Goodguys West Coast Nationals is one of the coolest car events in the country, and is so much more than a car show. As such, you are going to want to plan a bit differently for this one, because you are going to need more than just a cooler and some lawn chairs. This is a week long event that includes killer Hot Rod Week guided driving tours around Northern California, to some of the coolest hot rodding attractions and shops you’ve ever seen by the way, along with a huge swap meet and car corral, a model/miniature engine exhibit that is insanely bitchin, nightly events, and of course a car show featuring thousands of the coolest hot rods, muscle cars, street machines, and trucks you will find anywhere. And all of it is wrapped up in the Alameda County Fairgrounds and the surrounding cities of the Bay Area. It’s awesome, and we know it because we’ve participated on several occasions.
The event starts Monday August 21st with Road Tours daily through Thursday and the official car show starting Friday in Pleasanton. We’ll be bringing you some interesting info on what to bring and what to leave at home, starting with todays tips on packing your cooler for such an event.
Packing the cooler? Yeah, we know it seems like a simple thing, but it really isn’t. I mean we all tend to think “Pack it full of beer, then ice, oh and maybe a bottle of water or two.” Then, when all the beer won’t fit the water gets thrown out, because “they will have water at the show…I’ll be fine”. Not so much.
One thing you have to remember about Northern California, even in August, is that it is entirely possible for it to be in the 90’s or more during the day and in the 50’s or 60’s at night. That plays hell with your internal thermostat, so staying hydrated is key. Remember Chad’s rule… One beer, one water. One beer, one water. It’s easy. Do it.
So back to the cooler.
Assuming you are one of those weirdos that drinks coffee in the morning, you won’t need to worry about caffeine taking up room in the cooler. For those of us that prefer a Monster or Diet Coke in the morning make sure you leave enough room for a few of them. Having good cold beer in the cooler when it is time to drink it means making sure you load the cooler with beer well before leaving the house. There is nothing worse that luke cold beer.
Snacks are key. You can’t drink beer without snacks. It’s just un-American. So make sure you pack a bag of snacks. Mixed nuts, chips, pretzels, whatever you like. And maybe some stuff to make an emergency sandwich, just in case. And to make sure you never have a blood sugar issue, throw a small candy bar or two in that cooler as well. You’ll thank me later. Now, your snacks and sandwich making apparatus should be well thought out. Meat, cheese, bread, and a single condiment are all you need. Get fancy and you’ll be taking up valuable beverage space with your food and nobody will be your friend when you tell them you are out of beer but have 6 different condiments that can be consumed. No Bueno.
So we’ve got beer, water, soda, snacks, and emergency sandwich supplies. This will get you where you need to be. But don’t screw it up by packing it all in the cooler and covering it with ice. A real pro will tell you to pre-ice your cooler. We have two ways to do this. The first has you filling your empty cooler with ice a day or two before the packing of beer and such. Empty it out right before loading it with beer and you are good to go with new ice after filling the cooler up. All your stuff will get colder faster and stay colder longer. Pre-chill your beer in the fridge and you’ll be even better off. The second method is to fill the cooler with cold beer, and then fill the rest with ice packed in tight. Leave for a day before leaving on the trip, shaking the cooler slightly every few house to settle the ice and add more. In the dream world of cold beer you’ll have a couple inches of ice cold water in the bottom. Yummy. Oooh sorry, I’m sitting in the heat writing this and cold beer sounds good.
So we’ve got it all covered. Right? Well sorta. Here is the MOST important thing to remember about packing your cooler, car, etc for the trip. With incredibly rare exception, anything you forget is available around the corner so don’t stress! Stress ruins vacation trips like the Goodguys West Coast Nationals, so don’t stress!