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Utah's Mighty Five for Eight Days and the PCA-OCR Porsche 15

Story by Connie Somers

Photos by Connie Somers, Keith Clark, and Pram Oen

 

 

For anyone who has ever been on a Keith and Lourinda Clark “K&L” Porsche trip, know when they’re hints of an upcoming trip, you just sign up! You don’t care where it is or how long, you just know it will be special! You might be thinking, “Why?” What is so different about a K & L road trip than the million other Porsche activities you can choose to participate in on a California weekend? A) The Cars? B) The People? C) Spirited Roads? D) Food/Wine? E) All of the Above? Of course, the correct answer is E (E ticket is more appropriate for all you long-time Californians!). But again, can’t you get all that with other Porsche (or any marquee) tours? Yes, but it’s just not the same! This, in the tour world, is the “whole package!” Every detail planned to perfection on an incredible adventure with the PEOPLE filling in the gaps along the journey to make new friendships and memories!

 

First, let’s set the stage….UTAH’s MIGHTY 5 for EIGHT DAYS! This is surreal scenery! With breathtaking sunrises (which don’t sound too appealing at 4:30 a.m.!) and sunsets. For those of you that can’t remember your Fifth Grade U.S. History class, Utah’s Mighty Five consists of Canyonlands, Arches, Capital Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. Between coral-hued hoodoos (yep a real name), towering mountains, delicate rock bows, and slot canyons, the terrain and weather changes drastically in venue. Stunning topography at each destination does not disappoint us. Just imagine what our fifteen Porsches do to enhance nature’s incredible backdrop!

 

After our pre-drivers’ meeting and Porsche Goodie bags, we are prepared with precise driving directions, detailed itineraries and most importantly, the top secret “Utah or Bust” member handshake. We have our overflowing Porsches filled to the brim, excluding the lone Macan and Panamera! I think the Kaprielian’s and C.L. missed a golden opportunity to rent out storage space to the rest of us. With two people in each car, the interiors are bursting with cameras, clothing to handle 30-105 degree weather extremes, hiking boots, bicycle clothing/shoes/helmets for those silly enough to go mountain biking, walkie-talkies, snacks/drinks (yikes - do people eat in their Porsches?), car cleaning supplies (why are we bothering, aren’t the bug splats like little trip trophies?), and a newly added green slime item (more details on that later!).

 

DAY 1: Our first destination is Flannigan’s Inn and the Spotted Dog Café at the entrance to Zion. A charming place where we began our adventure with a group dinner. Next time you see Dave Goward ask him how his Tuna Soup tasted. While you are at it, ask Steve Eguina about Lisa and his grape juice.

 

DAY 2: After our drive from the OC to Zion, Day 2 is a “relaxing” day in Zion, filled with many leisure options. Some people choose to not do things so leisurely. Lisa Hunter goes on an all-day canyoneering adventure! Steve Foster decides to explore the terrain on an extreme mountain bike adventure. Most of the group ended up on the Zion Canyon mini hikes. Kudos to all the trekkers that successfully reached the summit; especially Nancy Troast who was a real trooper with a lot of support from Keith and Pram lending her a hand through those narrow passages.

 

The beauty of Zion geological contrasts is truly magnificent! Several of us brought our non-phone cameras to try and capture the splendor. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to use a camera when one forgets the battery charger in the hotel room. It does leave oneself open for an array of banter after a spirited run on foot back to the hotel! My so-called friends literally tried to throw me off the bus at the first opportunity for the slight delay!

 

After a plentiful dinner and breakfast meal, we gather in our powerful Porsches to embark early to Bryce Canyon on Day 3 of our escapade. It is always a pleasure to caravan in our colorful Porsches! Thanks to the orange, red, and blue owners for adding some contrast to our pictures, since many of us were driving black, white and grey Porsches! The weather covering on my Spyder has to be removed each morning….since I never knew when the drive would become spirited! Porsche only rates the covering reliable to 120 mph! Then whoosh latch failure and no more top!

 

DAY 3: Stop Number 2 of the five National Parks, Bryce, is truly poetry in stone as the brochure promises us! The place is mesmerizing with its vistas and hoodoos. All the weathering and erosion make statuesque columns of rock to form dramatic scenery for our enjoyment. We visit multiple scenic stops and of course regroup for dinner. We seem to always eat plentiful on these trips – yummy! (Maybe a little grape juice in big glasses too!) Pram and Lucia Oen find a picture of their distant relatives to pose with at the lodge!

