Waking up super early is not something I enjoy or am particularly good at. Who wants to cut short their sleeping, dreaming, and resting time, to slip out of their warm, comfy bed, often before sunrise, and go out into the cold morning air? There better be something worthwhile that motivates me to do so, or else it isn’t happening. An early morning drive with friends, along some of the best roads that the Bay Area has to offer? Sure, that might do the trick. Cars and Coffee gathering at Canepa at the end of that drive? OK, sold — two alarm clocks set…
I was up and out of bed by 5:15AM, and meeting up with my friends a little before 6AM at a local coffee shop. From there we set off to Alice’s Restaurant. The roads were still damp in many spots from the early morning fog, so we took it easy on the way down Skyline Hwy 35. The Alice’s parking lot was empty, save one friend in an FR-S. We hadn’t planned to get breakfast at Alice’s, but they weren’t even open yet. I was surprised to learn that they wouldn’t open until 8AM. Aren’t breakfast places supposed to be open super early?! Anyways we waited for another friend to arrive, tanked up the BRZ at Alice’s Gas Station, and then we set off down Skyline towards Hwy 9.
By this time the sun had warmed up the roads and the surface seemed mostly dry so we picked up the pace. We had quite a few powerful cars in our group (turbo FRS, supercharged BRZs, M3s and a GTR) so we set a pretty aggressive pace. Traffic was light and the few cars we came upon soon pulled off or made way for our procession. It was these fleeting moments, flying down the shaded forest backroads, engine singing, wind roaring through the open windows, carving through the corners … these are the moments we dream of when you think of a sports car fantasy. And that in a nutshell, is why we wake up so early in the mornings — to get out here and have the road to ourselves and find that perfect nirvana of man and machine working in harmony. It was a mixed feeling of joy, disappointment and relief when we arrived in the small town of Scotts Valley, just a bit north of Santa Cruz.
When we pulled into the driveway at Canepa the parking lot in front of the building was already full. Fortunately we got there just in time as they had two more rows of parking inside their back lot and the staff waved us in. Shortly after we parked, a group of DeTomaso Panteras arrived and took up the other row, and after that they had to start turning away cars as they were at full capacity.
I last went to Canepa for Cars and Coffee three years ago. During the summer months Canepa opens their doors the 2nd Saturday of each month for Cars and Coffee. Not only is the parking lot opened up for car clubs and car aficionados to gather, but their museum and shop are also open for the public to tour. The access to view their amazing collection and also the impressive work they are doing to restore and prepare cars in the shop is like nothing you’ll see at any other cars and coffee. This month their staff were busy at work even on Saturday morning, preparing race cars and exotic/classic cars for the upcoming Monterey Motorsports Reunion a.k.a the Monterey Historics. When I last visited I marveled at the fact that they had 3 Porsche 959 wide body supercars at Canepa — these cars are just simply rare and many car enthusiasts will probably never see one in person. Returning this time, they had a mind-boggling 4 or 5 of them that I saw. Not to mention a gamut of other historic race cars and classic cars and motorcycles on display.
A big thanks to Canepa for hosting and opening up their doors to the public for these gatherings. I definitely recommend making it out there one of the next few months if you haven’t been there before.
And many more photos below — click on one of the photos to open up the gallery.