By Richard Bonfond….
The venue for this year’s annual West Coast Citroën Rendez-Vous was Sonora, in California’s beautiful Tuolumne County. The area is renowned for small, gold-rush-era towns with main streets full of specialty shops, art galleries and plenty of eateries to enjoy a good meal. The event, hosted by the San Francisco Region Citroën Car Club at the Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks Hotel, involved a hundred participants and nearly 50 cars, making this year’s Rendez-Vous from October 21 to 23 a truly enjoyable gathering.
After a 325-mile drive from Henderson, Nevada, we arrived at our destination mid-afternoon to be greeted by the early arrivals. After taking a small siesta, we watched a regular flow of Citroëns arriving from all over California, some coming from as far away as New Mexico and Washington. Registrations started at 4:00 pm, as everyone started to settle in, seeing old acquaintances and meeting new enthusiasts. The evening was pretty much on your own for everyone to choose between having a BBQ on site or visiting local eateries.
After a substantial breakfast the following morning everyone gathered in the parking lot, coffee in hand, to enjoy the array of our favorite marque. Deciding which cars to vote on for the People’s Choice category awards was easier said than done considering the quality of cars at this year’s event.
At 10:00 am sharp we embarked on a leisurely 41-mile drive organized by David Bruckmann, departing the Sonora Oaks Hotel and following the spectacular Wards Ferry road. The drive proceeded at a good pace, eventually slowing down due to plenty of twists and curves and a light rain that began to fall. At the bottom of a steep ravine, the group of Citroënistes pulled onto the curving Ward’s Ferry Bridge, also known as the Graffiti Bridge for obvious reasons. All 42 Citroëns parked side by side for a perfect photo opportunity.
After many pictures were taken, everyone was asked to honk their horns as they departed to honor long-time member and Citroën enthusiast Norma Cowden, who had recently passed away at 102 years of age. The skies cleared up as we continued our tour to the home of Susan and Peter Kendall, who kindly volunteered to host part of the weekend’s festivities.
The Kendalls were the perfect hosts, and their property was also the perfect setting. A pre-ordered box lunch was available for all to enjoy while mingling against a backdrop of cars on the property. After lunch, Lon Price put Peter’s dream garage into full use with a technical session covering the replacement of the rear suspension boot on a DS.
By late afternoon some decided to head back to the hotel while others drove to the historic town of Columbia with Susan and Peter before heading back to the hotel for the evening’s program.
At 6:00 pm, attendees gathered in the hotel’s Oak Glen banquet room for aperitifs and amuse-bouches before the Gala dinner and entertainment. The evening’s program included a well-deserved thank you to organizers Peter Anning, David Bruckmann, Susan and Peter Kendall, Lon Price, Ilya Prokopoff, and Charles Turvey.
The awards were then handed out for the winners of the People’s Choice awards:
- Best in Show: Fabrice & Jocelyne Vuillemey / 1964 ID19
- A series: Raphaël Bertolus / 1958 2CV
- CX: George Kostyrko / 1979 Citroën CX 2500 Diesel Pallas
- D series: Jamie Myer / 1966 ID21 Break
- SM: Tyler Mingst & Lance Depew / 1972 SM
- Traction: Tad Welborn / 1954 Slough-built Traction Avant
- Other Citroën: Don Maxwell / 1928 AC4
- La Compétition: Matt Spielberg / 1961 Facel Vega Facellia
To round off the evening, magician Brian Cassady engaged his audience in a performance that had everyone wondering “how did he do that?!”
After breakfast the following morning everyone said their goodbyes. Until we meet again in 2023!