Meteorologists Outnumber Us This Season!

It's amazing how many meteorologists we have at E@RTC this season who possess the magic phone that does a better job than NOAA and all the other pros! We're stunned and amazed! We've written before about the accuracy of NOAA and we try and have fun with it, but it's always the same kids and rookies complaining again and again.  Never mind the advanced degrees and cool gadgets the real guys have or how many concur with their conclusions who also have cool stuff. Somehow these kids know better and we should trust them. Nope, not going to happen. These kids always seem to know what's best for everyone at E@RTC anyway. But do they volunteer to help? Naaaah! That would mean actually doing something.

Do we sound a teeny bit cranky about this? You bet! We put up with it at the beginning of each season and it's always kids and newbies and those who think this is all about them who email us to complain about the weather mistakes someone else makes. Again, please call NOAA, NWS, Weather Underground, weather dot com, KING, KIRO, KCPQ, KOMO, the cows in the field, the guy under the porch, and send back the Magic 8 Ball to express your deep dissatisfaction with the forecast. Not us.

We all get tired of the peanut gallery on this. I'm not going to rehash our history and the weather here because we've tried just about everything and are confident in our routine for the highest level of satisfaction possible or no money back. We can always tells the rookies and kids from the adults because they are the ones who complain the most as if our volunteers should be at the snap of their fingers and show up, should NOAA and the others get it wrong.

For those who wish to learn about us and how we think about this, keep reading.

E@RTC requires a lot of volunteers to put this event on each Saturday. It also requires RTC to staff up. These volunteers give up their early Saturday mornings to come out and help us put on a fantastic show and the season-long commitment is not trivial. We have equipment to move, lots to organize and it's a lot of behind the scenes work. (Notice those who complain the most don't lift a finger to help?) The *ONLY* time our volunteers get a Saturday off all season is when we're rained out. Sure each may take one or two Saturdays off, but they make a huge commitment to be there for you and we don't abuse it. (We actually consider others in what we do.) We need continuity of our volunteers and it's not easy and they deserve a lot of thanks.

We rely on NOAA, as we've said in other posts. We read what's called the National Weather Service Scientific Forecast Discussion and we check every source there is, but the NWS is continually the most reliable and the foundation that the others use in their forecast modeling. If the chance of rain is 30% or higher on the late Thursday afternoon before the event, we call it off so people can make other plans. The volunteers can go do something else and actually plan their weekend, RTC can release staff and not move benches, tables, etc.

Some participants and spectators have hotel reservations to cancel, some have complex logistics to get out of the way, including trailers, cars to move in their collections, and none of it is easy to coordinate. Some of these kids who complain have no idea how much work goes on behind the scenes because they are just spectators and don't have the logistics outside of crawling out of mom's basement. Some newbie in an old Ferrari trying to impress us, doesn't at all. It's just the opposite.

We also have to coordinate with Redmond Town Center and they too have costs in all this. So the less we're sending them running around on high probability of rainy days, the better we're all off. We still manage the get the same number of events in each seasons, somewhere between 20 and 21, year after, and it doesn't matter if we start in February or May. It rains about the same number of Saturdays. It's why we stopped beginning our season that early. It was damn cold too.

What makes our event so much fun is big turnout. Low turnout burns up volunteer time, money, etc., and people don't like to hang around where there are few spectators to participate in the show. It's not the best way to have our opening day when we get so many really special cars. We don't want to risk opening day on a low turnout either.

We want a big show and we'll get one when the weather is better. There is a small pocket of rain right over my house as I write this... Bottom line is please be patient with us, there is far more to this event than just you.


We're Rained Out Again! What The...????

We're rained out. Sorry!

For those new to E@RTC, we're rained out if the chance of rain in the National Weather Service Area Forecast Discussion and summary shows a 30% chance of rain or higher on the Thursday afternoon's report. Why? Nobody wants to stand out in the rain, we end up with a poor showing and few people have a good time. Oh sure, there is that occasional tweaker but they have no idea where they are anyway and are just passing through on their way to Fresno. They probably wintered in Forks. I have no idea why.

