Davenport Run - Saturday July 13, 2024

Join the Norcal Minis club for an epic drive from San Jose through the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains! Enjoy stunning vistas and wine tasting a...

Annual Mt. Hamilton Run for Absent Friends May 5 2019 RECAP

Your Host For The Event: Bayley Mah

The annual Run for Absent Friends up to and down from Mt. Hamilton has concluded for 2019. This is the traditional NorCal MINIs club run in memory of those we have lost. A big thank you to those who made donations to the American Cancer Society and the Valley Humane Society. The donations were very generous this year to two very worthy causes.

We gathered at a Starbucks on McKee Road in San Jose to begin the run. As we waited for everyone to show up, there was the usual chit-chat among the group. I spoke to Ken (who drives a white 2006 R53) for a while. I learned he is scheduled to go into surgery to replace a failing aortic valve the Thursday following the run. Ken didn’t go on the run because of his condition, but he showed up at the starting point to see everyone off. Let’s hope Ken’s surgery goes well, and hope to see him soon on a future run.

There were 19 MINIs that showed up for the run. A little after 10am we started on our ascent of Mt. Hamilton with club president Simon leading the pack. The day had started out cloudy, but when the run started it cleared into a beautiful sunny day making perfect driving weather. There was a bit of traffic before we got onto Mt. Hamilton Road, but we managed to stay together heading up hill. Considering what a challenging road it is, drivers were encouraged to drive at a pace that was comfortable for them. If you enjoy driving the twisties, this is the run for you. Of all of the club runs, this is the one that is most about the experience of driving. The road is especially fun in a MINI. The road is narrow in some places with no guard rails, and steep drop offs. A lot of hairpin turns to test to road holding ability of your MINI on. For the co-pilots, there are great scenic views of Santa Clara Valley. Also, as you would expect, there are cyclist to watch out for :-) After a little over an hour, the group made it to the top of Mt. Hamilton.

We stop for a rest to let the drivers unwind, and let folks enjoy the view from to top. We gathered for a group photo, and held the drawing for goodies. At about 11:40am, we started the descent. More twisties and switchbacks, but this time going downhill. Mt. Hamilton Road becomes San Antonio Valley Road. We stopped for a regroup to get the MINIs back together after the descent which became photo op of a line of 19 MINIs. We continued along San Antonio Valley Road until we got to the junction of Mines Road that would take us into Livermore. Mines Road is a blast to drive in it’s own right with lots of twists and turns of it’s own.

The group of MINIs made it to Livermore after 1pm. For those who wanted to do some socializing, we gathered for a post-run lunch at The First Street Ale House.

Thank you to those who attended to make this another successful Run for Absent Friends.

Bayley Mah

PS: Check out all the great photos from the day as well: