Tag Archives: Redmond

Line 2 Opening Weekend

The spring timetable change was the opportunity for Sound Transit to open a new line.  The troubles with the crossing of the I-90 bridge mean that the Redmond to Bellevue section of what is to be Line 2 is isolated from the rest of the network.  However, it was decided to open it up as a starter line to provide some service for the area pending the completion of the connection to the other side of Lake Washington.  They had a grand opening.  Rather than go on the Saturday when everyone was due to be out, I decided to try out the line on the Sunday.

I drove to the South Bellevue station which has a large parking garage.  It is the southern/western end of the line for now.  Trains run every ten minutes and I hopped on one to ride to the other end at Redmond Technology Center.  This is also an interim terminus as there will soon be an extension into downtown Redmond.  I checked out the route in the trip out and decided I would stop off at a couple of stations on the way back.

Plenty of people were out on the Sunday too.  Many seemed to be like me and exploring the new service.  Sundays aren’t a day to judge utilization of a system, but it will be interesting to see what ridership is like as the service gets going and people find out how best to use it for their purposes.  I hopped off at Wilburton Station to have a look at the platforms and the view across to downtown Bellevue.  I bumped into a guy I know from Sound Transit who was part of the opening support team for the weekend, and we ended up chatting for a while.

I then went to the station in Bellevue itself which is a nicely designed station just at the end of the tunnel that runs under the city.  You get a long view of the trains approaching from east as they come across the bridge while you can hear the trains coming through the tunnel as they approach.  After checking out a few elements of the station, I decided to head back to South Bellevue to pick up the car and go home.  The alignment was pretty good.  Ride quality was good in most areas and the stations seemed nicely put together both operationally and aesthetically.  It will be a good line when it is fully connected but, as an interim step, it seems to be worthwhile.

The Racers Doing Their Thing

In a recent post, I shared some shots of an evening at the Jerry Baker Velodrome in Marymoor Park, Redmond.  We had a good time enjoying the racing, the food and the beer and, a couple of weeks later, they were holding a large meet with many international riders taking part.  This seemed like it would be worth a follow up visit.  That proved to be a good choice.  The size of the field made for much interesting racing and some drama.

Getting there proved a touch more difficult because a concert was also on at Marymoor Park but we made it in before the events got underway, so all was good.  The quality of some of the athletes was impressive.  In one race, a breakaway was well established for a large part of the race and I thought there was no way that they would be pulled back.  However, I was mistaken.  With only a couple of laps to go, a few broke away from the pack and bridged the gap to overhaul the breakaway with what seemed like ridiculous ease.  Most impressive.

There were some riders that were clearly in a league above.  You could see them managing their performance through the races, coming to the front for a while, biding their time for much of the race and then turning on the power when it was required to come home with the win.  Other riders went off on solo breaks which got them some time at the front but, by the end of the race, it was clear that they had burned themselves out.  It made for a lot of fun to watch so I am grateful for the effort that they all made.

Another top evening out.  The food truck may not have been quite so good, but the beer was still excellent, and the racing was a blast.  We shall see when we can next get down there to watch some more.

Friday Night at the Velodrome

I persuaded Nancy that a fun Friday evening could be had in Marymoor Park if we went to watch some track cycle racing.  Not sure how I managed that, but the food trucks and beer garden might have swung it for me.  Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome is located in the park and is the last velodrome available in the Pacific Northwest of the US.  It attracts lots of riders as a result.  It is ages since I last went to a velodrome to watch racing, so I was looking forward to it.  The Nationals were on in California, so some of the regular racers were away but there were still plenty of competitors out.

I shall share some examples of the wider view of the arena, the competitors and the spectators for now.  Some more racing specific shots will come in a separate post.  It was a great evening with lovely weather (and great food and beer), and I think we both enjoyed it.  The racing was well structured to keep it entertaining, and they even had races for the kids.  The star of that show was a kid with a big wheel!  It was all I could do not to reference respecting my “authoritie”.

