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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:07 pm 
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Leaving Montreal in 12 hours to our big cross country trip.

We'll see some of you at Big Bear Bash IF everything works out! You'll recognize us, we'll be the 2 French Canadians in a red berrien buggy.

Trip and hotel planned out - CHECK:
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Buggy cleaned and ready - CHECK:
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Luggage packed - CHECK:
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Cooler, CB, Blackberry, GPS, camera, laptop - CHECK:
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Nice Weather - CHECK (not sure about that, might need the top...):
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Stay tuned for updates and wish us luck on our 2009 ironbutt!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Let me 1st thank everyone for your kind wishes.

Made it to Sarnia with no issues,

We left around 6:05am yesterday morning from St-Leonard (Montreal) , it was sunny and we were very happy. We kept the top on since the pavement was very wet. You will be able to see our single bag with all our clothes for wife and I for the 17 days.

Throughout our journey, Mother Nature showed us all her colors, sun, wind, rain (My wife missed a lot of the rain due to her naps. We arrived at Sarnia (Harbourfront Inn) around 3:30pm (we stopped for a total of about one hour to for gas and to have a quick lunch). We don't have lot of pictures because with the top it is less evident, but we have some videos. We went for a walk in the park near the hotel as well as on the boardwalk. The temperature was so so. We will go to bed early because tomorrow will be a big day because we will do 1075.5 kilometers.

Put all you worry beads on the clothesline and hope for nice sunshine today!

The bag fits!
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We're ready!
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Another fuel up!
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A little cleaning after the rain:
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Reached day 1 destination
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Relax time
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Drive!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Tonight's update is written by my wife...

Okay, who didn't put their worry beads on the clothesline? We got non stop rain for about 2 hours 1/2 this morning when we left and after that, it was on and off until noon. So please, take two minutes and go outside to put your worry beads on the clothesline, this post will still be here when you come back. It was the first time that we used our Nexus cards to cross the borders...pure happiness. Our lane was empty while the two other lines got about 20 to 30 minutes of waiting time. The customs guy asked us where we were going and when he heard that our final destination was California, he replied: With that?. His second and last question was, how many miles per gallon? (This is really a guy question because a custom woman would say: Is this being done in other colors?). For those who want to see how driving a Dune Buggy when it is raining, have a look of that wonderful video:



During that wonderful rain, we stopped about three times on the shoulder to fix the cover (the sides were letting go) and another time for the rear of the section that was also letting go. At lunch time, we decided to remove the top and it was a little bit more pleasant. Why only a little bit? It was the wind who provided us hours of fun. See below a video of Vincent's hair in the wind:



Here you will see how serious putting fuel in the Dunbe Buggy:



The sun was with us all the afternoon, big change from this morning weather. I believe we have crossed more big trucks than cars, it was crazy the number that we saw...see some examples
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When we arrived at the hotel, we were very happy to stay back at a Staybridge Suites, it is very good for the price. It is 9:20pm and the sun is still up, it is really cool. You would not be surprised to read that Vincent is presently cleaning the Dune Buggy...if he was able to clean half our appartment as well as the Dune Buggy, it would be wonderful.

End of day 2
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Okay, I am leaving you because tomorrow will be another long day. If you all have your worry beads on the clothesline, everything will be good for us.

Stay tune.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:09 pm 
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Made it to Laramie, WY as planned, stay tunned for trip update later tonight. We hit one hell of a storm, stalled the engine but still on schedule.

PS. Beer is good here in WY!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:09 pm 
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Okay you might not have a worry beads and/or a clothes line because we still got rain today for about...all day . Or if you could imagine a picture, we were like in a cartoon where the cloud is over the head of the hero for a while and only him catches the rain. When we left this morning it was so nice and the first two hours were great. The landscape with all the windmills and the sloping hills was so nice.

