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COTV Goes Up The Coast

Spring has sprung and some of the COTV decided to take a run up the California Coast to help the Monterey Peninsula Corvette Club celebrate their 50th birthday. That’s right – 50 years as a Corvette Club, the second oldest in California after Fresno. The celebration was also their 6th annual Corvette Cruise and coincided with the the Tudor Championship races at Laguna Seca Raceway. Glenn and Patti Crowther were already set to go to Laguna Seca for the races in their motor home, so the Sommars, Glenores, Pages and Webers decided to sign up for the MPCC event way back in January and see the races and do Corvette stuff at the same time. Since some of the MPCC events involved the racetrack, what could be better?

The Glenores, Sommars and Webers all left home on Wednesday, April 30, at different times and by different routes and met up in Cambria in the afternoon. Doug and Marilyn and Jim and Diane stayed at the Fireside Inn on Moonstone Beach, while Rob and Daryl stayed at Daryl’s Mom’s house. We all met by the pool at the motel on a gorgeous, very warm and very un-Cambria April day for conversation, wine and snacks. Daryl’s Mom, Joan, is a COTV member so, of course, she came to join in although three don’t fit into the ZR-1 very well, so her Volvo was the vehicle of choice. Steve and Marsue Page did not participate in this part of the trip as they combined business with pleasure and drove up on Thursday so that Steve could make some business calls. They were missed at our noisy dinner on the outside deck at Robin’s in the East Village of Cambria. The food has a decided Indian/Asian flavor so there was some curry, some shrimp Pad Thai as well as Jim’s penne with fresh shellfish. We all headed off to our temporary beds with plans to meet up at the motel at 9:30 am on Thursday, May 1, to do the coastal drive. Joan was staying behind to keep an eye on the water rationing situation in Cambria.

Thursday was another wonderful day, especially unusual in its warmth for this time of year on the Coast. Jim and Diane decided to leave a little later and time their drive to coincide with lunchtime at Nepenthe, but the Glenores and Webers got on the road in hopes of getting some stretches without motor homes slowing them down. They made a stop at the Hawthorne Gallery across the highway from Nepenthe to check out the marvelous fountains, carvings, glass work and sculptures, before heading up into Monterey for a lunch of clam chowder in a bread bowl on Fisherman’s Wharf. (This made up for an attempt to do the same in May 2013 with another COTV group when the power went out on the Wharf and we had to make do with a substitute meal.)

The group all arrived at the Embassy Suites at various times in the afternoon and set out to meet Glenn and Patti at the Baja Cantina for the Thursday car show and Mexican food. The Glenores, Webers and Pages found good parking spaces for their cars, but Jim had to park outside the lot as he missed the “window of opportunity.” The 10 of us had margaritas or beer or iced tea and a variety of tacos, enchiladas, etc. and made plans for the next morning which included an early wake-up as we had to meet the MPCC folks in the lobby at 7am to go to Laguna Seca so we could sign up to do a couple of laps around the racetrack during one of the breaks in qualifying. Kevin, the MPCC member who acted as escort, wanted us to leave very early so we got to the Corvette Corral early enough to make it into the 100 cars allowed on the track. On his last try, the Corral had been so full that some of his group didn’t make the sign-up.

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, the 12 cars going to the track received their race tickets and corral passes. Glenn drove over from the campground to go over with Jim, as neither Diane nor Patti were ready for their laps. We thought it would be cool at the track this early in the morning, but the sun was already out and we were glad of the tented area in the Corral. The good news was that we arrived early enough to be sure we would be included in the Parade Laps. The bad news was that we didn’t need to arrive that early as the paperwork from the track did not arrive until about 10am and also there was not such a large crowd trying to get on the list. Even Kevin’s smaller, later group ended up being included. After signing up, everyone set off to look at the exhibits and check out the Huge corporate paddock set-ups. Corvette Racing won hands-down with their huge blow-up garage. (Check out the photos!)

