Originally published in the Winter 2014 quattro quarterly

FOR 18 YEARS, AUDI CLUB GOLDEN GATE has been hosting Marin Drive. While the drive has had a variety of routes and lunch spots over the years, it always takes advantage of the winding roads that travel through the picturesque Marin and Sonoma valleys.

“We live in one of the most beautiful regions in the country with scenic twisty roads and rolling hills. And we love to drive our Audi. There is no better way to share our passion for Audi driving than organizing a weekend drive,” said Audi Club Golden Gate (ACGG) Board Member, Burke Ferrari, Event Master.

For the last few years, the drive has started at Big O Tires in Benicia, one of six stores independently owned by the Asher Dolle Group which have been a Platinum Sponsor of ACGG for the past four years. Guy Gamba, a partner of On Edge Performance LLC, which is the motorsports division of Asher Dolle Group, is an ACGG member and instructor. He and his team support ACGG Driver Education Programs, Audifest and Teen Driving Clinics not only with sponsorship but also track event support. “We assist club members on tire pressure adjustment, tire setup, wheel alignment, and brake configuration so members will have the best track experience,” said Guy Gamba. Because of this special relationship, great service and club pricing, many club members have their automotive services completed at one of the stores supporting ACGG.

Club members from Sacramento and Berkeley made the early morning trek to the shop. After having some coffee and donuts, the group left Benecia and headed west towards Lucas Valley Drive off highway 101, north of San Rafael. The second meeting spot was just outside Marinwood Park on Miller Creek Rd. off the famous Lucas Valley Drive. This was where club members from Silicon Valley, Sonoma Counties, and San Francisco joined the group from Benecia.

“Today, we have a record attendance!” said Joe Lucchio, ACGG Board Member, with a big smile. “We have 30 cars and 50 people—first time ever! Attendance is increasing at many of our events in Golden Gate, the club is growing again.”

Many Audi models from different years were represented: R8, RS6, RS4, S4, S6, A8, A4, A3, TT, TTRS, and TTS surely made many locals very curious. A group of Harley Davidson riders drove passed us, waved, and honked. They had the same idea as we did about how to spend this gorgeous, high 60’s degree, clear blue sky, bay area weekend.

“Good thing we brought enough walkie-talkie radios today. With this many cars, we have to split the group into three. Each group must have a lead car and a tail to make sure no one in the group got separated,” explained Wendy Ferrari. After a fun drive through yellow rolling hills and lush shadowy Redwood forest, we arrived at our first stop: Point Reyes Station. It is a quaint town famous for naturally and organically produced foods such as milk, artisan cheese, jam, olives, and more. Award winning Cowgirl Creamery, Bovine Bakery and Brickmaiden Breads which make specialty baked goods on the premises make Point Reyes Station a perfect pit stop for cyclists, motorcycle riders, and weekend drivers. We spent about 45 minutes mingling and enjoying aromatic coffee and tea and freshly baked breads while basking under the warm late morning sun.

Roman Northcote shared his reason for joining Audi Club, “I am usually the car geek in any group of people, especially when it comes to Audi. Three of my friends bought Audis because of how much I love mine. I always have a lot of fun being around great people that are as “geeky” about their Audis as I am.” Ted Glattke added, “I joined Audi Club for opportunities to drive with people who share my passion.”

The sun was about to reach zenith. We started our formations and headed north through the winding Route 1 towards Bodega Bay. We passed Tomales Bay, well known for its succulent oysters. The famous Hog Island, Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Drake Bay Oysters are located here. We went past patches of green pasture, driving exhilarating hair pins with elevation changes, and plenty of zigzags and fast switchbacks.

Lunch was at the historic Union Hotel Restaurant in Occidental. This family-run business was established in 1879. Back then, it was famous for its home cooking. Today, nothing much has changed—people still enjoy mouth-watering Italian dishes served family style, and the freshly baked pastries with locally roasted aromatic coffee.

The interior with high vaulted ceiling is purposely kept rustic to maintain the original inviting saloon-like ambiance. We enjoyed pasta, seafood, chicken, meat, and vegetable dishes served in large family- style serving plates.

“We offer social and track events because our Chapter has over 600 members with diverse interests. Three driving events hosted annually are Marin, Yosemite and Gold Country. Weekend driving events are the best way for new
members to get to know us,” Donna Lucchio explained.

“I love to drive, and look forward to opportunities to have fun with my car and meet other people who like to do the same,” Brian Hall chimed in.

Since our Marin drive officially ended here, Joe and Burke took turns telling us about the upcoming exciting events from Golden Gate during lunch. We had a great time at this event, met new members and caught up with “old” friends.