As any of the other contributors here can attest, writing carefully planned and researched articles does require anywhere from a few hours to a few days of devoted spare time. Unfortunately, time is something I’ve had much less of to spare these past two months, and finding the time to even begin a new article has been challenging.
Sales at work have been very strong the past two months, with me putting in extra hours and even days, hence my very limited time to contribute or even join in on the conversation here at CC, much to my disappointment. But I assure you I am still alive and well, and spotting CCs on a regular basis. In fact, I recently had the fortune of going back to California for less than 72 hours for a sales training seminar, which of course necessitated a fun rental and some sick roads to test it on.
Though not as exciting as the Countryman product launch, I still enjoyed a partially expense-paid trip to California, especially the first day I was there before the work portion of my trip. I took an early morning flight out of Boston, and thankfully slept like a baby for most of the way, likely the result of a two Dramamine and a double vodka rocks. I landed at LAX right around 11 AM and took a quick taxi ride over to the Turo Valet lot, where I picked up the keys to the 2016 Mineral White over Saddle Dakota Leather BMW 435i convertible which I had reserved several weeks prior.
As you probably guessed, it’s no coincidence that I chose a BMW for my rental, and needless to say, the 4 Series fit me like a glove, albeit a slightly larger glove than my own 2 Series. Versus the 2 Series, I sat lower in the 4, though the 4 Series’ additional 2 inches of width are instantly felt inside the cabin, something my 126-pound, 5’7″ body felt indifferent about, but certainly noticed. In any event, I lowered the top, verbally entered the address of where I was going next into the nav, and set off towards Starbucks in Pacific Palisades, where I was meeting up with my friend Maddox, himself a Beverly Hills native.
I know Maddox from back home in Boston where he goes to school, but he’s home for the summer following a cross-country trek with both of his cars, his daily 2014 Audi A4 and his $1,400 beater 1997 Miata. That journey is fully documented in an excellent YouTube video series by our mutual friend Tedward, but that’s a story for another day.
Though Maddox is an Audi guy and in charge of the social media for nearby Keyes Audi, his A4 was unfortunately side swiped at an intersection several days before, so he pulled up in the rental Enterprise gave him, a 2016 Alpine White over Coral Red BMW 328i. So for that day we were the white Bimmer bros. Following a quick caffeinated pick-me-up we set out along the Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu, where we tore up some insanely scenic and challenging mountain roads, including Piuma Road, home to the infamous Malibu Canyon Overlook.
And when I say challenging, I really mean it. Having only driven on a track twice in my life, I certainly still haven’t mastered the art of taking sharp turns like a pro. I was trying to remember some of the tips from the JCW track day in Thermal a few months back, but the hairpin turns kept coming so quick, my brain was focusing on the road ahead of me and not trying to recall events from the past.
Especially in an attempt to keep up with Maddox, I certainly exhibited a some oversteer here, understeer there, and a little bit more tire squeal than necessary. In any event, I had loads of fun testing the limits of both myself and the car. In all honestly, it was probably the most thrilling and adrenaline-charged driving experience of my life — in the ultimate driving machine, of course!
We eventually made it back to the PCH and high-60 degree temps (it was as hot a 101 up in the mountains!), grabbed a quick lunch at Vintage Grocers, a Whole Foods-like market, and ate down on the beach at Point Dume. After a long day of of traveling and some serious sun and temperatures, it was relaxing to chill on the beach, soaking in the misty sea air, feeling the sand between my toes, and simply watching the waves crash. And after three visits to the west coast, I finally got to wet my feet in the Pacific Ocean!
Heading back towards LA, we took a quick pitstop at the Malibu Country Mart, an upscale outdoor shopping complex, where we found the perfect photo opp to bookend our cars on either side of an Alpine White 428 coupe for a white Bimmer trifecta.
I followed Maddox back to Beverly Hills in rush hour traffic, taking in the sights and sounds of the famous infamously glamorous city of Los Angeles Country, where palm trees, ultra high-end stores, six-figure cars and eight-figure homes are in abundance.
With his parents’ house only several blocks away, Maddox lead me back to the hotel I was staying at on Rodeo Drive for the night, before making my trek to Ontario, CA for my two-day training seminar. He had some work to finish up so we said our goodbyes until he heads back to the East Coast in August.
The rest of my trip was relatively uneventful. I made the journey to what is quite literally the middle of the desert, sat inside a very heavily air conditioned conference room at BMW’s west coast training facility (a good thing, as temps outside were north of 100) for most of Tuesday and part of Wednesday, and then drove back to LA Wednesday afternoon. With a few hours to kill before my redeye home, I ventured to Santa Monica, for a stroll along the beach and a little day drinking, because what’s a better way to kill time?
My “work-cation” was short and sweet, but I nonetheless enjoyed it, even if most of the time I was stuck inside a windowless conference room. Even if I didn’t take away much new info from what we went over in training, afternoon I spent exploring Malibu was totally worth. I’m glad I got to hang with Maddox on his home turf and take in a totally new area, the beautiful weather, and laid-back California lifestyle all from the driver’s seat of a BMW 435 convertible.