Read this interesting account of a French family that shipped a “beater” DS wagon to Montreal to begin a vacation traveling in Quebec, Ontario and then the USA.
You can read the original account (in French) with pictures here:
We have translated the original article below in English (through Google translate).
Pascal ends (partially) restore Willy in mind, go on vacation in North America this summer (2015) with his family. Obviously anything more exotic than to leave the country of the most unbridled exoticism with the most exotic cars, a break DS! Willy and will of course do!
Go Pascal, telling us your adventure. . . .
We are now mid-June (2015), Willy poses in front of a photographer (all rights reserved Alexander www.alexandrebas.com BAS)
Before embarking for the New World, Willy decided to return to his land.
Thursday, June 18, 2015 1940 course not!
I get my custom tray and start loading the car a few things that can be useful to me (tubes, tool box, various fluids, candles, cloths …)
After loading the trunk, I spend washing. My contact in Montreal was very clear, the car must be in a state of spotless, especially at the wheels, underbody, wheel arches. No insects, no land has to travel with the car.
Here I am in the office, waiting for the container (the good, not those who serve us in storage archives)
Each wheel 3 holds, then a strap at the front and another at the rear
The container is in the port of Bassens / Bordeaux since June 18 and it is June 23, loading the ship date the company called me, denied boarding because of dangerous products
On June 24, so I went looking for my container on the port. He had been isolated. Opening, it is 60 degrees in the container, it is hell. I gotta get out, only, plastic boot, then turn the various fluids.
Here are the products that made me look like a dangerous terrorist!
On August 3, the big departure.
August 4 my local contact picks me up at the hotel from 7.30 am to clear Willy. Customs is in the city center, a few hundred meters from my hotel.
At 8 am we are in place. At 8:15 the very, charming customs wonder 500 CAD deposit (I think the French customs had asked 10,000 euros as I had said Willy to 35,000 euros), I pay and it gives me on the spot the documents temporary importation. No control, no one asks to see the car, life is beautiful. At 8:30 we went out..
The first laps were difficult. Something rubs when I turn. I stop immediately refuel and discovers the local Esence. 87, 89, 91, not better. I chose the 91, when one loves, one does not matter.
My first meal: Poutine And the famous Quebec plates.
In the evening we are guests at the famous Stevie, Citrowagon permanent correspondent in New France. We Willy and note down on a sheet has been deformed during the strapping in the container.
Steevie disassembles the wheel, comes the hammer, and presto, another smoothly conducted case.
You will notice its beautiful Ford sees that one slightly behind Willy.
The beautiful Steevie in his works. The rest of the evening will take place in the kitchen, around typical dishes, prepared (with love?) By our Quebec star.
We will provide you with a visit to Montreal, we will try to focus on the road trip. Wednesday, August 5, Montreal / Quebec with minimal main roads. 260 km, a cakewalk. Small local restaurant for lunch break then huge storm of rain and hail, the rest of the afternoon. Willy has no ventilation option. We see nothing and live in hell. After three hours, the wipers show some signs of weakness. A few minutes later the wipers stop working. We will finish our journey without.
During our visit to Quebec, there was the Festival of New France.
Regardless of where we are in Quebec, we always have a view of the beautiful Chateau Frontenac, luxury hotel since its construction.
The one and only cross rolling French car on three weeks leave.
Friday, August 7, we leave Quebec to Tadoussac. 220 km along the St. Lawrence. While my family ends to fasten the luggage, I’ll get Willy ahead quietly in a parking garage. The doors of the car open, weird. I do my level, food contact: nothing. The battery is flat. Seconds later I am surrounded by four police officers who ask me to open the car and ask me what’s in the suitcase in the trunk. Despite my luggage box, they spotted my toolbox. The guardian of the garage has rocked us, they waited 48 hours since our return. I open the box, the tool box but I can not escape the interrogation. The police are convinced that I can not ride in French plates. I explain that I am in my right, they tell me not. They embark me and take me back to the apartment to check all the documents I have in my possession. They take their information and confirm the impossibility of rolling plates in French in Canada. They give me the phone number of SAC (Canadian Insurance Company), of course that number does not answer. 10 minutes later they come back, they just tell us then enter the car before our amazement, tell us that it’s a joke, they have again informed and we have the right to ride. They apologize and leave us a paper with contact details and registration numbers numbers so in a future controls the police can contact them directly. The owner of the apartment will come with me and start to bridge Willy.
