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I never did a formal trip report for this tour, but did email friends with two updates that I collapsed into the following abbreviated trip report:
Tues-Thurs (Sammamish to Hollister) Hot but uneventful 900 mile trip down I-5.
Thursday afternoon Met up with Ed at the hotel, go to Carmel to see the Pebble Beach Concourse cars on display that participated in the 17-Mile Drive portion of the Concourse. Stunning. Saw two little old ladies driving a mid-20's Bugatti down the street. Not part of the Concourse group. Go to Monterey and check out the display sections of the auctions. Stunning cars. Saw my first Veyron. Traffic back to hotel sucked, but lots of interesting cars going the other way. Saw a female octogenarian driving a beautiful early 70's 911 targa.
Friday Attend Concorso Italiano. Wow! They assembled a dozen F40's. Saw my second Veyron. Went to Pebble Beach to attend private showing of the new McLaren. We had a 45 minute session. 20 of us, 5 folks from McLaren including the head of the US operation, US head of sales (ex-Porsche NA employee) and US product manager. Sat in the car, asked lots of questions. I want one. Looks much better in the flesh. We had the run of Pebble Beach (all we had to do was say we were here for the McLaren event and doors opened). Checked out the various manufacturers' displays and watched them unloading the Concourse cars from the trailers. Traffic back to the hotel sucked.
Saturday Drove to Salinas to meet the local Lotus club for breakfast. Tom picked up his new Caterham in Denver and is driving it to his home in Anchorage via LA and is joining Ed and I on our trip from Monterey to WA. On the way to breakfast he felt some wayward behavior in the rear, then mentioned the previous evening he heard an intermittent chirping in that area. Long story short, the hub bearing failed and the only thing holding the wheel on was the top mounted caliper. Good news was:
- He didn’t lose the wheel and have an accident.
- He was now parked in a large parking lot at IHOP which was pretty safe.
- We were meeting the local Lotus club. They knew a good Se7en mechanic in Santa Clara (60 miles away) who not only was the neighbor of one of the guys at the table, but who was meeting us later at the track.
- Tom was able to track down Ben from Caterham USA who had the necessary parts in stock and was overnighting them for Monday delivery.
We leave his car there, go to Laguna Seca for the day. Unbelievable. Over 600 cars entered, including four Ferrari 250 GT SWBs, a 250 LM, Testa Rosas, Porsches first GP car, Gurneys F1 Eagle, some amazing one-offs, and oh yeah, our fourth and fifth Veyrons. Number four was the new 1200hp SS that just went 268mph. The Bugatti race featured 33 cars. We later learn that 78 Bugattis have assembled in town for the various events and 75 are doing a 4 or 5 day tour this week in Northern CA wine country. Traffic sucked.
Sunday More great racing including a grid of 33 F1 cars from the mid 70's to mid 80's including the Tyrell 6 wheeler. (front brakes are TINY - looked about 7-8" in diameter). Traffic sucked. Took us 45 minutes to get to the track and 2 hours to get home.
Monday Ed and I head out on tour. The hope is they can fix Tom's car during the day and he can take the straight route to the hotel in Gualala that night. The roads are empty and epic for us. We agree that from a corner and speed perspective it was the best driving day of our lives. Let a 6 year old sit in the car at lunch. He now wants a Westfield. Was tracked down by a rapidly driven Jetta towards the end of the day. The 19 year old son is a huge se7en fan and his mom drove like hell to keep up with us and convince us to pull over. Nice kid, really enthusiastic, knows cars, so gave him a 10 mile ride at speed. We later learn the reason the mom was able to keep up earlier is that she straightened out all the curves (yikes!). Tom arrives at hotel at 12:45 that night.
