So, after selling my A4 back in September, followed by my Subaru kicking the bucket in October, I decided to consolidate back to a 1997 Honda Civic for a daily. Dirt cheap to insure, drive, and repair, I figured - what's the worst that can happen?
Well, for one thing, it's boring. God awfully boring. Not saying that is a bad thing, because it's just my commute car to take all the day to day bumps. But, after 6 months, it catches up to you. Maybe it's just cabin fever from the winter, but for whatever reason, I was getting super antsy a few weeks ago. I found out that I desperately missed the adrenaline release from owning a fun car to drive on the backroads, so I started looking around, made a budget, and decided on one of three cars:
- BMW 135i
- B6 Audi S4 Avant
- Honda S2000
After realizing that the BMWs were too expensive for what I wanted (a 10-12k mile/year, weekend/evening car) and not having a trusted BMW mechanic on call, I looked at the S2000s. I couldn't believe what people were asking for cars that are going on 13 years old these days and RWD made it absolutely impractical in all but the nicest of weather. I mean, why own a convertible in 300 rainy days/year Cleveland?
So, that left me with the elephant in the room. That awesome car Audi made but everyone ended up having horror stories about. CHAAAAAAIINNNNNSSSSS, anyone? LOL
Well, I started looking around and realized that nobody in the Northeastern US had an Audi I wanted to even consider buying and California was too f*cked up with pricing, so, as luck would have it, I saw a feeler ad in early January on this site and I instantly fell in love.
Nogaro Blue, 6speed Manual, Avant, and the Sport Alacantara interior. Yep .. miles were good, the pictures looked fantastic, and I instantly knew that it was the one for me.
So, I started talking with the guy. Original owner, dealer maintained, always garaged, always hand washed and the more I heard, the more I started getting anxious ... was someone else going to grab it? What have other people offered? What if it sells before I can secure my financing?
Well, I emailed the guy again, said I wanted it and asked what I needed to to do make it happen. He wanted a cash deposit and I had to wait until March to take delivery as he just ordered a brand new Ford Focus ST and it was still being built at the time.
So, next came the logistics. The only problem? It was in Austin, and I've never been to Texas. Guess it was time for another fly-to-buy trip with my most trusted companion. We did nearly the same trip back in November when we flew to Denver to pick up his Blue Lagoon GLI.
It was a great trip, aside from Nebraska and Iowa, so, I called him up, said I'd buy his plane ticket and, well, plans were hatched! Around this time, we noticed that the Grand Am race at the new Circuit of the Americas was the same weekend. Didn't take a genius to figure out where our minds were headed. So, we got some tickets ...
Well, it finally came time to leave snowy Cleveland, oh joy! On the way to the airport ... a blue STI and a blue Evo in a blue GLI to buy a blue S4 Avant ... da fuq? I guess this is some sort of wacked sign ...
Hoping that window is awfully strong ... goodbye Cleveburgistan!
At cruising altitude ... I think this was the first time I've seen sun in a month ... >.<
Still cloudy and cold in Atlanta for the connecting flight!
But, once we landed in Austin and were picked up, we were instantly greeted by a Ferrari 458, who did a high-RPM blast by us up into the Lake Travis area ...
And a couple Porches hauling ass down the road ...
But, finally we got to the owner's home in the Lake Travis area and wow, the views are spectacular around there. He pulled it out of the garage and I have to say, my first impressions were even better than the tons of photos he sent me before we left. This car is CLEAN! The Nogaro Blue just pops in the Texas sun ...
So, it was time to meet up with my cousins downtown for dinner and afterwards we decided to drive around to take in Austin's night life. What a fantastically amazing city. Everyone (including myself) always expects cactus and tumbleweeds, but Austin has a vibrant downtown, some amazing roads and hills southwest of the city, and just some god damn perfect asphalt.
The University of Texas Football Stadium ... wow, everything really IS bigger in Texas, haha.
So, we wake up the next morning to head to the Audi Corral at CotA. I didn't realize we'd be sharing the corral with the Porsche Club and the Corvette Club, so needless to say, it was packed full of some VERY nice cars.
The Audi Corral had a nice showing as well ... 3 R8s and quite a few S and RS models ...
First impressions of CotA:
- It's HUGE ... TV doesn't even come close to giving this track justice.
- Turn #1 is so far above the main straight and grandstands it's unbelievable; 100+ feet of elevation change.
- The Turn #1 Grandstands are the place to be. Besides being in the front row for any spin outs, the hard left hander is a HUGE downshift and upshift invironment where the sounds are just AMAZING!
So, we went down and did the pit walk prior to the Continental Series Race and wow, these guys are a class act. Love it.
Some, um, not-so-legal modifications ... haha.
After the race, we decided to to the tower ... 230+ feet above the track, full views of the whole thing, and wow, when that wind blows, that tower starts to sway. Haha. The glass floor was especially disconcerting.
So, with the Grand Am race over, it was time to head to Dallas to see a friend briefly and then off to Texarkana to spend the night. We hit up the Texas High Five while we were there ... what an engineering marvel, but none of our pictures came out. Oh well, mental pictures are better, haha.
One of the best parts about Texas - 80mph limits and traffic moving near 90mph. Awesome!
The Dallas Skyline at night.
So, after a short 6-hour hotel stop in Texarkana (where we picked up some Coors to take back to Atlanta, just kidding, but bonus points to those who get the reference!), we headed off back to the OH-IO.
A very sunny morning in Arkansas, which is actually far more scenic than I ever realized. The flora reminds me of South Carolina with the short run offs and the trees in the medians.
Finally made it across the Mississippi River and back to the Eastern United States. Hello Memphis!
I wish we could've stopped in Nashville for some Jack's BBQ, but we had to keep moving. With work Monday, yeah, couldn't afford to lose a lot of time.
Still sunny at the Kentucky/Tennessee border ...
... and Louisville!
Hmmm ... clouds on the Horizon ... must be getting close to Ohio ...
And it was cloudy when we got back into Ohio (of course). Short stop with a few friends for the best burgers in all of Ohio at Terry's Turf Club ... and another driver change ... 11 hours down, 3.5 to go!
Getting closer to Cleveland ...
Finally home after 1500+ long miles ... I can say, without a shred of doubt, that this car is everything - and more - than I wanted it to be. 4.2L V8, 6MT, Blue Alacantara trimmed sport seats ... and a sound that can wake the gods :-D