Sunday, August 07, 2011

Memories: a TT road trip

This goes back a first performance car. Not sure where to begin, I guess it was when the day came that I realized I was able to afford myself a nice car. My first car in Canada was a Toyota RAV4. It was a decent car but not exactly something exciting to drive. I was very new to the whole fancy car thing so I went with what struck me as a fascinating car, the Audi TT. This was back in 2001 when the TT was just on the market and was still a novelty with its unique styling and fairly decent performance in the 225hp coupe version. Now a lot has been said about the TT, most of it not necessarily good. The chassis was flawed, the steering numb, the handling so-so. A hairdresser`s car, not a real sports car, and so on and so forth. To me at the time all that was insignificant. I had an Audi TT. A sports car. I couldn`t have been more proud of it and I loved every minute of driving it. And man do I have some seriously good memories of that car. When I first test drove it, I was blown away and didn`t hesitate to get it. I did my first real road trips in this car, my first pure pleasure drives, my first track day. I discovered the Duffy Lake Road (a road deserving of it`s own post) in the TT. I made a lifelong friend because of the TT, my fellow car-nut Kam. I remember chasing him in his yellow Boxster, tearing up the BC back country. But the best memory is the road trip I did with Connie when she was pregnant with Kai. It was to be our last trip together before Kai`s birth in September. This was June 2003.

We started out heading across the Coquihalla to Merritt, then to Kamloops, turning South-East, stopping in Westwold, a tiny little town halfway towards Vernon. Our friends Dan and Sam have a house there so that was our first stop. The next day we headed back to Kamloops, then North up the I-5 to Valemount. We took a break in Vavenby, that is where I took this shot:

Vavenby surely was a rural little town:

We stayed overnight in Valemount, then headed East to Jasper, crossing into Alberta.

We stayed in Jasper in a beautiful log cabin by a river. It had a fireplace and chairs to sit by the water. Super-romantic, I remember it well.

Then it was time to do the absurdly scenic drive from Jasper down to Banff. This is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. The road is mostly straight and there is a lot of traffic so it isn`t necessarily a driver`s road but it has stupendous scenery.

We spent the night in Banff, eating well and checking out the town. It was then time to head back West for another night in Westwold before returning to Vancouver. It was a perfect trip, I certainly had fun in the TT:

This car was my daily driver. In the winter, I put snow tires on it, turning it into a little snowcat. I remember driving the Okanagan connector in a snowstorm with SUVs in the ditch, the TT rock-solid. At the ski resort I found an empty parking lot with a foot of snow in it where I did standing starts and doughnuts, the Quattro system working overtime but always finding sure footing in the end. Very impressive. This founded a deep respect and love for Audi cars, something that is with me today. I will be talking a bit about our family car, the A4 Avant in a future post.

So that was the TT. After four years I ended up selling it to a co-worker, a kid from QA who had saved up long and hard to be able to afford this car. I have never seen someone look as proud and excited as this guy when he took possession of the car. Not unlike me when I signed the lease back in 2001.

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