It's no secret to family and friends that my wife and I are attached to Monterey at the hip (we got engaged off 17 Mile Drive). As you may have seen in my previous blog post we also have that magnetic connection with Nissan as well. Up until us leaving SoCal a few years ago for a job opportunity, we had the privilege of organizing multiple meets at the old Cars & Coffee Irvine, a fun project with eBay x Nissan and creating friendships with Nissan Social Media. My favorite event had to the be the debut of the Nissan iDx at C&C where we had. 50+ Nissan GT-Rs at the event to show support. My wife and I made a few stops by the mothership, Nissan NA outside Nashville and a couple Zdayz at Tail of the Dragon while on this side of the US. After a rough travel year for most of 2020 we made the trek out to CA this spring. In 2017 we were lucky enough to get a 370z rental car and put 3000 glorious miles on it driving throughout CA/AZ/UT/NV visiting our favorite National Parks. We didn't have much luck finding any to rent this time, but Nissan came through with this amazing 2020 6MT 370Z Nismo.. Those patient enough will find some pics below of the holy grail Nissan we met up with later in the trip...
Quick swing through LAX and we were off to grab our favorite Vegan Pizza in Hollywood, then headed North! Of course a couple weeks before our trip there was a huge landslide wiping out the lower part of PCH in Big Sur. so we had to take the less scenic route up through Central Cali. A few mind numbing hours later and we were finally on the coast.
After stretching our legs at an overlook, our first stop was to visit and pet the cows, but couldn't coax them over to us.
One of our favorite parts of Big Sur are the Redwood groves on the inlets of PCH. Some of my favorite childhood memories were camping in Yosemite and Sequoia so I enjoy exploring these little pockets in Big Sur.
I forgot how much the redwood groves absorb light so had to conclude day one and head into tow.n. There is a quaint little gas station just before you get into the meat of Big Sur that I had always wanted to capture some pics at. Decided to pull out the lights, but only had a chance to fire off one set of pics before heavy rain.
After enjoying our secluded Big Sur cottage (my wife is the pyro master getting a damp fire going) the leftover vegan pizza hit the spot and I was eager to shoot at a couple low-key locations that I haven't seen used and abused yet by car week visitors.
I am a sucker for negative space/ tiny car pics so this one checked that box for the trip.
Credit to my wife for being a trooper helping me position the car then ducking down (yes, she knows her way around a manual gearbox like a badass).
I was paranoid the whole trip that we were going to miss this one set of cherry blossoms. Thankfully we caught it in bloom for the JDM vibes.
Casual otter watching while enjoying the best authentic vegan Mexican food we've ever had.
Below is probably my favorite snap from the Monterey portion of the trip. I feel it captures the aggressiveness of the front end as well as those trademark black headlight housings on the Nismo and red accents.
That concludes our peaceful three days in Monterey. It didn't disappoint and I will say I've never washed a rental car 3 times in one trip, much less in my life due to the sporadic weather shifts around the peninsula.
Native : Chapter II
Little non Z photo dump of some landscapes before diving into the Los Angeles portion of the post (patience...)
Import : Chapter III
Z getting in some glamour shots while I wait for my good friend Paul and his new baby.
And... Here... We... Go... Introducing the one any only Midnight Purple II BNR34! After experiencing the RHD BNR34 on the mountain turnpikes of Hakone and Fuji in Japan, I knew getting anywhere near another would open the flood gates of bad thoughts. Unfortunately that coupled with the color shifting paint I have obsessed over for the last seven years was in fact an Inception like idea that has stuck with me daily since this shoot.
Can't make a stop in LA without visiting the most overused location known to man. This entire spot must have had 100+ cars so likely will be the last time. Took some natural light pics of the Z waiting for the sun to set.
If the Z mentioned in Chapter I was my favorite of the Monterey shots, this 34 shot below might be the favorite I've taken this year. There is a definite art of introducing light to a color shifting paint. Thankfully my Midnight Opal R35 and Meowclaren taught me what you can and cannot get away with.
Those 100+ cars lost interest quickly and turned the spot into 3 Fast 4 Furious: Race Wars 2021 so was wise to get out of there and onto another SoCal auto landmark that is overrun. I've soured a little on this location after they removed the iconic tube lighting in favor of LEDs.
The color shifts in this 20 year old classic are absolutely breathtaking. I cannot wait to link back up later this year and capture it in some equally breathtaking locations.
One final stop with the 370z Nismo before heading back to the airport.
Whenever we travel I'm always bummed that we don't have. a more photogenic car to document the trip. Honestly having something of this caliber enhances the trip ten fold. We can't wait to get back out on the road for more adventures!
We have since sold my wife's 2015 6MT 370Z Nismo and are foaming out the mouth in anticipation of the Z Proto going into production. 3.0TT x 6MT x Retro design with a digital dash has our expectations sky high. We cannot wait to secure one which will be our 10th Nissan purchase in the last 15 years.
Big shoutout to Dan, Tamura-san and Kevin for the incredible hospitality.