AHASC decided that 2016 was going to be a departure from the traditional California Healey Week. We decided to have our classic Healey gathering in central California, at the historic and beautiful Yosemite...and called it Yosemite Healey Week. This was the first known major Healey event in one of the most majestic National Parks in the country, if not the world, in over 40 years. The timing of this historic event was the first week in June, the week following Memorial Day weekend, 2016. The headquarters for the event was at The Redwoods in Yosemite (www.redwoodsinyosemite.com), 120 cabins nestled in a community, some within walking distance of the historic Wawona Hotel.
Yosemite Healey Week was coordinated closely with the Golden Gate Austin-Healey club (GGAHC), resulting in over 40 cars attending from each club. Also attending were 10 cars from the San Diego Austin Healey Club (SDAHC) and two each from the states of Washington, Arizona and New Mexico. All told, there were 105 registered parties, including about 100 cars and 200 people. This is about double our usual attendance, and by far, the largest Healey Week ever. The size of the event caused some unusual planning and organization challenges.
First, Yosemite has few restaurants and grocery markets, so we planned on more “provided” meals than usual. Also, we got caught in a bureaucratic morass and turnover of vendors running various venues in Yosemite (including the Wawona and Ahwahnee hotels, now called the Big Trees and Majestic respectfully). Thus, we had to negotiate the Thursday lunch at and tour of the Ahwahnee twice. Very fortunately, we had the best hospitality support from Donna Davis and her team at the Redwoods. They assisted us in countless issues and problems, including having the tenting the back deck of the Event Center, recommending the Yosemite Caterer which provided the delicious meals, making several trips for us to Oakhurst for provisions, and connecting us to the lead marketing person at Aramark, the new Yosemite vendor. As is typical of Healey Week, we had a Wednesday arrival and Sunday departure, from June 1-5. Below is a brief description of the week’s schedule:
Wednesday, June 1st
Registration opened early Wednesday afternoon, followed by a welcome cocktail & appetizer party hosted by the Redwoods, and that night an included catered buffet dinner. Most registrants arrived on Wednesday, so registration was quite busy but was handled efficiently. Hats off to the registration team of Abbe Neumeyer, Katie Miller, Darryl Hedblom, Alexandra Roses, Rich & Lynn Kahn and Kathy Scroggie handling Regalia.
Thursday, June 2nd
Thursday began with breakfast, followed by a drive into the floor of Yosemite Valley, a spectacular drive, especially in an open Healey sports car. The morning drive was the Poker Run, with 5 stops for card draws along the way into Yosemite Valley, coordinated by Peter Roses and Sue Foster. The first leg of the drive ended at the historic and beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel around the noon hour. Participants had the option to tour the hotel and/or lunch there. On the optional second leg, a subset of the drivers continued on a longer drive further through the valley to Tuolumne Meadows, led by David Nock of the Golden Gate club.
Friday, June 3rd
The Friday drive was to Glacier Point, led by Steve Kirby. The drive is about 35 miles from the valley floor to an altitude of about 7,200 feet, with spectacular views. There, participants enjoyed the beautiful vistas, went hiking, had lunch or just hung out. Later that afternoon, there was a Tech Session back at the Redwoods, led by Lake Speed Jr. on oil and fuel additives. Friday night included Happy Hour and catered dinner…a Cowboy themed Burger & Beer party at the Redwoods Event Center. Everybody arrived in western attire, except Marty who attended in his dress Nike sneakers!
Saturday, June 4th
Saturday was another busy day. The morning began with car cleaning, photos and preparation for the car show. Initially, we planned to do the car show at a remote location, about 4 miles away, but after careful consideration, we decided to do it around the Redwoods Event Center. Ed Neumeyer paced off the grounds and planned and supervised the parking of the cars in groups according to class. The show went from 10AM until noon. Box lunches were served following the show judging. In the early afternoon, Rocker Cover Racing was held on the front sidewalk of the Redwoods Event Center. Following that, people retired to their respective cabins/rooms in preparation for cocktail hour, preceding the Banquet buffet dinner and awards ceremony.
Although there were a few minor glitches, Yosemite Healey Week turned out to be one of our most successful Healey Weeks ever. We couldn’t have had better weather or environment, with the beautiful park scenery and roads. With the heavy storms in the Sierras this past winter, everything was green and the rivers and waterfalls were running strong. Yosemite never looked better. Our Healeys were a real hit with many people ogling our cars.
I would like to again acknowledge our planning committee for the excellent job they did on the planning and execution of Yosemite Healey Week, including Steve & Cindy Kirby, Ed & Abbe Neumeyer, Peter & Alexandra Roses, Marty Hovivian & Kim Gaydich, Jay & Katie Miller, Jeff & Diane Boysen, Ron & Sandy Davies, Steve Gerow, and Rich & Lynn Kahn and Phil & Sue Foster of the Golden Gate club.