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Cool, cloudy and very windy. Northwest Arkansas in the fall. The leaves have almost finished their fall turn, freezing nights are more the norm. People walking the streets are bundled up; a few hardy souls sporting tee shirts, the rest adapting to the change of season with more layers of clothing.

Friday was 11-11-11 and most every restaurant and gathering place was filled to the brim: weddings collided with festive gatherings. Saturday morning seemed quiet, the town recuperating from the festivities the night before, the pace up and down Main Street ambled along. But appearances can be deceiving, like the calm before the storm: the sudden wail of the all too familiar Porsche flat six announced the arrival of an annual event. Sleepy Eureka Springs was sleepy no longer: she was up, and like a caffeine-fueled jolt, wide awake as a steady stream of Porsches flashed past.

Browns, yellows, reds and oranges; these were not the colors of leaves shedding their summer-green livery, but the color pallet of Porsches. You could spot a few green ones, along with black, white and a host of silver and gray. But those shapes, a pastiche of color, looked the same to anybody unfamiliar with the German marque. For those of us in the know—356s, 914s, 911s, 996s, 997s, Boxsters and of course Caymans—flashed past us. We can recite the differences down to the smallest details but that shape is unmistakable: PORSCHE.

This was the 7th iteration of Porsche Palooza. A celebration of our favorite cars, punctuating the end of the year, a last hurrah before winter closes in. This year, a record: 205 Porsches attended (up from 193 the previous year), and the 360 owners and guests who take care of them. There was a little bit of everything, almost all the road-going models present and accounted for. There was even a speed yellow Carrera GT, which by the way, was AWESOME.

I think for most attendees, the highlights were: the Spirited Drives—three courses: War Eagle, Kings River and Roaring River routes. Each route was two-and-a-half to three hours long. Judging by the maps, each had a LOT of very small squiggles on them. What did this mean? Lots and lots of turns! For those less interested in twists and turns and finding out the proper balance between torque curve and shift points, there were two scenic routes: Beaver Dam and Thorncrown. The meandering kind of trip, easier on the senses—and tires. Better for those who wanted to marvel at the color of the leaves versus those who saw them in a blur of frantic motion. But no matter the route, the result was the same—smiles all around.

I had planned to participate in one of the Spirited Drives. But during a routine oil change, metal particles in the oil filter media necessitated the Cayman S stay home until this issue gets sorted out. We took my wife’s car, a 2007 VW Passat. It was very comfortable on the road and we probably did arrive more relaxed and less hearing impaired. That Fabspeed Full race exhaust sure sounds great around town and at the track, but after five hours, it beats you down. I can only imagine its sound bouncing off sheer rock cliffs or swirling among the trees hugging the road, echoing for miles. Those in front or behind the CS, either enthralled or numb. I digress.

The roster said fourteen Cayman’s. Since I didn’t bring my 2006 CS, the number was certainly less than that. There were some P9ers there. I met Bob Smith and his black 2008 CS. What a great car! Nicely mod’ed for track with red OZ wheels, carbon fiber trim and a roll bar/harness combination. The interior was Porsche red and he actually had two sets of seats, the stock ones and a set of proper race seats. He swaps them out; says it’s easy– just four bolts and one clip. I was suitably impressed. The other P9er I met was Joe Gates in a red 2007 CS. You can tell he is a track guy too. He told me that he had bent a rim on his stock wheels so he was running his R-rated tires at Palooza. I bet he took some of those corners on the Spirited Drive pretty quickly. Of course, I am only guessing here. And most important? They each bought my book! Yeah, my kind of Porsche guys. Hope they enjoy the read!

Speaking of the book (The Driver Book I – Decision by Robert L. Turner), the organizers let me set up a table and sell/autograph books. I got to pilot a tech session, too. I discussed how to get involved in blogging, writing and developing a voice as a Porsche expert (or at least enthusiast). The fact is, the explosion of social media means that the hordes are crashing the gate of conventional (and just maybe old school) automotive journalism. More and more people are adding their voices to the rich dialog of all things automotive. Each one of us brings a unique perspective and expertise to the party. I encouraged the audience to get involved.

Topping it all off, the big event: the dinner/awards banquet. Wow, it was fun.! It was LONG and I actually won something, a nice Wurth tool set. On the Cayman front, Bob Smith won Peoples’ Choice for best Cayman. Well, duh! It’s a fantastic car. But bottom line—the other Cayman peeps and I—we were there to represent! The big news announced at the dinner: No Palooza in 2012. But we will get Escape (the other large national Porsche gathering). And, get this: instead of 200+ cars, they’re expecting more like 600+. So book your hotel early and make sure you’re registered! Palooza itself will be back bigger and stronger than ever in 2013.

Here’s the deal. The Ozark Region of the PCA works very hard on this event. Leonard and Melody Zechiedrich and Chip Gibbons put in countless and thankless hours to make it happen. They deserve our thanks and support to keep events like this happening. It’s like my wife said: when the event seems to flow, to run without any hitch, you just know that it was well planned, down to the last and smallest detail. Yep, the Ozark PCA team planned it down to the last (and smallest) detail. They rock!

We’ll be back next year for Escape and in 2013 for Palooza. But next time in the Cayman S, damn it!
 

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What a great time at Palooza! It was my second time attending, this year was even more fun than last. To top it all off, my wife had a great time and is eagerly waiting for Escape next year!

The autocross was a great time, less competitive than my local SCCA autox events, but just as much fun, especially since it was all Porsches and not a Mitsubishi Evo or Subaru WRX in sight! (secretly, I love the Subarus, had one myself)

I bought Robert's book, looks a fun read. It'll keep me company and be read on the plane when I'm in Afghanistan at the beginning of the year. I'll put it in my flight bag, if we break while we're out flying a mission, I'll have something to pass the time!

For anyone who hasn't been to Palooza, it's a great time. I'm sure every region has it's own big get-together, but the scenery of Northwest Arkansas is hard to pass up and with Escape coming next year, I'm hoping there are a lot more Caymans attending.

I'll be sporting some new mods. Unfortunately, my Fluid987.com carbon fiber wing showed up after I got home, so I've put on a new wing. My HIP engine cover was also waiting for me when I arrived back at the house. New seats, a new front lip, side intakes and LED DRL's are all on the agenda for this winter. A new Accusump and deep sump are also planned.

I hope to see as many people as possible, hopefully sporting new mods as well.

Again, thanks Robert for signing my book, I had a good talk with you, and hope your CS is healed in time for next year's Escape!
 

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I was there for my first one. I just bought an 05 Boxster S in August. I had a great time. Wonderful people and lots of great cars there. The attention getter was the Carrera GT. Can't wait for Escape 2012!:banana:

Great car, but I do need a bit more power. So, for my first mod, I'm looking at a turbo system from TPC or IMA. I talked to a guy in Memphis who has the TPC system. I'll run there to check it out to see how much I like it.
 

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Rob and Group -

Is anyone from the greater DFW area planning on going up to Porsche Palooza for the 2015 event? I'm considering it, but have never attended, never driven my car in the potential cold weather, and am looking for some feedback on the event and general thoughts about attending. I just went down to Boxstoberfest, driven the Blue Ridge Boxster Summit for the last few years, and have always heard good things about this event. So, I'm looking for some feedback and a group of people that might want to attend.

Thanks,

Pat
14 Cayman S, White
 
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