We call it on the Thursday afternoon because too many people come a long way and have to make hotel reservations and this way they have time to cancel and still get their money back. Sometimes NOAA gets it wrong. Complain to them. We're not the ones on the roof with binoculars, a flag, and a cup. 

We get a lot of email if we're "on" or "off" and we're just not answering it anymore because it burns up too much of our time when we post it everywhere on that Thursday afternoon. We get people who ask us early in the week if we're going to have E@RTC that Saturday and again, buddy, we're not the ones on the roof, with the binoculars, a flag, and a cup.

Then we get those who want to argue with us about the weather who claim to have their own binoculars, flag, and a cup, but it doesn't matter because the National Weather Service has professional grade binoculars, a flag, and a cup. We listen to them, even if they are wrong once in a while.

We get hate mail about two topics; is my car exotic enough, and the weather. We do our best to get them both right, so give us a break. We're sorry and we will try again next Saturday. See you then...If we're not rained out.


E@RTC Is Canceled Due To Predicted High Levels Of Atmospheric Dihydrogen-Monoxide

We have canceled E@RTC because the predicted levels of atmospheric dihydrogen-monoxide exceed acceptable levels in the region. As you all know, prolonged exposure can lead to physical discomfort, and may cause corrosion to some unprotected metal surfaces. Such exposure will eventually dissolve any known substance and we just can't take such risks. It is the leading cause of land erosion, so there is that.

While commonly used as a food additive, excessive amounts have been known to actually be harmful. Most people faced with such high levels simply remain indoors and limit their exposure as much as possible. Besides, we only have one volunteer who's actually certified to work in extremely dense levels of the substance while breathing specially blended gases to survive such environments. It's how he can afford a Lamborghini.

We will try again next weekend...which is already looking like it will have more acceptable levels.

Are You Canceled This Weekend??? Wut?

I don't know how to make the words blink on our banner. We're getting a lot of email about if we're on or off, even though we have a big green banner on our front page in case you missed it. You can also receive text messages by signing up on our contact page with the latest news if we're on or off. This way you just get a text message and don't have to email us. We also let you know on Facebook so you don't have to email us. Yet, in spite of all that, we will STILL get email asking the question. We don't want to just not answer, but come on! 

Salish Lodge

I had a meeting with Chris Roberts about valet parking at Salish and their new policy. As you know, they get really slammed, especially after E@RTC when so many people run up there for lunch. Well, not, "slammed" in the physical sense, but in the very busy sense of the word for those of you visiting from Fresno. There is no way for the valets to take the time to have everyone self-park, etc., so they are now valet-only and they know what they are doing. Don't go bugging them to park your own car. 

If you're going as a group, give the valet stand a call before you head up, at 425-831-6539. (I checked the number so you're not calling some gram-gram in Iowa.) Let then know ahead of time so they can get some cars moved, but you're still not parking yourself, so don't even ask, please. They have enough logistics to worry about. It's only under very rare circumstances where you're car's value is seven figures or more, then it's worth a talk, but please call first.

They couldn't be a nicer bunch of guys, and they have been helping us since our first season, but the place has become a real madhouse on nice days and they are just trying to manage a lot of stuff all at once. Thanks again Chris for all you and your team does for us up there. It's still everyone's favorite place to take friends from out of town. They get especially busy after E@RTC, so call and let them know you're heading up if there is more than one of you.

We hope to see you all next week, assuming acceptable conditions.





We Are Rained Out For Opening Day!

Well, we're rained out for Saturday. It will be full-on squishy all day with squish continuing into the night. This means we're canceled for this one day!!! 

Someone asked the question if this news means we have no opening day...I had to think about that one for a moment... No, it just means we wait a week and try again...and again...and again... until Mom Nature decides not to water on a Saturday morning. I think what they meant was is it less festive the next time around if we cancel. The answer is, it just increases our overall festiveness when it does happen. Festiveness goes up about 5% a week in anticipation until opening day happens.

