2013 Scion FR-S: Kulinary Mille 2012, Part Two
July 24, 2012
In the last Kulinary Mille post, I left off at the end of a fun canyon drive. After that, things got decidedly boring. This is the part where bugs start collecting on the grille.
We ended up somewhere near Gorman and the 5 Freeway. There were no shortage of smiles as we all participated in a little gas station bench racing. After a quick break we headed north on the 5, right through the rest of the Grapevine. From there, it was onto the Maricopa Highway, a desolate straight road through miles and miles of almond farms and scrub brush.
The road began to twist and turn as we made the climb over the mountains, then settled back to the valley floor. There were plenty of 18-wheelers on the two-lane roads and that required some passing maneuvers that proved challenging for the FR-S.
Heat and altitude certainly didn't do the Scion any favors. Passing the big rigs required me to hang back a ways while I waited for the right time to pass. I had to downshift two gears and get a run up behind the trucks to pass them with any sort of confidence. Throughout these passes, the engine drone was far from melodious or aggressive. To be perfectly honest, this engine sounds awful. I hope there's an exhaust system that will give it some teeth, but I have a feeling it'll just make it louder.
Just as before, the pace I set was safe and reasonable. The drive towards the 101 freeway was mostly straight, interrupted by a few sweepers. As we neared Santa Maria, the scenery got a lot more interesting and the roads began to twist again.
Before we knew it, we pulled into the Santa Maria Inn. And preparations for the Kulinary part of the Mille began.
The smell of burning charcoal wafted through the courtyard and drew me in like a moth to a flame. I was immediately greeted by the first of many cocktails (one of the sponsors of the event was Russian Standard Vodka). I figured I better get the photos I needed while I could still focus.
On the menu: deviled eggs with crab meat and Sriracha hot sauce, skewered lobster tails and Wagyu tri-tips. Vegans need not apply.
The evening was filled with rich conversations that appropriately ranged from cars and motorcycles to epic feasts. Cigars from a little island nation in the Caribbean were distributed freely and I once again began to feel like a one-percenter. The revelry headed into the bar afterwards and thankfully, the long day of driving had a lot of people retiring early -- myself included.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 3,202 miles