TTAC Desert-to-Burning-Desert Eco-Challenge Day 3: Porsches, Whiskey, and Area 51

Mike Solowiow
by Mike Solowiow
ttac desert to burning desert eco challenge day 3 porsches whiskey and area 51

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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  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.
  • Wjtinfwb I've seen worse on the highways around Atlanta, usually with a refrigerator or washer wedged into the trunk and secured with recycled twine...