Coastal Cruising

I’VE BEEN A MEMBER OF PCA-UCR for almost five years now. Love it! I’ve taken one driver’s education course, have been to a few socials and I look forward to participating in more drives and events. Remembering how it all began? It basically started with borrowing my friend Pat’s 1980 Targa in the 90’s, I was totally bitten and dreamed of owning one someday and I recount the highlights of driving the Pacific Coast Highway in a rented Boxster S many years later.

My wife, Keltie, and I were in California and I had already driven the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) aka Highway #1 twice before; once in a regular nondescript car and a second time on a Harley. This third time around, I talked a reluctant Keltie into renting a Boxster S reasoning I was currently on the hunt for a sports car and considered this to be a fantastic test driving opportunity. As this was part of a much longer trip, we had to leave some of our luggage in a locked room at the car rental place in order to get the bags to fit in the Boxster (this of course was not a big selling feature to Keltie at first) but we proceeded on our journey much lighter from San Francisco south to LA visiting friends and family along the way. 

It was a little cool along the coast but it was a beautiful, sunny day and after a few hours on the road with the top mostly down, my wife was starting to relax, appreciate the car and enjoy the ride. 

It was a little cool along the coast but it was a beautiful, sunny day and after a few hours on the road with the top mostly down, my wife was starting to relax, appreciate the car and enjoy the ride.  

Then, over time I thought I could hear an odd noise and the Porsche seemed to be handling a bit funny. We found a dealership in a small town and they took it in right away while we went to have some lunch. I could tell Keltie looked a little discouraged as she recalled tales of how much trouble her Mom’s old Mustang convertible was. The top would never go up and down… I was hoping this was not the beginning of a troublesome journey. As it turned out, it was just low on air due to a leaky valve. They tightened the valve putting us back on the road right after lunch at no charge. Keltie was impressed with the friendly quality of service and we never had another issue with the car for the entire trip. And she was very impressed with how quiet the car was and the speed and ease with which the top went up and down. 

There were some great highlights on the trip but there were two funny ones I remember most.

First, there was a landslide covering the highway so we detoured around by going over a mountain. It was incredibly foggy and as such, we had to slow down to just a few miles per hour on the twists and turns of the road going to the top. Because of the very poor visibility we made an errant turn and when we emerged at the bottom of the mountain, it was sunny and warm out again but we noticed we were the only car for miles on a beautiful two lane black top road. Then we saw huge army tanks and bunkers and all kinds of massive army artillery. It had been so foggy we had unnoticed entered smack-dab into the middle of a very large artillery army training area. Other than the gargantuan infantry movers that rolled by, we never encountered any other vehicles. It was very surreal as we drove by half blown up bunkers set up in the hills along with burned out army vehicles. At first, I thought it was a movie set. No one gave us a hard time until we found what looked like an exit and our way out. The officer at the heavily armed and guarded gate asked us what we were doing and how we got in. I replied we were lost and had no idea how we got here. They were suspicious but friendly and directed us back to the open highway. 

While driving near Ventura it was a little hard to see and we were looking for a restaurant for dinner. The next thing I saw were the flashing lights of a state trooper. We pulled off on the next ramp…

The second funny incident I remember was on a sunny day that turned to rain. While driving near Ventura it was a little hard to see and we were looking for a restaurant for dinner. The next thing I saw were the flashing lights of a state trooper. We pulled off on the next ramp and I remember the rain had almost stopped at this point. When the trooper arrived at the car I asked what I had done wrong, was I speeding? He scratched his head and smiled, then said he’d never encountered a Porsche going that slow! He thought maybe the car was stolen. I explained it was a rental and I was not completely comfortable with it yet, and that the rain was heavy several minutes ago. He laughed, gave us a nearby dinner recommendation and sent us on our way. I was totally embarrassed, and my wife could not stop laughing. 

After this trip Keltie was OK with us getting a Porsche. Keltie loved our PCH drive as much as I did and upon our return to Toronto I went on a nationwide hunt and two years later, settled in on a 2010 – 911 cab from Downtown Porsche. It’s a beautiful car we named BlueBella, after my grandmother. The car is all blue, both inside and out and my grandmother’s name was Bella. We’ve had some great rides in this car including last summer when we took it on a run to Cape Cod and up through the Eastern Seaboard. We went through New Hampshire, Vermont, New York State, Massachusetts and Maine. It was a fantastic trip. And there was no talk or jokes of me getting pulled over for going too slow on this trip. In fact a lot of the conversation involved quite the opposite!

Over the years I have owed amongst others… a 350SL, a Fiat Spider, Alfa Romeo, a few BMW’s and other Mercedes. BlueBella is the nicest sports car I have ever owned, and I just simply love driving it. To further enhance my driving experience, I participated in a driver’s education track day and highly recommend it for anyone, especially for new Porsche owners. It has made a huge difference in my driving ability and confidence. 

I test drove at a lot of cars before buying this one, but as they say with love, when it’s right, the car finds you! I hope to keep Bella until I cannot drive anymore and then pass it on to one of our kids.

What of Pat and his 1980 Targa? Well, he sold the Targa and now owns a much newer Cayman which he blames on me after driving BlueBella on the open highways of Northern Ontario one day!

What goes around comes around. </>

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