2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet: Road Trip to L.A., Three and Out?
April 29, 2013
Day 3 started off much like day 2 of my leg of the cross-country road trip in our 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet: I woke up long before my alarm clock was set to go off and I was feeling good. By day 3 of me and Kurt's road trip to Anchorage I contemplated faking a seizure so that I wouldn't legally be allowed to drive home.
I hopped into the Porsche that third morning like it was my first time driving one. The car and I were ready to go.
Sitting at the gas station near my hotel, the navigation system showed its first (and perhaps only) weakness. There was traffic ahead on the 70. Average speed, the system said, was 30 mph. It wanted to re-route me to avoid this backup.
And then my distance-to-home increased from just over 1,000 miles to a whopping 1,228 miles. The system was bypassing the 70 altogether and shooting me north on the 25 and then, somehow, over the 15 which I'd take straight into the Inland Empire and then over to L.A. This way also added more than four hours to my total estimated drive time.
While I like the idea of guidance systems trying to route me around a traffic situation, I'm not sure that being diverted over 200 miles and four hours is worth avoiding five miles of 30-mph traffic.
I, obviously, ignored the new suggestion and sucked up the mild backup. All told, it probably set me back 20 minutes.
But again, I had no set plan so setbacks didn't matter. This was, however, the first time that the navigation was reporting that I'd be home the same day. And if that didn't look like it would work out, well, I had to go through Vegas, right?
The drive west from Denver is phenomenal regardless the time of year. (Just be careful, chains are required frequently in the winter.) Amongst other things, you get to pass through the Rocky Mountains via the Eisenhower Tunnel.
It's not a road anyone would consider fun for spirited driving in a Porsche, but the views are worth the drive. And they stay worth it all the way through Utah.
Not only are the views rivaled only by those of Alaska, but the distance-to-empty meter was predicting I'd get over 600 miles on this tank.
But then a wild Subaru WRX STI and a snow storm got in my way. He had AWD and Colorado plates. I had winter tires and a Porsche. Needless to say, I did not make 600 miles on that tank. Worth it.
Right around the point in Utah where the 70 T-Bones the 15, everything gets really, really boring. The speed limit in this part of the world is something like 80, so that helps, but really, from here on out it's not driving, it's just commuting.
This was also the second point in the trip where I hit unseasonable warmth. Of course the Porsche's engine didn't care — though it had been spinning for hours continuously — but the tires were getting a little hot. Previously set at 31/34, the winter-spec Pirellis were enduring the near-80 degree heat by ramping up to 36/41. This is well within reason for these tires, though I still couldn't help but remember that the 911 doesn't have a spare, only a can of sealant and an inflator.
At this point I still hadn't hit the magical 500-mile tank and with only a few hundred miles left in the drive, it was now or never.
I passed the 10,000-mile mark and knew the landscape. There was an incline that would cut the projected range to its bone, but then there's a LONG downhill section. If I could power through the mental block of running out of gas this close to home and make it over the hill, I could break 500 just by coasting down the hill.
Thankfully, coasting was necessary and I made it to the crest with a bunch of "low fuel" warning signs, but doubted I was even into the reserve tank. From there on out, it was gravy.
I texted Erin from the final fuel stop, "511.8." I was going to send her a shot of my face smirking like an idiot, but she's got a husband and, well, that kind of thing might be frowned upon.
This stop, 1,048 miles later, was the technical end-point, though I coasted through downtown L.A. with the top down just to show that I'd arrived.
The nice LAPD officer, who told me to move my car, preventing a cool shot of the 911 with the Disney Concert Hall, was the closest thing I'd had to a ticket all trip. Figures it'd be this close to home.
I missed dinner on day 3, but I made it. Awake. Alert. And ready for more.