We did have to stop at Ohama city to put the top on. Less wind today, but when will we be able to got the perfect match, less wind AND blue sky for at least 10 hours? Maybe we are asking too much. We are still enjoying our road trip, but could be a little bit better. Okay yesterday when you saw the video with the rain it was nothing. Today we were very hit with the rain, three words to describe it, oh my god.

We were driving in Nebraska, we decided to remove the top because it was very hot and the sun was out. After about 40 minutes I told Vincent, look on your right it is very dark. He told me, we will wait the first drops. I replied, we will see. 5 minutes later I told him, we should stop and put the top. Guess what? He told me, let's wait a little bit. 3 minutes later I said, enough is enough, we will stop and put the top. He was not happy with it but you know, what a woman wants, God wants. So we put the top an guess what? 2 minutes later, the rain started, but when I said stared, it's started. I was able to take some pictures and videos. We got a small issue, with all the rain, it was a little bit too much for the engine and we stalled it. We stopped on the shoulder but because it was very ugly, Vincent was able to re-start the engine by un flooding it and we were able to drive with the lights, the hazards, the wipers, the rag to try to stop the rain from falling on us...all this for about 10 minutes. This was an adventure and yes I still love thunderstorms but maybe not when we are driving the dune buggy through one! We only got a few drops of rain after we entered Wyoming. The view was unbelievable, we went up to 8,672 feet above sea level.

We took more time than was planned, but it was part of our anticipation and we stopped our day 3 where we were suppose too, at the Quality Inn in Laramie, we are proud of ourselves.

Talk to you tomorrow.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:10 pm 
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Today we left our hotel at 6:30 and we had sunshine (youppi!) but it was only 8 degrees celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit). We decided to leave with the top on. There was a lot of fog. Since we were very high (hoping you remember our altitude from yesterday), we were driving through the clouds, visibility was low but quite unbelivable. We saw quite a few deers and a few had been hit by cars on the side of the road. Around 8:15am we stopped in a rest area. The sun was out and we decided to remove the top. My next 15 minutes were ok but after that I started to get really cold, even my wonderful brother in-law's blanket could not keep me warm. The sun was behind some clouds and after an hour Vincent stopped and we opted to put the top back on. Had we continued without the top, I would have had a new nickname: Frosty as in Frosty the snowman! Vincent was a little less happy to drive with the top, but the miss was a lot warmer. For lunch, we stopped in a truck stop (Fork in the road). There we met a guy who thought the buggy was pretty cool, he wanted to know if it was a real Manx (no it's a Berrien Nostalgia) and if we knew a site called The Sambe. Strange question to ask someone as passionate as buggies as we are... All the members are following are journey and most of them are ridding with us (in thoughts!) After lunch we kept the top on as the weather was iffy but it did not rain. The drive down to Salt Lake City was fantastic. you can see it on the video.

In Salt Lake City, we took the top off since it was getting very hot and the sky was clear. It was 35.9 deg Celcius (96.6 deg Fahrenheit). Driving on the shore of the lake, it was very impressive to see all that salt. Again on our left, the sky was very menacing, but we missed the rain. We drove through many hills today, with the higher temperatures, Vincent had to drive slower to not over heat the engine. About 50 minutes from Elko, the sky turned dark. I told Vincent to put the top back on. He was not agreeing too much but did not put up a fight. Lucky we put the top on, we hit rain for a short 5 minutes and then the sun came out again as we drove in to the Holiday Inn Express in Elko. Vincent had to do a small repair on the license plate holder - a little glue and we should be good for the rest of our trip.

For a 4th of July, we did not see many American flags or special celebrations. Maybe the recession had a role in that?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:11 pm 
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First, thank you for to being faithful to reading us. And today we are starting our story by saying: What a beautiful day! Everything started around 6:20am when we left Elko, it was sunny (picture below). To please my man, I decided to put my biker's coat to allow us to drive without the top (it was only 12 degres Celsius or if you prefer, 54 degres Fahrenheit). Everything went well, however I don't know if you remember Touche the turtle, so I was like him today, I was putting my hands and my head into my coat to get warm (see picture below). Around 8:30am, I only kept my other coat and at 10:00am, I removed it. It was very hot and the temperature was beautiful. The scenery was breathtaking. We have a video where we are passing throught a tunnel, it was very special.

