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Experiencing the 62nd Annual Porsche Parade in Spokane, Washington

Story and Photos by Dennis Varnum



The Drive
The 62nd Annual Porsche Parade brought together a special group camaraderie focusing on passions and commonalities of the many participating Porschephiles’ likes, loves and even some challenges (we will get to the Spokane, Washington roads later!) While some people have a bucket list; other people make life pilgrimages and to me, the drive to Spokane, Washington for this year’s Parade, was indeed MY pilgrimage.


This was my first Porsche Parade, and the decision to make the three day trek, or personal Porsche pilgrimage to Spokane, was a no brainer. I registered in the very first hour for the parade, which coincided with the very tail end of completing my Porsche C2S rebuild. I dropped my car off at Vision Motor Sports where Wayne put on some B16 Bilstein Coilovers. My kit was missing some parts, but Wayne was able to set the car up for me to drive. Without the PASM cables, I knew the ride would be a bit bumpy. Also, this would be the longest drive and test for my newly rebuilt 911. So, nervously about 9:30 p.m., I loaded up the car with my toolbox, some clothes and off I went! I imagine every one of the 2500 plus attendees at the Parade felt the same anticipation and adrenalin I did as I came off the off-ramp onto the 91 freeway. I wanted to have smoother roads and less traffic, so I took the “scenic” route via the I-97 and I-395 through Nevada, Idaho, along the Oregon Trail and into Washington. I rested at the beginning of the Oregon Trail, thinking about what the early settlers must have faced during their journey west. No flat sixes or Turbos, how did they get through the trail?  While I passed Nevada and into Idaho, it was over 110 degrees. The car had just been injected with new AC juice, so fortunately I didn’t feel a thing, and thankfully, the car didn’t overheat. There were some beautiful Nevada and Oregon scenery, and one of the highlights of the drive was on the edge of Idaho where the speed limit was a minimum 80 mph, so needless to say, the car got a very good workout “at speed”.


This was the scene most of the drive, beautiful countryside and open roads, and the drive there was without incident with one possible exception. As I was entering Spokane, there was a pretty large deer we almost “met,” but he was no match for “blue magic” down the I-85 freeway. One PCA member was not so lucky, and he had a GT3! Upon arriving in
Spokane, I checked into my room, and then went to get the complimentary car wash, which was a surprise since it was my first Parade but a really nice, special benefit.

The Parade
It was really a tiring drive. After resting, I got up the next morning as excited as a kid on Christmas! I pulled out my schedule to see where the day would lead me. Like any self-respecting Californian, it was off to the Goodie Store to get some gear. I arrived at the Grand Hotel by 8:00 a.m. thinking I’d beat the crowd, but to my surprise, there were hundreds of passionate Porsche people with one common thought, to get some gear from the Goodie Store! As a first-timer, of course I wanted the standard goodies: Tee shirt, hat etc. However, the PCA Goodie Store missed a shipment, and everyone was advised they would have to wait until the next day. So, I scheduled myself for various welcome parties, banquets and auto / driving events. I went on the driving event to the local Ski Resort at Schweitzer Mountain. It was a beautiful drive, wonderful food and spectacular scenery.


The Parade is a weeklong marathon of excitement, eating, events and socializing. I would recommend being in shape for all of these things. Spokane, Washington is a lovely venue; however, the roads are very challenging, ok, downright horrible. Many of the attendees shared one pothole story after another. In all fairness to Spokane, they did have a very heavy winter snow season, so the locals admitted the heavy runoff contributed to the many potholes. With my suspension set to firm, I had a rather intimate time with the roads.


The Casino and Autocross
I spent a lot of time watching Autocross. Which was located the North Quest Casino just outside of Spokane near a local airport. I had not done autocross with our PCA-OCR Club, and was very interested to see how it’s done. The course was very small and in the Casino parking lot. It was about a 40 second course. I was really taken with the way the mid-engine cars were cutting through the course. One car ran the course in about 38 seconds and the winning car was a Cayman, clocking in at about 36 seconds! I watched this for over 2 hours, then walked over to the Casino for a buffet lunch. It wasn’t pricey, and the fish dishes were fresh and very tasty. On the way back through the Casino, my attention was caught by a shiny object with a white ball. I felt it my duty as a visitor to investigate, and after a thorough review, it appeared to be some type of hypnotic object appeased only by green currency. Fortunately, after my gambling adventure, I arrived safely back at the Autocross session, then headed back to the hotel for another banquet. There was also the Porsche Kids RC racing which was quite entertaining.


The Ride Home
I met many wonderful Porsche enthusiasts and just people who like getting together. At one of the banquets, our Club won The Best Newsletter out of the whole PCA. Now that is something! I was very proud, and think I told everyone I spoke to that that was my Club’s Newsletter.


The Parade of Porsches was spectacular. It was a massive caravan. What a great feeling to have the crowds wave at you as we drove through the city. It was a real exciting Parade! The city was quite gracious and everyone was warm and inviting. What a blast!


At the conclusion, I wanted to get back on the road since I knew I had a three day drive back home to Orange County. I skipped the last banquet. For any new Parade folks, I would say one of the most important items is to familiarize yourself with the Hospitality Board. It’s a gold mine of instructions, notices and tickets. I left Spokane on Saturday afternoon anticipating staying over in Bend, Oregon and then onto San Jose, then back to Anaheim. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Just 27 miles outside Madres, Oregon, I had a flat tire. This was very scary as it was about 11:20 p.m. at night on a pitch black road with no lights. I didn’t have a spare, but I remembered seeing a barn just a few yards down the road. I began walking toward it being careful not to get into the road when I stepped into a large sink hole.  I got out of the hole and headed back to the car and began praying. Well, even if you’re not religious, prayer changes things. I looked up and there was a tow truck stopping on the other side of the road! He towed me into town and dropped my car off at a tire shop. He said the shop may not be open on Sunday. I was able to find a California connection that helped me get a tire and have it installed around 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.  Thankfully, I was on my way home to OC. Thanks to Arturo’s Wheels and Tires and his future mother-in-law at the Shell station for all their help.


The ride back was easy. I stopped in San Jose and the next morning on Monday, July 17 (my birthday), I was at home by 3:00 p.m. Memories of this trip will last forever and I can’t wait until next year’s Parade.  Although this time, I’m seriously considering saving my pennies and have my car shipped.

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