Can You Make Your Mini Look Retro?

I had no idea what this car was when I saw it.  There was something familiar about it, but it was still a mystery to me.  Then I overheard a conversation from someone, and they explained that the underlying car was a Mini and it had a body kit added to it to result in this outcome.  I have no idea why that seemed like a good plan to the owner, but I guess they like it.  Once you know it, you center of the vehicle is definitely recognizable as a Mini.

Well This is Saving the Planet!

In the outer area of Exotics@RTC I saw this EV Hummer.  The move towards electric vehicles is a positive step to reducing our emissions and trying to address the climate change challenges we have but there was something about this behemoth that made me feel that we are missing the point.  Sure, an EV Hummer is less polluting than the original Hummer, but this thing is huge and is surely not a good idea.  Finding a way to have the most inefficient EV you can is kind of missing the point.

German Day at Exotics@RTC

My first visit to Exotics@RTC this year was delayed.  Early events were canceled for weather reasons and then, when they got going, I was doing other things and couldn’t go.  The first time I was able to make it was for the German Day.  I have done this day in previous years, and I like the types of vehicles that show up.  Yes, there will be a lot of modern Audis and BMWs but there will also be some far older and more interesting vehicles.  A Porsche tractor was one of these.

I won’t go into great details about any individual vehicles, not least because I am not very knowledgeable about them.  If they are in the center section, my assumption is that it is because they are unusual, rare and expensive but maybe something lesser can sneak in too.  I wouldn’t know the difference.  Here you go with some images of the various vehicles.

English Day at Exotics@RTC

I didn’t get to Exotics@RTC this year as much as I would have liked.  Sometimes the weather conspired against them and sometimes I couldn’t make it anyway.  I did mange to make some of the special days, though, and one of these was the English Day.  This tends to have more of a vintage feel to it than some of the other special days.  Yes, there are plenty of McLarens and Aston Martins but a lot of older stuff to mix it up a bit.

You get the Bentleys and Rolls (not sure how well they qualify as English anymore) and there are Jags all over the place but there are plenty of less common types and definitely a few of the ones that probably keep mechanics busy.  You have no idea how many jokes about Lucas electrical systems you can hear in the space of an hour.  Aside from these shots, I also took a little video to share with my sister on the day and have edited that down a bit to include below.

Beaver Damage

Getting photos of the beavers is a lot of fun.  You are aware of what they can do to a tree if they choose and, while it is good for some of the environments when they take down a tree, it can also be disappointing. Consequently, many of the trees have wire mesh around the trunk to protect them.  However, while cycling along the Sammammish River, I saw a small tree that one of the beavers had taken down.  Since they hadn’t taken it away, I am not sure why they took it down, but they had certainly done a job on it!

Multiple Minis

Exotics@RTC has attracted a few Minis during the 2021 season.  Having learned to drive in a Mini and used one a lot in my teenage years, I am always happy to see the original versions.  Sure, the modern Minis are fun vehicles but the originals are more interesting, even if they would not provide much protection in the event of doing something silly.

The one I drove was powered by an 850cc engine.  The 1275 engines were far more exotic.  Coopers were something else.  Here the focus is mainly on the Coopers but that is fine.  Finding one turned in to a convertible was a bit of a surprise.  It is fun to see that plenty of people still find the Mini fun and keep them going and in great condition.

Electric Karman Ghia

The Karman Ghia is a car that is rightfully considered a classic.  People spend large sums of money on keeping them in working order and as close to or better than the condition in which they left the factory.  One I saw at Exotics@RTC had taken things a different way.  It had been converted into an electric vehicle.

The owner had everything open to inspect with the batteries and control electronics fitted in to the available space within the car.  I would imagine that a car as light as a Karman Ghia would, when given the power and instant torque of an electric drivetrain, go like stink!  It was certainly attracting a lot of attention.  Getting a photo of it without people all around it proved impossible.  After a while of waiting, I concluded that the attention was really part of the story so accepted that it should have a lot of people in the photo.