In the intervening years, Porsche had uprooted and resettled in Atlanta, Georgia, so that worked in favor of our busy calendars. But it begged the question, what possible chance of adventure could we have driving from Detroit to Atlanta, a straight 722-mile shot down I-75?
First, we needed a 911 Turbo to recreate the magic of twenty-five years ago. I wasn't worried about the nonstop crappy weather across the South; the magic would be in watching the world's greatest endurance racer manage any dicey winter driving this time, instead of me.
The adventure, obviously, would be found in the detours. Out came the maps and the travel guides, and we zeroed in on Tennessee -- home of Nashville nightlife and the 318 hairpin turns of the Tail of the Dragon, about 200 miles east -- as our perfect land of opportunity.
When asked how he felt about barbecue, Hurley said, "I wouldn't mind if we ate barbecue for every meal." And that pretty much concluded our planning.
Monday: Can There Be Too Much Barbecue?
It is brutally cold at 5 a.m., the hour of my departure -- ten degrees and snowing lightly. The Turbo arrived Friday morning, and road test coordinator Mike Ofiara, God bless him, noticed that it wasn't on winter tires, so he immediately had a set installed. The Turbo was a convertible, and its front trunk was pretty much full of the bulky wind blocker in its zippered case. Luckily, we are being shadowed by our camera crew -- videographer Paul Long and my favorite travel photographer, twenty-five-year Automobile Magazine veteran Martyn Goddard -- in a Porsche Cayenne, which now holds their bags, my bags, their camera gear, and the wind blocker. We sweep up a whimpering Haywood from his airport hotel at 7 a.m. in the frigid dark, toss his small duffel and briefcase into the Turbo's empty front trunk, and head south with me at the wheel.
"Oh, good. PDK," he says, looking at the lever for the supertrick dual-clutch automatic transmission that shifts the Turbo's gears faster and smoother than you can do it yourself -- Porsche puts the Turbo cabriolet's 0-to-60-mph time at a blistering 3.3 seconds with the PDK versus 3.5 seconds with the manual. "You can drive." We look at each other and he begins to snort.
"Don't you start with me, buster," I mutter.