We went to Reno (because we wanted to have lunch there) but finally we only passed throught, that did not seems to be safe to leave the Dune Buggy in a parking with all our luggages. See pictures of Reno below. You could also see on 7051119 that Engelberth Humperdinck is hidding at Reno, I thought he was dead oups. It was very hot in Reno, the thermometer indicated 37 degres Celsiuc (or if you prefer 96 degres Fahrenheit).

When we left the Nevada to enter into California, the landscape changed, it was still very nice and still lot of hills (but going down that time). Due to the fact that the air was cooler, this realy help the engine. We got a small issue, when we were driving the hills with the wonderful landscape, we crossed a yellow truck...I told Vincent: Look, these are pigs. But then, the big yellow truck passed us and guess what? I think that all pigs were into the truck for a whole week and where did you think they shat and pissed those pigs...into the big yellow truck and guess what? When the truck was ahead of us, what was the smell? Shit mixed with urine...and than, make matters worse, we were stuck in traffic where we were bumper to bumper and the big yellow truck was still ahead of us. Even than Vincent had enough and after 30 minutes, he was able to pass him..it was time because our lungs could no longer bear more. However we had to stop to put gas into the Dune Buggy. When we arrived at the pomp, they were asking for our Zip Code. As we do not have one, Vincent went inside and the woman asked him: You don't have a Zip Code? Vincent said no because we are not from the States. The woman said: From which country are you? Vincent wanted to answer from China, but he didn't. But then we were going back on the road. Vincent and I have never been saying so much prayers to not cross the big yellow truck again. Finally everything went well, we never crossed him again.

After that, we were stuck into huge traffic and this, for about 2 hours and a half. We arrived at the Staybridge Suites at Fairfield at around 6:30pm. We finally got our wonderful day with hot temperature and blue sky and more of it, without any cloud. It was a long, very long day, but so wonderful. We achieved our first milestone...California.

Have a nice day and talk to you soon.



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Vincent et/and France xxx


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:12 pm 
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Today we woke up very late...for us. I woke up at 6:00am and Vincent at 6:30am. We left Fairfield around 8:30am to Napa Sonoma. You want to know what we did from 6:30am and 8:30am? No, no this is not what you think. Vincent cleaned (again) the Dune Buggy and I unpacked some clothe for our stay in Fairfield/San Francisco, we both didn't have time yesterday.

In Napa Sonoma we did a three hour Segway tour with Orando (our guide) and two others tourists from Wisconsin. That tour was amazing, we stop in a winery to taste some wines:
2008 Carneros Pinot Gris
2006 Ramal Vineyard Chardonnay Dijon Clone
2006 Ramal Chardonnay Clone-17 Robert Young
2006 Carneros Pinot Noir
2005 Ramal Vineray Pinot Noir Clone 828
2005 Ramal Vineyard Pinot Noir
2005 Carneros Syrah

After the taste of wine, we stopped in a cheese factory and we tasted about ten different kinds of cheeses, they were all good. When we finished the tour, Orando gave us two small bottles of wine.

We walked a little bit around the city hall before we decided to go to San Francisco to spend couple hours there.

Like real tourists we were not really sure where exactly to go so Vincent selected the Marina in the GPS and we followed the directions. We could not ask for a better entrance in San Francisco, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and we have this on video of course. We were still not sure where to go so we followed the downtown direction. Than Vincent saw that big hill and he decided that he wanted to go strait to the top. He told me: "hope they didn't put lights on it". Worst they put a stop. But at the end of the hill, we arrived just on the top of the Lombard Street. The drive down with the dune was amazing, me holding in one hand the small camera to take a video and from the other hand the Nikon to take pictures and Vincent saying to himself: "did I checked the brake fluid level?". While we were driving down, we felt like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on a famous street, everybody were looking at us and taking pictures of us...it was great. I was laughing almost all the time.