For those of you new to E@RTC, we cancel if the Thursday's chance of rain for Saturday is 30% or more. This means, the weather folks, NOT us, occasionally get it wrong. We live with the shame.

Bring the BMW Heroes of Bavaria to ACM

The folks at America's Car Museum down in Tacoma who are always fooling around, have a very cool project in the works involving bringing an entire BMW Heroes of Bavaria collection of cars to the museum. They started an Indiegogo campaign and this is a good one. It's very cool stuff and it's a great way for the museum to pull the cars we all want to see. Please check out the page and do what you can to help get these cars out here. Let your BMW friends know about it. We know there are a lot of you out there. You can't all be cheap bastards.

I know we're all itching to get the season started. Maybe not itching exactly, but we're all eager for sure. It's going to be our biggest season ever judging by the substantial quality of email we're already receiving. Web traffic is way up, and so is the use of laundry soap. We have more dining choices this season. Some will take advantage of the Original, copy of the Pancake House, a place I love. The toasted coconut pancakes are worth stabbing your hand with a fork.

See you next week! (Yes, weather permitting... and that you did all your paperwork with the warden.)





One Week Countdown To Our First...Possible Rain Out?

It's not looking great for opening day on the 7th but if you're new to us, we don't make that call until the Thursday before the event. The reason we do it Thursday afternoon is because it gives people time to cancel hotel reservations and get their money back and stuff. It also gives people a window to not clean a car and instead go get a good waxing.

We will keep you posted as we get closer to Thursday. We're all excited to kick off our new season with all of you. We think it will be our biggest and best season to date! Can you believe we will be starting season ten?

See you all soon!


Less Than Two Weeks To Go!

We are getting a lot of email already about the upcoming season of E@RTC. Some are looking for hotels, others are looking for admission prices, even though it's free, and others want to know if their car is exotic enough. Nobody ever asks how to get to Fresno, ever. Hold up your hand if you're from Fresno. See, nobody admits they are from Fresno.

We are getting more volunteers who want to be volunteers and we're happy about that. We always needs lots of help each season, however that said, this is a lot of work and what's in it is the fun of hanging out with a bunch of guys who have a great time together and are there to see the joy in others who come out to see these marvelous machines. That makes it worth it for me.

We will be posting directions to our new entrance this season in our attempt to make it easier for cars to line up and get in. We're getting bigger and, well we need the elbow room.

Adam Langsbard who is the new CEO of America's Car Museum will be joining us on the 7th, assuming we're not rained out. Adam is new to the area, having taken on his role late in the year. Come out and say hi to Adam and introduce yourselves and give him a warm Northwest welcome...If there is such a thing. Well, at least there is at E@RTC. Adam is a great guy and we wish him all the success in the world in his new role. The museum will also be bringing a couple of cars as often as possible.

We have lots of surprises in the works for this season and one of the bigger changes is we've reduced theme days because it was just too much to manage and coordinate, so we made it about nationality of cars; German, scratch that last one. They are all on our events page. More stuff will be added throughout the season.

Opening day always brings surprises so don't miss it. Some of us get shockingly fatter over the winter and that's always good for a laugh. For most of us, we just look a little older and can't remember names until we get home later that day or in the shower and look down and remember, Dick!

See you all on the 7th! More posts between now and then I promise.



Nineteen Days to Go!

Can you believe it? It's almost like we woke up from a coma but without all the tubes and "get well" balloons tied to our beds. It's hard to believe how fast this winter flew by and how much work there was to get ready for this new season of E@RTC. We didn't have time to hit the spa or nothing. It was all work, work, work... Some of us took advantage of the new yoga center at Redmond Town Center and can now tweeze our own backs, but so what. You want to know what we have planned this year. Well, it's bigger and better than ever.

We had our volunteer meeting to count who was still alive and to make sure everyone still liked each other. They did, so then we ate a lot of pizza and laughed about the highlights from 2017. We have a few new faces joining us this season and we will be looking for more volunteers to help us with all the fun stuff we have going on this year.

