The Lost Coast–rediscovered. The 15th visit to Honeydew (population 73). The majesty of the Avenue of the Giants. These are among the highlights of the 20th running of the California Mille, America’s salute to Italy’s famed Mille Miglia (thousand mile) race, scheduled for April 26-29, 2010.
Some 70 historic race cars that could have qualified for the original Italian event (1927-1957) will arrive at San Francisco’s Nob Hill on Sunday, April 25, from England, Switzerland, Canada, Colombia and Italy and dozens of American states. A free car show will introduce cars and drivers to the public from 11am until 5pm.
Monday morning, April 26, the Mille cars will depart for California Highway 1 and little-known back roads traversing Tomales, Glen Ellen, Calistoga, Oakville, Pt. Arena, Boonville, Ukiah, Comptche, Honeydew, Ferndale, Mendocino and Nicasio. The Mille conclude in Sausalito on Thursday, April 29 for a free car show opposite 777 Bridgeway and an awards dinner at Poggio Restaurant.
The California Mille was conceived after organizer Martin Swig drove the revived Mille Miglia from Brescia to Rome to Brescia in l982. “Being a part of this historic event got my motoring juices flowing,” said Swig, who persuaded the Italian Mille organizers to authorize an American version of their drive—not as a race but as a fast tour. “Northern California looks more Italian that Italy,” says Swig, “and it didn’t take much thought to realize that our state was perfect for the re-creation of a great motoring event.”
Others clearly felt the same. When news of the California Mille reached drivers of older Alfas, beautiful Bentleys of the past, and historic Lancias, Jaguars and Mercedes-Benz, more than 50 signed up for the inaugural California Mille drive.
Since then, “auto season” has been official launched each Spring with a Mille drive heading north or south from San Francisco with the objective of discovering little- known roads, time-capsule towns, and the best dining available. The 2010, 20th anniversary Mille will be no different. “We’ll be re-visiting areas that have been favorites with our drivers over the years–the fantastic Lost Coast (called “California’s least-developed coast line”), Honeydew (where the same bearded old-timers seem to snooze on the same bench in front of the Honeydew Country Store on Mattole Road), and the Avenue of the Giants with redwoods even older than our cars,” said Swig.
A detailed road plan, day-by-day itinerary and a list of participating cars and drivers will be announced shortly. For more information, including a PBS-TV video on the event, visit www.californiamille.com.
[Source: California Mille]