Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THIS ADVENTURE BEGAN as an errand to drop off letters at the post office drive-through a couple miles from home.  To make the errand more interesting, I took the Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle currently on loan from the good folks at Toyota.

Toyota’s Mirai has become a classic as the first fuel cell car in the U.S. available for sale (as opposed to lease only). I recently had the pleasure of its company for a week.

“My” Mirai’s audio system was easily set to SiriusXM favorites: “Symphony Hall,” “Radio Classics,” and “Met Opera Radio.” And that’s when my brief errand got highjacked by the opening strains of Wagner’s Götterdämerung.

The three Norns weave a Rope of Destiny. Image from the Metropolitan Opera’s Götterdämerung.

This fourth of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle begins with the three Norns weaving the Rope of Destiny. Gee, why not get more miles with the Mirai by driving around while listening to Götterdämerung? I’ve already traveled Pacific Coast Highway south in FCEVS—TODAY AND TOMORROW PART 3. This time I would take PCH north.

Tidbits follow on memories arising from this Saturday afternoon drive. Given that the Met’s Götterdämerung runs 4 hours 45 minutes, I split my Mirai PCH adventure into Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow. 

The Bellman’s Unexpected Visit. Passing one of many motels lining portions of PCH, I thought of German bellman/world traveler Rupert Hallwanger. 

Years ago when both Wife Dottie and I worked at R&T, this guy showed up at the office to see her. Rupert had apparently collected names and addresses off the hotel register in Munich and saved them for future traveling. He didn’t have the home address, because Wife Dottie used the R&T address on her trips. 

Rupert was a tall, slender man in middle age. I recall a trim mustache of modest proportions. He said he was traveling the U.S. with the hope of staying with “acquaintances.”  

Our hospitality stretched to taking him to dinner and leaving him off at a budget motel along PCH. He reciprocated with this pair of Bavarian tableware.

Salz und Pfeffer, courtesy of Rupert Hallwanger.

Rob’s Grand Prix Digs. Back when the Long Beach Grand Prix was a Formula 1 race, R&T’s Rob Walker would establish a Southern California base, often at Laguna Beach’s Surf and Sand Resort. At least one year, I forget the reason why, he stayed at the 2-star Sun’n Sands Motel in Huntington Beach. 

Sun’n Sands Inn, 1102 CA-1, Huntington Beach, Calif

The Sun’n Sands is still there, at 11th Street and PCH, a few blocks north of Huntington Beach’s Main Street and Pier. As I passed through Huntington Beach, there were tourists a’plenty and masks in a goodly number, though not universally. (In many businesses, masks are required.)

Main Street, Huntington Beach, California, at PCH.

Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll continue north on PCH and encounter an oil field, an ecological reserve, and a once-used (only briefly) R&T skidpad. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020 


  1. Grey McGown
    October 7, 2020

    It’s awful. But looks like the storm is headed well to the east of you. Grey

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail on Android

    • simanaitissays
      October 7, 2020

      Hi, Grey,
      Is this a musical comment on 5-hour operas? Or Hurricane Delta? Thanks for the advisory, nonetheless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: