It is great fun to caravan together in a line of Porsches. Driving tours are non-competitive driving events, usually with a theme such as visiting wineries, a museum or a distant restaurant for lunch; but sometimes purely for the joy of driving your Porsche. Scenic and twisty roads are often the goal. Tours are an opportunity to bring your spouse, family or friends, meet new friends, see new parts of area where you live and drive new roads. No maps or potentially confusing directions to follow, just a clear and simple goal of enjoying the open road. Our tours last a few hours and often include a meal. Recent tours took us from the Barrett-Jackson auction and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West property in Scottsdale to the Amerind foundation and lunch in Willcox. The board of directors welcomes tour suggestions. Check our calendar for upcoming tours.
Whether you are helping us to plan a tour or just want to understand more about them, here is some information from PCA’s 2016 Region Procedures Manual (RPM):
Driving tours are a non-competitive driving event held on public roads. They are a social activity that has recently proven to be very successful and popular in many Regions. This is a car club, after all, and our members love to drive their Porsches. The only “issue” that must be addressed is simply “where to go.” Once that is determined, the rest is easy. The area in which you live will be the best determinant of the selection.
Tours can be just for the sake of driving through pretty countryside on fun roads, or they can be combined with some local attraction, such as a museum or car show in another town or Region. Another possibility is a restaurant for lunch. For a more upscale adventure, they can be overnight, including a stay at a hotel or resort. Some Regions have “mystery weekends” where the end destination is a surprise. (The next leg’s route instructions are not given out until the completion of the previous leg. That way no one knows the final destination until they are on the final leg of the journey.)
For most tours that involve a stop, the distance selected should be short enough that it can be made comfortably in a day (out, back, plus time at the location). For example, a one hundred and fifty mile trip will take about three hours, assuming good roads. If you have mountainous terrain to cover, allow 25% longer. Planning a three-hour trip allows time to get to your destination, have several hours of sightseeing or whatever, and return home in time for dinner. For a driving-only tour (no destination), a half day event is often perfect. This gives the attendees the opportunity to join in the fun but still get home in time for the kid’s soccer game or to mow the lawn.
Planning the trip is easy, as noted. You need to pick your destination and route. Look around you. Where do the visitors (tourists) to your area normally go? If you live, say, in the San Francisco area, the visitors go about everywhere, but one of the more interesting places to visit is a winery. Look at an AAA Tour guide for your area, as they list all the points of interest.
Plan a meeting spot, and if it is early morning when you are departing, a restaurant that serves breakfast is a good idea. Those who wish may eat there, or at least have a second cup of coffee. Set a departure time, and urge everyone to be there on time. But your real departure time is twenty to thirty minutes later, and only the organizer knows this. Be sure to have everyone sign the insurance waivers.
If you are a large group, notifying the state police in the area of your planned tour is an excellent idea. Also, if you are going to an area where there is an admission fee, you may wish to make advance reservations. Discounts to groups are common. It might be advisable to collect the admission fee from everyone in advance and pay for it all at once. You should also plan one rest stop (for gas and used coffee) every 1-1/2 to 2 hours of driving. Often the first one needs to be within an hour of departure.
All cars should obey all traffic laws at all times. A short drivers meeting should be held before departure to emphasize safety, courteous driving and traffic law compliance. Go over the route instructions; Make sure everybody understands what they mean and how to read them. Plan your tour with enough break time that there will not be any time pressure.
Routes should be chosen or their scenic value or drive-ability. Be aware of traffic congestion patterns on the roads at the times you will be driving them. Avoid traffic jams if you can; They are not fun. Instructions should be clear, accurate and easy to follow. It is helpful to give the mileage between turns so that the entrants know when to look for the next sign or landmark. One or two cars should pre-run the route to verify the directions. Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Nothing is fun about driving miles in the wrong direction because you missed a sign or the instructions were wrong. Someone who knows the route (the tour author or one of the pre-run drivers) should be in the lead car and the sweep car. They can be on the lookout for missing signs, detours or other potential hazards that might result in lost cars. Cell phone numbers for the lead car and sweep car should be in the instructions. It might also be helpful to give a hand-held radio to every third or fourth car, so that issues or questions can be quickly communicated to the group.