Monday, April 8, 2013

Visions of Skinny-Dipping Dance Through My Head

Readers of this blog who live in warmer climates will find it hard to believe that last night's new snowfall here and very frigid temperatures actually existed, but I assure you that they were quite real. And I'm talking about 20 degrees below freezing and my pond is still as hard as concrete. A moose walking across that ice would cause no cracking and could feel perfectly safe that he would not fall into the deep water below. Moose have been swimming around in my pond before, but sensibly only in the summer. This is a Porsche story? Yes, keep going.

A temperature of water that moose feel comfortable to swim in is not the temperature that my delicate carcass can tolerate, so it will be June, probably, before I jump into the pond to join them. Since summer is so short here, people look forward to it more. It's precious, due to it's brevity. Somewhere on the Web you can look up how many motorcycles there are per-capita in a given place (they are a proper case in point, because they are a warm weather giggle), and you will find that Quebec, where it's bloody cold, sits right up there in the rankings of motorcycle ownership. Why? What you must do less, and when you can avoid freezing to death, gains value. Warmth is like any other scarce commodity.

Such is the story with driving your old rust-prone Porsche - wait till the salt and cold are gone to make the experience bearable for you and the car. An old Porsche has an odd perfection in this climate - too cold in winter, and too hot in the summer. At any rate, people eagerly look forward to driving when they get their brief sunny summertime chance.

A few days ago

This means that I'm still working on my 'winter' projects with my car. I have been monkeying around in the engine room, trying to solve problems, replace various bits, refresh others. This business was only partly successful, and I'm not too sure how big that successful part is, but the engine looks nicer now.

Fairly soon I'll put some oil in the engine and see if I can start the contraption. Starting is not a foregone conclusion. There is a mysterious issue with the cold starting gadgetry, and so there might be a resounding explosion instead of the desired result of causing the engine to run, but these things must be dealt with one at a time.

The repainting of various engine bits went well, in that it looks good at the moment, but functionally I got less resolved. I addressed a couple vacuum leaks and eliminated certain other problems, but new aggravations arose when genuine Porsche parts would not fit properly and my main supplier turned out to be clueless about how to address this situation. That, and I couldn't even get some suspect parts undone to see if they deserved my suspicion or not. Well, enough complaining about ill-conceived fitments and such.


The main point is driving the thing. Once it is sorted out I have in mind a selection of roads that I look forward to driving once again this year, in Vermont +/-. For example, when it is nice and warm, and the moose and I are swimming happily together in my pond, I will one day venture out toward Lake Willoughby on VT Hwy 5A. This is a beautiful drive, with the road meandering along the shore of the long narrow lake, plus the general countryside in that area is pastoral and pleasant. It almost has mountains, too.

There is an additional feature, however. At the south end of the lake there is a public beach adjacent to the side of the road. The surrounding 'mountains' and woodland are part of Vermont's Willoughby State Forest, and it is a nice area for a refreshing stop on a hot summer day. The water in that lake is always pleasantly clean and very cool. The beach is contained in a small bay. Around the point that defines the bay, there is another bay that cannot be seen from the road. And, interestingly, the second bay is private property.

Somehow, somebody maintains ownership of a few acres within the state forest that include a nice beach in a nice bay, around the corner, so to speak, out of sight. And, even more interestingly, that

It's that second bay back there.
beach, which is not regulated by the state forest, is a NUDE BEACH. Right there in modest Vermont. See, I told you this was a Porsche subject. Remember, the water is always cold in this lake; swimming has small emphasis at this 'private' beach (although the public uses it), so people furtively (not) wade around, chat, and get sunburned, all over. There is ample parking for your Porsche out along the road.

OK, that lake is really too cold for swimming, which is what you really wanted to do, so never mind.

Let's consider driving some more. How far do you want to go? Just Vermont? New Hampshire? Maine? There are plenty delicious roads in the general region, but I have to warn you that this is not some big city's suburbia and you will be out there, on your own, hoping that your cell phone connects to something, but this is not a safe bet. There will be towns where people never heard of a Porsche. Think 'Deliverance, North'. If you are old enough to understand that reference, then you are older than you look and well into your 50s, at least. You will grasp my meaning when you get there.

Maybe it's not that bad for the most part, but much of this area is 'Merica, pass the ammo. Anyway, 

A warm and fuzzy recollection of the car before the trip, but now. . .
you've got a map, or Google Maps, so take a look and find your way down and over to the Kancamagus Highway (112) in the White Mountains. Do some shopping (you'll know what I'm talking about when you get to N. Conway - factory outlets) and then drive up 16 past Mt. Washington. Maybe you should even drive up Mt.Washington if it's a clear day.

Then go north on 16 until you hit US 2, now go east on 2 and hook up with 17 north and go north till you hit 16 again on which you go south to go home, if you are so lucky. If you do this, you will have gone through some very wild country, will have driven some wild roads, and will have dangled your toes in waters such as Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and maybe Umbagog Lake, too. Your elderly Porsche will have consumed 9 quarts of oil, but if you are fortunate it will still be running and looking nearly the same as before.

This not something you should do in one day, I don't care where you start from. Enjoy.

No comments: