California, Here We Come!
The San Diego/Palm Springs region is proud to host the 57th annual meeting of the Classic Car Club of America in beautiful San Diego. The region's members are working hard to make this the best meeting ever. But before I tell you about all the exciting things we have in store for those attending, let me tell you a little about our wonderful city.
San Diego is located on the Pacific Ocean in the southwest corner of the U.S. We have the best weather with an average temperature of 70 degrees and an annual rainfall of less than 10 inches. Because of its climate and attractions, it is a tourist mecca year-round.
San Diego was founded in 1542 by a Portuguese explorer by the name of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in the employ of Spain. The first settlement by Europeans was on July 16, 1769 when Franciscan friars Junipero Serra, Juan Viscaino and Fernando Parron raised and blessed a cross, and established the first settlement in Upper California, naming it Mission San Diego de Alcala. Colonists began arriving from Europe in 1774. By 1797 the mission had become the largest in California, with over 1,400 Kumayay natives associated with it. In 1850, when California became part of the United States, the town was designated the seat of the newly-established San Diego County and was officially incorporated as a city. San Diego has hosted two World Fairs: The Panama-California Exposition in 1915 and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935. Both events took place in Balboa Park which is still a popular attraction.
Since World War II, the military has played a leading role in the local economy. Following the end of the Cold War the military presence has diminished considerably. San Diego has since become a hub of the world’s burgeoning biotech industry and is home to telecommunications giant Qualcomm. San Diego is the second largest city in California and ranks ninth in the United States. Today there are over 3 million people living in San Diego County, about half of which live in the city.
Hotel and Arrangements
Now with all that in mind, let me tell you what we have planned for you. You will be staying at the San Diego Omni Hotel, a premiere hotel in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, within walking distance to restaurants, shopping and beautiful San Diego Bay. The Omni is next to Petco Park, the Padres new downtown baseball stadium, and is loaded with baseball memorabilia. Because of the hotel’s central location there will be no long bus rides to events and attractions. You might want to book early to guarantee a room. You can do that by calling the hotel directly at 1-800-THE-OMNI (843-6664) and tell them you are with the Classic Car Club of America. The rate is $209.00 a night plus tax. You may also want to book your flight early to get the best deal. Southwest, Jet Blue and most major airlines fly into San Diego. Since most of you will be flying in on Wednesday from the East and Midwest, we thought we would make this an easy day. Registration will be open in the afternoon and you are invited for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the private Evans Garage collection. This collection is not normally open to the public and has a very eclectic group of cars. If you didn’t get enough hors d’oeuvres, dinner is on your own. We will supply you with a list of excellent restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
Events and Activities
On Thursday, there will be business meetings in the morning. After the meetings, there will be buses to take you to the world renowned San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. Our zoo is one of the largest and most progressive zoos in the world with over 4,000 animals of more than 800 species. It is also one of the few zoos in the world that houses the giant pandas and koala bears. Chartered busses will transport you from the hotel to the zoo where you will transfer to special vehicles with a guide who will share their amazing depth of knowledge on all the species. If you prefer to walk, plan on 3 to 4 hours to see this very large facility. I recommend getting on the zoo bus as soon as you get there to get a good feel of what the zoo has to offer, and then walk to the exhibits that interest you most. You will be on your own for lunch at the zoo. There are a number of concession stands with outdoor tables. There is also a restaurant called Albert’s, if you want something fancier. For those wanting to go to the editor’s meeting, there will be plenty of time to see the zoo and to take the chartered bus back to the hotel for the meeting at 3:00 PM.
Thursday night we are going to the Aircraft Carrier USS Midway Museum. The giant carrier was commissioned a week after the end of World War II. It plied the seas for 47 years and more than 225,000 Americans took part in the odyssey that ended after Midway served as the Persian Gulf flagship in Desert Storm. It is the longest serving U. S. Navy carrier, and was largest ship afloat from 1945-1955. The USS Midway Museum opened in June, 2004. There are more than 60 exhibits from boiler to bridge, including 25 restored aircraft. The Classic Car Club will be the only guests aboard that evening. There will be 10 docents to give us guided tours of the ship. We’ll also enjoy dinner and the regional awards presentations in the vessel’s special banquet facilities.
Friday will be another full day. Starting with more business meetings in the morning, then off to two car collections. The first will be at Chuck Swimmer’s collection. Chuck has successfully shown many of his cars at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, Meadowbrook and many other Concours around the United States. Not only do we get to see Chuck’s collection, but we get to enjoy lunch among the cars. After Chuck Swimmer’s collection, it’s off to Chuck Spielman’s “Only Yesterday”. Chuck not only has a collection of cars, but also features memorabilia from the era of the cars being displayed.
Friday night we cruise the San Diego Bay aboard the Lord Hornblower yacht, while enjoying cocktails and dinner. The San Diego skyline is incredible, whether in the brilliant sunshine of day or by glimmering lights at night. Don’t worry about sea sickness, the bay is always calm. This is the best way to see San Diego.
Saturday is show time! Weather permitting, we have the perfect setting for the Grand Classic, on the grass of Embarcadero Marina Park overlooking the Bay. You will definitely want a photo of your Classic in this elegant setting. The park is within walking distance from the hotel, but there will be shuttles to take you back and forth should you desire.
After you finish checking out all the great classics on the lawn, the afternoon trip is to Balboa Park and its many museums. Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park. You will have a pass to enjoy any 4 of the 15 museums located in this architectural wonder. Some of the museums that might interest you are: Automotive, Photographic Arts, Fleet Science Center, Air & Space, Model Railroad, Museum of Art, Natural History, the Museum of Man, and the Japanese Garden. There is a wonderful arboretum, grand plazas and arcades open to all.There is something for everyone in Balboa Park.
At 4:00pm at the Omni Hotel, Jim “Jimmy Chips” Wells of Autocolorlibrary.com will put on a technical seminar on paint colors.
Awards Banquet and Hospitality Suite
Saturday night we will have a Cocktail Hour and the Awards Banquet at the hotel. In addition to the planned social activities, the hospitality suite will be open every night. Hours of operation will be posted in the program. The hospitality suite is a great place to relax and catch-up with old friends and meet new friends, so make sure to stop in at some point over the weekend.
Sunday is the last day of an incredibly full weekend and the festivities are not over yet. If your car was on the field for the Grand Classic, you might want to consider entering it in the La Jolla Concours on Sunday. This is another annual car show in another wonderful location on the grass by the ocean. There will be buses to take anyone interested in going to the concours. You may opt for a lunch and tour of Symbolic Motors. Symbolic Motors is known for their high-end cars such as: Rolls Royce, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and the like.You will definitely see some wonderful cars, not only at the La Jolla show, but also at Symbolic. It is definitely worth staying over an extra night to include these two events in your San Diego experience. Sunday night you will have time to explore the restaurants and nightlife of the the Gaslamp Quarter just outside the Omni Hotel. After reading all that we have planned for you in such a spectacular setting, aren’t you enticed to make your hotel and plane reservations right away? This is one meeting I don’t think you want to miss. It will have everything: cars, boats, animals, planes, museums, palm trees, fantastic weather, exciting events and wonderful, friendly people.
See you in San Diego!
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