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Porsche Cayman 981 Road Trip and Review

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Kim with the Porsche Cayman 981 in Palm SpringsMy wife, Kim, and I have been intending on picking up a Porsche for some time now. Our plan was to find a used 987 Porsche Cayman S sometime in the spring of 2015. Once we found the perfect car we were going to take it on a road trip from Chicago and head south and then towards the west coast.  We test drove one around the beginning of March that happened to be a rat.  It was obvious that its previous owner was the wrong owner and this scared us.  From there we went straight to a Porsche Dealer to look at the new 981 Cayman.  The next day, March 16th, we ordered a brand new 981 Cayman from Porsche Exchange.

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We ordered the base Cayman with a manual transmission and in Racing Yellow.  The only 3 options we added were the Bose Stereo, Sport Steering Wheel and the Sport Chrono package. Our salesman initially told us to expect the car around the beginning of June but a couple of days later he contacted us to inform us that the Cayman would be a 2016 model and that it would be the first 2016 Cayman in the United States. This would delay the order a couple of weeks but it was worth it to get the newer model year.  On May 29th, the car was built and headed for the port in Germany which was reached on June 5th.  At this point I realized that the ports were the longest part of the whole order process.  It took a couple of weeks to get on a boat from Germany, a week to reach the east coast of the United States, and then three more weeks to get on a truck from the port in Rhode Island to the dealer here in Chicago.  We finally took delivery of our baby, Taylor Rose, on July 13th with just two weeks to spare before our planned road trip.


T-Design iPhone Mount for Porsche Cayman 981With two weeks to go, we had just enough time to get some break in miles on her and hard-wire in my Escort Radar Detector.  I had already ordered and received the luggage designed specifically for the Cayman from Schnell Autosports and the T-Design iPhone mount.  These two purchases turned out to be essential to our amazing trip.  The luggage allowed us to pack everything we needed and then some for a 3 week road trip! Since we did not order the navigation option on our Cayman the iPhone mount was used every time we got in the car to route our directions and play our music whether it was through Pandora or the music on our phones.

