Imagine, for a moment, that you just spent the day hanging out with your best friends. Perhaps you haven’t seen them for a few weeks, months, or even a year…but the time that has passed simply doesn’t matter. By the end of day one, that’s exactly what the Hagerty Fall Classic was, hanging out with best friends who haven’t seen each other in a year, or maybe ever before!
Alright, in fairness the Hagerty Fall Classic started last night with the “unofficial, unorganized” Thursday night party. These started a few years ago as a way for the out-of-town guests to connect the night before an event, but have become so popular that the local guests are sure to make their calendars free so they can attend. Last night we jammed a local Italian restaurant beyond capacity and got to know one another over rich pastas and Italian reds.
Despite our dinner the night before, however, after the driver’s meeting this morning I was wondering if we had started to gel as a group. Usually I can barely keep the group together until the end of the meeting, they’re briskly walking to their cars to get a head start before I finish. This morning, though, there was a lull. It turns out everyone was trying to work out which friends they were going to start the event with!
We started out in Troudale Oregon, and headed for a taste of the Columbia Gorge, with it’s wonderful roads that twist and turn around both sides of the canyon. The route was quick to head south, in order to give our entrants fantastic views, and the twists and turns, through Mount Hood National Forest. From there it was north to Hood River, where many of us stopped for lunch before crossing North into Washington.
In Washington we carved north through the pine and oak forests of Trout Lake and Klickitat, before heading east, and into the desert scrub region. At one point you’re high up in the trees, the air thick with the smell of pines and, in just a single corner, the road twists and suddenly its dry prairie grasslands. Between the rugged river canyons, the high alpine meadows, the pine and oak forests, and then the dry deserts it felt as though we had driven through four different planets today.
As the group gathered amongst the cars before dinner, one thing was clear; the roads were fantastic and we couldn’t have had better day. Interestingly, by dinner time you couldn’t tell who was a new entrant and who has been here for a few years or more. By the start of dinner, it was clear we were just one big happy family of collector car enthusiasts, a sentiment that spilled out into the parking lot party that went on until midnight. Bed time came, not because we wanted to sleep, but simply because we wanted to be ready and alert for tomorrow’s adventure!
A selection of photos from day one, provided by Andrew Holliday Photography, are below.