Hill Country Rallye 2022

It’s time for the Hill Country Rallye for pre-1989 aircooled Porsches. I’ve been trying to attend this rally for years, but then kids happened, and then covid happened. Now kids are a little older and can be left with grandparents for a few days. Got covid vaccines and then actual covid neutralized the covid issues. Let’s do this!

A 35 year old car means I need to travel with a simple tool kit and a work manual. Also notice the quart of spare oil, which I ended up using plus two more quarts from the autoparts store later in the day. Out of the 10 plus qt capacity, I guess the shop that did the oil change had underfilled it by about 2.5 qts. Oops. To get ready for this trip, I also spent a lot of time glazing and waxing the exterior. Old single stage black paint shows swirls like you would not believe. I’m no detailer, but I did manage to get it in a semi passable state under harsh light.

Upon leaving Austin and heading West, managed to hit this milestone. I bought the car with around 55k miles I think 12 years or so…well, at least I’m actually using it this time for the rally.

First stop, Fredericksburg for lunch and walk around.

Of course, German lunch.

RL’s currywurst was kind of lame and lacking curry flavor.

German chocolate cake. Why do they have coconuts? I don’t think coconuts grow in Germany.

I think another drink is needed.

Scotched egg. The one I had in London is much, much better. This one was overcooked and gross.

Trying to kill some time here so we don’t get to our hotel in Kerrville too early and not be able to check in.

How fitting for this trip.

I thought we would see a lot more aircooled Porsches stop in Fredericksburg, but this was the only one I saw. Perhaps it’s too early in the day and others will show up later this afternoon.

Leaving Fredericksburg and headed to Kerrville, we finally had a caravan of Porsches behind us. I was very very excited to see this.

Reached Kerrville. The convention center hotel is actually located across the street, but I didn’t reserve my room in time so had to book a room at the Hampton Inn across the street. It was at this time that I started checking my oil and noticing that even after coming up to temp, the oil gauge on my dash still shows it being low on oil.

A night in this very mediocre room in Kerrville costs around $300 a night!! It’s almost as expensive as my room in London that was much much nicer and also…In Central London! WTF Kerrville!

It’s weird, but this is a known way to fill up an old school aircooled Porsche. If you try to fill it up without the nozzle being upside down, often times the pump will stop way before the tank gets full.

Cool. I guess I am not the only one who didn’t get a room at the official hotel.

We drove across the street to the YO Ranch hotel where the great majority of Hill Country Rallye participants are staying. Damn…wish I could just stay here. Also, look at these skittle colored Porsches…I taste the rainbow. I often wish I didn’t just have a plain black one.

First time for me to see so many aircooled cars in one spot. So excited, had a giant grin on my face the entire time. When we checked in to receive our rally map and packet, the guy at the register recognized us as his neighbors. I wouldn’t have remembered him if he didn’t recognize us. Cool.

This Irish Green color is my favorite.

Cool car, but the wooden skis as a prop is a little too much.

My twin.

Technically too new to be an entrant, but I guess came by to just join the fun in parking lot. It was driven by a woman, and when she drove by the crowds of people, I could hear many people look over and comment, “it’s a chick!”

Ahhh yes, map of curated driving routes through the Texas Hill Country. What a treasure!

Perhaps even more important than the map is this little booklet of directions. Much of the roads in the Hill Country have no cell reception, so we’ll need to navigate these routes old school.

After walking around checking out the cars and getting my map, it’s time for dinner on the Guadalupe river.

Odd, there’s a pool attached to this river front restaurant. I asked about it, and apparently the restaurant used to be the club house of the condos on the other side of the street. Guess no one wanted to use the club house so they rented it out to a restaurant.

Pretty awesome views.

Kerrville prices. They actually gave us a lot of food for the price. I thought I was only going to get one crab cake, but we got 3! It’s nice to be in a smaller city sometimes.

Yum, surprisingly good food. After dinner, it was time to get some rest and get ready for a long day of driving around twisty roads.

Day 2

About a week or so ago, I started reading weather reports for Kerrville. It looks like it may rain this weekend, along with a strong cold front that brings the temps down into the low 20s. It was 80 degrees not too many days ago, damn Texas weather. I was worried about the weather mostly due to the summer tires that I had on the car and it gave me quite a bit of anxiety leading up to the event.

Yesterday, the weather was amazing until later in the night when wind started picking up. This morning, it was cold, I think in the high 30s. I was very excited to see the car beading up rain due to all the work I put in to wax the car. RL mentioned that the car parked across from me also has water beading up…raining on my parade.

While RL ran inside Starbucks for coffee, I looked through the map and directions. I had studied the various possible rally routes on the map last night at the hotel. I had decided to do this route since it goes through the Twisted Sisters, a well known motorcycle riding route. Cool, doing this rally and driving these roads in the Hill Country has actually been on my bucket for a long time. Now, finally get to check them off.

