Our long time member and Christmas lights leader Les Hershberger will lead an approximately 1½ hour tour of Christmas lights in the Santa Clarita Valley. The tour concludes at Northridge Village Square where there is a variety of places to eat if you are looking for a late dinner or snack.
Thursday, Dec. 19th, 2019
Meet @ Starbucks (corner of Seco Canyon and Copper Hill) at 5:30 pm to sign waivers and leave @ 6:00 pm
2019.10.04 to 2019.10.13 – Southwest Caravan-Albuquerque Balloon Festival & National Parks
All of a sudden, October was here and the much anticipated (by some) Southwest Caravan was a reality. The caravan was scheduled to include the 48th Annual International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque and then to continue on to enjoy National Parks and sites off the beaten track in our wonderful Corvettes. Four couples ultimately participated in the event, Jeff & Leeann Carley; Brian & Kathy de Avila; Gene & Cindy Schmidt and Mike & Judy Woodings.
The morning following our October General Meeting, our adventure began at Denny’s on Sand Canyon as we rolled east to our first “roadblock”, construction on Pearblossom Hwy in Palmdale. Ugh, but not too bad. Off again to another construction delay before we even got to Victorville. Dang. The first day continued fine where we all enjoyed a relaxing lunch at Pirate Cove on the Colorado River with our friends Greg and Pat Attl. Off again eastward for our first night at Flagstaff, we learned of another roadblock ahead when we reached the Havasu turnoff from I-40. We had to detour back through Bullhead City due to an overturned big-rig closing the Interstate and blocking our route to Kingman. We rerouted as required and “DANG again” 14 miles from Flagstaff for more construction with our forward movement slowed to 4 mph! Flagstaff was a welcome stop after all that, but wait, there is more! Jeff Carley reported to us that he believed he was having trouble with his Vette, the left rear was sagging, not from overloading. Initial parking lot diagnosis pointed to an issue with the left rear lowering bolt.
Early morning follow-up at Marxen Chevrolet in Flagstaff confirmed a broken lowering bolt and the prognosis was the car was ok to drive to Albuquerque where parts were ordered for delivery on Monday. The remainder of Arizona on Day 2 was scenic but uneventful. We found downtown Winslow crowded with a classic car show so on we went to Gallup, NM and the Hotel El Rancho for our first taste of New Mexico “red or green” cuisine. After arriving in Albuquerque, it was a short day in preparation for Day 3 and an EARLY start for the Balloon Fiesta.
The crowds were huge at 5:30 AM as we arrived at the Fiesta Park and Ride for our bus trip to the Balloon Park on the north side of Albuquerque. The mass of people was even larger as we entered the park as hundreds of hot-air balloons were in various stages of inflation in preparation for the 7 AM mass ascension. Jeff, you remember Jeff, didn’t even think about bolts that morning with all of the balloon excitement! We found Old Town full of balloon fiesta tourists at mid-day and opted for a drive through the Bosque and visit to Los Poblanos Historic Inn and a drive through the Village of Corrales. The early start of Day 3 called for some relaxation in the afternoon before dinner at the famous Frontier Restaurant on old Route 66, across from UNM.
On Monday, Day 4, Jeff and Leeann broke away for their needed bolt repair at Bruce’s Corvette & Auto Service and were happily good to go for the rest of the trip as well as for a visit to an Albuquerque quilt shop while the remainder of us made our way to Santa Fe. We drove east of the Sandias through Madrid up NM-14, the Turquoise Trail. Despite missing Santa Fe, the Carleys still smiled their way through Day 4! Santa Fe was founded in 1610 (before the Pilgrims landed ay Plymouth) and is the oldest state capital. It’s old and scenic with plenty of choices of places to eat or spend your money, from high end art to the native jewelry in Palace of the Governors. As we returned to Albuquerque, the Schmidts’ status changed slightly with Cindy flying back to LA for an overnighter to appear on local television leaving Gene with us until her return. Meanwhile, Judy, with not only New Mexico roots, but New Mexico connections as well, arranged for those remaining to enjoy an afternoon wine and cheese get-together at her cousin Katie Santiannes’ home prior to our dinner with local family at El Pinto in the North Valley.
Day 5 was an easy day as we headed north to Durango, CO. We departed from Albuquerque without Gene as he awaited Cindy’s return flight but he continued to enjoy Albuquerque for another day with a trip up the Sandia Tram and a hook-up with cousin Katie for more Armijo family visiting. Our 3-Corvette caravan visited the Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM, to walk the grounds of a 1,000 year old Pueblo settlement. We then rolled into Durango, still with time for Leeann and Judy to take in a visit to the Stitch A Quilt Shop. Gene and Cindy followed us as darkness fell and our caravan was back together again.
