Open Road to Mineral Springs - Ride and Drive

Article By Carlos Amato Photos author and Pat Davis

I get real pleasure out of getting up very early in the morning on a driving event day. Knowing I will be driving the Ferrari 500 miles in a very short period of time gets me out of bed very fast. Actually I slept very little the night before.

On May 28 - 29, a group of 20 Ferraris tuned in for the Mineral Springs Drive and weekend in the Santa Ynez Valley near San Luis Obispo, CA. For those who have not participated in this event before and are considering it for next year, I have to say it could be the best drive you've ever had in your Ferrari. This event will challenge your driving skills until you get tired of it or the ladies start to turn purple and threaten to jump out of the car.

The event took the group through some of the best and most isolated back roads in Southern California. This year's drive brought back several participants from last year as well as several FOC and new Club members.

Starting in Valencia we headed north and soon got down to business travelling inland. I had just fitted my car a week earlier with brand new tires. I don't want to get technical here, but I have to admit that what I like about the XWX Michelin tires is that they lower the limit of the car in such a way that you get to drive it sideways very often. Add to this a stretch of 30 miles of newly paved desolated strips of winding asphalt with a gazillion elevation changes, banked curves, the absence of guardrails and you get the idea. I have to keep reminding myself that gravity and the laws of physics usually win.

The group included an amazing range of cars: from the Hatakeyama's fabulous GTO (288), a Daytona coupe, a 275 GTB4,365, 308, 328, 348 Series Speciale, Testarossa, Mondial Coupe, Mondial T, 355, 550 Maranello, and more. Wesley, who with his wife Tracy showed up with two Ferraris and an enclosed trailer, asked why there wasn't a 360 Modena. (?!)

We arrived at the restaurant around noon and sat down to eat lunch and give our adrenaline levels a chance to return to normal. The steak sandwiches were pretty good? well, we guys like them. Then it was back in the cars for a scenic drive led by Richard Cole (this year we went through Pismo Beach) to the resort.

The Sycamore Mineral Springs has it all: private spas in each room with hot mineral spring water from the resort well, private masseuse, wonderful grounds to walk around, a great bar, hot tubs scattered up the hillside and there are even some suites with private garages.

A cocktail party and dinner were hosted in the resort's private dining room, where everyone shared the day's adventures and stories. After dinner a really entertaining gift game for all participants took place. There were some Ferrari items and some gag gifts--it turned out to be a hoot.

The next morning we got our wake-up calls and a light breakfast delivered to each room. We then met for our morning drivers' meeting where the instructions for the drive to our brunch destination were discussed. Richard and Joanie Cole led the group to the Rancho Sisquoc Winery, after the mandatory fill up at his very own Chevron gas station.