We will have an all new entrance this year as well. We didn't actually build anything, it's all the same asphalt and stuff, but we changed how you come in to make it easier to show up and be in line to get in. We had to make the change to keep the cars off Bear Creek so don't get mad as I think it will ultimately help you get parked even faster than before. We're always looking for ways to improve the event you've come to know and love.

It's long overdue that we give a shoutout to the valets up at Salish Lodge for their many years of support as it's always where some people go after E@RTC. Those guys have been very good to us going back years before Nick got dragged out the window of an LFA like a beached beluga giving birth. Thank you Chris and the others for all you do. The valets have always done an outstanding job for us and we much appreciate it. The food is also very good so there is that too.

Opening day is often close to our biggest day of the season so it's not one to ever miss. We're working on opening up even more space than ever before for your viewing enjoyment. The volunteers have been working on their pointing skills all winter and some even went so far as to attend drool management classes. Apparently, bad habits were ruining date night, but I digress.

I will be posting a lot more as we get closer so please keep checking back here for the latest news and information.


Gearing Up For Season Ten!

Can you believe it??? We've made it to ten seasons! Some of you couldn't drive when you first came out. Okay, some of you still can't, but most of you are now showing up and participating and we're thrilled to have you back again and again! Thank you for getting us this far! It means a lot to us.

Next Saturday is our volunteer kickoff meeting which will soon be followed by a volunteer drive for this upcoming season along with the usual assignments. The same cast of characters are all returning but we've gotten to be so big that we're now dividing roles to keep from burning any one volunteer to a crisp. By October we all look like George Hamilton without ever hitting a tanning bed or spending five minutes in the sun. We just kind of crisp out from the early mornings and long days.

As usual, we have a lot of surprises in the works. I'd write them all here, but then that wouldn't be much of a surprise. The season will again be improved with more sponsorships to help us bring you the best possible event.

All winter long we've been receiving requests to advertise other people's events, or somehow raise money for some other charity and we just can't do it. We have enough on our plate just running our event. We also have a lot of folks who want to somehow "partner" with us, for their financial gain, and that's just not something we can do. We only take limited sponsors for that reason. We're not out to be difficult, but it doesn't make sense to have volunteers to work to promote someone else's business.

We're also getting a lot of, "Is my car exotic enough?" questions before they look at the qualification page. The question is often overwhelming by volume and tenacity, especially when we get up to ten a day. If it's not spelled out on our list, then write us and we're happy to help, but we have way too many who know then answer based on the list who then want to argue with us.

Keep in mind, each season, our goal is to put on an event that people want to drive a great distance to see that's memorable. It often comes down to that test, do we think anyone would drive a long way to come see that car? After all these seasons, it's still annoying to have people argue with us when we're here to make the best possible show. Still, come out to the show, and if you're still unsure, ask one of the volunteers to look at your car and they can quickly tell you what works and what doesn't.

We've also been setting up plans all winter with the folks at America's Car Museum so stay tuned for that as well. We're down to just five weeks before our season begins so we're getting busy making sure everything is in place. We're excited to start another great year!

We Lost a Great One

We lost one of the great ones two days ago. I’m not exaggerating even a little. We got word that Tom Armstrong passed away after a brief illness. People use that term a lot; “great ones” when they say a few nice words about someone, but if you ever knew Tom he lived the term every day. He had a successful business career, he and Susan were avid racers and were well-known in classic car circles. It seemed like everyone connected to cars in the Northwest knew him somehow.

I only met Tom a few years ago. It was about the time he was handing over the Kirkland Concourse to America’s Car Museum and we were still trying to decide what to do with our Stay-Cation event. Others kept telling me I need to meet Tom and when we finally met, almost the first words out of his mouth were, “How can I help?” Tom used those same four words numerous times when we met and it kind of underscored the giant impression he left on me.

