By Rick Roach
Our latest excursion through the Gorge was something special as we tried a new service called Turo. Turo is a car rental company, but not in the ordinary sense. Turo allows car owners to rent their daily driver when not in use or a second car out to individuals as a peer-to-peer rental service.
The idea is similar to an Airbnb or vacation home rental where homeowners share the burden of owning a home. Turo enables car owners to recoup some of the cost of owning a vehicle. They operate a website called Turo.com and also offer service through a phone app.
We found out about the service from a friend from Portland named Matt. He rents his car out on Turo and sends a portion of the profits he receives to Embrace Oregon, a community based, stand-in-the-gap organization which promotes volunteerism opportunities and advocates for foster children in Oregon. Matt was looking for an opportunity to showcase his car and charity and we were looking for an opportunity to do something different and fun in the Gorge so voila’, we ended up with a Jaguar for the weekend!
Matt’s 2016 Jaguar F-Type R convertible is an amazing car for cruising the highway, touring winding mountain roads, and turning heads in town! First off Matt is a pleasure to rent from and since he wasn’t available when we picked the car up he sent a link to a video which explained all of the options available in the car. He provided professional courteous response during the entire time we had the car and during return.
Now for the review of the car… The option to toggle to dynamic mode multiplies the fun factor x 10! Selecting dynamic mode increases the engine response, opens the exhaust and stiffens the suspension for a true exotic car experience. Wow factor is available in a button to open the pipes in any mode changing the sound and tone from purring to growling and when shifting manually into an outright crackling roar. Shifting manually in dynamic mode provides a real thrill allowing superb control of the 550 hp supercharged V8 power and delivering it to all four wheels for excitement while traversing switchbacks and short turns. Switch over to normal mode and the eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly allowing you to tame the beast when so desired. The kicker in driving this car is the totally free feeling you get when driving with the top down while cruising down the highway or enjoying the sights and sounds of town as you gently idle through (okay hitting the pipes button occasionally to say hello to those on the sidewalks who are staring and asking “what is that?”). I highly recommend that you rent from Matt and drive this car! Just go to Turo.com
We enjoyed our stops and photo ops at various interesting and iconic places in the Gorge beginning with Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood. We stopped at Trillium lake to enjoy the spectacular view of the reflection of Mount Hood in the water there. Then on to Mount Hood Winery where we happened upon a vintage car show in the parking lot. The winner of the People’s Choice award was a very interesting young man and his DeLorean sports car. After that we drove up to Stonehenge near Goldendale Washington and observed several families and people of all ages view the WW I memorial with reverence and awe. Then west on Hwy 14 to Maryhill Winery where we enjoyed the shade of the pergola and listened to Dante Zapata play a variety of music, including an outstanding acoustic version of “Voodoo Chile” by Jimi Hendrix. We crossed back over the Columbia at The Dalles and took an obligatory picture of the Sunshine Mill sign on the building with the Jag in the foreground. Stopping in at the Hops and Hogs Festival and Lewis and Clark park was fun as we enjoyed the smell of sweet BBQ and watched the AC/DC tribute band, School Boi, perform for the crowd. For dinner we ate at the Mesquitery where I had the salmon which was cooked perfectly and tasted savory and sweet, which is no surprise since all of the food there is excellent. Lori had the Malibu chicken with Alfredo noodles and garlic bread which was also phenomenal.
Sunday was a leisurely day with a drive to Lebanon Oregon after church to visit family then back to Portland to return the car. The big difference driving Sunday was that during the heat of the day we kept the top up and enjoyed the sweet air conditioning to soothe our sunburned skin after driving with the top down during the previous two days.
I really appreciate the opportunity to drive an exotic luxury sports car and the Jag was a thrill to drive. I do have to admit though that after a long weekend of driving I was ready for a little less excitement and to prop my feet up and relax. I am looking forward to our next adventure but for now, oh how its good to be home!