Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony and Brendan McAleer
Wait, what? What do you mean Double Road Trip? Well, unbeknownst to either of us, Brendan and I each booked a Porsche Cayenne Diesel for a mid-March road trip (what can we say, great minds think alike). My trip was to attend the New York Auto Show and witness the North American premiere of the 911 GT3, Porsche’s street drivable track car, but my wife joined me and we planned for an extra day in the city to enjoy the sights and the food, specifically, a steak. Brendan was off for a much shorter trip from his Vancouver stomping grounds to Victoria, but his voyage included a ferry ride, so he gets bonus points for that.
Road Trip: Victoria, BC – 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel & Road Trip: NYC – 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel. Click image to enlarge
Why the Cayenne Diesel? Well, for my part, I couldn’t imagine a better combination of qualities for a road trip culminating with driving in Manhattan and its outlying boroughs and, well, the idea sprang to mind with our friendly neighbourhood Porsche PR rep on the phone. The long highway miles eaten up efficiently, an abundance of torque to power up some of the hilly ranges on our route, a comfortable, luxurious cabin, the heightened vantage point of an SUV, and again that torque for dominating the intense New York City traffic. Personally, I find driving in The City a thrill, an adrenaline rush exceeded only by a proper track or autocross course. It demands your full attention and rewards a razor-fine balance of aggressiveness and caution. I lost count of how many times my wife uttered, “ohmigod, watch out” in the first five minutes on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
Our destinations, however, couldn’t be any different. I’ll let Brendan start with a little description of Victoria.
Road Trip: Victoria, BC – 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel. Click image to enlarge
Victoria, home to the newly-wed and the nearly-dead. That’s not the official city motto, by the way, just a somewhat ageist observation made by both mainlanders and self-deprecating island types. British Columbia’s capital has had some odd demographics in the past, with a large university and college student body mixing with the retirement-age folks settling down by the seaside.
It was a place for afternoon tea, of tourist-traps, fish and chips and long afternoon naps: quaint, quiet, and about as excitingly avant garde as a John Constable landscape painting. But the city is changing.
With a burgeoning tech industry providing good-paying jobs that encourage graduating students to stay and an outdoorsy lifestyle attracting an influx of young families, Victoria – like many of us – has a swelling middle. Touristy favourites like Miniature World and the Royal BC Museum are still big draws, but there are many hidden neighbourhoods with lesser-known attractions. As yours truly spent two years living on the island, let’s explore some of them together.
Road Trip: NYC – 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel. Click image to enlarge
New York City, on the other hand, needs no introduction. If it did, I wouldn’t even know where to start. The City. The Big Apple. Gotham. Empire City. The Capital of the World. The City that Never Sleeps (apparently several other cities have also earned that moniker).
Okay, maybe I’ll start with my experiences there. Having lived there for a couple years (oddly parallel to Brendan’s two years in Victoria), perhaps some of the sparkle is lost among the memories of workday commutes on the subway, happy hours at a local dive bar after work, and far too many hours wasted in front of a TV, but it is hard to forget the first time I caught a view of the magnificent skyline as the bus rounded the approach to the Lincoln tunnel on the Jersey side. The towers rising to a crescendo clustered around the timeless Empire State Building and, at the time, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre still stood, modern and elegant with the other skyscrapers new and old rising around them as guardians.