Visit California has celebrated the reopening of Highway 1 with a historic convoy of more than 80 cars representing eight decades - from classic vintage, to sleek and modern, to hydrogen-fuelled and electric models.
The iconic highway reopened in late July after more than 18 months of closures, which resulted in tremendous economic losses for businesses along the iconic corridor, especially in northern San Luis Obispo County as travellers rerouted their trips en masse.
The procession highlighted the iconic highway’s historic past connecting California’s northern and southern regions on one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives.
“Driving Highway 1 is a bucket-list experience many travellers dream about and its closure made headlines around the world,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California president.
“Many communities along this stretch have suffered while the road has been closed.
“We’re proud to announce to the world today that Highway 1 is open and better than ever and the Central Coast is ready to welcome travellers looking for the ultimate California road trip.”
Nearly 200 tourism industry leaders, media from around the world and automotive enthusiasts participated in the Dream Drive, which kicked off at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey with a commemorative lap around the raceway track.
The convoy proceeded down Highway 1, across the new $54 million, quarter-mile mudslide repair, before ending with a sunset beach barbecue in the shadow of Morro Rock in the coastal town of Morro Bay.
The event was presented by Visit California in partnership with Caltrans, Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit SLO CAL, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, AAA, Google Street View, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Avis and Hertz.
Highway 1 has served as a main throughway for Central Coast locals since the 1930s and as a scenic drive and tourist attraction for visitors from around the world since the route’s more formal incorporation and official numbering in 1964.
The highway is designated as an “All-American Road” and at 665 miles is the longest state route in California.
Take a look at a series of images from the event here.