Gathering of the Faithful West
July 6-10, 2008
A small but dedicated group from the BMCU met in Springville, Utah on the Fourth of July
for the 855 mile trek to Monterey, California for the Annual GoF West. And to the surprise of this writer, all
were on time for the departure.
Our route took us across the Nevada desert via Highway 6 to Tonopah, where we spent our first night. Enduring the drive were David and Carol Mark trailering the MG TD; Floyd and Kathy Inman (with granddaughter Kyleen) pulling Hyacinth; and the traditionalist, Gary Lindstrom driving his MG TD. This was to be the longest leg of the drive and by the time we reached our destination all were ready for a cold one.
Being the 4th, we encountered several celebrations along the road, including the Parade in Delta.
Day two was to be a rather scenic, yet short 225 mile run. And the first part proved to be just that. Highway 120 from Benton, California to Lee Vining has got to be one of the most enjoyable, and beautiful stretches of highway you could ask for a drive in a LBC. However, driving past Lee Vining to Bridgeport, then over Sonora Pass is where we encountered our most difficult stretch of road. Beautiful, yes; steep, yes.
Bridgeport presented $5.29 per gallon gas, and Sonora Pass presented a 26% grade. Yes, I said 26%. And the grade went on for about 15 miles up and another 26% grade down for about 20 miles. This was the first time I had ever seen a grade that steep, no less drive it. And not surprising, the TD fared better that the two gas guzzlers pulling trailers. Coming down the west side of the pass Gary overheated his brakes a bit, but David and Carol were in for a complete brake replacement.
After finally conquering this hill (9,790 feet) we continued along to Jamestown, California where we had to fight a third world war over our room reservations then enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal and some fine (and deserved) wine.
Our third day was uneventful (other than Floyd getting us lost a few times), bringing us into Monterey around noon where we met up with David and Muriel Machovec who had driven down from Oregon, and Jon and Susan Hermance who had flown over. Jons excuse was that he was flying to India immediately after the meet and couldnt afford to miss his flight.
Orientation that evening provided us with a review of what was to be expected over the next four days.
Day One of the GoF West began with the Car Show where David and Carol Marks walked away with an award for the TC. The event was held at the Monterey County Fair Grounds a bit over half mile from the hotel. It was a very nice venue with about 150 MGs parked in a grass field.
That evening brought on the annual Auction Dinner where a large number of items donated from various individuals and companies that support the GoF West. Prior to the auction we held the Second Annual Whitworth Derby where small wooden cars race across the floor.
Day Two took us on a Rallye along the beautiful Monterey / Carmel coast, then up into the hills of the Carmel Valley and back to the coast. About 70 miles in all where most, if not all of us got lost at least once. That evening we were on our own, so Gary took the group to the Elks Lodge where we infringed (crashed) a birthday party in progress. The pizza set the stage for another Italian meal. When in doubt about where to eat, just ask the bar keep at an Elks Lodge.
Day Three brought out the bargain hunters for our Swap Meet. It also brings out the brave of heart for the Funkhana where Floyd and Kyleen won the event last year, but didnt fare so well this year. Kyleen, however, took a second run with Steve Currie (our photographer) at the wheel of Hyacinth and took second place. At least a BMCU car brought home an award even if it wasnt driven by a BMCU member.
That evening we held our Awards Banquet where the plaques were presented to all of the winners, including Gary, who won the Long Distance award for the furthest distance traveled in a pre-1956 MG to the event.
Day Four brought the entire group together for our Winners Circle before departing for home. The three of us headed out in different directions with the Inmans headed for San Francisco; Marks and Gary headed for Reno where they parted company, as David and Carol stayed for a visit with relatives and Gary headed across the Nevada desert.
But for the California fires with all of the smoke; the fried brakes, and a few times where we lost our way this was one enjoyable GoF West, and we would encourage all MG owners in the BMCU to mark their calendars for next years event to be held in Squaw Valley, California June 22 to 26. This is a full days drive closer and with luck it will be fire free.
Click here for photos by Floyd Inman and Steve Currie