Fabien de Valroger and Etienne Musslin have embarked on a road trip yesterday from San Francisco to Houston in a 1969 Méhari!
Etienne bought the Méhari from Paul Cowden in the Bay area. He has owned it for many years along with a very nice Ami-6.
First order of business after making sure the Méhari was tuned up in Etienne’s garage was to pick-up Fabien at the airport.
Eitienne writes; “Crossing the Golden Gate then San Francisco all alone at the wheel of this machine will remain a sacred experience! I made Fabien believe I was coming to pick him up at the airport in a Civic because the Méhari wasn’t ready… and he believed!! We laughed once on the highway with Frisco in front of us!”
A report from Day 1, and some astounding photos indicate they are off to a great start;
“A very amazing first day: we started by leaving the San Francisco area by huge bridges over the bay… we followed large highways over various suburbs to reach agricultural plains with fruit trees to loss of sight! In the afternoon we attacked the mountain. Arrived at 600 m altitude after a very steep side, Fabien was all panicked but thought we had done the biggest… except that finally it continued to ride, come down, climb over 150 km until A 3000-foot collar! But the Méhari did it! We were sometimes hot but especially cold what surprised Fabien who only expected to be too hot! The most epic remains the end of the day… a hundred kiosk on a fast track through the desert in the middle of the night (it falls much faster than we pension), covered with our sleeping bags… and in Free exhaust following the drop of the line at the pot under box (nothing serious)!”
They still have a long way to go and we hope they brought earplugs for flat-out highway driving through Nevada, New Mexico and Texas!
Update – Sept 17, 2018:
“After going through the Las Vegas strip Sunday night, we finally managed to get out of this crazy town Monday morning… but the Méhari worked pretty bad, the fault of a capricious carburetor. After an hour of DIY, I managed to get a proper operation. But because of all this lost time, we’ve decided to change our program and not go to Monument Valley… so much for another time! I hope you follow all the videos I publish in my stories, I put several of the walk on the strip with the Méhari that was just stalling!”
Update – Sept 18, 2018:
“As a result of the change of programme, we decided to take a more direct route to Houston from Las Vegas. And so it was Route 66 that we started to follow. To go, he had to go through a highway in the middle of the desert but regularly on more than a hundred miles… a nightmare for the Méhari! But fortunately the old Route 66 gave us morale: it is a bit sineuse in places then they are beautiful straight lines. The Méhari immediately felt better! Unfortunately, some sections disappeared and the end of the day took place on the highway. And then we weren’t too reassured. Because yes in the USA, it rolls very fast and especially it rolls fast even in the very long ribs that we often meet. The cities crossed play a major role in tourism related toRoad 66: service stations more or less falsely “Vintagisées” for tourists (many). In case you had a doubt: the is absolutely not a car adapted to this country! We are now in Arizona! The Méhari has already travelled over 1800 km since the departure of San Francisco.”
Update – Sept 19, 2018:
“We’re in this deep America that only aspires to become great again. We left Arizona this morning early to land in new Mexico, which lives for an hour. However, the road remained straight, still at altitude (2500 m on average), always rising and descending, hurting the little Méhari who does what she can. “I like your wheels”, “cool ride bro” or “this is adorable” are usually what we hear as soon as we stop in the presence of other living beings! The few small towns crossed are damn authentic. In fact, it must be seen to believe that the Americans live mostly in mobile homes surrounded by car carcasses. We love it. With the wind of face, altitude and still amazing mountains, we thought the Méhari was going to die. But she kept moving at her pace by giving us time to admire a sky always so fantastic, very changing and sometimes threatening. We ran the race with the storms, forgetting almost sometimes the purpose of our trip to the way of Kowalski (in the descents) but more often at the speed of Forest Gump (in the climbs). Big scare tonight, the locals warned us not to drive at night. But to keep pace, we had to continue: in the middle of a winding road, the journey almost stopped when a huge wild turkey came to us. Braking and emergency avoidance have saved everyone. Phew! Tonight we’re in Roswell, in the middle of a sandstorm.”
Update – Sept 20, 2018:
“San Francisco – Houston: Step 6! Today we arrived in our last state: Texas! And we were entitled to everything: endless straight lines, an ever bigger sky, the large spaces that only those who have already gone across the Atlantic can imagine… but also: sand dunes end, Red slopes, a lot of wind, a dust storm, a rattlesnake, bikers, rednecks, Cowboys, trucks, big pickup, gas failure, gas filter failure, Police control and lots of nice people. Flawless, we continue our journey from west to east as in easy rider.”