French "Duck" meets Rubber Duck on the Interstate 80
Five long days after their arrival in San Francisco the two men from Bremerhaven are still waiting to receive their car from the customs in Los Angeles. The unpleasant problem ist still the same, the American customs are not satisfied with the declaration that "Difty" was made 1963 at Citroen in France. Now they also want to know why the car was imported, when it will be exported and what is the mission of the two Germans.
" It is one day before the weekend", say Matterhorn in his fax to the management team in Bremerhaven, " and nobody is working on the weekend. Yesterday we wanted to get on the customs area, but they wouldn´t let us. There´s nothing we can do but wait, wait, wait."
The first thing Manni does when they come to L.A., he gets himself a new mobile telephone, so he can stay in touch day and night with the "Around The World" office. He is fortunate to meet an old friend he knows from his first trip around the world, Peter Friederici, who borrows him one.
Then at last, late in the evening, the travellers have a success experience, the car is released.
They start at once to continue with their trip. Again they have lost valuable time, and so they must try to make about 400 miles a day or even more.
The first stage they will have to make is South Lake Tahoe, about 400 miles north of L.A.
Then Manni and his co-pilot Matterhorn take the Interstate 80 with the direction Cheyenne, Wyoming.
From there to the east, Lincoln in the state of Nebraska. Both Germans are amazed by the beautiful sight left and right of the highway. But inside the car they´re having 45° Celsius (113° Fahrenheit), and the news on the radio don´t make them feel much better. Already up to 200 people have died in this unbelievable heatwave.
It doesn´t seem to bother "Difty" very much. The ol´ lady is still running like a sewing-machine. But then all of a sudden she makes a sound she shouldn´t make, a problem with the ignition. A cable seems to lose sparks on some metal part underneath the hood.
Manni calls the man in Bremerhaven who did such a great job restoring the car, Heiko Seifert.
Within minutes the problem is solved over the telephone and the trio again is on its way.
Not much later another problem, the accelerator isn´t going back and forth like it should. Not such a big thing, but annoying whenever they have to stop and go in a traffic jam.
Meanwhile the mobile telephone is out of order. The accumulator is empty, and whenever loaded up it doesn´t hold the energy.
While they are on their way to Davenport, Iowa, they listen to two truck drivers on CB talking about "Difty" as they pass her by on the highway. Manni gets in touch with them over his microphone, and they start an animated conversation. Yes, the two drivers have a mobile telephone aboard, and so they pull out at the next resting place. Again, like during the whole tour, they are making friends with people they have never seen before in their life. One of the truckers hands over his mobile phone to Manni, so he can call the shipping agency in New York for the voyage across the water back to Europe.
Friendly handshakes, a few tips from the truckers and many good wishes for their further tour, and the two adventurers are back in their car, heading towards Chicago. They pass the "windy" city taking direction Toledo in Ohio. From there they make a turn to Erie, and then they plan to stop in Bradford, Pennsylvania, wanting to visit the home of the worldwide known Zippo Manufacturing Company, who has invited them to visit the firm after a fine dinner. Manni and his companion are carrying two Zippo lighters on them from one of the management team in Bremerhaven.
These lighters need to be repaired, if time allows. And time is running short.
But the welcome at Zippo turns out to be a warm and great event for the trio from Germany.
Zippo is planning to release a special edition of their lighters with the logo of the trip around the world on it.
The two lighters that needed to be repaired will be sent to the owner in Bremerhaven, Germany.
Monday, August 09th, about 10 a.m. they plan to be in New York.
gbm...August 7th, 1999