Thursday…up at the crack of dawn and off we go. Ok…maybe dawn has broken some time ago and I’m taking journalistic license. Sue me. 🙂
Dressed and out for a quick breakfast as provided by the hotel and it’s finally time to change the car’s appearance. Now there is nothing hindering proper, nothing broken, automatic, roof retraction. First the one-button press to drop all the windows (including the little side vent type I didn’t even realize were there). Then a press of another button and the magic begins. This is very cool indeed.
In the early 70’s I had my one and only experience in a convertible. And I wasn’t driving but sitting in the back seat. It was a formidable muscle car of those years, a Pontiac Bonneville with a very large engine.
This Mercedes is Much shorter and probably doesn’t have a roof line much higher than the Bonneville’s hood. AND a significantly smaller engine. Pretty sure I could beat that Bonneville now though. This car is faster than any I have had the pleasure of driving. From a standing start or from pretty much any speed after that. Very impressive indeed. Not like a Ferrari or a Lambo (let’s be serious here) but beyond normal requirements by a large margin.
Driving all day with the top down, the sun very much up and the wind making a mess of the hair, was the most delightful experience. Not without some drawbacks however, noise being the most noticeable. Carrying on a conversation above 50 mph was pretty much using your vocal chords for nothing. Another annoyance was the sun-visors did nothing when the sun was just above the roof line and in your eyeballs. They don’t tilt upwards. Getting out of the car was markedly improved however. No roof to bang your head against (it’s really quite low). In addition, let’s be honest…driving a Mercedes convertible in the California sun is simply life as it should be. Home, with a wonderful summer of approximately 5.5 days, just doesn’t provide enough time to enjoy.
One rather interesting tidbit. The owners manual says the convertible roof should not be operated in temperatures less than 5 F. That’s -15 C back home. Who, in their RIGHT MIND, would even Consider driving with the roof Down at -15 C? I wouldn’t even take that car out of the heated garage at that temperature.
A few winery stops were made today because, as mentioned before, it’s all about the wine. The driver (me) behaved himself, albeit a little grudgingly. It’s harvest season so the vines were still mostly full (although picking was happening) and some other grapes were becoming more like raisins. On purpose I suspect. Wines not easily (if at all) available back home were tried, the majority being of sound body and ranking quite high on the enjoyability profile. One was purchased and will likely…evaporate…before the flight home. After all, tomorrow is a totally different wine tasting day that should bring nothing but uncommon juice of the grape. And 4 of those should find their way back home.
Finished the day a short distance from our hotel at a positively excellent Japanese restaurant. Crab Sunomono salad (pickled cucumber, seaweed and crab), Cruncy Calamari Salad (mango, very lightly Tempura coated Calamari, Arugula), Jalapeno Bomb (deep fried Jalapeno, cream cheese, spicy tuna and tobiko), Shrimp Sumai (steamed shrimp dumpling). All paired with a terrific Daiginjo Sake.
Perfect end to a beautiful day.