Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Automobile Magazine article on the Supercars Across America trip is now posted online!

Check it out, and let us know what you think. Or better yet, let the editors of the magazine know! :-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getcher copy of Automobile Magazine now!

For the 3 of you that may care, the Automobile Magazine article on our Supercars Across America trip is now out! Subscribers should be receiving the November issue in their mailboxes any day (some have already gotten it), and it's available now on newsstands.

YouTube videos:

Tail of the Dragon, TN/NC. 318 Curves in 11 miles. This is a video of the Ferrari 16M tackling the road, with Dennis driving and Mark shooting from the passenger seat (and trying not to hurl). Drove it at "The Pace", a term motorcyclists use to mean going as fast as possible WITHOUT having to resort to braking, and using the whole road BUT without crossing the double yellow. Just balancing that throttle, baby!

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti climbing the mountain with Dan driving and Glenn feeling queasy in the passenger seat, shot by Justin Forte and friends on chase motorcycles. Shot while following the 16M in the video above.

Sidebar: Places of Interest to Eat and Sleep:

Dylan Hotel. We stayed at this newly reopened luxury boutique with surprisingly reasonable rates in midtown East. My suite had vaulted ceiling approximately 20’ high. 52 East 41st Street, New York, NY‎. (212) 338-0500‎.

Alfredo of Rome, classic Italian restaurant at Rockefeller Center. Its progenitor in Rome has been in business for nearly a century, and lays claim to being the originator of Fettucini Alfredo. 4 W 49th St, New York, NY. (212) 397-0100.

Trattoria Cinque, a brand new Italian joint in the heart of TriBeCa has an Italian motorsport design motif. 363 Greenwich Street., New York, NY 212.965.0555

The inspiring custom Bertone Manitde cake came from Sweet Results, Framingham, MA. Laura Kean Anes, the baker, does some “wicked awesome” stuff with sugarpaste. Check out photos of other masterpieces here:

Scruggs Real Pit Barbecue. Not the best of neighborhoods, but a smoked pork sandwich to die for (and depending on the time of night, you do run that risk). 1920 E Magnolia Ave, Knoxville, TN. (865) 524-4333

Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Actually located in the upscale suburb of Clayton, this Ritz-Carlton offers a nice mélange of modern hospitality and old European style. The world’s most comfortable hotel bed added major points. 100 Carondelet Plaza, St. Louis, MO‎. (314) 863-6300‎.

Ritz-Carlton, Denver. Same attention to detail and hospitality as the other Ritz-Carlton, but with a distinctively different modern style. Very comfortable beds as well, and a kick-ass breakfast menu. 1881 Curtis St, Denver, CO. (303) 312-3800.

Gateway Canyons Resort. In the middle of nowhere, it’s where you really must go. Offering a full service spa, rock climbing, river sports, horseback riding, and most importantly, spectacular roads and exotic car rentals with which to enjoy them. You won’t regret it. 43200 Hwy 141, Gateway, CO. (970) 931-2458. and

Mi Rancherito Mexican Restaurant. If you find yourself touring along RT 50 in Utah, stop here for the best pork verde in a 100 mile radius. 540 Topaz Blvd, Delta, UT. (435) 864-4245‎.

Owl Club & Steak House. Full of character, this is a glorified diner with impressively good burgers and chili. The bar and “casino” next door has slots and some large hunting trophies.
61 S Main St, Eureka, NV. (775) 237-5280.

The Village at Squaw Valley. Pre-fab ski village North of Lake Tahoe, the Village caters to outdoor enthusiasts and families during the summer. Large 2 and 3 bedroom suites available at great prices, and interesting restaurants and shops in the adjacent village. 1750 Village East Road, Olympic Valley, CA. (866) 818-6963.

étoile at Domaine Chandon. Named one of the most romantic restaurants in the US, this is a true fine dining destination at a Napa winery. 1 California Dr, Yountville, CA. (707) 204-7529‎.

