Finishing the journey south…
After a fairly short and chilly slumber in the WRX we hit the road fast and made our way south. The morning sun had not shown its face to the swell of the Pacific and the roads were barren. Whatever causes my odd sense of vigour in the morning on the road is something I could definitely benefit from translating into everyday work life. I had my heel toe skills working overtime on the narrow and unforgiving corners of the California asphalt that paves Pacific Coast Highway. The eurobeat tune of Dave Rodgers electronic music was playing through the terrible Subaru Fujitsu stereo. The miles seemed to pass without effort and before we new it Socal was not far away.
We took the morning to enjoy a breakfast in the small town of Cayucos after a brief visit to the beach in Salinas. The food we ate he night before had left me with the worst stomach pain via fried calamari. After some food and several ounces of coffee we were back on the road and making damn good time. Right up until we hit a huge traffic Jam just north of Malibu that took over an hour to go one mile, welcome to LA!!!! Once we cleared the turned over box truck and ensuing chaotic traffic dance it was back into high gear and rolling on to Huntington Beach!
Takin it easy
The first couple days in Huntington were about settling in for a nice relaxing California getaway. I spent some time puttering around enjoying some time with my wife and family as well as tinkering with the Subaru to satisfy my need to be mechanical. I even got some skateboarding into the vacation cocktail and proceeded to find out just how out of shape I really am. It couldn’t have phased me to much because I was eating donuts for breakfast and lunch like everyday…..B%^ch I’m ON VACATION.
I was also pretty lucky to get to see my buddy Jacob who I ran Power Tour 2017 with. He hails from Georgia but lives and works in LA. He gave me the inside scoop on what he had planned for his latest project with the Green Hornet’ (his AMC wagon) that involved a daring plan to set a classic car record on the cannonball run! If you follow him on Instagram you know he had an epic run!
After showing me around his trick mods for the upcoming trip we took a ride in the Sportabout to one of Jakes’ watering holes for some of the best damn food I have had in the USA ever! I won’t even tell you where it is, but Jacob might. Once again we said “so long” and I made my way back home for the night to begin prepping for my next bit of Golden State fun!
Time to Slay Some Canyon Roads
Months ahead of our trip I had planned on at least two days in the canyons above LA. I had my sights set on the famous Mulholland Highway and its various offshoot side roads that snaking through the Santa Monica Mountains.
After a couple days of chilling by the pool and enjoying the watered down easy drinking yankee brews I decided to make my way north to take on the corners of Mulholland, Topenga, and Agoura canyons. I made sure the car was set to stop and go the day before by giving the brakes a good service and cleanup as well as adjusting some coil over settings.
With everything sorted and the car fresh and clean I arrived at the bottom of Topenga Canyon with a smile on my face! Within the first two corners all the excitement I had felt the previous trip to LA came flooding back. The WRX is not the fastest little four door, in fact uphill my old Focus ST would devour it. However the all wheel drive system and low end torque made for excellent corner exits and massive amounts of mechanical grip. What the WRX lacks in Agility it makes up for in smooth cornering and massive confidence and control. The car may be a bit too low to fully attack the sharp and undulating corners of the canyons but regardless of the fairly frequent scraping in the wheel well I kept the throttle open!
The Blue Audi of Agoura
Late in the day I made my way into Ventura county to meet up with a dude by the name of Adam. He and I have talked a lot on Instagram after attending the first Ziptie drags together in 2017. We always talked about doing some canyon carving one day when I was in town and it just so happened he had time to show me around!
We met up at his home in near Agoura Hills and he showed me around his fleet that includes an old late 60’s f-100, a 93 F-250 his built Audi S4 and his late model Charger daily driver. We shot the bull for a few minutes and then we headed to the hills to get our tires squeaking.
Adam is a veteran of canyon driving and quickly laid down some solid corners in the Audi even dancing the car through a few tight sections with some tasteful oversteer and excellent lane keeping! After we finished the last few corners we stopped at a pullout to let the cars cool and take a few photos. Unfortunately the afternoon drive was cut short by a massive nail in Adams tire. We made our way down the twisty road and ended up taking the last few miles at speed following a BMW who seemed to have a bit of a lead foot. It put a cap on an epic day of driving and pushing the car to its limits. After some tacos and a beer I bid Adam farewell and made the hour long drive back to Huntington Beach.
Cool wheels, awesome people, good times…
The rest of the trip sort of was the usual California fun, lots of sun, smog, beer, tacos and of course good times with my family. The last two days before leaving on a Sunday I got to take a tour of Wheel Pros in Buena Park. I had recently outfitted the Subaru with Motegi wheels and when they saw it on my Instagram a fellow named Josh invited me down to check out where they came from! They hooked me up with a goodie bag of stickers and my new favourite hat and I literally saw 1000’s of wheels! I even got to see what Fredric Aasbo would be running on his Formula D drift car for the final round at Irwindale. If there is one thing that is a constant in Cali its that car people have wonderful hospitality.
Finally on the Saturday morning I stumbled out of bed at 4am and slammed back a coffee before heading out to Adams Avenue donuts. Why the hell would I get up that early of donuts? well they come with a nice healthy dose of Hot Rods, low-riders, late model muscle, gassers, and even supercars. Donut Derelicts is a must do for anyone visiting the Orange County area. It has to be my favourite cruise in to attend not only due to its’ insanely diverse turnout but the history and legacy behind the famous gathering, not to mention the donuts are probably the best you’ll ever devour.
The Only Bad Part is Leaving
So the dreaded Sunday of departure came, boy was I depressed. Well not actually, but the blues of once again saying goodbye to Orange County where almost overwhelming as I cruised out of Huntington Beach onto the 405 north. Once I hit the interstate it was pedal to the metal at 4000 rpm all the way home. That is until I was detoured eastward outside of Mount Shasta due to a forest fire jumping the I-5. The detour took me from the I-5 east out of Redding on highway 299. It was a fun winding road and battling slow trucks and family vans made it like a midnight touge’ session. The detour then turned back north and then west on highway 89 toward Mount Shasta. An overturned truck hauling a hot dog stand meant the detour was delayed another 40 minutes but once cleared I was back underway and soon made my way into Oregon.
Another one in the bag
I had pulled into a rest stop around 2:30am outside of Gold Hill Oregon due to my eyes fighting their way closed for the last 50 miles. After a surprisingly comfortable rest in the back seat I fired up the turbski little ricer and googled the nearest Dutch bros coffee hut. The only highlight of the final leg was the amazingly horrible gas mileage in the Subaru and me earning one free beverage from Dutch Bros. Thats right I drank so much coffee I friggin maxed out a stamp card! After several hours in traffic and construction through north Oregon and Washington I crossed the border, turned up Balsam Street and pulled into the driveway. Another trip in the books, and I wasn’t even close to being late for work the next day.
I am forever grateful I get to go as much as I have/do and I can’t wait to make the most of the next days I get down south. Sometimes it can be a stretch and maybe the wallet doesn’t agree with my choices, but memories and stories with my wife and loved ones are priceless to me. Now a-days work and responsibilities are making the gaps between trips a lot longer. The trade off is I get to work with great folks, buy more car parts and nice nights out with my girl, and drive rad cars everyday. Maybe one day life will keep me more behind the lens and the wheel, hopefully whenever or whatever happens I’ll see you on the road.
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