Day 6 was our day for the narrow gauge railroad ride to Silverton through the amazing canyon along the Animas River. The scenery was beautiful with the changing seasons and the temperatures were chilly and the air was thin at 9,300 feet in Silverton. The Durango-Silverton RR was a kick and made for a fun day.
Day 7 was a little longer with us ending back in Arizona at day’s end. Enroute, we covered a lot of backroad miles too. Our first stop of the day was at Mesa Verde National Park outside Cortez, CO. Mesa Verde is famous for over 600 cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people, quite a sight. It was then off to Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet. The Navajos have the corner (or 4 corners) on the market there with $5.00 a head to see a survey monument afixed to the red earth there. Off again to our lodging in the woods in Jacob Lake, AZ took us by Monument Valley and through a Hopi Pow-wow in Kayenta, AZ. A great caravan day.
Day 8 had North Rim Grand Canyon on our calendar. The views are much different than those typically seen from the South Rim and the canyon is more up close and personal. Another cool day with club jackets a must at over 8,000 feet elevation. With less that 10% of Grand Canyon visitors coing to the North Rim, it is worthwhile trip for those who enjoy the road less traveled. Brian and Kathy missed the Grand Canyon visit as they peeled off from the caravan to visit relatives and take in the Prescott Corvette Car Show, hooking up with SCVCC alumni for a quick “howdy”. Day 7 then took our remaining Vettes to Kanab, UT for the night.
Day 9 had Bryce Canyon National Park as our visit of the day. Once again, a beautiful but cool day with ice in the puddles at 8,800 feet elevation. The sights were glorious and easily accessible, except for Bryce Point with limited parking. Parking attendants were less than cooperative about us trying to save parking space for one another and that will just remain a story for another day. We went on to caravan to St. George, UT, where yet another quilt shop was visited briefly before we rolled back to Pacific Daylight time and entry into Nevada. The Schmidts continued to Las Vegas for personal and show time on the Strip while the Carleys and Woodings opted for Mesquite. Rested and ready to roll on Day 10, the Carleys headed home to Parker, AZ where Jeff will re-address the lowering bolt issue and the Woodings made a stop at Cracker Barrel in North Las Vegas, having passed by six others during the caravan. Love those biscuits.
The International Balloon Fiesta is the first week of October every year and we are already looking forward to another caravan including the Fiesta then along in another route to the south next time for more Southwest attractions.
The Nethercutt Museum showcases more than 130 of the world’s greatest antique, vintage, classic and special interest automobiles including many top winners of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Bear Pit’s story began in the late 1940’s, when original owner Ben Baier moved from Missouri and started a small barbeque shack in Newhall, CA. After several years the popularity of his food spread, so he decided to move to northern San Fernando Valley.
Let’s spend some time together at the Museum/Collection and then have lunch together.
Here’s what you need to know….
Meet at the Chuy’s/Outback parking lot (The Old Road)
• 9:00 AM – Meet to sign waivers
• 9:30 AM – Depart
• 10:00 AM Arrive at The Nethercutt Museum
• Three different areas to choose from and check out
• 12:30 PM – Lunch
A sense of fun was the air as eighteen members with ten cars gathered on a pleasant Monday morning at the Newhall IHOP for our pre-trip breakfast.
Once we were well-nourished, we held our customary drivers meeting, and immediately after that the cars rumbled to life. Following the usual radio check, we lined up for the trip that would take us several hours south on the 15 freeway to our first destination, Old Town Temecula.
In Temecula we arrived with some extra time for some pre-lunch shopping before gathering around the table at The Bank of Mexican Food restaurant for some of our south of the border favorites.
After lunch a we took a short stroll along Main Street where, wouldn’t you know it, we found an ice cream shop! After everyone was well stocked on sweets and treats, we headed back to our cars for the next leg of our journey, our hotel near Alpine, California.
Predictably, as we got closer to San Diego, we ran into some heavy traffic due to a couple of accidents, but our road captains, Dave and Karen, did a great job keeping us on track.
During the drive we also ran into more than a couple of idiots who were doing their best to generate some road rage, but it didn’t work because we are superior drivers with superior automobiles. We win!
Before we knew it, we arrived at our destination, the very impressive, Viejas Hotel and Casino. Parking was easy and check-in was a breeze. After a short break to freshen up, we gathered in the lounge before heading to the Café Restaurant in the casino for dinner.
Our first dinner at the hotel was a lot of fun, and as is usually the case, it was not without its share of entertainment. It all got started when our waitress informed us that if anyone had a Bronze Card, we would receive a substantial percentage off of our meals. So, Ed Shaver was quick stand up for the group and start digging for his, only to learn that he had misunderstood, and that she wanted a Bronze card, not a Vons card! In Ed’s defense, others in the noisy din of the restaurant also heard her to say Vons card, but hey, an “A” for effort!
