When it comes to Porsches, I don't buy or sell often. I have been driving"Old Sparky" for more than twenty years. Old Sparky (so named because ofthe flames that continue to singe the rear bumper), my 1979 Porsche 930 911, has served as my street and track car for longer than most men have hadwives. I like the old cars--simple to drive, no electronic anything, tailhappy if you like ... actually controlled by the person behind the wheel.
I didn't have an agenda to buy a new Porsche until I read about the new GT3in 2004. I mused that we have available from the factory a new car that isactually an old car: no traction control, no ESP, DSC, PMS, or otherimposing BS. ABS was standard, but that was the only concession to the "newcar." What a great reason to buy a new machine.
While waiting for the new "old" car, I realized one night that I reallyneeded to take a road trip. Where? I'd always wanted to the see the UnitedStates, so I thought, why not? Out came the atlas and the yellow marker.Let's see, go west, go north, go east--yep, that'll work. Who will do thiswith me? My dear wife is a great passenger but not for three weeks. My planinvolved three passengers, each for approximately one week. The logisticsdeveloped like this: My wife's college roommate, who lives in L.A., has atwenty-nine-year-old son, Clay, who flies to Pittsburgh where I live. Mywife, Mary Jo, flies to L.A. to spend a week with the roommate while Clayand I head west. Mary Jo and I then go north for a week, and she flies homefrom Washington State while my friend, Scott, a Delta pilot, meets us inSpokane and we return to Pittsburgh.
Day one, part one:I had quickly put 1000-plus break-in miles on the GT3 before starting thetrip. Clay arrived, and we were off to Saint Louis, Missouri. We weren'tto West Virginia when the heavy rain started. Wide tires and rain equal amax of 60 mph. We arrived in Saint Louis that evening, toured the Arch,touched the big muddy, and drank a Budweiser.
Day two, part one:Headed to Tulsa with plans to stay with the only person that I know inOklahoma. This was more like it: sunny and everyone was driving 90 mph onthe OK turnpike. First day to actually check fuel mileage: 25.3 mpg.
Day three, part one:Clay and I were mentally preparing for 650-plus miles en route toAlbuquerque. To my surprise, I-40 west of Oklahoma City was somehow worsethan the previous portion of I-40. Not to worry, we were soon in the greatstate of Texas. Driving across the panhandle of Texas in a fast car wassome of what I had hoped to see in the west: flat and fast. Not muchtraffic on a weekday, and no beeps from the radar detector. We didn't see asingle Texas Ranger or other police. After stopping in Amarillo for lunch,we resumed our 125-mph average. Texas is a great state after all. InAlbuquerque for dinner, we had some real Mexican food and took the tram rideup to San Dia Peak. The nighttime view of the city was spectacular.
Day four, part one:We felt like we had many of the boring miles behind us as we began the day,and we looked forward to some specific sites that I had planned in the atlaswith the big yellow marker. (The day began HOT.) First stop was thePetrified Forest and the Painted Desert. I would guess that mine was thefirst GT3 to run down this road. Did I mention how well the A/C works inthis car? The next stop was the reason for the I-40 portion throughArizona: Winslow. We drove through the old part of town to a corner where Ihad wanted to take a photo since I first heard the words from "Take it Easy"back in the '70s. Sure enough there was the bronze statue of Don Henley ona corner. Clay and I took some pics with Henley, bought some Eaglesmemorabilia and headed for the Meteor Crater. Talk about a big hole in theground; overwhelming is an understatement. After a quick tour of the crater,we headed for Flagstaff, with a detour. We took a turn south to Sedona andthen on to Jerome. I'd been to Jerome years ago and had to take Clay thereto see the old mining town that is now a haven for artists andbikers--strange bedfellows. Then it was triple digits all the way up I-17 tomeet some old Pittsburgh friends in Flagstaff for dinner.