I was having some work done by Metropolitan Detail (more to come on that in the next post) and I showed up earlier than planned to pick up my car. John, the owner and all around great guy, offered to take me next door for a tour of Drivers Club, a private car club in Redmond. Wow, what a gold mine of stunning cars. GT3RS, GT2RS, GT2RS Clubsport, 911R…they were all amazing and most looked like they got driven…not just living their life in storage! We only had a few minutes to walk around, and thankfully John let me snap a few photos, but I could have spent all day in there checking out each car. Maybe he will let me back in some day!
I was that kid with car posters all over his room. I think I was that kid long after I stopped being a kid! I remember staring at the posters, usually while flipping through some new car brochure that mailed in for and imagining what it would be like to drive the cars that hung on my wall.
With this education theme in mind, I live close to West Seattle High School and I like to use it as a background for photos…there is something about the brick and the windows that I love. Here is my latest:
Some other shots from today and a few older ones as well.
I’m married to an amazing photojournalist and art photographer (Meghan E. Jones Photography) so I know what true talent looks like. I lack the artistic instincts required to ever be a great photographer, but I enjoy the hell out of trying to suck less.
Last night I was putting Shep to bed when I looked out the window and saw the sun setting. It looked like one of those painted sky Seattle nights so I grabbed the camera, borrowed Meg’s tripod and tried to capture the last rays of light. The sky wasn’t nearly as picturesque as I hoped, but for my first time doing any nighttime photography, I got a few keepers out of it.
As I was playing with some long exposures, trying to get some light from this black car, I had a few cards drive by and ruin the shot. When I went back and looked at the photos, I actually loved the look!
First of all, happy Mother’s Day to all of your amazing mothers out there and thank you for creating the next generation of wonderful humans! I’m grateful to have been raised by, supported by and married to the best moms that anyone could ever wish for. I love and appreciate you all so much! It may have been Mother’s Day weekend, but after the fun I had, I’m feeling pretty damn special myself!
Saturday morning was spent doing the meal planning and grocery shopping for the week. That didn’t use to be such an event but when you have to mask up, glove up and sterilize yourself upon return, it becomes a bigger deal. Then I had the afternoon to myself and I decided it was time to clear the Porsche. After a few weekend day trips, it was filthy and in need of some TLC. I was thrilled to hear that The Shop, the car club I belong to, was taking appointments for their wash bays again so I booked one and took off. I had great company at The Shop with a stunning black Vette and Red R8 getting clean at the same time.
After all that work to get it clean, it was time to drive around and take a few photos. Black cars stay clear for about 37 seconds so I had to make the most of it.
Sunday…Mother’s Day had arrived! The boys and I woke up early, prepared a quiche, some fresh croissants and some hot coffee, and served a wonderful breakfast in bed for the worlds greatest mom! Okay, so the kids just signed the cards and gave hugs, but that was enough for this year. Meg wanted some alone time on the beach which left me with needing to find a way to entertain two kids. Being a large kid myself, that comes very easy to me. We grabbed the Jeep and headed out to the woods for driving lesson #2!
While cruising around, Gabe came across a side road and we decided to take it. Turns out we found an open forrest service road (NF-9021) which we had an absolute blast exploring. Okay, I had a blast and the kids held on for dear life while we bounced around in huge pot holes, ran through water and climbed some small rocks. Even the kids called me childish 🙂 We hit some dead ends, passed some fellow explorers that shared good advice and found a small waterfall. All easy stuff for the Jeep but super fun anyway and enough exciting for this novice!
Confession – the last thing we did was drive the Jeep to a self-carwash because as much as I love getting it dirty on the trails…I do love a clean Jeep.
I vividly remember my Dad teaching me to drive. I had grown up “driving” whatever I could get my hands on. Motorcycles, riding mowers, tractors…if it had wheels. I wanted a turn.
As much as I wanted to drive, I didn’t actually get my license until I was 17. I spent most of high school in New Delhi, India and didn’t need to drive, we took rickshaws or taxis everywhere. I finished high school in the US and wanted my license the minute I was stateside. I was forced to take driver’s ed, but my Dad had already taught me more than any instructor could.
