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    Cayenne in West Texas

    Carrageous and I have just returned from a quick trip to the Texas Trans-Pecos region. We visited the Davis Mountains area, art exhibits in the city of Marfa and went off-roading and hiking in Big Bend National Park.

    The Davis Mountains had spectacular mountain scenery and winding mountain roads on the 74 mile scenic loop. In those mountains you can also find the McDonald Observatory and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, third largest in the world.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    Very cool pic Gary thanks!

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    Thanks Fanch!

    There's more to come, and I suspect Carrageous may post some as well.

    The city of Marfa has some outstanding art exhibits, mostly as a result of the efforts of minimalist artist Donald Judd. He lived in Marfa and established the Chinati Foundation where he and some of his favorite artists, like John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin, could have permanent installations of their artwork.

    The art of John Chamberlain may hold some interest to Rennteam members. This is one of his works below.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    It seems that you have the strongest Cayenne ever built. You go everywhere, you do everything and you put alot of mileage, I am very proud of you!

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    DEETZ said:
    It seems that you have the strongest Cayenne ever built. You go everywhere, you do everything and you put alot of mileage, I am very proud of you!

    Thanks Deetz but my Cayenne is really no different than anyone else's. It seems the off-road ability of the Cayenne is severly underutilized by most owners. This vehicle is great off-road. More owners should try it.

    Here is a photo of us on Old Ore Road. I had not driven the full length of this road before so it was a new experience. It took about 4 hours to go from our start at Dagger Flat road to the Rio Grande village area. This includes some hiking and sightseeing along the way. Most people would probably take longer. I tend to drive pretty fast on those off-road trails. Add an hour or two if any of you plan to try it.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    Very cool shots thanks Gary

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    GM Austin said:
    In those mountains you can also find the McDonald Observatory and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, third largest in the world.

    Hi Gary,

    So how many Golden Arches could you spot from the Observatory?

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    I would have joined you if I have air suspension too bad....

    keep us updated with more photos, how many miles is on your car?

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    DEETZ said:
    I would have joined you if I have air suspension too bad....

    keep us updated with more photos, how many miles is on your car?

    You could have gone everywhere I went this time without the air suspension. Your wheel size would have slowed you down though. You wouldn't want to go over these trails too fast with 20" wheels , and don't even talk about 22's .

    I have 41k miles on my Cayenne now.

    So how many Golden Arches could you spot from the Observatory?

    Hmmm, this might make a good puzzler fritz. The nearest McDonalds is in Alpine, about 31 miles away. Now we just need to figure out the resolving power of the HET 9.2 meter mirror and the size of that Golden arch in Alpine. If it can detect that one, we'll move on to the next nearest McDonalds in Fort Stockton.

    Here's a shot of that very interesting HET mirror.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    Post other pictures!!!

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    Super Darius said:
    Post other pictures!!!

    Well OK!

    Here is a photo of us at the beginning of Old Ore Road and the Chisos Mountains in the background. This is a large park, about 800,000 acres, with the Chisos being roughly in the center.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    The following day we drove to the Pine Canyon trailhead, parked and hiked into Pine Canyon, which is situated at the base of the Chisos. The hiking trail was about 4 miles round trip and about 1k foot elevation change. The environment of Pine Canyon was not to be believed; big pine trees and Texas Madrones, dense undergrowth with ferns and moss growing here and there. All of this is happening right in the middle of the desert! Very impressive.

    This is a shot looking at a part of the Chisos Mountains on the road to Pine Canyon.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    I can actually join you, I just drove the car with 22" in snow, it was alright, it has summer tires Michelin Diamaris, I will have a hard time cleaning those polished lip


    I still have my 18" in case I need them, which I did a few minutes ago...

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    What this picture doesn't show is the return journey down the mountain, which one might call "The Slide Down Pine Canyon." Picture, if you will, an 8-foot road bed with large piled along the side, paved entirely with loose rocks the size of small melons. Picture this rocky trough heading down the canyon and then floor it.

    I found out how to use the handles on either side of the passenger seat as Gary demonstrated how to drive at high speed while only occasionally having any solid surface beneath the wheels.

    We're considering submitting this as a demonstration sport for the next Olympics, "Auto-Luge" or "Road Toboggon."

