top of page

A Glorious Day for the Final Drive of the Year - TSCHÜSS!

Porsche 356 Porsche 911 Driving Tour
Ellijay Road View Towards the Blue Ridge Mountains

The day started at the Rabun Manor Resort with a thermometer saying 24 degrees but the sun came out as the Classic Porsches arrived for the coffee meet-up.

Rabun Manor Resort Dillard Georgia Porsche Rally
Sunrise Porch View at Rabun Manor Resort before the Porsches arrived

It was a sold out drive with 15 air-cooled Porsches registered to drive the TSCHÜSS RALLYE to say Bye-Bye (Tschüss is German for bye-bye) to the 2019 Driving Season. Five drivers were Asheville Air Brigade members while the remaining drivers were from the Atlanta area on their first Air Brigade drive. We all met each other and checked out each other’s Porsches over coffee and a muffin.

Porsche 911 Porsche 964 Porsche 911SC Porsche Carrera
The day started with coffee and pastries on a crisp morning

After a quick driver’s meeting the conga-line of Classic Porsches departed on the first leg of the drive along the Sky Valley Highway to Highlands where Commander Jim slowed to a boring 25 mph entering Sky Valley being aware that it is a speed trap area based on the unfortunate experience of an Air Brigade member driving the road earlier in the year. The line must have wondered why we were crawling but when we came across blue flashing lights with a car pulled over it soon became clear that the slow pace was well founded.

Unfortunately as the speed went back up to a respectable 45 mph, the SUV from the flatlands of Florida in front of us felt that 35 mph was all they were comfortable with driving. I am not sure if they didn’t see the line of 12 Porsches behind them but they bypassed every turnout until we arrive in Highlands where they finally pulled off to let us by.

Don and Lee in their new black 993 Cab joined the line in Highlands as we headed up the Waterfall Scenic Byway. We made a break stop early in the drive, as the spectacular Dry Falls walk was an irresistible must-experience waterfall. Parking was an experience as we tried to fit all the cars into a small parking lot, but we did it.

The walk to the falls was short but rewarding as you walk behind the powerful dropping water of the Falls. Young Elijah navigating for his father Brian in their beautiful SC was mesmerized by the power of the water in front of him.

Waterfall driving tour, Porsche Rally, Porsche driving tour
Dry Falls Stop with the opportunity to walk behind the Waterfall

Departing the Dry Falls’ lot started the real drive as we headed north on the Byway. Surprisingly we had good pace and most other drivers were respectful and pulled over as our line came upon them.

It wouldn’t be a Classic Porsche drive of 30-year old cars without a mechanical issue or two. Unfortunately Jonathan in his 1984 Carrera had braking issues along this initial stretch but was able to proceed with caution as we attacked the twists and turns.

After the turn onto Ellijay Road, we entered the middle section of spirited driving. It is always difficult with first-time together drivers in a mix of 356’s and 911’s to judge the proper pace but based on the smiles at the break we hit the right pace. Little traffic allowed for a good flow of spirited driving that seemed to fit all driving and car abilities. As Don in his 993 stated: “It was a real joy following a 356 carving up the mountain in front of me.”

Porsche Driving rally, Porsche driving tour
You know the drive is going to be good when you see a sign like this

That is just part of the allure of Air Brigade: really experiencing the Porsche performance with raw driving ability that is not assisted by today’s modern driving aids.

A turn up Cullowhee Mountain Road continued the great driving as the sun lite up the color in the trees as we crossed the mountain top and drove the ridge with long range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

As we came closer to Cashiers we picked up the Saturday morning traffic again that brought us down to a cruising speed for a cool-down from the excitement of the spirited middle section of the drive.

Lunch at the Randevu where unfortunately Lucy the Drive Dog couldn’t join us in the restaurant and sat with George and Donna on the outside terrace. A group of the Athens, Georgia cars hit the road for home to catch the big Alabama – LSU game while the rest of us recounted the day over lunch.

Porsche 356, Porsche driving tour, porsche rally
A smile on the face of Lucy the drive dog mascot after a ride in the backseat of a Porsche 356

Lunch at the Randevu where unfortunately Lucy the Drive Dog couldn’t join us in the restaurant and sat with George and Donna on the outside terrace. A group of the Athens, Georgia cars hit the road for home to catch the big Alabama – LSU game while the rest of us recounted the day over lunch.

The Asheville cars headed home at this stage while the Sweep Nort went off to experience other great roads on his way home to Hot Springs. Commander Jim accompanied Ralph and his Grand Prix White with lobster interior SC and Jonathan in his Ruby Red Carrera on leg two to Highlands. Jonathan was nursing his brakes still so it was a cruise down the back roads of North Carolina. At Highlands, Jim said good-by to head back to Asheville while Ralph and Jonathan returned to Georgia after a full day of driving.

Porsche 911 Carrera Porsche 911SC
Meteor, the Porsche Carrera, Ralph's Grand Prix White and Jonathan's Ruby Red Carrera on the final leg

It is time to tuck the cars away for the winter, as the mountain roads are always unpredictable over the winter months whether they are open or drive-able. It is sad to put Meteor, my grey 911 Carrera 3.2 into the garage knowing it is time for its winter hibernation.

132 views1 comment

1 Comment

Thomas Gerey
Thomas Gerey
Nov 11, 2019

Great read! Hope to meet you and the brigade next season.

bottom of page