The Indulgent Road Trip, Circa 2013
Be forewarned: This post contains some Porsche content.
Those with a strong appreciation for the automobile often romanticize the idealized Road Trip, the Grand Tour. With rose-tinted glasses we esteem those transcontinental slogs made in cars suitable for the occasion, the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, and so on that are exemplars of the (often) 12-cylinder, Gran Turismo genre. Indeed, it’s difficult to read a review of such a car and escape reference to the hypothetical playboys who only interrupt sumptous repose to flog their aristocratic motors on epic drives of endurance.
In 2013, however, a road trip encompassing thousands of miles is quite a luxury, given the pressing hustle and bustle of the modern world. It’s much quicker and easier to fly, after all. In fact, it seems like the only people electing indulgent road trips these days are well-coined automotive journalists, like my friend Doug DeMuro.
That said, some people buck the trend. An Englishman named Richard Morris goes by the alias “Jackal” in Porsche circles. His website has likely bankrupted several 993 and 996.1 GT3 owners with its exhaustive DIY instructions, which allow other owners to maintain their cars as stringently as aircraft. Morris is part of a motley crew of 911 owners who take annual pilgrimages across the Chunnel to exercise their cars. Once they’ve returned to Blighty, Jackal compiles and edits the media memorializing the trip, illustrating the skills that allow him to pay for his motors. His summary of the 2012 journey proved to be a minor hit:
If this is a lazy weekend for you, take a few moments to live vicariously through Jackal & Co., who’ve managed to have a pretty Grand Tour, despite having about half the cylinders needed to legitimize such a trip.
Driving a Porsche 911, especially an older or hardcore variant, for nearly 400 miles a day multiplied across 10 days must have been tiring (on both man and machine).
Nevertheless, I doubt any members of this party required an alarm clock to tackle each new day.
Instead, I’d wager that the not-so-diluted tincture of octane, the sounds of the engines gradually ticking cool, and the residual adrenaline coursing through the participants’ veins took care of things. That, and the knowledge that the road ahead would be as good as what passed.
Of course you don’t have to have a Porsche or 10 days of vacation time to have your own Grand Tour. You just have to go.
Please share your own videos, pictures, and stories of memorable, long-distance drives in the comments!
David Walton grew up in the North Georgia mountains before moving to Virginia to study Economics, Classics, and Natural Light at Washington and Lee University. Post-graduation, he returned to his home state to work in the financial services industry in Atlanta. A lifelong automotive enthusiast, particular interests include (old) Porsches and sports car racing.
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Myself and three members of our local Mustang Club are planning a massive 2 car road trip next Spring. I'll be driving my 780 hp '08 Grabber Orange GT500 soft top (it's not an exotic car but it's got exotic car power) and the other car is a semi stock 330 hp '06 GT, also a soft top. The four of us will be leaving the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), NS on April 1st (no joke) 2014 heading to LA, California. On our way there we'll be making stops at Portsmouth, New Stanton, St Louis, Shamrock, Flagstaff, Vegas (Yeah Baby) and finally arriving in LA on the 8th of April. In LA we'll join up with the start of Mustangs Across America (MAA) cruise on the 10th and leisurely cruise back east. We'll be stopping in Phoenix, Las Cruces, Midland, Dallas, Jackson, Atlanta arriving in Charlotte on the 16th where we'll meet up with the rest of our Club (and my wife in her '73 Mach 1). We'll be arriving just in time to join into the big birthday bash celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mustang being held at the speedway located in Charlotte. After the festivities are completed (and dropping off my passenger) my wife and I will be turning our cars north and head up to Eastern Ontario, Canada, to visit family. Once they have had enough of my company we'll go back home to Nova Scotia. Total trip time for me comes to about five weeks and somewhere between 8-9,000+ miles. it won't be all driving, there will be plenty of opportunity to stop or take short side trips. Particularly on the east and homeward bound leg of the trip. We've been planning this trip for several years and I'm really looking forward to my Great American Tour.
Well, I actually did take a thousand mile road trip with a V-12 automobile, although I never realized it was supposed to be some kind of bucket-list aspiration. I bought a late 90's 750 BMW before the crash, when they were giving away such cars. Thought the trip would be a good way to give my daughter with her new learner's permit road trip experience. Simply drove as close as I could on a rhumb-line to our destination. Two lane almost the whole way. Gas prices had spiked and almost no one was on the roads during the weekday except a few commercial trucks. I remember telling daughter in my fatherly way how to pass the semi on a two lane road. "Check for traffic, signal, accelerate brisky and pull in after you see the front wheels in your rear-view mirror" We cleared the front bumper at about 100 mph accelerating from a little over 60.... My kid still complains about that trip since I made her do almost all of the driving. She also complains about the trip into the rockies. Not everyone gets nostalgic about jumping in a fun car and driving to a new destination.