We had spent quite a bit of time that summer in Upstate New York, visiting family. We had the old manual blue Ford Escort station wagon, that would later become my first car, and endless miles of country roads to learn on. I learned parallel parking, threshold breaking, hill starts and some accidental drifting on those loose gravel roads. I remember my Dad stopping me on a steep gravel hill and making me master the hill start with what was left of that old car’s clutch. I stopped, he put me in gear and then I stalled. I must have stalled 10 times before we realized that he had put me in third gear instead of first. It was a great lesson.
Today was my turn. My boys are still young but it won’t be long before Gabe, almost 13, is getting his learners permit. When Gabe was about 4, he said that when he grew up he wanted to drive a car and play with sharp knives. Today he got to check one of those off his list 🙂
We drove way out East to find some empty back roads and the boys took turns with the Jeep. Shep in my lap, just steering, but Gabe all by himself in the drivers seat. They both did awesome and by the end, Gabe could have driven us home! There wasn’t a big hill around, but one day I’ll teach them hill starts in a manual and you can bet I’m putting it in third by mistake.
I fell in love with Porsches long before I could ever drive. The 911, with its timeliness lines, has to be one of the most iconic car designs in automotive history. I must have a thing for iconic designs because my search for a fun daily driver that can handle Northwest weather led me past SUVs, pickup trucks, AWD sport sedans before buying my first Jeep. Much like the 911, the Jeep Wrangler has evolved over the years, but you can still very clearly see the original model all the way up to the latest version.
As much as I love taking the 911 out on long fast drives, there is something equally special about stepping up into the Jeep. A go anywhere, do anything vehicle that is fun to drive, easy to customize and ready for top down adventure! Some recent photos of the Jeep:
Last week I celebrated my 45th birthday and my family went over the top to compensate for quarantine. Din Tai Fung delivered, scratch made cheesecake, a freakin homemade piñata and good family time. I’m a very lucky man. I have a great family, health, a career that challenges me and brings me joy. I’m basically marinating in my own privilege and well aware of how easy I have it compared to many.
That being said, COVID quarantine still sucks and it’s taking a toll on the family. We are all under a lot of pressure and there is a constant undercurrent of strong emotions right below the surface. Sometimes fear, sometimes anger, sometimes nostalgia…we are always hovering close to emotional exhaustion.
We are helping each other find ways to cope. For Meg that means things like Dance Church, Yoga and afternoons spent reading by the beach. For Gabe, it means long bike rides and finding ways to minimize his remote school load. For Shep it means lots of unstructured play time and allowing him to sleep in our bed (only for now…how long can it last right?). For me, it means getting into my car and driving someplace far away. At least as far as I can go without needing to stop for anything which for me, turns out to be around 6 hours roundtrip.
Yesterday, I jumped in the Porsche with State Route 10 in mind. You can pickup SR 10 in Cle Elum and drive the 16 mile scenic road to Ellensburg. Fortunately, pretty much the entire drive out there qualifies as scenic. Heading East on I 90 through Snoqualmie Pass is a fast, beautiful drive. With low traffic and countermeasures in place…sometimes quite fast 🙂
The first stop was in Roslyn, WA, home of Roslyns Cafe. Fans of Northern Exposure may recognize this small town as the filming location for much of the show that supposedly took place in Alaska. The Cafe is still in operation and still has the famous mural.
The skies were suppose to be clear, but I got dumped on from North Bend all the way to Cle Elum which meant my clean car was going to be filthy for any photos. That’s okay…my car looks better in black and white anyway which does a lot to hide the dirt and bad lighting 🙂
The skies cleared up before SR 10 and I had a great time. It sits above or right next to the Yakima River and the scenic views are nonstop. I didn’t spend too much time taking photographs given how dirty my car was so I mostly just enjoyed driving up and down this beautiful road.
