SO YOUWANT TO DO THE TRIP? HERE’S HOW
Registration, Insurance and Shipping
found a few with free samples plus a great little brewery to visit. The Jacuzzi Winery, owned by the family who invented the spa pumps of the same name, was a highlight and boasted an impressive display of early pumps near the bathrooms.
As Ross drove, I chatted to a couple of recommended Porsche shops in Portland to see if any could complete a quick top end rebuild. I got onto Kurt at Marque Motors, who thought he could turn it around in one to two weeks, and could start the job the day after tomorrow. So that became the plan, and 630 miles of uneventful driving north on the I-5 saw us arrive in uptown Portland just on dark the following evening.
Dropping the car at the shop first thing, our Portland hosts (friends recently moved from Melbourne) then drove us out to Astoria, a small coastal town formerly famous for its fish canneries and about ninety minutes by road. We lunched in the local brewery with sea lions visible through the glass floor, toured the maritime museum and explored the beach in the local state park.
Before leaving Australia we had booked to race my 911 in the Porsche Club of America’s Portland autocross. Despite not being able to run we went along to watch, and learning of our problems, the event organiser arranged track rides with some of the regulars. We scored spins in an ’84 Carrera, a brand new Cayman GTS, and a 914. The field was only about half Porsches, the rest being an eclectic mix featuring a brand new Mustang, a 240Z, an early ’90s Mazda MX-5, and plenty of WRXS.
The autocross finished up mid-afternoon, which, naturally, led to an impromptu brewery tour. Portland is known for its beers, with over 60 breweries within the city limits serving a population of merely 600,000. We managed
We had the Porsche stored at CARS USA’S facility in Long Beach, California prior to our arrival. They also specialise in worldwide freighting of collector cars. A one-trip permit from the California DMV for US$20 allowed us to drive legally to Arizona to obtain registration.
We registered in Arizona because they have attractive taxation rules on used cars purchased from a private seller. For US$15 they also offer 90-day registration, available to non-us citizens and valid in all states. You must have photo-id and arrange Arizona insurance to qualify.
The insurance requires an in-state postal address – we used a friend’s in Phoenix.
to visit four of them on the way back uptown.
Now lacking a means of transport, we were forced into a rental car to continue our road trip – albeit with an unplanned loop back to Portland at a later date – and ended up with the antithesis of the Porsche: a plain, white, automatic Toyota Camry. Back home, such vehicles are nicknamed ‘whitegoods on wheels’, and it certainly lived up to that reputation, proving extremely adequate but not in the slightest bit exciting. Undoubtedly though, it was a plus to have working A/C and a stereo that could be clearly heard at highway speeds. We acclimatised to its ‘performance’ on a run to Columbia River Gorge national scenic area to check out Vista House, an observatory and pioneer memorial with extensive views of the river in both directions and impressive nearby waterfalls.
Later we popped into Marque Motors to check the progress of the 911. The engine was out and stripped of accessories and oil build-up in cylinders number 3 and 6 exhaust ports was plain to see. But with the heads yet to come off I was still worried about the condition of the cylinders – incredibly expensive to replace if damaged.
On the road once more next day and reaching Seattle mid-afternoon, we considered gaining a bird’s eye view from the prominent ‘space needle’ but were a little put off by the price tab, instead hiking via the Olympic Sculpture Park up to Kerry Park to take in a similar vista for free.
Seattle has a rich history in aviation and technology, as the home of Boeing and Microsoft among others. Tying these two together is the The Flying Heritage collection, a unique aviation museum established by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and featuring an extensive collection of warbirds, most airworthy and regularly flown. We unfortunately didn’t witness an aerial demonstration, but did see a Focke-wulf FW190 being test-run on the Tarmac in preparation for an upcoming Luftwaffe display. The roar from the open exhausts of its 14 cylinder BMW radial engine was brutal. A tour of the Boeing factory was also impressive, for sheer size and number of planes churned out.
Day three was dedicated to the Museum of Flight. If you had to pick only one aviation activity in Seattle, this should be it! The display takes visitors through the history of flight from the Wright brothers to modern day space exploration, not only detailing the machines and technology, but also fascinating stories of the pioneers of the industry.
Driving north from Seattle we crossed into Canada, destination Whistler, for a weekend with a friend who had moved fromaustralia to follow the snow. Being the end of summer, however, the current focus was on mountain biking, river rafting and hiking.
So far we’d been exceptionally lucky with the weather, but the forecast was abominable and, sure enough, as we climbed into the hills, the rain set in completely eclipsing the renowned mountain scenery. For the next 48 hours we managed to dodge enough showers for quick hikes to the stunning Nairn Falls near the quaint little town of Pemberton, and the remains of a train derailed in 1956 on the Cheakamus River. Seven carriages had been dragged clear of the tracks using logging machines and left to be enveloped by the forest, for many years forming part of a challenging mountain bike track but now acting as canvases for an impressive array of street art.
Back over the USA border, we stopped off at America’s Car Museum, an expansive purpose-built facility on the edge of downtown Tacoma. The extraordinary open-span first floor houses guest collections which are regularly changed; during our visit American Muscle cars and early Ford F trucks featured. The rest of the collection, spread across four floors, is dedicated to a wide range of mostly American cars from the 1920s through to the 1970s, with a smattering of international marques as well.
Upon reaching Portland once more, we immediately checked on the 911, finding the engine assembled and almost fully dressed but not yet back in the car. An earlier call had eased my mind somewhat, by confirming that the cylinders remained in good condition, needing only a hone and new rings. In the end it took another couple of days to reclaim the Porsche, as the shop insisted on thorough testing of their workmanship – 100 miles and