Exactly one week ago this evening at 7:30 pm I climbed into Jonny’s GTI to head off to meet up with 6 other guys with 3 more cars to begin a weekend adventure coined “California Cannonball”.
Eight guys, four cars, and nearly endless highway.
The primary plan was to convoy from Vancouver to Los Angeles, California to attend the XS Carnight show taking place in Long Beach. The kicker, we only had 3 1/2 days to complete the drive down, attend the event Saturday afternoon, and do the drive again to be back to Vancouver in the early hours of Monday morning.
Fuel stops were a regular occurrence, roughly every 450 – 500 kms for gas top ups, snack replenishments, and washroom breaks. Not necessarily in that order.
The trip was the perfect opportunity to capture rolling shots and the landscape along the I-5 in California was a nice change from the usual stretches I shoot in Vancouver.
Having three out of the four cars running air ride suspension there was some nervousness about potential roadside breakdowns. Fortunately, we had a few guys more than capable of tackling any issues that could have arisen. To our relief, nothing failed during the 4000+ km expedition. Well, almost.
During the early hours of Friday morning while navigating the curvy sections near Grants Pass, Oregon there was a loud bang from Jonny’s GTI which sounded like a window breaking. On quick inspection all windows seemed A-OK, until we looked up to find the glass roof had shattered. Glass began falling on us and flying onto the road behind us.
It’s a mystery what caused the glass to break. At first, we thought a rock may have hit it, but on further inspection, and researching online later that day, it sounds like it could be a manufacturing defect caused by flexing in the sunroof frame.
The verdict is still out on the cause while Jonny waits to hear if Volkswagen will warranty the glass. We’ll see about that.
Gorilla Tape became the new California Cannonball sponsor (not really).
After a couple of adjustments, we had the roof sealed up and even waterproofed as we discovered when heavy rain pelted us on the drive home.
We rolled into Los Angeles Friday evening and were welcomed by the expected heavy traffic LA is known for. I think we did a pretty good job navigating all four cars through the gridlock finding a couple routes to bypass the heavier areas.
Our home for the next two nights was a house booked through AirBnB which turned out to be perfect.
However, we did find out later in the weekend that we were staying in the middle of the ghetto, which confirmed our thoughts we had the first night during our search for food.
Safe to say, our group of 8 guys stood out.
Turned out, the neighbours were very friendly and looking back at the pictures of us hanging out on the front stoop, we fit into the neighbourhood just fine.
Once we filled up with brunch Saturday, the cars were washed and show prepped while a couple beers were consumed to help keep us cool from the much welcomed California heat.
This is where my photo taking took a break. I was planning to shoot during the show, but once we arrived, I felt more inclined to just soak up the atmosphere and spend time with friends. I took a few shots on my phone, but for the most part, I enjoyed the amazing cars without looking through my lens.
Another reason I didn’t take many photos at the show was the opportunity I had to meet and chat with other photographers and car enthusiasts I know from the interwebz. Some of them I have “known” for over five years. It was awesome to finally meet them in person.
I can confidently say, the XS Carnights show was excellent! I might go as far as to say it is my favourite show I have attended to date. The combination of car quality, location on the water, and the company I was with made it so.
We departed LA early Sunday morning and the drive home was long, full of the regular fuel stops, road snacks, fast food joints, and plenty of laughs. It was worth every butt-numbing, knee-aching kilometre. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again!
Once everything was said and done, the numbers worked out to 4,102 kms, 38:40 hrs drive time, 35 hours of sunshine, endless laughs, and a lifetime of memories with the best group of guys you could ask for.
Thank you for taking the time to view my automotive photography!
www.jasonmanchester.com – Vancouver Automotive Car Photographer Jason Manchester