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August 10, 2011 / Linda Hartong

A PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS – THE TOUR D’ELEGANCE LUNCHES IN CARMEL

Several days before the Concours , we  see many of these cars gain points with the judges by driving from Pebble Beach, tracing portions of the 17-Mile Drive and arriving in Carmel-by-the Sea where they stop for several hours to share their cars with the public and take a lunch break in Devendorf Park.

The Tour and the Concours are directly linked. If two vehicles tie in class competition in the Concours, the vehicle that has successfully completed the Tour will win.

When Bill and I arrive in town, flags fly along Ocean Ave. announcing the event.

We walk up the street where people are gathering along the sidewalks and jockeying for position to get good views of this spectacle.

Everyone and his dog has come to be part of the show.

Excitement builds as we hear the first cars come down Ocean.

The event is open to the public without charge and has the feel of a very sophisticated street fair. I hear Italian, French, and German being spoken. Southern accents and Yankee drawls add to the atmosphere. Carmel is,after all, a small town with an international flavor. Restaurants and shops along Ocean are open and decorate their windows in automotive themes. Photographers ready their cameras and children climb on their parent’s shoulders. Ocean and several side streets close to other traffic to create the show field. Finally the cars round the median and drive up Ocean to the sound of applause.

The drivers “ham it up”, waving to the crowd. After they park, they exit for a break.

We hear an agitated Italian calling his mechanic on his cell phone. His beautiful automobile is leaking oil all over the street.

Drivers are very generous about sharing information with the crowd. They point out special features of the car while lightly wiping off the road dust.

The last several years , cars that are driven unrestored are all the rage.

We walk up and down the rows of cars taking it all in and dodging each other’s cameras.

Hood ornaments fascinate me.

One year many of them were  Lalique Crystal.

I am taking “detail shots” for a photo collage I will give Bill on his birthday.

We all “people watch” and appreciate those who go to the trouble to make it worth our while.

( Why did I leave my cowboy hat and my two Wheaten Scotties back in Kansas City?)

We have lunch reservations at Casanova and when we are worn out we amble over. We reserve extra spots for friends we inevitably meet on the street.

A glass of wine and the omelet revive me.

As we walk home, the Tour is winding up their picnic and getting back on the road. They will end up back at Pebble Beach for champagne and awards. This year  will be even more fun, as we share it with my sister in-law and her husband who will be with us for the week. Karen, bring your cowgirl hat but leave your dogs at home!

4 Comments

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  1. kathysue / Aug 10 2011 2:32 am

    Linda this looks so much fun!! I will be sure and show my hubby this post, he will love it!! Kathysue

  2. miranda / Aug 10 2011 10:53 pm

    Oh my! it is fun to watch people who are people watching ;))

  3. jeanette sclar / Aug 19 2011 4:38 am

    You should suggest period costumes for the drivers!

  4. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) / Sep 15 2011 1:47 pm

    I love beautiful old cars…they are just amazing to see and touch. Love your photographs, Linda…they are so rich in color…and I love the perspective you give us…really wonderful! Do you mind if I ask what camera you use and what lens you’re using for most of your pics? Also, is there a zoom lens for those far away shots that you would recommend?

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