Jump to content

Recommended Posts

The 2018 (and 10th Anniversary) Spring Thaw is in the books. This event is run by Classic Car Adventures, a small company based in Squamish and Port Alberni, BC. It's a non-competitive rally format, with a route book and rally diagrams, but no timing or speed element. It takes place over three days is Southwestern BC, and this was my seventh event. French content is always minimal, but there are always a few out. The place names are almost certainly unfamiliar to anyone from outside BC, but there's always google maps if you are curious or want to track down the roads I mention.

This year’s route started in Kamloops and ended in Pemberton, so that’s officially 1,165 km, but the door-to-door distance for me was about 1,750 km. My ’82 Peugeot 604 TD was the luxurious cruiser of choice. Between the Kamloops 9:30 AM start, the lack of serious Coquihalla-climbing power in the Pooj, and a strong desire to avoid a 4AM start, we opted to head up the Fraser Canyon on Thursday. The car did just fine and rarely had to slow down on long hills. It seemed like at least 2/3 of the ~90 teams made the same choice, so Thursday night was effectively a bonus add-on Thaw day. 

Some of the Thursday night crowd:

bFx4YTMh.jpg

Almost the same as my first Thaw entry – an original-owner ‘74
juVG2nBh.jpg

This p1800 that had no charging system and wouldn’t pass any vehicle inspection I can imagine, but still finished.
rpecl5uh.jpg

Best hidden headlights ever
RPgnrkkh.jpg

The official Day 1 route took Hwy 5A to Merritt, then the connector over to West Kelowna, then Westside Rd up to Sicamous, with a planned finish in Revelstoke. 5A and Westside Rd are always nice, if not true hidden gems. A C2 Corvette lost a tire on the connector and launched into a ditch, around 4 m lower than the road surface which would have made for an interesting extraction. The car didn’t roll, and the occupants were OK but it will take some time and money to get the car back on the road. There was another, non-Thaw, fatality accident between Sicamous and Revelstoke, so with only 1 hour left on the route we all got stuck in Sicamous for 7 hours, and promptly took over first, the Chevron, and then the biggest pub in town.

Very nice Fulvia 1600 HF
SpOXN6hh.jpg
7uWsN8ch.jpg
TRjZ1JPh.jpg
3SmXpRhh.jpg

And I got the chance to try a friend’s MGB GT for maximum contrast with the 604. Fun car, and much better than I expected (from a primitive design standpoint).
zOFahOOh.jpg

We eventually made it through the hell-scape of cars and semis lined up on the highway, stop & go traffic, near fatal levels of airborne hydrocarbons, non-stop glare from oncoming trucks, and BC’s complete lack of road markings to get to the Revelstoke hotel, where pretty much everyone collapsed into their beds around 1:15AM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Day 2, we had an early start since Saturday is generally the long day. The hotel was great but we barely got to see/use it. It's a shame since Revelstoke is a pretty charming town. The route took the Needles Ferry to get to Nakusp, and then a cable ferry to continue up through Lumby and eventually back to Kamloops on 97. These ferries are part of the BC highway system, so they are free, but subject to the usual ferry lineups and unpredictability compared to a road or bridge. The section between the cable ferry and Lumby was a new one for me and it’s a new favourite. 

The ferries make for some extra wait time, but it’s always better with a group. The 604 handled everything, although we did field a few ‘is it supposed to sound like that’ and ‘did you know your car is smoking’ questions from the diesel-ignorant.

ZvPUeceh.jpg
AhOhetLh.jpg

First in line, as it should be.
ry7yHOJh.jpg
hZElCg5h.jpg
E5hPNQmh.jpg

Love this line-up. A friend's new Lotus Esprit was one of my favourites and top contender for ‘Most Bananas’ car.
fTHFgBbh.jpg

Typical garage party/wrench-fest/toxic air competition. Those CO detectors are never going to be the same.
jlj6J2nh.jpg

One of my other favourites
fqie6Ujh.jpg

Again the Pooj performed very well, comfortably meeting the speed limit and navigating the curves with ease. It did develop a few minor issues, with some gear whine under load in third later in the day, and a return of last summer’s temperamental starting issue. It always started eventually, but sometimes required repeated attempts at the starter button before anything would happen. This made for a couple of slightly embarrassing choices such as leaving the car idling (with clutch depressed to eliminate extra transmission noise) during the cable ferry crossing. Pretty hard to hide that on a small ferry, but we did our best ‘We are French so we do not care what you think’ impression.

And speaking of smoking Peugeots
H5bjeFvh.jpg

The Day 3 route was a little uncertain as the plan was to head to Cache Creek, then up to do the Duffey to Pemberton, but Cache Creek had been under water on Saturday. Luckily the waters receded so we made it through. The gear whine continued, and while we freed the sticky parking brake in the morning, it made me hesitant to use that either, or turn off the car unless absolutely necessary (see non-start issue from yesterday). Minor stuff, but a bit comical. Aside from taking it a little easier on the Duffey due to these issues, we made it to Pemberton just fine. Unlike the Cobra replica that went into the barriers at the top of the hairpins on the Pemberton end of the Duffey. Intermittent rain made things a little slick apparently. As usual, there were few photos from the last day, although I did get this nice shot of the French connection at the finish.

c2rl89Zh.jpg

We cruised along with this beautiful DS at various points though the weekend. I could watch that car for hours.

To sum it up – it was great, the car was great, co-driver was great, and thanks again to Scott for selling me the 604. In a sports car crowd not everyone gets a French diesel sedan, but those who do get it loved it.

I'll try to add some better glamour shots from the pro photographers who participated as they become available. I'd highly encourage anyone who likes great cars and road trips to attend one of the events these guys run, and I'd love to have more French company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is definitely a bucket list event for me and one of my Peugeot's.  Was Dave Koszegi running this year?  Bill Westhead?  Dave loves this event and it's been on my radar for years.

Thanks very much for the post as well - couldn't be there but I was following various hashtags on IG to follow along as vicariously as I could from Saskatchewan.

Rabin

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Bean said:

This is definitely a bucket list event for me and one of my Peugeot's.  Was Dave Koszegi running this year?  Bill Westhead?  Dave loves this event and it's been on my radar for years.

Thanks very much for the post as well - couldn't be there but I was following various hashtags on IG to follow along as vicariously as I could from Saskatchewan.

Rabin

 

 

Dave is there every year, usually running at the very, very front of the pack. He's a bit infamous. Bill was also there although I don't really know him so didn't get around to talking to him. 

I always try to encourage people to bring out the French cars. It's far too dominated by Porsches and Minis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like Dave!  I've mentioned it before but I was Dave's crew chief when he campaigned his Subaru Legacy in P4 Canadian Rally, and Bill was his co-driver the last few races we did.

Biggest issue aside from having a car ready is the distance - I'll be in the same area this year for our family summer camping / road trip, so I'll have to see if there are any cool roads you guys did that I can add to our route.  Not sure which car we're taking yet - was hoping it would be a Peugeot wagon but the new to us car will likely win out.

Rabin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great report, thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×