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Daily Recap *Saturday 09/27/2003

Saturday 09/27/2003
By Jud Spencer

The Lost Coast Auto Tour
"Line 'em up!" bellowed Steve Cohen in the lobby of The Benbow Inn. It's 8:30a and Steve is nervously pacing as the last breakfast meals were being consumed by awakening 8-Fest attendees. With a 150 mile Auto Tour to lead, mixed messages about the status of the Lost Coast road due to waning forest fires, and 87 8 Series to corral, concerns were mounting. In the distance, one of The Benbow Inn staff members called out to Steve: "It's okay. The road is open to the Lost Coast. They know you're coming through."

And with that, the line up began outside The Benbow Inn.

Area facilitators were interspersed within the line to keep the caravan evenly flowing. Larry Burstein, the Saracinos, and John Mok took off in advance of the Auto Tour to set up for their first Photo Op. At precisely 9:00a, Steve Cohen in the lead car, slowly exited The Benbow Inn parking lot to US 101 North. Within 8 minutes, all 76 8 Series were on US 101, with Len Cacioppo and Jud Spencer in the rear.

Moments later, one-third of the caravan veered off into Garberville as one of the 8 Series participants appeared to have a wheel problem. When it was cleared up, Curtis Fong and Jud Spencer swung into action to re-activate the caravan northward. Until A.W. Way State Park, we had two caravans 5 minutes apart.

Larry Burstein situated himself on a sharp 15 mph curve before the
hill climb over to HoneyDew and was ready at the trigger to shoot p

"It was simply amazing to see these 8's zoom around this corner at
30 mph+." commented Larry. Minutes later, Kelly Howard and Micheleen Nelsom of Salt Lake City, UT zoomed around the curve - 'Click-Click-Click' the cameras sounded off - with Kelly flashing a wide grin. Then Hansel Bailey of Fountain Valley, CA zoomed around the curve and gave a 'thumbs up' to Larry and the crew. Within 15 minutes, all 76 8's had passed.

Arriving in Honey Dew - a village that consists of a general store, a beautiful iron-truss bridge, and a Tintersection
- Tim Duffy of San Diego, CA wondered aloud: "Do you think this many cars have ever been in this village?" Slowly the entourage of cars exited the village on its final leg to arrive at A.W. Way State Park. The second caravan caught up to Honey Dew shortly thereafter. As 10 8's were loaded on the ancient bridge, a wobbly feeling came over; "Oh my God, is this bridge strong enough to hold us?" crackled over the two-way radio from an unidentified attendee. Nick Pon, Bimmer Magazine, situated in Honey Dew, captured the moment on film.

A.W. Way State Park. We've arrived. With minimal dust flying, perfect weather with blue skies, the 8's were positioned into place for a portrait. Picnic lunches in hand, hoods up to enjoy the cars, and music flowing from a James Bond CD soundtrack blaring, the mingling began. The Ranger at the park arranged for us to use a 14 foot ladder for everyone to take their own portrait shots from the side and from the front of the cars. At one time, a line 50 people deep waited patiently to climb the ladder, take pictures and then climb down. After 90 minutes, the moment arrived. Larry Burstein climbed the ladder. Everyone stood by their cars. In a moment, the image was captured....and record secured. Seventy-six 8's posed for a stunning portrait.

Crackling over the radios, Stan Conston roared: "Gentlemen, start your engines!" Thundering engines started up much like a choir chirps singing its first unison. The Lost Coast is our next stop. Exiting A.W. Way State Park, Matt DiGregory patiently guides each car out of the park and onto Route 211. With the last car out of the park, 76 8 Series begin the ascent of one more hilly pass before a rapid descent to the Pacific Ocean. Bob Reynolds (Alaskan Bob) piloted his car carefully around the curves - and through unexpected short stretches of gravel - to finally see the coast. "Wow, great scenery!" he said.

