For those of us in love with the driving experience, an early Sunday morning always holds the potential to harvest the bounty earned from the work and time we dedicate to our motoring passion. Potential turns kinetic when we find ourselves on an open road whose character yields to the curves of a landscape rich in natural beauty. Last Sunday, serpentine back roads of Orange County New York delivered that kinetic experience for a number of Drivin’ News readers.

The journey is the reward


Blue skies welcomed the assembling collection of rolling art as a breeze hinting of autumn momentarily swept away the Covid overcast. A glimpse of assembled masked faces snapped consciousness back to life in the present. It did not, however, diminish the palpable excitement of a gathering poised to enjoy life behind the wheel and off the Covid leash.

Interestingly the classic automobile hobby embodies qualities of activities that have both flourished under the Covid skies and others that have withered when faced with forced isolation.

The yin and yang of Covid’s impact on the driving experience evidences itself in the comments of Sunday drive participants. Ken Zitelli owner of a 1979 Porsche 911 Targa expressed how the forced isolation of the pandemic dovetails nicely with time spent behind the wheel. Ken says, “As an outdoor activity, you’re alone and outside driving. From that standpoint there is little impact.”

As an aside, does anyone else find it curious when seeing solo drivers motoring along wearing face masks? Just sayin’.

Gordon Bortek owner of a 1974 Detomaso Pantera adds that shelter in place freed him to spend more time working on his car without feeling guilty about it. However, it is not all splendid isolation. Bortek continues saying, the biggest impact it’s had on me is missing all my friends in the car world.

David Howard, owner of a 1974 914 Porsche agrees. He says, “it’s not a whole lot going on in terms of the automotive hobby other than working on it at home.”

Fred Hammond, owner of a 1974 ½ MGB, says, “Actually driving is probably about the only thing that I still do. The solo driving experience hasn’t really been affected by covid-19. You’re in your own private bubble and you can go wherever you want and you can choose whether or not to interact with other people.

However, as the forced isolation has dragged on, people have chafed at the restrictions. Covid has left no doubt that social interaction elevates the driving experience and the hobby as a whole to a much higher level.

Bob Austin, driving his 1996 Mustang Cobra, in reflecting on the impact of Covid says, “Mentally more than anything else, I mean, it’s not been a fun year. With the activity schedule gutted, I’ve looked at my car’s a lot and not driven them.

Joe Raia, driving a 1932 3-window coupe sums it up saying, “There is no hobby. This year is a washout. 2020 is the year that never happened.

Clearly most formal classic car events have been cancelled. Bortek who founded and oversees the Father’s Day Tuxedo Park “Field of Driving Dreams” classic car event has been forced to first postpone and now cancel the event this year. Bortek says, “Unfortunately, yes, we’re not doing the Tuxedo Field of Driving Dreams this year due to a New York State regulations.” With conviction he continues saying. “but we will be back strong next year.”

However, while formal events have vanished from the schedule, casual gatherings seem to be popping up like mushrooms on a dead log. This drive being one small example. For the participants, the drive served up a delicious slice of “driving with friends.”

Like slender ribbons snaking through rolling hills of farmland and pasture the roads are well paved and friendly. Country farm houses and barns dot the roadside at times accompanied by small fresh produce farm stand.

Like athletes when they find the “Zone,” drivers and their vehicles meld as one.

Alicia DeLalio, driving a 1981 VW Sirocco used the drive as an opportunity to road test work she had just completed. Delalio says, “The drive today was really fun. And it was more fun when I calmed down and stopped looking at the gauges to make sure the car was running right.”

Karen Moyers in a 356 Porsche, just smiled and said, “Fantastic weather. fantastic roads. I loved it.” In a serendipitous triple play, the drive experienced little traffic, exceptional weather and cars that performed flawlessly.

Easing across the crunching gravel this rolling car show came to rest in the parking lot of Pennings Farm Market in Warwick, NY. Offering great food, a cider mill, wonderful bakery, petting zoo and an orchard, Pennings seemed to transport this traveling classic caravan through a portal to the past.

EVERYONE MUST WEAR MASKS TO BE SERVED read the sign. Oh well, good while it lasted.