Coast-To-Coast Cruise to MG Convention 2017 - San Diego!
- Janet Anderson-Davis
The thought of driving to San Diego from Michigan in a MGB was daunting at first. But Elvin was determined to do so. We decided to drive south to join the Coast-To-Coast group. The group’s itinerary had them leaving Savannah, Georgia on Friday, June 16, and arriving in San Diego Sunday, June 24, with stops in Montgomery, Vicksburg, Shreveport, Waco, Carlsbad, Las Cruces, Tucson, and Yuma.
We left for Nashville, Tennessee early on the morning of June 18. After a night’s stint at a chain hotel we set off to meet our fellow cruisers in Shreveport, Louisiana the afternoon of June 19. The biggest excitement…we took I-49, a new freeway, not downloaded onto our gps. The little car on the gps was just stuck in the Twilight Zone. Tense moments: we were low on gas, but without customary highway signs, we didn’t know where to exit. CBs were created for moments like these and Elvin freely used his to contact a northbound trucker to get the info. Good thing he did, because it was the only fuel stop.
We met Gavin Bailey, Dick Lumney, PJ Lenihan, Mary Beth & Steve Dupus, Roger & Shirley Goebbert, Mary Ellen & Terry McClain, Larry & Gayle Norton, and Sue & Mike Cook, and Ralph Ratta at our designated hotel in Shreveport. Brothers Mark & Rick Huber of Baton Rouge temporarily joined us.
Next stop – Waco, Texas. Although the drive was hot, many of us sported our Coast-To-Coast shirts signifying unity and determination. Or to others it may have signaled lunacy. We stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast. In Waco, we were guests of the Texas MG Register Club at a jovial Mexican restaurant – Ninfa’s.
The trip from Waco, Texas to Carlsbad, New Mexico found us traversing secondary roads under construction. We pushed on at possible peril: the potholes were mini craters ready to swallow our small MGs. Carlsbad to Las Cruces was a mere 165 miles. We stopped at a small road-side store in Cloudcraft where thirsty travelers purchased freeze pops for 20¢ -- a refreshing and much needed treat. The twisty mountain roads were somewhat challenging. The refreshing lunch at The Lodge, a plush golf course restaurant, was a welcome relief. That evening members of the British Motor Car Club of Las Cruces treated us to a wonderful Mexican buffet dinner at Las Posta.
The next day, three cars (Elvin & I, Gavin, and Larry & Gayle Norton) peeled off from the group to travel to Chandler, New Mexico for a night’s stay so that we could arrive in San Diego on Saturday. Ralph stayed in Las Cruces for a diagnosis and temporary repair on his MG. He caught up with us in Chandler that night. I experienced my first Uber ride to Long Horn Restaurant coincidental with slow service, but good food. The stint from Chandler to San Diego was the most arduous: a sheared bolt on our shock (temporarily repaired with zip ties); steep mountain inclines; and overheated engines. The six lane freeway leading into San Diego never looked so good!
The host hotel, Paradise Point Resort was well worth the trip. It featured beaches, several pools, restaurants, bars, a spa, stores, bike rentals, mini-golf, marina, fitness center, tennis courts and meeting facilities. We checked into bungalows with assigned curbside parking and beautiful tropical vistas. John, a local resident and MG enthusiast, loaned Elvin a jack so that Elvin could replace the sheared bolts with those purchased from Home Depot.
The MG Convention did not fail to please: tech sessions by guru John Twist and others; pleasant Oceanside drives; a first-timers’ reception and car show; silent auction; vending by Jeff & Jan (Little British); beachside parties; riverside car show with over 100 vehicles; and of course…the banquet.
We saw fellow Michiganders Sherri & Steve Rybicki and Bruce & Connie Wycoff. Sherri & Steve had flown to the convention and were tooling around San Diego in a rented Mustang convertible. Elvin’s sister, Carolyn aka Zelda, a staunch MG supporter and President of the Southern California Club, also attended. We ate with the South Carolina Club at Sardina's Italian Restaurant.
We toured the USS Midway, and also joined the South Carolina Club, Gavin, and Mary Beth & Steve Dupus at Hodad's Hamburger Joint -- reminiscent of the 1960s. One evening we dined with David, our Navy nephew, stationed in San Diego. Other relatives from San Diego drove to the hotel to meet Elvin and me for the first time. Our Michigan friends, Pat and Leroy Bray, who were in California to visit a new grandbaby, also lunched and toured San Diego with us.
It was bittersweet to turn over the Thornley Award to Jennifer Orum, the new winner. But Elvin took first place for MGB MKIV (late) 1979-1980 and Carolyn took second place for MGB Mk III 74 1/2 – 76.
About 5 a.m. the next morning we took off for Las Vegas to spend time with our eldest son, Elvin III. In Vegas we ate too much; Elvin gambled somewhat; we toured Elvis’ suite; and took in the Motown show. Elvin bravely started the solo drive home and I flew to Detroit Monday morning. On I-40, just before entering Texas, Elvin caught up with Gavin and Mary Ellen & Terry McClain and had lunch with them at a Subway.
Subsequently, his trip took a decided turn.
The cap on the valve cover needed replacement, so Elvin detoured to Lenexa, Kansas to Victoria British to buy one. Just to be sure, he bought two. Afterwards, he made it to Nelson, Missouri where the MG pretty much died. AAA took him to Colombia, a small college town where he was able to rent a U-Haul. Not to be outdone, Elvin backed the MG trailer into the U-Haul and secured it; then hitched the MG to the U-Haul and drove to Michigan. Meanwhile, Arthur (an MG enthusiast who at the last minute, couldn’t make the trip) left his car at our house. He drove Elvin’s truck to meet Elvin at Guy’s house in Ann Arbor. (Guy St. John is a MG mechanic). The MG trailer was hitched to Elvin’s truck. Elvin drove the U-Haul to Farmington to return it. Arthur followed so that Elvin would have a ride home. The MG was left with Guy with whom it’ll reside for some weeks.
This was a wonderful trip and a great convention. I say to my fellow cruisers, not au revoir, adios, sayonara, or masalamee, but rather, "Till we meet again." I’m sure we’ll make the trek to Gettysburg in 2018. But 2020 in Calgary? Not so much.
You can see all the pictures right here!