Dream Drive Celebrates Reopening of California’s Highway 1

On July 19, 2016, more than one million tons of debris slid down a steep hillside and swept a section of California’s iconic Highway 1 into the Pacific Ocean below. The resulting road closure cut-off the main link between communities north and south of the slide and was a major blow to California’s tourism industry. A study concluded the closure resulted in a half a billion dollar loss of revenue to area businesses. On July 19, 2016, more than one million tons of debris slid down a steep hillside and swept a section of California’s iconic Highway 1 into the Pacific Ocean below. The resulting road closure cut-off the main link between communities north and south of the slide and was a major blow to California’s tourism industry. A study concluded the closure resulted in a half a billion dollar loss of revenue to area businesses.

A mountain literally slid down into the Pacific Ocean, obliterating Highway 1.

After almost two years of removing and relocating tons of soil, a new road section was in place several weeks before the target date. To celebrate the reopening of the highway, Visit California, the state’s non-profit tourism marketing organization, created and co-ordinated the “Highway 1 Dream Drive”.

To symbolize the 84-year history of the highway, Visit California invited owners of cars from model year 1934 to present, hoping to have one car to represent each model year. The August 9 drive was began  at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca then traveled down Highway 1 to Morro Bay.

To promote the event travel journalists were invited to attend and ride along in the participating cars. Drones, videographers, a helicopter and photographers were on hand to generate images for immediate release to the news.

Strategic stops along the route provided opportunities for photos, interviews and interaction between the journalists and drivers.  The caravan of 96 cars, which included a 1934 Pierce Arrow up to a variety of 2018 models with several electric and hybrid vehicles, kept up a steady pace along the 132-mile route greatly aided with the support of the California Highway Patrol escorts.

The tour ended at one of the California Coasts most recognized sights, The Rock at Morro Bay where a barbecue dinner was ready for all the participants as they finished the tour.  With all the cars parked in a large circle surrounding the food stations, everyone was enjoyed the live music, food and drink for the next several hours.

With the completion or the Dream Drive, the message broadcast to the world is clear:  Highway 1 is open for business from Monterey to Morro Bay.  Great news for Car Week goers to Monterey and the Rennsport Reunion VI in September. The Central Coast is back!—Gary Horstkorta