Seattle to Saratoga Springs Raid to Rendezvous – Day 2

Our plan to leave Baker City at 8am goes by the wayside as we stop at local market to pick up some supplies.

  This is the view we woke up to in Baker City, OR to begin the day. Yes, that’s snow on the mountain in June. They had a big winter! 

While shopping, a man in a Hawaiian shirt comes up to me and says, ” I have owned 30 Citroëns! 2 were CVs.” I am flabbergasted. So, I introduced him to Axel and they start talking. About 5 minutes into the talk…the guy asks if Axel’s last name isn’t Kaliske…and then reminds Axel that he had bought a 2CV from him some years ago. By the time they were done…we were well behind schedule!

As we headed out, I was thinking about how different it is driving a 2CV from other cars. The seating is unlike anything I’ve run into before. They’re like padded lawn chairs and you are meant to drive sitting well back in them. Leaning forward ( nervously ) is quite uncomfortable as the seat tends to fold you up. Sitting back is much better. The steering wheel which is both large and set high on an angle, can be gripped easily, no matter how long or short your reach.  Long arms go higher on the wheel and shorter ones lower.

As I mentioned before the car drives amazingly well for being on such skinny tires and you retain a good feeling for the road at all speeds. The only problem I’ve found thus far, is on grooved highways… something they do a lot of out west. It’s no problem for modern cars on wider tires, but with the skinny wheels on the 2CV it causes the car to make random moves north or south(I was driving east). For me this induces a general anxiety until the road changes back to being ungrooved and the car gives up on doing the automotive rendition of the tango.

At the start of today’s travel, most of the interstate we were on from Oregon into Idaho was grooved…not much fun for me. Then Axel unexpectedly pulled over into a truck area. His engine had started missing yesterday and this morning it had gotten worse. When he opened the bonnet we didn’t see anything obviously wrong but when he wiggled one of the wires to the coil the miss got worse. As it turned out, that lead had vibrated loose and all he needed to do was push it back on completely. We were back on the road in no time. We were congratulating ourselves on our good fortune. Two easy fixes so far.

  Here’s the route from today.

Into Idaho we stayed on 84, but then jumped off onto the much smaller two lane #20. What a gorgeous road, up and down, sharp and sweeping turns. Fun to drive with the most incredible views.

We got as far as Carey when Walli and KiKi, who were leading the way, pulled off the road for no particular reason. The rapid fire exchange in German was tough on my long forgotten college studies, but I got that there was a problem with oil. I pulled into gas station nearby and walked back to see if help was needed. A quick look over the motor showed no sign of oil leaks. The underside of the motor looked fine. Axel explained that the oil light was flickering and then went full on and they pulled up when that happened. He was worried because they reported hearing some metal on metal noises before they shut the motor down.

The dipstick was almost entirely dry! We had only traveled about 1000km at this point and the car had had a fresh oil change before we left. Could it have burned that oil in so little time? Axel refilled the sump and we fired up the motor and it purred like a happy cat. They then pulled into the station and topped off their tanks. I went in to grab a snack and when I came out Axel, Walli and Kili were surrounded by a large group of people. As I walked over I was surprised to hear more rapid exchanges of German. It turns out, these were families visiting and vacationing in the area. What are the chances? Had we been in anything other than the 2CVs they never would have met. One thing is certain, you can’t be a shy retiring sort and drive a 2CV. I’ve never gotten as much attention or fielded as many questions about any car I’ve ever owned before. If you don’t like people, don’t get a 2CV!

  You can’t be shy and own a 2CV! Axel draws another crowd while getting gas.

With Walli and Kiki back up, they took the lead and we forged ahead to Craters of the Moon National Monument. It didn’t disappoint and we ran out of time to explore everything so another stop there in the future will be in the cards.

  Our big stop was at Craters of the Moon National Monument. Just incredible. We needed more time. Willa stayed on the paths…most of the time. 

We covered the last 84 miles to Idaho Falls with ease. The only problem was the forgotten change in time zones causing us to arrive an hour later than we thought. Once again, no camping…we went right to a motel.

Tomorrow, we camp for sure. Not many other options in Yellowstone so plan is to get up and head out early…unless someone else who sold or bought a car from Axel shows up!

Only two days on the road and it feels like we’ve been driving for a week. Still more than 2/3rds of the trip ahead of us!

[Read the story about the complete trip here.]

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