Finding Fall Foliage on Chuckanut Drive

Soon enough it will be too cold and too wet for me to risk taking the 911 out with the high performance summer tires so I need to take advantage of every opportunity I can get! The weather this past weekend was stunning and just perfect for a long drive. With clear skies and temps in the low 50s, it was warm enough to keep my tires happy and cold enough to feed the turbos with endless amounts of cold air.

I explored mostly backroads from Seattle to Bellingham and turned a four hour drive into an all day adventure, hugging the coast and blasting through some empty farmland along the way.

Chuckanut Drive was pretty crowded but I managed to have some fun on the twisty road and find some beautiful places to pull over and take some photos. To tuck back into one spot, I may have almost backed off a cliff and while avoiding that almost hit a tree. Perhaps I’ve grown too dependent on backup cameras in more modern cars 🙂

On the way home, I decided to take the long route and drive around Alki. I pulled over to admire the clear Seattle skyline view and grabbed a few more photos before heading home. I’m a sucker for any view of the space needle and ferries!

Alki Sunsets

Living in West Seattle, I’m fortunate to be so close to Alki Beach. One of my favorite things to do is take a slow cruise down Alki to soak in the view of the mountains, the Puget Sound and the beautiful sunsets. The people watching is fun too. The busted West Seattle bridge may be a bummer but if I’m going to be stuck anywhere, this place will do nicely:

Chasing Waterfalls

I half tried to talk my kids into joining me but I was glad when this trip up to Snoqualmie Forrest ended up being a solo drive. Sometimes you just really need to get away from everything and I decided to spend the rainy day looking for “waterfalls” in the woods. When it rains, the runoff from the mountains can make for some beautiful roadside waterfalls…the silver lining to an otherwise muddy day.

This was my route. Without kids telling me to turn around or that they were hungry, I managed to do quite a bit of exploring. I found many dead ends, some beautiful scenic views and a few overgrown passes that became too narrow even for my Jeep. No big animals though.

Okay, so I’m better at taking photos of cars than I am taking photos of waterfalls but here are a few okay ones from the dozens that I found:

You can’t really tell from the map, but I did manage to find some nice elevation and some pretty view points to stop at along the way. Then I ended the day back at The Shop to get the Jeep all nice and clean again:

Huge Turnout for German Car Day

Unlike the Italian car owners, German car owners know that our cars are waterproof and we show up rain or shine 🙂 As is often the case, the forecast was wrong and the weather was beautiful for German car day @ The Shop. It was the biggest turn out I have seen all year (still in masks and keeping distance).

One of my favorite cars of the day was ”Kermit”, a very bright green 1984 3.2 backdated 911R tribute. The color stood out in the sea of white, gray and black and there was an adorable pug along for the ride:

This stunning 356 Cabriolet grabbed everyone’s attention when it arrived. It was a family affair to drop the top and it is always awesome to see these classics still on the roads doing what they were meant to do!

A collection of great cars with one imposter for you to find…an imposter so bad ass looking that it would be welcome anywhere:

My 997.2 Turbo S getting some attention:

My second favorite car of the day was this beautiful 991 GT3RS:

This was my favorite car of the day. This is a 997.2 GT3RS, a more track focused car and typically in some wild color combinations. It would make the perfect pair with my Turbo S and these things are only going up in value. Garage dreams!

Italian cars don’t like bad weather but Jeeps do!

Last Saturday was Italian cars and coffee at The Shop and while it wasn’t raining, it had rained overnight and there was a chance of rain in the forecast. That of course meant that almost nobody showed up for the cars and coffee event because Italian cars are allergic to the rain…or at least their owners are! A few fun cars (and a really cute scooter) did show up.

With C&C being a bust, I went home early, grabbed Shep and we went back to the Snoqualmie Forrest to make the most of the wet weather. Bring on the Jeep!

Shep took a video of us “playing in the puddles”. He’s almost 10 and I’m almost an adult 🙂

PCA Tour of the Olympic Peninsula

2020 was going to be a big year for travel and it was going to be a big year for car tours. Before COVID hit, I was signed up for five different Porsche Club tours and one by one, they were all delayed and eventually cancelled. That’s why I was so excited when I found out that the Olympic Peninsula tour was actually going to happen.. My local chapter, Pacific Northwest Region, had found a way to make it work. The tour had to be limited in size and broken up into smaller groups. There would be no in-person meetups and no group events or dinners. Each group needed to be spaced out so we could always keep a safe distance from each other. Thing we’re going to be a bit different but I wouldn’t have cared if they required me to wear a Hannibal Lecter face mask the whole time. The tour was on and I was ready to go! Four days of driving and car photography was going to be the break I needed to clear my head and recharge my batteries.

