We Met at KOHL’S at 9AM & hit the road at 9:30

It Was A Long Ride!


Mystery Lunch Run

April 29, 2018

Not only are John and Lynne Vara willing to volunteer to coordinate the MLR schedule and find leaders for 11 months a year, but they also do an awesome job of leading one themselves. Last time we went to Palm Springs for a buffet at Agua Caliente, but this time we did not go quite as far, not QUITE AS FAR. Considering they have not even lived locally that long, they have been searching far and wide for excellent roads and, even better, excellent food…… and they have clearly been successful.

John has also mastered the technique of getting people to RSVP for these runs – just be really, really persistent and send plenty of e-mails. So our turn-out for this April run was a very healthy 34 cars and 63 participants.

Among the attendees were a number of new faces. As Jim Sommars stated, we don’t need to recruit new members, we just ask Norman Craig to bring them along. Norm and Ronette had both of their cars – one driven by Norm and the other by his brother, George, who said he really enjoyed the drive. They also had another friend, Stevie, with them to fill out those two cars, as well as John and Martina, in a third car. Al and Nicole Villa, who joined after being Bruce Mofford’s guests a few months back, brought their own guests, Chris and Lucy, in a lovely blue C7 Grand Sport.

Jason Marshall had to work today, but Joethel brought along both their red C7 and their now 14 year old daughter (Congratulations and happy birthday, Krista!) who apparently found the combination of her mother’s driving and the curvy roads a bit much for her stomach. She said she had been looking forward to having her day with us all, but maybe she is re-thinking that unless the next one is a straighter road. Chuck Sherman brought his brunette daughter, Debbie. Mike and Denise Re were glad to be back in SoCal after a visit to cold, windy and snowy Chicago for their daughter’s baby shower. Doug and Marilyn Glenore got back yesterday from a spur of the moment trip to Hawaii, which included a cruise around the islands. Leonard and Carol Buote were back from the Corvettes of Bakersfield Gambler’s Classic in Laughlin, where they had lots of fun.

Unfortunately, this was the last MLR for Chuck and Terry Isenberg who sold their home in record time and are heading back to the St. Louis area to be closer to family. They will miss SoCal, but not as much as they will be missed by their COTV friends. They will be coming to their last meeting on May 10, so make sure to stop by and wish them well in their new adventures.

Now that we have caught up on the social chit-chat, let’s talk about the marvelous run the Varas had mapped out for a very pleasant April day with temps ranging from the low 50s in higher altitudes to the lower-mid 60s. We left the parking lot and regrouped at our usual spot past Butterfield Stage Road, then proceeded east on 79. This is when the speculation starts – where do you think we are going? Is it the same as last month? When do we eat? After about 15 miles, we turned left on 371 in the direction of Anza. Our potty stop was the good old, smoky Cahuilla Casino. Then we continued on 371 to the Pines to Palms or Palms to Pines (depending on which direction you are driving) Highway and turned left toward Idyllwild/Hemet. We turned right on 243, the Idyllwild/Banning Panoramic Highway and made our way through Idyllwild (no lunch there because there is neither enough parking nor a restaurant that would hold our group) and then the rest of a 28 mile very curvy drive (sorry, Krista!) along the ridges with great views and downhill to the “lovely” town of Banning.

Generally, Banning is a town you pass through on the way to somewhere else, like the Colorado River. Who knew that on Ramsey Street, there is a place called Johnny Russo’s Italian Kitchen, which served our very large group a very good meal. We had a separate room and a select menu of 6 sandwiches, 2 kinds of lasagna or a full salad. Each dish came with bread, a salad to start and potato chips and pasta salad alongside the main course, plus a drink of your choice. John and Lynne had asked us all to make our choice in advance and Lynne had provided everyone with “tickets” showing our individual choices for the waitresses. It went very smoothly and they served more than 60 of us very efficiently. Maybe this is the wave of the future for such large group events. The food was good and there was plenty of it. So everyone headed out fat and happy!

John and Lynne gave us a wonderful drive on a great day and showed some of us new roads and reminded others of places we hadn’t been in a while. We want to thank the Varas for being among the newer members who have stepped up to the plate to be active participants in COTV, even going as far as serving on the Leadership Team. Thanks for being a fun addition to a fun group, COTV!