Our first trip to North America took us to Canada in 1980 to the west coast in the beautiful city of Vancouver. After a 13 hour flight in a Jumbo we landed in this dream city. We picked up our rental car the next morning at a small rental company. It was a red mid-size car from GM, and it was a car with car-antics. It was my first time driving a car like that. It was quite exciting in a big city, but nothing happened. There were some peculiarities, though: the car stank terribly inside. The previous tenant must have transported dogs or cats in the trunk, they were then probably not quite tight, so it stank anyway. 

We drove the car over Vancouver Island and then through the Rocky Mountains, where they are the most beautiful. That was a total of about 4,200 km. The car ran great and also the automatic made no problems. However, I had them. I had not been told, or I had not understood, that the car already had a catalytic converter, i.e. I had to fill up with unleaded petrol. Unknowingly I didn't do that at first and so it happened that we suddenly had fog high in the mountains in front of us which wasn't fog at all. The engine smoked terribly. Then I found out what was going on. At the next refueling, the damage was then repaired, and I still hope today that the cat. has survived the leaded gasoline without damage. 

Our next tour started in 1982 again in Vancouver. This time we had booked a Ford Escort with the same rental company. It had no automatic and was also quite weakly motorized, but we wanted to see landscape and not drive a rally. This time we crossed the border into the USA to Montana. From there over the Yellowstone to Salt Lake City. Until then everything went well, but then we drove through the desert in Nevada to Reno, the biggest small city in the USA. It was hot in the car, we covered all the windows with towels, but it was hardly bearable without air conditioning. We had it in the hotel after we had burned our hands at the front door. In Reno there was not only gambling, like everywhere in Nevada, there was also a car museum. There you could really see everything that had been built in the world since motorization. It was terrific. I could have looked there for days, but we had to go on. It went over the beautifully situated Lake Tahoe, Sacramento - capital of California - to San-Franzisco. Twice over the Golden Gate Bridge, that was an experience for every driver. Then we went up the coast through Oregon and Washington back over the border into Canada. We saw and experienced an incredible amount. Our little Escort never gave us any problems on the 5,000 km, it was a great car. 

Now we have made 3 years our usual vacation in the small Europe, before we landed at the end of May 1986 in New York to a 5 week crossing of the USA. After 2 wonderful, eventful days in this great city we wanted to take over our middle class rental car at one of the big rental companies. By phone we did not get along with their employees at all. We tried to find a translator at the UNO. That worked and he found out that our booking was not there. We were able to clarify this with the organizer and so we were able to pick up our rental car the next day in the middle of the city on 58th street. This was a surprise. Not a middle class car was waiting, but a huge station wagon from GM, a Caprice Classic. It already had 70,000 miles on it, and a lot of external signs of use as well. We were a little shocked, but there was no other vehicle available. The car had an 8 cyl. engine and thus also appropriate HP under the hood. The fuel consumption was enormous, but we have always filled up only for 50 dollars. 

With effort and luck we found the way from New York to Washington, where we arrived in the late afternoon. 2 days we stayed there and then it went on via Williamsburg direction Nashville. But before that we spent one night in Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis. There we also visited his birthplace cabin. We started to really enjoy the car. It was spacious and so far reliable. Only in heavy traffic and narrow inner cities it was a bit confusing. Our next destination was New Orleans in the deep south of the USA. Before the city we had to drive over the longest bridge in the world at that time with 40 km length, that was an experience in storm and rain. In the city itself it was difficult with our big car. We lived in the so-called French Quarter, which could only be reached via narrow, winding streets. From New Orleans we went on through the south to Texas. Via Houston, San Antonio to Corpus Christi, from there again north through New Mexico to Santa Fee. Except for 2 new tires in Houston our car did quite well, there were no problems on the first 6,000 km. From Santa Fee we went to the state of Nevada to the gamblers paradise Las Vegas. From there to Death Valley. Our car almost didn't pass this endurance test. Shortly after Las Vegas we suddenly had no more electricity. At over 40 degrees no air conditioning and nothing else worked, it was scary. Fortunately, there was a small town shortly before entering the Valley where we even found a garage. Quickly they found the defect, a fan belt was torn. Gladly we went through the valley of death, it is partly up to 300 meters below sea level, that was an unforgettable experience. The new direction was now the Grand Canyon, it was even more impressive. Afterwards we drove to Los Angeles where our trip ended after four weeks. Our Caprice Classic, with which we had started in New York full of prejudices - old car, it will never make it etc. - did not disappoint us. We were almost a little sad when we had to hand it in at the airport in L.A. after about 12,000 km. 

