The trip to pick up the “Burgundy Beast”

 Over a few Brutal Bitter beers, Chris had informed me that he had found a project car.  The car was a 1987 S4 5-speed, mechanically sound but in New Bern NC.  As I had once lived in NC I volunteered to fly back to NC and drive the car back, if it worked out with my overseas contract work.

 There were several fits and starts in getting the deal together, bank issues, bad brain (in the car), and higher plane fares.  I figured that Chris would end up having the car shipped back to Spokane.  However, one day he called and had found a cheap fare from Seattle, (a red-eye of course); leaving Seattle at 1 AM Monday the19th, arriving in Raleigh NC at 10:30 AM the same day.

 Good connections, and Mike agreed to drive the car from New Bern to Raleigh to meet me.  So, the flight from Spokane was late but I managed to catch the Northwest flight out of Seattle.  First stop Minneapolis---mechanical problems with the landing gear sensor.  One hour later we were off and heading to Raleigh.  But……almost an hour into the flight the captain informs us that we are heading back to Minneapolis because the sensor still doesn’t work!  We land amongst a complete assortment of emergency vehicles on a very clear field.  Could this have anything to do with the threatened Northwest mechanics strike?

 Of course, the flight is then cancelled and I end up going to LaGuardia to catch a later flight to Raleigh that will arrive at 4:10 PM.  By this time Mike is back in New Bern, and I catch a little puddle jumper to New Bern.  Pick up the car that I christen the “Burgundy Beast”, get a motel room and head out the next day. 

 Car runs great, fairly loud exhaust tones, but oh well.  Drive to Walnut Cove, a small town North of Winston Salem, first day only 300 miles.  Have dinner and wine with a couple of old friends.  Almost too much wine, as I wake up with a slight hangover the next day, but still get on the road at 7:30 AM.   Start following the MapQuest instructions North.

 Lots of heavy rain all through West Virginia and Ohio, on through Cincinnati and Indianapolis.  Getting pretty familiar with the Beast.  Find that the heater is always on, so open the sunroof to get ventilation.  About this time I start seriously smelling a “fresh” oil smell that becomes a little irritating; but with the sun roof open, not a problem.  Rain mostly stays out.  Hold the speed at a little less than 80 mph, no problems.

 Call another friend from Indianapolis and end up at their place in Valparaiso Indiana about 50 miles south of Chicago.  Twelve hour drive this second day, around 750 miles traveled.  Getting into the CD collection now as there is only cowboy music on the radio.

 The next morning I discuss the day’s travel with my friend.  It is around 7:00 AM and he says the traffic into and around Chicago will be very bad, best to wait until after 8:00.  So, head out around 8:15 to get around the metropolis of Chicago.  Seemingly innumerable tollbooth, still lots of traffic and slow downs, but at least it is moving.  Why are the tolls 40 cents?  And why do I never have the proper change?  About Madison, Wisconsin the traffic thins somewhat and I get out of the toll region.  Road also improves drastically, making one wonder what they do with all of those tolls?

 Car still running like a champ, increase velocity to 80 plus mph, find and keep with a fast pack.  Head for Fargo, North Dakota.  Not the end of the world, but you can see it from there.  Very little traffic after Minneapolis, and never see a policeman, but still keep the speed reasonable.  End up in Fargo, another 12 hour day, around 800 miles traveled.

 Splurge on a good motel room with high speed internet access, breakfast et al.  Next morning it is 14 degrees in Fargo.  Car starts fine.  Dirty windshield so I  try the washer and nothing happens.  Think that maybe Mike in tropical NC has used just plain water in the washer, and it is now one big ice cube.

 Look on the map, still a long way from Spokane but the time zones are with me.  Less and less traffic through Montana, with the most courteous drivers to date.  Speed limit is 75, so I stay about 90 mph.  Not familiar with the car officer, just got away from me………..but not stopped and making great time.  Then it is Billings, Butte, and into Missoula.  With the two hour time difference it is only 6:00 PM and I am 165 miles from home.  What the heck, keep on going.  Get home in Coeur d’Alene around 8:30 PM, 1150 miles, about 15 and one half hours.

 Call Chris that evening.  He is a little surprised that I am home already, but ready to pick the car up the next morning.  We find that the oil smell is from a leaking rear cam seal dripping on the Catalytic converter.  Water on the driveway also indicates that Mike did not have antifreeze washing fluid in the wash bottle. 

 Chris seems pretty pleased with his new project.  There are quite a few “little” things to keep him busy over the next year or so.


Find the fast pack and stick with them.  Car I find myself most often pacing?  Pontiac Grand Prix and Grand Am??!!  Except in Montana when I have a great time with a Mercedes 500 and a BMW 750i.

 Most US drivers need serious training in high speed driving.  Keep in the right lane, and use the left to pass.  Not a hard concept, but beyond the logic stream of 80% of Americans.

Average Mileage 21.7MPG.  

Other Porsches spotted in almost 3000 miles:
A Boxter
An older 944