For this section of the trip to make any sense, I must tell you a story, an important story allowing you a view into one of the Air Force’s most hallowed legends. The story of a bourbon whiskey called Jeremiah Weed, a fighter pilot, a young lieutenant, and how it all involves a Porsche Cayenne and a pursuit for hypermileage….
Back in December 1978, Colonel Anderegg, an F-4E instructor pilot was on a training mission over the Nellis Ranges north of Las Vegas. His student put the aircraft into an “unrecoverable” condition, causing it to crash, and them to eject safely. One year later, during Red Flag exercises, Col Anderegg notices the crash site while flying over, sketches some maps, and decides to find the location once back on the ground. Several hours into his search, him and his friend give up, and go to a bar in the Pahranagat Valley in Nevada.
The bartender knows of the crash, and like all good fighter pilots and bartenders, they start doing shots. Col Anderegg attempts to demonstrate an “afterburner”, a shot that is lit on fire, and then consumed. The bartender brings out an obscure whiskey called Jeremiah Weed to start the festivities. Several singed lips later, and much alcohol consumed, they arrive at the crash site in the night, camp out, and the next morning return to Nellis AFB.
Col. Anderegg shows the Officer’s Club bartender the Jeremiah Weed, tells the story, and proposes they stock the liquor. Since Nellis AFB is the home of the fighter pilot, anything done there will spread across the USAF, hence, every flying squadron will have a bottle of Jeremiah Weed somewhere. You can follow this link to read the entire story.
This story involves myself as when I was a young Lieutenant stationed at Nellis, I “rediscovered” the crash site near present day Rachel, Nevada. Since then, many a flyer has been brought out to the desolate Sand Springs Valley to mull over the wreckage. Being in Las Vegas again, what better to do than take my family out to the barren nothingness to see twisted metal and eat at the legendary Little A’le’Inn, the UFO, Alien enthusiasts mecca, as Rachel NV sits only 50 miles from Area 51.
I picked up my rented Porsche Cayenne from the Hertz desk, loaded everybody up, and set out into the desert. In the interest of time, we adhered to the speed limit instead of seeking extra mpg’s, however, the V6 powered SUV managed a very respectable 24mpg overall, despite the ever changing terrain elevation. Most of the mileage gain came from the 40psi tire inflation, very favorable winds, and light throttle application.
However, I did not get the anti-Porsche for its mpg’s. Remembering my experience in the Nevada desert last April in a Cayenne, and its formidable off-road prowess, I felt nothing in the Hertz fleet would be a more adept whip, especially in the snow and mud of January. The Cayenne still impressed with its extreme stability off-road, comfort on-road, and blah styling. The deep snow and mud failed to bog the big black bruiser down while the passengers enjoyed quite, heated comfort. Once again, the Cayenne proves that Porsche did not set out to build a 911 SUV, it set out to build the Porsche of SUV’s.