek for our episode of "Star Trek, next generation". It is impossible to find and we can see that... our watches are one hour early !
Have we entered the twilight zone through a time tunnel during the climb of Lincoln Forest ? This could explain our excessive speed during the climb, the hailstones in the desert and the distort of the time... A look to our maps gives the scientific explanation : the altitude of Lincoln Forest is low, despite it is a mountain. Therefore, the atmospheric pressure is high and that worked as a natural compressor for our little sensitive engine. Hailstones are from the storm clouds we saw. And we have not gone through a time tunnel but through... a time zone !

The first "adventure" happens on an totally common parking of Taos, on Indian Territory. So nice of a little town that our gearbox decides to retire there after a little "kruuuunch klink klink klink...". That is real "luck". This could have happened a few hours before, when the 2CV was, courageously, climbing the 3278m of the Sierra Sangre de Christo where there is nothing else than road signs reading "beware of bears".

Luck again, there is a garage in Taos able to work on European cars, Metric Motors. More, a US 2CV friend is able to give us the phone number of somebody, just 250 km away from Taos, with a 1962 2CV gearbox for sale. That is not luck, but a miracle.

Metric Motors stamp
The Taos garage able to repair european cars.

While the 2CV is under repairs, we visit Taos. Fortunately, it's a rather small town but very touristic. We even find a french restaurant, La Cigale "bistrot de Paris". If the restaurant is french, the prices are clearly american ones ! We will simply test all the fast food of the town.
At last, one afternoon, the 2CV is repaired. We will stay one more day to visit the indian pueblo, a few kms away, but this evening, to celebrate the repair, we decide to break open our piggy bank (already cracked by the unexpected repair). We go to the french restaurant, it will surely cheer us up. Of course, we go with the 2CV. A few minutes after we sat, the owner, and chief, come to meet us. A client, arrived just after us, asked what was that nice french cars parked in front of the restaurant..

The french restaurant La Cigale in Taos
The french restaurant "La Cigale" in Taos

When we leave the restaurant and walk to the 2CV, it's an american who come to us. He is the driver of an american who would like to talk to us, and he ask us if we could wait for his boss, who is finishing his diner in La Cigale. He offers us to wait in the looong climate controled Limo of his boss, a man working in the pharmaceutical industry. We play with the climate control commands and have a look to all the TV channels available, comfortably seated on the big leather seats. That's not exactly the same as in the 2CV ! Finally, the driver tell us that "Mr Derek Walkin is waiting" for us. The francophile boss is already inspecting our 2CV. Regarding what he says, he owns many french cars in his car collection : DS, Traction, Panhard and a Charleston 2CV. That's probably true because he is very interested with the many small details which are different between our 2CV and his one, mainly the engine which is, in his opinion, "really very different". Based on his descriptions, his 2CV may be from the 60's, as our, but obviously it was fully rebuilt with modern parts. He is very amused by the "suicide" doors of our 2CV. We take him for a little tour and bring him back to his limo, very happy.

With the new gearbox fitted in the 2CV by Metric Motors (where we probably forget our french 2CV technical book...), we start again, direction "West !"... for two days.

gazoline pause
Typical 2CV pause : refill of the gazoline tank in the middle of nowhere

A few miles away from Green River, Utah, about two hours after the visit of Arch National Monument, our engine decides, like the gearbox, to retire in the United States.

One arch among the many of Arch National Monument

We are running an amazing 85 km/h (!) on the Interstate when the 425 CC suddenly roars a loud "Grrrrrraaaaa...". Bruno immediatly parks on the side of the road and Sylvain inspects the engine. There is nothing visible, the problem is internal to the engine. At idling speed, all is OK but when accelerating, the terrible noise appears. Sylvain decides to drive slowly to Green River, following the side of the road. The good thirty years old faithfull flat-twin still moves the 2CV for a few hundred heroic meters but... the effort is too hard. It's steel heart stops to beat on a last formidable "chlunk !".
Is that the end of the trail ?
Well... not completely... although the engine is dead and the 2CV out of order for a while.

Anyway, a couple of french tourists ("luck" again...) stop a few minutes later and bring us to Green River in their climate and cruise controlled car. The 2CV is towed to our motel parking, and after two days of phone calls, we have one call back, from somebody in Salt Lake city, very interested with a '60 2CV where there is no more work to do than changing the engine. This is how, after 4500 km, our "two wild horses" ends its trip towed behind an ID.

This is the end...
Green-River, the end of the trail

We have just a few days left, so we rent a 4WD pick-up to visit the Ghost town of Virginia City

Virginia City
The ghost town of Virginia City

and Yellowstone National Park with its incredible geysers

Yellowstone National Park : the Old Faithfull geyser

before to go back to France via New-york.

statue of Liberty
An unusual view of the statue of Liberty

Episode II : ExplorationEpilogue