BOXSTER ROAD TRIPS
Click on the pictures below for a larger view.
The Porsche Boxster is a perfect road trip car. Its two trunks give it lots of storage space for long trips and the convertible top lets you enjoy a panoramic view of the scenery.
In 2009, we decided to take the Boxster on a trip from Ontario to California's Highway 1 and have a chance to see some of the scenic National Parks along the way. In 18 days, we travelled through 14 states and drove 7050 miles. Below, are pictured some of the beautiful scenery along the route.
Below the pictures, you'll find the story of our trip.
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ 2009, A MODERN MARATHON
If you’ve never done a road trip in your Porsche, you just don’t know what you’re missing. Ever since we bought our 2006 Boxster, we thought it would be the perfect car to take for a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. This year, after a few months of planning with tips and help from the great people on Porsche Pete’s Boxster Board, we were ready.
We packed the Boxster’s two trunks with a cooler, pail with washing supplies, cameras, two duffle bags, a garment bag, extra shoes, extra drinks, tripod and laptop and then headed out early on a chilly August 27th for the first and longest leg of our trip which took us from Kitchener, Ontario, along the wet roads through Michigan, the northern tip of Indiana. In Illinois, we turned south on I-55. Early in the afternoon, the rain let up and temperature climbed into the 80’s. It was time to drop the top and let the sunshine in. Late afternoon, we crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis where we caught I-40, which took us to our first stop in Springfield, Missouri after 940 miles.
The second day, another beautiful one, allowed us to put the top down first thing in the morning and drive topless all the way through Missouri, continuing across Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas with its long, wide open stretches of I-40. We stopped for a late lunch break at one of the Texas rest areas. The southern sun and temperatures in the 90’s were a welcome change after a long cool and wet summer back home. Late afternoon, we finished our second day in Tucumcari, NM after 660 miles. The Boxster was chewing up the miles with ease, averaging close to 29 mpg.
The third day, once I gave the Boxster a quick wash after breakfast, we were ready to do some sightseeing. We headed back onto I-40, enjoying the southern sun beaming down and the sound of the Symphony in Flat Six accompanying us to our first stop in Albuquerque, NM, where we enjoyed a cable car ride up Sandia Peaks with its panoramic view of the city and open spaces beyond. Afterward, we visited the old part of the city with its historic and charming buildings and shops, taking us back to early times of the American west. After leaving the city, we stopped at one of the unique rest areas in NM, with separate, covered tables and area to park your car. What a great setup to enjoy a picnic lunch in the desert. Then we headed for a tour of The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park with its colourful display of sands and spectacular gem-like colours of the petrified wood. We finished the day driving past Flagstaff and down 89A, a Porsche’s delight, with its twists and turns, into Sedona, AZ where we finished this 530 mile leg of our trip.
Next day, we headed back north on 89A, where the Boxster (and its driver) could play in the twisties again. We stopped in Flagstaff to refuel and headed north on 89 and then west on 64 for a south rim tour of the Grand Canyon with its mind boggling depth, grand vistas and the Colorado River carving its way along the bottom of the canyon. For some reason, despite some lofty cruising speeds to the Grand Canyon, slow starts and stops along the rim and some spirited driving back to Flagstaff on 180, this roundtrip, the Boxster made 32.7 mpg. After refueling in Flagstaff, we were stuck behind some slow moving vans headed down the twisties on 89A. Disappointing, but on the plus side, the Boxster averaged 41.4 mpg on that 30 mile mostly downhill stretch! On our return, we toured the beautiful rock formations surrounding Sedona, a convertible being the perfect vehicle to view the majestic, colourful rock formations.
Next day we continued to explore the rock formations around the city. After a late lunch, we headed south to Phoenix. While on I-17, we ran into a thunderstorm where in an 8 mile stretch, we saw the temperature plunge from 107° F to 66° F and shoot back up to 104° F on the other side. While in Phoenix, we were treated to quite a lightning show in the evening after dinner.
