APRIL 9, 2011: COASTERS CROSS CANADA TOUR 1954 MERCURY-HONEYMOON AND 40th ANNIVERSARY CAR

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The Coasters Cross Canada tour is one of the classiest road trips in the world.

 

It takes you back to a simpler era when a summer vacation was a huge event-not something expected and taken for granted.

 

There’s a stylish, understated flair to this retro-journey in our modern, noisy 21st Century world. It’s like bringing classic Sinatra to a Lady Gaga concert-the differences are painfully obvious.

 

This was really evident with Lester and Millie McKay, their ’54 Mercury and 1952 ‘Snapping Turtle’ holiday trailer.

 

The story begins, like most car stories with a yearning for a long lost car. In this case, the McKays owned a 1954 Mercury when they were married They celebrated their 40th anniversary by purchasing this ’54 Merc.

 


 

They’ve owned it for over 15 years and it’s a veteran of the Coasters tour-they made the 2000 Coasters trip in the very same car hauling the very same trailer. That’s a feat in itself but this old warhorse also turned into a tow truck for another vintage car… plus another trailer. Millie reported that the Mercurypulled it about 80 miles without a problem”.

 


 

Millie and Lester are from the Atlantic Maritimes region of Canada-known for its legendary hospitality. They brought their hospitality with them-even though Millie was extremely busy. She said, “a woman’s housework is never done” but she still had time for a detailed, guided tour of the vintage trailer despite the fact that she was actively preparing supper that night.

 

 

Millie also explained how the trailer nearly burned down, “we plugged in a TV and it started a fire that burned the wall and roof. When the fire department got there they did more damage with the water but the trailer was saved”. The damage repair was done really well because Millie had to point out where the actual fire occurred.

 

 

The trailer has its own artwork thanks to a friend’s daughter and the McKay’s own grandchildren. Millie loves the personal touch, plus as she says, “it’s like taking family along”.

 

 

The Mercury has performed flawlessly across Canada twice because as Millie explained, “we never push it past 50-55 miles per hour because it’s not good for the car”. It’s been driven through every type of weather from sleet to desert heat with a heavy early 50s trailer behind it and the car has never missed a destination. If Mercury still existed this ’54 would be a poster car…

 

 

Millie’s strongest attachment to the Coasters tour comes directly from the people involved in the trip. As she explained, “it’s a wonderful life, you couldn’t buy it, the people, the friends…”

 

That’s the difference between memories of a Lady Gaga in 2 years versus memories of a Frank Sinatra in 100 years.

 

Jerry Sutherland

For the Coasters website please follow this link- http://www.coasters2010.com/

 

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