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As promised, I took my brother-in-law out for a drive in the early morning fog before he had to go to work and we had to continue on the last long leg of our journey - through the Black Forest towards Gruendau, where my wife's sister was expecting us for Halloween.

Grenchen-Gruendau: the scenic route

Taking my Brother-in-Law for a Drive

When we got out, the fog was laying like a leaden weight over Grenchen. He directed me out of the city through some villages up into the surrounding Buecheggberg foothills and just as we reached the engine's operating temperature the fog lifted.

Above the early morning fog

After taking some pictures, I handed the keys to him and explained how to operate the car. We took some nice backroads back down under the fog. I could see he was enjoying himself, even though it was not a Ferrari. Once we were down, we took to the highway where he could play with the acceleration and the manual shifting of the PDK in Sports Plus mode. He even managed to test the rev limiter. He had a lot of fun! After the drive, we packed our bags, said our goodbyes and headed onto the highway towards Basel, stopping for gas along the way.

Driving through the Black Forest

Once we crossed the Allerheiligenberg tunnel, we emerged from the fog that was covering the Swiss "Mittelland" into bright sunshine! So we decided that instead of staying on the Autobahn A8, we would head into the Black Forest and drive some of the roads during daylight unlike on our way down. We took the Rheinfelden border crossing and continued up to one of the first exits of the highway. Then we stopped to put the top down and mount the cameras. From there, we just used the map and our GPS to find the most fun ways to drive north!

Details of the Black Forest Route

The 981 is built for driving in the Black Forest! Here are some of the roads we can recommend highly:

Wehr to Todtmoss: You drive along at the bottom of a narrow valley. A lot of turns and twists and great fun!

Todtmoss to Prag: Some nice hairpins to climb up and over a pass.

Prag to Bernau: Starts out with some hairpins to gain height, then meanders on a sunny plateau through some lovely forests, fields and villages.

On the road from Wehr to Todtmoss

Once we reached the Schluchsee, the road was wet from snow and the road was dirty. Since we had the camera mounted outside on the windshield, we could not use the wipers, which quickly deteriorated our visibility to an unsafe level. We stopped a few times along the way to clean the windshield, but at last we pulled over and moved the front camera inside, so we could use the windshield wipers again. Of course we also cleaned the outside camera (although that did not help for long).

Black Forest

Since we did not want to be late for the Halloween party, we decided that we would stay on the larger roads and cut through Triberg towards Offenburg where we planned to hop onto the Autobahn and enjoy a fast run up to Frankfurt and then over to Gruendau.

First though we drove by tons of museums (including a watch museum, a Schnapsmuseum, a ski museum etc), by the tallest waterfall in Germany, and through the heartland of cuckcoo clock manufacturing, which is not Swiss made but made in the Black Forest (sorry Orson Welles!). We drove by the largest clock (unlike this reviewer of the 981 who stopped), and then stopped at the house of 1000 clocks where my wife was looking for some presents and I took some pictures.

Cuckcoo Clock in the Black Forest

When I got out of the car, I was shocked how dirty the car was! But then, driving through the Black Forest was so much fun, that I was just promising the car a wash for the next day.

Dirty Car

After the clock stop, the road became more boring and traffic picked up. So we turned the sports mode and manual mode off. We also had to turn the Sport Exhaust off, since at the prevalent speed the motor was running at around 2000 RPM in 7th gear. This unfortunately lead to a drone in the cabin that was a bit bothersome.

Crawling on the Autobahn

Seeing the Thursday evening traffic picking up, we started to worry about our ability to reach Gruendau before 6pm. Our worst fears came to pass though when we reached A5 and it was total gridlock due to an accident.

The Gridlock and the cleaned-up Accident Scene on A5

Even after passing the accident, the A5 was full of construction sites that often caused massive traffic jams. The delay on the A5 also put us right into the middle of the evening commute out of Frankfurt towards the suburbs on A3 and A66, which meant more slow progress. Fortunately, the 981's interior is a very nice place to be stuck in and we enjoyed listening to the Bose. We probably spent over 2 hours crawling along while only enjoying an hour of speeds between 60 and 120mph (100 to 200kph). In hindsight, I have to agree with my wife, that we should have taken another route. While she would have preferred to be heading up earlier, I would have preferred to stay on the B and C roads longer and make progress that way.

A German Halloween Night

Finally we made it to Gruendau, just in time for the Trick and Treating at my sister-in-law's place.

Trick or Treat!

Her house was Halloween central! Her oldest daughter had spent days digging graves; even the neighbor asked which pet died and offered his condolences. The house entrance was guarded by ghosts and her son and husband loved to trigger the fog machine when visitors arrived.

Halloween in Germany

We had a great evening celebrating Halloween, and I took the two older of the 3 kids on a quick ride through the village and for a short highway run up to 200kph (faster than their parents have been!). After a great night and after my wife promised some school runs in the Boxster for the next morning, we went to bed.

You can look here for some more pictures of the Black Forest and the Halloween party.

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