Day six, September 1st, with the Boxster still wet from the rain the night before, I gave it a quick bath to wash off the bugs and road dirt from the last three days of travel. Now, we headed west on I-10 toward LA and Laguna Niguel to visit one of my wife’s cousins. During the middle of the afternoon, with the sun directly overhead and temperature of 107° F, we decided to put up the top for a couple of hours and cool down with the A/C on. This car keeps you comfortable, no matter what the outside weather conditions are. A few hours later, with sun dropping a little lower, it was back to topless driving.
Day seven, another beauty, we started with breakfast and a walk along Dana Point at Laguna Beach, enjoying the sights of the harbour, some of the boats and yachts anchored there and got our first view of the Pacific Ocean. By mid morning, we headed up PCH, with a lunch stop in Woodland Hills to meet Robert, an Internet friend, who was visiting LA from Vancouver. What a small world it has become. After lunch, we continued on up along PCH to Pismo Beach, where we had booked a room on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. Along the way, we ran into stretches of thick fog, which cleared as we neared Pismo Beach. We picked up some dinner to eat in the room and watched the sun set over the Pacific. What a spectacular way to end the day and anticipate the drive up the coast the next day.
September 3rd, PCH, this was the day. What a day it turned out to be, sunny, temperature in the 80’s, curving roads along the Pacific Coast. There was no better way to enjoy it than with the Boxster, top down. First stop was Morro Rock, then there were many more stops along the way, each one, a feast for the eyes. There was no rushing along here, just soaking up the views and the sunshine, accompanied by the music of the flat six pushing us through the curving, twisting hills. When we reached the Carmel area, we enjoyed 17 Mile Drive with its natural beauty and famous golf courses. We moved on to Carmel and enjoyed a leisurely walk along its streets and shops. Later, we continued our drive up to the San Francisco area, where we met Marc, another Internet friend for dinner, followed by a drive to the Golden Gate Bridge to get some night time shots. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or scenery.
Day nine. Time to start heading back east. Our plan had been to drive through Yosemite, checking on the Internet, we learned that 120 though the park was closed because of wild fires. Thanks to a suggestion, we took 108 just north of Yosemite, over the Sonora Pass with its twisting, roads climbing to over 9,000’ that made both Boxster and driver grin. At 395, we turned south and headed toward our destination in Bishop, CA, where we drove through a rainstorm along the way. So far, we had been able to drive topless every day, with only a few hours on three days with rain. That evening, we stayed at a B&B built in 1800’s, the Chalfant House. What an enjoyable experience. In the evening, I took time to wash the last 1,200 miles of dirt off the Boxster.
September 5th, day ten started with a delightful breakfast made for us by our hostess, Patty. Then it was off, headed south on 395 until we reached Lone Pine, CA where we turn onto 190 that would take us through Death Valley which was experiencing a cool spell. Highest temperature we saw was only 104° F. The landscape was surreal, almost like one would imagine the moon to be. Driving through places like Furnace Creek, we eventually reached Pahrump, NV where we stopped for lunch. Then it was on to Las Vegas, where we checked into our hotel. Then we were off to a BBQ, along with some other Las Vegas PCA members graciously hosted by Jeff and Suz. What a great group of people they are. Great food, along with a night time view of the Las Vegas skyline made for a most enjoyable, memorable evening. Even got to meet Nita, who was one of the first people to take delivery of her Boxster in North America.
Next morning, we were off to see Hoover Dam and the new highway bridge being built over it and Lake Mead. They are engineering and building marvels well worth the trip to see. Then we started heading back to Las Vegas to take in one of the shows and donate a few dollars to the local economy. Once it was dark, I hauled out my tripod and camera to take some night time shots along the strip. By the time we headed back to our hotel at the south end of the strip, the temperature had dropped to 88°, perfect for a top down drive back, enjoying the star filled sky above.