On the way home, I came across another black 911 Turbo that is the same generation as mine, a 997. Their car was a euro spec 997.1 TT whereas mine is a US spec 997.2 TTS. It was fun to run with each other for a few miles before they took an earlier exit. I was struck by how beautiful their car was to watch move down the road, watching it change lanes and listening to the engine noise. I started to feel a bit jealous. Then I realized that I’m in an upgraded version of the same damn car!! There is a life lesson for me in there somewhere…
To help us maintain our sanity during the COVID-19 quarantine in Seattle (and around the world), Meg and I take turns giving each other a break from adulting. She spends her days doing cool things like yoga, reading by the beach, art projects. I spend my days off driving…anyplace…just driving as far and as fast as I can go without going to jail or needing to pee 🙂
The trick with the quarantine is that I want to be totally responsible and respectful of social distancing so I just never get out of my car. No food stops, no bathroom breaks, just solo driving in a car fast enough to hopefully outrun the virus!
Today’s escape was back to Chuckanut Drive. It was about a four hour roundtrip drive from West Seattle, up almost to Bellingham and then right back home. Beautiful scenery, a fun twisty road and great weather made it the perfect escape.
Okay, so I lied. I forgot that I did pull a u-turn in the middle of the road and risk my tires to a gravel parking lot because I saw a cool street art mural and wanted to get a quick photo. Nobody was within 1000 feet of me!
One of my favorite features of the 911 is the factory aero kit that it came with. I love the fixed rear spoiler so much more than the pop-up spoiler that came on the car as standard. The aero kit included the larger fixed rear spoiler and a more aggressive front chin spoiler which was painted to match the car. Looks amazing. The downside is that the normal front spoiler is low and scrapes easily…the aero chin spoiler scrapes every day!
Normally these chin spoiler are considered a “consumable” part. They are cheap and easy to replace. The fancy painted aero kit spoiler not so much. To preserve my original painted one, I purchased a very cheap knock off spoiler from eBay. At only $95, these knock offs can take the abuse and get replaced every year. Here is the photo of my son helping me swap the painted spoiler for this cheap one:
We managed to get it to fit although it took some convincing with a heat gun …would have been better to do this in the summer when the sun could have warmed up the plastic a bit. I wasn’t happy with the color which was too much of a contrast from the painted black. Time for Plasti Dip!
I picked up a few cans of black Plasti Dip and a can of the Glossifier and I had a great time with my boys painting the spoiler. We should have done this before we installed the part…would have been much easier. I just wasn’t sure I was going to go this route until I saw it on the car.
This is a “right sized” solution to the problem but is far from perfect. The knock off spoiler is a good but not great. After 7 coats of Plasti Dip and a few coats of the Glossifier, it looks much better than the grayish plastic look it had before but is not nearly as pretty as the painted factory spoiler. I didn’t expect that from a $100 part and Plasti Dip. If I wanted perfection, I wouldn’t have given the spray can to my 9 year old and 12 year old sons 🙂 In the end we had a fun car project and I’ll need to replace this part again in a year anyway!
My car came with an upgraded exhaust which I love the sound of. It has a SpeedTech 3″ X-Pipe Muffler Delete exhaust with the stock Porsche catalytic converters and stock exhaust tips. I wanted to play around with some video and sound equipment and decided to make a video showcasing the deep and exotic sound of the exhaust.
I managed to capture a good cold startup sound which I love and then I spent a quarantine evening driving around Seattle at night (never leaving the car) with the car mic’ed up. I screwed up the mic settings and the sound was clipping so I turned the middle of this video into a nighttime time-lapse video of a mostly empty Seattle during the COVID-19 crisis. The next day I fixed my mic issues so I included some footage and sound clips of the exhaust. Overall, kind of a schizophrenic video but it was fun to make anyway 🙂
Here is just the nighttime time-lapse video of Seattle if you don’t care about the exhaust…and really, why would you!
I needed to clear my head after a crazy week of quarantine and decided a 230 mile drive from Seattle to Lake Crescent and back was just the ticket. A nice long drive out there without any traffic and then a beautifully twisty lake road rewards you on arrival. You just need to time it right if there are other cars so you have plenty of space in front of you…I caught up to traffic a few times but would just pull over and enjoy the view.