The road is beautiful, our walk along the St. Lawrence still closer. We make a very nice lunch and we meet old lovers who drive today vieu Toy (Toy as Toyota, not sex toy). They call us nutters, although we laugh. They ask us if we have any mechanical problems, their answers I understood that not all is well. They tell me with a little malice “And why the jumper cables are visible in the trunk?” I must confess that this morning I started with the help. We left after a photo session … and I will not start. We leave the cables, turn left to the car and they advise me to charge the battery at night in Tadoussac. The generator (what we call the dynamo) is not powerful enough to recharge the battery, it needs help.
We resume our journey to Tadoussac while dreaming our future cabin in Canada. Our large whale suddenly loses so imposing alongside local pickup.
Soon arrived at Tadoussac, we lay the bags in our motel will run and see the garage before it closes. I ask them to look at the wiper motor and recharge the battery. When we come back the next day to recover the car, it’s Saturday, the mechanics are on vacation, they will of course be satisfied only to recharge the battery. No stress, we are in Tadoussac for a rest.
Resting, this is not the motel glandouiller in the sofa. It is walk and walk and walk.
Willy and sisters, it’s about you? And yes, we promised to bring her sisters Willy see large whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We have never been closer.
Mission accomplished. FYI, I work directly without telephoto!
We returned to Tadoussac, are on a cloud. Or on the edge of a lake, as you want.
Sunday, August 9, standing 6am, 7am departure to go as far as possible to the US. This time we will not go along the St. Lawrence but we take the forest. For several hundred kilometers, forests, lakes, rivers. Few cars, many rolling roads, few crossings villages, nothing stops us.
Since the discharged battery mishap at lunch, I took now used to disconnect the battery when you stop more than a few minutes. We arrive in a small roadside restaurant, a grandpa sat outside the door. I park, I lift the hood and disconnect the – The grandpa wonder why, I explain, he gets up painfully hits the wiper motor, it is hot. “going to eat and rest after this” When I leave table, the engine is cold because he had surrounded with a cloth and ice. “going to the battery, we will do tests” I put the contact, there are sparks as in recent days. It removes a plug, I redo the test, same thing. It removes the other end, made me do a test, more sparks. “Roule and do a test, your engine should normally not be heated.” I respected his instructions and indeed the wiper motor has been at room temperature. However, I continue to disconnect the terminal at each stop.
We continue our road, nothing can stop us. Montreal, Otawa, and finally Perth. We get lost in secondary roads and the first contact with the deep countryside disturbs us. We have the film “Mississippi Burning” in mind and we expect to see any time débouler a dirt road a pick up men in charge of the Ku Klux Klan … Monday, August 10, we left the hotel around 8:30 ET our GPS does not light. It instructed all night but wants nothing to do. We will not. We decide to stop for lunch Toronto near the CN Tower. A few kilometers before Toronto, we stop to refuel. We fall on the 94. Happiness, we’ve never been as close to the French 98. We have not done a 50-meter white smoke comes out of the exhaust skin. I think the cylinder head gasket, but especially to poor gasoline. Toronto entered the device, we suffer a storm of extreme violence. We still do not have wipers, Toronto is a city of 6 million inhabitants, we have no GPS, we abandon this project and continue towards the USA. Morale remains on top aboard the car. Finally we try …
We stop lunch in suburban Toronto, the rain does not stop. An hour later, we hit the road somewhat timid towards Niagara Falls. Once there, it stopped raining, we can enjoy a little.
The Niagara Falls are used as border between Canada and the United States. To go to the other side, there is this bridge. And at the end of the bridge: The United States of America. This is a tourist pass with a little wait. I topped up, up to 15 liters, to dilute my bad gasoline but nothing there, I still smoke as much idling. We wait 30 minutes on the bridge, then it’s our turn. The customs barking at us, we do not understand. He begins, always incomprehensible. He screams by placing his hand over his face and waving as we enfumons. Ok, we understood, we must cut off contact. Passport, ESTA, car registration, insurance, temporary import, anything goes. He leaves, returns, moves, returns again and we tend paper: check luggage and documents. Our passports are recorded, we must go through the immigration office. Are we going to manage to enter the states or not?
The answer next month …
We left last month blocked border with this question: back? not be back?
