Indian Summer Sortie

My name is Giulia Grigio, and I've been an AONE member for almost all my life. Which really isn't a very long time, as I was adopted by Dave & Vi Pratt just a few months ago. I've discovered that most of my fellow club members are much, much older than I — several decades, in fact! This makes such Alfas as the Spiders from the '70s and GTs from the '60s my elders, and I view them all with reverence.

Anyway, back in September on the AONE Wachusett Tour, I met another young Italian car named Carlo the Abarth, and we've become good friends. We have several things in common, such as factory warranties and OBD2 connectors, unlike most of the other members. Carlo wrote an excellent report on the Wachusett event and encouraged me to do one for the Indian Summer Sortie that we ran on the final day of September. While I can't tell a story like Carlo can, at least it'll save Sortie organizer Peter Walker from having to do it. So here goes:

I'd love to kick off my writing career by telling you that September 30th was a glorious, bright, sunny, crisp, early fall day, but that would be fake news. It does describe the several days preceding and several days following, but the 30th was when the remnants of Hurricane Maria passed through the area, and the day was pretty much a complete washout. Driving out to the Berkshires in the rain, I feared that it might be just Carlo and I driving the Sortie this year, considering the foul weather and distance from home for most of the cars.

But such was not the case! Imagine my surprise when I pulled into the Fillin' Station Diner's parking lot in South Deerfield to find ten Alfa Romeos already lined up along the back! By the time we headed out, we were up to thirteen! Granted, none of the convertible tops on the Spiders were lowered, although one of them had no rear window, so David Howard warrants the Braving the Elements award (if we had such a thing).

We Alfas, who ranged in vintage over a span of nearly fifty years, rested all in a row to await the start, while our drivers and their companions huddled underneath the diner's overhang. There were even a few new members among us, so we all enjoyed getting to know each other. The other two new Giulias and I grumbled about Carlo's disparaging remarks in the Wachusett report about us lacking clutches. With our paddle-shifted 8-speed transmissions, our owners can have fun controlling our gear selection just like with a stick, and we can change gears much faster then those humans can with their clutch pedals, and they can keep both hands on the steering wheel! I mean, if standard transmissions were so good, why don't formula race cars use them? I think that Carlo, good friend that he is, may be a little mired in the past.

Oops — I'd better get off my soapbox. As 11:00 approached, the humans held a drivers' meeting in their sheltered spot and finally came back to join us. The Alfas (there were no Lesser Cars this time!) fired up, formed a line behind Peter and Meg Anderson in … no, not Carlo, but Tazio the '77 Spider!

After we paraded through South Deerfield, past Yankee Candle and a few other frou-frou shops, we headed west on Route 116, a stretch of road that's surely among the best sports car roads in New England. This year, no garbage trucks or hay wagons pulled out in front of us, so the only impediment to our attack on the asphalt was its slickness due to the rain. Which, by the way, varied from almost-stopped to mist to drizzle to rain throughout the day. Didn't bother me, but I did empathize with my elders who lacked my rain-sensing wipers, climate-controlled interior, etc.

Our route took us through several small villages (Conway, Williamsburg, Goshen, Hawley, Ashfield, and Buckland) but, for the most part, consisted of two-lane country roads with plenty of twists, turns, and hills to climb. We made a half-way stop at the Berkshire East ski resort, which this day was making its money letting mountain bikers go up on the lifts and careen down the hill. It also provided us with a wide-open space to line ourselves up for a photo op, which the humans seem to enjoy doing.

Then it was back on the road for the second leg, which looped north through obscure towns with names like Charlemont, Heath and Rowe, and up north into Whitingham, VT, before turning back south through Colrain and Shelburne Falls, MA. Our drive wound up with a run back through Buckland and into Ashfield, our final destination.

There, the drivers and passengers sauntered inside the Ashfield Lake House restaurant for nourishment and sustenance, while we Alfas waited dutifully outside. The humans were all exclaiming what a fun drive it was, happy that they had decided to flout the weather. To us, of course … well, hey — it's what we do — we couldn't wait for them to come back out and drive us home!

Many thanks go Peter & Meg for organizing and hosting, and kudos go to all the die-hards who came out in the rain! Carlo, maybe we'll meet again sometime …… Tiny Quadrifoglio

2017 Sortie Participants – and Humans
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1977 Spider (Tazio) – Peter Walker & Meg Anderson
2017 Giulia Quadrifoglio – Gene & Judy Durso
1988 Spider – Dan & Deb Donovan
1993 Spider – Charles & Susan Chadwick
1978 Spider – Larry LoPresti & Michelle Dextraze
1987 Spider – John & Roberta Rowntree
1994 164Q – Greg Stidsen
1988 Milano Verde – Frank La Sala
2017 Giulia – Hank Satterthwaite & Grandson Henry Steen
1978 Spider – David Howard & Norman Sanchez
1971 Junior Zagato – Gary Levesque & John Della Torre
1971 Spider – George Chris & Toby Speed
2017 Giulia Ti Q4 (me!) – Dave & Vi Pratt

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Indian Summer Sortie