Van City Weekend: Part 2

Friday we left Seattle early and after finding our way across the northern border and into Coquitlam (a Van suburb) we dropped our gear at Vince’s and took advantage of his generosity to wash the road dust off our rides. Once clean, we packed things up to head to Driven to Perform in downtown Van at BC Place Stadium. The plan is, you leave your car there fri nite, and come back saturday for a bit of last minute touch-up time and then the show runs thru sat nite. Took us a bit longer to get into Van than we expected, tho, with Vince’s 240sx on the side of the road! I was following him, and saw his exhaust heating up red-hot, and from the inside pipe out. On the roadside we could see his high-flow cat and a lot of the exhaust piping glowing red, as well. His car was only running on 2 out of 4 cylinders anyway, he was just going to limp it to the show, but this put quite a damper on things! We shuffled around the shoulder as first one, then two, then three tow trucks came by before we had the correct combination of flatbed truck and spare lumber to ease his lowered car onto the wrecker. We still made roll-in time, no problem, but Vince was not very happy about his car! The suggestion was made to bring his car home or directly to a shop, but Vince wasn’t about to miss a show, so the driver unloaded his car right into the stadium airlock!

A few hours cleaning that nite, mingling around with the other competitors, setting up our booth. There were 8 of us showing for Northwest Nissans – Vince and Jeff with their 240’s, Patrick’s Maxima and my 300zx, and some new guys i hadn’t met before – Luis, Aaron, Ron, Mike – also with 240’s. We all burned a lot of calories polishing and wiping, pushing solvent-covered rags across every inch of our paint, windows, dash, engine bay… all of it! … so everyone was more than ready for beer at Boston Pizza when we left and returned to Coquitlam for the nite.

A few hours sleep then back into Vince’s mom’s minivan (since all our cars were locked up!) for breakfast, where the waitress made fun of us for all wearing the same shirts. Then rush to the show, to wait around for several hours to have our cars judged, then wait around for 7 more hours until trophy-time!

It wasn’t all waiting, tho. I talked with a lot of people, about their cars, my car, other people’s cars, things that fit in cars… and played some PS2 on the projector screen in our booth (sweet!). I also wandered around and took pics of lots of interesting stuff that i’ll post when i can. I met several cool fellow 300ZX owners (“300 Zed-Ex” as the Canadians call them) and explained to some honda guys that the blue computer in my dash is *not* a VTEC controller. Also spent a lot of time closing the hood so models could pose with my car, then opening it again so people could comment on how crowded the engine bay is… yeah, never heard that before!

After a whole day in the stuff stadium breathing exhaust and quick detailer fumes, we were all getting restless to go spend some time on the town. Before we could leave, tho, the trophies had to be distributed. None of us really expected much, as there were a lot of cars their whose owners have deeper pockets than us, but we were all pleasantly surprised when Patrick took the 2nd place trophy in the Nissan class!! The thing is freakin huge, like 4 feet tall, and i think he deserved it, even if he has his doubts. He may not have custom paint or some of the other big-$$ things the sponsored guys have, but all of his work he’s done himself (or with the help of friends… ahem. 😉 even things most people wouldn’t touch, like his custom leather upholstry. Also, some of his projects, like the “angel eyes” halo rings around his headlights that required baking open his headlight assemblies in the oven, were pretty intricate and difficult. He’s such a perfectionist that there’s not a single thing on his car that’s “just ok” or “close enough”. I think that and three days worth of detailing are what brought him home a winner.

So, rejoicing in Patrick’s victory we dropped our car’s at Vince’s and piled into the “man van’ – although this time Laura and Holly were along for the ride, the ‘man van’ was a little more co-ed – and found our way to Tonic, a hiphop club in downtown Van. Luis is THE MAN and bargained our way in despite the lines. Along the way Vince took a right turn and was promptly ticketed by a not-super-nice-but-thankfully-too-lazy-to-pay-close-attention cop who, although he didn’t notice there were 8 of us in a 7-passenger van, did observe Vince violate a “no turning right between 11pm and 6am” sign in a completely nonsensical intersection that was incidentally jammed with an ambulance and was impassable anyway. Van City has some messed up traffic laws, eh!

We partied like rock stars until the club closed at 4am, then stumbled our way back our parking spot – some of us (Laura!) stumbling more than others. 😉 By the time we reached Coquitlam, it was a little after five. The sun was beginning to come up, we could tell it was going to be a beautiful day. It was agreed there was no sense in going to bed, as we were planning on being up at 6 for sunday’s plans, so no sleep was had at all! Actually, i managed to slip in two 15-minute naps in between switching my camera batteries on the charger. Some nite! Er, day!

Seattle’s nightlife in jeopardy

Since when is it june already? Seriously… i’ve been typing the date wrong for a week… although that could just be sleep deprivation. Stayed up until almost 2 with Patrick last nite, doing some custom cosmetic engine projects and setting up our first public sale as a company (for Tein S-Tech springs). It’s a pretty good price – if i had the money i’d buy them from us! 😉 Getting up for work was a bit difficult this am, but i’m proud to say i was actually on time… and arrived to an empty office, as no one else in the department showed up until at least 9. Oh, well, at least i won’t feel as guilty about leaving early tonight to make happy hour. 😉 It is “first thursday” and all, only happens once a month! (Monthly gallery openings in Pioneer Square, free art museum admission, open studios – basically an artist block party downtown). So if you get off work on time, come find us at McCormick & Schmick’s enjoying $2 half-pound cheeseburgers and happy hour drink specials, and then go a-wandering with us through the gallery district. Should be a good time… and cheap, too!

So like it wasn’t going to be obvious, i’m really tired today. If you could see me typing this, you’d see how many mistakes i’m making and how glazed over my eyes are… I’m listening to disco and sucking down the bad bad bad (but free) coffee from the break room in an effort to stay awake until lunch, when i plan to find a sunny park bench to take a nap on. It’s only 9.22, but so far… i’m stayin’ alive

On a really sucky note, one of my favorite Seattle spots is closing its doors, thanks to the evil that is the eastside. Redmond-based Trendwest Resorts has purchased the Camlin hotel, and is closing the Cloud Room, one of the coolest bars in the city and the only remaining place for us regular people to enjoy the view for only the cost of a drink. Unlike most of downtown, where the great views are occupied by high-priced offices, or members-only clubs (ahem. Columbia Tower), or $11-per-ride tourist hangouts that close at 10pm (ahem. Space Needle) the Cloud Room was open late, open to the public, and filled with music, laughing, whispering in corners and distilled merriment every night of the week. As Trendwest is going to tear the top off the building and remake it as several luxury condos, i now have a reason to resent and boycott them, as well as one less place to enjoy the city from. Progess sucks! Eastside yuppies suck even more!