Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Chase of Air and Water

Tejas Treffen - Graffiti Run
November 19, 2016
Houston, TX

ECSTATIC! The single word that sums up the experience of being a part of the Tejas Treffen Graffiti Run. Ecstatic, we all were, because we got the chance to partake on a curated drive to some of the most colorful and inspiring urban art around Houston's downtown. And as if that was not enough, we all swept the city's streets in one of the most respected automaker marquees in the world... Porsche.

It was an early call time for the participants that Saturday morning at Catalina Coffee. I was lucky enough to have been invited by John to ride with him for the graffiti run. I think I was supposed to be the navigator but I ended up being more of a real passenger who was only there for the mere reason of enjoyment. Although I did take photos along the way, which pretty much makes up for failing at my main duty.

The graffiti run experience was insanely special because that marked El Hefe's (John's RWB) first public appearance in its hometown. Turbokraft has already made the rounds with the car around the metro Phoenix area, but that Saturday was its maiden drive around the streets of downtown Houston. It was an honor being ferried around in a tub of metal and fiberglass that is powered by a twin turbo 4.0L air-cooled engine screaming at the tune of 755 awhp through an intricate metalwork of pipes.

First stop was Preservons la Creation in midtown Houston. Now if the guy painted on the wall decided to make a car, I'm pretty sure it would be a 964 RWB. No doubt about it!

This is where it gets interesting. I present to you, probably the second car creation by that guy on the mural... a 1978 911 in the guise of a Safari car. This car is Jim Goodlett's lifted machine filled with unlimited sideways fun. He drove all the way from Georgia just to take part in the very first Tejas Treffen. But in actuality, I think he just wanted to chase El Hefe around Houston and show off his car's unique talent of grabbing and eating grass and dirt. 

These two cars were probably, just maybe, the most interesting cars in the graffiti run. I might be biased because we were in the same group. But you would have to trust me on this matter or you could ask either John or Jim. I doubt that they will be biased when faced with that question.

Hitting the road was fantastic. The sound of flat sixes roaring from stoplight to stoplight and the feel of the cool crisp breeze coming through the open windows was exhilarating! In the words of the great Jeremy Clarkson... I was just having a crisis every time the cars broke free from the imaginary grapple of the red lights.

Jim and his navigator, the awesome photographer and graphic designer Kevin McCauley (@capturingthemachine), were leading us in his Safari 911. I know El Hefe could have easily beaten that lifted beast on pavement, but the behind of that Safari was such a beautiful sight - the mudflaps, the tall ground clearance, and that spare tire on the roof rack. 

This was the second stop for our group. The itinerary named it Houston wall in EaDo (east of downtown). Aside from that Houston wall, there were many other graffiti around. That location was teeming with urban art, which made it perfect for a photo op. 

I've mainly focused on the two most interesting cars in our group, because they might very well be the most interesting cars in the whole graffiti run lineup. Also, El Hefe and Safari chasing each other around sounds really fun. That is not to say though that they both did not get along well, because they did. But yes, there were definitely other cars with us. They all are unique and special in their own right.

The manner on how we blasted from one location to the next and ripped from stoplight to stoplight took a toll on El Hefe's gas mileage. Sure enough, we were running low on gas only on our second stop on the graffiti run. Although I should say we did not have a full tank of gas during the start of the drive. It wasn't on the itinerary but inevitably El Hefe's third stop was a gas station.

Fourth stop... dog astronaut mural behind a Texas Direct Auto building.  It is the creation of Houston street artist Sebastien Boileau. This stop wasn't really ideal because there were homeless people sleeping and the roads around the location were mostly closed off due to construction. Oh, and should I mention that the roads around the area are still bad? I do hope that the city gets to repair the streets soon. I believe that these beautiful metal creations do not have to suffer when trudging along the busy streets of Houston. 

Our group only hung around for a short time. Everyone chatted up a bit before deciding to head out to the next location. On a side note, the RWB and the Safari seemed to be inseparable. They somehow always find their way to park right next to each other since the first stop.

The group's fourth stop (El Hefe's fifth stop) was the "Houston is Inspired" wall, which was created by artist Gonzo247. Seeing all these cars parked in front of this mural gave more meaning to the statement. It was truly inspiring to have been in the midst of these warm Porschephiles and rowdy machines. 

By this time, everyone almost had enough of photo taking. We just unintentionally tucked away the cameras and cellphones and spent the time just talking about the cars and sharing brilliant ideas. Personally, it was great finally meeting Kevin and chatting with him about cars, traveling and photography. 

The following group finally caught up with us. Not because we were a slow group, but only because we were all chatty in one way or another. The second group did not get the chance to park in front of the wall, and so they decided to just head out to their next stop which also happened to be our last. So for our final stop, we became a part of a bigger group of loud air-cooled and water-cooled flat sixes.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), we all had trouble on our way to the last stop. Our group leader almost got the directions right, but he second-guessed himself when the other group took the wrong turn. So we all ended up by the railroad tracks with very bad roads. Luckily, the UHD gator wall wasn't far away. We were basically just on the opposite end of the street.

This was where Jim's Safari came in handy... showing off what the rest can't do - get on other people's grass. Also, Jim demonstrated some useful photography taking skills.

Since this was our last stop, everybody just tried to finish their previous conversations and eventually decided on where to go for lunch. As for me and John, we both headed back to Catalina Coffee and separated ways. It was definitely an experience worth remembering, especially with the new connections we all made with one another. As is with every car culture, it is and always about the community.

Stay tuned for the second part that would cover the car and art show plus some motorcycles too.

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