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GoF West 2008

July 6-10, 2008, Monterey, California

Page One of Five

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Editor’s note: It took me two and a half years to finally write this trip report, so I may be forgetting some facts while confusing others!

Day One

The plan was simple.  Drive a short distance north by highway to meet some friends who we would caravan with to GoF West in Monterey.  The car was packed and everything was perfect.  Had it stayed that way, this would be a much shorter trip report.  Not more than 30 minutes from home, the car felt loose on the road.  Before I could figure out why, I started to hear the dreaded sound of a tire going flat.  I pulled to the side of the road as quickly as possible, but deflation was quicker than me.  In the short distance from it took to stop the car, the tire had gone completely flat and partially disintegrated, destroying itself and the inner tube.  Drat!

Off came the spare and out came the… wait, where’s the jack?  All the luggage was out of the car before I finally admitted that I had failed to pack one.  While trying to figure a way to use a rock or log (hard to find on a busy freeway) to change the tire, we saw a handful of other GoF-bound early M.G.s drive by.  Some didn’t see us, and some who did waved as they went past, assuming we had everything under control.  We learned to never assume anything on this day!

Giving up on anyone stopping to lend us their jack, I finally called AAA.  Twenty minutes later, some friends who had passed by moments earlier came back around and offered assistance.  Just as they pulled up to us, the tow truck arrived.  Of course!  I sent our friends on their way with hearty thanks and used the tow truck’s jack.  The driver and I both preferred that I do the work myself, and it went on without a hitch.  But now the question of how to proceed.  I no longer had a spare tire and there was nothing at home to take its place.  Moss Motors was about 75 minutes north, but although I am a big fan of Moss, they charge an ungodly amount of money for Dunlop B5 tires.  There really was little choice, so we continued onward after calling to tell our caravan friends that we would not be able to join them until we reached the hotel that evening.

As we drove down the road, I discovered that not only was the spare tire as hard as a rock (I had been meaning to replace it for some time), but the wheel was so far out of dish that the tire hit the fender on every sizable bump.  This was the wrong freeway to be on in such a situation – very bumpy!  I had never used the spare before so this was a new item for the “to do” list.  Driving carefully, I figured the first thing we needed to do was stop and buy a jack.  Ten miles down the road was a town with an auto parts store that was open early enough.  I looked at this as an opportunity to buy a better jack than the nearly unusable piece of junk I had been using up to this point.  Browsing their selection, I found that the only jack that they carried which would work on this car was exactly the same piece of junk I already had.  Of course.  Well, since this one was here and mine was 45 minutes away in the wrong direction, I bought it.  I also had the forethought to buy a tire pressure gauge since I didn’t bring one of those either, and I would need it when I mounted the new tire.  Twenty minutes later we were back on the highway, headed for Moss Motors in Goleta.

Arriving at Moss, we went in and purchased a tire and tube, plus a couple other small supplies we would need.  Their warehouse person had failed to show up for work and another one had to be called in.  I’m sure this never happens, but if it was going to happen then this would be the day for it!  It was nearly two hours before we had our parts in hand and on the car.  But no, it wasn’t quite as simple as that!  As I started to mount the tire, I realized I had no way to inflate it.  Moss had nothing to offer which could help in this regard, so I was resigned to the fact that I would have to find a gas station to fill the tire.  Just as all hope seemed lost, a guy came walking out of a trailer park to see if I needed help changing my tire.  The only help I needed was with inflation, and to my delight he said he could handle that!  He walked away, then came back with a little 12-volt compressor.  I felt bad telling him I had no cigar lighter socket to plug it into, but he was unphased as he left, then came back with his station wagon and a couple cold soft drinks for us.  It was RC Cola as I recall.  We thanked him, and while he refused payment we did let Moss know how helpful their neighborhood trailer park resident was.

We were now at least three hours behind schedule and $450 poorer.  But, we were on the road and headed for GoF West!  We made very good time as we headed up the coast in top gear, pushing the TC as fast as we could.  A ring on Linda’s cell phone revealed that some of the group (mostly the faster drivers) had stopped for breakfast (also known around here as donuts) and we were now only 25 minutes behind them!  To our surprise, we pulled into Lompoc and found the group waiting for us with two huge and delicious donuts reserved for us.  What a generous group of people TC’ers are!

Finally a group, we set off north along the coast, darting inland on occasion as we headed for lunch in an old-time rail car diner.  Much food and ice cream was consumed before rolling back to our cars and continuing onward.

On the road again, we headed north, then inland from Pismo Beach.  Ordinarily we would stay on the coast, but this year there were some terrible wildfires in California and several of them were blocking our normal routes.  During one of our detours, we took the opportunity to drive a road that is favorite to some and feared by others.  It’s steep, narrow and rough.  There is one section of downhill that is so steep that you have to creep your car down and hope the bumps don’t cause you to lose traction and accelerate.  It was on this section that a car in another group lost his brakes due to a faulty part of some sort.  No one was hurt, fortunately, and repairs were made on the spot.  Wild turkeys were something to watch out for as we came down from the mountain before taking a much needed break at farm / gift shop near Cambria.

Shortly after, we hit the road again, heading north along the coast beyond Cambria to San Simeon where we would meet the rest of our group, who had gone ahead at Lompoc.  We were now a rather large group of T-Cars!  Happy hour was happy indeed, with good friends, great cars and more importantly lots of food!

On to Page Two…