We had to professional photographers accompany us on portions of our trip. Daniel Byrne, of NYC, did the NY/NJ launch, and Brian Konoske of LA did the last day, from Squaw Valley through Tahoe, Napa and San Francisco. Both are great guys, very easy to work with, and highly talented!

Daniel Byrne,,,

Brian Konoske,,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catching up....

Still can't quite believe we did it. I submitted a 9,600 word masterpiece/giant stinkin' pile of rubbish to Automobile Magazine, about twice the length they had specified. Oops. The editors were kind enough to spend several days hacking away the useless bits with a chainsaw to get it down to something like 3,700 words, and with the photos they selected from the professional photographers, Mark and yours truly, it's an EIGHT PAGE spread. You'll be able to see it in the next (November) issue, and I'm pretty pleased.

After that comes out, I may post the funny bits that didn't meet their high standards (all of the rude jokes, the innuendo, idle gossip, and complete and utter lies) on this blog, so stay tuned.

And to catch everyone up: on the Monday after we arrive at Monterey, Glenn, Mark and Dennis finally sleep in and are ready to fly home. Except, to our utter shock and amazement, every single rental car, limo service and scooter in a 100 mile radius of Monterey has been reserved. How could this possibly happen? It's not like it's the BUSIEST WEEK OF THE YEAR ON THE PENINSULA or anything like that. Ooops.

So, finally we track down a black car service to take Mark to SFO to catch his flight, sucking cubic dollars out of his wallet. I was able to phone up old friend Leland and beg and plead for him to leave his adorable baby girl, hop in his Prius and drive down to Monterey to pick up Glenn and me. As we head up to catch our evening flight, I reflect on the ignominy of taking this last stage in a PRIUS, of all vehicles, with Leland extolling on its gas mileage virtues. Blech.

But we arrive home safe and sound, and I proceed to reintroduce myself to my 4 and 6 year old daughters, who I don't think quite realized I was gone for a week ("Oh, daddy, you're home. Did you bring us anything?"), kiss my understanding and patient wife, and collapse into a 2-day slumber. I love my bed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our full cross-country route depicted on Google Maps

Interested in exactly what roads we took? Here's the complete route for Dan and Dennis, 4,643 miles. It includes the 953 miles that Dan and Dennis drove from Bayonne, NJ to St Louis, MO, after they flew from Nashville back to NY to pick up the Bertone Mantide after it was released by customs.

[EDIT: because I *am* that obsessive-compulsive, I added...]

Includes the route that Mark and Glenn took from Nashville to St Louis to meet us, and now also includes the excursion Mark took on Days 6-7 up to Salt Lake City from Arches National Park to drop off Nathaniel --- and drive the 612 Scaglietti on the Bonneville Salt Flats! Finally, this now also has the 250 miles I drove to get from the Boston area down to NYC for the kick-off dinner, including the stop in Framingham, MA to pick up the custom Bertone Mantide cake and dropping it off at Alfredo's of Rome.

But it still doesn't show the 22+ extra miles resulting from us doing the Tail of the Dragon three times over!

I strongly suggest that you click through to see it all in a full Google Maps page (note that the route is laid out on two pages in the frame on the left-side of the page). Enjoy!

View Supercars Across America - full route map in a larger map

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 8 - to the goal line, from Tahoe to Monterey

Yup, this post is late, sorry. Day 8 was a great way to finish off our journey, as it captured the essence of the trip: scenic twisty mountain roads, highway sprints, gourmet dining and takeout pizza, broiling in the sun and hurrying to make up time. Bob Farrell, Glenn's equally crazy, fun and hilarious brother, joined us for the final day in his Ferrari Challenge Stradale, coming up from Del Mar for the fun.

The day started out with a leisurely cruise down the Eastern (Nevada) side of Lake Tahoe. We had Brian Konosoke, a photographer from LA, shooting us for Automobile magazine. He hopped from car to car, including his Audi S4 wagon driven by his assistant Eddie, but spent much of the day shooting from the passenger seat of the Ferrari 16M Scuderia convertible. It's fascinating how much the shoreline route around the lake can change in just a few miles. There are pristine mountain curves in the park area, preceded by expensive lake side mansions and followed by the pure American capitalism of the slightly-cheesy casinos.

