June 12, 2004

TT-East 2004 Cumberland, MD: Nothing else Matters
Text and pictures by E Gildersleeve 

It is said you can measure a person's passion by how far one is willing to go to fulfill it. For attendees of TT-East 2004, that passion caused many to cross state lines via plane or numerous days of travel by automobile.

This same passion led me upon a four day journey across six states, traveling 1,398 miles one-way, to spend several days with people whom I met on the internet. I know, I know one is not supposed to mingle with strangers from the "wild world-wide-web." However, you would understand the zeal that lead me to TT-East if you owned such a wonderful car and spent any amount time in the TT forum here at Audiworld. It was finally time to meet the people I only knew as "sTTickman", "nasTTcar", "hoTTub", "TTschwing", and the like.

On Thursday, June 3rd the OH, IL, IN, and OK group met in Columbus, OH. It was immediately apparent that I was in the company of friends as the group began chatting away as if the friendship extended long beyond the years that the TT has been in production. Admiring each other's cars sparked a spontaneous car show that attracted several on-lookers.

As with all events, there was a hiccup early on. One of the participants had car problems. The group huddled around the troubled car in an attempt to diagnose the problem. The owner whipped out the laptop, fired up VAG-COM to spot the troubled codes. Unfortunately, it would take a call to Audi roadside assistance to get this TT underway. 

Down the road at a rest area, our initial group joined the MI group. Another impromptu car show at the rest stop ensued. Shortly after the OH group's arrival, the aforementioned troubled car joined the group. Then the caravan of nine TTs from five states continued the journey to Maryland. 

The caravan ride was filled with excitement. There is no way you can get a group of Audi TT drivers together and not test the legal speed limit. Can you? Really? The drive was exhilarating and little time was wasted in our push to the official TT-East gathering awaiting us.

Rural, western Maryland was the location where those sharing a common passion for the beloved Audi TT would arrive. A beautifully landscaped twisting road welcomed over one hundred fifty (150) participants to the Rocky Gap Resort and Golf course. Lake Habeeb sits to the north and has a small beach within walking distance. The resort itself is reminiscent of a large luxury log cabin and feels more like a lake home than a hotel. The only thing more beautiful than the scenic surroundings of the resort was the sight of over fifty (50) Audi TTs already parked in the lot reserved for the event.

Over eighty (80) Audi TTs would finally descended upon the small town of Cumberland, MD for an event that would spark rumors and debate amongst the locals for months to come.

After checking in and getting luggage to the room, there was an opening reception presented by Revo & Pro-Imports outside under a tent near the lake. There was a cash bar on hand to aid in lifting our already lofty spirits. I spent this time meeting friends old and new. Finally getting to assign faces and "real" names to the forum names I have known so long.

Thursday's night dinner was on your own, so I accompanied a few fellow TT-ers to historic downtown Cumberland for dinner. We got to know one another better as talk centered mostly around the Audi TT. The most interesting question posed was "How did you come to know and own an Audi TT?" It amazed me that other's shared the same depth of emotions that I feel for the wonderful design that Freeman Thomas created. Even the waiter noticed the intensity of our conversation and discreetly serviced our table.

Friday morning began with Breakfast on your own. The Resort had a wonderful buffet available for guests. The fee was definitely small compared to the wonderful dishes designed to satisfy all of our palates. Give my compliments to the chefs.

The Drivers' meeting began promptly at 9:00am. Attendees picked up boxed lunches and maps for the scenic drives. Several routes were available. The most popular was the Ohiopyle drive, which consisted of a visit to the Fallingwater area.

At 9:30, those participating in the organized Golf Outing met in the Resort's golf pro shop. Tee time was promptly at 10:00 for a serious round of golf among the competitive TT enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, the Ohiopyle drive was underway with over twenty-five (25) cars participating. With 2-way radios tuned to channel "4", a line of TTs filed out of the Resort area onto interstate 68. Once outside the city of Cumberland, a not-so-quick stop at a gas station to top off gas tanks was necessary for the upcoming three hour tour through some of the most beautiful country side imaginable.

The route was full of hills and twists that could only evoke that "smile" from the drivers who are serious about their cars and their performance. While passing an elementary school, the pace slowed as we waved to the children who were excited to see the colorful parade of TTs passing by.

Admirers and owners alike will tell you all about the design of the Audi TT, so it was only fitting that the Ohiopyle group would pay a visit to the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright house in Fallingwater, Pennsylvania. For some, this was a return to not only architectural history but, TT-East history. In 2001, the first national gathering of Audi TT owners was held nearby with a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright home.

At all national TT events, the parking lot becomes a make-shift garage. There were boost gauges, boost machines and TTDAs being installed in the parking lot. Needless to say, this attracted a few curious stares from some of the other hotel guests.

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