Porsche Pilgrimage: Day 2 – Scottsdale To Odessa

Why am I doing this to myself?

Bradley Brownell

"Why" is a question I asked myself a lot today. Why did I do this to myself? Why couldn't I have just taken a plane to my little sister's graduation? Why am I so forgetful?

The day started bright and early with the sunrise, a full hour before my alarm clock, at 5:30 AM. I had come in to the campground after dark on day 1, and I was awake, showered, packed, and out the door before the office had even opened.  I was chipper and ready to go. I found a penny on the ground, Lincoln's face shining up at me. I don't believe in superstition like luck, but I picked it up anyway. I went on to have a lot of luck, but not all of it was good. 

Bradley Brownell

My first stop was to Fourtillfour coffee in Scottsdale. If you haven't heard of it by now, it's a tiny, well decorated coffee shop with a Porsche 356 theme (get it, because 3:56 is four minutes til four). I do drink coffee, but I'm not particularly focussed on what kind. I can drink swill with powder creamer as long as I have my stevia sweetener. I use coffee as a vessel for sweetener and cream. Their website said 7AM open, so I rolled in at 7:30, and met up with a Porsche fanatic I only know from Instagram at the shop. Sadly, the doors were still locked up tight, so we chatted a bit, took some pictures of each others cars, and a couple of the coffee shop's infamous multi-color primer coupe, and got back on the road (It was nice to have met you, Tim). The owner later sent me a message apologizing for being closed. The barista on the schedule to open that day had run into traffic and alarm clock problems on the same day, and arrived shortly after I left. I'm easy going. I wasn't particularly upset by the lack of coffee, and I'd gotten to see their 356 parked outside anyway, so that was enough for me. It was a nice touch. 

Stop #2 took me to Seduction Motorsports only a 30-minute drive away. I've been following their gorgeous 550 Spyder kit builds for years, and I wanted to see them first hand. This facility is generally just for final-assembly, as they have other buildings for paint and fiberglass work. Gorgeous quilted leathers and deep thick coats of paint put their work above any other kit I've seen, and that is proven by their client list. CEOs and bigwigs from all over the world will come to Seduction for high-horsepower, low-weight Porsche Spyder kits with Subaru turbo engines behind the driver. One of these days I have to get my hands on one for a long weekend with my wife, somewhere with curvy roads. Before moving on, I'm told of a new project they're tackling for SEMA this year. The rusty hulk of a 356 coupe in the back of the shop is being prepped to accept a 3-liter engine from a 911SC, a complete 911 suspension setup (likely coil-on-spring type from a 964), and then that engine will be turbocharged. 

I'm still feeling good about the drive a few hundred miles in. I hop on I-10 East and the disembodied voice of Google Maps says "Continue on I-10 East for 562 miles" and the scope of this ludicrous trip starts to settle in. More open desert, more secluded loneliness, more grappling with internal demons. I make my way out of Arizona without stopping for fuel. I continue through New Mexico without stopping for fuel. I make it to the Texas border and I see a fast food stop, a Whataburger. I've never had one before, so I pull out. Still no fuel for the Porsche, but plenty for me. 

I skirt the border with Mexico and aside from some mid-afternoon traffic, have an easy go for the next 90 minutes or so. I stop at a border patrol checkpoint, a man packing heat looks at me and my car, the dirtiest Porsche he's likely ever seen, and says, "Are you an American citizen?". I cannot fathom why, but I put on a fake Texas drawl, and not a good one, and chirp back at him, "Yessir, by the grace of God I am". No reaction, no smile, just a flick of his fingers that means "get out of here, weirdo". 

The sun is setting, and the car is running well. I stop to check on the oil level, and it's only burned a half quart since leaving Reno. I top it up and get back on the road. In the light of dusk, I glance over at the glovebox hanging open. It seems suspiciously empty. Something is missing, and it's not a good something. I start freaking out, shout a few choice four-letter words, and pull over to investigate further at the next exit. "Hello, Whataburger, yeah, I was in there a couple hours ago, did anyone find a wallet?" As a matter of fact, someone had found my wallet, at that Whataburger, 107 miles in the wrong direction. 

Bradley Brownell

It's been over 500 miles since I last filled the fuel tank. I have no cash, no cards, and no clue how I'm going to make this work. I dip my fingers into my pocket and pull out that lucky penny to set it on the dashboard. I need everything it's got to make this ludicrous plan work. With the low fuel light on, I wonder if Porsche's engineers had ever planned for the car to run over 100 miles with the needle on R (for Reserve? I don't know, it's German). It's a nerve wracking 90 minutes, but I make it back to the burger joint, thank a young hispanic woman with corrective braces for holding on to my lifeline, and barely make it to the shell station down the street. 

Bradley Brownell

I'd planned to get to my campsite by about 1AM, but this little detour means I don't roll in until nearly 5. Exhaustion started to creep in at about 3 in the morning. I have to stop at a rest stop to do some jumping jacks and stretch my legs. I'm fading, but I make it to the site well after everyone has left for the day. I set up my tent, crawl inside, and immediately fall asleep. It is 5:30 AM in Odessa, Texas.