Every so often, some friends of mine and I go for semi-secret drives that usually only take a day.
A recent one we went on was no different, and is sort of a practice-area for lots of other clubs — both four and two-wheeled — to get in a good time without the expense of several days and hotel stays. Just a quick getaway, is really all it is.
For me, this was a great opportunity to push our new 911 to a few limitations, but that will be another story.
This story will be more focused on the events of our single day drive, beginning with the invitation process. When you have free events such as concerts, every idiot in town shows up, and acts like they own the place. To avoid this in our events, we have a vetting process — even for the events that are not free.
Not just anyone can show up and be welcomed. So the plan for the event starts with a group of people that are close car friends — and they are all people that have done driving events within us, in the past 15 years we’ve been attending and organizing them. The great thing about this, is that our friends know which of their new friends would fit in, and follow the rules of the road and those set out by us.
The invitation process begins and we manage to muster up ten friends that are veterans in this realm. Each of them begins to invite other friends and I start receiving text messages about who is new, that is being invited. This helps us to know who may not understand what is going on, or where we are going, because we usually take roads that far less traveled.
Our goal for this particular day was a secretive route that was approximately 300 miles long with several directional turns, and extremely scenic.
The drive is scheduled for a Sunday, so many of us had our tires checked and re-balanced at the local shop on the Friday before. This is very important, since the only thing that separates your car from the road surface is your tires.
Don’t skimp on them, and always check them before trips.
Other visual inspections should be made of your belts and hoses, and clean out any excessive clutter from inside the car. The morning of the drive starts with double checking tire pressures, and topping off the fuel tank. Directions are given to everyone at a quick safety briefing, along with safe driving instructions since we are traveling as a group.
In addition, a quick overview of the planned fuel and lunch stops are glossed over, so that nobody gets lost.
After all questions are answered, we are off! All the new drivers already have the idea to follow some of the more experienced ones, to stay out of trouble so it isn’t long before the parking lot of the local Starbucks is cleared out.
The starting grid was scattered throughout the lot, but they all hit the road in an orderly line: Chevy ZR1 & a pair of Z06’s, 2-Porsche GT3’s, a McLarenMP4-12C & 650S, one gorgeous Aston Martin Vantage, a couple of Mustangs, a mix of VWs, and several other assorted vehicles and motorcycles.
In the end, it didn’t matter what you drove, everyone was going to get along great.
The first stretch of highway was of the nature that you should not follow too closely behind one another. One of the many interesting things about sportscars, especially of the exotic variety, are very dependent on tires for their performance figures.
Some owners are not aware of this, or that the tires sold for these cars are generally of the competition-level stickiness.
Yes, performance tires get sticky when they get hot — stickier than duct tape with super glue on it. When these tires are on the ground, they tend to pick just about everything up with their stickiness, and eject those items behind them at other vehicles.
One poor soul didn’t quite grasp the concept of this, and succumbed to a penetrated radiator on his rather expensive supercar. Everyone finished fueling up and the driver of the downed vehicle came to the decision to tow it out.
After waiting an additional 15 minutes, I apologized and wished him well while rallying the rest of the drivers together to head out without him. As this was only a day’s drive and we weren’t far from home. On a larger event, drivers stick together until help arrives, to make sure they are left too far behind, or become stranded.
The next planned stop was a regroup in a small town, after a very fun section of driving. This would allow for people to separate a little bit and find their rhythm on the very twisty and mostly desolate backroads. Some of us ventured ahead, not knowing the fate that another car would meet, and be left far behind.
Once we regained cell service, I received a text that one of the veteran drivers had a cooling pipe issue, and his supercar would also need to be towed out. His tow truck would take nearly four hours to arrive, so he secured the vehicle and left with others.
By this time, the lead pack was approximately the same distance from a newly planned lunch stop in Old Mesilla. One of the veteran drivers organized the location and communicated with the other 10 cars that were far behind. They followed an alternate route and met up with us for a delicious and delightful lunch.
Despite the fact that only 9 of the 20+ vehicles completed the full course of the drive, all of those that made it to lunch were in great spirits and had a good time overall.
From VW owners to McLaren owners, there was no gaps of friendship that had to be crossed as they all shared a special bond of being drivers that survived the day.
This is what it means, in this realm, to be an automotive enthusiast. No bragging or bullying — just camaraderie and the spirit of the open road.
Despite the lack of pictures and particular descriptive content, the purpose of this article is that anyone can use their imagination to fill in the gaps of where and how this drive took place. In the end, you should realize that the details do not matter — but rather the fact that it happened to begin with.
Motor on, my friends. And next time, invite me!