Welcome to the readers of Road & Track magazine. We hope you enjoyed the article and would like to know more details about our marvelous adventure through our blog. Unfortunately, the nature of blogs is the last entry is the first to appear. If you would like to start at the beginning just enter B01 in the Search box and it will take you to the first entry when we had no idea of lay ahead.
For those of you who prefer to read from hard copy rather than a screen, click on “Articles as PDFs” just above this text to see an index of entries from which to choose. The file sizes are reduced for quick downloads and suitable for printing. Whatever way you prefer, we sincerely hope you enjoy our Second Honeymoon in the Same Car. Louise and Ray DeTournay
Having spent over fifty years as a television professional, I find it almost impossible to sign off this blog without showing credits. In this case the credit goes to our family who supported us in this grand adventure; our friends who encouraged us to follow our dream and ignore possible bankruptcy, permanent crippling and destruction of our marriage and to the people who took us in, shared their food and wine and then gave us a bed. This project has been in gestation for over twenty-five years and it’s hard to believe it has come and gone. All we have left are the bills and the memories but the latter are enough to last us a lifetime.
So, here goes, in order of appearance:
Following the Sunday evening festivities, Evi and Michael Stadler kindly invited us to spend the night in their home and, in the morning, she fixed what amounted to a German power breakfast. On her table were various breads, cold cut meats, local cheeses, fruit juices, home-made condiments and freshly brewed coffee. What made it a power breakfast was all the scraps of paper on the table that constituted our deal. Aside from the title of ownership, there was a bill of lading, a government stamped acknowledgement of arrival in France, vehicle history and checklist of items contained in the vehicle. In addition, Michael needed our Swift Code to transfer the Euro amount into our Dollar account in the U.S.
By now I’m sure you’re all thirsting to know how much the car sold for and I’m afraid you won’t find that information here. Our CPA (who used to work for the IRS) advised us, “That’s nobody’s business but yours and the new owners.” Since I pay him for advice when he talks to me on the phone, this time I’m going to listen. Let’s leave it at this; He didn’t steal it and we didn’t give it away. I guess that’s what they call a real deal.
To celebrate our last night with the MG we treated ourselves to a four star hotel in Heidelberg and chose an American chain in which to do it. We’ve known the Marriott chain for decades and have one almost in our front yard in Woodland Hills.
With Charly Page’s parting words, “You can come back by train, you know,” ringing in our ears, we aimed the MG’s nose downhill in the direction of Basel and back to Germany. In an e-mail Michael Stadler explained his request for our arrival in Nidda no later than three PM on Sunday. His oldest daughter is to be married the following weekend. In between he had to fit in the bridal dinner and a Monday business trip to Poland. Sunday was it or we’d have to wait a week. What he didn’t know was we had airline tickets from Paris to Los Angeles for Thursday. There’d be a penalty for a change so Sunday had to be it for us as well. Our mission was clearly drawn.
His casual, “Call when you get to Nidda and I’ll direct you in,” wouldn’t ordinarily be a complication if we hadn’t run out of minutes on our phone. We found that minutes for a French phone could only be purchased in France, typically from a Tabac (similar to a small convenience store in the States.) “No problemo,” I told Louise. “When we get to Basel we’ll just swing off the autobahn, dip into France, buy the minutes at a Tabac and hop back into Germany. “ What could be easier I thought. We arrived in Huninique St. Louis shortly after noon and, ably guided by Mlle. Recalculare, pulled up to a Tabac. “Ferme” said the sign on the door. “Closed on Saturday,” I said. “What gives?” Then Louise reminded me, “It’s after twelve and you’re in France. They won’t open for two hours.” Thinking, “They can’t all be closed,” I turned again to the GPS. The next Tabac was not only closed but the accordion gates were locked. “Vacances” said the sign. That was even worse because the French go on vacation for a month. And so it went until we found ourselves on the autoroute heading for Colmar, some sixty miles away and still no minutes.
NOTE: There is a video clip at the end of this blog.
“Is Gruyères a cheese or a town?” I asked our host Charly Page. “It’s both but it depends on how you spell it,” he said, “and today we’ll show both to you.” That set the agenda for the day but, first, the MG had to be dropped off at Garage Bochud to look into the overheating problem.
Using my best French and Charly’s translation when stuck, I gave Monsieur Bochud my diagnosis. He listened politely as I went through the water pump incident and described the overheating problems. I tried to find some way to insert the few French automotive words I knew but valves and sparkplugs had no direct connection with overheating. We finally agreed that back flushing the radiator might solve the problem. “Call back after five this afternoon,” he said.
Great. That gave us the rest of the day to explore the Gruyère question.