A gentle stillness layered over the road as the 8's flew by
. Windows down, sunroof open, the smells of the sea captivated the senses as the rush of German engineering excellence raced along. Jim Keller's 1997 850Ci melted the miles: "This is really is a 'Lost Coast.'" After 7 miles tracing the coast, Steve Cohen slowly brought the caravan to a halt. On a ridge overlooking the line of 8's below, Sally Saracino gazed down at a perfect linear string of 76 8's. Ed Raether immediately exited Len Cacioppo 1994 850CSi with a couple of orange construction cones to halt traffic. Meanwhile, Marty Saracino began to do the same thing at the top of the hill that would eventually take the entourage away from the Lost Coast to the Village of Ferndale.

Two-by-Two: the 8's climb the hill. 
Slowly but surely, two 8's at a time drove up the steep incline for a photo op at the top. It was poetry in motion as the pairs of 8's took off. Jim Goodfellow of Reno, NV piloted his Silver 8 in a pair with a HUGE grin on his face. Closest to the ocean, Jim was in heaven. Don Dallenbach and his son of Snohomish, WA began their ascent in a pair when suddenly white smoke could be seen. At the top of the hill, Don noticed his water temperature gauge was in the "red." Tom Carter, Wuffer, who suffered a similar fate the day before, swung into action to assist Don. After the 8 hill climb completed, Ed Raether also rushed up the line. A small plastic valve had given way in the expansion tank. The night before Ed and Henry Lawrence had spoken of the Maturing 8 - and the need to be pro-active in replacing plastic parts after 10 years. Within minutes, the problem was temporarily fixed...and off the caravan went to Ferndale.

Ferndale - location of the movie: Outbreak - starring Dustin Hoffman.

In this quaint Victorian village by the sea where time seems to have stood still for decades, the 8's make their way to parking. 153 people descend on the village, walking through the shops, museums, and gardens. By the city park, 15 850CSi's lined up for a unqiue BMW Motorsport portrait, the largest assemblage of 850CSi's in North America.

It's 4:30p. Time to roll back to The Benbow Inn, fill up the 8's, and prepare for the evening.  

The Lost Coast Tour150 miles of pure driving pleasure.

Saturday Dinner Program

7:00p - Dinner.
Jud Spencer, E31 Registry Agent, stepped up to the podium. With a simple "Good Evening," the evening program began. In his introductory remarks, Jud shared the story of an incident that happened on his way to 8-Fest from Colorado when a tire retread carcass took out his rear diffuser on his 1994 850CSi. Jud shared his gratitude with the crowd for everyone that jumped to their local BMW dealers to bring clips to re-attached the diffisuer. However, on the way to sharing his thanks, he displayed a picture of a 1995 850CSi that had become a total wreck.

"Earlier this year, a sixteen year old borrowed his Dad's 8 Series to take his fourteen
year old girlfriend for a joy ride. It ended like this."

Jud began. "It was a rainy night with slick roads. Speeding along at 100 mph plus, a curve quickly came up, the kid lost control, and violently smashed into a tree. The driver, walked away. The fourteen year old girl survived with a broken leg. As terrible as this tragedy was, the engineering and safety that BMW built into this car prevented a more horrible fate: death."

With dinner served, Jud then spoke about the
E31 Registry. In his opinion, E31 Community issues center around "advocacy,
recognition and preservation" of the 8 Series. In moving these issues along, he explained inner workings of the E31 Registry and ownership trends. The E31 Registry opens January 2004.

Mr. Satch Carlson, Editor-In-Chief of Roundel Magazine and Keynote Speaker for 8-Fest, stepped up to the podium toshare his views on the '8 Series place in BMW history.' Highlights from his speech:

"The rest of the world has caught up with the 8 Series ... (in terms of its technical innovation and design)."

"Innovations from the 8 Series were directly infused in all BMW's throughout the 1990's."

"The new 6 Series is a worthy contender. It's an 8 Series for a new Generation."

"BMW continues to be on the cutting-edge of development. The new 7 Series is a testament to that. Reaction to the new 7
is not unlike that of the reaction to 8 Series in 1989; albeit different perspectives."

"The BMW Club is you."

Satch received a standing ovation for his speech. 

It stirred the audience in many different ways, including respect to 8
Series fans dedicated to preserving an important part of BMW's history.

With a long day over, people retired to the bar and to their rooms for the night; looking forward to yet another event-filled 8-Fest day.

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