Our next rental car in the USA we have taken over then only on 30.10.1999 in Boston. It was only a very small one from GM, comparable approximately with an Opel Kadett, so no more Yank car. We didn't plan a round trip, we just wanted to go to Canada to see the place we wanted to emigrate to in our retirement. The place is called St. Andrews by the Sea. As we left Boston at 4pm in after-work traffic, we had an inkling that this was going to be another long day. But it got worse. The car was probably even smaller than a Kadett, because at the first rest stop I had already banged my knees on the dashboard several times. It got dark very fast and the light on the car had more the function to be seen with it. After approx. 300 km we drove then in a larger, but rather dark place to the refueling. At the gas station we learned that the place is called Bangor, which is the birthplace of the horror writer Stephen King. A horror was then the drive to the Canadian border. Almost exclusively gravel roads through dark forests, only rarely one saw light in the distance. In addition, there were always huge trucks starting to overtake, because I could hardly see the road in front of me because of the twinkle lights. But everything has an end, and so we reached our destination late at night. Now we had 14 days on the ground to see where we might eventually live. For me, we could start moving right away, but my dear wife was not so enthusiastic about leaving our beautiful Germany. We couldn't anyway. We learned that we were too old to immigrate to Canada with our almost 60 years of life. So we decided to spend our holidays in Canada as often as possible. When we drove back to Boston in our small car, we could admire the so-called Indian Summer in all its colors. I was also able to forget about the bruises on my knees. After all, I had endured about 2,500 km. 

Our next trip to Canada was then in June 2001. This time we flew directly to New Brunswick - NB - and after changing planes in Montreal further to Saint John, with a small 2 engine bush plane. There at the airport we got our rental car, a Chevi from GM, not much bigger than the previous one, but more spacious. Of course we first drove to St. Andrews for 3 days. But then it started. We wanted to get to know the country and the people. After Moncton it was about 200 km. From there we went to Miramichi, then via Shippagan to Campbellton. This is the border town to the province of Quebec, where we drove the next day. After a night in a B&B directly at the river, the Saint Lorenz, we reached Quebec-City. There we stayed for 2 days. The way back from the city was difficult, but at a gas station we asked a motorcycle policeman for the way. He quickly noticed that we didn't speak French and so he told us to follow him. He guided us safely out of town and said goodbye after about 10 km with a cheerful wave. That's how Canadians are, always friendly, tough but cordial. After 2 more day tours we were back in St. Andrews. There we explored the nearer and further surroundings for another 2 days until our return flight, then the holiday was already over. Our little Chevi has held up well on the approx. 3,500 km and mastered all situations without a hitch. 

Only three years later, on 15.06.2004 we landed again in Canada, this time in Moncton. There was a direct flight from Hanover there once a week and that was a great relief in terms of time. At the airport we took over our rental car an "Impala" from GM. From its performance and size it corresponded to an Opel Omega. A comfortable touring car. We drove via Bouctouche to Campbellton and like the year before over the border into the province of Quebec. There, however, to Matane, directly situated at the St. Lawrence. From there always along the river on a beautiful road to the northernmost point of the Gaspesie. That was so far the most beautiful distance, which we had ever driven. Back on the eastern side of the Gaspesie peninsula again at Campbellton to NB. From there via St. Quentin to Plaster Rock. Over the so-called Appalachian Trail we went the next day, 276 km through beautiful forests, back to Bouctouche. The next day we drove over the 13 km long Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island - PEI. There we explored this wonderful island for 3 days. Thereby we had a special experience with our Impala: In the evening we came back to our motel in pouring rain, packed the needed things from the car into the room. Later we remembered that we had forgotten something in the trunk. So I got out, opened the trunk, put the keys in, put the clothes under my arm, closed the trunk and went into the room. Now it came: where were the car keys? No big search, I knew it was in the trunk, as of course our umbrella. Now, after a short time of thinking, we tried for about 1 hour to open the car. It did not succeed, the Impala was burglar-proof. Some helpers had arrived in the meantime despite the rain, but even they could not do anything. The owner of the motel finally called the emergency service of GM around 10 o'clock in the evening. The came after 10 minutes and then takes about 30 minutes to open the vehicle. The guy slogged and was then completely soaked. With arrival and departure that would have cost us about 100 euros, especially since it was Sunday. But the man did not want a cent! With effort we could give him a good tip, he emphasized again and again: That is Service by GM, we could hardly believe so much service friendliness, something like that does not exist in Germany. After this positive experience we left the island grateful and with the firm intention to come back. From PEI we went to St. Andrews for 4 days, because it was Canada Day. This seems to be the highest and most beautiful holiday in the English speaking part of Canada. The next day we went for the first time to the province Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia. There we visited some historical places and made a lot of km. Since our return flight was overbooked, we got 3 days in a beautiful hotel as a gift from the airline. So we could visit the beautiful city of Halifax and the surrounding area. When we returned the Impala at Halifax Airport on the last day, we had driven almost 6,000 km with it without any problems. It was again a wonderful holiday. 

