It’s never too early to start planning for Monterey Car Week.
For several years, we organized a casual drive from Portland down the Pacific Coast.
On our last trip, our motley crew included an Autozam AZ-1, an Alfa Giulia Super and Berlina, and a Citroën DS21 Decapotable.
It won’t surprise you to learn that fewer cars arrived in Monterey than left Portland. And that a brake master cylinder replacement at 7:00 a.m. in Berkeley, CA, was a part of the festivities.
The madcap fun came to a halt due to the pandemic and some other challenges.
Is it time to revive this event? Perhaps.
Here’s what I am considering:
Our little road trip would be open to all cars, of any year and model. The older the better, of course. Dogs and kids welcome. Only SCM Members, please. People would be free to join or leave at any point.
At the moment, our 1971 Mercedes 250C is the leading contender as our ride.
We would depart Portland on Monday, August 14. Heading down I-5 to Eugene, OR, we then take Highway 38 to Highway 101 and run along the coast with lunch near Bandon, OR.
That night we would aim to spend in Eureka, CA. That’s over 400 miles of driving, so perhaps Brookings, OR, on the California border might be a more achievable destination.
Tuesday, August 15, we continue through the redwoods, visit the Trees of Mystery, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox and the Drive-Thru Tree. (I am thinking we will skip The Lost Coast this year due to the recent landslides.)
Then we continue south, overnighting north of the Bay Area, in Santa Rosa or Novato, CA. Wednesday, after morning traffic is over, we cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head south on 101 to Monterey, cutting over on Highway 156 to Highway 1 before the afternoon traffic.
We should arrive in Monterey by late afternoon on Wednesday, August 16.
My plan is to have a central location in Monterey, where I can meet and greet SCM Members Thursday through Saturday.
There are a lot of moving pieces that have to come together for this to work, including my finding the right place to hang. I’d prefer not to battle the Monterey hurricane, sprinting from one event to the other 24 hours a day.
On our drive, everyone would arrange their own room reservations. We could have dinners together each evening. No route books, no swag (except for maybe a window cling), and no support aside from your cellphone and whatever towing service you have.
We would just be a few goofy people who want to drive our old cars on an adventure.
If you’re interested, drop me an email.
Keith, I have done the very route you describe several times but with some extra side roads thrown in. My trips down to the Monterey area have been to attend Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca now known as the Miata Reunion. This year the Reunion returns to California at Sonoma Raceway in October and I am planning to make a similar road trip down. Driving California Hwy 1 in a nimble sports car, top down, under a canopy of eucalyptus trees with their scent mingling with the sea air and the sun light flickering through them. Well, that is an experience every car enthusiast owes themselves! Someday, someday I hope to make to Monterey for the concours, I feel like I owe myself that one too.
I’m putting the finishing touches on an East Coast version of your tour. A group of us will be leaving from the Charlotte, N.C. area, driving our Cobras and GT350 Shelbys to Amelia Island. By highway, the trip takes about six hours, but we’ll take secondary roads, overnighting in Savannah, arriving in Florida a day-and-a-half later. After enjoying everything the Concours has to offer, we’ll take the faster routes back home.
I think you’ve got the right idea!
Unless you’re in an absolute hurry to get there, the lesser-traveled roads with the nifty kitsch and roadside attractions make the trip eminently more enjoyable. You’ll have something to talk about for years to come.
Save the frantic trip for the return drive- after you’ve stayed too long and are in danger of being late for work on Monday! 🤣