Just after that wonderful ride, we decided to stop at the Fisherman's Wharf. We saw a free parking so we went there and of course it was almost full. A guy asked us if we want to have our dune buggy park by the valet service. We were not really "hot" to do it but we said okay. Vincent asked the guy if he was able to drive a Dune Buggy and the guy said yes. When he tried it, we heard a grinding noise. Vincent decided to show him how to do it. The guy told us that he will park the Dune just infront the atendent's booth to have an eye on it. We told him that we appreciated it because we needed it to go back to Montreal later. Than he said: you came with this from Canada? He was very impressed. He told us that the only thing that he will not be able to control or watch is the bird's shit. We told him that if it is only the damage when we will come back, it will be correct. When we came back, everything was okay, no bird's shit. We when back to our hotel by crossing the Bay Bridge (a two level bridge). Just after the bridge, we were able to use the carpool lane because we were with a 2 seater vehicule with 2 people. This was very cool and we saved lots of time. We spent the evening at the hotel. I made a small repair on the dune buggy, yes you read it correctly, I did the repair and this picture will prove it.

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Tomorrow we are going for another exciting Segway tour in the hills of San Francisco. Not sure if we will survive of that.

A sample of today's pictures:

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Youtube videos:

Have a nice day.

Vincent and France xxx


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:12 pm 
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Today was our advance Segway tour with all those wonderful hills of San Francisco. I need to be honest with you I was a little bit afraid (for those that didn't know I am afraid of highs so this was a challenge for me). I need to admit that it went very well. To bad that the weather was not so nice (cloudy and windy) but I least I did it and I am proud of myself. The guide brought us places where we would not usually have gone to show us nice views of San Francisco. When we are talking hills of course we go down the Lombard street with the Segway. The guide told us before that we will be the main attraction where people will finger point us etc because they don't really see often Segway. Vincent and I didn't comment on it but we knew exactly what he meant (read our day 6 review and you will understand). We stopped in a Irish Pub for lunch and I will let you guess which beer Vincent took.

In the afternoon we did what almost every tourists does here, a tour of the cable car. We changed driver in the middle of our ride and Randy (the 2nd one) was much funnier than the first one. This is something very cool to do. You will see on this picture that some Americans are crazy, a rat on a cat on a dog...this is very crazy.
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Now we could say that the San Francisco's hills don't have any secrets for us anymore. We did them with the Dune Buggy, with the Segways and with the Cable Car. When we came back to the hotel, the weather in Fairfield was nicer than in San Francisco...too bad that we didn't have the same for our Segway tour. Oh well, I guess we will need to come back to San Francisco one day.

Tomorrow we are going to L.A. by driving the SR-1. We should arrive in Riverside (East of L.A.) around 5:00pm.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:13 pm 
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Today we did another long ride from Fairfield to Riverside (near L.A.). It was a long ride because we took the Pacific Coast #1. It was AMAZING. We stopped so many times on the side of the road to take pictures because the scenery was wonderful. The weather was great to do a ride like this with the dune buggy (may be just a little bit too windy, but we can't complain, it could be worst). We could not imagine something like this before seeing it...it is undescribable. Hope you will enjoy the pictures that we selected for you and of course the two videos.

Okay, because some of you would like to have more news on the mechanic of the Dune Buggy, well everything is going fine. The engine is doing great. For those who want to see pictures of the engine, you would have to look.
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The engine is a Volkswagen Beetle 1600, zero mile long block bought in 2003 with Dual Webber IDF carburators and an SVDA dizzy. We are doing an average of 9.8 l/100km (or if you prefer 24 mpg). According to the Garmin GPS, the max speed that we reached was 123 kmh (or if you prefer 76.5mph).