It was right after that we learned they also offered a substantial discount for veterans, of which we have several, and the discount extended to everyone at the table. So, through our service members we were able to get our official Vons card discount anyway! All was good.
Other dinner highlights included Steve Hilton who ordered a tall glass of salad that arrived cleverly disguised as a Bloody Mary, and Jo Ayers who ordered apple pie alamode as her entree. Who doesn’t love these people!
As for the rest of us it was mostly salads and sandwiches, with a few potpies thrown in for good measure.
At the end of the meal, everyone was pleasantly surprised when Dave and Karen Jewett announced that they were picking up the check for dinner! Such unexpected generosity, and their actions further prove we that we have the most amazing people in our club! Thanks again to both of you, it was very much appreciated by all.
Before calling it a night, many of us stopped at the cashier’s kiosk in the casino to get our official Bronze card, as we didn’t want to make that mistake again.
The next morning, we awoke to overcast skies, light drizzle, cool temps, and the promise of wind and rain later in the day. Undaunted, we gathered in the Café Restaurant again, this time for coffee and a hot breakfast ahead of our day’s adventure.
After a quick stop to give our cars a fresh drink of T-Rex juice, we ascended up into the clouds along Hwy 79, through Cuyamaca Rancho State Park for the short, yet amazingly beautiful, thirty-five-mile trip to the little town of Julian.
Along the way the clouds had settled low into the valleys, and misted out across the lakes and into trees to make for an incredibly beautiful trip. The steep, winding road was a pleasure to drive, and felt like it was designed specifically for our Corvettes.
Once in Julian, we found it to be a charming, turn of the century gold mining town from the 1800s. Normally a busy southern California destination, it was not very crowded. Of course, it was the middle of the week, and in the off-season, and with the drizzle and unexpectedly cold wind, the weather felt like a scene right out of the movie, Ice Station Zebra. Maybe I exaggerate a little on that point, but it was darn chilly. But still undaunted, we braved the elements to make our way on foot along Main Street where many of the shops had their wood stoves going, so the warmth of the fires was very welcoming.
Lunch was at the Miner’s Dinner, a 50’s themed café located in one of the town’s many historic buildings, this one dating back 1886 when it was first opened as a general store. The food was good, plentiful, and included an old-fashioned soda fountain. They did not take Vons cards.
After lunch the plan was to go someplace and enjoy a slice of the famous apple pie that Julian is known for. But we had discovered there were many choices in which to get apple pie in Julian, and that caused what we might call some inde-slice-iveness about where we should get our pie! But in the end, we all had a piece of the pie – some had their pie at the restaurant, while others had at this place or that one, but none of the pie lovers went away pieless. Some of us even got pie to take home – yum!
Once lunch and pie-time were over, and with the forecasted rain approaching, we didn’t hang around to let any grass grow under our cars. It was a really nice ride “home”, and everyone agreed that it seemed much faster going down the mountain, then going up. Perhaps it was because we were going faster going down the mountain, then going up, just saying.
Anyway, back at the Viejas Resort, we had some time to relax and unwind before dinner at the highly touted, Grove Steakhouse located inside the casino. But wait, what’s this? Closed on Tuesdays? Okay, who does that? This a major resort, and they close their marque steakhouse on the very evening that we planned to dine there. Honestly, who does that? The other restaurants don’t close. The steakhouses in Vegas don’t close. So why this one? The audacity of these people.
On the plus side, The Buffet at Viejas was open, and provided a wide selection of items, including slow roasted beef, tacos, chicken parmesan, crab legs, and the best dessert bar this side of the reservation. Sadly, they didn’t take Vons cards. But the remainder of the evening was spent roaming the casino, enjoying some drinks, and relaxing before a good night’s sleep before the trip home the next day.
On our third and final morning, the clouds and rain had set in as we met for a pre-trip breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast most caravanned home together, while a few used the opportunity to stop and see friends, or take a short side trip. Regardless of the route home, it was a great end to a fun, enjoyable, and well-planned trip.
Story: Mike Woodings
Photos: Mike Woodings, Moira Moe, Google
The Holiday season is a time to join family to enjoy the traditions and festivities that go with this time of year. In that light, the invitation we received from the Simi Valley Corvette Club to join them in being part of the annual Edwards AFB Winterfest celebration was a great idea. Additionally, the concept of us and our Corvettes being part of the event was even more inviting.
Each year Edwards personnel and families gather in the Exchange parking lot for special winter activities and a tree lighting ceremony and this year, our Corvettes on display were to be an added attraction. But this year, rain came and we all anxiously watched the forecast hoping there would be no dampening of the Winterfest event.
On Friday, November 30th, 26 Corvettes and 45 participants assembled in the Kohl’s parking lot on Golden Valley Road to caravan up CA-14 for our final event of the month. We met up with caravans from Simi Valley Corvettes and Vintage Corvettes in Lancaster for a combined caravan of 65 cars onto the base.