Route 50 leading out of Tahoe was scenic and fun, allowing some good shots by Brian. I didn't take any photos that day, and Mark is still processing his shots, so pics to come later.

When we hit the flats, we proceeded to Sacramento in traffic. Dan decided that we should try a short-cut, picking up Rts 128 and 121 west of Sacramento. This added a few miles, but was a lot more fun. Especially once we made it past a convoy of three rented RVs slowly picking their way down the narrow mountain curves.

In need of a slightly more upscale repast, we stopped at E'toile at Domaine Chandon. A magnum of champagne for the table, and we feasted on everything from oysters to foie gras, tea-smoked duck to steak tartare. We slowly rolled our way back to the cars in the 95+ degree heat, and made our way to the coast, where the temps dropped by nearly 30 degrees.

Route 1 in California never fails to impress, whether slightly inland at Point Reyes National Seashore or right on the edge of the ocean at Mt Tamalpais. We bogged down a bit at Stinson Beach, due to the returning beachgoers, but our amusement was heightened by a middle-aged idiot in an early Porsche 911 Turbo. As we were approaching Stinson Beach, he was driving in the opposite direction. He saw our convoy and waved, and we returned the salute. But then as we came to a stop in the bumper-to-bumper traffic at Stinson, the Porsche came FLYING down past us - in the ONCOMING TRAFFIC LANE. Clearly, he turned around to get a better look. As he blew by us, an oncoming car forced him to lock up his wheels braking and diving into our stopped-traffic. When he realized that our line wasn't moving, he decides to make a u-turn (running his Porsche through the brush at the edge of the road), and then trying to impress us by spinning his wheels in 1st and 2nd gear. Surprisingly, this was the most idiotic thing that anyone had done in our presence in the 5000+ miles we drove, and it was a middle-aged guy in a Porsche 930, and not some teenager in a rice-mobile. Shows you what our prejudices are worth....

Once we made our way past Muir Woods, we dove towards the Golden Gate bridge. Alas, traffic from everyone trying to get back to SF on Sunday evening. Still, as we rolled through the big tunnel just North of the bridge, everyone wanted to hear the brutal sounds coming out of the 16M. Gleeful waves, thumbs-up and short horn beeps from nearby cars all called out for encores of the ripping canvas noise. Crossing the bridge, Brian shot the cars circling the 16M - suspect they'll turn out great.

In San Francisco, we debated whether to take the cars down the curvy section of Lombard street. Dan was game for it - I had done it in a Lamborghini Gallardo last year, so we knew it was possible (though it's intimidating as heck to pull up to the intersection and see nothing but sky out the windshield - no road beneath you, no pedestrians in front, nothing!).

But as we got to the 101/Lombard fork, the long line of cars awaiting their turn up then down the street dissuaded us, particularly as it was now evening and we had to make our way down to Monterey to meet up with the transporter with the McLaren, and pick up the keys for the rented house in Pebble Beach.

So we started bogeying down the 101, keenly aware of the CHP patrols and thinking about the distance covered thus far without a single police stop, much less a ticket. Coming down Rt 17, it felt like one last great run to us, with curves seemingly banked more than Daytona Speedway - folks here commute on this daily?!?

We rolled into Monterey late into the evening. We pulled the McLaren out of the truck, and all four supercars loped into the exclusive enclave that is Pebble Beach. The guard at the checkpoint just waved us through, and we finally parked at the end of our journey. Well, since it was nearly 11pm and we still didn't eat, we took the 612 out again for some take-out pizza and a 12 pack of beer. Sitting around the kitchen, eating, drinking and making toasts, we were exuberant, content and exhausted. 5000+ miles, no accidents, one minor fatality, and zero tickets. Woo-hoo!

