If it's the beginning of
February, it's time for our seemingly annual trek to the Two Bird
Café in San Geronimo. This year's trip differed in a couple of
respects from previous years. First, instead of gathering at our
usual meeting place in Novato, we convened near the Starbucks in
Mill Valley. This location was excellent for our Marin-based
members, but for me, not so much as it's nearly 65 miles from my
home in the Napa Valley. Secondly, the weather was VERY different
from past years - instead of bright sunshine and dry roads, Saturday
morning brought torrential rains and urban flooding!
Nevertheless, I headed for
Mill Valley with plenty of time to spare before the anticipated 10
a.m. meet-up. When I arrived at the parking lot, two things
stood out. One, the lot was full and I had to scramble to find
a parking place, and two, there was no one else there! Several
minutes later, Kurt Fischer arrived in his Weissach Edition 911SC,
so I knew we'd have at least a leader and a sweeper. Kurt and
I chatted for a few minutes by the cars, but then were driven into
the warm and dry confines of Starbucks by the gusty squalls that
suddenly kicked up.
Slowly a few other members
trickled in, and by 10:00, we had our full complement of
participants: 7 cars in total! This number was far less
than the 33 who had signed up; I can only think that maybe people
didn't want to get their cars dirty or something.
Nevertheless, we had enough folks to do the drive, and the small
group would be easy to keep together. As Kurt led our small group
out of the parking lot, the first route revision was immediately
required: the road up to Panoramic Highway was closed!
Undaunted, Kurt got the group turned around and we headed for
Highway 1 via Camino Alto and Miller Avenue.
Once onto Highway 1, we
headed north towards Stinson Beach. The rain was still falling
steadily, and the road surface was quite wet, if not flooded. I was
glad to have newish Dunlops on the 1987 Carrera, which handled the
wet conditions in fine style. As we proceeded, I thought that maybe
"Shoreline Highway" should be renamed "Random Rock Road" as there
were dozens of small slides that left various-sized rocks all over
the road surface. Fortunately, there were no boulders, and traffic
was light enough to permit using the entire width of the road to
avoid the larger rocks.
As we headed further north,
visibility was reduced by the heavier rain and mist that clung to
the hills near the water. Even on a gloomy, rainy day, the Northern
California coast is beautiful, but I wasn't able to snap any photos
while driving because full concentration was required to negotiate
the route safely. At least we didn't have to worry about cyclists!
Eventually, our small group
made its way to our rest stop in Olema. One of the store proprietors
saw our group and asked Chris Harrell: "What kind of car is THAT?"
Chris had brought his Fiat 500 Abarth instead of his 1973 911 due to
the superior defrosting capabilities of the much-newer Fiat. Chris
said that he had a great time in the Abarth, which has enough
turbocharged front-wheel-drive power to get your attention!
At Olema, the group decided
to cut the route short and head directly to the restaurant via Sir
Francis Drake Boulevard instead of heading further north to
Marshall-Petaluma Road. I was a bit disappointed, but the decision
was sensible - Marshall-Petaluma Road is a very narrow, twisting
road that is subject to flooding in a number of places (still would
have been fun, though!) Our group arrived at the Two Bird
almost on time, and since the group was small, we were able to share
the main dining room with the other paying customers. Unfortunately,
we had service issues at the restaurant - part of our group finished
eating before others were served. Not good...
After finishing our meal,
both Vern Rogers and I decided that more driving was needed in order
to make up for the loss of Marshall-Petaluma Road. So, Vern led me
through Nicasio and into Petaluma on some of the fine back roads. We
both had a good time, and went our separate ways at Highway 101.
Even though the turnout for
the event was small, all participants still had an enjoyable drive.
Our next event will be the Tech Session at Hi Tec Automotive, and
the event will be inside! The tech sessions are always enjoyable and
informative, and there's always plenty of time to socialize, so come