We had already received clearance from USAF security for admittance onto the base, so our entry through the Rosamond gate went smoothly with all having already passed muster.
Edwards AFB is not only remote, it is big and spread out too, over 500 square miles. It was quite a drive just from the gate to the BX, but smooth sailing with our USAF Security Police escort.
The Winterfest celebration is organized by the 412th Force Support Squadron which this year additionally provided a tour of several sights on the base to show us where some of our taxes are spent.
The true highlight of the base tour was the up close and personal briefing we had about the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter, a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multi-role aircraft. At $125 million apiece, the jets certainly would give our Vettes a run for the money, but our still worthy Corvettes, parked on display for interested base personnel, were a hit.
Edwards AFB dates back to 1937 when the Army Air Corps moved some bombardment exercises to Muroc and later in 1941 operations expanded with our build-up with WWII. In 1942, super-secret jet aircraft testing began. Following the war, testing continued and Muroc was renamed to Edwards Air Force Base in 1949.
The day was long, with our caravan, tours, and Corvette display and ended with the Christmas tree lighting.
Our run to Edwards can be summed up as an All-American holiday event with the coming together of our American military and our American Corvettes.
Our thanks to the Edwards staff and families and to the Simi Valley Corvette Club for including us in the Winterfest 2018 celebration.
Our club has always rolled out in large numbers for weekend activities and runs, and that is to be expected. You can’t spend all of your time doing chores, watching football or waiting for the sunset . No, I say! Leave that for the non-Corvette people.
Well then, what about the other five days of the week? They are just as beautiful as Saturday and Sunday, and there is some expensive gas in the tank. So I say let’s hit the road for a MID-WEEK run in our Vettes and the heck with work or television or whatever!
Wednesday, October 24th was just one of those days for 28 of our club people as we got together for such an escape to the Cold Springs Tavern for some driving fun and excellent eating.
It was also an excellent opportunity for Jim and Donna Webster to introduce their brand new 2019 Admiral Blue Grand Sport to the open road.
Our fifteen Corvettes looked terrific all the way outbound on CA 126, north on US 101 and up the San Marcos Pass Road on CA154 as your “road captain lead the procession. At the summit, our trusted “mountain goat” Steve Turkheimer took the lead through the curves on Stagecoach Road on to our destination since he knew every curve and also to give him his choice of the few parking spots available.
San Marcos Pass is to most off the beaten track and the Cold Springs Tavern is almost off the grid, but it is top notch with their service, food and ambiance. Our Activities Committee made a great call putting this run on the schedule as a weekday destination.
The fortunate 28 in attendance for the hump-day run were: Jim & Donna Webster, Dick Meier and Leah Granen, Steve Hilton & Jo Ayers, Dave & Karen Jewett, Dan & Marcia Stern; Les Hershberger & Mami Wong, Steve & Judy Turkheimer, Shelia Percivalle and Linda Roselund, Tom & Judy Tomlinson, Don & Connie Ceo, Gene Schmidt, Brian de Avila, Jim & Maggie Bancroft and Mike & Judy Woodings.
An informal survey of all attendees was taken and their unanimous response indicated the continued viability of the Santa Clarita Valley Corvette Club…none of Wednesday’s caravanners had any relocation plans on their schedule or in mind!
This mid-week trip will start early because we have a lot to do. First we’ll head up to Cold Spring Tavern and enjoy a hearty meal at this famous stagecoach stop on the San Marcos Pass in the mountains north of Santa Barbara. Here you can appreciate the true ambiance of the Old West because, as if by magic, time stands still. Savor the traditional American fare made with fresh local ingredients including our famous Cold Spring Chili, tri-tip barbeque sandwiches, and delicious steaks and ribs. After our meal, before heading back home we’ll have the opportunity to either go wine tasting in Santa Ynez at any of the dozens of wineries or gambling at the Chumash Casino. If you like, do both!
We’re meeting at Walmart on Newhall Ranch Road at 08:45 in the morning to sign waivers to be able to head out by 09:00, we have a beautiful drive to Santa Barbara planned out by your leader Mike Woodings.
We will be leaving Thursday, Sept. 20, for Laughlin, NV. Staying one night, then on to Prescott Friday morning for two nights Friday and Saturday night. Meeting place and starting time to come later. Then should you wish you may extend and spend more time in AZ sightseeing.
In Laughlin we suggest you check out …
Aquarius Casino Resort, 1900 S. Casino Drive, Laughlin, NV. 702-298-5111, ask for California Tower.
In Prescott we suggest …
Prescott Resort and Casino, 3453 Ranch Dr., Prescott, AZ. 928-433-5500
Should you wish to join in we suggest you make your reservations SOON.