Saturday morning arrived early, very early, for everyone involved. Entrants were offered two options for the morning; attend the 8:15am driver’s meeting, or check-in with the organizers at the 11am ferry crossing. And so, as I headed towards the lobby for coffee at 8am, I wasn’t expecting to meet with more than a handful of guests. I was shocked to discover, the lobby couldn’t hold the crowd.
Spring Thaw entrants sure are a hearty bunch! If a six hour highway closure couldn’t break their spirits, an early morning and little sleep was nothing more than an opportunity for more jokes and laughter. The sun was shining, the mountains views were incredible, and we had twisty roads ahead of us.
Departing Revelstoke, we headed south on highway 23 towards the Shelter-Bay / Galena Bay ferry. The road is sparsely populated, curves wonderfully above the banks of Upper Arrow Lake, and offers mountain views worthy of the trip alone. Ferry trips, with classic car friends, are a special experience. Rarely do we get the opportunity to hang out as a large group mid-day, and a short wait for the ferry and a cruise across the lake is the perfect opportunity. A little further south, and the town of Nakusp hosted us for lunch in multiple local eateries.
Following lunch, it was my favourite highway in all of British Columbia. The number 6 between Needles and Lumby may not have the elevation changes of the Duffy Lake Road, but it delivers a unique blend of lake side curves, canyon carving, and mountain switchbacks. From Lumby, it’s was onto Vernon, and then a CCA favourite of Barnhartvale Road into Kamloops.
Arriving at the Hotel 540, we were greeted by the doorman and whisked below to the Underground Parking, completely reserved for our entire group. A brief parking lot party was enjoyed before dinner, where we packed two nights of presentations into a single dinner. Our guests joining us for their fifth Spring Thaw were welcomed into “The Five Year Patch” club, and following that we honoured those who were earning their “Ten Year Patch”. Exclusive Ten-Year T-shirts were gifted to the group by Calye Lacefield and her company JBM Press, and then we moved onto the give-aways. Each year the guests on the Hagerty Spring Thaw are treated to a prize table of gifts donated by Dave Koszegi and the Dave Team Realty group, RWM & Co. and Eautomobilia.ca (Ted Wilkinson’s shop). Their table-spilling donations were added to by Brightsource.ca and P&R Trucking to make a truly memorable collection of goodies. We had Monaco F1 memorabilia, exclusive wine selections, a Jim Clark print, tools galore and a collection of collectable models worthy of the finest living room display.
As the party upstairs was winding down, the party in the parking garage was just getting started. In some corners, the focus was on repairs needed for the next day. A Jaguar was receiving new gaskets to stem an oil leak. Volunteers were sourced to de-bead a tire for a tube swap. In other corners, it was simply a time to share stories and admire the cars in attendance. Hotel staff joined the fun, asking questions and taking photos of the cars to send to friends. “You won’t believe what we have staying here tonight…a Delorean!”
We may have started the day on little sleep, but knowing we had just three days to spend together meant we’d be taking all the time we could to enjoy the time with our fellow car-nut friends.
The final day of the Hagerty Spring Thaw would bring a favourite route for all involved. Kamloops to Pemberton and only mean one thing, we’d get to drive Marble Canyon and onto the Duffy Lake Road. The run began dry, and halfway through the Duffy Lake road became damp with a slight bit of rain…or almost snow-flakes…depending on the elevation. We travelled in packs, enjoying the final curves and twists in mixed groups of cars. Where else can you find a VW beetle mixing it up with a Lancia Fulvia 1600 HF, a Datsun 240, a Mini and a Ferrari Dino? Only on a Classic Car Adventure’s event, and the mixes were truly eclectic!
With the final descent into Pemberton complete, we headed to a local golf course for the final lunch and awards ceremony. Adam Trinder, and his rear-engined motorcycle-powered Mini were the unfortunate recipient of the “Hard-Luck Award”. A fun run over the Duffy was cancelled by a loss of drive, and Adam rode home to Vancouver on the back of a tow-truck. Scott Stanuil and Sterling Sobczak earned the McGyver award for their ingenious radiator fix on day-one. A rock pierced a serious hole in the radiator of their Datsun, but JB-Weld, aluminum tape, solder and vice-grips were all used in the repair that got them into town and a local radiator shop.
The Hagerty Spirit of the Thaw award was renamed for 2018, honouring the memory of David Ellis, a five-time Spring Thaw entrant. The Spirit Award is saved for the entrant(s) who best demonstrate both the enthusiasm for classic car ownership, and a desire to share that enthusiasm with other people. This year, the list of people worthy of our finest award was long, but in the end there could be only one winner. Arriving upon the stricken motorcycle-powered mini, our honoured entrant could have simply waved and offered to call Hagerty Roadside Assistance. Instead, not one to leave a man behind, Morgan Hay opened his trunk and offered assistance in the best way he could. You might say say Morgan and Adam were tied together by a love of curves and mountain passes. You could say Morgan reached out, and pulled Adam from the brink of disaster…and a long wait for a tow truck. You should definitely wonder why they remained linked for the downhill section, vs simply coasting it out at a slightly different spacing! Regardless, Morgan would not leave Adam and Bob Trinder stranded behind!
And so, for his willingness to put his own Duffy drive aside and render the best assistance possible to a fellow entrant, Morgan Hay is the first recipient of the David Ellis Spirit of the Thaw Award.
With the event closed for another year, we begin to dream of the 2019 Hagerty Spring Thaw…but in the meantime, Andrew Snucins and Samantha Snucins have a wonderful preview of images below. We’ll post up a link to the full photo gallery as soon as they’ve had some sleep, and the editing is completed!