Back in the good old days--no, not those good old days, but the good not-quite-that-old
days, when 911s existed but were still air cooled--a bunch of 356ers in what later
became our club used to make an annual excursion along the Illinois River to Starved
Rock State Park. Following the same route every time, they would cruise through
the river towns, line up their cars for a group photo on the wooden bridge on Old
Stage Road, take on the twisty roads in the park, and conclude with a lunch at
Duffy's Tavern in Utica.
Twenty years later, our own Tom Funk decided to recreate that fondly remembered drive, and with the assistance of club president Eric Smith he traced the original route down to the last detail, with the exception that the Starved Rock Park Lodge became the luncheon destination instead of Duffy's, which is no longer in business. And so it came to pass that on a sunny May morning a group of thirteen 356s, accompanied by a half dozen later model Porsches and other vehicles, assembled on the banks of the DuPage River in Channahon and set off westward. The drive included, as in the days of yore, a stop at the Aux Sable Creek Aqueduct and the traditional photo shoot on the bridge.
All was going swimmingly until, on our final approach to the Starved Rock Lodge, we encountered a huge traffic jam, with cars backed up as far as the eye could see. Sitting at the back of the pack in that tie-up, we had nothing to do other than to observe a huge bank of dark clouds rapidly approaching from the west. And then we saw a 356 up ahead make a U turn and head home, either from impatience with the traffic or concern about the threatening weather or both. Then another, and another after that, and more. Then the traffic and the clouds both opened up, and those of us who had not bailed out proceeded to the parking lot, where we discovered that our group of thirteen 356s had dwindled to five. It was raining hard by then, and we all decided to duck into the lodge, eat lunch, and wait for the storm to pass. Suffice it to say that we had a very long and very enjoyable lunch.
When the rain finally let up, we headed home following a new route that Tom and Eric had prepared for the return trip to Channahon. That leg of the journey included much conversation about the relative merits of six-volt windshield wipers and Rain-X, but we all made it home safely and with smiles on our faces.
Many thanks to Tom and Eric for organizing and leading our first driving event of 2019, and to Wally Wright for photographing the festivities.
The gang assembles in Channahon.