July 9-15, 2017
Jeff Jackson and Terry Davis at the 2017 Porsche Parade
Commentary and photos by Jeff Jackson
Parade Travel Days/Tale of the Tape
7/5/17- Left Evansville 5AM; see poorly lit pic. Today's destination Sioux Falls, ID. Arrived 4:30 PM including all stops for Porsche and people needs. Mild to heavy rain from St Louis to Kansas City; clear thereafter. Tape held up surprisingly well, just a tiny bit of repair at the hotel...see 2nd pic. Discovered a strange type of insect in Iowa..bounces off the windshield rather than squashing; much tidier. Nirvana, 80 mph speed limit in Iowa; I won't reveal cruise control setting. 786 miles, 22mpg.
Parade Travel Day 2: 7/6/17; Punching Thru' the Prairie
Rolled out again at 0-dark30 from Sioux Falls, SD. Unfortunately, South Dakota bugs don't bounce, they splatter; barely made it from the hotel onto the I-29N on-ramp and the windshield was covered. Things improved as the sun rose and after a short distance we picked up I-90W which will take us into Spokane. Nevertheless, windshield cleaning remained an important part of each fuel stop. Did I mention the speed limit of 80? This will stun my wife Debbie since she knows me as a point A to point B traveler, but we did find enough time to take a side round trip of 65-70 miles to Mount Rushmore. Today's pic features the thugs involved. We crossed the Little Big Horn river twice, but passed on the various Custer sites. However, I did hear the strains of the 7th Cavalry's "Gary Owen", playing over the sound system at a nearby gas stop. Too cool. Given the long distances involved between smatterings of civilization, Terry and I wondered how far and how long it would take some of the isolated home residents to reach a grocery or gas station. If those folks had to travel 50+ miles one-way as seemed likely, shopping expeditions would entail serious planning and I figure none of them would ever have a full tank of gas in their vehicles at home. Mucho inconvenient. We're overnighting in Billings MT and on to Spokane Friday. 799 miles today, 21.7mpg.
Parade Travel Day 3, 7/7/17; Billings MT to Spokane WA
Lots of stuff today on what was the shortest leg of the journey. Billings was on Pacific Time, so we were able to leave at O-dark thirty, but since we gained two hours overall, there was ample sleep time. Curvy Interstate today into and out of the mountains, but the speed limits varied depending on the terrain and there was construction in numerous places as well. Near Butte MT as we rounded an uphill curve in the left lane at around 75mph, we encountered a heavily damaged older Ford Taurus just off the left lane in the median. The hood was folded back over the broken windshield and the engine compartment was steaming. The dead deer hit by the Ford lay in the outside third of the right lane. A number of vehicles were stopping to help and cell phones were already out. Had we arrived at that location 90 seconds sooner, that might have been the GT3M! Speaking of luck, the Porsche had been exhibiting a bit of a rev-dependent whine after day one. I thought it might be gear noise, but Terry and I finally surmised the sound was coming from the engine compartment. The sound was louder yesterday, and I turned off the AC but that didn't make a difference. The sound was no better this AM, so we pulled in at Porsche of Spokane just on the eastern outskirts for a quick diagnosis. The tech seemed to think it might be the alternator, so Porsche Spokane ordered a new one for us and we set up an appointment to leave the car with them first thing Monday AM. The other possibility might be the idler pulley; in either event, Porsche Spokane should have the car ready to rock and roll by Tues eve so we can make the AX Wednesday. We'll have a loaner- Porsche, so worst case, we'll compete in that! I guess good luck and bad luck seem to even themselves out over time. We made it to the Davenport Grand HQ in plenty of time to get registered and the car unloaded and "de-grimed" in the wash area. I anticipate early Sat AM will consist of a tape repair session, although given the rain on day 1 and all the miles covered, the original application held up remarkably well. Finally, just a few observations about state differences re Interstate highways. In South Dakota and Wyoming there were warning signs and the equivalent of railroad crossing gates at major community on-ramps. Apparently, during heavy snowfalls in those areas, the Interstate is simply closed to traffic. The warning signs tell drivers if the sign lights are flashing to turn around and return as the Interstate was closed; I surmise the railroad gates must come down and block off the road. In Montana and Idaho, however, there are "Chain-Up lanes" and "Un-Chain Lanes" which consist of what looks like a wider right hand third lane where vehicles pull off to the side and either add or remove snow chains as appropriate. Either MT and ID get less snow, or the population of those states are simply made of sterner stuff ...I'd rather not be around during the snow season to find out which theory is correct. Included are a few pix of the day. Miles today 547, 23.1 mpg. Totals for the trip from Rancho Jackson to the Davenport Grand: 2132 miles, 22.2 mpg overall.
