3rd Times a Charm

Believe it or not we bought another Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited.  We decided to trade-in the BMW X5 because it was very temperamental.   Even under the BMW warranty no one wants to visit the dealer every month for issues.  The Wrangler is such a fun vehicle with a ton of unique customization features that keep you busy and gets you where you need to go.  In addition, the Jeep suits us and our active lifestyle so much better–no more worries about parking a $65,000 SAV at a remote trailhead.  Look for some great stories on upgrades and adventures.  Mike at the AutoNation dealership in Bellevue was great to work with and made sure that the transaction was seamless because they also own the local BMW dealership.

In our first adventure, we traveled down to Mount Rainier and hiked to over 7,000 ft. Less than half the way up the mountain.

Jeep at Mount Rainer

This is a great National Park to visit filled with a ton of hiking and sites. Less than 2 weeks after we visited in October the snow began to fall again. By the middle of November all visitors must have tire chains and emergency supplies in their vehicles just in case a sudden storm hits the park.

Mount Rainer

Mount Rainier is also a volcano that could potentially erupt at any time. It is a dark and looming mountain that calls out to be climbed by only the very confident at over 14,000 to its peak. Many unfortunate climbers have lost their lives over the years due to sudden weather change and unstable slopes

Mount Rainer

This is a must see park if you are visiting Washington state in the summer.

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Can Am Spyder Twin Peaks Adventure

“Believe it or not”, we bought a Can Am Spyder late in the fall of 2013. Unfortunately, it then began to rain for the next several LONG months.

Finally, the days have started to become clear and sunny in the Pacific Northwest as Spring and Summer approach. This past week we had the opportunity to take the bike out on the local roads and start to get some miles under our belts.  The Spyder RT Limited is a perfect bike for touring with lots of storage and comfortable features for long rides.

Our first adventure is a Twin Peaks themed ride. The ride started just as the series did with a visit to the wonderful Snoqualmie Falls. People travel from around the world to see this 268 ft tall natural wonder and we are lucky enough to have it in our back yard.

Can Am Spyder Adventure

One of the roads we traversed is depicted in the mural below and is also from the show’s opening credits.  Sadly, there is no Twin Peaks welcome sign just a great view of Mount Si.  In lieu of the actual Mount Si/road photo, we supplemented the shot with this mural and the carefully positioned bike. It seems we were not the only ones stopping for photos here as we witnessed some others (in Twin Peaks t-shirts) doing the same thing.

Can Am Spyder Adventure

The real surprise is that the mural can be found on the back side of Twedes Diner; that was where the Double R Diner scenes where filmed during the show.

Can Am Spyder Adventure

Inside the diner, we helped ourselves to a slice of warm cherry pie with whipped cream and a damn fine cup of coffee as Agent Cooper use to say.

Can Am Spyder Adventure

Twedes Cafe even pay homage to the show and embrace the past. This map and display can help you identify other great spots to search out if you see so fit to hit the road. The local area is also rich in history of Indian peoples, logging and trains; many sightseeing spots along the rides prominently feature these themes.

Can Am Spyder Adventure

Look for more adventures as the summer arrives and we hit the roads.

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We’ve Moved

After 6 years in sunny and warm Phoenix we decided to move to cloudy and cool Seattle.  The Pacific Northwest is a great place with seasons, rain and cool days.  Of course, we moved here and the area promptly had the longest hottest dry spell in almost 100 years.

Everyone knows Seattle’s most iconic landmarks, the Space Needle and Pike’s Place, but a little known fact is how intense the car culture is here.

Seattle Space Needle

One of the first weekends I spent in Seattle I was able to catch the annual Puget Sound BMWCCA’s Concours event.  This event featured numerous classic BMWs all in incredible shape (look for a post in the near future).  The classic 3.0CSL below was one of just eight in the show.  Yes, eight 3.0 CSLs in one location–a first for me in all of the years of doing car shows.

Seattle Space Needle

Many other older classic BMWs were in attendance at this amazing show.  Have I wet your interest in that future post and photo gallery yet?

Seattle Space Needle

Another popular car spot in our area is the Triple XXX Drive-In.  Every single weekend this place has a car show almost all year.  Every visit was filled with new and different cars from Mini Coopers to 1960/1970 muscle cars and rat rods to choppers.  This custom rat rod below was one of the most impressive.  I also plan on a few posts and photo galleries from this car hangout also.

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle  car culture also includes hot spots like  Griots Garage, LeMay Museum and various motorcycle museums.  Look for lots of new material and photos as we learn the area and see the sites.

On a side note, we are thinking about getting another BMW after 13 years.   Yes, Mini’s are technically BMWs but they don’t wear the Roundel. Stay Tuned to see if Seattle area dealers can come through…

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Confession of a Ferrari Driver

Groupon featured a deal last fall that allowed you to buy a discounted driving experience with Motorsports Lab here in Phoenix.  My wife grabbed up the deal for $89 vs. the normal $499 rate and surprised me.   It took me some time to work out the details around clearing the schedule and arranging the drive. Phoenix gets busy in the spring with Barrett Jackson, PGA golf and Spring Training.

I sat in my BMW M3 waiting for my ride to show up early one morning. Within a few minutes a yellow Ferrari 360 slid into the empty lot and parked. I met my driving Sherpa, Eugene, who was dressed in tan designer suit, sunglasses and driving moccasins. We stepped into the office and completed the paperwork required by the company to protect their investment.

Motorsports Lab

Back at the car, I reviewed the basics of Ferrari operation and hit the road. The well planned route included some highway, back roads and a small amount of stop and go traffic.  I was happy that I was able to try the engine’s capability in several places during the drive and enjoy the smoothness of this classic Italian supercar.  Our drive took about 45 minutes in which we talked cars, autocross, Ferrari and business.  At the end of my drive, I returned to the parking lot we started at and thanked Eugene for making my experience enjoyable.

Motorsports Lab

And for for my little dark secret.  The forms you sign before you climb behind the wheel include video waivers, charges, fees etc.  One fee is called a redline charge of $2,500 if you hit the rev limiter while driving the car.  That charge protects their investment and ensures that the drivers’ keep it under control.  You can avoid the whole issue by driving the car in automatic.  Yes, I drove a Ferrari in automatic mode as opposed to using the paddle shifters. I have always hated paddle shifters and realize that someday when the last real auto manufacturer gives up on manual transmissions I will be forced into a tough place.

I climbed back into the 1999 BMW M3 and turned the key.  The engine revved and I felt comfortable exiting the parking lot and blipping the throttle to the redline of my own supercar.  The clutch and shifter working in unison as I raced back home.  Driving a Ferrari was a once in a lifetime experience but driving a BMW M3 everyday is the Ultimate Driving Experience.

Check out Motorsport Lab and you to can drive a Ferrari.

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