In 2005 we wanted to experience the Indian Summer in Canada. Good friends wanted to travel with us, so the price for the rental car was shared. So we took over then on 20.09. at the airport Moncton our first SUV, a GMC 6 cyl. in silver metallic. A very practical vehicle, just right for 4 people with 4 big suitcases and small luggage. This time we drove from Bouctouche directly to PEI, where we stayed for three days. Then we went for the first time to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, there on the Cabot Trail, supposedly one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world. It was really beautiful there, a wonderful nature. After 2 days there we drove further into the south of Nova Scotia. While doing so, a faux pass happened to me as a passenger. In the rear view mirror of the car there were signs burned in, among other things also a sign like at the DRK. To find out what it meant, I pressed on it. Immediately a voice rang out and asked us if we had an accident and if we needed help. Everyone in the car was startled, no one had expected the rental car monitoring to work so perfectly. Since then I have never pressed a button if I was not previously aware of its function. We now drove via Lunenburg across the Nova Scotia peninsula to the ferry port of Digby. From there on a beautiful autumn day by ferry across the Bay of Fundy to Saint John, a large port city in New Brunswick. From there we went to St. Andrews for the last 2 days. Then the drive to Moncton to the airport, through beautiful, autumn colored nature. On this tour we had another special experience. In Saint John we saw a huge white cruise ship in the harbour and on our way we discovered a black bow of an even bigger steamer. I said immediately: this is the QM 2. Nobody wanted to believe me. This super ship in the relatively small port of Saint John! So we went there, it was indeed the QM 2 and hardly anyone was interested. We were thrilled. In Hamburg over 100,000 people had come to see the ship and here she lay without anyone getting excited. It was our last day and we had to return our SUV. Without problems it had run the approx. 2,700 km and we were very satisfied. 

Our dream vacation in 2006, a car trip from Vancouver across Canada to Toronto. 

It all started very sadly. Our neighbor and friend, with whom we were in Canada the previous year, had been diagnosed with lung cancer. In very critical condition, she had been in a clinic for days. After 24 hours of travel, we learned upon our arrival in Vancouver that she had passed away. Christiane, we will never forget you. 

At the airport we wanted to take over then, tired as we were, our rental car. We had booked a mid-range car, such as the Impala. But it seemed such a vehicle is not there. We were offered a jeep for a small additional payment. After the good experiences of the previous year, we accepted the offer sight unseen. It was almost like winning the lottery. We got the keys and papers and looked for our car in the underground car park. Hard to believe, it was a red Jeep Cherokee, a huge car, black leather interior and a V 8 engine under the hood. We were thrilled and happy. 2 days we stayed in Vancouver. We were not disappointed, but 25 years ago the city was nicer. Then we drove to the beautiful Rocky-Mountains and stayed 2 days in Jasper. Some wonderful trips, e.g. to the Maligne-Lake and over one of the dream roads of this world, to the Columbia-Icefield, inspired us. We continued via Edmonton, Lloydminster to Saskatoon in Saskatchewan. It was unique, we saw bears, caribou, wapiti and many other small animals. Even I as the driver could see well, the guard rails were no obstacle with the high seating position. The car ran fantastically, also the fuel consumption was not high, we filled up always only for 50 Can.-Dollar. We continued via Regina, Brandon, Winnipeg to Steinbach. In this place should live a lot of German emigrants, we found none. In the meantime an ad in the Jeep announced itself, a service should be due. An inquiry at a Chrysler agency showed that no service was necessary for such a long drive. The next day we continue our journey, the service indicator doesn't bother us anymore. 400 km a day are often the distances and so we soon reach the big lakes. Again and again we change places and it is a unique variety of impressions. At some point we arrive in Toronto and take 2 more days there to get to know the city and to relax. When we return our Jeep on the last day after 6.600 driven km, the service indicator still lights up. The V 8 has not taken any damage, the Jeep was a great car. 