We drive to a hangar, this looks to Moroccan border posts that we know well. We ask if we have to empty the car, the customs building shows us where we need to introduce ourselves. Duly noted. There is a security guard at the entrance, armed and dressed as if he was returning from a mission in Iraq. It tells us a counter. In it we are received by a robot, halfway between Sebastien Chabal and Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. He looks all our documents page by page, give us a ticket and we watch the elevator. We go up and come upon a room full of Chinese, blacks, Latinos and … us. After a long wait, we end up being called to the microphone. An automatic door opens, we come to the immigration services. Interrogation, surprised the officer who does not understand what we do by car in North America, document verification, our hotel reservations and finally, the Customs informs us that we can not get well. ESTA is not enough, we need visas. He can deliver us on site for a small tithe. Fingerprinting of the whole family, passport photos, visa shopping, everything is quite fast. We left our passports back to see Sebastien Chabal to home that tells us that we can leave. There will be no search of the vehicle. We start, let up the DS when a new customs yells at us. We do not understand. He again and this time we understand that it asks us if we have lights. Of course ! We light the codes and go. He does not know that we have no wipers, and fortunately because a second later it drops us a storm of unusual violence.
We start rolling toward Buffalo but we see nothing. It is 18 hours but it’s almost dark. Without GPS, we have to monitor signs and under these conditions we do not see them. On leaving Buffalo we decide to stop at a motel. It will rain the rest of the day and night.
Our first contact with the US will be a dinner and a night in a squalid industrial area of Buffalo. The next morning, a bus full of Chinese and Latino takes breakfast near the car. If I do not intervene, they can ask their coffee on the roof Willy. To load the luggage and make my levels, this puts me in a good mood.
I open the hood, oil ok, ok LHM but disaster, I miss 4.5 liters of coolant. I put water but understand that the journey’s end is very near. But if I’m a big mechanical burne I know very well that loss LDR + white smoke is the harbinger of a HS head gasket. We have nearly 2000 kilometers to go, it is not won.
We must join Washington in the day, about 600 kilometers, always avoiding maximum motorways. I take a break every 100 km and each time I have to add one liter of the LDR. The atmosphere is gloomy in the car. Must be taken at all costs. During the lunch break, I see that there is a task LDR under the car. Would I have rather a simple leak? Morale is back to block, simply monitor the level to avoid damaging the mechanism.
Shortly before Washington, we come across a garage. We try to put a stop the car on a bridge. Unfortunately, it is difficult to explain to the old mechanical English in our school it is normal that the car smokes and must get on the bridge to look for a leak. It remains on his first idea: the head gasket. It sells us a miracle product supposed to avoid losses, I let myself be tempted.
We hardly get to Washington. Traffic is dense and we drive to Michelin. We sleep in Alrlington, suburbs of Washington, and we do not have a specific plan, it will take us about two hours to find our resort.
Are now in Washington for 3 nights. We sleep in Arlington, suburbs. Are just off the famous military cemetery.
In the parking lot of the residence, we come across these vans television. Would they be to enter Willy hideout just outside the parking lot?
The first day will be spent visiting the Mall
The second day will be spent visiting Georgetown. We were on foot. Too bad, we could present Willy Sally.
After 3 nights in Washington, we go back to New York. 360 km exclusively by motorway.
How long ? About 9 hours. 2:00 to leave Washington, two hours to get around Philadelphia as to cross the tunnel that will lead us to Manhattan.
Our second goal was to get Willy in New York. That’s done. What else?
No, we do not inonderons you pictures of our 5 full days in New York. The city is magical when we leave the hotel the first night, we are caught up in the crowd, the city and the energy that emerges.
We sleep 6 nights at the Novotel Times Square. There is a large French customer, you can imagine the head of them when they discover our car parked out front.
The third goal was a holiday to be received at the Consulate General of France, on 5th Avenue. An appointment was made with the communications department of the Consulate. Here are their pictures appeared in the local press and on social networks. What else?
It’s time to leave New York. We return to Montreal, via Vermont, in two days. 2 days small roads, lakes, forests, rivers
Upon arrival in Montreal, surprise … At 3835 km we will cross 3 French vehicles: 2 CVs Steevie February 1 CVs that serves advertising in Quebec City this 4 hp bought in France by a Quebec collector being customs clearance.
At the time you read this, Willy returned to France. My next vacation? At home with a book. This journey exhausted me. But what memories …