Lake Tahoe To Sonoma: Celebrate BMW Tour Presented By Michelin

This month, during the run-up to Monterey Car Week, we’ll be reliving one of BimmerLife’s most epic adventures: the Celebrate BMW Tour Presented by Michelin. The tour, made possibly by support from the BMW CCA, Shell, Sony, IHG Rewards Club, and of course Michelin, was a mammoth road trip from Boston (the founding city of the BMW CCA) to Monterey, California, to celebrate BMW’s centenary alongside thousands of fellow enthusiasts. Hosting the drive were BimmerLife co-editors David Rose and Nick Parente; join us in following their video and photo updates from the road! Check out the rest of the tour’s content here. [This article was originally published on BimmerLife in August 2016]

After a long haul the previous day from Salt Lake City to Lake Tahoe, we were more than happy to see a shorter itinerary ahead of us. Lake Tahoe to Sonoma was about a 200-mile drive on some of the most picturesque and fun roads we’ve driven thus far. Cut into the side of a mountain, Route 50 offers some amazing views of both the lake and the mountain range which surrounds it; the road was perfect for a spirited drive to meet up with the rest of the Roads To Monterey group in Sonoma.

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Once we reached Sonoma, we had a couple hours of downtime before we headed off to Jim and Gloria Smith’s vintage-BMW collection, just down the road from our hotel. Nestled just at the edge of the town of Sonoma, their family-owned vineyard offered a gorgeous backdrop for a cocktail hour with all of the Roads To Monterey attendees, with the added bonus of an astounding car collection in the barn at the back of the property.

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The Smith collection is one that is difficult to fully appreciate, simply due to the sheer rarity of the cars in the collection. Luckily, we had two knowledgeable guides to share the background of the cars in the room, Jim Smith and his grandson, Peter Gray. Jim and Peter do all of the restoration and maintenance work on the cars themselves, everything from simple fluid changes to full restorations, and re-machining parts that are no longer available. The craftsmanship skills that the two of them possess are second to none, and what makes the Smith collection that much more special.

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After we departed the Smith Collection, we had a quick dinner with the rest of the Roads To Monterey group and re-packed the car (for the final time) in preparation for our drive down the coast to Monterey.—David Rose

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