Chris Harrell Story and Photos by Chris Harrell,
                            Redwood Region Vice President

It's funny how a casual conversation can turn into something much more. I was chatting with my friend and Yosemite Region Vice President Steve Searles in January, and he mentioned that he was planning on leading a Yosemite Region driving tour to Canepa Design (since renamed simply Canepa). in Scotts Valley, California. As Vice President of Redwood Region, one of my primary responsibilities is organizing and managing our Club calendar, and it so happened that I was working on finalizing our 2012 calendar when Steve and I spoke. Having never been to Canepa myself, I mentioned to Steve that I was personally very interested in the tour, and that it would be cool to do something similar for Redwood Region. After some thought, I connected with Steve again a few days later and asked if he would be opposed to making his event a Co-Region event. He loved the idea, and so the event was conceived and added to Saturday, April 7 on both Regions' calendars.

When Steve and I touched base in February, we discussed event details, including how many people each of us expected to attend from our Region. Since Scotts Valley is quite a long drive from the North Bay and we would have to meet - and depart - earlier than our typical events, I expected 15-20 people from Redwood Region. Steve was thinking a similar number from Yosemite. However, as we got closer and closer to April 7, the RSVPs began to come in at a rapid pace. By Friday, we knew it was going to be a pretty big turnout, but - as I have learned managing Club events - the list of folks who RSVP is not always the same as the list of folks who show up (plus or minus). We'd have to wait until Saturday to find out how many people would actually show.

I woke up on April 7 with a terrible sore throat and accompanying headache, but I was determined to make it out for the event regardless. The Redwood Region group gathered at Sonnen Porsche in Mill Valley at 7:30 a.m., where our hosts provided coffee and pastries for Club members. After the standard waiver-signing, chatting, and drivers' meeting, we hit the road with 40+ eager tourers and nearly 30 cars, including a couple of "interlopers": an Acura NSX and a BMW 318ti. Redwood Region Event Director Don Magdanz was kind enough to swap Lead/Sweep duties with me since I wasn't feeling up to par, so Veronica and I started at the back of the pack.

We headed south on 101, then 19th Avenue through San Francisco. Once we hit Skyline Blvd west of San Mateo, we had a mostly fun drive, although we encountered some slow cars along the way. We stopped at Alice's restaurant in Woodside for a bio break and to pickup some more members joining us for the drive. A fellow (who turned out to be a GGR member) in a white BMW 1-Series M joined us as well. The parking lot was already crowded because of Golden Gate Region's Boxster Brunch, which is held every other month at Alice's, so we paused briefly then headed back south on Skyline with additional cars in tow.

After about 35 more miles, including 10 miles through a very narrow, twisty section of Skyline, we landed at Canepa Design in Scotts Valley, where another large group of folks (mostly from Yosemite Region, plus some from Loma Prieta and Diablo Regions) were awaiting our arrival. It was amazing to see such a large gathering of PCA members in one place, and it was clear that our initial predictions for event turnout were low, to put it lightly. In fact, we were concerned that our group might be too large to tour together. Fortunately, we were able to keep our large group intact.

Once inside, we were treated to an introduction by the Canepa Design staff, followed by a guided tour of the facility led by Acquisition Manager Sean Chambers. Since this was my first visit, I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I was not disappointed. Where else will you see not one but several 959s in one place? One surprise was a Fiat Abarth racecar that was a bit of an inspiration, since we are considering replacing Veronica's 335 Coupe with a new Abarth when her lease expires next week.

he tour and the facility were great. The number of cars was significant, but not overwhelming. I enjoyed the sales floor and "museum" upstairs, but the real highlight was the shop, where Canepa's and customers' cars are restored. Above and beyond everything else, it was clear to me that Canepa is all about preserving perfection, and that's what we saw: automotive perfection.

After the tour, the majority of the group - which totaled a stunning 85 people by Steve's count - headed to a local pizza spot for some lunch. Since I was still under the weather, Veronica and I decided to head home. During the drive home, I reflected on the day and couldn't stop thinking about how special it was to have several regions represented at the event. We are lucky to be part of such a great Club with such great people. I am excited about planning more Co-Region events in the future.

Special thanks to Steve Searles of Yosemite Region for being the driving force behind this event!

Canepa Design

Porsches fill the parking lot at Canepa Design

Alice's Restaurant

Pit stop at Alice's Restaurant in Woodside