|November 4, 2001
TT West: Perfect Weekend Getaway
Throughout the years as AudiWorld's Managing Editor I have occasionally set out to cover an event somewhat unsure what to expect upon arrival. One such event, I'm not ashamed to admit, was the Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA) in 1999. It was my very first European auto show, and the granddaddy of them all at that. I recall getting on that plane with an intertwined sense of uncertainty and expectant anticipation.
Two years later as I prepared to depart for the 2nd Annual North American TT Gathering (October 5-7, 2001 in Blairsden, California) I found myself in caught up in another cycle of dichotomous thought. The only Audi in my garage, after all, is an S4. Although I was a fellow Audi owner with these TT'ers, I reasoned, I was certainly not privy to the two-seater adoration they seemingly possessed in profuse - perhaps obscene - quantities.
Still, I couldn't help but remember the times I had been behind the wheel of the TT and felt a sense of vehicular enchantment. So what would I find at TT West?
Frankly I was disappointed.
Disappointed that the weekend went by so quickly and left me pining for just a little more time, like a junkie with a spent syringe, behind the wheel of the TT.
Disappointed that the attendees were, to a person, so interesting and diverse that it would have been literally impossible to spend enough time with each of them.
Disappointed that I had to make the difficult choice between driving with one group or playing golf with another group at what appeared to be a world class resort (I chose to drive, although I understand the competition was, shall we say, weak on the links).
And finally I was disappointed in myself for having failed to become more acquainted with the intriguing Audi known as the TT and those individuals who have chosen to own one.
My journey to TT West began by boarding a plane for the closest major airport to the event: Reno, Nevada. Concerned, I believe rightfully so, that I would be out of place driving anything the local rental car companies could provide, I had been in contact with Lithia Audi in Reno about the possibility of a loaner TT for the weekend. Lithia did not disappoint; the 2001 225-hp TT quattro Roadster they provided did not either.
Much of my drive from outside Reno to the event hotel was spent in tandem with another TT. Together we bustled through Friday afternoon traffic, taking every opportunity to aggressively downshift and put pavement between our cars and unsuspecting motorists in our midst.
TT West was undoubtedly a unique experience for each of its attendees. By that I mean that there was enough going on and a sufficient quantity of people and interests that in all probability no two people had the exact same experience. Attendees ranged from singles to entire families, local folks to cross country travelers and both older and younger TT owners. With the exception of the Saturday morning drive (the pinnacle of the event in my opinion), everything was organized such that attendance and even duration of attendance was optional. Keep this in mind as you read this recap. There was simply no way to take it all in.
The formal structure of TT West was as follows: Arrival on Friday night with a mixer later in the evening, breakfast on Saturday morning followed by a group drive, breakaway at that point for golfers to head to the links, lunch and a tour of the Jamison gold mine in the afternoon, formal dinner on Saturday night and getaway breakfast on Sunday morning.
Not formally scheduled, of course, but scattered liberally throughout the program was both spirited time behind the wheel of the TT and plenty of food and drink (although never at the same time!). All TT's were safely parked in the evenings before the heavy duty partying began.