Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 8

Mike Darby, well-known British car restorer and SABCC'er is on the road his newly-restored 1959 MGA roadster with daughter Stella, undertaking the dream trip of a lifetime. The Darby duo will be traveling from their Alabama Gulf Coast home to Southern California, then up the Pacific Coast to Oregon and then back to the Heart of Dixie. 

Stella has kindly agreed to send along a daily report of their progress as well as observations of the people and places that make up our nation.

 Stu Bowman and his colleagues at Moss Motors in Goleta gave us a royal welcome today.  We toured the operations centre and the warehouse, had our portraits taken (or rather, the MGA’s!) on the lawn, and enjoyed a great lunch with Stu.  He and Mike have dealt over the phone for 20 years, finally meeting in person today.  Everyone we met treated us like friends, taking time to chat, admire the car, and wish us bon voyage.  Madge the MG even received a gift, in the form of a brake pedal pad. 

Also – clich├ęd but true – it’s a small world (after all):  the receptionist at Moss happened to be from Fairhope, Alabama, and another employee had spent Spring Breaks in Gulf Shores!  We couldn’t have asked for warmer hospitality – a big thank-you to Stu and everyone we met.

Before our Moss Motors visit, we squeezed in a yoga class at a place our waitress recommended.  It helped combat the effects of being squeezed into the MGA for 2500+ miles ourselves.  Mike was a great sport despite it being a challenge – though, in fact, perhaps not so different from some contortions required for car maintenance.  In yoga, as in life... .  (You fill in the blank!)

After our lovely lunch we bid our friends at Moss goodbye and headed north.  Wherever possible we stuck to Pacific Coast Highway 1, though between Santa Barbara and Arroyo Grande the road winds through hilly farmland rather than skirting the coast.  (If the Midwest is the breadbasket of America, is California the vegetable drawer and fruit bowl?)  A particularly strong crosswind tested our steering abilities. 

Driving with the lights on for safety backfired when we forgot to turn them off during roadside map-reading.  One bump-start makes you feel like an intrepid team; a second, on a full stomach, less so!  A battery check and a few other maintenance investigations shall be tasks for tomorrow morning.  Tonight we’ll hope for a good night’s sleep at Robin and Paul’s, our hosts through Air BnB, before meeting another business associate in San Luis Obispo tomorrow.

As we head up Highway 1 again towards Monterey we’ll look forward to more ocean views, like the fantastic one we enjoyed during our evening meal…except probably, as always, with a bit more wind!

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