Monterey Car Week, The Week That Was

Now that the dust has settled (figuratively and actually) and I'm almost back to normal I can look back on the past week and try to put it into perspective.

This year I made a schedule and for the most part I stuck to it. In past years I tried to do too much and ended up missing events I had wanted to see. This year I saw what I wanted and had enough down time to relax and breathe in some fresh ocean air.

Tuesday I went down for the day with a friend. We started off with the Concours On The Avenue. I used to circle around Carmel-By-The-Sea endlessly searching for a parking spot. Usually I ended up blocks away from the event. Last year and again this year I opted for the off-site parking and shuttle. It's the no hassle option. Although parking is free a donation is requested. 

Next we went to the Classic Motorsports Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In on Lighthouse Ave. in Pacific Grove. PG (as the locals call it) is a good place for a smaller, friendly event.

I stayed home Wednesday and headed back down to the Monterey Peninsula Thursday morning for the rest of the week.

Thursday I drove around to some of the auctions to check out what they were selling. I have to say that the auctions always have a great selection. Except for people like me there are cars in almost every price range - I saw estimated prices ranging from around $20,000 up to the stratosphere. 

Thursday night I attended the Legends of Auto Gala. This is an event put together by Bill McCallum, publisher of Global Auto News and, to honor people in the automotive world. It's a great event with the proceeds donated to Curing Kids Cancer ( I met some interesting people and had a great time. Thanks Bill.

Friday I scheduled myself for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. I've never been to the track on Friday before and it was a good choice. There are always some great race cars at the track and I ran into a couple of friends. After leaving the track I stopped for a sandwich at Vainizza's Deli & Market; a great over-stuffed sandwich.

Friday night I met a friend for dinner at Duffy's Tavern & Family Restaurant. Duffy's is a local place, off the beaten path. It has a dive bar vibe but the food is good. Their burgers are fantastic but I was in the mood for something else. So I had linguine with clams. Surprise, surprise it was very good. 

Saturday I attended Concorso Italiano, the all-Italian car show (they do let a few other makes in). Great show and worth the admission especially if you're into Italian cars. I got there early-ish and stayed until just after lunch. Then it was off to the Concours d'Lemons, a tongue-in-cheek car show of the forlorn, ridiculous, orphans, and just plain wackos. 

On leaving the Lemons I had to find a place to change. I figured that if surfers can change by the side of the road so could I. And I did!

The Automotive Fine Arts Society reception started at four p.m. in Carmel-By-The-Sea. Amazingly I found a parking spot right around the corner from the New Masters Gallery. Not only did I see some great art, but I got to catch up with some friends and meet some new friends. 

I wasn't sure what I wanted for dinner, I opted for sushi at Yama Sushi Bar & Restaurant - Excellent!

Sunday is always the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. I am so lucky to be invited to the Meguiar's hospitality suite. Barry and Karen Meguiar are such nice people, really salt of the earth. Due to proposed construction they may, and I have to stress may, lose their spot at Pebble next year. But I have been assured that it the construction isn't done in time for the 2020 Concours the Meguiars and all the others using that wing will be welcomed back for 2021. This is a long planned rebuilding of these units. 

Progress has a place but it is sad when it pushes aside those who have supported or added to events. Monterey Car Week is becoming more and more commercialized, and more and more crowded. Every year I hear more grumbling from locals about traffic. The crowds are a double edged sword - they bring in so much money both for businesses and charities, yet they restrict the normal movement of the locals.

I stayed in Salinas this year because prices and availability of rooms didn't work for me. Normally Salinas is only maybe a twenty-minute drive but if I timed it wrong it was over an hour. I know my way around fairly well but the number of additional cars just can't be overcome by taking the back roads.

One thing I always look for when I'm away from home is good coffee. I've settled on two places on the Peninsula; the East Village Coffee Lounge in Monterey, and PG Java and Juice in Pacific Grove. 

I have to thank Volkswagen and Page One Automotive for my transportation for the week. I know vehicles are in short supply because everybody wants one so thank you very much for the Tiguan.

I know I've forgotten someone or something. It's not intentional. I had a great week. I will do it again next year.


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