Recollections of an Eventful Highway 1 Drive

by Sharon Castle, Redwood Region Member

Overcoming Wet Palms

Exactly 41 years ago in January 1973, my boyfriend and I decided to go for a drive up Highway 1 to the Timber Cove Inn. The day was as clear, dry and beautiful as was our One-One-Fun Run run this week. I owned my second Porsche a 1959 Cabriolet: hardtop convertible with nerf bar bumpers. I had purchased the car from a young lawyer in Berkeley for $2,200. Jan Armstrong, my boyfriend, was driving the car; he owned a 1960 MGA.

On the way up the coast Jan mentioned that the Porsche was looser in the rear than his car. I said to him: "it's only a matter of time before you will get used to the difference from your tight MGA".

We stopped at the Timber Cove Inn where Jan had a coffee and I had a Sherry. Afterwards we headed back down the coast towards home. For no apparent reason (the road was dry and there was no gravel or oil on the road), my car lost control and hit the right side embankment. It flipped over and slid upside down 16 feet across the curve of the turn and then proceeded to roll off the left side of the road and down a cliff.

By the Grace of God we tumbled down about 300 feet and came to rest upside down on a grassy knoll; the hard top was mostly off the car. We could feel the grass with our hands. We asked each other if we were OK; we seemed to be. We unfastened our seat belts, dropped down and crawled out through the windows. We climbed hand-over-hand up the cliff to catch a ride with a local hippie who took us to Jenner. We went skiing the next day as we had planned. It turned out that I had a minor concussion and Jan a few scratches on his head where the broken glass scraped him.  

A few days later I contacted my insurance company and they seemed fit to be tied. The agent said it took several hours to get the car up the cliff and they had to put it together, as it had broken into three pieces, then to tow it away. Apparently they were checking hospitals for me. I had insured the car as a classic and actually got a bit more than I paid for it. The insurance agent refused to show me the pictures of the car. Needless to say whenever driving near any cliffs my palms would get sweaty and I would be very tense to say the least.

Fast forward to 2013. As a retirement present to myself I purchased a beautiful green 2010 Boxster. I have to admit that I was a bit backed off and really did not understand how different it was from the old 356.  

I joined the PCA and received a notice that there would be a driving school with instructors who would teach me how to drive my car. Well it was autocrossing and I was hooked! I joined the Redwood Region and have to say they have changed any fear that I may have had through their good instructors and by being able to practice driving in autocross. I now totally enjoy driving Highway 1, and do so without wet palms.