Hawaii To Florida, USA – 2016

1996 Porsche 993 Carrera

My road trip from June to August 2016 in a 1996 Porsche 993 Carrera was a bit different for a number of reasons. I bought the car more as a project to work on back in Florida, rather than for the road trip. It just so happened that it was for sale in Hawaii and that meant I could then do the across the US trip I have wanted to do for a long time. Of course I did need the assistance of a ship to get it from Hawaii to California!

Having spent a few months a year in Hawaii since 2009 I was aware of the shipping cost. More than a few people might have been scared off by a car in Hawaii. Shipping and salt air to name a couple of things. The salt air wasn’t a problem as many cars spend their time close to the ocean and at least it isn’t a humid environment like Florida. The seller insisted in me seeing the car in person before committing.

That kind of worked out as I flew to Hawaii in January 2016 for a week to check it out and hopefully buy. A tad stressful with banking issues (Hawaii doesn’t have any national banks) and I had to get the funds sorted beforehand. In the end it worked out and I bought the car. Then promptly handed the keys back to the seller. He stored the car for me for two months while I headed back to Australia.

Back in Hawaii for a month, I enjoyed the car then had it shipped to Los Angeles, or Long Beach to be more specific. Then the fun began… A false start with a very well known Porsche shop and I was delayed a month. That meant the trip following the west coast north would start right as school was getting out. Prices were going up.

Plans changed and I went as far north as Santa Cruz, California. Instead of continuing I headed inland making my way to Las Vegas. My first good driving on almost empty roads with a patch of gridlock going through Yosemite National Park. The scenery makes it worthwhile. Although to be honest, much better views later.

Las Vegas for a few days, then hugging the Utah border to end up a couple of days later in Durango, Colorado. I then criss-crossed Colorado to see the Rockies via Grand Junction, Aspen, Monarch, Colorado Springs and on to Denver. Of course I had to stop in at Pikes Peak and make the run to the summit. Some of the best driving in those few days.

Spent a few days poking around Denver, Boulder, Golden and then time to head east. This was the day I spent entirely on an interstate. Until then I had consciously avoided them. After crossing most of Kansas I spent the night in Topeka.

Next up was a run through Missouri to visit the home of Popeye. Namely Chester, Illinois. Well, actually the home of the person who created the character. Leaving the next day it was a long one through to Louisville, Kentucky. Some back tracking and a detour because of closed roads made it even longer. Going via Indiana to add another state didn’t. Luckily I liked Louisville as a city to spend a few days. If you make it there, definitely visit the Muhammad Ali Center. During the stay here was a quick run to Cincinnati, Ohio, to add another state to the list visited. Nearly didn’t make it back as a delivery trolley fell off a truck right in front of me as I was crossing the bridge from Kentucky to Ohio.

I had to be in Nashville a few days later so I took the very long way there with a run through Lexington, Kentucky, on to Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Made a pass through the well known Tail of the Dragon as well. Little traffic and a lot of fun, even if I took it fairly easy. The car does have 110K mile original suspension and it was very ordinary.

Another wayward journey to Nashville and finally a rest for about a week and a half. Caught up with a fellow old school BMXer and Porsche owner. A tour of the greater Nashville area by a local was the perfect way to relax and not have to drive. Avoid the touristy bits and Nashville is a great city.

Next up was Memphis, Tennessee. To be honest, the only reason I went there was to visit Graceland. In the end that was a disappointment. Too crowded and to commercialised. Gift shops everywhere. No wonder the estate is making a mint.

Then headed south to New Orleans, Louisiana. Before that a quick drive over the bridge to Arkansas to add another state though! I’d driven passed New Orleans when I bought my GT3 back in 2012. This time I wanted to visit. Had a great time with plenty of good food and drink. Add plenty of walking and hopefully not too much weight was added from all the good food.

After that it was hugging the Gulf Coast and a night at Crawfordville. I find the northern part of Florida’s Gulf Coast a bit tough. Too many tourist things and high rise buildings on the waterfront. Perhaps as a family it’s a good location. Then again, it is called the Redneck Riviera for a reason.

Continuing around the coast the weather turned sour. Out to Cedar Key and concerned I wouldn’t be able to make it back because of flooding. All good though and finally visited the Greek community of Tarpon Springs. Fabulous food.

After following the coast south, the final night of the trip was spent in Naples. I’ve now seen almost all of the Florida coastline except for the Everglades. Some good, some not so good.

So that was the trip of around 7000 miles and through Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and finally Florida.

The car ran perfectly and except for the usual amount of oil burnt, the only other item was a headlight globe. Of course the rear tyres was almost bald on the insides. A small price to pay.

So then the project work started and all suspension upgraded to Porsche RS specs and the additional of KW V3 coilovers. Other items are FD Motorsports Fister Stage III mufflers, FD Motorsports Gold Road and Short Shift Kit, Voltphreaks battery. The car is now at Orbit Racing to have all my work checked and an engine refresh. Just exactly what work will be done is still not known.

I haven’t driven the car since 1 August 2017. This was prior to all the above work. Only 630 miles in 2017. A lot less than the 8000 or so in 2016. When I return to the US later in 2018 it will be like a new car. Then I have to decide on the next stage. Most like interior and a bit of exterior. I have Euro bumper covers sitting in a box and the front is the much better looking Turbo style.

Stay tuned!