Keith's Blog: Alex and 21 Years of Alfa
|Written by Keith Martin|
|Monday, 17 September 2012 12:19|
I’m just back from the 18th annual Oregon Festival of Cars, in Bend, OR, and this year’s event was as much about the journey as the car show itself.
Bend is about a three-hour drive from Portland. But that’s if you take the highway, and who would want to do that? Brian Cone, president of the local chapter of the BMW club, organized a two-lane road route, and about thirty cars from old to new gathered to follow him, starting on Friday morning.
Alex and I brought out the 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce, as it really hasn’t had its share of exercise this year. Wendie and Bradley were coming over later Friday night in her Quattroporte. Good thing she didn’t run with the old cars – it’s always so embarrassing to be passed by a four-door sedan (with a Ferrari F430 engine) and a five-year-old strapped in the back seat.
Alex and I traded off, and I was reminded of just how many good times this Alfa has brought me. I have a picture of Alex in the car when she was a year old, and I have pictures of her driving the car (and driving it quite well) today. In fact, part of the trip over was her practicing double-clutching as she downshifted, a skill that is quickly becoming a lost art.
The car show, in its new location at the Les Schwab Ampitheater in downtown Bend, was grand, and the opening night reception hosted by Tom Anderson and Carrera Motors offered a chance for good food and wine while wandering around desirable cars, available for purchase from the Carrera inventory — a most dangerous combination.
As Alex was staying in a different hotel, her designated chauffer became Kevin Blount in his 300SL Gullwing — Alex is now officially and permanently spoiled.
Sunday, Alex and I decided to come back over Mt. Hood, passing through Madras, Warm Springs and Government Camp before stopping for our traditional #13 pizza at the Zig Zag Inn in Zig Zag. (Wendie and Bradley went on to Corvallis, where Wendie was helping her son Tyler prepare his fraternity for the upcoming semester.)
It was a perfect, sunny day and we decided to take Marmot Road, which follows the old Oregon Trail near Brightwood. I’ve probably driven this road 100 times, but never with my daughter next to me, encouraging me to pull just a few more revs out of each gear, giving me a verbal high-five as I nailed each downshift, and squealing, along with the tires, as we drifted through the turns.
This Alfa has been very good to me over the past couple of decades, and I can’t imagine anything better than being with family you care about, in an old car, on a great road on a sunny day.