The last post tomorrow will summarize the trip and our feelings towards it - as well as the potential major problem that faced us on Monday, and we ultimately resolved it. So stay tuned!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day 7 - Delta, UT to Lake Tahoe, via Rt 50: "The Loneliest Road in America"

Another gorgeous day. We ended the night last night with some great Mexican food, and crashed at the Days Inn, Delta, a little town at the eastern end of where Rt 50 becomes a straight shot across Utah and Nevada. Mark had kindly offered to take Nathaniel to Salt Lake City in the 612 so that Nat could catch a flight home. This left Dan, Glenn and Dennis with the Mantide and the 16M, as the McLaren was back on the transporter, suffering from a bit of hesitation (we think it had to do with the elevation and bad gas in Colorado).

Today started a bit chilly, to our utter surprise. It was mostly in the 50s and lower 60s all day, until we got into Western Nevada. Rt 50 is celebrated as "The Loneliest Road in America", and in a sense it is. Laser straight for miles and miles and miles, it's interrupted only every few dozen miles from climbs through hills and mountains. On the long straights, you can go for 10 miles without spotting another vehicle.

And while the pavement isn't perfect, Rt 50 is otherwise a great place to go fast and enjoy the scenery. Given a choice, I'd must rather drive Rt 50 than, say, I-80. So given the opportunity, we exercised the 16M and the Mantide. One could see all the way to the horizon on much of Rt 50, so one had a 1+ minute warning as to oncoming traffic. And with virtually no cross streets or, for that matter, any signs of human life, one can easily reach some impressive speeds. Over the last two days, I've shattered at least three if not 5-6 personal records.

Rt 50 also cuts through some small towns in Nevada, many of which are faded relics of their glorious, bygone eras. We stopped for a surprisingly good burger with onion rings and chili in Eureka. Overall, we did 400+ miles on Rt 50, and every single mile of it was enjoyable (especially the part where the sheriff shot us with radar while we had managed to slow to about 80 mph, in a 70 mph zone). The sheriff hit his flashing lights, but didn't even slow down - it was just a warning to us to play nice. Another sheriff gave both cars a nice wave as we passed through his town. Ah, Nevada is most excellent!

Later in the afternoon, we went through Carson City and arrived at Lake Tahoe. While we've seen plenty of beautiful scenery on this trip, Tahoe added a big water feature to our panoramic memory gallery. We're spending the night in suites at the Village at Squaw Valley, a ski development very similar to Tremblant and Whistler.

That's all for now. We're leaving Tahoe in the morning, going down the west side of the lake to pick up Rt 50 again, then go through Sacramento to Napa for lunch. Time permitting, we'll cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, then go over the Golden Gate bridge and arrive finally at Monterey.

Wish us luck!

Day 6, from Gateway Canyon Resort through Arches National Park

Great day of scenic driving. Gateway Canyon resort down the best road in America, into the Utah flats, lunch in Moab, tour through Arches National Park, and across Utah, staying the night in Delta. More words to come, but here's a slideshow of the best scenery we've seen all trip.

Click thru to see the pics in higher-res.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another long day. Fantastic, though. As it turns out, you CAN'T drive all day, get blown away by one of the most beautiful, impressive natural settings you've ever seen. blasted down perhaps the best road you've ever driven, enjoy a great dinner with friends (instead of fast food, finally), AND write intelligibly on your blog postings. So, tomorrow morning. I *swear* this time....

Meanwhile, our Facebook "Supercars Across America" page has a bunch of new photos. Check it out.

Heaven (continued)

More pics. More words later.

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Heaven, heaven, heaven, heaven.

We arrive at Gateway Canyon Resort. I will be writing MUCH more about this later, but suffice it to say for now that it is an undiscovered gem in the fast car community. You have no excuses; if you like cars and driving and natural beauty, come here NOW.

Finally, a drink for Nathaniel! Nat flew out to Denver to join us for a two days.

This is my favorite picture of the trip to date.

