Run to Salt Lick - Saturday, 22 Sept 2012
Sunshine… Drama… Intrigue… Laughter… Camaraderie
This was billed as the first of many “People’s Choice” runs. A new tradition within Alamo, the Executive Team allows the members to vote on where they want to make a run to. Two suggestions were brought forward at a previous event – Run the Devil’s Backbone or make run to the Salt Lick. The voting was fierce, but a run to the Salt Lick won out… barely!
It was an absolutely beautiful day for a gathering of hungry folk looking for a great drive. Near and far they arrived, one after another… Mark in his ’70 280SL, Joyce & Bob’s ‘09 Smart, John & Mitzi in their E350, Sak & Bebe were in their ‘bad boy’ SL65, while Jeff & Lori (as the first family of the club) were cocooned comfortably in their S55 AMG. New to the group were Kevin & Amanda in a nice SLK AMG, while joining us from Cedar Park was Ude & Ken in their SLK! Seven cars, all part of the Alamo Mercedes family all lined up for the caravan to the world famous Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood Texas.
After a brief time catching up with each other – and meeting new friends - driver’s instructions and route details were provided. We all took off heading north on Highway 281; Joyce and Bob at point with Jeff and Lori bringing up the rear. The road was wonderful. The temperature was perfect and all the tops were down on the convertibles. What a beautiful sight: 7 wonderfully engineering motorcars driving up the road in a gorgeous line. We were settling in for a great run!
A couple miles up the highway however, Mark breaks off and pulls over to the side of the road. Immediately, Kevin & Amanda, Sak & Bebe, and Jeff & Lori stop to assist. One thing about Alamo members, we leave no one behind! So we are there to help Mark. After a moment or two, the little 280SL starts up and we are on our way. Got to get going to catch up with the leaders!
Meanwhile, Joyce is wondering why there is only half the number of cars behind her. Hmmm… better make a call. After a quick check with Jeff, Joyce pulls the caravan over and waits for us to catch up.
But again, Mark’s pride and joy sputters out and he coasts to stop. This time though, Mark’s luck places him in the center island – not an ideal place to be on Hwy-281 North! Of course, the 3 of us stop again to help out; mainly to ensure traffic doesn’t smack into Mark! Sputter… spit… sputter… cough… finally the little engine comes back to life. Now Mark is worried about completing the run to Driftwood, and if he were to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, ‘rescue’ would be difficult. Mark opts to bail from the caravan and head home. He’s reasonably close to home and he stalls again, at least he’d be that much closer to home. So with a heavy heart, we ensure Mark is OK, he negotiates his U-turn, and starts his drive south.
While it's always nice to have Mark’s car with us for events – it does garner lots of attention – it is more important that the driver and car always be safe. Mark made the right decision for we learned later that Mark did make it home safely, but only after a number of additional coughing sessions. We rejoiced on hearing of his safe return home!
Carrying on, we regrouped at a convenient gas station where we almost lost John, who opted to go in for a quick soda. OK, all together again. We’re off! Hang a right out of the gas station, straight through the intersection, and back onto Hwy-281 north. Hmmm…. Why is there only 5 of us going north on Hwy-281?!? Clearly having temporary insanity, Sak & Bebe decided to make a left turn at the intersection instead of going straight through. Why? We never really did find out. So, back onto the cell phone we went coordinating Joyce in the lead, Jeff in the chase position, and Sak somewhere in Comal County.
At this point, it became clear that getting folks on the right track was, in fact, like herding cats. Joyce was just shaking her head, mumbling, “I know my car is little but ‘Follow the blue Smart car’ ain't that hard to do, folks”. And it was true; that blue Smart car is pretty tough to miss! The rest of us, feeling secure in knowing Joyce’s directions were exact, knew the V-12 would catch up sooner or later. So we keep chugging along, loving the scenery, following the little Smart car on the highways & byways of Texas. Joyce loves these moments… her lil’ Smart car leading and pacing the big Mercedes. But make no mistake… when Joyce wants to go, she goes! And one is surprised at how much oomph that little car’s got! Oh yeah, Jeff is talking Sak through the turns as we go, on cell phones. Sak is committed to catching up! The real question was… Will he arrive with a speeding ticket in his hand?
