Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cruising Chittenden's Back-Side

The Green Mountain Region of the Porsche Club of America did a drive/eat a while ago and it was my first 'event' of 2014. Aside from previous tentative excursions in my extended neighborhood it was something of a test for my car's functions, because the drive was 300 miles (483 kms), which was enough to get all the car's juices working and the kinks identified, if not sorted out. As an example, one on-going issue that has not been sorted out, because I don't know what I'm doing, is the matter of gear shifting not being as smooth as in a modern car. Maybe my car shifts similarly to other Porsches of its era, but I am uncertain of that possibility due to lack of experience with comparable vintage 911s. Regardless, I'm working on it, and my changes to the position of the clutch release lever and such might have made some small improvement. But, this post isn't about that sort of business.  (Later a Porsche mechanic remarked about how smoothly my car shifts, as compared to other 911s of its era. So, there you go.)

Rather, it's about new people, old friends, new to me cars, roads I haven't driven before, decent food in a place owned by a PCA member, and agreeable chat with interesting folks. These are the reasons that I belong to the PCA and I've said this more than once before on this blog, so it might be close to the truth. It was a cool day, and my windows were up causing the interior of the car to be limousine quite - vintage Porsche style, which probably means 100dB - Porsche music, some say. Bunk. I wear ear plugs. 

Still cool, 58 years later
At least the temperature was nice in my mobile 911 terrarium, and I only got lost once or twice along the way, because I had looked up the destination on Google Maps owing to the fact that my GPS couldn't find the place, and Google's route suggested its own logic over sanity. That, or there is a sense of humor built into that Google function. I know someone who invents programs for Google; I'm going to ask, but I don't expect an answer. I'm too lazy to use a paper map any more unless I have to, so perhaps I'm an easy mark for the joke.

Since I left home late, wasted time crossing the US/Canada border, got lost twice, and had to drive more slowly than I would have preferred, I was the first car there. I get ridiculed by people who have a looser notion of time for my fervently sincere need to be punctual, but when people say 9:30 a.m., I believe they actually mean 9:30 a.m., so I show up then and become the butt of jokes for it. I'm on the wrong planet, but at least when I'm late for something, I can always say it truly isn't my fault. The other guy who arrived within moments of me drove the oldest and slowest car to appear at the activity; being prompt in this context doesn't mean crazy speeding, it means crazy something else. 

Once, very long ago, a woman asked me to come over to her place for dinner. "Come over at 7:00," she said. I showed up at 7:00. She was in her underwear, and not for some seductive reason, either. She was ironing her clothes for the evening, and she asked me what the Hell I was doing showing up at 7:00. "Nobody shows up on time!" she said, "you are supposed to be fashionably late." That relationship didn't last very long. I'm still out of fashion, evidently. Wrong planet. Everybody's crazy here.

Eventually 15 or 16 cars showed up containing around 30 people; I didn't properly count. The usual greetings were made between known faces and cars, and the new ones were treated as equals, under suspicion. With maps and written driving instructions distributed - neither of which would do me much good since I was alone and couldn't refer to them while steering my car - we set off into the hinterlands of the back-side of Chittenden county.

The customary group photo

One of the organizers of this event had gone to a lot of trouble to scout out Chittenden's obscure rural roads, and I honestly appreciated that effort. I didn't know that there were any rural roads in the place...  Chittenden contains Vermont's most urban collection of towns and cities and has the state's greatest population density, but somebody from Philadelphia, or similar, would imagine that they were in the Gobi Desert for all the space to be found there. But, no, this was [sub]urban Vermont and its rural roads mainly have a speed limit of 35 mph (56 kph). The countryside was lovely, however, in your hot Porsche, along with this type of activity's proneness for actually using that hotness, 35 mph was the equivalent of simply parking the car. It turned out that parking the cars at the end of our drive was one of the event's most entertaining operations. Some people got lost (in the parking garage!), others were abused by road-raging Prius drivers spewing sanctimonious proclamations that were way too rude for tree huggers to spew (in the parking garage!), while we were all called upon to park on the roof where our cars' colors faded from the fierce sun as we ate lunch. We parked up there because nobody else did, they being in their right minds and more prudent.

But the lunch was nice. The food was good, the setting was comfortable, and conversations of some depth were actually possible although too brief for some, while others left early to tend to real life. . .

All That Jazz
It was a peculiar business to drive across the state in order to then drive around it some more, to be followed by driving home again. "You're a crazy person," my significant other said, then she found that she unfortunately had another engagement that day and couldn't attend. Crazy, as a concept, seemed to fit in from a variety of perspectives, and driving my 40+ year-old Porsche all over the place was one of them. But, what else are you going to do with it?