I was so excited that I decided to start the tour a day early. While the tour didn’t officially start until Saturday morning, the meetup was in Port Gamble and I didn’t want to drive from Seattle that early in the morning. On Friday morning I loaded up the car, kissed my family goodbye and then drove off to pick up some camera equipment and give the car a quick wash to start the trip.

All cleaned up and ready to go

It turned out that washing the car was a stupid idea because as soon as I hit the road, it started pouring!

So much for the clean car

Even with the rain, traffic was light and I had a great time making the trip from Seattle to peninsula. I made great time so I decided to explore the Port Ludlow area where I would be staying for the night.

I booked a night at the Port Ludlow Resort and had some time to explore before starting the tour the next day.

Day 1 started at Port Gamble and I arrived a few groups early so that I could get as many photos as possible, I had assigned myself as the official photographer for the trip so I could move between groups. While we had to stick to small groups, it was nice to have a chance to meet at least a few people and enjoy some coffee together before we started our drive. Our leads charted a fantastic route and we enjoyed some amazing twisty roads on our way to have a picnic lunch at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. The rain made the drive even more exciting and I was glad to have all wheel drive and fantastic brakes. While these are driving tours, we always manage to find some fun places to stop, stretch and get some air. After lunch we stopped at another beautiful beach and then drove on to a truly bizarre place, the Troll Haven. After checking out the trolls, we went on to our hotel in Port Angeles, the Olympic Lodge. Our course took us through some of the best driving roads that I’ve ever been on and I can’t wait to find them again on another trip to the peninsula. After we checked in, we were on our own for the evening. After a long day of very “spirited” driving, my body and brain were fried so I stayed in, edited some photos and went to bed early.

Looking good at Ford Worden!

Day 2 was another amazing day of driving, talking to other Porsche fanatics, taking photos and enjoying some twisty back roads through the peninsula. We made a loop from Port Angeles to Lake Crescent Lodge for lunch and then back to the same hotel for another night of much needed rest! If day 1 was “spirited”, day 2 was…well, extra spirited. We were always responsible, we had our official lead, a sweeper in the back and two-way radios to stay in contact about any safety issues along the route. That being said, day 2 was 4+ hours of focused driving that demanded your full attention. In addition, I had gotten up extra early so I could wash my car (yes…again) and so I could get some photos of other groups as they left for the day. I had big plans to head up to Hurricane Ridge for some night photography but the thought of more seat time and tight turns caused me to change plans…it was takeout and the Seahawks in my hotel room for me!

All cleaned up after a rainy start and ready for some sunny days!
We stopped for ice cream and it gave me a chance to admire this beautiful RS America.

Day three was a short day. We all checked out of the hotel and set off for a leisurely morning drive to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, aka, the Dungeness Spit. After a hike to the beach, we all said our goodbyes and went in whatever direction home was. Like any of these club tours, the cars are cool and the driving is a blast, but it is the people that you meet and the passion that we share for Porsche cars that really makes the trip so much fun. Huge kudos to the PCA for finding a way to make this trip possible and for everyone on the trip for following the rules and keeping us all healthy.

Sunrise on Mount Rainier

My family thought I was crazy because on Saturday morning, while most sane people slept in, I decided to set my alarm for 3 AM. I’m a night owl, so 3 AM is more likely to be my bedtime than my wake up call! When my alarm went off, I had the moment of “what the hell am I doing this for” but I pushed through it. I showered, geared up and hit the road.

My destination was the Sunrise Visitor Center at the end of Sunrise Park Road. At 6400 feet of elevation, it’s the highest point that you can drive to at Mount Rainier. Fun fact – Mount Rainier has had several Native names including Talol, Tacoma, and Tahoma and we may officially change it back soon. With its 14,411 feel of total elevation and larger than life presence, Seattle feels very much in the shadow of Mount Rainier. I never get sick of seeing the mountain and I’ve always wanted to see a sunrise on the mountain. Hence the need to get up at 3 am to make the 2 1/2 hour drive to the top to beat the sun.

This was me “sneaking” out of the house ~ 3:30 AM, hoping my exhaust wouldn’t wake up the whole neighborhood!

I drove right by plenty of gas stations in Enumclaw but started to panic as I approached the huge national park with only half a tank. Luckily I found the Greenwater General Store (the last stop for gas as it turns out) and while it looked abandoned at 5 AM, the pumps were on and I was so thankful to be able to fill up the tank!

