Motherlode 400 June 2008

This last weekend the Mrs. and I drove the Giulietta Sprint Veloce on Josh Prestis’ second annual Motherlode 400. The event officially starts at 9am in the parking lot of the Jackson Lodge, but for me and others in our caravan it was a 6:30 roll-off from Oakland.
Cars in attendance included a 1971 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Super, an Aston Martin DB4 convertible, some Triumph TR’s, various BMW’s and others; all pre-1975 Sportscars. On day one the event explores the Sierra Nevada Gold country backroads that few other than locals, and probably few even among locals are aware of. A full slideshow of the event can be seen here.

Approaching 395 from 108 after the Sonora Summit. Spectacular scenery traversed by sweeping high speed roads.

Sierra foothills air was still gray after days of wildfires burning all over the state. Hopefully no one noticed our old car exhaust adding to the gloom.

Norm avoids a tree on NF-71 Packsaddle pass road which runs between the Silver Fork recreation area an Sciots Camp just off Highway 50. These little squirrel trail roads tend to be smooth quick roads with well banked turns that the Forest Service clears occasionaly.

The Sprint rests after climbing 6500 feet over about 3 hours, the oil temp was at parity with the water temp a few times. The car felt a little heavier up here, not bad for a car that lives at sea level. The Morris cooper had to get a running start to crest a particularly steep section.

Popsicles all around at the Chevron station in Walker, between Mono Lake and Carson city on 395. Jeff is so frugal with gas he’d rather push his car to a parking spot.

You would think that driving through scenic mountain passes or feeling the thrill of drifting around a surprise hair-pin would be the highlight of these vintage car rally/tour events, but hanging out with old friends and making new ones seems to be the preferred pass time. No one passes up the chance to pull over and share a laugh.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but there is something improper seeming about this picture. A quickly diagnosed deceased Facet fuel pump is changed roadside near Markleeville after lunch on day two. Thankfully Kip had a spare Lucas pump for his Cooper. I’d probably still be up in the mountains trying to sort this out rather than sitting here typing. I’ll do a full post about the root cause of the failure later this week.

The last turn. While arms ache and tired car chugs a small part of you is sad you are making your last turn into town and yet you eagerly look forward to a dinner with friends.

Photographic evidence that it was all just a blur. Tall grass and Oak trees roadside at dusk making the 110 mile trip home Sunday evening.

I’ve done a lot of miles on a backroads the last ten years, but I have to say, Josh, with a little help I presume from Murphy’s local Robert Abusaidi found one of my favorite group of strung together switchbacks and high-speed high-desert roads yet. Motherlode 400 2009 is a definite calender entry for next year. Maybe I can have a somewhat Functional Giulietta Sprint Speciale by then. Either way, look for me there!



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