 

DAY 4: Morning arrives too early for those of us walking to Sunrise Point. It is FREEZING! Djun Leflang has brought along the M&M blanket to keep us warm as we await the sun. Chris Mewes is wearing shorts among the ski jackets and gloves in true Californian style. As we wait, we have fun amusing ourselves with Keith’s traditional dawn shadow people pictures! The rocks become ablaze in a kaleidoscope of hues over the amphitheater once the sun peeks out of the horizon! Well worth the lack of sleep! After breakfast, we begin another spirited drive and head off to Escalante! Nice quaint stop for lunch at Hell’s Backbone Grill with our pre-ordered meals. This group never lacked on food! It is always entertaining to randomly sit with new groups at lunch and dinner and find out more about our Porsche families. Djun and Lucia discover their families are both from the same small town in Indonesia. Chris Sobchik has taught Lucia’s and Pram’s son while substitute teaching. I did chuckle when someone told my brother he really needs to become part of the Porsche family and get a Porsche. They had no idea my brother is responsible for my interest in Porsches! He has had just about every car you can imagine, including his 1967 Porsche he has owned since the 80’s! Not that I can keep track, but between he and his wife, they are in double digit numbers of Porches they have owned! Yes, what we learn about our traveling group! Maybe I chuckle too loud, because our nick-name giver of the group, Lisa, labels Steve Chuckles the Clown. She was fantastic at popping up with nick names for all. My favorite was Inspector Gadget for Pram! Anyone that knows Pram can appreciate that one! Every time we turn around there was some amusing new toy in his hands…we even get cool aerial photos from the hovering drone that unfolds from Pram’s gadget pack! I am not sure whether Troop Master or Captain America best describes our leader!

 

On our way to Red Cliff’s Lodge in Moab, we encounter many adventures and amazing roads! Somehow, maybe because I am literally hanging on to the roll bar of the topless Spyder, I have become the pivoting photographer of our travels. I soon have Pat Renga and Lucia following my lead and snapping pictures hanging from their Cabriolets! Now, I know many photographers who take some amazing photos of cars in motion; but correct me if I am wrong, I think they stand stationary while taking the picture!...or the car has slowed to a crawl to get that feeling of movement. We, on the other hand, are not motionless, far from it, and neither is the car I am trying to capture. Even with a valiant effort….there are a lot of blurred photos! But they look fantastic without my glasses on! Luckily it’s a numbers game; if you take enough images, a few manage to turn out! Maybe I need to invest in some type of stability attachment for the camera!

 

Now for those of you that have never been on a Porsche road trip (if this is you – what are you waiting for?) you definitely have some mojo going on with the drivers and their car position. Some drivers are very comfortable being the trail car and catching any stragglers; others have to be in the front, or at least behind our troop leader, Keith, and his fearless partner, Lourinda! The road to Moab was one of our favorite drives. The juices were flowing and definitely a little competitive in the car position jockeying. The two Steve’s, soon to be named Steve Squared, are undeniably in a little competition. After hanging back to take photos, Steve Foster was causally picking off the cars one by one getting back in the front of the line. But Steve Eguina will not give up his position as he sings along to Lisa’s Spice Girls Greatest Hits. He must be too caught up in the lyrics, because Bam! Larry and Steve are passed in one swoop by the Spyder.

 

Now there is only a lone black 997 Turbo S between the Spyder and our Captain’s blue Streak ahead. I don’t immediately recognize the driver. My brother and I are wondering who is driving at such remarkable speed in such tight formation. We inch up and discover an intense face ready for any Formula 1 race! We are both in amazement, as we discover the driver is Pat Backus. Did I mention Pat celebrated his 88th birthday the night before? This man is awesome. We are on day four of many, many miles of extreme driving and he is as good as it gets! Something for us all to strive for when we reach our 80’s! Cheers to Pat’s first class driving ability! Very entertaining character to converse with too!

 

Somewhere during the spirited drive along UT-12 & UT-24, we pull over onto the amazing Larb Hollow Overlook. This dramatic vista offers panoramic views in all directions. The scenery along the roads to Moab changes dramatically from bright reddish/orange hues to a starker duller landscape.