    I have more pics I'll post later when I get my camera charged up.


    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    That was a fun trip back from Pine Canyon!

    I think we made it back in about half the time it took us to get there. It was a rush! That loose gravel at high speed just has to be experienced to be believed. It floats the car a bit and you have the feeling you're just skating across the top.

    Here is a photo of the remains of a stone house we found on Old Ore Road.

    Re: Cayenne in West Texas


    Good to see that you are still travelling all over the world in the Cayenne. Are you still running the street tires, or have you switched over to the Pirelli All Terrains? I have gotten over 24k miles out of mine and they are just now starting to look a little worn.

    We need to get a trip to Breckenridge, Texas soon. I have purchased a Pinzgauer and have been wheelin that instead of the Cayenne lately. As a matter of fact, I was considering putting the original Bridgestones back on the Cayenne once the All Terrains wear out to take advantage its 120+ mph abilities (after one last hard off-roading trip, of course).


    Re: Cayenne in West Texas

    I am still using the 18" Continental Contact M&S. I think it's a fair compromise tire. I only get 15k out of a set, but, I exceed 118 mph (the AT tires limit) fairly regularly. In fact, I did that numerous times on this trip. I do like the off-road features of the AT tire but I couldn't live with the on-road compromise.

    I would love to go to Breckenridge again. Just say when.

    Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    OK, so here, finally, are my road trip notes (sometimes I drive faster than I write) .

    First, for those not familiar with West Texas, we're talking about a vast desert area of hundreds of square miles with sparse population, spectacular scenery and wide open roads. Wide open because the nearest population centers are a minimum of four to six hours away. Some of the greatest Porsche driving in the world and the place where I've logged some of my best 911 seat time.

    This is the trip a Cayenne is meant for: hours of 100 mph plus road driving followed by hours of trail bashing over rocky hills and creek beds. Sure, a 911 would, in my opinion, be more fun to drive out there, but you're sure not going to take it off road. And, off road, a Jeep Wrangler would do as well as the Cayenne but getting to the trail wouldn't be nearly as fun.

    By the way, road trips are not just about driving, they're about eating, too. On our way out, we pulled off for lunch in Ft. Stockton and discussed getting fast food. I suggested, jokingly we look for 'slow food,' meaning something local, preferably Tex-Mex. Little did we know that when we put in our order here at Pepito's they were going to take nearly an hour to feed us.

    But, based on all the trucks and BMWs in the parking lot, this is the place to stop. Get the chile verde (beef in green chile) or the adoba (pork in red chile). Hot!

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    The forecast was for thunderstorms but by the time we hit the Davis Mountains, the skies were clearing. People think Texas is flat, but West Texas gets mountainous with terrain going up to nearly 9,000 feet in altitude. These were rocking mountain roads with great views (see the observatory above) and incredible rock formations.

    It's also a surprise to some people that there's a substantial wine industry in Texas, making wine that varies from "surprisingly not bad" to "pretty good."

    On road trips, sometimes it's fun to stop at wineries. And sometimes it's not.

    This poor lonely guy with his 25 acres of vines is so far in the middle of nowhere that we gave him a "mercy buy" just because we felt sorry for him.

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    This was my first time driving a Cayenne and I was very impressed. At first, I was trail braking into corners and worrying when I felt the lean. And every time I did that, I was going way too slow by the time I got on the gas again. But I couldn't get past the feeling that this was a truck that I shouldn't be powering hard through corners, no matter how fast it went straight.

    I soon got over that nonsense, however. I got used to the lean and learned to just keep it down, ease off a little going into the turns and then get on it hard. But not too hard... it was another guy's truck, after all and it is a VERY long walk home from Big Bend.

    By the way, the Valentine 1 came in very useful on several occasions, including a speed trap just inside the national park, where the speed limit drops to 45 mph from its previous 185 (or was that the highway number? All those signs get so confusing). Suffice it to say we saw a great deal of time with the speedometer well over 120 for extended periods, slowing only for blind corners. (A DISCLAIMER: these are wide open roads with almost no traffic and long sightlines; 36 foot wide road beds with a 120 foot right of way, fenced. No chance of animals running unseen into your path and plenty of escape routes if needed. Don't try this in your urban areas.)

