2011 Escape to Flagstaff
Rogers, Redwood Region Vice President
photos by Vern Rogers
Three intrepid RRPCA
couples met Tuesday morning, 9/13 at a little coffee shop in Emeryville:
Chris and Veronica Harrell, Howard and LaVergne (Vern) Thomas, as well
as Vern Rogers (me) and Susan Stuart. We had planned the route over the
preceding months. Vern T. had booked our hotels along the way and
provided route instructions and itinerary...just like a (very long)
breakfast run - except we started at breakfast.
The tour was to go down
101 to Paso Robles the first day, then head East to Kingman, AZ on day
two, leaving us with an easy drive into Flagstaff on day three. We
planned to take Route 66 much of the way from Kingman to Flagstaff.
Day one went as planned,
with the three cars (GT3, Boxster, and Cayenne) trading-off the lead as
we drove south. My great accomplishment for this leg was to get 19.8 mpg
in the Cayenne; I didn't know the mileage display could go that high
(grin)! Upon arriving in Paso Robles, we attended a prearranged tasting
Denner Vineyards, where Howard and Vern are wine club members.
I hadn't realized how many
wineries there are in the Paso Robles area; you can hardly throw a rock
without hitting one. Wines at Denner were delicious, and the building
architecture - as well as the view - was amazing. We made one more stop
Niner Winery on the way back to town for dinner. Wines there were
excellent as well.
We arrived at the town
square with the challenge of finding a restaurant. Let's just say that
we would like to hear from any members that know of a good place to eat
in Paso Robles. Based on Howard and Vern's previous visits to town and
our evening there, we know of several establishments to avoid....
Day two was a longer trip,
eastward across California, with lunch in Barstow. After beginning to
get into the beauty of Arizona, we stopped in Kingman for the night. I
can recommend a restaurant there:
El Palacio. It has been in business for years and always has great
food, as well and excellent service. I stopped there on the way both to
and from Escape in Albuquerque three years ago. It is still just as
Day three had us on
Route 66 out of Kingman, through Hackberry and Peach Springs, with a
stop in Seligman. The road conditions were great, and the views
spectacular. The Seligman stop was for lunch (at the
Road Kill Cafe) and sightseeing. Seligman has taken the Route 66
theme and really run with it; if you want Route 66 memorabilia, go to
We arrived at
Little America Hotel in Flagstaff at about 3:30 p.m. on Thursday,
9/15, and we checked-in with Escape Registration. Unfortunately, our
mid-afternoon arrival left us in 'catch-up' mode. The casual car show
was already in progress, and we had no time to get our cars ready for
entry. Two pieces of advice for those of you planning to go to Escape,
or for that matter, Parade: 1) Get there early; 2) Pick the events you
really want to do, and save some time to just hang out. I signed-up
Susan and myself for a tour each day, the wine reception, the barbeque,
and the banquet. We were moving non-stop, and were too exhausted to get
out and explore the town on our own.
On Friday morning, we set
out on the guided road tour through Jerome, Clarkdale, and Sedona. The
road tour took us through some beautiful country, and included a short
stop in the old mining town of Jerome, as well as lunch at the
Enchantment Resort in Sedona. I know Susan would have liked more
time in Jerome. Friday night was the wine tasting reception at
Museum of Northern Arizona. We had the good fortune to participate
in a docent-led tour, which included a lot of great information on the
native cultures of the region.
The most fun we had was on
the Cayenne off-road tour on Saturday, 9/17. I had a little trepidation
at taking my '04 Cayenne S off the beaten path at first. I have very
little experience at this. As it turned out, there was no need to worry.
These vehicles really are very competent off-road. I am not talking
about just the lack of pavement; I am talking about hill climbing over
rocks and small boulders. Cayennes handle the terrain without you doing
much but putting them into low range four-wheel drive. My biggest
struggle was keeping my foot off the brake while descending steep hills
over large rocks. The PSM applies brakes to each wheel as needed, and
does it better than I could.
Susan was initially
thinking of trading tours with Howard to let him come off-road with me,
but she decided to stick with her man. She was glad she did, especially
once the tour lead showed her that holding onto the center and
door-frame mounted grab bars would allow her to move with car and enjoy
the ride...and what a ride! This event was the BEST. There is nothing
like the views you get from the trail. The highway does not come close.
Check out the link for the video of the tour.
Lunch for the off-road tour was
at the same spot as the road tour the day before. The Enchantment Resort
is at the back of a box canyon just east of the town of Sedona.The food was fabulous. In fact, the resort offered a menu
specifically created for PCA members at Escape. We were in a different
dining room each day, and both had amazing views of the red rock
surrounding us. Our return trip to Flagstaff was through the exquisite
Oak Creek Canyon, state route 89A. This is certainly
one of the most scenic drives around.
We got back to the
hotel late Saturday afternoon, just in time for me to give the Cayenne a
good rinse and get off (most of) the caked-on mud and sand from our
day's excursion. Then we were off to the banquet. Chris and
Veronica had decided to start their journey back to the Bay Area that
night, and Howard and Vern were not in the banquet hall when we arrived,
so we sat at a table with 'total strangers'. They were not strangers for
long. Soon, the talk about adventures, life, cars, and how much fun we
were all having, brought the table together. The Porsche Club of America
is not just the cars, it is the people.
As it turned out,
Howard and Vern did show up a bit late, due to an unintentionally
extended tour to the Grand Canyon, but that is their story to tell....
That's all for now.
Looking forward to
Parade in Salt Lake City in 2012.
Three Porsches on the road to Flagstaff
Seligman, AZ takes the Route 66 theme to a
whole new level
Cayennes on the off-road tour of Sedona
PCA Event Spotlight 2011 Escape
Vern and Susan in front of a fabulous red rock backdrop