The drive up in the dark was a bit sketchy. I would catch the eyes of elk and deer by the side of the road and had to swerve around a few unlucky roadkill, but I made it without incident…maybe a few new gray hairs.

What greeted me, was the most spectacular view of the mountain that I have ever seen in my 22+ years here. I was mostly alone, the sun hadn’t risen yet, but given the height of the mountain, it was already enjoying plenty of light. I spent the next few hours looking at the views and taking photos of the mountain and my car because…well, that’s what I do now.

My favorites (click any image for full-sized slideshow):

Honorable mentions:

Outside of catching a flight to someplace amazing or to see far away family, it is hard impossible to get me to wake up at 3 AM. Gabe said I had lost my mind and likely had dementia or something 🙂 It was so worth it and next time I’m dragging Meg out of bed with me. We will skip the cars and cameras and just enjoy the sunrise and a picnic breakfast on top of the world.

I have to close with my favorite photo again.

Japanese Car Day @ The Shop #2

This Saturday was a repeat of last Saturday but in reverse. I started my morning very early with a trip to Mount Rainier and made it back to Seattle in time for Cars & Coffee, Japanese Car edition, at The Shop. There was a great turn out but I was tired from my morning trip and didn’t take that many photos. The lot was full of Acura NSXs, a few Nissan GTRs and a number of classic Toyota Celicas, Datsuns, etc. My favorite was an uninvited guest for Japanese day…a new Exclusive Series Porsche 911 Turbo S. A very limited edition color/design package on an already incredible car. Gold isn’t my favorite but this one looked great in person.

Now I see why they call it Artist Point

The Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful driving roads in the US. We are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, countless lakes and huge mountain ranges on all sides. From Seattle, you can head South to Mount Rainier, West to the Olympic mountain range, North to Mount Baker or East to the Cascade mountain range. No matter which direction you head, you will not be disappointed. You can go for a day trip or spend weeks exploring. Some go to hike. Some go to camp. Some to hunt. I took off last Saturday afternoon, after a quick car show, to find some fun driving roads on the way up to Artist Point, Mount Baker.

The trip from Seattle to Artist Point was about 280 miles round rip and would take about 6 to 7 hours based on traffic. Not nearly long enough but it would have to do for a day trip. Mount Baker Highway is a blast and the last 10 miles or so is a crazy fun and twisty hill climb. I got stuck behind an RV at one point but they say my car, pulled over and gave me the thumbs up as I past them…such a great road!

At the top and then in a few different places on the way down, I was able to stop and take some photos. I even ran into another car photographer who shared some of the photos that he took of my car. You can see one of his photos below, watermarked Of all the photos I took throughout the day, I think my favorite was the lucky snapshot of the shadow. The 911 shape is so iconic that you can recognize it in shadow form. It was a great Seattle summer drive.

German Car Day @ The Shop

I started my Saturday morning with Cars & Coffee, German Day, at The Shop. Given that most big car shows and events have been cancelled, the small gatherings at The Shop have been a welcome diversion from the day to day malaise of COVID.

First the Porsches because…well…they are the best!

There were some awesome non-Porsches there as well:

Putting the distance in social distance

2020 is such a strange and difficult year, but there have been a few silver linings. Meg and I committed early on to giving each other real breaks from the realities of pandemic adulting. She fills her day off with dance church, yoga, SUPping or just finding a shade tree by the water, hiding in her car and reading. I’ve used my time to take long drives in the 911, find some adventure in the Jeep and develop a car photography hobby. Family time is great and the time that Meg and I get to spend alone as a couple is priceless. Covid has helped us create some space for selfish pursuits. We have found that by investing a bit in ourselves, we are in a better headspace to get even more from family and couple time. This is something we will carry forward into whatever our “new normal” becomes.

Last Saturday I drove out to the Snoqualmie Forest to find a few new routes that go past some beautiful alpine lakes. I got a late start, had to make the grocery run first, so I only had a few hours to explore. I made the most of it and got pretty deep into the woods. Deep enough and alone enough that I was wishing for some off grid communication tech if I broke down and some bear spray so I could explore on foot a bit. I can always find a good reason to buy more gear. I’m looking forward to getting back out there soon and this time I’m hiking to those other lakes…maybe 🙂

Here is my favorite shot of the day. I felt like I was being watched the whole time as I composed the shot and was really wishing I had some bear spray on me but it added to the excitement 🙂

A few other shots from a fun day exploring the outdoors:

Photoshoot with @dm.lens

I love cars. I love the way they look, how they smell, the incredible sounds they make. I love old cars, new cars, American muscle, European exotic, old gas guzzlers and modern electrics. As long as it isn’t boring, I can find a reason to love it. That being said, what really makes this materialist obsession of mine truly rewarding is the people that I get to meet and the passion for cars we share. Car people are everywhere. Blogs. Forums. Facebook. Instagram. TV shows. You can’t go anywhere in the summer without running into some car themed event…we just can’t get enough! I learn so much from the people I meet and its nice knowing that I’m not alone in my obsession.

