Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 9

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.


We felt fresh this morning after a good night’s sleep and tasty coffee thanks to our B&B hosts Robin and Paul.  Mike swapped the old battery for the new spare while Stella went for a longer-than-intended jog.  Both tasks proved helpful in getting us out of Arroyo Grande on our way to San Luis Obispo.  There, Jason Len gave us a tour of his impressive operations at XKs Unlimited, and we got to meet sales manager Armando PiƱera with whom Mike’s done business for years.  

Next we continued north, venturing the most exciting stretch of Highway 1 so far.  We lunched at a characterful, tasty Mexican restaurant in San Simeon recommended by Mike’s nephew Tim (whom SABCC members may recognise as The Correspondent from Across the Pond)!  Next we stopped to peer incredulously at elephant seals on the beach down the road – lounging, galumphing, swimming and barking at each other, so ugly they are almost beautiful.  

This point in the road marks the beginning of excitement for the driver (and a surreptitious tightening of the seatbelt by the passenger).  We both took turns and drove the MG hard – so as not to hold up any other cars on the road, of course.  Stopping often to take photos, we repeatedly remarked how lucky we felt to be able to enjoy such an incredible trip.
Our arrival in Salinas to stay with our next B&B hosts brought a different kind of adventure as we tried to cobble together handwritten directions, half-labelled internet maps and the road atlas’s meagre offering.  Several U turns and one mid-junction bump-start later (with the help of a kind onlooker!), we arrived at our hosts Han Wei and Hui Wu’s lovely home.  We were pleased to pull the MG safely into the garage.  Further investigation will hopefully reveal the reason for continued total loss of power when running the headlights, despite the new battery…another early morning spanner session seems likely.  

Tomorrow we’ll continue to San Francisco where Nancy will join us, having handed over keys and pet food to the trusty house-sitter.  We look forward to another gorgeous stretch of coastal highway before meeting Nancy, then catching up with an old friend of Stella’s now living on the west coast.  It must be time to try some seafood soon...


  1. Glad the restaurant was a) still there and b) still serving good food!! It's the kind of road which begs you to throw your vehicle down it. Good news if you're in a classic MG, bad news if you're in a Buick Regal hire car... Enjoy the rest of the trip!


  2. Yeah, it was great (the restaurant, and the road too). Funny to get a recommendation from the north of England for the west coast, haha. Stella facebooking ;)


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