Checkeditout Chicago 2020: Field of Dreams
As the saying goes: if you built it, they will come. 2020 has thrown more curve balls at us than we all anticipated and Checkeditout, as it was originally intended, was one of many cancelled events on the calendar. More than ever before, I was incredibly excited to attend—mostly because this year I actually registered—and had the opportunity to share a bit about how I came to know and love the Porsche brand.
But as we were all relegating CIO2020 as the latest victim of the pandemic, we received new hope: the Checkeditout Field Trip. In sharp contrast to the urban backdrop we’ve come to expect with every Checkeditout event to date, the last stage Field Trip brought us to a suburban backyard, but on an entirely different scale.
Queued for departure outside of the 4FR Cars garage
Given the inclement morning weather, a handful of us suburban dwellers opted to forego the city rendezvous point in favor of the venerable 4FR Cars garage. My 997.2 C2S was in good company and provided contrast to an otherwise all white affair: Keith's 964, Jacob's 991.2 GT3, and Steve's 911R.
Where (most) Porsches have never gone before - off the beaten path
A spirited drive brought us to the final destination and to a short queue. We arrived just behind the first wave of cars from the city and were greeted by CIO staff who told to approach what appeared to be a single lane entrance to an off-road adventure. I could almost feel my car hesitate as it made contact with what was, presumably, its first encounter with wood chips in its entire existence as an automobile. We egged on, navigating the small undulations and slick earth beneath our tires—the tall grass flanking either side of our cars providing assurance that we were going the right direction.
As we proceeded, there were CIO staff that would point us one direction or another, our small group being slowly disbanded and led to our individual parking spots. I was directed to a small clearing into which I was to park diagonally. After getting out of the car, I noticed a 987 Cayman huddled into the far corner of our little partition. It belonged to a CIO staff member who encouraged me to walk up the path towards a large tent, presumably where the vendors were setting up shop. I obliged.
Along the way, I began to run into more Porsches parked in these fresh crop circles—a 911 here, a 944 there. Despite the drizzle, my pace quickened, excited to uncover the next Porsche hiding amongst the brush. The next clearing revealed Steve's 911R and, soon after, Keith's unmistakable 964 with white Cup wheels.
It was there that I was greeted by a familiar flat six symphony—the second wave of cars from the downtown meet-up had arrived in troves. Despite the full RSVP list, I wasn't sure how many people would've actually braved the weather to attend. I soon had my answer. One by one, Porsche's from every vintage started to pile in and fill every enclave.
It was only after I reached a higher vantage point that I was able to take it all in: there were nearly 70 Porsches blossoming from this expansive 4-acre yard. This was, by all measures of the phrase, a field of dreams.
One of two new Taycan's present—this one courtesy of Porsche Westmont
While every other Checkeditout event was highlighted by individual stories: road trips, restorations, racing, and the like, this Field Trip was underscored by the community as a whole. After all, Checkeditout wasn't supposed to happen this year. Lots of things weren't. But the strength of this very community made it possible to defy the odds and find a way. In a strange twist of fate, this strength is perhaps an even greater tribute to Karsten's original vision than we'd ever imagined.
It must be said that although we came together as proud Porsche owners, it's the friendships that kept us there, even as the sun set below the horizon. The romanticized, warm glow of halogen mixed with the brute output of modern headlights provided a second wind to the evening as the remaining Porsches quite literally converged at the center for one last hurrah—a buzzing drone lifted into the crisp, clear sky to capture the moment from the heavens.
I said it in my previous blog, but it's worth saying again: if you’re looking to restore your faith in humanity, look at the car community. Whether we're driving air-cooled or water-cooled, all original or modified, weekend warriors or daily drivers...whether we're young, old, rich or poor, we have all managed to cast aside the things that could otherwise divide us in appreciation of things that unify us.
Thank you once again to the incredible Checkeditout team for putting together another event for the memory books and to Eliot and Dam family for hosting us in such a unique fashion. It is a very special thing we have here in Chicago and a gathering I wholeheartedly look forward to time and time again.