Porsche Parade 2017 – Trip Report
Matt & Teresa Fischer, Smoky Mountain Region
(See pictures below text)
This being our first Parade, we were slightly apprehensive and very excited. All apprehension slipped away when our experience reinforced that it is “not the cars, but the people”. We flew out, not wanting to add 5,000 miles to either of our cars, but Hertz misunderstood us when we said “Cayman” and gave us a Camry. “Bessie” served us well, yet lacked a certain allure and snap in her step.
Having an ulterior motive to visit the family wheat farms, we found the Washington State natives very friendly, helpful, and pleasant. Travelling the countryside well beyond Spokane gave these two geologists plenty of eye candy, on par with that at the Parade.
SUNDAY – Our first Parade task, other than registration and the well-stocked Goodie Store, was a volunteer stint at the Gimmick Rally registration table. Ellen and Don and Taxi were the best mentors, and appreciated our task-oriented mindset, and we instantly had new friends. Toward the end of our stint, Ellen brought us a bottle of Cab to celebrate, and we promptly dumped our conflicting Distillery Tour tickets and joined the Gimmick Rally for Thursday.
That evening was the Pirelli Welcome Party, an open air dinner on the river. Welcomes were made, and the new GT3 was introduced, and we made a whole table of new friends. At that time, Matt’s Quest for a Porsche Hawaiian Shirt was becoming more real (such a beast apparently does not exist). The Hawaii Region had a set of Region/PCA/Parade Hawaiian shirts embroidered up, and were seemingly willing to sell him one. Alas, it came not to be…
MONDAY – Concours was a short time for us, as this was Farm Day for the Fischers. We spent about an hour and a half “power touring” a great set of Porsches, including a Sonauto Turbo, a tractor, and 550 Spyder. Teresa spent some time in The Freebie Line, then the rest ogling the 356s in their row. Then it was off to the country, dining on a fine homemade roast beast, touring the wheat, kicking the dirt, discussing “falling numbers”, and learning how to ID four different strains of wheat at 60 miles per hour. We also toured the Coulee Dam before returning just in time to make the President’s Banquet (thanks Rich!). We sat with Danny and Cathy Saxton, and made new friends with the rest of that table.
TUESDAY – In the morning we toured the Freebie, I mean Hospitality, Room and met many fine folks and vendors, learned and earned many things. We reported for our next Volunteer duty, Ice and water hauling, with grand visions of commanding a golf cart and slaking the thirst of the masses. It amounted to moving three bags of ice and two cases of water to the 3rd Floor Garage “Tech Inspection” area, and done. Tourist TIME!!
We drove about Spokane, visiting some parks, photographing cool bridges, paying our respects to the long gone Fischers at the family plot, and Hiking Palisades Park. The Palisades gave us a commanding view of Spokane, and a close look at some really cool Cenozoic Basalts. After dining at the Hipster Friendly Garageland (amazing Salmon Fish & Chips) we called it an early night.
WEDNESDAY – That morning was our final Volunteer Opp, corner working the Michelin Autocross. Nice 40-50 second course, though not as challenging as Rick’s. It was dangerously amusing that even with the Baseball Chalk Line outline completely defining the course we still had to run a little to avoid some “course explorers”. We almost had a “Hurley Moment” with a seagull pecking at a bit of something in the middle of the course.
We lunched at the local Co-op for our first healthy meal of the trip, then that afternoon were off to the Dinner Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Again, made new friends there, sampled some local vintages (“Buy the bottle, it is more economical at this rate”), and saw some nice lake houses, boats, and parasailers. The bus ride afforded us the chance to take in the landscapes.
THURSDAY – Skipping the walking/stumbling tour of the breweries and distilleries in downtown Spokane, it was Gimmick Rally time! This one was the “Doozie of a Floozie”, and amounted to a Poker Run, with various tie breakers: a Yahtzee Die Roll, mileage accuracy, and finally matching all the Floozies we met at the checkpoints to the descriptions on the rally instructions. It was great fun, beautiful scenery, and no papers were filed.
We lunched at The Snake Pit in The Middle of Nowhere, one of the Floozie Checkpoints, and ended up in Wallace, Idaho, the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe”. It is a quaint old mining town, now fully dependent on tourism. The town rolled out the red carpet for the Parade folks, and we had over 200 cars make it to town. We took the interstate back after a Sampler Flight at the Wallace Brewing Company, then went on exasperating search for dinner back in Spokane. Who would of thought that 2,500 PCA members could fill the place up so quickly? But it ended well with Flat Bread and Fish Tacos at The Onion Grille.
FRIDAY – Alas, all good things must come to an end, and we had to depart a little early for business reasons. Spent the morning sleeping in, packing slowly, finding more rocks, and a fine final local meal of Mongolian Barbeque (which is neither local, Mongolian, nor barbeque), and then returned Bessie to her rightful owner with our car number still in place, and mounted the 737 for home.
We made into our bed by 0430 Saturday, EDT, with a cat very happy to see us, after the commensurate berating for abandoning him for a week. It was a great trip, we had a really good time, met up with some old friends (Denny “Third in Class Autocross” Payne, the Saxtons, the Kjellsens, Jim Cambron, and others), made many new friends. We have already blocked the time off for Porsche Parade 2018 in Missouri.
See you there!