Months of planning have gone into this trip, yet here I was, on the eve of setting off across America busy trying to organise things. Driving around to find a Walmart or Target that had a drone battery in stock, batteries for the head torches, swapping out a couple of blown fuses. I’d hoped to give the Porsche a quick wash but there was no time for that. The main priority was to pack the car and try and get the air conditioning re-gassed given the unbearable heat suffered driving back from Charleston.
When I bought this car, one of the things that came up on the inspection was the air conditioning did not work. I remember being surprised when the mechanic suggested it just needed a re-gas, something every seasoned car buyer has heard at some point and knows it never will be ‘just’ this. As it came from a mechanic I fell for it, not that it would have made any difference as I would have still bought the car. I had the compressor replaced along with a couple of other bits shortly before driving it to the South of France and it was still hopelessly hot. I’m not sure why I thought that this problem could have miraculously improved by doing nothing to it? Anyway, driving back from the port in Charleston was a red flag.
Meineke in Lenoir City looked at it the car and re-filled the refrigerant with R134. Sadly, even after their intervention, the temperature at the vents only measured high sixties/low seventies fahrenheit. I was hoping for something in the thirties. Apparently mid to high sixties is acceptable for an older car but it was not going to make for a comfortable time crossing Arizona, New Mexico, California and Texas. I suspect there is one more part of the car’s system that needs replacing, and that part will likely be one hidden deep in the car where humans can’t easily reach.
In the late 90s I owned an old VW Beetle which didn’t have air conditioning while living in the Middle East. I knew exactly what we were in for, as one Bahraini pointed out back then “it has God’s A/C”. This translates to ‘roll down the windows and keep it moving’.
Before leaving London I’d looked at different luggage options that would fit well in the back of the 993. There are a couple of companies out there making bags to a custom size for a 911 but they split into four bags, two atop the folded rear seats and two that slide into the gaps under the folded seats, and they don’t have wheels. Squashy sports bags are always easy to fit in but again there are no wheels on most of them so in the end I rummaged around in the storage unit, pulling out some hard shell wheelie cases and found they worked well and were the perfect size to get a rear seatbelt around them. I also had a small rucksack with all the electronic kit inside, a cool bag for snacks and water, tools, and a couple of bags that Renée appeared with (I’ve no idea what is in these). It all went in without any drama. 911s are practical little cars.
I remembered I’d forgotten to get a small air compressor and one of those sun reflectors for the windshield when parked up. Both items to be sourced on the way.
Other bits that were forgotten
Shortly after leaving I realised I’d left the charger for on one of the laptops. The chargers for a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air are for reasons unknown to anyone other than Apple they are different. I’d also carried a carbon fibre tripod all the way from London and managed to leave that behind too. No doubt I will discover other things that remain in Tennessee that were meant to be with us along the way.