Porsche Parade D-minus 1; 7/8/17, Just Hangin' Out
Today is our putz around day waiting for registration on Sunday, 7/9. Great corner room at the Davenport Grand overlooking downtown and the Convention Center; one of today's photo attempts is the view out our window toward the Park. Checked out the Concours Prep area under the hotel; some machines undergoing treatment, but not a ton of them right now. That'll probably change as the day goes on. Watched a white 70's Turbo being unloaded from a Reliance transporter; the tires were wrapped in plastic and the car slowly was driven down into the prep area. Spoke with the owner, apparently all the prep was done prior to transport and he just parks in the judging area. Ceramic Pro is here doing their nano protection thing; not sure I'm totally on-board as yet...they've taken over about one half of the wash area and will prep the car and then do their coating thing in the concours prep area, or just wash/clean it for you which would set you back about $200.00. While I was re-taping a small portion of the GT3M, Terry went across the street and toured the park where Concours will be on Mon. I've included a shot of one of the rapids in the park. Registration is picking up in the hotel, occasional long lines of Porsches not fully understood by impatient locals driving downtown...shot of that as well. Met some autocross friends from Seattle in the concours area; one of them referred to a bridge fire on their 300 mile drive from the Emerald City; I'll try for more details on that one. No miles today, so no mpgs. Registration tales etc. tomorrow.
Day One; Porsche Parade, Sunday, 7/9/2017
Registration Day at last. OK, so I kept my streak of first-in-line alive; once an early riser, always early I suppose. The registration process continues to be refined from what we experienced in French Lick; now they limit the entry of folks from the "conga line" to 50 at a time to keep congestion down...that seemed to work quite well. We zipped right through and Terry and I ended up working the Autocross registration desk for a couple hours in order to give AX Chairman Leeds Gulick and his wife Wendy a break. Then on to the goodie store where we exercised a relatively high level of restraint. Tech Inspection was next; Terry retired to the room for a bit, I roped myself into helping with traffic control in Tech. Went across the street from the Grand to check out the location of the Welcome Reception. It's in a meadow near the river with some shade trees and some large tents set up on an upper level. Hi-temp today was in the low 90's with little humidity, but Terry and I plan to arrive early and find one of the shaded tables so we don't fry. One of the most fun parts of Parade is running into folks you remember from previous years, or who remember you. It's sorta' like a family reunion. Of course, it's hard to meet any strangers at Parade; everyone is here to have a good time and enjoy the cars and camaraderie. Tomorrow we drop the GT3M off at Porsche of Spokane first thing in the AM for its alternator transplant, hopefully we'll get an interesting loaner to drive over to the fairgrounds for the Michelin Drive and Compare event. Attached are a couple of pix from the Welcome Banquet. No miles, no mpgs today. Late breaking news: as is practice, Porsche brings a new toy to the Welcome Banquet. Our friend Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, joined us and introduced the new 2017 GT3 in Guards Red. It was PDK w/ PCCBs and some useful, some less so options $175,380. A late inclusion in tonight's photos.
