Southern Roads & Museums: Pt 1 lar944 May 17, 2022 For Enthusiasts “You realize don’t you, that if we take this trip, Miss P is going to get wet. If we are on the road for 10 or 12 or 14 days, EVENTUALLY it is going to rain. And Miss P will get wet. You realize what you are saying… right ?” That is my wife Linda talking and she is telling me the facts of life. Facts which sometimes I fail to recognize or refuse to acknowledge. Miss P is our first Porsche, a 2011 Carrera model 911. Basic car, two wheel drive, PDK. We have owned her since August of 2019. She had just passed 41 thousand miles when we (well I really) claimed her. Now she had just over 59 K, so in only slightly more than 2 full years we had clocked up about 18 thousand miles. Miss P is certainly not a garage queen but she definitely is pampered. Linda and I like to go for “rides”. During the early days of Covid Miss P was our lifeboat. If it was a nice sunny day we’d get out of the house and go for a ride. It did not matter where… just getting out for 2 or 3 or 4 hours was an escape from being house bound due to the pandemic. Notice the phrase “a nice sunny day”. The Porsche NEVER started out on a “ride” if it was raining, or even threatening to rain. I would consult with Linda and she would check the forecast on her phone and if things looked clear we would take off. Once on the road, if it happened to turn dark and threating to rain, and if we were close to home (say 40 miles or less) often times we would turn around and head for the barn before the rain drops fell. If we were beyond the range of a safe return, we would tough it out. Linda would say “she’s just a car…she’s tough. She can take it”. But I would think “My baby’s getting wet … and DIRTY.” God forbid ! Thus my proposal to take a road trip down south to drive the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway sparked a bit of surprise from my better half. That many days away would certainly entail some risk. Yet the lure of mountain switch backs and interesting museums (Linda and I love museums) eventually overcame the desire to keep Miss P clean and dry. We began planning for this trip just after Christmas time. The Porsche was safe (and clean) in the garage. She had no inkling of what we were cooking up. At first we thought about traveling in Mid-March. But that seemed a bit optimistic because we reasoned that there could be SNOW in the mountains down south. Miss P had never even SEEN snow and was not about to on my watch. So, we altered our initial thoughts and moved the departure date to April 12. Linda began planning her wardrobe well before our start date. Twelve or more days on the road requires her to give a lot of thought as to what to bring and how to fit it all into a 911. At first Linda was thinking she was only going to bring a small overnight bag, like you would carry onto an airplane. I heard what she was saying but felt she was being unrealistic. She would NEVER be able to get by with a small overnight bag, not for so many days on the road. “But there is not much room in the Porsche” she lamented. “I will just have to make it work”. For long trips Linda has a good-sized piece of travel luggage that is about 28” wide, 10” high and about 12” deep. I took the bag (along with Linda) and brought them both into the garage. I open the front trunk and slipped the big piece of luggage into the space. It fit like a glove (a tight glove for sure) and there was a little space remaining for a set of Jumper cables and a few hand tools. Now Linda had many more options for clothes and alternative paring of outfits. She was a happy camper. Besides the “big bag” in front we also each brought a small overnight bag. These fit nicely side by side on the shelf where the rear seats fold down. For myself I have a decent sized soft sided luggage bag that I have used for year. This conveniently slide into the remaining space right behind the driver on the new “shelf” we had made with the smaller overnight bags. Linda had one smaller portable bag that fit on the new “shelf” behind her seat. Add in some full winter coats (a good decision on our part) some maps and other nick knacks and the rear portion of Miss P was rather full. Yet I could still see out the rear window… so from a driving perspective everything would work out. We planned the route with great care. About 350 miles per day, or slightly less, is a comfortable mileage goal for us. So, day 1 would get us from the Metro West area of Boston to Wilmington, Delaware. Linda is a “Hilton Girl”. We like to stay at Hilton locations and Linda finds a Hilton unit whenever she can. For Wilmington it was the Embassy Suites and our objective was to be checked in with plenty of time to make the Managers Special which begins at 5:30pm. Free wine and cheese … what’s not to like. Tuesday the 12th arrives and we are up and packed and ready to go by 9am. I look out the window and guess what? It’s RAINING ! We have not even gotten out of the garage and it’s raining. And not just a light rain either. “It’s raining really HARD Linda” was my lament. Linda can tell I’m thinking about alternatives, like maybe waiting a day before starting out. She can see the doubt in my eyes and hear the hesitation in my voice. “You know it’s raining out” I say again. Her reply is soothing but somewhat forceful. “Look, we discussed this. It had to rain sometime. Today’s its raining. So what?? She’s just a car. She even has heated seats if it gets cold. She can take it. She’s tough. So, let’s stop hemming and hawing and get on the road.” So, with dread in my heart and rain on the windshield we hit the road. The adventure has begun. -Ray Boyer NEXT TIME Driving in the rain, new Porsche discoveries and museums to explore.