February 2014, and we’ve been accepted to take part in the Copperstate 1000, again. My navigationally challenged mechanical cousin will be resurrecting his role of co-driver, and I’m optimistic my Christmas gift of “Map Reading for Dummies” was both appreciated and studied. Third year in a row and the event feels like a favourite leather jacket; becoming more comfortable as time passes.
There were a number of high points from last year; but the best aspect was being locked in a small metal container with a family member. Although we’ve known each other my entire life, I left England in the mid 90’s; so our time together has been limited. Without question, my initial excitement was replaced with a nervous tinge of “What have I done?” as his arrival date loomed. Biology only gets you so far, and can’t guarantee you’ll actually like each other. I still thought of him as my slightly eccentric teenage touchstone of grown-upness; but our reality was going to be two relative (pardon the pun) strangers singing “getting to know you” under possibly stressful circumstances.
Fortunately, what we both discovered, much to our amusement; was just how similar we are. I score more points on the style and navigation scale; but the eerily familiar twisted sense of humour and occasional sentence finishing couldn’t be ignored. Being able to fill in the blanks of our respective lives over the past twenty years since I moved from England ended up being an absolute gift; and allowed us both to be extremely honest about the good and bad experiences that inevitably come with growing up.
And then of course, there’s….the ears!
Please don’t laugh but, I have ridiculous ears. They are far too small to be effective as a permanent hair hook, and seriously limited my piercing options in the 80’s due to the size of the lobes. Apparently they were supposed to continue growing, but clearly mine never received the memo. I realise on an important list of things to change, I maybe score a 2.5/100, but nevertheless – they’ve been a source of embarrassment and teasing at numerous times. The only marginally good news on my auditory horizon, I have one on each side; better news – he ended up with the same model! Clearly there was a bulk purchasing deal somewhere in the 18 months between the two of us being born, as our lugs could be identical twins.
Anyway, I digress. Back-ish to the original topic…..
I’d planned to try Autocross with the Egg after Copperstate 2012. An idea that never came to fruition, but still remains on the bucket list. Post 2103, my mind switched to the concept of endless road trips. Discovering how easy the car could deal with 1000 miles meant CA is really nothing more than a combination of Google maps and willing participants.
The high spot of this plan came last summer, when I persuaded a friend to come with me for a quick backroads trip to Santa Barbara. Inspired by the route book we have for each event, I spent a couple of day meandering my marker along different roads on Google, paying particular attention to the windier and smaller options. By the time I’d finished, my spiders web was a thing of beauty, matched only by my excitement to show off this newfound prowess of “Routemaster”. Or would that be Route mistress?
We headed out early, as the journey was to include Santa Paula, Ojai and Lake Casitas. Turning off the 118 towards Moorpark, I couldn’t help but notice how impressed my passenger seemed to be as he reviewed my detailed and very specific directions. Smiling, I confirmed two rights and a left would have us heading towards the 118 and fabulous switchbacks of Grimes Canyon in no time!
Except….the second right was a cul-de-sac, and clearly taking us nowhere. At this point, I had to also admit I’d forgotten to grab the back-up Thomas Guide, last seen sitting on the dining room table (such a rookie mistake). It’s a behemoth map book, about the size of War & Peace, and covers all routes available in LA (to my English friends, it’s our equivalent of London’s A-Z, but on way on more steroids than even Lance Armstrong could imagine taking, evah!). Realistically you’ll only use 10 -15 pages regularly, but it’s always useful to have the other 300 plus available in case you are lost somewhere in the inner or outer limits of Los Angeles.
There was only one option, a quick duelling of technology – Iphone versus Android. I’m still not really sure who won, but it was certainly interesting listening to Suri and her Samsung cousin giving directions in stereo. Minor hiccup soon overcome, and we headed in the correct direction towards our final destination. Snagging the Grimes Canyon section for my own driving pleasure, once we were back to more pastoral vistas I handed the keys over, and settled into the navigator’s chair.
There’s nothing quite like watching the Egg waving her magic on another unsuspecting victim. Sure enough; it was only a matter of revs before the irresistible combination of smooth gear shift and perfect handling as we headed around Lake Castaic, produced that slightly idiotic grin I’ve seen only too often on my own face. By the time we reached Ojai, he was completely smitten and I felt almost unkind when I suggested “Maybe, I could drive for a bit?”
So…as I start preparations for 2014, I’m confident that it’s going to be another great adventure!!
(Editors note: Suri = Tom’s Cruise’s daughter. Siri = Apple Voice Recognition. Apologies to Mr. C for any confusion that may have ensued)