LH couples take a classic cross country road trip

Four intrepid adventurers travel from La Habra to Michigan to attend Model A Club convention.

By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal

It was the road trip of a lifetime for two La Habra couples. Kenneth and Wilma Mulholland accompanied by Roger and Mary Berchtold spent nearly five weeks during the summer traveling across the country in their Model A Fords.

The four left their homes in La Habra and headed for the 2012 Model A Ford Club of America National Convention in Marquette,Michigan in June.

The Mulhollands, in their 1931 Model A and the Berchtolds in their 1928 Sport Coupe joined 16 other cars that left in a caravan from Reno, Nevada.

The cars averaged about 250 miles each day. The travelers took time to visit such sites as Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Rushmore, The Great Salt Lake and the University of Notre Dame. While in Michigan the foursome was able to take a look back at American automobile history by visiting both The Henry Ford and the Studebaker Museums.

They took part in a parade in Ishpeming, Michigan, which included 164 Model As including Henry Ford’s 20 millionth Model A.

Mary Berchtold noted the total recorded miles to the convention and back racked up just over 5,230 miles on the decades old vehicles.
The trip itself was not without its challenges. According to Ken Mulholland, the intrepid travelers encounterd heat waves,lightening storms, hail, snow, sleet and “plenty of rain.” All of it done in what he describes as “automobiles not exactly designed for comfort.”
While the cars completed the trek, they were not without standard vehicle issues. But with Model As, they proved to be a bit more interesting.

They pushed the limits of their vehicles as they climbed more than 10,000 feet when they drove from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado.
Mulholand explained they faced flat tires, lost overdrives, overheating, pushing and cranking the cars to get them “kick-started” and being rear ended on I-80 in Nebraska.

The road trippers even experienced an incursion with the law. The Mulhollands were pulled over for erratic driving. Ken was quick to explain that he had been checking the car’s steering mechanism when the police officer pulled them over.

No matter the challenges the couples faced, they all agreed that it was an unforgeable adventure. However, Mary and Wilma said they would not sign up for any future trips.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.