GT-42: Solvang, CA
Time For Another GT & Time For More Memories
The sun had burned off most of the early morning mist by the time he had wiped down his portion of the windscreen and she in turn had wiped down her portion. They were careful to use cloth towels due to Rainex being applied a couple of days ago before they had set off from home.
Luggage stowed, GPS plugged in and all those miscellaneous items gleaned from years of previous trips to GT’s placed in their door pockets they were ready to begin the day’s journey. But not before applying sun screen and making sure that today’s maps were readily available.
Driver: “I feel like the inside of a sunscreen bottle. And now I have to get out of the “A” and check the oil. How could I forget to do that? Hand me a towel from on top of the tunnel so I don’t apply sunscreen to the bonnet.”
Navigator: “If you weren’t so busy double checking me you would have remembered to do that. After all we have honed our arrival and departure routines done to a Gene Kelly choreography number. Oh yea, don’t forget to put your cell phone in your door pocket when you get back in. You do have your cell phone don’t you?”
Driver: “Yes I do, why wouldn’t I? Heck with the bonnet open I might as well check the brake fluid level. I’m really out of kilter today. Well at least several others in our traveling group seem to be in the same situation. Wonder what caused this group disconnect?”
Navigator: “It wouldn’t be all of us staying for just one more set of a Jimmy Buffet style band at the roadhouse across the street from our motel, would it? We were all parrot heads last night and our ‘little red cups never seemed to stop being refilled.”
We’ve been traveling to GT’s since 1994 when we went to our first one in Winston Salem, NC. Since then we’ve been all over the map in the US and Canada. Each GT is different and each one holds special memories for us. Fabulous wineries in Oregon and Lake Niagara region of Ontario, learning the “2 step” from Miss Trixie at Grapevine, TX, walking the “quad” at the University of VA in Charlottesville, or taking part in a rallye in West Virginia where we thought we were being drawn into “Deliverance” country. We can also lay claim to having experienced our fair share of micro breweries and seeing the difference in regional brewing habits and tastes. GT’s have also given us the opportunity to explore many different types of museums, historic homes and race tracks. Traveling to each GT also lets us view many different MG’s and their owners
There are two things that attract us to GT’s. The first is the traveling to and from the event. We usually travel with a group but we’ve also traveled alone. The point here is that traveling in an MG whether it be an “A” or a Magnette or any MG is that you are literally the trip. That is you become part of the landscape that you are traveling through. You’re usually on secondary roads so you get to see parts of North America up close. Because you’re on non interstates for the most part you will see and meet the local people, experience local cuisine and have time to take in the different sights and sounds of small towns in America and Canada. Heck we’ve made a hobby out of experiencing yet another new take on the barbeque sandwich whenever we stop for lunch at local establishments. Our favorite to date was years ago somewhere in North Carolina or Tennessee when we stopped at a local luncheonette and had an incredible open faced barbeque with massive amounts of cole slaw heaped on it with as much french fries as you wanted. We knew it was a winner because there were several police officers in there chowing down with us.
The other thing that attracts us to GT’s is the people. Each GT is like a mini high school or college reunion. We’ve made many friends through the years and it’s so nice renewing friendships each year. Pool side banter and joking around on a lazy summer day with friends from all over North America and sometimes from the UK, Australia or South Africa is always special to us. Touring Graceland will always be remembered as the time twelve of us piled into a limo and went to dinner as we had to duck low so the local police did not spot our over loaded limo. Elvis may have left the auditorium but we sure followed him! Talking with “first timers” at GT’s is always a hoot. And the next year several of them will be with us at the pool swapping MG stories about their travels.
Navigator: “I was just thinking. Do you remember the two NAMGAR Regionals at Watkins Glen in 2014 and was it 2004? How could you not? We blew our clutch in ’04 approaching our motel after a winery tour. Both times we participated in running the original course on city and rural streets and literally over a set of railroad tracks.”
Driver: “ Geesh we lucked out, our son-in-law had trailored his Lotus 7 so we put our “A” on his trailer which he drove back home and we drove his “7” back home. Was it luck or was it fate? I happen to think that it was fate because we were destined to have a good time no matter what. I have to say that it’s a toss up between Watkins Glen and Niagara on the Lake as my two favorite small towns. I’ll tell you what on our 2014 trip we did get a photo of our “A” with us in front of a long water fall about a few miles south of the “Glen” on an absolutely spectacular day.“
Navigator: “Could it possibly be that both areas have outstanding wineries? But you’re right; both are out-standing however I thought you would choose the “Glen” because of the race track and racing history. You know something; I’m thinking as far as favorites go I’d have to say that Whistler, BC, has to be right up there. Just the ride from Vancouver up to Whistle was spectacular to say nothing of the views from atop the ski mountain.”
Driver: “You make a good point but then again we’ve really never regretted any GT that we’ve attended. They’ve all been great”
Life is good, especially when attending a GT. Its fun to see a hotel parking lot filled with MG’s. It’s even more fun to walk around the parking lot with the proverbial beer in your hand and kick tires with people. GT’s are usually mid week allowing those members still working plenty of travel time on both ends. Attending GT’s in an MG also teaches you how to really pack intelligently. Soft luggage is recommended as well as wash and wear clothes. Packing for your MGA is also important. The right set of spares and tool selection is important. Prior to leaving as we do before each trip, each spare will be examined and repacked. We’re also firm believers in “Niner’s Law” which states that for every spare and tool you take you will probably not need it! However if you do need it, it’s there. Also we take along the NAMGAR Membership Directory just in case we really need a helping hand a million miles from home.
We hope to see you at the GT in Solvang this year? We’re planning on meeting up with our VA friends and traveling from Virginia Beach across the country to Solvang, CA, and then driving back. We’re going to be taking secondary roads for the most part and we’re going to take parts of the original Route 66. We’ve never been to most of the areas on the route so it’s going to be fun to see the scenery and experience the varied culinary dishes of each area.
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Last updated on February 28, 2017.