In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson, a novelist and travel writer, rose through one of France's most desolate and sparsely populated regions-the Cevennes in the south. A slow donkey named Modestine. In May, it also happened on a whim. My wife and I also crossed the Cevennes, still one of the most desolate and sparsely populated areas in France. Accompanying us was a slow car, the Citroen 2CV.
1878年，小说家、旅行作家罗伯特·路易斯·史蒂文森(Robert Louis Stevenson)一时兴起，穿越了法国最荒凉、人烟最稀少的地区之一——南部的塞文山脉，陪伴他的，是一头慢吞吞的驴子，名叫莫德斯蒂娜(Modestine)。5月份，也是一时兴起，妻子和我也穿越了塞文山脉，依旧是法国最荒凉、人烟最稀少地区之一，陪伴我们的，是一辆慢吞吞的汽车，雪铁龙2CV。
Stevenson described Modestina as stubborn and moody, but also "cheap, thin, willing to work, and has a calm temper." This is used to describe our car, which is exactly the same, it is mint green, looks like an umbrella, has a flip window, a tube frame bench seat, a canvas awning, a creaking single spoke steering wheel, and is mounted on the The headlights on the front bumper reminded me of an over-eager dog's eyes. When driving downwind, the car's noisy twin-cylinder engine can effortlessly reach a top speed of about 60 miles per hour on open roads.
As it turns out, there are no roads in Severn, not even as many roads as Stevenson's. I think this is also expected. There is an uninhabited and lush scene here. It is separated by deep river valleys and narrow valleys. Above it are 5,000 feet above sea level of granite mountains and wind-washed limestone plateaus. All of these stunning natural features are worthy of being included in a beautifully framed atlas, and they are densely distributed across a 360-square-mile national park just three and a half hours away from Lyon-this area I haven't heard until recently that although I've been traveling in France for many years, and it's actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site-these convinced me that my wife, Michelle, and I would take a week-long drive here It's a unique choice.
And I thought, why not try the cheap "Deux Chevaux"-the common name of 2CV-this kind of "national model" that was much loved in France after the war? British car journalist L.J.K. Setright has a famous saying that it is "the smartest successful use of minimalism in cars". But using a quaint 2CV to drive a car is a dream I always dreamed of, so when I found out that I could rent a car on Drivy.com-basically an Airbnb car version-I made up my mind . After some searching, I identified a car owner in Lyon who would rent my fully restored 1976 2CV-6 Club for 1976 for $ 70 a day, including additional insurance and 24/7 roadside service support.
并且我想，何不试一试廉价的“两税收马力”(Deux Chevaux)——2CV的通用名称——这种在战后法国备受喜爱的“国民车型”呢？英国汽车记者L·J·K·赛特莱特(L.J.K. Setright)有句名言，说它是“极简主义在汽车上最聪明的成功运用”。不过用古色古香的2CV来一场驾车游，是我一直以来的梦想，因此当我发现可以在Drivy.com上——基本上是Airbnb的汽车版——租一辆时，我就拿定了主意。经过一番检索，我确定了里昂一个车主，他会以一天70美元的价钱租给我那辆完全修复的1976年产2CV-6 Club，包括追加保险和全天候的路边服务支持。
Soon after arriving in Lyon, Michelle and I met him at the owner's house—a gentle talk retiree. We signed some documents in his messy little room and left after 5 minutes of trial opening. Before the car left, he solemnly handed me a binder, which contained what he called "the Bible"-some coated laser-printed paper with a long list of precautions for driving this car- — Then wish us all the best.
Like many plans based on dreams instead of ... uh ... my plan was severely tested on the first day of our five-day trip.
But the moment that really revealed the loose foundation of my grand plan was when night fell. I slowed down, stopped the engine after stopping in a muddy place, and rested for a while-fighting with the manual rudder and the difficult to start L-shaped gear shifter made my arm sore-I could also study the map to find the best way to go back to the hotel The route is a slightly dilapidated but charming house outside the village of Anduze.
Then, all the horror screenwriters felt the same way-a car that couldn't start making a harsh, dull sound. When I twisted the key repeatedly and our 2CV engine still refused to start, I instinctively pulled out my cell phone and called Drivy's roadside service call, but there was no signal. I bit my lower lip and looked at Michelle as if she might not be able to get us out of this embarrassing situation, but she just looked at me with the same expression on her lips.
I then did what one would do in a difficult situation: ask the Bible for help. There is a clear smell of gasoline, which shows that I caused the engine to spill oil-using a little more French accent means "flooded"-so, obviously, we have to let the car rest for "a little while." Michelle and I debated the meaning of the word, and decided to wait 10 minutes, during which we sat and said nothing, while listening to the sound of rain on the hood. Finally, I took a deep breath and turned the key. The engine started panting. We obeyed the word of the Bible, and behold, the prophecy of the Bible is fulfilled.
challenge the limit
The next morning, the weather was dry, and the severe wind drove the clouds to move fast in the sky, so that it felt like watching a fast-moving movie. The scene that rose from the dark and horrible night of the previous night is exactly the same as the beauty I imagined: behind the stepped foothills are rugged, sun-drenched mountains, and there is still a little mist in it, several of which Vortex-like air blows away.
If the beauty is still not enough to make up for my decision-driving a scrap car across the treacherous terrain of Mount Severn-then at least it refreshes me and Michelle. At breakfast, we saw six French tourists equipped with seemingly expensive hiking equipment, as if walking directly out of the Patagonian advertising screen, we also giggled. They may be on the Chemin de Stevenson, a popular route meant to relive the 170-mile journey of the Scot and his donkey.
