West Route Post Number Six

“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith

DAY SIX – What a Day!

Kiyoshi and I made quite a team today with his knowledge of the central coast and my connection to Mike Graham. What? Wait, who is Mike and what does he have to do with the success of the day. Mike lives in Aptos, Ca about a half hour north of our motel in Marina and was going to join us for dinner but when the day got pushed back for clutch repairs, he had another suggestion based on his specific local knowledge. He suggested we start from Marina at about 7:45, drive to Aptos and stop there to have breakfast with him as the jam on Highway 1 starts at Aptos and clears by about 9:30. We did exactly that.

The drive stared out slightly damp and cold due to the morning fog which we had to dry on the inside of the windscreen as I was top down for later in the day. The humidity meant I actually had to bundle up as if it were 35 degrees at home in Colorado even though it was at least 20 degrees warmer in the actual temp in Marina. I had the full outfit with fleece, winter jacket, gloves and leather flying helmet. I was actually pretty comfortable on the ride to Aptos. As I said above Mike was right about the traffic because it was nothing but brake lights and stopped cars just a half mile before our exit. We crawled that bit and were delighted to join Mike for a nice breakfast. We talked about cars and the funds for the kids at the Ranch who Mike has enthusiastically supported and about Driving for Kids as well as this trip.

Once we had filled our bellies and said our goodbyes, I followed my fearless leader up highway 1 to Half Moon Bay and our meet up with Dan Wise in an Elise, Tom Carney in a Europa Custom, and Jackie Seakins in an Evora, from the Golden Gate Lotus Club. Due to some construction delay (and spending a bit too long at breakfast) we were later than they expected but they had cheerfully waited to join us for the ride up to Spencer’s Motorsports, in Rohnert Park, CA where we would end the day. This was the “What a Day!” part because we didn’t just take the direct route to Spencer’s.

The five of us traipsed up the coast to San Francisco on Highway 1 and then wound through the city on Skyline Blvd, Point Lobos Way and El Camino del Mar, drove past the multi-million dollar homes there and wound our way past the Thinker at the Legion of Honor Art Museum down to the Golden Gate Bridge. Once we crossed, in the swirling fog, we went down to the base of the bridge in Sausalito where I took this iconic photo.

The cars are Jackie’s Evora, Tom’s Europa, Dan’s Elise, my Elan and Kiyoshi’s Elise.

After our photo stop we grabbed lunch and then rode the E ticket ride that goes up and down Mt Tamalpais (it’s called the Panoramic Highway) to highway 1 on the coast. Then we rode THAT thrill ride past Point Reyes north to Tomales before we turned inland and made our way to the shop. With the road, the sun, and the wind it was exhilarating, exquisite, and exhausting in equal measure.  

It was after 4:30 when we finally reached Barry Spencer’s shop and got to meet him. He is a great guy and a very knowledgeable Lotus trained mechanic. In fact, when Tom mentioned that he thought I didn’t have brake lights from following me, we checked and that was true. So Barry installed a new switch without the need to bleed the system using a special trick he knew. I won’t divulge the secret; you’ll have to ask Barry or one of the witnesses!

Impressions from the sixth day:

• We only had 186 miles today which should have meant a short day but the struggle through the road repair and tree clearing with single lane waiting, following slow trucks plus the food stops really took a toll on our progress so it was almost seven pm when I got to my motel.

• It was genuinely fun to have a pack of Lotus in a train through the winding roads. There is something just uplifting seeing the colorful train of zigging cars winding like a snake in my mirror.

• I was pleased that we kept the schedule intact despite the clutch repair as these great folks all took time to come play and escort me through their world and I would have hated to make them reschedule. Thanks!

• Kiyoshi says that my plan to visit the four points has nothing to do with geography and is really a very clever subterfuge to get my car repaired at the best Lotus suppliers and shops in the US quickly and cheaply.

About Me

Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!

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