If I had to sum up my trip to Monterey for the “big car week” in two words, they would be “exhilarating” and “exhausting.” And at most times, it really was a combination of the two.

It’s not like I hadn’t been before. This was actually my fourth time to Monterey in August over the past 25 years. But what made this trip entirely different was that this was my first as an SCM staffer.

This is like handing someone the keys to Disneyland on a day when the park is normally closed, so you’re the only one there. And ALL of the rides are open, and you can go on any ride you want, as many times as you’d like. Exhausting? Certainly. Exhilarating? Yes, to say the least. The keys to the Magic Kingdom were mine at last.

Savoring every moment

So, in a setting absolutely jaded with perfection, what caught my attention? How about getting a ticket to Gordon McCall’s Jet Party, and hobnobbing with the rich and famous? It was a giant party being thrown simply for the love of the automobile, with thousands of passionate devotees. This was an incredible experience for someone who is usually the only car guy in the room.

Or how about watching the cars roll onto the lawn at Pebble Beach at dawn? I got to see them moving under their own power instead of being static lawn objects.

I also wasn’t prepared for the access that SCM staffers enjoy. Rubbing elbows with the likes of Alain de Cadenet, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, and taking a selfie with Dan Gurney? No problem.

There were so many phenomenal things to do, so many things happening all at the same time and so many incredible cars to experience that it was frankly overwhelming. There are so many great cars on the road. Just driving down California Highway 1 was better than any car show I’ve attended.

Loving what you do

To my utter dismay, I had to turn away a free ticket to The Quail that a very generous friend offered. I simply had no way to get to The Quail from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. So I made the most of my time by ogling the likes of Ferrari GTOs and Maserati 250Fs, McLarens and Cobras. All of these great cars were in the pits within spitting distance. I thought I had died and gone to heaven — despite my disappointment at missing The Quail.

Someone once said to me, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I never truly understood that before now. Was this work? No way. How could an E-ticket ride to the best place on earth be considered anything but an incredible way to spend a week. Sleep would just have to wait until I got back home. ♦


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