We had a drivers’ meeting just before noon and then started to line up (and then wait some more) before they allowed us to do the Parade Laps during the lunch break from the qualifying rounds. It was pretty exciting to see 100 pretty Corvettes moving around the track and pretty exciting to be in one of them. Marilyn drove theirs and Jim and Glenn took Carl Urman’s Go Pro camera in Jim’s. Daryl can attest to the fact that it is not easy to take pictures as a passenger while you are heading down the corkscrew, so if they look blurry, it is because she was ricocheting around the car and trying to focus and press the buttons at the same time. After two passes through the Start/Finish line and a wave to Patti standing on the SRT deck at Turn 1, the group was led off the track. The Glenores and Webers headed back to the hotel. Jim, Glenn and the Pages spent longer at the track.

We all met at various times in the Hospitality Suite, getting registered, buying raffle tickets and then, for some, learning to play Red Nines. (Ask Marilyn, Doug and Jim how to play.) Happy hour started at 5:30 and we all had something to drink and chips and dip before heading out to Tarpy’s Roadhouse to meet Glenn and Patti for dinner at 7pm. We had a small private room, so we could be as loud as we wanted and it worked out well as the place was packed with racing crews drinking and eating up a storm.

Saturday was a much cooler day and we had a pretty busy schedule. Doug and Marilyn, Jim and Rob cleaned the cars and had them entered in the car show from 9:30-11am. Steve decided to take a pass on this show. We all got to vote on Best of Show, which was definitely a beautiful C1. The classes were judged by members of the MPCC. After the judging, we all got into the cars and headed out in groups of 10-15 on a Poker Run along Del Monte Blvd, past Fisherman’s Wharf, along Cannery Row, through Pacific Grove, along the coast and onto 17 Mile Drive. (MPCC arranged for us to get in free as part of the event.) It was cool and a little foggy and we stopped for cards along the way. After oohing and aahing at all the gorgeous homes in Pebble Beach, the really well marked course led us back along Old Monterey Hwy and then to the Bayonet Golf Club, formerly part of Fort Ord, before we picked our final cards back at the Embassy Suites. Steve and Marsue went back out to have lunch outside at the Pebble Beach Lodge, while the rest of us hit Chili’s next to the hotel. We all met for drinks before the final banquet at 7pm at the hotel. 

Before we go any further, we should say that MPCC did an unbelievable job of organizing the whole weekend, especially since they only have 35 cars in their club. Every detail was covered, from the design of the registration materials, to the home-made car blankets they gave each couple, to the great raffle prizes, to the decorations on the dinner tables (each table had a couple from MPCC as hosts) and especially to the awards and prizes. COTV did not do very well in the Poker Run, even though the High Hand won $470+ and the Low Hand won $178. We did not win the reverse 50/50 although the Webers were the #7 of the final 15 picked and that just made us the #6 loser for a large pot. The mystery prize with $20 tickets was a $660 pair of high-end Motorola two-way radios and we didn’t win that either. However………DRUM ROLL PLEASE!… when it came to the car show, we did much better. Doug and Marilyn won first prize in the C6 class (check out the trophy, a one of a kind, light-up drive-in restaurant with a Corvette parked in front!) Jim and Diane won 3rd place in the C7 class and there were quite a few C7s on hand so that was pretty cool, especially since Jim wasn’t even going to enter. Rob and Daryl won 3rd prize in the Z class behind two wonderful Z06s.

Sunday, we all did our own thing to finish off the great weekend. Steve and Marsue stayed another day to go to the real races at the track. Doug and Marilyn headed home the earliest. Jim and Diane left about 11am after a leisurely breakfast with Rob and Daryl. Jim and Diane took the inland road down and Rob and Daryl had an agonizingly slow trip down Highway 1, finishing one stretch behind a motor home going 10-15 mph around the curves, to stay another night in Cambria with Joan before heading home on Monday.

We all had a great time and would do this again next year. However, MPCC is considering making this an every other year event because of the workload, so we may have to wait until 2016. Please think about joining us when we go again.

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We’re Goin’ Racing!
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Dinner in Cambria
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Cambria to Monterey
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Baja Cantina, Monterey
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COTV does a Parade Lap at Laguna Seca
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Tarpy’s, Monterey
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Car Show & Poker Run
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 Awards Banquet, And The WINNERS Are

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Third Place, C7
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Third Place, Z Class
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* FIRST PLACE, C6 *
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