如果说这番美景仍不足以弥补我的决定——驾驶一辆报废车穿越塞文山地的险恶地形——那么至少它让我和米歇尔的心情爽朗了起来。用早餐时，看到六个法国游客浑身装配着看似很贵的徒步旅行设备，活像直接从巴塔哥尼亚广告画面中走出，我们还咯咯地笑了笑。他们可能是要去走史蒂文森步道(Chemin de Stevenson)，那是条热门的路线，意在重温这个苏格兰人和他的驴子的170英里旅程。
Maybe it was because I started to read Stevenson's travelogue before bedtime—he called the "Seven Mountain Donkey Walk" straight away, and I gradually realized that our moody 2CV was a living creature. When I bed together, I will look at the hotel parking lot like a conditional reflection to make sure our mint green friends do not encounter any bad luck at night. Every morning before returning to the road, when the reassuring noise of the engine sounded again, I would pat the dashboard with a feeling of relief and love.
In fact, as we become familiar with the quirks and blemishes of this car, the similarities between it and Modestina start to look somewhat doomed. Stevenson spent a lot of time telling how he struggled to rush his "she-ass"-that's the name people used at the time-to get her to go faster. "I don't think I can treat this innocent animal harshly; let her walk at her own pace and let me follow patiently," he wrote. But in the end, he chose to be whipped, and he felt guilty afterwards.
The next few days, as I walked through canyons, mountain passes, and highlands around here-here called Kass-I was also worried that our cars would exceed their limits. When climbing uphill and downhill, this Citroen made a harsh noise. On the curvy and aggressive road, there will always be a group of drivers who lost their patience because they could not overtake. Occasionally, it emits a burning scent and rubbing sound, but I am not sure where the problem is. Clutch? brake? Or a motor? Fortunately, our car did not let us down, and we were safely delivered to our destination every night.
It ’s not as good as the sky
The last journey took us through the desolate and beautiful Causse Méjean and into the Gorges du Tarn. A winding road runs along the edge of a spectacular, densely populated river canyon, with towering karst walls on one side and low stone fences on the other. Here is the favorite of French motorcyclists who whizzed past us in droves-most of them, like those hikers, dressed in fancy gear-we are approaching Saint-Eni M, spend the last night in this riverside village.
最后一段旅程带我们穿越了荒凉而美丽的梅让高地(Causse Méjean)，并进入塔恩峡(Gorges du Tarn)。沿着壮观、密布着洞窟的河流峡谷边缘，是一条蜿蜒的道路，它一边是高耸的喀斯特岩壁，另一边是低矮的石栏。这里是法国摩托车手的最爱，他们成群结队地从我们身边呼啸而过——其中大多数像那些徒步旅行者一样，穿戴着价值不菲的花哨装备——我们正接近圣埃尼米，要在这个河畔村庄度过最后一晚。
While eating roast lamb at a small hotel in the center of town at noon, Michelle and I made a decision: to rest the 2CV for a day for the rest of the day. We've asked for it so much and don't want to keep trying. So, we drank red wine at lunch, took a walk along the tar-like clear Tarn River, and then entered the leafy highlands above the village, where we stopped to watch large wildflowers and other subtle things we would miss when driving , Even if driving a car so slow at 2CV. We plan to drive to Lyon the next morning after getting up, return the car to the owner, and then take the express train to Paris before flying home.
We got up just after dawn, and the hotel owner helped us put things in the car. In his early sixties, he was known as Mr. Lopez, a joker.
When the car didn't start, Michelle and I were a little annoyed, but not too worried-letting the motor rest for 10 minutes did not completely disrupt our plan. Ten minutes later, the engine still didn't turn, and Michelle and I were worried about biting our lips again. The car owner could not be reached at such an early time on Sunday, and Drivy's roadside service operator told them that they would try to find the nearest repair shop before contacting me. Mr. Lopez smelled a smile and assured me that we really had to wait For a long time, at least a day, because every mechanic within a few miles of the circle was either sleeping or preparing to go to church. A passerby proposed a trolley so that we could quickly release the clutch, and we found that this 2CV car is a centrifugal engine and cannot be started like this. Finally, when the stranger failed to start our engine with his own retro car-it was a Cherry Red Renault 4, and I have to say that Citroen next to us looked really pulling-I got it A last resort conclusion: We have to abandon this 2CV and quickly modify our plan.
After a free ride, a four-hour bus ride, and a very slow intercity train, Michelle and I sat face to face in a bistro in Paris's 10th district, drinking a bottle of wine Morgan. We got a partial refund of the train ticket from Lyon to Paris, and I finally contacted the 2CV owner. He apologized for the trouble we had and told us not to worry. He would arrange a friend to pick up the car later that week. (I later learned that the culprit was overheating of the ignition coil—the owner told me it was a "classic problem.")
I told Michelle that the 2CV would soon return to Lyon safely and she was relieved. "I just don't think it's good to leave it there," her voice tightened with excitement. It sounded like she was talking about children or beloved pets.
When I sold Modestina at the end of the brigade, and stepped back home in a carriage, Stevenson showed similar sentimentality. "It wasn't until I sat firmly by the driver ... that I realized I had lost my love," he wrote. "I lost Modestina. Until that moment, I thought I hated her, but now she's gone."