Ahhh... the roads are delightful and the scenery gorgeous. We pass beautiful scrub trees and spacious ranches. In places, it’s like a scene out Bonanza and we expected to see the Cartwright’s riding by. Rolling hills and majestic, natural beauty.
Hanging a right on FM-306, we came to one of the best stretches of road in the area. There is a spot that's a mile across; lazy downhill and then a lazy uphill. It’s a great opportunity to clear the carbon out of the tail pipes, and a wonderful chance for Sak’s ‘big boy’ V12 to catch up. [Wink-wink] If he can!
We were cruising along, in a very sweet line crossing the Devil’s Hollow. Beautiful! Hang a left on John Knox Cut-Off and there it was – we had just entered the Devil’s Backbone, also known as FM-32. Making a right onto FM-32, we pass along the NE side of Canyon Lake. The countryside just gets better and better through here and we stopped for a gorgeous photo op where you can see for miles and miles into the rolling hills of the Wimberley Valley.
WHOOSH!! Was that Sak & Bebe? Couldn’t tell… the blur was too intense! Joyce exclaimed, “There they go!” At times like this, philosophically, one just accepts that blurs might return. It’s a cosmic sort of thing… the way of things. Sure enough, a few moments later, here is the SL65. We didn’t ask… some things are best left unsaid. Our group was, once again, back together. And that’s all that mattered.
After the photo op (which was drop-dead gorgeous), we were again on the road heading down FM-32 to our destination. At the FM-32/FM-12 fork in the road, we turn left and start heading north on FM-12. Through Wimberley, then where the 2-lane turns into a 4-lane, we hang a right. Follow that past the ‘Warning: Attack Goat’ signage and when you get to the old jail, gas station, general store all in one building hang a left, then a right. At the 2nd driveway, hang a right, cross the river and we are there. Maps, schmaps. We drive via land marks. And drive we did!
Arriving at the Salt Lick (unfazed, chipper, and not having a clue where we had been), we caught up with some more of our Mercedes friends from the Lone Star Section who had driven down specifically to join us! Bryan was there with his CLK55, along with Barry and his 2 children and another wonderful couple. Together, we were escorted into the original building and along with our Lone Star compadres, managed to fill 3 huge tables with Mercedes-Benz and Smart folks!
We were all sitting and enjoying the family-style atmosphere. When there is good food and good friendship, there are never cliques or divisions. One of the things that makes Alamo a great group is that we welcome everyone! And as we sat around the tables, devouring fabulous BBQ, having fun with one another, and having some really good conversations – along with many a hearty laugh – we realized that this was good. This is what a car club is supposed to be. We had a ball… multiple times over!
After everyone had their fill, Jeff (as Alamo El Presidente, Head Pooh Bah, and El Jeffe) thanked everyone for coming out. Yup… he had a look on his face like a kid on Christmas morning. It was a great event. Bryan (President of Lone Star) also thanked everyone for coming out and for introducing them to the Salt Lick… and asked when we can do this again! Over the course of the day, 11 Mercedes/Smarts joined us on the adventure!
We’ve done a couple events jointly with Lone Star Section and there is good chemistry between the two groups. Alamo is so active and with Joyce (the Alamo Events Goddess) at the planning helm, participants are always assured a great driving run to very interesting and fun venues.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone in Alamo Section – and Lone Star Section – who came out for this fabulous adventure! Oh, did I mention the Alamo VP doing a table dance? We’ve got pictures! And Mark’s engine cut-out problem? Was a bad ignition coil. If he had continued and the coil got hotter during the day, it may have failed completely. See ya ‘round the bend at the next event!