As I’ve gotten older, I tend to spot those moments when I meet someone who’s truly special and someone who lives the ideals we all wish we could reach. Tom made it look effortless. John Atzbach and I were talking about what a remarkably nice, giving, person he was and how he had this way of connecting with people by looking them straight in the eye as he talked. John commented, and I seconded the thought, that Tom was the kind of guy we both wished we were more like. He was our idea of the perfect gentleman. I never heard him brag about anything or put himself first and he was always thinking of others. He always asked how things were going with us at E@RTC, and after hearing our ideas would always say, “How can I help?”

I and the others who make up E@RTC feel extremely lucky to have spent what little time we had with him. I think those who got to know him over the years were far more fortunate. What passed through my mind when John and I were talking that morning, was the regret that I didn’t know him better than I did. He was one of those people who made my mind race with questions about his life and how it all happened. I thought about it after and realized that my questions were the result of a wish to be more like him.

When we last spent a little time together, Tom talked like he had a keen awareness of his mortality. He still wanted to get as much done as he could and he wasn’t going to slow down. Tom bridged the gap for us between E@RTC and America’s Car Museum and set a great foundation for our future working together. He brokered that relationship that finally got us talking for the first time. It was through Tom that we met so many others. He opened a lot of doors. This is a big loss for the car community and we can’t thank Tom enough for all he’s done. Our thoughts are with Susan and all of his family.

Opening Day Has Been Moved To April 7, 2018 Due To Rain!

Well, here it is, December 30 and we're already rained out for March 31st. Bummer! The good news is that it gives you seven more days to get your rig ready for the big show. We have more surprises in store for you this year. Yes, we're busy working. E@RTC never ever sleeps, not even with one eye closed.

It's the end of the year, time to put 2017 in the history books. I hope it was a good year for everyone. We all hope that 2018 is even better for all of us. You may even get that felony to drop off your record! I can't say I know how that stuff works, but at some point, they've got to take that "blowing up the outhouse" incident off your record. How were you to know Gram-Gram was using it. Petition the governor! He will sign it if he can stop laughing.

For many who show up at our season opener, it will be new cars, others will now be classics, same with your significant other by the way, but I digress. The point is, that with every new year, we see changes and it's nice to see the show continue to evolve into something even more special than the year before.

So, we wish you all a Happy New Year! 

The Calendar Is Starting to Go Up

We've started to put a few dates on the calendar and the one that's still missing is Classics and Muscle Cars. We're shooting for September 8 on that one, but it means checking with a few people who were not at the meeting. If you're particularly astute, you will notice that the event names have all been changed from brands to countries of origin. Because of the mall calendar and because of our own logistics around bad weather, we're reducing the number of special event days to four, not including opening day. So, German, Italian, British, and Classic and Muscle cars as one event.

The problem is that our special events have always been woven through RTCs event calendar so if we were rained out, it meant that we had to find a date that coincided with an open date for center square and that gets complicated. This is why we pin our calendar so early and so you can start working on your yard pass. We will fill in details as we get into our new season.

You only have a week to get your Christmas shopping done so go to RTC! Buy a guitar. Oh look, Hot Yoga! We'll send the fat guys in Speedos and show them what a strained ham and eggs really looks like. 


Please Shop At Redmond Town Center This Christmas! The Elves Need The Money

If you want to give us all a great Christmas present, just go to Redmond Town Center and do some Christmas shopping. We're not asking that you sit on Santa's lap or cause a scene with an elf, but we would be happy if you went in, bought something and thanked them for supporting E@RTC. It would go a long way. It's not like we're asking you for a kidney.

We can't do this without a terrific location and we are deeply appreciative of all the folks at RTC and Jessica who we pointed out before puts up with us a like a nun in an orphanage who wishes someone would just adopt one of us. She's awesome! That's an overused word, so I'll make one up. She's awsabulous. (I better check to make sure it doesn't mean something bad... Nope, we're good.)

As you probably read, malls are having a tougher time making it these days because so many prefer to shop online. Still, RTC has restaurants, things going on, food! Stuff, experiences, theaters, things that are perfect for date night without getting mugged. There are even hotels if date night goes especially great and police nearby if it doesn't. Tip, it's a bad sign if you're on a date and a helicopter circles.

