SCMM’s annual memorial run took the MINI Maniacs to Paso Robles this year for a three-day adventure that included wine tasting, wild turkeys, challenging curves, and the always spectacular Pacific Coast.
The group stayed in the heart of Paso Robles at the Melody Ranch Motel, which made for an easy walk around the city square on Saturday night for the community’s Elegant Evening Downtown event, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Merchants stayed open late, offering refreshments, entertainment, carriage rides and door prizes. Local youths dressed as Nutcracker Ballet mannequins posed in store windows while music played and dancers performed in the street.
Earlier that day the MINIs took a scenic drive out to the coast on the narrow and seldom used Santa Rosa Creek Road, which runs downhill for 16 miles from Highway 46 to Cambria. It was along this section that the group encountered a flock of wild turkeys on the road that seemed as surprised as us to see each other.
After a quick pitstop in Cambria, the MINIs headed north on the newly reopened Highway 1, which had been closed for months following a massive landslide last year. Sand Dollar Beach was the turn-around point and an opportunity for the group to stretch their legs with a walk to the bluff overlooking the surf.
The plan was to drive back for lunch at the Ragged Point Resort, but the parking lot was full (mainly Corvettes), causing many of the MINI Maniacs to continue on back to Cambria for lunch. Along the way the caravan came to an abrupt stop when a large boulder crashed down and littered the road with rocks. Rather than risking a puncture, the MINI Maniacs jumped into action to clear the road by hand.
The annual event began in 2009 as a memorial run for Jack Belcher, the beloved MINI Maniac and original club member who organized SCMM’s Fantasy Racing Team that ran the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The tradition of the Memorial Run continues annually to remember all of the club members that have passed away, now 14.