For lunch, we stopped at a small restaurant on the road 1 where all the cyclists stopped either to have a lunch or for a no 1. You will be able to see on picture the view from our table, it was not so bad.
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After that long drive, we arrived at the Mission Inn in Riverside, it is more than what we were expected, it is a really nice hotel where we are sure, we will have hours of pleasure.

Tomorrow, we are going where our ex-captain (Koivu) will now be playing, in Anaheim. What attraction do you think we will visit at Anaheim? You got it, Disneyland.

Have a nice day and talk to you later.

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Videos on Youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvddYQSNXn8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uq-wNXlq4U



Vincent et/and France xxx


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:14 pm 
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Today was a day more for me. We went to Disneyland and California Adventure Park. I am a real fan of Disney and with that wonderful weather and my honey, my day was perfect. At Disneyland, I did Soarin that I was never able to do in Orlando and other attractions that they don't have in Orlando (Mulholland Madness, Matterhorn Bobsleds) and some that I knew already but that I like to do (Tower of Terror, Star Was, Splash Mountain). The one that I think I most appreciated was Soarin, this is fantastic. We spent the whole day in both parks. Vincent offered me a "souvenir" from Disneyland (a sweetshirt). We spoke with the cast member and she was an old owner of a Dune Buggy. When we came back to the hotel, two guys (working at the hotel), talked to Vincent and want to know if the Dune was a "Mannix". You're mistaken guys, you don't really know Dune Buggy if you are calling them Mannix instead of Manx, Vincent told them it was not a Manx and that it actually was a clone. We spent the evening a the Trattoria restaurant, the food was excellente (as well as the beer and the wine). We really are enjoying every minutes of our vacation. This is something that we will remember for a while. I put some pictures of our hotel, this is a very nice hotel and I would probably be back here one day. So since the beginning of our trip you guys rode with us in our Dune Buggy, Segways and Cable Cars, today you will be able to do a ride of Roller Coasters, hope you will enjoy it.

Videos on Youtube:




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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:15 pm 
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Today we started our day in a relaxing way. Vincent went for an oil change on the Dune Buggy, while I was relaxing at the pool. Vincent joined me at the pool for a quick dip. We had lunch at the Mission Inn Restaurant (Vincent = Chicken Quasedilla and France = Ceasar Salad with Shrimps), it was excellent and the decor was simply magical.

After that, we went to the Big Bear Lake where this week-end will be the big meeting. In Quebec, Vincent and I are very excited when we see another Dune Buggy on the road, here we saw a lot of them and different kinds. What was the most funny, everybody knew us but not us. Vincent has been posting our recaps and pictures on the forum The Samba and all the people were aware of our trip. We also met Mr. Bruce Meyers, the creator of the original Meyers Manx Dune Buggy. It is a very nice guy that we could qualify as a visionary. He told us that we were a little bit crazy to drove from so far but seems to be happy to see us. He qualified our Dune Buggy a Manx Type, that was a great pleasure for my man. We met all the people and we should see them tomorrow. A Volkwagen magazine should come tomorrow to take a picture of the 100 Dune Buggys, oh yes we are 100 Dune Buggys registered for that big get together. Vincent and I should follow Mrs et Mr Meyers for an off road ride (Mrs Douglas will be missing the city because she should be very dirty after the ride but well). The landscape to go and to come back from Big Bear Lake is so nice. We are going from few feet from level sea to more than 7,000 feet, it is very pretty.

Now I understand better a steak that we are putting on a BBQ. When we arrived on the highway, around 4:45pm, it was not hot, it was very very hot. This was a very good test for beginning of next week when we will be going through Arizona..

Be back tomorrow for the rest of our adventure.

