Today’s awesome drive reports from Davesaddiction and ImmoralMinority have inspired me to share my own, for the recent inaugural Targa 805 rally. A few weeks ago my buddy Frank, owner of the killer Mk1 Scirocco seen below, put on a one-day drive through some of San Luis Obispo and Monterey County’s best roads. Dubbed Targa 805, it was a great gathering of people and machines from all over the state. The idea was to have a day of good fun and camaraderie without the barriers to entry posed by the popular yet expensive multi-day rallies that frequent our local roads en route to elsewhere. With that in mind, Frank put together a great route of about 200 miles, starting in Morro Bay and running a large and varied loop through the northern reaches of San Luis Obispo County and southern Monterey County, before finishing at the famed Pozo Saloon. The weather could not have been better, as the day dawned sunny and clear yet comfortable. I had really hoped to take the 911, but I wouldn’t have the injection sorted in time, so my mount for the day would be a coworker’s heavily modified black R-package NA Miata, the same one that CaptDale has borrowed for Radwood. The car is a whore, but for the first time in my life, a Miata actually was the answer. Equipped with a later 1.8, cams, tune, 6-speed, LSD, fully poly-bushed coilover suspension, Volk wheels that I used to own, and a Sparco seat intended for a much smaller driver, the car is a riot.
After donuts and driver’s meeting we set off from Taco Temple in Morro Bay, headed northeast through the rolling wine country of the Santa Lucia range. As is my habit on multicar drives, I brought up the rear to act as sweep or to help any stricken fellow rallyists. Mostly open and flowing roads took us through lush spring hills to the shores of Lake Nacimiento before picking up Highway 101 for a brief transit section South to a regroup and gas stop in San Miguel (below).
From there we struck East into the La Panzas, where a brisk but not irresponsible pace was set in the absence of traffic. Here the more serious driving began, with narrower, technical roads, uneven pavement, and rapid elevation changes in store, part and parcel of driving in San Andreas country. Heavy late Winter and early Spring rains meant multiple water crossings along the way, and the famed wildflowers were just starting to bloom. It made for an absolutely beautiful drive. At one point we stopped for a breather and photo op (desperately needed as by that point the Miata was genuinely hurting me), where we hung out for 30 minutes in the middle of an idyllic meadow, with nothing but the sound of birds and the babbling creek as backdrop. Not a single vehicle came through to interrupt our little street party:
Another hour or so of driving found us at the Pozo Saloon for more socializing, a late lunch and beverage of choice. I recommend the Pozotini, a beer with an olive in it. It’ll be hard to top this first edition of Targa 805, we couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was really special to head out into these California hills while they’re so completely green, a rare thing. Also a treat to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, all of whom I look forward to driving with again. While I knew most of the these roads from a previous life, I hadn’t properly gone driving in years and it stoked the old fire, much like the 911 has (family minivan wildflower viewing trips don’t count...). For a long time now, cars had largely lost the totemic quality that ingrained them in my life and friendships. Two decades in the industry will do that. I’m pleased that they’ve come roaring back, and can’t wait to keep the momentum going in my own car. Next up: Luftgekühlt 6 next Saturday, the maiden voyage out of town for the SC!