Driving Tours Open for the Season

WITH THE WILD SWINGS of our weather in Ontario during the spring months, the first drive of the season can offer any number of driving conditions. There is the potential of brutal cold air and winds, sheets of cascading rainfall, or a feathery snowfall isn’t out of the question either. This first tour of the year is like the first of a pair of bookends, with the second being way in the distance in October. The portent of our driving conditions looked barren, literally, as just two days prior the trees were bare with only shards of sky blue slicing their way through the branches of the trees. As if on cue, however, within those two short days, a foliage plume blossomed on the treetops overhead and along the route. You have to love Mother Nature when the green landscape spreads its arms. To add to the palette, the skies transitioned to crystal blue accompanied by a light breeze wafting 29 degrees.

This was not the first Muskoka tour planned by our coordinator Larry Funnell. And so that none might guess the planning is as simple as scripting a duplicate of last year’s route, be assured this had not been the case. Oh no. Trip revisions started with relocating the starting point a bit farther south to add Old Barrie Road with lots of sweepers. During the recon of the route two weeks earlier it was discovered some of the segments had too much gravel, dust or sand, making much of the drive entirely new. An additional modification was dividing the cars into three separate groups instead of one long train of cars. The results were great as there were very few breaks in the travel. Notably, in the afternoon segment, the group I was in had not one stutter step throughout the route. Then there was the second challenge in finding facilities that could easily accommodate meals, and parking, for the 26 Porsches and their occupants, and this was admirably managed by co-host John Panikkar.

If you are like most Porsche owners, taking moments to sit back and admire the beauty and power of your car sitting in the driveway or garage (you know you have!) are coveted. An amplification of enjoyment happens every time you are a tour participant. For the duration of the gathering, whether congregating in the launch location, navigating the route, or on one of the stop-overs, soaking in the scene of the varieties of years and models, and engaging in conversation with other drivers about their car and yours, is singularly invigorating. The appreciation is not limited to your tour group either. While our cohort was traversing the downtown streets of Bracebridge, I spotted a small group of pedestrians visually soaking in the spectacle. One particular man, possibly mid-20s, and as if on cue from a stage director, pivoted to his left, slightly bent his legs, outreached his arms partially to the sky and hollered a one-word declaration, “Porsches!” We waved a salute to him as we passed as he was sporting a very wide grin.

There can be much described of the cars on our tour, but as the club motto expounds, “It’s about the people,” and every participant reflects on the experience with unique perspective. Jeff (‘03 911 Targa) happily expressed the experience of meeting new people and gabbing about the cars, as did Barry and Emily (‘17 Carrera 4 GTS) newly from Calgary. Similarly, Marcelo and son (Macan S) added that their inaugural tour experience was enhanced by meeting other drivers, and the weather made it even better. A side note about SUVs, as there were several in the group, includes mentioning there should be no hesitancy if you are an SUV owner to joining any of the tours. Before this writer became a 911 C4S owner, and solely drove the Cayenne, there was my presumption that a group expedition was mostly for two-door cars. Definitely not the case, so whether you drive a Cayenne or Macan, joining in is more than welcome – it’s absolutely rewarding.

An entire spectrum of impressions come from other drivers as well. Matthew and Livia (2022 Cayman GT4) welcomed the whole discovery experience. The challenge of the Muskoka curves was a highlight for Barry (911 GTS cab) who “carved” the curves as well as Laurel from Toronto (new 911 Turbo in Rubystone Red) who expressed loving the curvy roads and was joined by Rick (‘09 Cayman) from Kingston in liking the twisties. Another driver, Nick (‘08 Boxster) travelled all the way from Muskoka to join the group for the trip back. That’s dedication. Paying particular attention to their cars were Robert and Roxanne (2021 Boxster GTS) celebrating clocking over the first 1,000 kilometres on the odometer, while Bill and Sylvie (718 Cayman in Miami Blue) faced the daunting decision of which Porsche to bring. Would you not agree that the high 20s temp was fortuitous? John (‘08 Cayman S) thought so. Lest we neglect the impact these past couple of years of COVID-19, three-year member John (911 991.1) enthusiastically welcomed being liberated from the restrictions and released to the open road with our group.

There are dozens of great tours planned to follow this first bookend for the season. A look back to this when we reach the final segment in October should be fun. </>

Story and Photography by Marc Etherington

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