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Videos on Youtube:






Vincent et/and France xxx
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:17 pm 
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Today was the day of our trip. We went to the Big Bear Bash at the Big Bear Lake. We arrived there around 6:45am. A lot of people were already there. It was very cool to see so many Dune Buggy. Many people asked us question about our trip. They told us that the Canadians are crazy. We need to thanks our new friend Larry who gave us an oil cap. Believe it or not, we went from Montreal without any problem and on the very small ride from our hotel to the Big Bear Lake we lost the oil cap...We went on the "Orange" ride and our leaders were Mrs et Mr Meyers. Before the rides, all the people were invited to go at the B's Backyard Bar-B-Que to take a picture. We were a little bit more than 100 Dune Buggys, this was amazing.

We started our ride just after the picture. I could live with the dust, I could live with the curves, I could live with the gully, but the rock on the road where we could damage our Dune Buggy, this I was not really able to enjoy the ride. I was telling to myself, our home is very far, hope that nothing will break. We stopped for lunch in a very nice place where we were talking with the other people on the ride. Most of them decided to go back to the camp by using the pavement road (even Bruce and Winnie decided to get out the off road because his knees). This was very nice also. About 15 miles before the camp, Winnie asked us to be the leader to bring back everybody home safety. Bruce and her went back at the end of the line up to see who was missing and bring them back to the camp. This was very cool to be the leader when we were coming from so far. Let me tell you that we were very dirty at the end of the day, thank god we were able to take a shower at the camp. Everybody today were very nice with us. After dinner at the B's Backyard Bar-B-Que, we spoke with Joe (the photographer) and Ray (both are speaking french). They are two very nice people. Joe was doing a photo shoot of the new kick out. It is a very nice dune buggy.

We will be back tomorrow morning to say goodbye to everybody and should spend the afternoon in L.A. for our last day in California.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:18 pm 
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Today it was more quiet. We started our day by going back to the Big Bear Lake to spend time with our new friends. All of them are now like a second family for us and we will remember them for many many years. Vincent took few minutes to verified that nothing was loose from yesterday's ride. The only repair that he did was to resolder one wire for the turn signal, otherwise everything was correct. Today, we received two awards, the first one was the 2nd place for the best Manx-type buggy and the second one was for the "came the farthest with buggy". We were very proud of both awards but our 2nd place was so great because it was the people who voted for that. Thanks to everybody who voted for us, and for all the other people that we met over the week-end and accepted us like if we were their friends since always. We spent the afternoon visiting the Queen Mary in Long Beach and we finished our very short visit to L.A. by walking on the "walk of fame" in Hollywood. For sure we will need to come back in California to see more of L.A. and Long Beach and to see Santa Monica, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive etc. I will try to convince Vincent to come back in two years (with the dune buggy) and spend more time here. Tomorrow we are going back on the road, our destination: New Mexico (Gallup West).

Stay tune.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:19 pm 
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Today we left Riverside around 5:30am. The weather was great but at 7:30 it was already 37 degrees Celsius (or if you prefer 99 degrees Fahrenheit) and at 10:00am it was 43 Celsius (or if you prefer 109 Fahrenheit). Don't be worry, I didn't have the blanket of my brother in law on me. We can't say that it was an amazing landscape but it was different. At our first stop to put gas, we decided to try our cooling vest and put the top. We were skeptical that it will work but believe it or not, it is working for just. over an hour. Oh yes did I tell you that it's better to put back the gas cap after fuelling. You should talk to Vincent about it (don't worry, we saw that just before we went on the highway so went back and put it back). The afternoon was less hot and it was great like this, only 35 Celsius (or if you prefer 95 Fahrenheit). We didn't really have problems with the dune. Vincent was mostly driving 60 mph to not overheat the engine. The carburetors butterfly were sticking open. This is not so much a problem in the highway but when came time to stop, the engine would rev passed red line. This happened probably due to the dust that we got during the run at Big Bear Lake. Little lubricants took care of the problem. We arrived around 7:00pm (because we added one hour when we crossed the New Mexico) at our Hampton Inn hotel in West Gallup. Tomorrow we are going to Amarillo, Texas.

Talk to you tomorrow

Videos on Youtube:




Vincent et/and France xxx

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