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Finally moving faster than 23 mph

After sitting and waiting in a line for 20 minutes for work crews to let us by, we finally made it out of the park. More stunning scenery.

On the road towards Grand Junction. Remind me to tell you later about the state trooper waving, the crazy motorcyclist towing a trailer, and the mini-Grand-Canyon that I-70 runs through.

Almost to the best road we've found on this trip. Keep reading....
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In Rocky Mountains National Park (continued)

Stopped at an overlook. Causing another scene, of course, but folks were nice enough to let us get some decent shots.

I was so lightheaded and dehydrated, I didn't want to get from behind the wheel!

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In Rocky Mountains National Park

Above the tree line. The altitude was definitely getting to us all, as well as the McLaren F1. Not liking the bad gas or the altitude.

Much better pictures coming, really!

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Denver at the Ritz-Carlton

Arrived in Denver at 12:40 am on Thursday morning. Another great Ritz-Carlton property, though very different in atmosphere from the Ritz in St Louis. Same great comfy bed, though. I got FIVE hours of sleep that night, woo-hoo!

Mike McPhee of the Denver Post interviewed us.

Leaving the Ritz, we headed up towards Boulder and Rocky Mountains National Park. A few shots from inside the Mantide. Lousy roads on the way up; tons of loose gravel, RVs, paving work. But the view, ah, the views!

Almost at the top.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Order is all screwed up

Ok, just made 13 new posts, with plenty of pictures. BUT, the chronological order is all screwed up, sorry. Go ahead and keep reading the whole thing, as there is lots of stuff in here now. Sorry! [EDIT - fixed the order of the posts. Thanks for the tip, Jonathan!]

And for more timely updates, please do check out our Facebook fan page.

Starship at night

At dusk. The Mantide really does look like an alien starship. Particularly when it passes you at a slightly elevated rate of speed.

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Now the long run to Denver from St Louis

The gang is back together!

After the high-speed tests at Nardo, Bertone added these small lexan aerodynamic devices right in front of the front wheels. Helps with aerodynamics above 200 mph. Alas, they are also VERY low. Thanks to Glenn and his ever-ready duct tape, we're ready to go! Yes, we're fixing a unique $2 million show car with duct tape outside of the hotel. First class all the way, baby.

The top of the Bertone Mantide is all clear plastic and glass; great for seeing the sights, and less great crossing Kansas. Glenn of Arabia was the lucky driver for this stint.

I cannot believe that these guys have never had the world's best fried chicken. So we stopped for dinner in Topeka, KS. Nom nom nom.

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Headed for sleep, blessed sleep. Then press interviews...

Dan and Dennis crossed the Missippi at 5:27 am local, and arrived at the Ritz-Carlton St Louis. Very, very nice hotel. The best hotel bed I've experienced; alas, only got about 2 hours of sleep. Some TV stations and the Post-Dispatch came over to do some stories, so we lost some time chatting at the Ritz. But worthwhile, as it's all great fun.

Parked at the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton. We had sent the McLaren F1 and the transporter ahead, as we expected that we might be crossing MO and KS a bit, uh, faster than them.

Dan the man.

Full open. Wow.
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Finally getting on the road! Long cannonball run to St Louis

We left Bayonne NJ at 4:30 pm, just in time to catch the start of rush hour. Grrr. We averaged 45 mph for NJ and the first part of PA, not great.

The interestate in Western PA had some interesting roads cutting through the mountains, but then we hit Ohio and it became flaaaaaaat. Given Ohio's reputation, our average speed, uh, dropped.

We each did a 300+ mph stint, then the stints got shorter. 973 miles between the warehouse and the Ritz Carlton, St Louis.

The heads-up-display projects the speed (and engine RPM, lateral G's, etc.) onto the windshield, so it appears to be floating on the road above you. The dash contains a Magnetti Marelli race car dash display (used in the Ferrari FXX).

Gourmet dinner at 4:00 am somewhere in Indiana.

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