The point is, go to Redmond Town Center. Even if it's the middle of the night. Say hi to security without scaring the crap out of them. Just go there, spend money. Buy socks. You need them. One of you needs a breath mint. You know who you are.

We'll start putting up the calendar dates sometime in the next two weeks.



I'm So Shocked!

Rule number one in marketing, is that you never try and please everyone. It's a recipe for failure. That, and some people's actual cooking. I won't name names but love them anyway. They need directions just to boil water without burning it, but I digress.

From our very first E@RTC, what we all loved most on a Saturday morning, wasn't just the great cars, it was the interaction with everyone and the stuff we all laughed about. We'd go home giggling about the morning and we always wanted to preserve that unique magic. It's never just about cars, it's about our own brand of fun and people leaving knowing it was a morning well spent, and sometimes worth loaning out a body part for a yard pass.

The thing we hear most about our site is not necessarily what we write, but our attitude about keeping our fun front and center even when we're talking about rules. let's face it, nobody likes to read about rules, or that long document you have to read and check the box before the software downloads. (It's called a EULA by the way, which stands for end user license agreement, and not that thing dangling in the back of your throat which is a uvula which is not that thing...never mind.)

Yet, in looking at our traffic, people read our rules because, well, they are just kind of fun to read and with any luck make you laugh just a little. If they don't make you laugh you may need a humorlesstorectomy. It's more painful than it sounds. I knew a nun who had one that didn't take. Wow could she snap a ruler.

From time to time, we get someone who's a bit "shocked" by our sensibilities but we have no plans to change how we write because we get a lot more email from those who love it than those who hate it. Besides, if we laugh, well, that seems to help keep the event glued together.

E@RTC, as long as we're all involved will be about having fun, front and center. If someone has their undies in a bunch over something we say here, then we guess you need pills. Lots of pills and we'd suggest unbunching those undies to avoid a rash.

The very core of any car community is people who like to play like kids. That's the magic so we will always write with fun in mind and go after sacred cows. It's an expression. No, we're not talking about someone or even something you dated, we're taking about the kind that get offered up to the gods when stuff won't grow. No, not a Burger King Whopper. We're talking about the whole thing, udders and all. Am I digging a hole?

We hope you get out and enjoy the Nutcracker this season. No, we don't mean the one off a diving board.

Some Of Our Unusual Email

We received a lot of emails (apparently 'email' in the singular form is incorrect) this past season and some of the themes stick out. Of course, we get a lot of spam and most of it is about people who claim to be able to increase our sales, improve our internet score and our manhood, reduce that rash, and just about everything else except world peas. Yeah, peas.

We get a lot of commercialization requests, something we don't want to do. Everyone wants to make a buck off us and some are a bit sneaky about it. Others just ask us. In our early days, we supported a lot of entrepreneurs who were in the automobile-related business who came out to E@RTC, but it became an issue so we thought it best if we just became a bit more like Switzerland without grumpy uptight dudes making watches in little chalets. Our objective is to remain as neutral as possible so we don't end up in the middle of a fist fight over window tinting.

We want all auto-related services to do well. Why wouldn't we? We just don't want you to have to be pitched all the time and especially at E@RTC. Instead, we want the event to be about the love of cars and not the love of making money around cars. We don't allow 'for sale' signs on anything either, not just because of a mall policy, but because it would get tacky real fast. This should be a celebration about our mutual love of cars.

Most of the email is about stuff that can be found on our site rather easily. Still, we answer politely. We get a lot that's about car qualifications and we answer immediately, at least most of us do. We're going to improve that too.

We're already working on our next season. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes activities related to what we're going to do in our upcoming season, things we'd like to change and it's all about what we can do to make this all even better than 2017. While I don't get to write as much as during our season, it's not because we're kicking back. Far from it. We're still gathering input before our next thug meeting and in the meantime, we wish you all a great Thanksgiving. We're still going to keep writing. That's not going to stop. One can only tweeze so much.

