MORRO BAY, Calif. - More than 80 classic and modern-day cars rolled into Morro Bay from Monterey on Thursday. The Dream Drive event celebrated the re-opening of Highway 1 while highlighting the best tourist attractions along the way.
“We have one of the best assets in California and it's Highway 1," said Senior Vice President of Events at Raceway Laguna Seca Jill Campbell. "It's back and it's up and running,”
The stretch of highway connecting San Luis Obispo County to Monterey County re-opened in July --18 months after a massive landslide buried the road.
“We have 84 cars that represented every decade since Highway 1 was opened,” continued Campbell. The 1 opened in 1934.
Drivers came from as far as Australia to get a taste of the Central Coast and its scenic views.
“It's quite amazing," said Craig Lowndes, an Australian super car driver. "You're literally driving down the coastline. It's a great experience. It's similar to some aspects of Australia but you don't really capture what Highway 1 does along the coastline."
Its re-opening is also good news for the local economy.
“There was a sustained loss of about $500 million just in the first few months [that the highway was closed],” explained Caroline Beteta, CEO and president at Visit California.
“In San Simeon, Cambria and Cayucos --they really had to work hard to self-fund their businesses and keep their employees working every single day so that we could keep the tourism in the community up and running,” added Chuck Davidson, CEO and president at Visit SLO CAL.
Drivers started out in Monterey's Raceway Laguna Seca, then stopped in Big Sur and Hearst Castle before arriving at the finish line in Morro Rock on Thursday afternoon.