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sportscarpros Baby You Can Drive My Car

What we drive, where we drive, why we drive and other observations
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Hejira Misfits       The Bond Girls take on the Volkswagen Touareg

  We woke up one morning and over a leisurely latte on Sister Carol’s deck in South Reno, we decided her new Volkswagen Touareg needed a road test. I had just returned from spending time on the sprawling Misfit Ranch in the remote and rugged northern Nevada desert but am always up for a road trip. We decided to go look at a small 50-acre parcel that a friend mentioned was for sale.  Since the property is located at the end of a five mile mountainous dirt road, what better test drive could there be?

Whether you travel the breadth of extremities…
  After the mandatory stop at Starbucks, ordering lattes to the tune of Joni Mitchell's Hejira, our trek seemed to be off on a good note.  The Touareg was smooth and luxurious as we sped up the two-lane highway on the way to the BLM Wild Horse Ranch. Here, is where the Touareg would transition from the urban ride of comfort to a four wheel drive ranch truck.

  Cruising up the highway to the sounds of Hot Club of Cowtown, we realized that the cattle ranches were a blur…whoops, 95 mph, better back off, we aren’t locals yet but the Touareg has the power that lulls you in to a comfort zone. How many SUV's can make that claim ? Pulling off the highway, we were daunted to see an endless dirt road cutting through the valley.  The poorly graded road was no match for the Touareg's suspension, we could still sip our lattes in comfort. The six- speed automatic transmission has low range gearing which distributes plenty of grip. Compared to the other trucks we have driven, this is a pretty sophisticated 4WD system. Sister Carol was pretty sure that the Touareg would handle in the same manner on graded gravel as on asphalt.  Thinking that she was a WRC driver, Carol put that to the test on the first turn.  Sister Liz’s life passed before her eyes, but when the dust cleared and the airbag didn’t deploy, it was pretty darned impressive.  We were constantly amazed at the high rate of speed at which the Touareg could take these gravel roads.  Having spent some time traveling similar dirt roads in a new Dodge RAM 2500, among other vehicles, we can say the Touareg out handled everything. It was a stable ship in an ocean of dust!

Or stick to some straighter line…
  Continuing on to unexpected terrain, the endless dirt road became a twist of rocky corkscrew turns.  With a vague topo map in hand, with landmarks noted on said topo map (ie: veer left at the pond after the extra large sage brush bush) the Touareg allowed us to carry out a trip that we may not have otherwise attempted without army fatigues and canteens.  With the Touareg we felt unstoppable. Imagine our excitement when we found the gate in the middle of what seemed an endless desert, which was the final landmark for our destination.  The property was fantastic but a little too remote for your average daily driver.  But it was all about the journey!  We decided to head back and do it in reverse, hopefully turning the right way at the correct sand dune and broken fence post… not a problem, although Carol now wishes she got the NAV system. Maybe next time when the new Touareg Diesel gets to the U.S. or the one that I want, the Touareg W12 Sport. That would be the perfect ride when I return back to the Misfit Ranch in the spring.

  Returning to civilization, we were dusty, the Touareg was fashionably dirty, the dog was muddy…time for a nice civilized lunch at the local bistro…. the Touareg is truly the vehicle to have for the refuge of the roads.

And then I looked at myself here…
  After this outing, Sister and I discussed the reasons for her Touareg purchase. She has owned BMW's, Porsches and Mercedes, Volvo's, all the high-end models. She wanted to have the German excellent driving machine characteristics combined with an all terrain vehicle at a somewhat reasonable price. At the suggestion of some clients, I looked at the Touareg.  My first reaction was as a seasoned high end realtor…a VOLKSWAGEN????  But I’m over that and proud that I am the lone VW owner in a real estate office parking lot that is filled with Mercedes, Audis, etc.  I know that I have made a more personal choice rather than that of a status symbol.  I challenge any of my co-workers, with equally luxurious yet more status symbol cars, to a day in the Nevada dessert with my sister. Plus the Touareg looks better than its higher priced cousin, the Porsche Cayenne. Who would ever have imagined that ?

                                                                        Carol Bond
                                                                Lizett Bond-Jerome
                                                                         Febuary 2005

no hazard
LMB at the BLM
pair of dice found
shadows me
riddle of the sands
rock steady