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Driving Air-Cooled Porsches South to the Foothills

The Air Brigade May drive saw 12 cars come together at Appalachian Coffee in Hendersonville for a drive to the Southern Scenic Byways in South Carolina. The air-cooled Porsches ranged from a Porsche 356 to an early 911, several 911 SC’s, Porsche Carreras and a couple of “new” Porsche 964’s.

Two new members, Rob Cart and John Ghent joined us for their first drive. Welcome to the Air Brigade.

The drive started with a warm-up drive out of Hendersonville to reach DuPont State Forest where we started gaining some elevation, turns and beauty as we passed Hooker Falls before connecting with Highway 276 that would take us to South Carolina.

A stop at Caesar’s Head State Park gave the Air Brigade their first break as the group hiked to the viewpoint for a beautiful but hazy view of Table Rock Mountain.

By coincidence we ran into the crew from the Greenville NBC Affiliate filming promo spots and their interest was peaked by twelve vintage Porsches coming into Caesar’s Head. Nigel Robertson, the 5:00 pm Anchor took a moment to film the cars and conduct an interview about Air Brigade. The feature is on the Air Brigade YouTube channel that can be accessed with this link: Air Brigade TV Channel.

From Caesar’s Head State Park, the drive spirit picked up as the group drove the downhill twists and turns of 276 as we targeted the Cherokee Trail Scenic Byway. New member Rob Cart, had suggested a scenic byway to Pumpkintown to avoid a straight section of SC-11 that proved to be fun and worthwhile to continue exercising the legs of 12 air-cooled Porsches.

From Pumpkintown the goal was to drive up 178 with a turn onto Cleo Chapman Highway in Sunset, SC for another bypass of the straight lines of SC-11. I’ll take the blame here for the tour going off the rails because of route planning. To access Cleo Chapman Highway it required a left in the middle of a blind right-hand hairpin.

Five of us made the turn, then there was a gap back to Allen and Beverly who did not and could not have made the turn. Their line of seven Porsches proceeded up 178.

The lead group stopped immediately as it was realized that the split had occurred and half the group was literally driving off into Sunset! Of course there was no cell service so there was no way to contact the other group. Mark and Amy volunteered to be a scout party and try to chase down the group and get them turned around. After many minutes it was decided the lead group would start up and return to SC-11 for a shorter drive to Cashiers and hopefully cell phone service.

Finally the phones worked and Carl von Schummer was reached. Line Two was almost at 64 so it was decided to send that group onto Cashiers to Cornucopia restaurant for lunch. Line One would continue along SC-11 to pick up Rusty Russ who had been waiting patiently in Salem, SC to join the tour to Whitewater Falls and lunch in Cashiers.

Rusty was waiting at the turn onto SC-130 to Whitewater Falls and captured some great photos of the few cars left in Line One. Mark and Amy were also finally reached via phone and were also sent onto Cashiers.

Line One was greeted by the seven Porsches of Line Two parked and seated ready to eat at the Cornucopia Restaurant. Mark and Amy finally staggered in and we were all back together to enjoy a lunch together.

After lunch six drivers took the long way home using 107 to Charley’s Creek Road to the Parkway. The other drivers left on the fast way home down NC-64.

It was an eventful drive, but a fun one. Everyone rolled with the misstep as the detour roads were as enjoyable drive as the planned route.

Next month has the Air Brigade meeting in Weaverville with a drive to Roan Mountain in Tennessee. That drive is scheduled for Wednesday, June 19. Details will be sent as the date comes closer, but mark it on your calendar now.

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