Having finally made it home to a couch, I can barely keep my eyes open. I know the feeling is shared amongst many of my fellow driving friends, as we all sit at home unwinding from the weekend’s adventures. Whether it’s finding a spot in the garage for a newly received award, an assessment of just how long the road grime will take to clean, or a laundry list of ‘tweaks and upgrades’ the car might need before the next event…the final day never feels “over”.
The morning in Kelowna was held in sunshine, and after a quick “shady section” where driving expectations were reinforced, the driver’s meeting commenced in earnest. Amazingly, today’s roads would be clear and we could all enjoy the route-book as originally intended. The route would take guests out of Kelowna, through to Penticton before darting west along Apex Mountain Road. From there it was onto Princeton, via the event favourite of Old-Hedley Road. It doesn’t matter how many times we travel along Old Hedley Road, it seems everyone comes off raving about it’s curves and cadence.
New for 2017, instead of going all the way through Manning Park and down to Hope, we opted to gather the group and finish at the Manning Park Resort. Considering the rest of the weekend, and our history with Manning Park, this was a pretty risky decision! In the previous eight years of CCA events, we have never passed through manning park without rain and snow. To park and finish in Manning Park must have seemed simply diabolical…but here were were, in gorgeous sunshine enjoying the early afternoon.
Our finish party seemed a little like a successful ascent of Mount Everest had occurred. Our travellers were certainly exhausted, but the joy and excitement of what had been accomplished over the weekend was palatable. We had endured flooding, crazy route changes, and uncertainty. We had driven 1,476 kilometres, arriving windburned and sunburned, but along the way made new friendships that will last a lifetime.
The finish of any Hagerty Spring Thaw includes the presentation of three coveted awards. First up, is the MacGyver award. This is usually given to the entrant(s) who perform the best or most amazing fix during the weekend. Perhaps it’s using mosquito netting to create a fuel filter, or modifying the windscreen washers to fuel the carburettors. This year, an entrant suggested our own Dave Hord receive the award for “MacGyvering all the route changes”. We decided that was an exceptional choice, especially since Dave hadn’t had anytime to actually assemble the award for 2017!
Our next award is the “Hard Luck” award. Jordan Rodier was certainly in the running, having arrived in an SUV when the fuel system on his Fiat couldn’t be diagnosed. Our own Dave Hord was up for this one as well, having abandoned the Rally Beetle in Abbotsford on Day one with fuelling issues. But it was Chris Beck and Sue Schneider who will be taking the award home with them to Switzerland. They had, you see, flown in to enjoy the event with friends from Calgary. Early this morning they offered to switch their borrowed Pantera with another set of friends, so they could enjoy the V8’s rumble for a stretch. What they also enjoyed, however, was the rumble of a wheel bearing which was quickly destroyed, leaving the Pantera stranded in Kermeos. Rather then finishing the event in the Pantera, it was a ride with Sweep through to the finish.
Our final award, and perhaps the most important, is the Hagerty Spirit of the Thaw award. This one is reserved for the entrant or entrants who best exemplify the Spirt of Classic Car Adventurism that Dave and Warwick set out to establish nine years ago. This year’s winner has been trying to get into the Hagerty Spring Thaw for three years. Even their 2017 entry was listed on the wait list for many, many weeks. But it wasn’t just their entry, they had roped three of their friends to enter the event as well. Amazingly, all three found spots on the ‘Thaw, and they were quickly making friends. Despite being a first-year entrant, Greg Long was the one holding spots at his table for new found friends. They heard about special car rotting away in a field, and instead of going off to find it themselves…they convinced other entrants to join them on the hunt. His cars, while certainly precious, were offered to new friends to try, simply because he wanted them to experience why he enjoyed them so much. Greg’s enthusiasm was contagious, his love of classic motoring obvious, and we couldn’t think of a guy more deserving of the Hagerty Spirit of the Thaw.
And so with that, we head to bed for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow’s route for us consists of relaxing and unwinding…and will not be be re-routed!
Special thanks, once again, to Andrew Snucins for providing us with amazing imagery from our weekend’s adventure.