Porsche Cayman 981 Luggage from Schnell Autosports
Early on Monday, July 27th we headed towards Kansas City.  We made our first pit stop at the I-80 truck stop in Iowa and of course we busted out our Adam's Polishes Detail Spray to clean the bugs off of Taylor.  Our first goal was to make it to Joe's BBQ in time for lunch, and we made it there sometime around 12:30pm for some amazing pulled pork.  After lunch, we made our way in to downtown Kansas City near the Power and Light District.  Kim and I wandered around downtown doing some shopping and ended up in an Irish Pub for some ice-cold beers.  We really enjoyed the Power and Light District and would love to check it out when it's actually a busy party night.  From there we cruised over to check out Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums and were lucky enough to get some great photo opportunities!
Kim with the Racing Yellow 981 in front of Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums
We stayed the night in Overland Park, KS and then headed out bright and early again.  This time our destination was set for Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma.  Kim, being a morning person, started out the first stretch of this drive. We made it to Davis, OK and Turner Falls Park in just under 6 hours.  Turner Falls offers hiking trails, waterfalls and natural swimming pools and the wife and I were excited to partake in all three.  We began driving through the park exploring and searching for the hiking trails in hopes to get a nice run in before enjoying the pools.  As we drove around one of the first bends we cam across a bridge where the natural running water was actually flowing across the road and looked to be about 2 to 3 inches deep.  At first, I was tentative about driving Taylor through but after a quick assessment I decided that there was plenty of ground clearance to make it across.
2016 Porsche Cayman 981 at Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma
Our next stop was a short drive in to the Dallas/Fort Worth area where would would be spending 6 days visiting friends and family that we had not seen in years.  Our cousin Michael was gracious enough to let us try out his brand new pressure washer and give Taylor a proper bath.  She was in desperate need of a good cleaning after going off-roading through Turner Falls.  At this point we had a chance to settle in a little bit, wash some laundry and assess how the driving was going.  Kim and I agreed that the Cayman was already turning out to be an amazing road trip car.  We had been averaging around 29 miles per gallon and getting close to 400 miles between gas fill ups.  Thus far, we both found the seats in the car to be very comfortable.  I was worried about the seats because they do tend to hug my back somewhat tightly but over our first two major drives I was extremely impressed.  The overall ride was very comfortable and the cabin was pretty quiet with just a nice hum from the mid engine behind us.
Kim with the Porsche Cayman 981 in Palm Springs
After a few amazing days lounging by some pools in the Texas heat and enjoying some amazing food we packed up the Cayman on Sunday morning with intentions of making it to Flagstaff, AZ by dinner time.  It was a 14 hour drive and we were settling in for a long haul.  Once again, Kim started off the morning drive.  Kim didn't grow up doing road trips with her family like I did so we Porsche Cayman 981 outside of Twin Arrows Casinohad been curious how she would do on these long sections of the trip.  She was wondering how long she would be able to cruise without getting sleepy, and from the beginning of the trip we both promised that of either one of us even started to get a little sluggish we would pull over and switch drivers.  I am happy to report that every moment of driving this car is fun and exciting which kept Kim pumped and cruising for 11 hours with just some stops for food and washrooms.  That gave me plenty of time to find us a great hotel and casino called Twin Arrows Navajo Casino in Flagstaff to stay at.  We were looking for a place that we could get a nice meal and crash for the night and we definitely picked the right place.  The Valet's were super friendly and allowed us to park Taylor right in front of the doors under cover since there was a chance of storms overnight.  The hotel offered a handful of great food choices and the rooms were absolutely amazing.
Just before sunrise the next morning, we checked out and made our way towards the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Kim had been interested in doing a mule ride into the canyon so we needed to arrive early in hopes to reserve a spot.  Once we arrived and checked things out we realized that since we are both athletic we would enjoy hiking down the canyon ourselves. Kim led the way as we briskly hiked 3 miles down into the canyon while enjoying the breathtaking views.  After a short water break, we headed back up and quickly realized how steep of a climb it was.  As the sun was rising, and the temperature climbing, our hike back up quickly turned into more of a workout. Excited for the challenge, we pushed ourselves and made it back up in just over an hour.  From there we snapped a few more pics, freshened up and headed towards Sin City where I had a surprised lined up for Kim.
James hiking at the Grand Canyon
The drive from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas was one of my favorite stretches.  I was able to really let Taylor loose through some open stretches of the mountains.  The 2.7l Cayman motor really likes running in the higher RPM range and was really a lot of fun through the curves.  I would say the only weak point I noticed was that the stock 18" tires seemed a little sloppy.  For handling, I think the car will really benefit from a 19" wheel and tire package with a better set of tires but the 18's proved to be great for comfort on this long road trip.
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As we were getting closer to Vegas, I hit up Chrisy Rios(a ShockerRacing Girl in 2008 and 2015) for a recommendation for a good hand car wash.  As a native of Sin City, she recommended a great shop. The manager pulled our baby in the shop right away and cleaned her up nicely.  Taylor needed to be looking good when we rolled into the Hard Rock Hotel.  At the Hard Rock, one of our closest couple friends surprised Kim by showing up and decorating our hotel room in celebration of Kim's birthday! A couple of days were spent drinking by the pool and doing some gambling before heading in to San Diego to visit an old college friend.
San Diego was beautiful and Kim had always said that surfing was on her bucket list so we signed her up for some lessons at Pacific Beach while we were there.  She spent an afternoon catching some waves and pretending to be Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush.  The next morning we headed to Palm Springs to relax for a few days, do some laundry and regroup.
Scenic overlook in the mountains heading into Palm Springs with the Porsche Cayman 981

