Whale to Whale Tail Rallye
- March 5, 2011
by Ron Breeze, Redwood Region Member
Photos by Ron Breeze
"Tis advertised in Boston, New York, and Buffalo
A hundred hearty sailors, a whalin' for to go,
Blow, ye winds, O' mornin',
Blow, ye winds, high ho.
Haul away your runnin' gear
And blow, boys, blow." - Kingston Trio, "Blow Ye Winds."
We didn't have a hundred hearties Saturday March 5, but we did have
twenty-plus intrepid Porsche drivers, braving the forecast of rain, show
up at Kal's Koffee in Santa Rosa for the annual Whale to Whale Tail
Rallye. We had a fine assortment of the venerable--and
legendary--Porsche whale tails represented from several years of 911
Carreras, a 968, a GT3, baby whale tails on 986 and 987 Boxsters, plus a
rare sighting of the much-sought-after 1971 Slant Nosed Porsche 935 SE
whale tail owned by Bob Sherwood.
Cap'n Bob Schoenherr and First Mate Anita Benzing gave the eager drivers
the rundown on the finer points of the rally, including a lesson on the
mating and migratory habits of the Grey Whale, whose journey stretches
from Washington to Baja and back again along our spectacular Northern
We hit the road at a quarter to ten and, after winding our way through
the backroads of Santa Rosa, we got to River Road and headed west
through Rio Nido, then Guerneville (I almost twisted my head off
glimpsing a spectacular Osprey with a large branch in its talon, landing
on a nest it was building on top of a pole just outside Guerneville),
then on past Duncan Mills until we reached Highway One at Jenner, where
we turned our snouts North. It was a challenge keeping one eye on the
road and the other out for signs of spouts of the
migrating whales who, according to our First Mate, would be heading
North this time of year with young'ns in tow. Somehow we all managed to
keep our cars in line and negotiate the twisty, scenic highway safely.
Our first stop was at Fort Ross Grade, just North of Jenner, and I got a
whale of an appetite as I peered through my binoculars looking for
spouts. I was thinking about the sandwich I brought along for lunch when
I heard Martina ask, "would anyone like a pretzel?" Like Orcas feeding
on a baby Grey Whale, hands began to dart into the large brown bag of
German pretzels. I came away with mine without getting bloodied and
enjoyed munching it while looking out at the ocean for the wake whales
leave behind as they travel along just below the surface. No whales
sighted at this spot so, stomachs happy, we forged ahead following Cap'n
Bob's Boxster, enjoying a top-down day along the legendary winding
highway. My Porsche's outside temperature gauge was registering 54
degrees Fahrenheit and I was enjoying the sun on my face, the wind in my
smell of the Pacific, and all the wildlife that had come out to enjoy
the gorgeous day as well.
By this time, the Rallye route sheet had participants looking for
wildlife, radio stations, speed limit signs, and, yes, even a few gas
stations. But the most fun items to find lay ahead in Gualala and points
About 15 miles north of Jenner, we came upon The Timber Cove Inn where,
shiver me timbers, we emptied our bilges and swapped Porsche drive
stories. After once again looking off in the distance for Cetacean
flukes, we decided it would be a fluke if we sighted anything there, and
instead of floundering around, we manned our rigs to once again follow
our Cap'n down the sea of asphalt.
Winding our way past Fort Ross, we pulled off at Salt Point's Gerstle
Cove Campground and navigated our ships off the highway into the
circular parking lot by the ocean. A couple of me mates had informed me
that my rig had a port side, aft running light out. With an "Aargh,
matey!" Cap'n Bob produced one from his forward stow and helped me
change it out. As we gazed out at the darkening sky and ocean, raindrops
began to fall and we abandoned our whale watch for the warmth and
shelter of our cars. After reluctantly putting my Boxster's top up, I
joined the line of cars again headed north for our last stop of the
journey: the Point Arena Lighthouse.
It was dark and stormy when we all filed into the parking lot at the
base of the lighthouse and parked our cars next to the rocky scenic
shoreline. I was badly in need of my midday caffeine boost, so I
ventured inside the gift shop to see if they had any coffee. To my
surprise, there had been an employee meeting there earlier and they had
a still-warm pot to which they told me to help myself at no charge.
Thank you, lighthouse ladies! Sipping my coffee and warming my
insides, I ventured out to find Cap'n Bob and First Mate Anita handing
out prizes to the winners of the rally part of the drive. I sat down on
one of the benches overlooking the ocean and had mess.
The Point Arena Light House was erected in 1870 and, according to the
guide, is the tallest remaining lighthouse on the West Coast. I believe
it, having decided to hump up it to see what the view was like from the
top. I ascended the 90-plus steps that wound around like a corkscrew
without stopping. I was sucking air and
ready for the poop deck when I got to the top, but the view was well
worth the climb and the $5 donation, which was graciously lowered from
$7.50 for us Porsche folk. After taking in the breathtaking view,
snapping some pictures for posterity, and once again not spotting any
whales, I headed back down the winding steps and said my goodbyes as the
rain began to fall once again.
We had to settle for the whale tails on our Porsches this time as the
whales obviously didn't see the Facebook posting that we were coming,
but a fun time was had by all, and the drive up Highway 1 is never
boring. We'll do it again next year, so the whales will have a year to
prepare for us.
Thanks, Cap'n Bob and First Mate Anita, for all your hard work in
putting together a grand tour and rally. 'Tis definitely a keeper!
Special thanks as well to the Timber Cove Inn, Sea Ranch, and the
volunteers at the Point Arena Lighthouse Museum. Days like this remind
us that it's not just the cars, it's the people.
Until next year...set sail, me matey!
Alas, a few spouts and flukes were finally spotted, first from the
lighthouse and then from the shore, but most of the Rallye participants
had already headed home--Ed.