"You have any weapons or drugs on you?" This is not the kind of question you want to hear when you are stranded on the side of a pothole-filled road on a military base with a borrowed $102k Porsche Boxster S.
The day started beautifully. I was tagging along on the Jalopnik road trip from LA to Pebble Beach, pretending to be a journalist. I had eaten my first In'N'Out burger, visited the Peterson museum, and spent the morning driving a Shelby GT500 through the twists and turns of CA 33 from Ventura through Ojai.
After stopping for tacos (in California, I think stopping for tacos is a law) we all tossed our keys in a hat wife-swapping style. After making the required wife-swapping jokes and drawing keys, then trading them again, I walked out and climbed into the Boxster S.
With Blake Rong riding shotgun, I spent two hours strictly obeying the speed limit, stopping for ducklings to cross the road, and absolutely not downshifting purely for the joy of hearing the PDK transmission blip and rev match the flat six right behind my head.
Blake eventually took over, and following the advice of a few friends, we went searching for Mission Road, which we heard was the absolute best route to take back to the coast.
After entering Fort Hunter Liggett, things went very wrong, very fast. The pavement went from perfect to apocalyptic before we had time to react. There was an enormous thud and before we could even begin to curse, the TPMS alarm went off.
We were hoping it was just a flat, something that could be easily fixed with the can of sealant we had in the front trunk. Nope, no such luck. An inch-long gash in the sidewall marred the Pirelli. There was no way we could fix this on our own.
Let me first say thanks to the soldiers of Fort Hunter Liggett. Almost everyone that passed stopped to offer assistance and make sure we had water. Thanks, guys!
Eventually, Blake arranged for AAA to come pick us up, and we settled in a shady spot across the road. We talked, joked about our situation on Twitter, let the rest of the group know what was going on, and mused about how we'd much rather be driving a Humvee than a Porsche at this particular moment.
Then Officer LaBeef pulled up, lights on, in his white pickup. Seriously. That was his name. Said so right on the shiny badge.
I walked over, making sure to smile, wave and keep my hands visible as he emerged from the truck, hands on his holster.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded as I explained the situation. Seemingly unconvinced that Blake and I weren't a threat, or that the gashed tire was some sort of a ruse, LaBeef ordered us to stand about 5 feet away from him, pull up our shirts and spin. Then he gave us a quick pat down.
"You have any weapons or drugs on you?" he asked. Of course not, we replied. Still suspicious, Officer LaBeef (yes, I keep using his name on purpose because his name is LaBeef) asked to inspect the car. I briefly considered throwing a shit fit, citing the 4th Amendment and telling him to kiss my ass.
Then I remembered I was on a military base talking to someone named LaBeef. I remembered that this guy probably deals with very real security threats, and that I was sitting there on vacation in a Porsche. So we popped the trunks and made small talk.
Eventually, Officer LaBeef warmed to us and called the local tow shop, since AAA seemed to have forgotten about us. Before departing, he gave us a final warning to stay in a visible spot by the car and left us in a cloud of dust.
Soon afterwards, the friendliest tow driver in the world scooped us up, dropped us off at a Denny's in King City to wait for our cohorts and invited us over to his place for beer and boxed wine if we were ever in the area again. I might just take him up on it. After all, we never did get to drive all of Mission Road... yet.