One thing I didn’t get a small sports car to do was to sit in my garage, or to not ride along with my family. So when I started planning a camping trip for my daughter and I, a question that never really popped into my head was, “should I take the 944?.” It was assumed. My wife has clung to weekend work even after graduating from her grad program. This means trying to hike, camp, and generally not sit around at home with my little one, which is often tempting to do when you’re flying solo as a parent.
For this particular weekend I decided we should head to the woods, there is a great camping area about 1 hour from our house and we hadn’t gone together in a month or two. However, as the date approached, so too did our first sign of rain in a long time. I told myself, I’d just keep an eye on it but going camping with a 2 year old is one thing, going camping with a 2 year old in the rain is another. The flip side though, is that my daughter’s mind is a steel trap for promises.
The day before our trip I was still non-committal on location but I wasn’t going to let that little detail get in my way, I did a dry run of packing our massive Tupperware container with a stove, pots and pans, and other camp kitchen goods in the trunk, our non stuffed sleeping bags took up one seat in the back. And a 4 gallon jug of water occupied the footwell behind my seat. And then lots of other stuff in nooks and crannies.
Saturday morning arrived and I checked the weather. Everything west of the mountains looked awful beginning in the afternoon. East of the mountains looked like the rain would hold out until Sunday afternoon. This added fear. Not just driving my 32 year old sports car with a temperamental toddler and full of cargo, but doing so 2 hours through the mountains. But I had committed to camping.
To make up for the extra distance I left earlier than planned, the car was stuffed to the gills. My wife asked me to drive really safely. And off we went. I had decided to move my daughters seat to the front to avoid lots of awkward problem solving, as she normally rides behind me. She was thankfully tired as her nap time quickly approached and my car aided her with a nice low hum from wind noise and the exhaust.
I quickly settled myself into 5th gear once on the road to the mountains. This did two things. First, it ensured that I was going to be driving fairly safely. The 944 though somewhat agile and sprightly between 4,000-6,000 RPMs, is muted at 65mph in fifth gear. It also meant conserving gas, which was good because I still don’t trust my gas gauge, although, I did get what I thought should be plenty of gas for the trip.
It began raining as we climbed up through the passes. And I kept asking myself, “what the heck am I going to do if it isn’t dry on the east side of the mountains?” But it was easy to just relax and enjoy the drive because my daughter was calmly sleeping and there was very few cars. An FRS approached from behind. They seemed anxious to get by and were probably baffled at my conservative though still over the limit speeds, as I wandered up the mountain. Sorry FRS, child on board and rain on the roads means more careful than normal.
We went up and over the pass, and started coming down the mountains and the rain was relenting but not gone. My daughter woke up. And we were a handful of miles from the campground when things really cleared. By the time we rolled in, it was windy but sunny. There were plenty of spaces. My daughter helped me pitch the tent. And we started engaging in what is her favorite camping past time, playing in the tent.
We were not unscathed though. The 944 picked up about 1/4 cup of water in the passenger footwell on the way there, and a little less on the way back. My daughter woke up on Sunday fairly happy but refusing warm clothes besides sweatpants and a fleece jackein 45 degree weather eventually made her very unhappy. So we cut our losses, hit the McDonald’s and headed home. Once more, safely through the rain in 5th gear.