“They that go down to the sea in ships British sports cars…they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.” Psalm 107, more or less.
Those were the old days, and these are the Austin Healey drivers of today, who journeyed from “Mountains to the Sea” on August 2, and showed much greater temperance even though, per one noted member, “We’re a drinking club with a driving problem.”
Twenty-seven club members in fourteen mostly British cars met at the Los Gatos Lodge parking lot where we were given delightful swag bags containing two crunchy granola bars (in case we didn’t make it to the restaurant by lunchtime), two waters (not sure if those were for members or radiators), and two Tootsie Roll pops, to equip us for
the inevitable delay any eventuality. The day would reveal how expert Nick and Sandy Klein and Cindy and David Cross are at orchestrating and conducting a club outing.
The drive from Los Gatos to Burrell Schoolhouse Winery on Summit Road (42.5 miles, but who’s counting?) tested drivers’ steering mechanisms as we hugged the hairpin curves, hell-bent on making it to the winery. John and I kept an eye on the Korbays, who were driving their cute little Mini. John explained to me that, “No, it doesn’t have air conditioning either; you’re thinking of today’s Mini Coopers. Theirs is an Austin Mini.” I love how my husband can explain the world to me.
Burrell’s lady sommelier explained that the school was in operation from 1890 until 1954, and in 1974 was developed into vineyards and a boutique winery. They use heritage Cletrac tractors for cultivation and do all other operations by hand. A totally charming stop.
Happy, but not dangerously so, we motored on to the Sea Harvest Fish Market in Moss Landing. If Nick was not an air traffic controller in a previous life, he could be one now. Watching him herd fourteen cars into the parking lot off Highway 1 (and back out again after lunch) with traffic moving at parade speed, was a sight to behold. And he smiled the whole time!
Lunch at the Sea Harvest was fabulous. Fish, fish, fish, and the restaurant is owned and operated by fishermen. You learn a lot about people when you break French bread with them. Jerri Nock is a gourmet, per the Merriam Webster definition (“possessing a discriminating and cultivated taste in food”). When her
chunk of raw tuna seared Ahi was set before her, right next to me, I asked:
“You’re going to eat that?”
Jerri replied, “Well, yes, although I thought it might be a bit more seared.” And then she ate it! (I couldn’t watch.) She also eats sushi, she told me.
We learned that Marty owns 150 pairs of reading glasses because they’re cheaper by the dozen. It’s a very funny story—ask him next time.
As we left the restaurant, the Healey daddies soaked up compliments from passersby in the parking lot. Isn’t this a nice picture of them with the Moss Landing towers in the background? The Blevins brought one of their four (!) bug-eye Sprites. I don’t think they’re cheaper by the dozen, though.
Before and/or after lunch (wine does nothing for my memory), we drove through the Salinas farmlands, guessing at the various kinds of crops along the way. Strawberries were easy—they perfumed the air; it smelled like a veritable jam factory.
Our last stop was the Kirigen Winery in Gilroy, home of the chocolate wine! Well, chocolate-infused wine. They take a red, age it forever, add chocolate, orange, and coffee flavors, and then kick it up a notch with brandy. Mmmmmmm.
At the winery, I was able to
interrogate interview Harriet Anderson, the winner of multiple Iron Man Triathlons and one of my idols of the “significant other” group:
“Harriet, how do you run triathlons when my sports doctor said if my knee hurts, stop running?”
Harriett: “My knees don’t hurt.”
I love her positive attitude. She acknowledged that sports doctors are the best, but they’re not always right. And, oddly enough, my knee stopped hurting when I did the exercises.
We parted company with the group in Almaden Valley and motored home. By the end of the day, we had registered 250 miles on our odometer. Marty Allen commented that with all that driving, it was starting to resemble a car club. MyHusbandTheEngineer observed that 250 miles equals half-way to the Rendezvous in Oregon. Had I known, I might have brought the RV again.