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Mille road race rolls into town
Steve Moal of Danville was the first to motor into Colusa's riverfront park this week as part of the 22nd annual California Mille, his blue 1957 Ferrari Gato the singular attention of a handful of locals who arrived early to look over the road racers.
Moal, who has driven in at least a half-dozen of the Mille events, said he does it for the pure pleasure of driving his fine machine.
"We get to see parts of the (state) we don't usually get to see," he said.
And that was never more true for any of the drivers than it was for Alan Tribe — and especially when he got his first look at Lake Tahoe.
"This is my first one. It's been fabulous weather and pleasant driving," Tribe said. "And I think the views of Lake Tahoe are spectacular. I've never seen anything like it."
The Australian, who has visited Southern California many times, was in the North State for the first time. He said the drive out of the mountains and into the valley Wednesday morning had its own kind of beauty.
"This is a beautiful place, too. This whole country ... with the river system and the agriculture, it is very interesting," said Tribe, who was driving a friend's 1957 Alpha Romeo Spider.
The event brought 65 cars and about 150 people into Colusa for lunch at the state park along the Sacramento River.
Granzella's catered the event.
Colusa Mayor Pat Landreth considered it a coup for the city to get the event, which he said fits in nicely with the economic goal of having the river as the centerpiece of adding tourism dollars.
"This is a great event ... and a great opportunity to show off our park and a great opportunity to look at some great cars," Landreth said.
The event, which started on Nob Hill in San Francisco on April 30, is a salute to Italy's most famous open-road race: the Mille Miglia, or thousand mile.
The vintage cars ranged from a 1935 Lagonda Rapier to a 1958 Ferrari 250GT Spider. The youngest entry was a 1962 Alfa Romero Giulia Spider.
The car that covered the greatest distance was a 1954 Bentley, driven by Gerry Leuman of Switzerland.
"I've been here four times," Leuman said of his participation in the Mille. "It's a beautiful event with nice people and great roads. It's beautiful."
The four-day tour through the backroads of California and into Nevada included a first-day crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge, and then a run through Rio Vista, Walnut Grove and into Locke, a rural Chinese town, and then over to Lodi up to Sutter Creek, Lake Tahoe and finally a stop in the Incline Village.
The second day took the drivers toward Emerald Bay and South Lake Tahoe, to Minden and eventually back to Carson City, Virginia City, Reno and the Incline Village for a second overnight stay.
The drivers left the mountain and down Highway 20 into Marysville and Yuba City, and then over to Colusa for a lunch at the park on Wednesday.
The tour passed through Williams over to Middletown and along Napa's Silverado Trail before ending the day in Calistoga.
On the final day, the cars went to Geyserville, then along scenic Highway 1 to Jenner, had lunch at Bodega Bay, then criss-crossed through the country highways back to Petaluma and finished up at Solage.