    The region is called Big Bend, by the way, because this is where the Rio Grande makes a big loop turning from southward flowing to northward and then back southeast. True frontier land, still filled with real cowboys and cowgirls.

    And when cowboys and cowgirls get the night off, they come to town in Marfa where, at the bar in the historic Paisano Hotel there is a young bartender who looks EXACTLY LIKE MARISA TOMEI, especially when she flashes her incredibly bright smile, which she did a lot whenever GM spoke to her.

    People drive fast out here and when they get into accidents, they're very interesting. They even have a museum to showcase the best wrecks. This VW Microbus got hit by a train and rolled 113 miles before it stopped.

    True story!

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    The off road part of the trip varies between Baja 500 screaming runs along narrow rock beds and slow climbs through creek beds. The transition from 120 mph on the road to running on rocks was amazing. The Cayenne never felt stressed at speed on the rocks, always felt like it could take harder use.

    But sometimes, you just want to get out and look at the amazing landscape!

    GM just wanted to keep blasting through but I made him stop and take this shot so you could see what it's like out here.


    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    Sometimes you want to get out and look at the scenery and sometimes you want to stay in the car.

    We met this guy and stayed put.

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    In the background you'll see the Chisos Mountains. Hard to see here, but it's a bowl with a hidden green valley in the center, filled with bears, mountain lions and RVs.

    But really beautiful.

    This is the view from the Old Ore Road. Hard to see much in this light, but the top few hundred feet of the mountains is all rock formations and cliffs. Later, we climbed up to the base of the cliffs.

    Next time, we're going straight up!

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    Final driving impressions: when I discovered the Sport mode on the suspension, I got a lot happier. I'm a purist and like as little electronic buffering between me and the road as possible. But this Cayenne in Sport mode at 120 mph was unbelievable. I could feel each wheel independently dealing with road imperfections and felt incredibly confident.

    Except when I saw the fuel level dropping like the big glass ball on New Year's Eve and wondered if we should slow down on the off chance we might make it to the next cluster of old abandoned buildings that used to be a town and discover, improbably, that there was actually a working gas pump with 91 octane.

    Should we slow down to 55 and conserve fuel?

    No frickin' way!!! People, this is a Porsche! Let 'er rip! Thanks, GM! Great trip!

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    Great write-up Dain! Very nice choice of photos.

    Yes, driving fast in a Cayenne uses up fuel very quickly. In West Texas you should really gas up whenever you're near a pump and your gauge is below half. That's my retrospective wisdom that I should have followed.

    Re: Fast Cars and Slow Food in West Texas

    One more thing, the driving position is great. Plenty of room to get comfortable and great visibility. I felt right at home as soon as I started driving except for a couple of electronic things I had to learn about. The seats and interior are great, particularly in the light grey full leather interior. We averageed about 9 hours of seat time each day and I never felt tired or uncomfortable. And, while I've never been bowled over by the way the Cayenne interior looks, after spending sometime in it, I really like its subdued, businesslike approach. High on quality, low on luxury, just the way I like it.

    I grew up driving Land Rovers and owned a Range Rover for years, in which I did a lot of off-road driving, including down in Big Bend. A Range Rover would also have been a great ride for this trip, even if not nearly so fast or sporty. But the problem I have with the current Range Rover -- as opposed to the Cayenne -- is that the interior is so plush and refined that it feels out of place on a desert trail, no matter how effective it is. All that wood and Waterford crystal and Wilton carpets; it's so beautiful inside to feel you have to stop at every passing goatherder to see if he might have any Grey Poupon.

    From a passenger's point of view I loved the leather handles low on the console, with one matching on the door. In other four wheel drive vehicles, you're reaching up overhead to hang on, with the result that you're swinging back and forth. In the Cayenne, when the driver points it down a gulch and floors it, you just hold on to those two low handles firmly and squeal like a pig on roller skates, wondering if the fun will ever stop.

    Finally, the exterior is growing on me. I like that it's anonymous and the only people who know what it is are the people who know what it is. And that's just fine with me.

    Although I do think it would be attractive in pink, given that I believe the Cayenne is the only vehicle ever designed to look like Porky Pig.

    That's all, folks!



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