Giving "Rent A Wreck" A Whole New Meaning

There was a time when "Rent a Wreck" meant you rented an existing wreck, but with exotic rentals, it's become just the opposite it seems, it's like they got it wrong and are thinking, "Rent TO Wreck," emphasis on the 'to' which I don't think conforms to the business plan. There was another this past week in Bellvue. Shocker!

"Well, our business plan is to rent cars that people can run into walls and stuff..."

Investors are sitting there wondering, "So how do we make a return on our money???"

The sound of crickets for about twenty seconds before they come back with...

"Uh, there will be insurance, and they have to pay for it...yeah, that's how it will work..."

Reality sinks in with these rental agencies and they almost always fail. Even if the other squidly is paying for it, it's a car out of inventory, and good luck defending yourself in one lawsuit after another on the liability side of the equation. We've never seen one last all that long anyway.

Years ago, when I first got into exotic cars, I noticed an unmistakable phenomenon. It seemed like all of the new exotics that were plowing fields, scraping roofs, involuntary transforming, rapidly disassembling parts, or testing trees were all caused by new owners and borrowed cars. I started paying attention to every accident and over and over I'd see the same thing. When I hear about an exotic in a wreck, my assumption is just that, it's a new owner or a borrowed car. For those of you in Fresno, a rental is a borrowed car.

Top Gear once wrote about the Lamborghini LP640; that it was a car that wanted to kill you and it was your job to not let it happen. That sunk in when I first took delivery. I didn't need to know what it could do because that was already in the magazines and on YouTube. What a lot of people don't know is that with most exotics, you're basically driving Chucky. Chucky wants to kill you and most of all Chucky likes to surprise you when he's about to kill you. There won't be the faint screeching of tires as a warning, it will be that sudden...WALL!!!

I get it, Harley Quinn is sexy as hell, looks like fun and makes a lot of noise, but if you're going for that ride you'd better sleep with one eye open and a hand covering the huevos rancheros. Exotics are no different. Renting one with no prior ownership experience is like going on a date with Harley when she's a wee bit crabby.

Lamborghini loosely translated in Romanian means, "Let's go have some fun and then die together." This is not to say Lamborghini's are inherently dangerous cars because they are not the dangerous component. In fact, they are designed to do things other cars can't. Keyword is "cars," it says nothing about the one with their hands on the steering wheel. Lamborghinis are great fun! It's the person behind the wheel who gets the notion in their head that goes something like the last thought of a lot of dead people... "I wonder what will happen if I..." WALL!

Like finding an unexploded shell, "I wonder what happens if I tap...right... here?"

Or, "Is this wire hot?"

Or my favorite in the jungles of Africa, "Poke it and see if it's sleeping..."

Or the idiot in Alaska who said, "You just have to understand these grizzlies and we're now genuine friends..." and was later found with his camera running...and his hand far away from all the other pieces of him.

If you're thinking about renting or buying an exotic for the first time, have fun, but don't go looking for the "edge" because it's extremely sharp if you get my drift, excuse the pun. Do a rental experience on a track with an instructor first. If you're new to ownership, get to know the car over the first few thousand miles and slowly work up to idiot status. Get some training. Don't go there in the first 100 miles. Just about every exotic dealer I know has had someone total the car the day they took delivery.

I was at Symbolic Motors in La Jolla standing there when a guy in a brand new yellow Gallardo who was just handed the keys drove out the lot and right into the very high curb while taking delivery. He hadn't gone thirty feet before he peeled off the front. I stood there in amazement like I just saw a cool magic trick.

We encourage exotic ownership, but we also encourage staying alive without the need for tubes the rest of your life. Also, we don't want you damaging the reputation of exotic cars, so there is that too. So, to recap, avoid being the whole tool bag and take it easy! This is as close to a public announcement as we want to get.

We Got Our First Noise Complaint...EVER!