Pre-covid, at the Lake Washington Cars & Coffee event, I happened to meet Dallas (@dm.lens on Instagram). Data Analyst by day, car photographer by night. We talked about cars we’ve owned, cars we love, car photography and then connected on Instagram. We recently had the chance to meet up (masks on, 6 feet apart) for a photoshoot of my car and it was fun to watch him work. He found a very cool spot with a great mix of direct sun and shadow to play with and the late day light was perfect. At car shows I’m typically stuck taking pictures in the harsh mid-day sun and it was such a nice change of pace to be using early evening light which is so soft by comparison.

Here are some of my favorite shots from Dallas, I love the detailed shots and how he captured the last few rays of the sunlight:

Here are a few of mine as well. I like the warmer tones in his photos and it is a good reminder that I don’t always need to crop the car to be the only thing in the frame. His use of light and incorporating more of the surrounding environment is something that I’ll work on as well:

My dream garage is done!

Okay, my real dream garage would hold dozens of beautiful cars with all of the fun toys to go along with them but those are champagne dreams on a LaCroix budget so this will have to do!

Like everyone else in the world, COVID has caused my entire family to work and school from home and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. To give each other more space, and so I can stare at my car all day, I decided to move into the garage. A very utilitarian garage with a lot of wear and tear…not the best place to spend 10 hours a day. I have always wanted to update the garage to go along with my car obsession and what better time than now!

This was the garage when we first moved into the house 10 years ago. The smallest space (19’x19′) that can legally be considered a 2 car garage but it was my first garage and I loved every inch of it:

This was the garage after 8 years of abuse and during a “small” project to add a Jeep top lift that is still in use and works great (details on that project here):

Now the big reveal and a total transformation! I used a rubberized tile product from Garage Flooring Inc,. some rubberized trim, canvas prints from my car photo hobby and fun Porsche accessories that I found on Etsy. I had the painters use a gray that is close to the interior of the 911 and a yellow accent stripe that matches the yellow on the car to pull it all together. I totally love the way that this came out. It makes me smile every time I see it…and I see it a lot 🙂

Cars & Coffee, the COVID edition

Summer brings so many wonderful things. Beach days…vacations…boating…BBQs or just lazy sunny days with the family. We have a pretty short summer in Seattle so we try to cram as much fun in as possible between July and mid-September. For me, summer is also car show season! Exotics at RTC, Lake Washington Cars & Coffee, PCA driving tours, XXX Root Beer Jeep day. There are usually so many car events that it can be hard to pick which ones to attend. This summer, not so much. Cancelled is the theme of 2020 for so many things (we should be in Africa right now) and car events are no exception.

I feel very fortunate that The Shop is still hosting small car events with Cocktails and Cars on Thursday nights and Cars and Coffee on Saturday mornings. Sure, they can’t actually give out free coffee anymore and we have to keep our distance from each other but car talk works just fine through a mask and I’m just happy to have a few events to get out and meet fellow gear heads. Stay safe and be smart out there everyone, we want to have a full return to normal in 2021!

Cars & Coffee – Exotics Day

Cars & Coffee – Porsche Day (bright day, not great for photos)

Cars & Coffee – Japanese Day

Bath & a Nighttime Photoshoot

It was bath time after that fun charity drive to the mountains which went through a few major rain storms. I was excited to see how the C.Quartz ceramic coating that Metropolitan Detail applied would simplify things for me. I also bought their shampoo AND I bought the AmmoNYC FOAMe product for some extra lubrication to help avoid any swirl marks. It all worked great and made clean up a breeze!

All foamed up at The Shop:

Look at the water fly off the paint…I didn’t have to use a drying towel except in a few spots…ceramic coating for the win!

With the car so freshly cleaned, I was sitting at home and when everyone was going to bed, I decided it was the right time to try my hand at some more night photography. I have so much to learn and I had to take hundreds of photos just to get a few usable ones, but for my second attempt I was pretty happy with the results.