On our way into Palm Springs, we stopped at a scenic overlook in the mountains for a few pics.  While in Palm Springs for 5 days, we laid by the pool, did some shopping along El Paseo, went for morning runs and enjoyed cruising the Cayman around the desert.  Before heading north towards San Francisco, we gave Taylor another bath using our Adam's Polishes that we had brought along and I made wifey do an impromptu photoshoot with Taylor in her ShockerRacingGirls Crop Top.
Kim with the Porsche Cayman 981 in Palm Springs
Our next destination was to head towards San Francisco with a short stop in Monterey, but we were told it was necessary to make the drive up Pacific Coast Highway so we took the scenic route and it Kim pumping gas in Malibu on PCH.  Check out those gas prices!was definitely worth it.  The cruise up the coast in the Cayman was absolutely breathtaking!  We picked up PCH in Malibu and made sure to stop in at Pepperdine University since one of the ShockerRacing Members graduated from there.  I could not believe how beautiful the campus was and thought to myself, how could anyone ever leave?  When we pulled out of the campus we stopped at the first gas station along PCH for some fuel.  That was a big mistake... it was by far the most expensive gas we got on the entire trip and was over $1 more per gallon than most places we had stopped!  If you look closely at the picture to the left, you can see it was $4.69/gallon for premium.  We eventually caught the highway and a small pack of Vette's and Porsche's making the drive towards Monterey Car Week.  We took a quick drive through Monterey and had a chance to check out a Mini Car Show.  When I saw it mentioned on the website I thought this was just a small car show but I quickly realized this was a car show filled with tiny automobiles!  I didn't know much about Monterey before going there but both Kim and I really enjoyed this town and definitely plan to visit again in the future.

2016 Porsche Cayman 981 in Malibu at Pepperdine University
We arrived in Fairfield, CA that evening just in time to meet an old high school friend and her family for dinner.  The next morning they took us in to San Francisco to do all of the touristy things.  They took us to a few places to view the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then we walked along the piers and checked out the Fisherman's Wharf where we were able to view Alcatraz and the Sea Lions.  We thought about checking out a Giants baseball game but we planned on heading home early the next morning.
Porsche Cayman 981 in Malibu California
We left early that Friday morning with plans to drive about 16 hours and find a place to crash for the night and then finish another 15 or 16 hours on Saturday.  The drive from San Francisco to Chicago was a pretty simple one in that you take I-80 all the way.  Cruising across Nevada was a pretty long a fairly boring stretch but we were completely surprised by Utah.   There was a very long stretch of Utah were the road was as flat and straight for as far as the eye could see.  After a quick Google search, I realized this was the area near the Bonneville Salt Flats which also explained the salty looking terrain.  The speed limit was 80 miles per hour but I had a hard time resisting just mashing the pedal to the floor!  Kim started driving again around 7pm that evening and I passed out for a good nap in the passenger seat.  I woke up refreshed and wide awake shortly after 11pm, like I mentioned these Cayman seats are pretty comfortable.  We stopped for a snack and to fuel up and I told Kim I was good to keep driving for now but if I got even a little sleepy we would pull over and find a hotel.  I never batted an eye and kept us on the road all through the night until the sun started to come up.  I was able to get us through Nebraska and Kim took over that morning for the final push as we worked our way through Iowa and back in to Illinois.  We made it home mid afternoon on Saturday and could not wait to get into our own bed!
2016 Porsche Cayman 981 Gauge Cluster
Kim and I had dreamed of going on this trip for many years.  The car you choose for a road trip of this magnitude can make or break your vacation.  The Cayman pleased us every step of the way and was a essential piece of the memories we created, I think we took more photos of Taylor than we did of ourselves!  We racked up some miles on her, ending the trip at 6,868 miles which was just over a month from our delivery date! But we wouldn't change a thing... We averaged 30.8 mpg over the 31 hours of drive time home from Cali at an average of 70 mph.  We are loving the Racing Yellow color and every option we went with.  The yellow grabs attention everywhere we go.  We love cruising in sport plus mode for the sportier feel and the rev matching.  The Bose stereo package is a must on this car if you are a music lover.  It has the just the right amount of bass and sounds incredible.
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Over the winter we will begin customizing Taylor to make her unique.  We have some big plans for her beginning with a Fabspeed Exhaust, a new set of wheels and tires, and some other surprise appearance ideas.  We hope to get her out on some road courses and at some autocross events coming this spring.

Fabspeed Exhaust Install

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