By on January 29, 2009

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.

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8 Comments on “TTAC Desert-to-Burning-Desert Eco-Challenge Day 3: Porsches, Whiskey, and Area 51...”

  • avatar

    So there’s a full-size SUV in the spare tire well of your TDI Jetta then?


  • avatar

    In the second photo there, it looks like someone’s taking a leak. Too much Jeremiah Weed?

    Beautiful country.

  • avatar

    Good ol’ Jeremiah Weed. It’s not just a pilot’s drink. There are others in the Air Force that have adopted it as our communion. I have half a bottle in my desk at work just in case since you never know when you’ll need it. Unfortunately, the first half of the bottle was recently dedicated to a great man, retired Air Force Lt Col Jerry Browning who was taken from us too soon by skin cancer. The second half is reserved for a happier occasion yet to occur…but I have it…just in case.


    Oh yeah, stay safe in your travels Mike.

  • avatar

    I’ll have to look for some Jeremiah Weed. Here’s to the Air Force (my father served in WWII).

  • avatar
    Rusty Brinkley

    I’m glad you got to take your family out to the crash site. I know you enjoy driving out there.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t get the Cayenne S. I test rode in both the base and the S, and the S had a whole lot more power, without question. Then again, I’m not sure if the S would have performed as well as the base model.

    For the Weed…I’m not much of a fan. While I love being and Air Force aviator, I prefer the drink of the Air Force Advanced Weapons Director School, the enlisted weapons controller version of Weapons School…appelkorn. Delicious stuff.

  • avatar

    @ chuck,

    The Eco-Racer Jetta doesn’t do off-road very well…

  • avatar

    Spot any “weather balloons” while you were at the crash site?

  • avatar

    “… while the passengers enjoyed quite, heated comfort.”
    Quick — call the new typo guru!

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