No fires, sputters, engine lights, overheating. No street races with highly tuned Supras or crashes into a San Francisco trolley. The car crossed over 29,000 miles and I drove on a dirt road. Basically the car is worthless now ;)
After much indecision, I drove the 348 to Monterey this weekend. It has never given me a reason to doubt that it could make it, especially since I just did the major service about 500 miles ago, but I was worried by the unknown. I’ve never been that far away from home so if something did happen, it would be a major ordeal. After all, it is an old car, and sometimes things go wrong on old vehicles. All that worrying was for nothing, though. The car performed flawlessly and never missed a beat. Even though I had it street parked outside two nights and drove on a dirt road to park in a field.
The decision to take it was solidified when IM sent me two tickets to Saturday’s races at Laguna Seca. That mixed with PCH being freshly opened, I had to roll the dice and take it up. I’m so glad I did. That trip has been on my bucket list for quite some time and it was just as amazing as I imagined. If you ever have the chance, you have to do the drive. Do it right and get a convertible. Yeah, you will obviously be a tourist in your convertible Mustang complete with barcode stickers, but who cares? The trip is about the experience, not what anyone thinks of your tool of choice.
My friend and I left LA around 8:00 PM Friday night. We drove to San Luis Obispo and stayed the night. Then, we met Capt’ Dale at his place and was on the road before 8:00 AM. This early start was crucial. Not only did we want to catch as much action at LS, but we wanted to avoid a lot of Convertible Mustangs driving slow while filming their vacation with a selfie stick. That plan worked perfect. Traffic was light, many people turned out to let us pass, and we got lucky with open passing zones for the drivers that didn’t. The sky was cloudy and the temperature was cool, but that really made for perfect driving weather. Windows down, top eventually off, heat on low, oil and coolant temperatures right at normal. No sunburn or bad glares from the blazing sun.
When we get to the really twisty bit, we come across a Z4 M (M roadster?). We get by and all three play along. A loud brutish Australian/American (GTO), a charming Italian (348), and a German engineered for driving (Z4M), all hustling along the black strip of ribbon that hugs the coast. We pull off for right before the famous bridge in Big Sur. We chat with the Z4 and they go on their way. Then, a family from Denmark (I think) came up and asked for a picture of my car. We are chatting and they ask what is up with all the cool cars in Monterey. We tell them about car week and they’ve never heard of it. They apparently just got lucky and this is when they decided to take their vacation.
As we get closer to Monterey, every 5th car becomes a Ferrari, Lambo, Porsche, something else cool, etc. The cops are out, our pace slows and I just take it all in. I’m in Monetary during car week, in my dream car, after driving PCH, and about to watch vintage racing at Laguna Seca. Life doesn’t get better than that.
We arrive at the track and take a gravel/dirt road to the field where we would be parking. This made me uneasy but there were other exotics that did the same thing and there was no other option so just went with it. Turns out everything was fine. We meet IM and we wonder around the parking lot and paddock for a few hours before making our way to the corkscrew. The amount of cool cars was staggering. The parking lot was just as cool as the pits and the car shows they had going on. It was also cool to see vintage, near priceless cars being pushed to their limits. A 1920’s something went off track coming down the corkscrew and thankfully saved it. There was also a 300 SL gullwing that got the tail out pretty much every lap. That is cooler than seeing them perfectly preserved hanging out at cars and coffee.
My friend and I leave right when some old formula 1 cars are going. We decided to stop at the grand stands to watch a few laps. Every race had been loud up to this point, but pretty manageable. These though, were insane. I might have permanent hearing loss, but it was worth it.
The way back to SLO was non eventful as was the drive from SLO to LA on Sunday. Just a perfect cruise on a perfect day. I pulled into my garage yesterday with my trip odometer showing 762.8 miles covered. No issues whatsoever. Only lasting memories of what was probably a top 10 day of my life, so far.
I didn’t take many pictures, but Capt’ Dale and ImmoralMinority both will do a photo dump. Please enjoy the few others I took. Now, back to attempting to be productive at work...