Alpine adventure: Snowball Rally 2010

Update 4/29/10 10:30am: Jon Fox now has a photo set up

Update 4/29/10: Jeff Glenn has posted his pictures on his JAG promotions website and as usual taken the whole event documentationthing to the next level.  Enjoy.

Update 4/27/10:  Dave has put togethter a pretty cool movie here, especially cool for those who have wondered what the passenger ride in a ’76 Trans Am 455 is like.  They were in close contention for the gas mileage award with the Imperial.

Also, Ben Buja has a link to his photo sets here on flickr.  He’s one of those guys who manages to take nothing but great pictures.  I think I need lessons!

And, here for your enjoyment is the Bring a Trailer write up of the event.  Another source of great pictures.

The Snowball Rally ran through the Sierra Nevada mountains this last weekend and the Mrs., the Sprint and I were there.  For most participants festivities started at one of the Bay Area night stage roll-offs on Friday evening that, after some Super Oscar exercising backroads between the San Francisco bay and Sacramento, met up at Hot Italian for beverages, some dinner and a lot of speculation as to what the next two days would hold.  For us the rally began early Saturday morning with a quick highway buzz from Oakland to Sacramento. 

I’m going on six years, a dozen events and probably 30,000 miles with the Sprint.  It’s been a faithful companion and after this weekend I have vowed to do some much needed upgrades. Photo by Nick Pon.

Day one is a backroad trip through the foothills south of Tahoe, over the 88 pass to a lunch in Markleeville.  From Markleeville we follow Squirrel track roads paralleling 395, climb the famous ‘commercial route’ 5 mile hill climb into Virginia City, then take the 341 twisties over Geiger pass and down into the valley south of Reno where we pick up 431 over the Mt. Rose pass into North Lake Tahoe for our overnight at the CalNeva.  Maybe 250 miles total.

I think Peter gives you a good indication of how you feel driving around with a bunch of like-minded car enthusiasts.  His black, rubber bumper MGB has successfully done a lot of rallys.

The good of this route is mostly smooth roads that are never too far from civilization, the bad is a (from a sports cars perspective) plague of equally slow moving Harleys, camping rigs, and bicycles (the bicycles were slightly slower than the RV’s and Harleys)  -all in especially high attendance due to the fantastic weather -maybe the best yet for 2010, and this being the first day of fishing season. 

Seth was among the early adopters of the classic suit as rally apparel that has slowly grown in popularity. 

Models?  What models?

Oh, these models!

Sprint at CalNeva.

Fearless leader leads.

The stop over at the CalNeva is always a lot of fun and this years hijinks was especially hi due to the Casino in the hotel having been closed.  I know this doesn’t sound like a reason for heightened fun, but I personally find Casino’s dreadfully dull.  To make up for the lack of a Casino the hotel had some ‘models’ show up and hang out which attracted a bunch of 20-somethings and of course a ‘latest hip-hop DJ’.  On top of this there was a wedding party and of course us.  Bar access was tight with no sign of tapering off at 1am when I turned in.  I saw lots of slow movers on Sunday morning checking oil and washing windows.

These were the ‘models’ who were on hand for pictures and to add a slightly ‘adult’ feel to the evenings fun.  ‘Models’ are the first thing I think of when celebrating Earth Day and the presence of a bunch of rally participants!

There is a lot of this going on at the end of a days drive.  I think I met jay 11 years ago with him on the California Melee in this green GTV.

We did dinner at ‘The Old Range Steakhouse’ in Tahoe Vista with Seth, Ian, Andrew and Dave.  The restaurant was fantastic, like a David Lynch movie set from a 40’s period piece.  We all ordered (by the menus description) smallish steaks that turned out to be huge -probably 16 – 20 oz cooked!  Someone has a picture of me finishing mine off over coffee on Sunday morning.

SSSmiles all around.

Day two’s route goes along north lake Tahoe to Truckee, from there out to Quincy for lunch then down the Feather River canyon to Marysville then along the river road and back into Sacramento.  The good of this day is epic roads, the bad… it’s the last day!

Chasing the SS on the road to Quincy.

The banquet was at Celestin’s in down town Sacramento.  Celestin’s needs commendation because they are the only restaurant I’ve been to on one of these events who could handle table service for such a large group without dreadful waits and compromised food quality.  Dinner is always followed by a brief awards ceremony, this year with a fabulous Jag taking ‘Spirit of’.  Once the award is passed over and Jeff thanks everyone for showing up and particularly for not crashing, an odd feeling falls over the crowd.  Goodbyes are being said with genuineness, enthusiasm and sadness because they are good byes from a shared great time.  Everyone goes out of their way to say goodbye to everyone else -even to people they only smiled at all weekend without making an introduction.  The powerful call of Monday mornings practicalities soon wins out and little groups arranged by destination pull away in the sunsets’ meaningfully reflective orange, exhaust notes trailing off.  As I pull out I realize these rallys have become a class reunion of sorts, with a similar component of the measure of my personal progress through life.

Larry and Andrew somewhere between Vacaville and Fairfield at dusk.

For us the drive home is usually an extension of the rally, going along the river road (HWY 160) but I, and a few other drivers,were inclined to get home quick so we took highway 80.  It’s hard to believe it’s over -of course it’s always a little sad when something you were looking forward to makes the transition from future to past through a lens of the present that moves way to fast.  A memorable time was had though, and that’s something.  See you on the next rally!

I’ll add links to pictures here as they are posted, check back.

Mike Williams pictures

My pictures

Daves Pictures.


3 thoughts on “Alpine adventure: Snowball Rally 2010

  1. Hey Matt: On the Marin Tour you mentioned you had a “fix” for loose screws on Alfa tail lenses. Let me know. I will likely be on the Andrew Watry Tour this coming weekend…

    Steve Fields

    • Let me know how long the one that was loose is. I made some with the correct profile head for SS lenses and they look to have the same heads on a boat tail. If mine are the right length I’ll bring you a few.


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