CRUISE WINE COUNTRY FOR DIRT CHEAP Go on the Trip of Your Dreams for $50 a Day
I saw San Francisco and wine country from behind the wheel of a Porsche, and I paid $50 a day to do it. Here's how:
During my last trip to L.A., my Uber driver introduced me to an App called Turo. The best way to describe it, if you are unfamiliar, is that it's essentially Airbnb for cars. Owners list their car, along with pictures, and a daily or weekly rate on the Turo app. Renters browse and choose from the selection of cars available in a given region. The app has a range of vehicles from Hyundai’s to Maserati’s, but it definitely seems to highlight sports cars and luxury cars for a remarkable value.
I decided to try the service on a trip to San Francisco last month and it was easily one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. The search for a car began about a week before the trip, when I realized I had a day off that I could use to venture up to wine country with my girlfriend. With that in mind, I started looking for something that would be fun to drive on a day trip and easy to park in busy SF. I found a nearly new Porsche Cayman S listed for $111 a day, but I was looking for something a little more affordable so I kept swiping. After a fairly quick search I came across a 2007 Porsche Boxster for $53 a day.
I am totally among the crowd of people that make fun of the boxster. It's "the wife's car" or "the Porsche for those who weren't quite successful enough to get a 911," but if I'm being honest...I'm not successful enough to afford a 911 so that's pretty apropos. Besides, for $53 a day, I suppose I can lower my standards to a humble 2800-pound convertible go kart with 250 HP of smooth naturally aspirated power and a ton of torque.
We were picked up from the airport by a Lyft that was arranged by Turo, and brought straight to the Porsche. From there we went and grabbed coffee at a supremely hip cafe, and then blasted north to Sonoma valley.
Once we were in Sonoma valley we stopped at an information center that also served as a store front for multiple wineries and distilleries. We spent a few hours there learning about the area, enjoying the remarkable art and gardens, and tasting wine, gin, and limoncello. My girlfriend got to indulge more than I did since I was driving, but that was a win win anyway.
On a local's recommendation, the next destination was Deerfield Ranch Winery, about 16 miles up the valley. The drive was stunningly beautiful, with vistas and geography reminiscent of Italy—and the road was a blast. We got off the main route and enjoyed the back roads for most of the way. When you see signs everywhere asking for motorists to slow down, you know you're on a fun road. I did my best to respect the locals request for reasonable speeds, but even at the speed limit, Warm Springs road between Glen Ellen and Kenwood is an awesome drive.
Deerfield Ranch Winery was an awesome suggestion. The winery's tasting room is tucked deep in the back of a cave that Deerfield uses to store their casks of aging wines. The wine tasting was super laid back and fun while also being incredibly educational. We arrived near closing time (they are open from 10:30-4:30 daily), but the manager was happy to pour us a flight and teach us about each wine he poured. We ended up hanging out their until well after close, chatting with the staff about wine, the Deerfield Ranch vineyard, and wine country. Eventually we emerged from the cave with a fantastic bottle of Merlot, and some great memories.
The Boxster treated us well in the twists and turns on the way back down the valley, and we left the convertible top down all the way back to SF. We took a detour and crossed the bay bridge instead of the Golden Gate on our way back into the city, and made it back to the house in record time.