It Happened in California

car meet
It Happened in CaliforniaAndre D. Wagner
a sign on a road
Andre D. Wagner

No one is invited. It’s not an event. And anyway, it takes place on Friday mornings when you really should be working. It’s at least an hour-long drive up a mountain. And when you finally arrive, there are precisely zero working toilets. And—heaven forfend!—there’s no cell service, no Wi-Fi. Sometimes it snows.

This story originally appeared in Volume 23 of Road & Track.

Yet every Friday morning for at least the past few years, a loose collective of car nuts skip work and drive up the Angeles Crest Highway outside L.A. to Newcomb’s Ranch, a closed roadhouse first established in 1939. There they gawk at a rotating selection of cars, gab with other car nerds, snap photos to post later on Instagram, and pee in the surrounding woods. It’s the Good Vibes Breakfast Club, and as you might have gathered, there’s no breakfast, and it’s not a club.

Whatever this expression of automotive enthusiasm is, it was started by J and Nicole Ryan, two transplanted Californians working in show business. There’s no solid date for the nonevent’s beginning, but according to J, he and Nicole started regularly heading up to Newcomb’s in 2017, driving their recently purchased screaming-yellow Porsche 997. “When she could no longer work,” J says, “we started blowing off Friday mornings and driving up there.” Nicole had been living with multiple sclerosis for years by then. People started joining them, and word spread. COVID-19 shut down Newcomb’s in 2020, and it hasn’t opened since. But people kept coming. After all, what could have been better at the time than an outdoor gathering of like-minded souls who also had nothing else to do?

j ryan at newcomb’s ranch
J Ryan at Newcomb’s Ranch, leaning against Yellow Car, his Porsche 997. Andre D. Wagner

J and Nicole recently secured a deal to buy and run Newcomb’s Ranch, as basically the same roadhouse and tavern it once was. J sees it as the lasting tribute to Nicole, whose MS has progressed to the point of hospice care. They hope to reopen Newcomb’s in July.

a group of cars parked outside a building
Andre D. Wagner

GVBC could have happened anywhere. California doesn’t have a monopoly on car enthusiasm, caring people, or those looking to play hooky on a Friday. But it didn’t happen just anywhere; it happened in California.

good vibes breakfast club
Nicole Ryan holding court at a Good Vibes Breakfast Club on a Friday in April.Andre D Wagner

And it’s California, or at least California’s long obsession with the car, that we are celebrating with this issue. The roads, the culture, the history, the racing, the golden light. We aimed to feature as much of it as we could pack in. For more California stories, visit Please enjoy.

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