In 2007 we made only a good 14 days vacation in Canada.  Since the airport Moncton of Hanover was now unfortunately no longer directly approached, the flight lasted with 2 times change very long. In Halifax we got our SUV, a Ford Edge. This was a newly developed car in black and with black leather, a powerful 6 cyl. engine. It had highly polished aluminum rims, which looked really good on an SUV. We first drove to PEI, from there via Miramichi to Gaspesie, which we drove counterclockwise this time. That was just as beautiful as on the first tour. Via Matane we went to St. Leonhard. There we received the sad news of the death of my mother. That was a shock, because we could not travel back immediately. Therefore we drove as fast as possible into our 2nd homeland to St. Andrews. There we stayed for 3 days and tried to arrange everything important with my sister in Germany. Via Parrsboro we went to the last B & B before the return flight to Gaetz Brook. At June and John we recovered again 2 days before the return flight, which was again very long. Our Ford Edge was a good car, he has run the approx. 3,500 km great. 

In 2008 we wanted to see new landscapes. The journey should go again by SUV, from Toronto to Halifax. 

In Toronto we took over our car, a Chevrolet Trailblazer. This was a huge vehicle in black and with black leather. A large 6 cyl. engine drove the car. From Toronto we drove via Kingston and Montreal to Trois-Rivieres at the St. Lawrence River. From there in pouring rain via Quebec-City to a beautiful hotel in Tadoussac. There we had 2 days of rest. We used them for whale watching. It was worth it. In the St. Lawrence, which is already several km wide at this point, we saw many and several species of whales. The next day we continued by ferry across the river to St.Quentin. From there we drove over the Appalachian Trail to the coast to Shippagan. We had already covered about 1,500 km with our Chevi without any problems. We continued via Bouctouche-Cocagne to - well, where to - St. Andrews. As usual we stayed with a German family in the EUROPA-Inn. There we met Peggy and Norman at dinner. They invited us to their house at the Bonny River for the next day. Such a thing is almost a matter of course with Canadians. After about 40 km we reached our hosts. They had a very nice log house directly at the river. After lunch they took us on a wonderful trip to one of the offshore islands. Then we had scallops for dinner, that's how it is with friends in Canada. After another 2 days in our 2nd home we drove to Port Hawkesbury in the province of Nova Scotia. That was a long drive of 6 hours for 600 km. From there we drove through the beautiful landscape of the Cabot Trail. The next day we drove the Cabot Trail to Port Hood and then on to Sherbrooke and the next day to our last stop at June and John in Gaetz Brook. There we stayed 2 nights. Then we drove the remaining miles to Airport Halifax. The drop off of our Trailblazer, which we loved in the meantime, was without any problems. We were on the road for about 5.300 km with the car. It contributed to the fact that we had a wonderful vacation in Canada again in 2008. 

In 2009 we wanted to spend a quiet summer vacation without big car tours in Canada. On August 29th we picked up our SUV at Halifax Airport, again a Ford Edge. The car was white, with brown leather in the interior. It was almost new, with only 2,500 km on the clock. It was also vastly improved over the 2007 Edge. We were pleased and started our trip the next day. First we drove in pouring rain a good 300 km across NS to Annapolis Royal. There we stayed for 4 nights. During the day we explored the beautiful landscape by car and also took a lot of time to relax. Then it went on, 350 km to PEI. There also a rest day and then to Bouctouche about 150 km. Two nights on the island, and then of course we went back to St. Andrews. There it held us, with wonderful weather, for 3 nights. Then we went in the direction of Gaspesie with a stop in Plaster Rock. At the border to Quebec we had to set the time back by one hour again and then we drove to our pre-booked motel in Bonaventure. Always with beautiful summer weather we stayed there 2 nights before we drove back to New Brunswick. 100 km to the border and then another 250 km to Miramichi. After 2 days of rest we went to Richibucto. The next day 400 km back into the NS province to Truro. From there the next day to June and John to Gaetz Brook. We enjoyed there 2 beautiful days at the sea, before we returned our Ford Edge, after plenty of rest and about 5,300 km. The Ford was really very good, so good that I immediately asked for such a car in Germany. However, there is not here and so our SUV then became a Mercedes GLK. 

I would like to note that I have always booked all rental cars in Germany, either in the travel agency, or in recent years on the Internet. There were never problems. In general, I must compliment all rental companies (Alamo, National, Hertz, Avis). They always provided very good vehicles and there was, except for a broken fan belt never a breakdown. They also never required a so called international drivers license. I first had the old grey one, then the pink one and now the small one in credit card format. 

Günter Frillmann