Tag Archives: Mazda5

Mazda5: 1,000+ mile California Road Trip along the Pacific Coast

Another incredible road trip in the books, this time driving a Mazda5 rental along the Pacific Coast of California (cue in the theme song from the OC).

I have such incredible admiration for this state and feel truly blessed and fortunate to have had this opportunity to explore one of my favorite places in the world… The main reason for the road trip of which there were several actually, was to kill some time between events at Laguna Seca. So Monday after Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca I headed south for a few hour and several hundred mile drive to San Luis Obispo along California 1 Freeway which zig zags along the Pacific Coast… Tuesday I headed north to Half Moon Bay in the opposite direction, and Monday of the trip home I took that road again all the way to San Francisco instead of taking the more direct route along Highway 101.

The first trip south to SLO was awesome. I got to drive along the Monterey Peninsula past Pebble Beach, through Big Sur and along some amazingly scenic overlooks… visited the elephant seal beach. Had some tasty food in San Luis Obispo and also visited the dealership where my MX-5 Miata was originally sold. It was great! The only snag was realizing there’s absolutely no bathrooms along the coastal route, so I nearly exploded by the time I reached a souvenir shop/restaurant and started waiting in line behind ten antsy people like me, eager to Go!

The second trip was a bit quicker in nature, the road towards San Francisco is better and higher speed, with fewer twisties. But there’s still a lot to see especially when the waves are big and there’s surfers all along the coast doing their thing.

These trips also doubled as Foodie Tours because I used every opportunity to stuff my face with local cuisine. And I don’t just mean In-n-Out Burger which I visited a whole bunch of times on this trip. But also Phil’s seafood in Moss Landing, the Giant Artichoke in Castroville, and Sam’s Chowder Store in Half Moon Bay among others. What a pleasant experience that was.

I could go on and on babbling how awesome it was but instead I’ll just share some pix:

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Most of my trips started at In-n-Out in Seaside, CA with a double-double:

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The In-n-Out is revered in California and for good reasons, I’d say it’s far more loved than McDonalds… and McDee’s knows it!

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The beauty of the Road Trip was the fact that you got spectacular views along the entire trip… there wasn’t much waiting to see things while driving, you just saw amazing stuff

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And I took full advantage of the pull off areas to take some pix of the Mazda… Zoom Zooming along…

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Oh yeah, and plenty of Selfies too…

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Luckily I didn’t get stuck in traffic most of the time I was driving, and when I was following someone it usually was cool cars instead of slow poke RV’s chugging along

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I did check out the local wildlife also, it was so cool

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Lunch stops were the best… and I tried to go for sampler platters to taste more things on the menu

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Everything was super fresh… albeit a big pricey

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Love the Bears Crossing sign on the highway

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This place was pretty spectacular and I was very surprised to see a Hostel situated just outside of a historic lighthouse, there were several of these along the coast driving north from Monterey

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Sometimes I ordered food to go, pulled over in a scenic area and ate

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I have to say that the New England clam chowder in New Jersey is better than what I typically find, in California they seem to love adding sour dough bread to the meal, which tastes a bit weird for me

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I keep forgetting how exotic San Francisco is with all of their beautiful palm trees everywhere. This time I explored a part of SF I hadn’t visited before, mainly along the Pacific Coast, under the Golden Gate Bridge and eventually returned to one of my favorite spots: to drive down the crooked Lombard Street.

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Lunch in SF was delicious too, although I wish I had gone for some Asian food instead…

Can’t wait to come back soon!

Pirelli World Challenge Season Finale at Laguna Seca Day 1 at Turn 2

So after a week of enjoying California’s Central Coast and all it’s got to offer I ran into my first snag… almost literally. The rental car got a flat tire… but it was pretty lucky how it happened and where it happened. After already getting about 850+ miles on the odometer I noticed the dash light lit up last night as I was leaving the scenic overlook at Pacific Grove after enjoying a wonderful sunset. Oops… I pulled over checked the front tires, they looked OK… then the right rear and voila… big nail head smack in the middle of the tread! Go figure… I went straight to AutoZone to pick up a fix-a-flat kit and returned to my host’s house in Salinas where for the next hour myself and my host labored over a seemingly simple task of removing the nail and sealing the tire. After about 20+ miles drive with the nail deeply seated in the tire the head of the nail got ground off, but we eventually managed to pull it out and reseal the tire. I’m so happy this misfortune happened the way it did, because if it were to happen on the drive down to Big Sur or San Luis Obispo or even to Half Moon Bay a few days earlier I would have been screwed. A lot of roads were too tight to pull over and change a tire and most places had no phone reception to call for help either. Hard to believe that in California it’s difficult to get signal, but along Route 1 there were plenty of dead zones on my Verizon phone.

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Happily we fixed the tire the night before the races started at Laguna Seca and what a wonderful start to the races it has been. For my first assignment I got the amazing Turn 2 hair pin at the end of the front straight. And for a quiet first day we sure had a ton of action. Lots and lots of spins. Some contact between cars. Some passes under our local yellow. Both myself and the communicator stayed pretty busy. And we were very lucky because the fields in this PWC season finale were huge. The GT/GTA/GTC field was big, the GTS field was big, the TC/TCA/TCB field was big and the Sprint X field of GT/GTA/GTC/GTS cars that only saw a few cars in Canada was the biggest field of them all.

I had such a great time, I can’t wait to come back for more!

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I really liked working off of this elevated station at Turn 2, mostly great visibility and very convenient to see around the whole corner.

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At the end of the day I went to hang out with Ron who I first met at Watkins Glen and who also hooked me up with my host in Salinas. Got to check out his Miata and got to shake him down for some guest passes that he wasn’t going to use so I can offer them to my host. Excellent day for sure!

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Post Card from 2016 Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

For a last minute trip this one was a super exciting one and worth every penny I spent on it thus far. After reading about Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca taking place this October in Monterey, California… one of the biggest Miata get togethers in the US, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of it. I’ll write in greater detail about my experience but for now I’ll share some pix:

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Picking up a rental car at Hertz San Francisco… what do  you know, it’s a Mazda… a Mazda5  (missing the MX obviously)

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First stop, Embassy Suites where they threw a big welcoming BBQ

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Oh, hello MX-5 RF… finally we meet:

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And just like that, they put me to work… love volunteering with these guys:

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Great atmosphere, tons of Miata people and even more food!

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First day at the track volunteering at the merchandise store first and then aligning the cars for the group photo and the parade lap:

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Lots of Miata Exocets in attendance

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Huge thanks to a new friend Adam for volunteering to give me a ride in the parade lap…turns out Adam is a scrutineer at various Pro events including WEC and F1 at COTA… methinks I’ll be seeing Adam again at various tracks volunteering races together. Thanks Adam!

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Mazda really had their logos everywhere on this track

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The first night ended with another amazing dinner that they invited me to just for volunteering…. Very awesome of them!

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The views from the Red Bull VIP lounge were amazing

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The entertainment and food were amazing also!

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Loved these scallops in bacon!

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Miatas everywhere you look at Laguna Seca

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All the vendors on one side of the paddock and then official Miatas at MRLS merchandise area where I volunteered on the other:

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We were right next to the Millionth Miata and MX-5 RF displays:

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Patriotic Canadians came from British Columbia and Alberta

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Oh look, it’s my car!

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And then the event came to a close… and I took my Mazda5 around for a little Laguna Seca photo shoot:

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Bye Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca!  Hello to Pirelli World Challenge which I’ll volunteer for next week at Laguna Seca 🙂

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