After our latest hotel arrival yet, we began the day with our earliest hotel departure yet. To put it into perspective, just know that the first thing Matt did when he got to the room was take a shower, and his hair was still damp when we left. But that’s okay because we left the hotel knowing that we were on our most important mission yet.
We pulled up in front of Porsche North America’s headquarters and parked the PanAmerica right in front of the door, ready for our greatest battle. We donned our PanAmerica shirts and armed ourselves with business card and wristbands. The Porsche folks were clearly intimidated by us, cowering in their offices and pretending to not even know we were there. We were forced to send in our negotiation crew, which was made up of storyteller Trent and legal team/wild card Rob. Without fear they marched right up to the security desk and demanded to speak to the president. The security guard was not sure what the president of Church’s Chicken had to do with any of this as it turns out that both companies share a building. Delayed but not defeated, they spoke to someone else and captured the entire interaction on a spy cam disguised as a pen. This person asked “What’s with the spy pen?” and then gave them a phone number to call . . . a message was left.
Back in front of the building we waited until a Porsche employee finally came out to see what we were doing. Well, he actually came out because it was his lunch break, but after hearing our story he introduced us to someone else. This second person was even more interested. He was a summer intern. We gave him a wristband.
California Pizza Quickie
Back on the road and heading North once again, we mapped out our route and realized that for the first time on our journey we were going to be able to make it to a California Pizza Kitchen at an hour that restaurants are actually open. CPK sponsored our trip and gave us a significant amount of “Pizza Dough” which can be spent like cash at the restaurants. Our route to NY was taking us through Charlotte so Gary jumped online and found the location closest to the highway. As we got close, we began to notice a lot of signs for the airport, so Gary jumped back online to confirm that yes, he had routed us to a CPK that is in an airport terminal – past security.
We eventually arrived at the CPK in the South Park Mall where we enjoyed ordering a lot of things. However, as soon as they were delivered to our table we asked for to go boxes, and for once, it wasn’t just because Gary was in a rush. The reason we had to run was because just moments before, we got a phone call from Kirk “Chiseled-Jaw” Hawkins the finest reporter that WCCB Charlotte has ever seen.
15 Minutes of Fame, Followed by 5 Hours of Soggy
As it turns out, the South Park Mall was not as big of fans of Charlotte’s news stations as we were. After a quick rendezvous in the parking garage, we hightailed it to a Walgreen’s parking lot across the street because as the cameraman informed us: “Rain is a coming.”
No sooner did we arrive in the parking lot, then it began to sprinkle. The PanAmerica crew sported shorts and t-shirts and thought Kirk looked ridiculous in his full rain slicker gear… until the real rain came. He casually flipped his hood up and continued the conversation as we stood there and got wetter than a June bug in July . . . which we assume is very wet. We finished up our interview which was on air at 10pm and will eventually be online as well. The article can be seen here. (www.wccbcharlotte.com/news/top-stories/218123911.html)
As we kept driving, that’s right, we kept driving in the rain . . . wait, now I’m pissed. I know many of you will be reading this from your homes in the Los Angeles area, so let me further explain. When there’s a little drizzle on the 405, there’s no need for you to rein in the Prius or the SUV and do 40 mph in the fast lane. Seriously, cars do work in the rain, and even though you’re also a terrible driver in the dry, if the little old ladies who live in North Carolina can do 50 while their Cadillacs are practically underwater, you should be able to keep doing the speed limit or at least have the good sense to just stay home. . . and so we kept driving in the epic rainstorm and flipped through the radio stations, every single one of which was playing Michael Buble’s It’s a Beautiful Day. Okay, so it may have been only one station was playing it, because it was the first one we tried and why would we ever change the channel if they’re playing that song?
Somewhere in the hills of Virginia, we pulled off the road for sunset. Rob directed us to a really great spot with an awesome view of the valley. As we pulled into this little cul-de-sac, we were greeted by a friendly dog and an overalled man in a pickup truck, who gave us an awkward wave and tried to avoid Rob’s advances which were thinly disguised as questions about his dog. After sizing us up, and perhaps seeing the future, he put his dog in the back of his truck and left.
We poured our wine and took in the sunset. As we walked out into the tall grass it became a somewhat somber and emotional few moments. Gary sat by himself as the rest of us began to put things back in the car and Eagle Scout Rob reminded us that we should probably check to make sure we didn’t pick up any ticks while we were out in the field. When Gary came back to join the group, Trent comforted him briefly and then broke the tension by letting him know it was time to check him for ticks. And if that wasn’t enough to pull Gary completely out of his sad place, turning around to find a completely nude Matt yelling “tick check” hopefully did.
The Polar Bear Parade
Another late night drive found Story Teller Trent pulling double duty. Perhaps he was inspired by Adderob’s performance a few nights ago, perhaps his eyes were stuck open from the 72 hours of continuously staring at computers and phones, but when everyone else was too tired to drive, Trent stepped up to the plate. When the rest of us awoke at a gas stop about an hour from Manhattan, Trent recounted what we slept through in the last 100 miles. Now remember that we call him The Story Teller for a reason, we also call him the Minister of Trentmagination. He’s truly a modern day Bard (even down to his boots) whose talking never stops unless he’s freestyle rapping, and his fiction is so great that his first name isn’t even Trent. We were aware that he had driven through fog that was thick enough to be flavored, but what we didn’t know was that within that fog were polar bears, time warps, smoke monsters and a fat guy named Harley. We listened to his story and became concerned with his immense lack of sleep. Gary took over driving from there.
Driving through the empty (by NY standards) Time’s Square was quite an experience which Gary took full advantage of by turning the army of trash trucks heading into the city at 5 am into a slalom course. We checked into the awesome room that Gary’s mom booked for us and fell asleep within seconds