 

During the stop, we discover that Warren’s car has a flat tire. How many people does it take to analyze the situation? A true testimonial to the lack of spare tires in our newer cars. Obviously, this is when a picture is worth a thousand words! Since AAA was not an option in this remote area and we didn’t bring along any full size spare tires, it was hysterical to watch how many people it took to inject the leaking tire with green slime (aka alien saliva acid) for an instant roadside fix. You would never know this sealant has been around for years listening to all the input Jay gets to get his car back on the road! I am getting dizzy watching him drive first clockwise in circles, then counterclockwise just to mix the slime up! After pulling into town, Jay tries to find a tire store to repair the wheel. The service tech says “We don’t have a lot of those kinds of tires on our farm tractors!” I would have liked to have seen them trying to torque the center locked wheel with their feet off the ground! The tire was fixed for $47 and a promise to “rip out of the parking lot” after it is repaired.

 

We continue on multiple roads to US-191 to our day’s destination in Grand County at Red Cliff’s Lodge. Can it get any better than this? We have our own individual cabin suites! We get to enjoy three sunsets with the Colorado River rushing past our patios and horses grazing in the corrals by our cars. This spot is highly recommended! As a bonus, we are just a short drive to Arches National Park for our next adventure.

 

DAY 5: In the morning we visit Canyonlands, Upheaval Dome, Green River and Grand View Overlooks. We enjoy our lunch at a dramatic overlook at Dead Horse Point. The view below is spectacular. We can envision Thelma & Louise flying off to oblivion in the final scene of the movie filmed at this location.

 

There are so many memorable moments of our adventure, too many for me to remember. Ron and Chris were enjoying the hot tub after another “leisure” day. The lady next to them remarks, “There are so many people at the lodge driving Corvettes!” Ron politely informs her that they were the Corvettes of the German variety, sometimes known as Porsches!

 

I missed the 4:30 a.m. departure for the sunrise at Mesa Arch, but decide to check out the sunrise outside our cabins in the early dawn. I grab my camera and discover my Spyder has been mysteriously toilet papered in the middle of the night! It turns out the Utah Mighty Five Group has developed a new and improved toilet paper car wrap. It is currently for sale on-line exclusive to all PCA-OCR members. After noticing red lipstick kisses on both side mirrors, we decide to run DNA on all the guys on the tour to credit the innovators of this hot new product!

 

DAY 6: is another leisure day with so many choices. The majority of the group does a fun run with Enstrom Candies as a destination. This is a four generation old fashion candy store with delectable confections! Ron & Chris venture off on a Jeep tour. Lisa, Steve Foster, and I go mountain biking!

 

What was I thinking? Moab is known for its amazing mountain biking, so how could I miss this opportunity! We ride our rented bikes to Dead Horse Point, which is part of the Intrepid Trail System towering some 2,000 feet above the Colorado River! We enjoy breathtaking views of the Canyonlands area. This ride was way over my experience level, but luckily I only fall once and finish the summit with just a scraped knee and bruises. Afterward, we somehow manage to fit all three of us in my Spyder--Matterhorn style! At the end of a very satisfying, but exhausting day, we break up into small groups. Eating and sipping on wine, we enjoy the river below our patios while we share the day’s adventures.

 

DAY 7: On Day 7, we have our most spirited drive along Interstates 70 and 15. We are getting close to testing the max speed limit on my Spyder! The turbos (Chris, Pram, etc.) in the group have a slight advantage, but the Spyder performs flawlessly, despite the extreme wind noise! I do not even think about pivoting around and taking pictures! However, I do attempt a very shaky video of Keith’s car in front. We arrive in St. George to enjoy our last evening as a group. We stay at the Inn at Entrada which consists of amazing residences on a golf course with our own garages! Like I said,K & L do trips right! We laugh during an evening of comedy at the Amphitheater. I think Doug, Theo, Steve Squared, and Lisa were partaking in lemonade a little too much. Mmmm…. I wonder why?

 

DAY 8: Some of us are off back to the OC in the early morning, while others decide to spend one more day and enjoy more rocks! The rock formations in St. George don’t disappoint for remarkable backdrops. Thanks to the GroupMe app, the “Utah or Bust” comradery continues even after the last caravan. I just read a recent post from Gabe telling Laura they found her next car, to match Pumpkin, a pristine orange 356! Too bad it comes with a hefty asking price!

 

We head for Home Sweet Home, but are feeling blessed after the incredible journey we shared with our Porsche Family. We are thankful for the wonderful weather, empty roads, amazing cars, abundant food & drinks, laughter, stunning places, new friends, reuniting with old friends, photo bombs, and Troop Master extraordinaire organizer and his partner! The only question that remains is when and where is the next K & L trip?

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