This event was a weekend of firsts.
My wife Pam and my first time chairing and planning an FCA ride and drive; the first time this event expanded to include an optional second night's stay; and the first time many of our guests had been on a ride and drive.
Needless to say, new friends and a good time were had by all.
I can't take too much credit for its' success though, because the original architect of this event, Tino Mingori, did such a great job master-minding the route and roadside activities. Also, last year's chair, Carlos Amato, handed over copious notes and e-mails full of invaluable information. (Thank you!)
The weekend began early on a Saturday morning in Valencia where twelve immaculate Ferraris of various vintages, rebuilt and new, made the IHOP parking lot proud. (Five weeks later and I can still feel the adrenaline from the roar of the engines, setting of the suspension in the back to back, left then right then left S's along the ridge route of Highway 166.) We began our drive through picturesque Frazier Park and stopped at Jocko's, an FCA favorite spot, for lunch. There, we were met by Rick Cole who shepherded us through the weekend with his knowledge of local roads and scenic routes. (Thank you Rick and Jill for doing this year after year!)
We reached our destination, the beautiful Sycamore Mineral Springs, mid-afternoon where we had a few hours before our evening program to relax by the pool, enjoy our own private hot tubs, get a massage or facial, or simply stroll through the gardens. Guests were welcomed in their rooms with gift baskets full of Sycamore Mineral Springs goodies including aromatherapy candles, eye soothing soaks, hand-milled soaps, Ferrari-Clad wine, and a chocolate "cavallino rampante" specially made for our event!
At sunset, friends old and new to the club enjoyed appetizers and music on the terrace. Dinner followed, where we enjoyed a live guitar serenade and great conversation. Thanks to Rick and Jill Cole, our evening culminated with a discussion led by Harold Bratton who shared his experiences as a mechanic since the fifties working with such greats as Phil Hill and Richie Ginther.
It was especially gratifying when Tino, the creator of the event, whispered, "Look around the room. Listen to everyone. Doesn't it feel good to see everyone having such a great time?"
It certainly did.
Sunday morning, after bagels and coffee in our rooms, we were off again for a morning run through the back roads of Santa Maria ending with lunch and wine tasting at the Sisquoc Winery. Unique to this year's event, those of us who wished to take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday, enjoyed Sunday evening in Avila Beach dining out on the Pier, San Luis Obispo, or Morro Bay.
I'd like to conclude with the following letter written by Robert Garven, a "first timer" and great enthusiast who rebuilt his own car. Robert posted this on Ferrarilist.com shortly after attending this event. The enthusiasm and appreciation expressed makes our efforts so worthwhile. Thank you to everyone who participated in this event. If you haven't been on an FCA ride and drive, I encourage you to join us on one of our many trips planned for the year.
Side Bar letter by Robert Garven
My wife Rose and I went on a ride and drive this weekend with the FCA Southwest Region to Sycamore Hot Springs in central California. I cannot believe what a wonderful time we had. 13 Ferrari's including 308's, 328's, several 348's including a beautif