Sports enthusiasts: Stand back

The couple of thousand La Cañada residents who are left in town these dog days of summer instead of vacationing in more exotic climes will no doubt have some of their attention grabbed this weekend by the grand opening extravaganza planned by Sport Chalet.

Gil and I returned from a mini-vacation Tuesday and were greeted by our 23-year-old daughter, Kae, who had read last week's Valley Sun during our absence. She noticed in our article about the Sport Chalet that the first 200 people who show up before the store opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday and sign up for the company's free customer rewards program have a chance to win a gift card varying in value from $10 to $200. She told us she has her hopes pinned on being one of the lucky ones to garner a gift card in the higher dollar range and, to that end, she laid out Gil's upcoming Sunday for him: “We'll get up, go work out, then get in line at 8 o'clock, two hours before the store opens.”

To his credit, he didn't balk. The poor guy knows he is outnumbered by his roommates, who like to help him set his schedule.

But we are magnanimous enough to allow Gil some choices in life. It was he who many years ago selected the destination for our annual August vacation, the Monterey Peninsula, where cars of all makes, models and vintages are celebrated during a series of events that culminate with the upscale Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach. That's where we were last weekend, sans Kae, who had some studying to do and didn't want to be distracted.

Gil doesn't take either of his vintage Fiats to Monterey, although he could display them at the Concorso Italiano held in conjunction with Auto Week. For now he's more interested in admiring other's cars than in showing his own. And the minute you enter Monterey County for this annual celebration of cars you see amazing, sleek works of four-wheeled sculptures everywhere you look. Drive into a McDonald's and the car in front of you is a fabulous old Mercedes. Carmel Valley Road is Ferrari territory, because the Quail Lodge is usually the site of a special event — this year Ferrari California was feted there. If you can grab a parking space at the Baja Cantina before a member of a Mustang club gets it, you're in luck.

Last Saturday we watched as fellow La Cañadan Dick Cupp (whom we've never met) raced his 1936 Austin 7 Special at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca. We missed Sunday's races (so little time, so many event choices), when Lynn Park, also of La Cañada, drove his 1964 Cobra out on the track. Not a La Cañadan, but equally as interesting to us, was Mario Andretti, the guest of honor who made several solo laps Saturday in the car he drove to become the 1978 world champion, a 1978 Lotus 79.

Take it from Gil: If you love cars, you should be in Monterey in mid-August.

And a word from our daughter: Don't get in her way this Sunday morning at Sport Chalet. She's on a mission.

CAROL CORMACI is editor of the Valley Sun. E-mail her at

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