One of my regular bike routes takes me over the hills between Redmond and Bellevue on the SR520 bike trail. This parallels the highway and provides a good route to get to the lake (although the climbs can be a bit tiring on the legs). As you get up to the highest point on the crossing, you pass a new footbridge. The light rail system is being extended to Redmond and there is going to be a station up here by the Microsoft campus. Part of the construction is a new footbridge across the highway to allow passengers to also access the campus on the other side of the road.
The bridge is being finished up at the moment so isn’t open for use – the light rail will open to this location in 2023. It is well advanced though. They have some interesting artwork decorating the interior of the bridge. I stopped to get some shots of it while out on a ride. You might suggest I needed a rest after making the climb but there is not evidence to support that hypothesis!
A sunny afternoon was a good time for a ride since such nice days are likely to be in short supply before too long. I didn’t feel like pushing myself up nasty climbs on such a lovely day so went for miles rather than climbing feet and took the trail down the Sammammish River and on down through Marymoor Park and alongside Lake Sammammish. As I went through Marymoor park on my outbound leg, I noticed what initially appeared to be a couple of plows alongside the trail. I decided to check them out on the return leg.
When I came back, I realized that, far from being farming implements (albeit on a small scale), they were actually sculptures of dragons. A pair of them, presumably taking flight? I was glad I waited until the return journey because the sun was that bit lower and the light a bit warmer. That did make it a bit more tricky to keep my shadow out of the shots but I just about managed.
It is around this time of year that the Exotics@RTC should be starting up again. Of course, with everything on lock-down, that is not happening at this point. Consequently, I thought I might go back to the last meeting of 2019 which I paid a visit to. It wasn’t a big gathering but, with it being the last one to take place (I think weather scrubbed some later meets), it was the final run out to Redmond for some of the cars and their owners. Here is a selection of shots of the fine machines that showed up.
During the Italian car day at Exotics@RTC, all of the focus was on the selection of cars inside the mall area. I did take some time to wander out in to the parking lot to see what other cars had shown up that day and hadn’t been “worthy” of a spot inside. As I was strolling around, something unusual showed up. I had no idea what it was but it was clearly pretty old. As it pulled to a halt, we got a chance to take a look around.
It was an Alfa Romeo C6. I asked the guy driving it why he was outside when this would clearly have been something that would have got a prime spot. He wasn’t bothered about all of that sort of thing and was happy to roll up when he wanted and to have those outside check the car out. The restoration had been undertaken in the UK and I imagine it hadn’t been cheap judging by the condition of the vehicle. It had that swoops look that cars of its era sometimes had and was a fantastic looking machine. If I had gone out earlier in my visit, I would have missed it completely!
The Exotics@RTC team have a number of special days throughout the season and I figured the Italian Car Special was probably one worth taking a look at. I wasn’t mistaken. Unlike the normal meets that take place out in the parking lot, this one was centered in the shopping mall itself. The atrium was filled with Italian cars of many marques. This even included Lamborghini tractors!
It will come as little surprise to know that the prancing horse was on display in large numbers. The centerpiece of the display was a a pair of La Ferraris – one with a roof and one open topped – with an Enzo and an F40. This was quite a valuable selection to have in the middle and it seemed rather funny how so many expensive cars were barely getting any attention as a result of the focus on this foursome. Alfas were also on show and there were some older Fiats that were clearly trimmed for rally activities.
As a young kid growing up in the 70s watching Bond movies, the Lotus Esprit that became a SAM launching submarine made a big impact on me.The next movie also had an Esprit, this time in turbo form, but it got blown up very quickly and a 2CV was the “star” of that movie which did not please me at all.My love for the Esprit was born and it continued through the Turbo SE and to the V8.It had another movie appearance in Pretty Woman although I suspect only a few of us watching were impressed.
A V8 example showed up at Redmond.I got chatting to the owner, a Brit as it turned out.He had owned a Turbo in the UK and then bought the V8 after he moved to the US.Apparently, only about 70 were sold in the US and maybe half of them are still in use.I loved checking it out and talking with him about the car.It also reminded me of one that used to live in South Kensington when I lived there so I dug out the old negative scan and that one is included here too.What a great looking car.A shame the gearbox was never able to accommodate the power the engine had potentially on offer.
Exotics@RTC brings plenty of jazzy cars including lots of McLarens as I posted here. The one car I was hoping to see at some point was a Senna.I figured with all of the IT cash floating around the area, one was bound to appear at some point.I rode my bike down to Redmond to have a look one Saturday.My jersey only had small pockets so I left all cameras behind except my phone.Guess what car showed up as soon as I had no proper camera?
I didn’t see it initially.All I saw was a large crowd of people around one car.This is always a sign of something special and there, within the crowds, was a black car with a huge rear wing.The Senna had arrived.Getting clean shots of it was almost impossible given the number of people milling around but the wide angle lens on the phone was a benefit for once as it meant you could get closer and grab some shots.Quite a mean looking machine and one I might have to save up a bit in order to buy.
Exotics@RTC does attract many types of vehicles. Neither of these little vehicles will be competing for the attention of the Lambos or McLarens but they still get a few people checking them out. Hard to believe vehicles so small have ever been sold in the US. They would fit in the trunk of some older cars or could go in the back of a large minivan! Kind of interesting all the same.
Super cars have come a long way. Now they are ridiculously powerful and also very technologically advanced. A supercar from the 80s has a very sparse feel to it in comparison. Coming across a Ferrari F40 was quite a throwback for me. I saw my first F40 when I was a student. It was parked in a mews street in Kensington near a pub I used to frequent (that doesn’t narrow it down much). I was shocked to see one then and I still am a little shocked now. This one was not getting as much interest as I thought it was due but I was happy not to have it surrounded by people.
I have mentioned that I am not much of a Porsche guy but my college years did include rather a penchant for the Porsche 928. This was a car I could really have enjoyed has a huge amount of cash come my way at the time. The later models, like the S4 and the GT, were something that looked super cool to me. Seeing a rather racy looking 928 at Redmond was a very pleasant surprise. Annoyingly, a lot of people seemed to be around it while looking in the opposite direction so I struggled to get some shots of it but managed to find a way to get a few. I wonder if it goes as well as it looks?