Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So here we go...

...as I begin to fill in some blanks about my last six days. But before I get into all that, a couple of points:

First, let it be said that this is as revealing a series of posts as I have ever made. If any of my colleagues or people I associate with happen across these entries (especially this first one) they will know, beyond a doubt, precisely who I am. I prize my semi-anonymity here, but I also enjoy telling tales, and this is the only place where this version of it can appear. I will therefore attempt to avoid using a few key words that might put me on a Google search.

Second, the next x-number of entries will feature cars and car-related stuff only. If that bugs you, run! It'll be over by, say, Thursday.

And so, off we go. I left Los Angeles at 8:30 am Wednesday and, nearly eight hours later, my first sight of both Daytona Beach and the place where I would be hanging out for the following four days was not a promising one, as the tropical storm hanging around offshore was doing its best to mess up the whole deal.

This shot was taken from my first hotel room late Wednesday afternoon, while I was cursing myself for not bringing rain gear...



The next morning did not start well. We left for Daytona Speedway at 8:15; at 8:05 I was informed that most of us were being transferred -- to a freekin' motel, for Pete's sake, a first for me on one of these trips -- and I had five minutes to pack up and get my bags down to the van.

Somewhat frazzled, I arrived at the Speedway, where assignment #1 was to test this new car on the track...



Let it be said that taking to a totally unfamiliar -- and partially wet -- race track in a 530-horsepower car is not my idea of a Good Time. That's especially true when I found myself seeing 150 mph on one section. My only knowledge of the Speedway came from watching races on TV; it is narrower, rougher, and much more intimidating in person.

It did, however, turn out to be major fun, thanks in large part to a pro driver who coached me along a bit, and I was just beginning to get the hang of it and work up to some serious speed when this happened...



(You may have to enlarge this photo -- by clicking on it -- to see how heavy the rain shower was, and even then it doesn't come across as well as I wished.)

...and our hosts, wisely decided to call a halt to the proceedings, fearing that some people might not do well splashing through the puddles at high speed. I did get enough of an impression to write my article*, but was naturally hungry for more...

The rest of the day was taken up by going to the motel (ugh), unpacking, and dressing for the first "official" dinner. Nice, but nothing to write home (or here) about.

Friday morning, the people for whom the weekend was intended began to arrive, and my role changed from participant to observer. They -- several zillion Porsche owners and hardcore fans -- got the good weather; it stayed relatively cool, clear and comfortable through the end of Sunday.

After grabbing some coffee, I wandered down to the garages where several hundred wonderful cars were housed. The first Porsche I happened upon was, however, not a car, but a tractor...



...and then there was an earlier Porsche race car -- a Type 935, if you're interested -- not far from the "Porsche-Diesel" farm implement. This was more powerful and faster than the car I drove the day before, and was raced even in the rain, albeit by drivers far more talented than I...



I will admit that I do not love cars with the kind of passion the enthusiasts here were displaying. I really like them puppies, though, and thoroughly enjoy seeing them.

And that's how it started....

* No, I'm not saying where it will appear. That would be too much information....

9 comments:

DAL said...

I would rather have the tractor than any of the cars. The cars are fairly common, although a bit of googling reveals that the tractor outsold the 356 by four to one in '59.

becomingkate said...

The fastest I've ever driven was 121 MPH, but then we blew the motor, lol. So you were driving?!
Have a good one Scrib!

MrScribbler said...

Kate -- I was indeed driving, and the expert in the passenger seat was remarkably calm about it. In fact, he pointed out that I was going much faster than I thought (no time to look at the speedometer), which is a tribute to how incredible this particular car really is.

lowandslow said...

Looks like great fun. Never saw a Porsche tractor before....never even HEARD of a Porsche tractor before. Live and learn. More, please. :)

Anonymous said...

Was wondering whether you might have met and spent some time conversing with someone I have blogged about before who came up from Sarasota to race his porsche that weekend. It is indeed a small world.

Fin

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a good time. I'm glad you did. I like the photos of the cars and the tractor. I've never seen a better looking tractor. :)

betty said...

I'm the last anonymous..I put in my name but it left it out..oh well...hmmm

joan said...

I love your entries after trips! Great photos!

Anonymous said...

OMG you got to DRIVE on the TRACK?!!!!!!!! That is SO AWESOME!!! I'm jealous.

Gill