Zeroed the odometer, and let’s do this rally. By the way, the rally is mostly on in name only. It’s not timed, and you can just go whatever route and at whatever pace you want.

A quick search on my phone yielded all the local radio stations. This may come in handy for some music in the car. The reality was that during the drive, we had turned the radio off and actually just navigated together and…talked. It was quite nice.

There’s still some light rain, but the forecast is for the sun to come out later. If this is the worst of it, it’ll be just fine. The only downside is that my freshly washed and waxed car is now dirty from the rain. Oh well.

In no time, the roads started drying. Sweet.

RL had one requirement about coming with me and being my navigator, she wants to be able to have her morning cup of coffee in the car. Done. Speaking of navigation, we started out the day by immediately missing our second turn and had to turn back around. But after a few hours of navigation, RL was on the ball and we were both in sync and worked together. RL was very happy in the fact that I had to concentrate on driving these twisty roads so much, I had to trust her when she gave me directions and that I didn’t talk back.

The roads were amazing and everything I could have hoped for. Fast sweepers, elevation changes, tight hairpins, kinks, you name it, they’ve got it. Such amazing driving roads.

And the scenery is pretty amazing too. Even before everything goes green in a month or two, it’s still beautiful out here.

The other best part is that the roads were essentially completely empty. It’s not unusual for us to not see a car for 20 minutes at a time. Maybe the cold kept all the motorcyclists away. As for the other Porsches, since the routes go one way, as long as you are not starting around the same time as another car, you may not see others since you are all going in the same direction.

We talked a lot about the different areas here in the hill country. We talked about maybe buying some land out here. Would we want land in the valley, mountain top, or river? I think we had decided on river. Dream big.

All grins! Much thanks to RL for coming with me and being my navigator. This whole weekend has been a million times better because she’s here with me. I don’t even know how I would navigate it by myself easily since there’s no cell reception out there so the directions are the only way to get around. Speaking of the book of directions, we noticed immediately odometer discrepancy between my car and whatever car mapped this out. There were also obvious typos and errors, some quite egregious such as 15mi instead of 1.5 mi.

Weeeee! Actually, I drove at quite a slow and leisurely pace, relatively speaking.

Damn, that looks good. Only a black car can shine like this. Good thing you can’t see all the water spots from the rain from this distance.

The pen I had in my car did not work. At one of our gas stops, I asked the attendant if they sold pens, they didn’t, but she just gave me one from the register. Cool, thanks lady.

One of the very very very few cars I saw out here. I don’t think we were actually stuck behind anyone for anything more than a minute or two before we could pass them. It can be so frustrating to be stuck behind slower cars, this is just so nice how quiet the roads are.

Certain hill country regions are suffering badly from oak wilt. Occasionally we’d see whole fields of dead oaks. Quite sad.

So awesome to have nonstop driving roads.

Yeah, sunglass over glasses, cool.

It’s cool how that water looks turquoise.

Then, in the middle of no where, we come across this random construction stop light. We waited and waited and waited, but no car came by from the other side.

Finally, at what seemed like forever, the light finally turned green.

Definitely not a road that you’d like to run the red light on. It was narrow windy like everything else around here. I drove extra slow just in case someone got impatient and ran the red on the other side.

Construction zone without any actual work being done, seems to be typical.

Back to usual two lane roads.

I think it was around here, about 20 seconds after leaving a tiny little town, when I saw some flashing lights on a truck far far far down the road that was driving towards me. Then I see it turn around and come behind me…uh oh…was I speeding? I mean…yeah, probably. The speed limit was I think 55 but I couldn’t have been going much over 60mph. I was actually driving pretty slowly most of the trip so far…

Anyhow, this really old, good ol’ boy, cop came out and asked me if I knew how fast I was going. I said I wasn’t too sure because we were too busy talking about directions and which way to go etc. etc. He asked if I had to get anywhere fast, and I said no. Then he asked for my proof of registration and inspection. I pointed to my window sticker and said that isn’t that my proof? To which he replied that I was supposed to have the receipt of registration and inspection inside the car at all times. Really? I’ve never heard of that before and also, what’s the point? How do I get a registration sticker if I didn’t get inspection and register for it? Now he’s just giving me a hard time. He takes my license and goes back to his car to look me over on his computer.

At this point, RL talked about how there’s no way he could have had a radar on us since he was driving towards us when we came into view, blah blah blah. A few minutes past, the cop came back, told me that this one was on him, and that the next one would be on me, and let me off with a warning. I totally expected a ticket, and was very surprised when I didn’t get one. He probably looked on his computer and saw my very clean driving record(1 speeding ticket in almost 25 years of driving) and figured I probably wasn’t going fast even though the car looked like it was going fast. Shrug.

