100-mile ice cream run in a Porsche 968
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Ice cream. My woman loves it.
We were out, and she had to have some. What better reason for a road trip than to quench my sweet's desire?
Popping 'round to the local market would've been the sensible approach, but that's boring. My irrational alter ego thought it best to look for the longest and most out of the way place for a pint of the stuff. The rational side, though, had a point. If it was going to take nearly every hour of sunlight to fulfill such a request, this ice cream has to be the best.
Besides, if one of the Porsches is being fired up, it's not going to be for a five-mile round trip. The oil would never get hot enough to burn off the condensation.
There's a little place I found that has such a product. Their ice cream is handcrafted daily, made with milk and cream from local dairy farms in Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania. And it was around 50 miles away. Perfect.
So, mid-June, sunny and hot; the choice of machines was obvious. TAG — the 968 Cab was it.
I grabbed a cooler and a bunch of blue ice packs and shoved it behind the passenger side seat. Down went the top.
"Ready?" I asked my lissome blond love. "Let's get outta here."
The original Owowcow Creamery is located in Ottsville, Pennsylvania. Forget interstates, major highways or toll roads, this wasn't a peak-time sprint to the office. Instead, we headed west on two-, sometimes single-lane roads. Doing 45-50 mph in third gear is the 3.0 liter's sweet spot and allows for low-volume chit chat. Days like that one were meant for top-down 968 jaunts and tangled locks of hair.
We slithered on through Somerset, Millstone and Neshanic. These are but three towns that add polish to New Jersey's Garden State title. Thick pockets of woods open up to sea after sea of green fields each yielding a different crop. Large plots of land with long driveways lead to century-old Victorian and Mansard-roofed Italianate estates.
It's not uncommon seeing horses, cows, sheep and goats pepper these properties. Some have hand-painted signs perched on wooden fences offering fresh eggs and artisanal cheeses.
Most of New Jersey's back roads going westward look exactly like this.
County Route 514 leads us further west into Flemington then Kingwood until we reach Frenchtown; the last town before crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. It was nearly noon. We could've stopped at any of Frenchtown's cafés whose open doors spilled tables and chairs out on the sidewalks. Sitting in anyone of them would've roused nostalgia of that brasserie in Honfleur or Colmar, but I had a feeling we'd find a better option down a road less traveled.
15 seconds later, the monotone tire and open-grate deck duet stopped. We'd crossed the 87-year-old Uhlerstown-Frenchtown bridge and turned right on River Road hugging the Delaware's left bank toward Kintnersville. Turning left at the Y aimed the 968's nose southwesterly on PA611 towards Ottsville, our destination, but not before we'd hit a town called Revere first.
Rolling down a double-yellowed black ribbon dashed with Starboard galvanized metal crash barriers, Easton Road (PA611) wasn't entirely scenic. Woods, weedy fields and the odd asphalt-sided house saddled with a propane tank hinted a sense of solitude not unlike being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I missed a few Shangri-Las shielded in the thicket; a second, maybe third drive down this road would probably reveal them.
"What's this place?" my woman asked. "The sculpture in the front yard reminds me of us."
Just past a pair of flashing yellow lights warning of a sharp right, I dropped it into second gear and pulled into what was formerly someone's house. A sign out front said "Nellie Rae's Kitchen." The first floor was the café itself; above it was an art gallery. The plasma torch-cut sculpture of an abstract man and woman embracing on the front lawn was what piqued my love's interest.
Pulling around back, I yanked the parking brake, killed the engine and slid it into first. I sat there, one hand on the gear lever, the other on the steering wheel. The muffled sounds of plates, voices and a chainsaw cutting wood in the distance evoked reflection about the machine that got us here.
I could've chosen any of the other Porsches or the novel F-Type Jag, but none of them would've made me feel one with the road, the topography and the sky. While the 968 doesn't produce the most exciting mechanical noises of the bunch, the sense of connection to the world outside of its shell is something they can't offer. When wanderlust peaks in the warmer months, it's the perfect vagabonding partner.
Nellie Rae's was a perfect example of serendipity. Had we not chosen this route, we would've remained ignorant to the pearl Revere had been nurturing. The crowd was reminiscent of my art school days ... it was refreshing to see such stylistic originality. A vegetarian menu ready to seduce the staunchest of meat and dairy palettes, eclectic ambiance and an art gallery exhibiting local talent rivaling those of New York, Paris or Berlin, this place alone would've been worth a 50-mile trip.
Nellie Rae's art gallery on the second floor exhibiting the local talent.
A quick look left, then right, an enthusiastic left leg encourages first gear to slide the 968's rear end back onto 611. Reaching for second in a squirming screech, it was time to pick up our pint.
"Yeeeeaaaaa!!!" screams my co-pilot thrusting her hands in the air.
Down the road a piece, in a nondescript building crowning a T intersection between routes 563 and 412, Owowcow was packed.
I hate crowds.
But the presentation of velvety cream in schizophrenic shades strategically tilted to meet eyes behind the curved glass counter calmed the angst. Despite the choices, each more brow-raising than the next, we walked off with a quart of House Vanilla.
"Look," I say to milady, justifying the choice. "Vanilla's boring, but it's the benchmark. If they mastered it, we come back for more adventurous choices. Sound good to you?"
"Suuure!" She says.
Outside, the 968 drew a small crowd of teenage boys.
"What year?" asks a tall tattooed one.
"My dad has a Cayenne!" bellows out another.
The runt of the pack asks, "How fast does it go?"
"Fast enough!" I say.
Questions outnumbered answers. A few more boys join the pack.
I hate crowds.
Meanwhile, there's a quart of boring cream turning the frost beneath the fingertips into droplets of water. I open the door, open the cooler, jimmy the quart between the softening Freez Paks, jump in and fire the ol' girl up.
"Ready?" I asked the lovely creature seated to my right.
"Let's get outta here."
Forget the pint, a quart justified the 100-mile ice cream run.
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