Day twelve. We were off to enjoy a round of desert golf with Jeff and Suz. The temperature was hot, but my game was not. Nonetheless, it was a most enjoyable experience, topped off with lunch overlooking Las Vegas. Then we were off to do some more sightseeing around the city and ended up driving back to our hotel on another topless, moonlit night.
Next morning, it was time to start heading north. First, another Internet friend, Carlos came to join us for breakfast, despite his busy schedule. It was so great to meet some fellow Porschephiles from far distances. Then Jeff came to join us for a drive through the Valley of Fire. What a wonderful sound our two Boxsters made, with their Symphony in Flat Six building into a crescendo as we left Las Vegas on I-15 headed for Valley of Fire. The many red rock formations made for some terrific backdrops for pictures of the two silver Boxsters. Then it was time for us to head further north into Utah and Jeff headed back to Las Vegas. Amazing, the camaraderie and friends one experiences as a Porsche owner.
The coloured land formations made the drive through Utah such a treat. When we reached highway 9, we turned off and headed to Zion National Park. Wow. What scenery. The colours of the rock formations are really something to experience. More than once, we had people come over and tell us how great it must be to see scenery like this in a convertible. We had to agree. After driving though Zion, we headed over to Bryce Canyon and more spectacular and colourful rock formations. By that time, it was dusk. It was time to head back to I-15 for an overnight stop in Cedar City. It had been a picture perfect day.
In the morning, another topless day, we headed north on I-15 until we reached I-70 and heading east. We couldn’t get over just how scenic this Interstate was, mile after mile. It was desolate in areas, for sure. When we passed a sign that read “no services for 110 miles”, we pulled off, filled the tank and had some lunch. The sign was right. There were only ranch road exits, with no sign of buildings anywhere on that stretch. By late afternoon, we had reached our hotel in Grand Junction, CO. After a relaxing dinner, I took the time to give the Boxster another bath to get rid of the last 1000 miles of bugs and road dirt.
September 10, day 15. After breakfast, on another topless day, we rolled back onto I-70 eastbound with its scenic views until we entered the Glennwood Springs area with scenic canyons and river running through it. We continued east until we reached 131, which took us north toward Steamboat Springs. We had planned to fill the tank at this point, but found no gas stations. We continued north. As we approached 134, we decided to head east toward Kremmling having travelled over 400 miles since refueling and no stations showing on the GPS until Kremmling. The lone station there was a welcome sight, as we filled the tank with 14.9 gallons, after 430 miles of driving. We decided to continue on 40 until we reached Granby, where we turned off to drive through the twisty, scenic 34 traversing Rocky Mountain National Park. Here it took us past the Great Divide and some glaciers below us. This was the first time on our trip that we had put on sweatshirts and jackets. As we left the park, it warmed up again. We continued our trip to our next destination, Boulder, CO. In the evening, we had a chance to have a delightful dinner with another Internet friend, Jeremy and his wife Camilla.
For the next morning, Jeremy had recommended a slight detour for us. The route took us out Boulder Canyon Dr. and back on Coal Creek Canyon Rd. That hour and half drive left a weeklong grin on driver and Boxster. It’s a must drive if you’re ever in the Boulder, CO area. Then we picked up I-76, which took us northeast toward Nebraska and I-80. What a contrast the flat plains roads were to those in Rocky Mountain Park. Late afternoon saw us drive through pretty violent thunderstorm which subsided as we reached our destination for the night in Omaha.
The next morning started with light rain as we headed out and crossed into Iowa. By mid morning, the sun had come out again and it was back to topless cruising on the flat I-80, until we reached our destination in Chicago where we visited with one of my cousins.
September 13, day 18 of our trip, saw us headed east on I-80 and work our way north to I-94 to cross back into Ontario at Sarnia. It was another sunny drive all the way home. With the cool wet weather we’d had this summer, we couldn’t believe that, except for some interruptions, we had driven with the top down every single day of our trip. In 18 days, we had covered 7050 miles of some of the most scenic parts of North America. I can’t think of a better car than the Boxster for a trip like this.
Stats on Trip