Monday, June 30, 2008
Return to San Miguel de Allende
I hesitated with the title for this post only because I wish I was headed back to run this year's La Carrera again. (Heavy sigh.) Last year when my son Will and I spent a couple days relaxing in San Miguel de Allende with the rest of the Coyote Convoy I swore I would return. As a matter of fact it stood out so much in my mind that I promised myself that I would return with my wife even before we got back to the U.S.A.. But today it's official... I just picked up my plane tickets and my bags are packed. I have talked with many who will be there and look forward to seeing each and everyone of them. The only thing that could make this trip better for me would be for Jon and his wife to join us.
For those of you who have not been to San Miguel de Allende yet get ready to fall in love with a place that will demand that you return again. Trust me on this, you will not be able to refuse yourself such pleasure. I can't wait to see the cars begin to pull into Hotel Refugio and see all the faces old and new alike. The only difference is that this time I will be relaxed, rested and not the least bit concerned as to what lay ahead on the drive to the southern most border.
I can remember all too well the day we pulled our trailer into the secured parking lot along with the rest of the convoy. People were tired from a long days drive and understandably many were stressed out simply from know knowing what to expect. Gerie Bledso handled things just the way they should be and really knew best how to let things unfold. For the most part Gerie said, "There's the parking lot. There's the Hotel across the street and I'm going to have a beer. See you all later." As expected all the rookies were nervously wondering how they would get out of the parking lot on the morning when they left as well as wanting to know how things looked inside their trailers and so on. If Gerie would have hung around the parking lot I'd be willing to bet he'd still be there answering questions to this day. LOL.
How exciting can a parking lots be you ask? Well, let me tell you how exciting it can be. Many of us wanted to get our cars unloaded for the car show in the Jardin the following day and there were a bunch of teams that still needed to perform some work or service on their race cars if you can imagine that. One team had forgotten to bring their ramps which made for an interesting exhibition. Then there was Richard Row and Ernie Harris with a beautiful red Chevrolet who unloaded their car but forgot to set the brake. Everyone just about died laughing as we watched them run after their car narrowly catching it before it went thru a fence and down over a cliff. Who said La Carrera is just a rally? LOL. A guy can total his car in the freaking parking lot just getting to the starting line.
San Miguel de Allende will capture your soul. You can not find a better atmosphere anywhere in the world especially while there with the Coyote Convoy. The entire city will be waiting for you when you get there and you will feel the love the day you leave. If there is one thing you MUST be sure and do it is "take the walk." One evening there will be a local group of musicians who will meet all of us in front of the hotel. Then in their colorful outfits accompanied with a dressed up donkey they will begin singing and serenading all of us while walking all the way down the hill to the Jardin. Also on the way it is a custom for many of the locals to join in and walk along with us singing all the way. (Be sure and bring your video camera.) Along the way we will stop to appreciate some of the fantastic view points along the way as well as walk down some of the most beautiful cobblestone streets lined with showcase entrance ways before continuing on.
At the Jardin (Town square)everyone can go to many fine restaurants, so many in fact you will find it hard to pick just one. Later in the evening many La Carrerstias ended up in the local hot spot complete with disco to let it all hang down. Not to worry because you still have another day to sober up and you can always take a taxi back to the hotel so you don't have to walk back up that hill. Aye Ca rumba!
On the next day when all of the race cars are parked in the Jardin you will not believe how well you will be treated by everyone let alone how many people will come out to see your car and visit with you. Be sure and have hero cards made to hand out and autograph. You can NOT take too many.
Many friendships are formed in San Miguel de Allende. Teams begin to get acquainted and some help with each other's cars and some will offer to take part of other's supplies in their trailers. Some teams will decide to put their cars back on trailers instead of the long drive and so on. In our case we ended up helping some teams put some of their parts in our truck and them we got lucky and had two gals from Sweden ride with us all the way to Oaxaca. More on that adventure later.
For more information on all the excitement going on at Concurso de Motor Sports en San Miguel de Allende click here.