Parade Day 2; 7/10/17
Took the GT3M to Porsche of Spokane first thing this AM; should get a status update around noon. Got a Cayman loaner w/ PDK, if the 3M isn't ready, just between us, I'll run the Croc in an earlier heat Wednesday @ the AX. Returned briefly to the hotel and then drove out to the AX site at a Casino for the Michelin Drive and Compare. Michelin had 2 identical 718 S Boxsters to drive, one w/ the new Pilot Sport 4 (PS4) and the other w/ Continental Contacts. A portion of the course was watered down in order to compare wet as well as dry traction. Remember my tire article in Porsche Pages month before last? Seriously consider the new PS4...they're excellent! Returned to the Grand and walked across the street to the park for the Concours and box lunch. As always, lots of pristine machines. Included in today's photos is a shot of the park and my favorite car, a 550A. The current owner acquired the car in boxes and pieces; the pix are the result of a 30- year restoration. While at the Concours, got a call from Porsche Spokane; the problem part turned out to be the idler pulley. They'll have it overnited in and installed in the car by early to mid-afternoon. Tonight is the President's Banquet courtesy of Scott Klueh; of course neither Terry nor I have been to one of those, but we're happy to represent SIRPCA and I'll report on that soiree tomorrow.
Parade Day 3; 7/12/17: Autocross
Looong day today. All of the Stock Categories run on Day One of the AX in heats and, since the Classes progress from slowest to fastest, my class, S10, typically runs in the last heat. The event site was at a Casino about 10 miles away and in addition to running at the end of the day, the banquet was at the Casino site, which meant we had to drive back to town, shower, and then return to the Rally Banquet. The temp was in the mid-to-upper 80s, little humidity, and a breeze, but the sun was intense, so it was critical to stay hydrated. Long story short, I pulled out the win on my last run. We work the Thursday AX classes which consist of the Improved, Production, and Modified classes which is always interesting to say the least. I don't have the official results re margin nor Terry's standing, but the final numbers will be posted tomorrow so maybe I'll have more to say then. Attached are shots of the GT3M in the paddock, a grid from an earlier heat than mine, and a look from the stage line down to the first turn. And now permit me to lapse into a coma...
Porsche Parade Day 5-Volunteer Day
Terry and I got our work assignments out of the way today working both morning and afternoon sessions at the AX on day two so now we're eligible for the Volunteer lunch on Sat. Second AX day features the "big boys" in the last heat and they're always the fastest cars on the playground. I Captained Corner 1 and Terry Captained corner 4; we get the radios and red flags and the Volunteers at our stations chase the cones...experience counts for something after all! And now for the update on Wednesday in the S10 class: S10 is for street cars w/ essentially factory equipment and for the most part is made up of 996 & 997 GT3s and Turbos, and the new GT4. The 991 GT3s moved out of the class this year into the new S11 category; with PDK, they were the nemesis the last two years so that was a good thing, but now some of the GT4 owners had a year or two of experience under their belts and those cars would be the new challenge. The course was set up on a parking lot at the Northern Quest Casino about 10 miles from downtown Spokane. The lot was a bit small, but Parade AX chairman Leeds Gulick set up a nice course anyway. We didn't run until the 4th and last run group, so although we were out in the sun all day, we did get in a number of course walks in and also "went to school" watching cars in the previous heats. Each car got 4 runs on course, and my strategy was to be super aggressive on the first run to see what I could get away with and back off from there if needed. I was in the mix on raw time after the first two runs but collected two cones on each run which meant my corrected times put me out of the picture, so I started backing off to clean things up. Terry was much smoother and didn't collect the penalty cones. My third run was clean and faster, but not up to snuff. Fortunately, I finally managed a flyer on my last run to just pip the second place GT4 by .061 seconds. Despite only his second event ever in the GT3M, Terry chopped 2.113 seconds off his initial time to finish 10th out of the 13 cars in the class. Tonite is dinner on our own, so I'll let my co-driver and gastronome Terry pick out our dinner spot. Friday is the autocross banquet; maybe we'll do the self-guided tour to Grand Coulee Dam Friday morning. Today's pix feature a few of the AX cars that competed today.
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