As We Rode the Rhyming Trail…..
The Second Gumball Rally….
Hopefully Not the Last!
By 8:30am on Sunday, October 4, 24 “gumballs” in 12 cars were assembled under cloudy, sort of damp, skies at Douglas Burgers in Lake Elsinore to depart on Vickie’s Magical Mystery Tour. Our last Gumball Rally was 5 years ago, so she thought it was about time to plan a repeat and she surely did do a lot of planning – just ask her aide-de-camp, Al. The group consisted of some who had participated in the previous adventure and some who were novices – the Buotes, the Clarks, the Glenores, the Hackworths (of course), the Homans, the Kidds, the McIntoshs, the Pages, the Priebes, the Steeds, the Webers and the Weeks. We were sorry illness made it impossible for the Sommars and Rashs to join us at the last minute. Vickie presented each team (driver and navigator) with a travel kit of sorts – a brown paper shopping bag, a roll of aluminum foil, a picture of an empty gumball machine and our first of many instruction sheets. It was then that the thunderclap struck – there would be no coasting along on this trip, it would require full participation and as Vickie said, competitiveness and creativity.
Our first instruction sheet, in verse no less, would lead us to our first destination. Of course, it seemed to be in code as far as a lot of us were concerned and there were a number of calls asking “are you lost” as cars straggled in over a period of time. The route was on the 91 west to the 605 north to the 105 west but went all the way to the Nash exit right before LAX and we finally gathered at the Automobile Driving Museum on Lairport Street, where we were greeted by a welcome sign and the happy face of Jack from the Vette Set, who is a volunteer/docent there. Each couple gained 2 colored stickers or “gumballs” to add to their empty gumball machine for taking the tour of the museum and then 2 more for taking a ride in one of the 3 or 4 old cars (Edsel, Kaiser, Buick.) After we had completed those tasks, we were rewarded with a box lunch and our next set of instructions. We also increased in number to 25 gumballers and 13 cars as Steve Glenore met us at the museum for the rest of the event. Some chose to eat at the Museum and others headed out to the next rally point to eat there. We should state for the record that while we were driving and having heated discussions between driver and navigator, we were also multitasking by trying to fulfill the creative part of the game, coming up with an idea for a “hood ornament” we could make out of the foil and anything else we found along the way.
The second leg took us out the 405 to the 10 West to Pacific Coast Highway to Topanga Canyon, to Mulholland Drive (not Highway.) Along the way, we had to find the answers to a number of gumball winning questions (Plasma + Corvette Lubricant=?), ____________’s Donuts, the redundant importer (???), and take the first of a series of photos, this time of an Indian on Horseback. When we got to Stop 2, the Leonis Adobe and Plummer House (next to the Sagebrush Cantina, where many were ready to grab a margarita), we took a short tour and got the answers to questions about the location. Then we earned more gumballs depending on how well we did on the responses, the photos and the obtaining of a “passport” from the Leonis House. After the scoring was complete, we received the instructions to the next rally point.
We headed back into the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area and after some u-turns and backing and forthing, ended up at the ranch of the safety razor king, the King Gillette Ranch, where a lot of TV shows like M.A.S.H. were filmed. We had some questions to answer, of course, and some silly photos of one of the team posing like one of the animals who live in the area to take. Then we gained more gumballs and moved on to the next point, which turned out to be the Paramount Ranch, where they did more filming. One of answers to a question there was that they filmed Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman at this site and our photo assignments were a sexy pose from one teammate and a shootout with a total stranger for another teammate.
Our next destination was back out of the hills and through the Agoura, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village area and north on the 101 to the MB2 Indoor Kart Racing facility, where one teammate did 9 laps in one of the electric go carts and the other took photos. So we have now had 5 rally points and opportunities to earn gumballs as well as lunch (with all entry fees and food as part of the deal in addition to a selection of carefully crafted lunch containers and instruction materials for souvenirs) and only 2 more destinations to go before we can stop for the day.
Back into the cars and through towns and countryside to Port Hueneme and Point Mugu, where we stopped at the Missile Park for a photo op and another question to answer. By this point, we were no longer under cloudy skies, but in a full-fledged downpour so the photo op was a quick one. We opened our last instructions and headed for our dinner and beds at the 4 star Mandalay Beach Resort, which is an Embassy Suites right on the beach in Oxnard. Our Corvettes turned into boats as we navigated the flooded streets of Oxnard to the hotel.
For those who remember the previous Gumball Rally, there was a small issue of not every room having its own bathroom at the very old hotel in Los Alamos. Well, there was no such issue here, as each room had 2 rooms and TWO bathrooms. After checking in and working on the “hood ornaments”, we met for drinks and appetizers by the pool (under cover for sure!) and then dinner in the Coastal Grill. Everyone ordered off the menu and there were a lot of good options. Many of the group had fish and chips which was excellent and Doug and Steve Glenore also tried the lobster mac and cheese as part of Doug’s ongoing search for the best mac and cheese. Before our meals arrived, we determined who the winners of the gumball machine awards were. It was a tie between the Steeds and the McIntoshs, both of whom only missed 4 gumballs. The tie-breaker question determined the Steeds to be the winners and they each received a $50 award. The McIntoshs each received $20. We also had the presentation of the various “hood ornaments” and the popular vote awarded the Wide Load team (Glenores) the winning prize. The Cool Kidds also got lots of votes as did the crazy foil sock of the McIntoshs (wherever did they get that idea – just look at Ray’s feet next time you see him.)
After dinner and awards, Vickie discussed Monday’s plan, which was not a points and awards day, but the equivalent of a more simple Mystery Lunch Run, without the Lunch. We met in the parking garage at 9:15 for a 9:30 departure, all checked out and ready to go. We received sealed envelopes and then followed the leaders (Al and Vickie) down PCH to Malibu, where we went off the main drag and did a long detour around the curves of Mulholland Highway, For some drivers this was a lot of fun, but for some it was a “lot of work”. We had a couple of stops and starts and U-turns along the way and then made a potty stop at the Malibu Hindu Temple where they welcome everyone and have a restroom (you must remove your shoes to enter the grounds). When we got back onto PCH, it was necessary to quench the thirst of the ZR1 which had about a 20-30 mile range left, so everyone patiently waited and then we finished our drive to our final destination, the Getty Villa. After we did a couple more U-turns we arrived to paid parking and reservations as part of our total Gumball experience. We all spent as much or as little time as desired at the museum and then made our separate ways back home.
Bet there will be lots to talk about at our next Membership Meeting and Mystery Lunch Run. Now we just have to find someone organized enough or foolish enough or both to take on the task of planning another Rally, maybe 5 years from now. Let’s make sure Vickie is around to give guidance, because she is a really hard act to follow!