Drove some, broke some. This is the story of the 2020 running of the Targa 805.
After a fun inaugural northern event last year, our motley crew once again assembled for the second annual one-day Targa 805, this year starting in foggy Cambria, California. I with my beater 911, CaptDale with his C4, and other varied cars & crews from north, south and east came together for a fun day of bombing the roads of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties en route to Jalama, a route of about 200 miles.
After leaving Cambria, we tested our cars and dental work on Santa Rosa Creek road, one of the best worst pieces of pavement in the state. We all made it, so with confidence overflowing we continued on to the village of Harmony for a brief stop and regroup.
After this it was through Cayucos and Morro Bay State Park en route to San Luis Obispo for a gas stop before heading out to Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande and another regroup on Hi Mountain Road, which I blew right past.
After this stop, the mechanicals began. DUN DUN DUN.... Leaving the lake, the 122 wagon lost brakes (there is very little Volvo left under its skin), ending up on an embankment following a great save from its surprisingly calm driver. The next to fall, near Los Alamos, was your humble author. Below, DISASTER!
Really, it wasn’t that bad. Just as I turned onto CA-135, I lost power. Fortunately it was a slight downhill and there was a large turnoff where I coasted to a stop. I figured out quickly that the fuel pump was dead, but lacked the necessary jack or stands to access it. The pump is between the front wheels, under the tank on the bottom of the car. Fortunately, a bunch of the crew wasn’t far behind and a multinational effort was mounted to get me under the car. From Sweden and ‘Merica came spare wheels to set mine on, and from Her Majesty’s faithful subjects came the floorjack and 2x4 from Bob’s boot. The owner of the black Alfetta rummaged for a spare pump and helped me out on the key. Once under the car, I was able to jog the pump back into life and get the car running, at which point I decided not to press my luck and turned for home with the lovely violet 911SC as wingman to ensure I wasn’t stranded out of service. This meant I would miss the rest of the route to Jalama and its famed burger, and also the last mechanical issue of the day, when the Caterham suffered a mysterious 4000RPM idle that no amount of carburetor or throttle dickering would remedy. It was driven home to LA like that, after a marathon week since its purchase in the Bay Area. Old cars force us to think on the fly and be prepared, and the self-sufficiency and commitment of a good group like this is one of my favorite things about these runs. No one’s getting left behind.
Traffic was a bummer in places, but the open roads made it worthwhile. Still a fun day, despite the early ending for me. The beer was well earned, in any case. Now to get some more work done on the car and find room for a floorjack & stands in the frunk as we look forward to a run in the eastern Sierra this fall. Get out and drive, and let’s hear about it!
Thanks to CaptDale for the extra pictures