Classic Car Week On A Budget
Presented by Rolex, the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance happens on Thursday of Classic Car Week. This race is one of my favorite ways to see the classic cars in motion. About 200 cars dating from 1906 to 1975 travel round trip starting from the Polo Field in Pebble Beach.
In between they pass numerous picturesque spots along the Monterey-Salinas Highway, Laureles Grade, Carmel Valley Road, Highway One to Big Sur, and Carmel, with an addition this year of a lap around the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Using the time guidelines
on the tour site
, I plan where I would like to photograph the cars in motion. Last year I paid $9.25 to get inside the Pebble Beach Gate before the race began. I was able to snap pictures as the cars made their way through the early morning fog and beautiful pine and cypress forest.
Then I drove south to Bixby Bridge to be in position to photograph the cars as they made their approach to Big Sur with the ocean as a backdrop.
This year the race fell on the Solemnity of the Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so I thought that pictures as they passed by the Mission would be perfect.
Most locations are pretty crowed by the time the cars make their way past the Carmel Mission, so I decided to ride my bike down Junipero to Rio – this way I would not have to be bothered with parking.
On the way the classics pass me going in the opposite direction toward their final stop before lunch, Ocean Avenue.
Two other people joined me across from the Mission. We had to wait patiently for the perfect time to snap. Trust me there are many shots that ended up on the editing room floor.
With the weather cooperating,
we had a vrooom (sorry) with a view –
it was a joy watching
these classics cruise by
imagining where they had once been.
From here the cars line both sides
of Ocean Avenue
for crowds of spectators to view,
while the drivers take a well deserved break and have lunch in Devendorf Park from 12 noon till 2pm. If you don’t mind crowds of people this is a good time to view all the cars.
I prefer to wait until 2PM and park myself at Casanova, where Ocean Avenue goes from four lanes to two. All of the car must pass this area on their way to the Pebble Beach Carmel Gate and the finish line back at the Polo Field. This was a great way to view the 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria which won Best of Show at Sunday’s Concours d’ Elegance.
Rooms With A View
For those interested in watching the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance leaving town from their own private balcony, consider booking Room 28 (second floor corner room facing Ocean) or Room 26 or 27 (second floor facing Ocean) at the Lobos Lodge.
Rooms 102 and 104 at the Normandy Inn across from Lobos Lodge do not have balconies, but they are on the second floor and face Ocean.
Finally if just in town for the afternoon, reserve an outdoor table at Il Fornio for lunch. The patio has a clear view of Ocean Avenue.
Classic Car Week On A Budget Part IIIClassic Car Week On A Budget Part I