I never left the car once…didn’t even hit a drive thru. Thanks to my amazing wife, Meghan, for enabling my momentary escape!
While I was out there, I managed to find some closed backroads to play around with Dragy (a small GPS device and app) that records various time intervals with a cool video overlay!
This was done in sport mode and without launch control, just mashing the gas pedal. 0 to 60 in 3.38 and 0 to 100 in a little over 7. With sport plus and launch control I should be around 2.9 0 to 60 but I want to save that for an actual track.
My personalized license plate arrived in the mail today. My kids and I thought it was perfect for an all black 911 Turbo S…it just screams The Dark Side!
On Sunday, before we went into mostly full time home self-quarantine, I was able to go on a long drive in search of great spots to take some car photos. I started off by checking out the Lake Washington Cars and Coffee, not knowing that it would draw such a big crowd. It was cold but the sun was shining and if it wasn’t for the COVID-19 scare, it would have been the perfect day for a car show. There were plenty of great cars, I met some new fellow gear heads and everyone was really diligent about respecting the 8 foot rule…no handshakes or first bumps in sight.
I saw another photographer (@dm.lens) getting creative with my car and some spring blossoms so I tried the same. His was better!
Lake Washington turned out to be fertile ground for great car photo spots. It’s hard to find a place with a beautiful setting, where you can take your time and where there aren’t big crowds. I found a place every 100 feet it seemed. I’m done messing around with Alki…to crowded and no legal place to stage the car…Lake Washington is where its at!
I’m struggling to decide if I like this series better in color or black and white…but this is my blog so I don’t have to decide 🙂
It’s a crazy time in the world with the growing concerns of the coronavirus and living in Seattle puts us in the epicenter of things in the US. I’m working from home and the kids are home schooling for the foreseeable future. We are all being asked to limit social interactions as much as possible. To stay sane, I took the boys on a long hike but we stopped in to check on a few cars first. Being sure to stay far away from people and wash our hands constantly!
As always, The Shop had a ton of nice cars on display including three stunning, race ready Vipers. The guy that owns and races them was there to walk me through each one and damn they look cool.
A few photos from the hike, as proof that we didn’t spend all day looking at cars 🙂
I love almost everything about my 2011 Turbo but I knew going into it that the suspension wasn’t going to be as good as my more modern 2016 991 series Targa was. After some seat time in and around Seattle, I have to agree. Even in normal mode, the 997 series is harsh on the crappy Seattle roads and sport mode is unusable on anything other than perfectly smooth asphalt. While my car is equipped with the Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM), the software that controls it is almost a decade old.
In comes the DSC Sport Controller. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money and didn’t want to screw with the shocks or springs. Given I can barely get out of my garage without scraping the front spoiler, I certainly didn’t want to lower the car at all. I had read nothing but great reviews of the DSC Sport Controller and liked the idea of a simple controller/software swap to jump to 2020 software technology. The controller more intelligently manages the adjustable shocks and also improves the software for the dynamic engine mounts on the car resulting in a more compliant ride on bad roads as well as improved high speed handling and cornering. At least that’s the sales pitch and I decided to try it out myself.
I ran some test before the swap, plugged I the new DSC controller and drove the same streets back to back. To me, it was an immediate and obvious difference. In normal mode my 997 feels just like my 991 did and feels like it handles rough roads so much better. I was even able to put it in sport suspension mode and leave it there for most of the day. It too felt like my 991 in sport mode…much firmer but I’m not taking kidney shots with every bump. The limited high speed cornering I have been able to do tells me that it is working just fine at speed as well but I’m far from being a pro and I’m not taking my car close to the limit. My verdict is that this inexpensive and easy DIY upgrade made an immediate difference for the problem I was trying to solve. I love the car even more now.
I decided to try my hand at making a review video, mostly so I can play around with some fun camera tech. I’m no videographer and likely belong behind the camera but it was fun to do:
Some fun photos I took while out and about doing the testing and filming the video: