Bomb cyclones, mice and other winter obstacles
Monday, January 15, 2018
As another winter storm bears down on the U.S., I find myself thinking about my cold, lonely Porsche.
You may have heard about the "bomb cyclone" that hit the East Coast earlier this month. Meteorologists also called it a bombogenesis. The use of the word "bomb" refers to the incredible intensity of these types of megastorms. It's an apt description — the storm caused massive flooding and freezing in Boston and over 16 inches of snow in Connecticut.
On the eve of the storm, I was getting gas for my non-Porsche daily driver when I spotted a guy with a Misfits sweatshirt filling up his Cayenne. It's unclear whether he was prepping his SUV for tough driving conditions the next day, but he was certainly in a better position to drive his Porsche in a storm than I.
My 1976 911S is quietly hibernating in the garage for the season, albeit with some problematic preparation. After I zipped my affectionately-named "Smokey" into his car bag in December, I noticed two distinctly circular holes in the material. I was livid.
It was only my second winter season using the bag, and I spent a couple hundred dollars on it to ensure that Smokey would be rodent-free while being stored. The financial investment was worth the peace of mind.
Yet, in one instant, my thoughtful preparation was crushed. Although I fixed the issue with duct tape, the point was clear — nothing can keep mice out of my 911.
Obviously, the damage had been from the previous season. I had stored the car at a friend's makeshift storage and repair shop. I was lucky. A raccoon had managed to get in the shop and wreaked havoc on a couple of the vehicles that weren't under covers or in bags.
However, out of all the places the mice could investigate, at least one made an effort to chew through the bag. I heard somewhere that mice are drawn to the smell of old wiring. Regardless of whether that's true, the situation is infuriating.
A couple years ago, a mechanic removed Smokey's engine and discovered a rodent's nest inside. Cue paranoia. From that moment on, I became obsessed with warding off the creatures. But we live in the woods in a 40-year-old home with lots of nooks and crannies that entice the creatures inside a garage that's marginally warmer than outside.
If a bag doesn't work, what will? (Besides renting a costly storage space).
The ideal would be to have a Porsche I could drive all year long — one that doesn't sit for extended periods of time and that I can drive during a bomb cyclone if necessary. However, while I appreciate the versatility of SUVs, I want a 911, not a Cayenne.
There are some 911s that are equipped to handle winter travel and conditions. On my bucket list is a trip to Finland for the Porsche Driving Experience Winter to check out the 911 Turbo and GT3 with spiked tires. No doubt those cars could handle a megastorm.
But owning a vintage Porsche while living in the Northeast is tough. You lose about four months of driving time each year due to the climate, and there's little choice if you have a steep driveway and the state covers the roads with salt during the winter.
While I may not drive Smokey during the winter, I see him every day tucked in his winter blanket, trying to ward off unwanted critters. And while he could never handle a bomb cyclone, he's still the best thing in the garage.
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