Tuesday Another epic day. Incredible roads, no traffic. Had a bad stretch of road with a lot of unpaved sections, but it was worth it to reach the twisties on the other side. The Westfield suspension is now set up properly and the handling is telepathic. Very neutral, settled through transitions, and when the rear starts to feel just a little light, it responds well to a tiny bit of throttle. Very fun. Another hot, sunny day. At our last fuel stop in Weaverville about 60 miles from tonight's hotel, I went to the bathroom. No, no, don't worry. There is more to the story than that. When I came out, I see a pair of legs on the floor in front of the cashier. I go around the corner and Tom is laying on his side with Ed kneeling beside him (Ed's a doctor). He passed out from heatstroke. Paramedics are called. After 10 minutes he wants to get up and go to the bathroom. He seems to be doing okay and then passes out again. I catch him so he doesn't hit his head, but tweak my back. Eight rescue folks show up. They take him to the hospital. Ed's not feeling well either. We find a hotel in town, check in, leave Ed, I go back to the hospital. Chairs suck, back is killing me, almost fall a few times walking to see Tom and then back to the car to sit down. I know I need my pain medication soon or I won't be able to move tomorrow, so make arrangements to get Tom to the hotel later (it's now 9:00pm) since we were told it was a 95% chance they would release him in another hour. Stop off at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a sandwich and two Murphy's. Get to the hotel, open a beer, take a shower to cool off and get off all the remains of the dirt roads, and take a hot tub (the only available rooms in town had hot tubs).
Wednesday Tom got out of the hospital about 10pm Tuesday night and although better, did the smart thing and decided to rest the next day, then meet up with us that night in Crescent, OR. Given that we had spent the night in Weaverville rather than our initial destination of Willow Creek, and Ed still wasn't feeling well, we did a reroute to keep the miles reasonable. Lot of long straights that day, but still a healthy dose of great roads. Had my only "moment" of the trip. We were on a tight road with lots of corners marked at 20 or 25mph. I approached one unmarked right hander assuming that it was a similarly tight corner. Given we weren't driving that hard, I left it in fourth and had a pretty slow entry speed. Good thing. Turns out it should have been marked at 10mph. Really, really tight corner that went straight uphill at the apex. I tightened my line, the back end started to move out, and I began to add some throttle to correct. However, when going up a steep hill, it turns out that the Westfield doesn't have enough power below 1500rpm in 4th gear to help out ;-) I kept it in my lane and pointed in the right direction, but it was definitely a moment. We also had another round of road work -- at one point we were stopped for about 20 minutes -- so not a perfect day, but still good. Tom stuck to the freeway and arrived at the hotel late that night.
Thursday No one was feeling that great. Turns out we either all contracted salmonella which was making the rounds in CA, or a nasty stomach and intestinal virus, which likely contributed to Tom's heatstroke incident. My nausea began part way through the morning, so skipped lunch and dinner. The drive had some great sections, and once again traffic was light, but we kept the speeds somewhat in check given our physical conditions. That night I puked my guts up and had a high fever. Fun.
Friday I limited my food intake to a Cliff bar that day and didn't really drink much, so was able to drive without throwing up (had a 1-gallon Ziploc bag in the passenger seat ready for emergency duty). Great roads and scenery through Rainier and the Methow Valley. It was my first time to Winthrop, which is really a trippy little town. Wouldn't mind returning in the future.
Saturday Drove the North Cascades Highway from Winthrop. First time on that road, so finally understand what all the fuss is about. Really stunning vistas and fun corners. We arrived home around lunchtime and now Ed's car sits in the garage awaiting pickup for it's journey back to SC.
Overall, it was simply an amazing journey. We drove some truly incredible roads that linked together mile upon mile of corners with great sight lines and no traffic or law enforcement. We also met some interesting people and had our photos taken just about everywhere we went. It was really weird driving by the Lodge at Pebble Beach with supercars and rarities parked on the road and seeing people whipping out their cameras to snap pics of our cars. I now have a better understanding of what Brittany Spears goes through when she steps out of the house. Poor girl...
Total mileage for me was about 3000 (900 miles to get there, 400 miles while in the Monterey area, and 1700 miles to get home). No tickets, no mechanical issues, and nothing to fix now that I'm home. I'd call that a success.