Back in abatement 2018, at an Alfa Romeo Affiliation club event, I was attractive at a asperous 1967 Alfa Duetto aback the car’s owner, Leslie Yuen, alien himself. “This is my hippie Duetto,” he said. “It may attending tired, but I’ve apprenticed it everywhere.” He told me he’d entered it in the accessible Targa California, a best assemblage from Palm Springs to Ensenada, Mexico, and back, but he bare a codriver to photograph the event. I had addition in mind.
Six weeks later, Leslie angry up on my doorstep in the Oakland hills with his hippie Duetto, and we fabricated the 500-mile drive bottomward to Palm Springs—day one of a five-day adventitious that covered 2000 afar in all.
The abutting morning, our avenue included beautiful, abandoned anchorage and the amazing backdrop of Joshua Tree National Park. The little Duetto ran impeccably and handled wonderfully, and it anon became bright that Leslie knew how to hustle his little Italian convertible. A cafeteria stop at Chuckwalla Basin Approach gave anybody the befalling to about-face some laps in their cars. Leslie and I fabricated abiding to leave the stop at the advanced of the backpack so we could watch the faster Porsches, Mercedes, and American beef machines bang accomplished us as we all fabricated our way to the Mexican border.
Entering Mexico was a air-conditioned experience, with lots of federales endlessly cartage so we could accumulate en masse at an alfresco area in Tecate, area the bounded government gave a abrupt columnist appointment and greeted us. It additionally gave anybody a adventitious to abode their beggared cars. Our little Duetto’s decayed old bankrupt system, for example, had accustomed up the apparition beforehand that day, so we were acutely loud and low on power. The Mexican mechanics on duke were amazing, and Leslie anon abolished with a bounded fixer. Just a half-hour later, he alternate with a big beam and a anew anchored bankrupt for the all-in amount of $30!
We put the new bankrupt to acceptable use on the acclaimed La Rumorosa roadway, which crosses the Sierra de Juárez, and the sharp, arced drive gave us absolutely a examination of the arresting landscapes and anchorage we’d be adequate while in Mexico. Our abject of operations, the Posada el rey Sol, accustomed all of us to esplanade our cars central the courtyard, which morphed into the absolute acquisition atom at the end of anniversary day.
One of the highlights was a run from sea akin up to the Observatorio Pedro San Mártir—the National Astronomical Observatory—at 9200 feet. The two-lane avenue was all curves and astringent drop-offs, and it kept Leslie busy. The payoff, however, was an all-embracing appearance of Baja from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific Ocean.
For two guys and a hippie Duetto, the Targa California accepted to be an acclaimed active experience. It was additionally the quintessential analogy of what these beneficiary cars are meant for—to be taken out and driven.
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