What a long strange trip it’s been – part one

American reader Andy Kopral bought a 2007 997 Turbo unseen on the Internet and drove it across the USA. In this and the following posts, he describes his adventures.

What a long strange trip it’s been! Yes, I listened to a lot of Grateful

Dead while I drove across the US (note that Box Of Rain was playing on my CD
player when I stopped for my first Starbucks mocha in Pennsylvania and it
was raining and snowing like crazy, so it seemed fitting!).

My trip began on Thursday, October 15 when Marsha dropped me off at the bus
station in Rohnert Park around 8:00 a.m. I took the bus down to the San
Francisco airport for my 11:28 a.m. flight – a direct flight from San
Francisco to JFK airport in New York City. I arrived at JFK around 8:00 p.m.
that night (three hour time difference) and had to make my way to the small
town of Bernardsville, New Jersey. Although Bernardsville is only about 50
miles west of New York City, it is not easy to get to if you don’t have a
car. I started off by taking the Sky Train from JFK to the nearest subway
station, which was Howard’s Beach. I had to wait about 30 minutes for a
train, and then took the subway to 34th Street in Manhattan, which was about
a 45 minute train ride. At 34th Street, I got off the train and walked over
to Penn Station – luckily, there was a train departing for Morristown, New
Jersey, in about 10 minutes, so I bought my ticket and ran to catch the
train. The train ride to Morristown took probably about 90 minutes. Once I
arrived in Morristown I took a taxi to Bernardsville. I finally arrived at
my hotel (the Bernards Inn) about midnight. Luckily, I had called the hotel
when I first arrived at JFK to let them know I would be arriving very late
and inquired whether there would be any restaurants still open. The hotel
receptionist told me that all the restaurants would be closed by the time I
arrived, but offered to have some kind of meal prepared for me that they
could wrap up and hold until I arrived. So my first photo is the meal I had
in my room that night (chicken salad with fruit) and two beers from the
mini-bar.

I woke up about 8:00 a.m. the next morning (really 5:00 a.m. for me, since
my body clock was still on California time), had breakfast at the hotel, and
then walked to the auto dealership (Audi of Bernardsville). I had noticed
the dealership was only about a half-mile or so from my hotel when the taxi
dropped me off the night before so I knew it was only a short walk and not
worth getting a taxi. Fortunately the rain had stopped for a few hours so it
was relatively dry when I left the hotel. Buying a car (especially when
spending $100,000) sight unseen over the internet made me a little nervous
at first, but when I arrived at the dealership and met Charles and Rob
(great guys, great dealership) and saw my car for the first time I knew that
I had made the right decision, and that what they had described to me (that
I was basically getting a brand new car – it only had 2,500 miles on it) was
accurate. It only took a few minutes to complete the paperwork, pay for the
car, and I was off to start my adventure driving across the USA.

My first stop was an auto parts store in town to buy a small scissor-lift in
case I needed to repair a flat tire. The new Porsches don’t come with a
spare tire, only a can of goop (I don’t know how else to describe it) that
you are supposed to use to fill the flat tire with. I’ve heard from enough
people that this method is not very effective, and I did not want to take
the chance of getting stuck in the middle of Wyoming at night with a flat
tire and no way to fix it. So I carried with me in my suitcase a bicycle
tire pump (which also works for car tires, just a little more work) and a
motorcycle tire repair kit which consists of little plugs to repair any
holes in the tire. I’ve used this system enough times repairing motorcycle
tires that I know it also works for car tires.

I finally left the little town of Bernardsville around noon on Friday. The
rain started as soon as I left, and continued for the rest of the day. Once
I was in Pennsylvania it started snowing, and I saw on the news later that
night that the storm had actually left several inches of snow on the ground
by the end of that day. My goal for the first day was to make it to St.
Clairsville, Ohio, because I wanted to visit some family members in the area
on Saturday morning. My first stop that day was on the PA turnpike to get a
Starbucks mocha and try out the cupholders on my new car (they work great!).
As I was leaving the service station to get back on the highway, I was
fiddling around with the cupholders (since I had never used them before) and
trying to make sure my mocha was not going to spill all over the car. I
wasn’t paying close attention to my speed, and as I was merging back onto
the highway from the entrance ramp I glanced down at the speedometer and
noticed the digital readout indicated 90 mph! I think the speed limit on
this section of the highway was 65 mph (also it was snowing pretty hard) so
I immediately took my foot off the throttle and thought to myself “I hope no
one saw that.” However, as I looked in my rearview mirror, there was a
highway patrol car right behind me! My heart sank as I thought, great, here
goes my first speeding ticket, and I wasn’t even trying to speed – but for
some reason, the highway patrol pulled up next to me, just kind of looked me
over, and then took off. I think he was busy with some other business and
was not in the mood to pull me over, or maybe he didn’t want to get out of
his car in the heavy snow storm, but for whatever reason, he left me alone.
At that point I decided I better learn how the cruise control works, and
from then on when I was on the highway I just turned on the cruise at about
5-7 mph over the speed limit. I did hit triple digits on some back roads in
Utah, but I’m not telling where and I’ll deny it if ever asked!

I arrived in Saint Clairsville later that night around 8:00 p.m.

Continued in ¬†Part II…DSC_3339DSC_3334DSC_3334DSC_3338

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