Spring Road Trip
Just the words alone conjure up adventure, excitement and venturing into the unknown. On this long awaited spring day I was eager to get on the road early and travel up to Bedford, New York from Manhattan; roughly 42 miles; about an hour's worth of excitement behind the wheel.
My plan was simple; leave 42nd street on the "west side" run up the Henry Hudson, hugging the river on my left, up Route 9A, onto the Sawmill Parkway and arrive just a bit early, to meet and greet fellow Porsche enthusiasts at Classic Car Garage for "coffee and cars”. I was looking forward to socializing with fellow Metro members in one of the most impressive exotic car environments in the Northeast, have a coffee and a light breakfast from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, then travel out to Long Island for the weekend.
All the pieces were falling in place; GPS route planned, 911 gas tank full, tunes, EZ-PASS; and my cousin “Jim” actually showed up early to join me; he had a Porsche back in the day; and was up for a spring road trip.
Weather was prefect, sunny, dry and 70’s, foliage was sparse, sun beaming down on me running lickety splitley in the left lane through light traffic. My passenger was talking up a storm; non-stop; I didn’t dare put the “tunes” on, being polite not to offend, as he didn’t complain about my driving anyway.
While not even half way into the journey, well before Tarrytown, I am making good time, in-tune with my car, one with nature, feeling alive, then it hit me. What’s that ticking noise? Hmmm, coming from the right rear, sun-roof was cracked open I knew I had to have a look, I could definitely hear it.
I had just over took a motorcyclist passing him on the right as I rapidly approached exit 21 East on the Sawmill Parkway, I shifted down, took the right hander, exited off, parked it way down off the exit shoulder, hoped out and had a real good look at the right rear; yup the tire was real low. Yikes, I thought I caught it, no visible holes, but could smell burnt rubber. Great; I’m at the end of the exit, I could only turn right, and as my luck would have it, there's a BP Gas station, with a mini-mart and an “Air Pump” too.
Now I thought, I’d be back on the road in no time flat. I scrounged around for some coin — one dollar for air, no credit cards, gee, now I didn’t plan for that. I get the feeling my luck has run dry as my mouth, meanwhile I get money in the pump and as I fill the tire all I hear is hissing and see a cloud of light grey smoke. I reached around behind the right rear wheel where it met the ground it was hot to the touch, I could feel what seemed to be a puncture, rats.
Slight change of plans, the only donut I can think of now is in the “frunk” and that’s not in the plan today. Time for plan “B”, flatbed time, and calling AAA for a 30 mile trip back down to NYC.
It’s not even 8 am as I call the Porsche dealer in NYC, as cousin Jim offers to get a couple of bottles of water, I just get voice mail "Please leave a message", and try another number, hmm not verycgood. As Jim walks up from the mini-mart, he mentions the shop clerk noticed the 911 parked, and looking in need of help, explains there’s a Porsche Repair shop just down the road. Just now feeling like my luck is back, I quench my thirst for a minute and I collect my thoughts. Using my iPhone, I ask “Hey Siri Closest Porsche Shop near me," bingo, Rennwerke Porsche Technicians pops up with a link to click and call, still it’s early, not even 8 am on a Saturday, many shops are closed.
Fortunately, I recognize the name, last year I attended a Metro Cars and Coffee event at this shop, I learned a lot, such as; be proactive about engine wear; have your engine oil analyzed; it’s a peace of mind which is comforting, something that I could use right about now. So I click and call, on the first ring I get an answer, and I ask “Hey Cheech”, after slight pause, sure enough it is he, I explain my dilemma, he’s polite saying “give me 20 minutes and I’ll meet you at the shop”. I thank him and get rolling treking slowly on down all of the .03 miles to his shop, I park out front, the shop is closed, gates locked. I wait patiently, thinking how I always wanted to use his service, but not exactly like this.
Sure enough, a man of his word, he bounds up behind the gate at 8:20 am, unlocks, rolls it back, and asks for the keys. Wow, now I would pay just about anything to be back on the road, taking advantage of that first nice day after a real long northeast winter.
Cheech, asks for the wheel lock key, and breaks loose the lugs, but can’t get the hydraulic lift arms to slide under the right rear, no worry, he slides a floor jack under the engine to coax it up to accommodate the hydraulic lift, up it goes. With an air tool he gently removes the lugs, points out a few tips, and get the wheel off to see what I had only felt.
He state the obvious "tire is shot” and "boy you are lucky," that’s an understatement at this point in my road-trip journey. Now as lucky as I could be; Cheech looks around his shop and provides an 18 inch rear wheel with tire “loaner”, much better then the donut, and states you will be good to go, and back on your way.
We agree that I’ll order a set of rear tires, have them drop shipped to his shop, Rennwerk Porsche, as he agrees to mount while I wait, and suggests that alignment might take longer. He doesn’t let me go before he inspects the front tires, “those are still good”.
I’m off and on my way, even with a change of plans, missing the event in Bedford, I had a great event of my own, a great day, with a story to tell, and a great start to new relationship. Sure you've heard the slogan "it's the people not the cars" but I can attest that's it's both, great people and great cars. The cost; I'll let you know, but for now, money was not exchanged only car talk and a true passion for Porsche.
- check tire pressure and tire depth
- all fluids topped up
- have spare change
- have your lug stud/nut key handy
- check the spare tire and jack and wrench
- make sure you can loosen your lug studs/nuts
- double check your insurance - for tires and wheels
- AAA account details - dealer service - road side assistance