After that unpleasant experience of getting pulled over, I started driving even slower than I was already going. At least no ticket, so there’s that.

I was driving so slowly now that in no time, a caravan of aircooled caught up to me. Well, still not over the shock of getting pulled over, so I went on the shoulder and let this faster group by.

And they were for sure flying through these roads. I decided to follow them and they were driving more at the pace of most group drives that I’ve been on, which is to say, fast. I do enjoy driving by myself, but it’s also fun to be part of a caravan of cars.

My navigator’s notes, and noting mistakes on the directions.

That little colorful piece of folded paper on the very right edge of the picture is to hold that dash vent trim in place so it doesn’t rattle. Worked like a charm.

After driving with these cars for a while, they made a turn in a direction that I didn’t intend to go on. We could see that they were headed to a restaurant that’s on our direction book for lunch. We were originally going to eat else where, but then decided to go join them to eat.

Funny how they gave all the “wussy” burgers and sandwiches non-American motorcycles.

This is a biker bar, but oddly, I did not see any motorcycles while driving around today. I mean, I didn’t even really see any other cars driving around either.

The shop attached to the restaurant had some fun motorcycle accessories.

Got done eating and time to hit the road again. We didn’t talk to anyone else while we were inside the restaurant, so we just left at our own timeline after we ate.

So many photos of the road, but it was literally hours and hours of driving on these nice windy roads. So epic.

Really glad I remembered to grab these sunglasses out of my other car before coming to this rally. It’s getting pretty shiny out here.

Look at that beautiful weather out here. Could have easily stormed and rained all day, so super grateful that it’s cool and dry. Cool is important since this car doesn’t have working AC, too hot of outside temperature would be miserable.

Another car catches up with me. It turned out to be a black whale tailed car, just like me. Again, I let him by so I can drive at my own leisurely pace.

Look at that beautiful water color.

It’s quite beautiful out here. From when we left our hotel this morning, we were on the road for 6 hours including lunch. What an amazing day of driving in some of the best roads Texas has to offer in a vintage Porsche navigated by the woman I love.

We took a short nap after a long half day of driving. Before heading out to dinner, we dropped by the main hotel to check out if any other cool cars showed up since yesterday.

The organizers had offered an on/off road rally route that’s not on the map. No surprise, these two Safari 911s took the offroad route judging by the mud.

And this one too.

Centerlocks, eh.

I thought this car was super cool, probably an ex-race car from Mexico.

A local brew pub for dinner. Even in Kerrville, there are some neat places. They even had live music, it was quite nice.

Car is pretty dirt, from the rain and driving, but looks clean from this angle and at distance. Nice. Pretty tired from driving all night, after dinner we went back to hotel and called it an early night.

Day 3

Woke up this morning, looked outside our window and saw this. Someone decided to park terribly next to me. Sigh. Good thing they didn’t actually hit me, but seriously, don’t park like an asshole, asshole.

Very chilly morning, frost on the trunk. It was so cold this morning, we deliberately had a slow start so the summer tires on the car wouldn’t need to flex in too low of freezing weather.

Car ran like a champ and didn’t miss a beat for the entire rally. I keep the car in pretty good mechanical shape, but random things just randomly break on a car this old. The only part to break this time was the plastic tab to one of the fresh air levers. I’ll consider that lucky. Oh yeah, I also had to buy a lumbar pillow at the auto parts store since my back started hurting sitting in these old seats.

It’s Saturday morning, the rally goes on all day today and finishes with a banquet tonight. We are leaving this morning and heading back to Austin though. Had plenty of driving today plus I am doing an endurance car race all day tomorrow. All the driving today on the non-powered steering has my hands and upper body sore. Better save some strength for the real racing tomorrow. Even though we are headed back to Austin now, there’s a rally route that’ll take us in the direction of Austin, so we’ll take that for a bit and have some fun driving this morning too.

Super sunny and super glad for sunglasses.

This route has very different type of roads than the ones we drove on yesterday. This is much narrower, lots of cattle guards. I think I may have enjoyed some sections of this route the best out of the whole trip. Very glad we decided to take the scenic route home.

There was a giant glaring error in the directions. It said to turn one way, when it should have been to turn the other way. We drove around looking for the next turn that never came. Lucked out that we had just barely some cell reception in the area and were able to use Google maps to get us back in the right direction.

Cattle guards, lots of them. Crazy how remote some people live. We didn’t take too many pictures today, but some of these roads were amazing for driving. I really appreciate the mid speed corners.

Luckenbach, first time for me to come here so I just wanted to see it at least. It was too early for anything to be happening. After this, we pointed the car in the direction of the bigger faster roads and made our way back home to Austin. What an incredible trip with over 500 miles of driving!!