We knew it was going to happen. Sooner or later, someone would complain about something that may have nothing to do with us and can't at all be substantiated, proven, or quantified with anything we can do anything about. This was a first for us after nine years. Someone complained about noise outside of the event, enough to write a letter to the mayor. The MAYOR! I expected a little fat guy with a long staff and a fat mayorial collar with lots of gold and curly shoes to come over with a rolled up proclamation.

Was the complaint from someone at RTC? Nope. Someone from Microsoft next door? Nope. Someone's grandmother who's pissed off about selling her Buick? Nope. It was some unhappy dude who was over at the Saturday market who thought the cars leaving the event were just too loud. The noise ruins the peaches.

Maybe it's just me, but it's probably the sound of people having fun. FUN! Oh, my gosh! FUN! We can't have that in Redmond.

No matter what, someone is always out to make it about them, and ruin it for everyone else in the name of, "community." I picture the Reverend Saw Moore from Footloose who says them damn kids can't dance. The world is filled with unhappy people who have nothing better to do who want to spread their misery everywhere with no regard or concern for those who enjoy and participate in E@RTC. I feel kind of sorry for them, that this is the best use of their time. Doesn't Redmond have bigger problems? Besides, the music is on our side. (Footloose lingo)

What he probably doesn't understand or contemplate is that many at the market come over from E@RTC on a nice Saturday morning. We're a huge part of their revenues. They get a direct monetary benefit from us. This guy didn't work for the market, he just was there to complain about something. As if that busy intersection is ever quiet at that time of day on a Saturday.

From my own research, he's also relatively new to the neighborhood and I'm guessing just an unhappy guy looking for something to do. I have no idea if he's a mime or not. I am suspicious. Damn mimes.

It is important to remember that not everyone is happy in the world and so we have to always be courteous, etc., even to people like this who aren't respectful to us in return. He never took the time to contact any of us. Nope, he thought his best shot was straight to the mayor. The MAYOR!


If You're Ever Sent To Lot 9... Well, It's Not Good...

If you ever show up and we direct you to Lot 9, it's not a good thing. It's in Moclips. We actually took a vote in 2011. It's about a 2.7-hour drive from Redmond, and there is nobody there. It's an abandoned high school parking lot and you will feel kind of foolish if you show up ready for a party. You will sit there and nobody will care. Except the old guy who lives next door who will shuffle on over and want to snuggle.

 Beautiful Lot 9

Beautiful Lot 9

If we sent you there, it's because you were probably acting like a giant Prickasaurus Rex in the Jurassic world of carnivorous pricklits. You scored a perfect 10.0001 on the prick-o-meter that morning. You were elected mayor of Pricksville, USA in a landslide. You're a seven-time gold medalist in the Olympricks. Frankly, you're just not a nice person and we called you out.

One of our secret ingredients is that we do on occasion, rare as it may be, kick people out for being jerks, usually with egos bigger than a typical Caribbean cruise ship could possibly hold. You know the big white ships with the crazy girls at the buffet eating all the lobster?

We needed a way to send someone out the exit without them knowing they were sent out the exit. We had Lots 1 to 8, but 9 was not at E@RTC, so we came up with a radio code, saying we were sending someone to Lot 9. Out they would go and we'd all get a good laugh. Still, we wanted a real Lot 9. We had to come up with a location that would fit the personality of E@RTC where everyone would think was funny. We thought about Lot 9 a very long time.

After a few seasons of E@RTC, the group of volunteers and their families would go to Seabrook, WA, rent a few houses and have a great time. The laughs would continue for days. While there we were out exploring the area and came across what we all agreed was the perfect Lot 9.  We pulled Steve out of the back seat to inspect and carefully pondering the criteria before making the declaration. 

 Steve passing the decree. "Now and until this dump becomes a shopping mall with an Orange Julius, and other shitty stores, this will forever be known as Lot 9!"

Steve passing the decree. "Now and until this dump becomes a shopping mall with an Orange Julius, and other shitty stores, this will forever be known as Lot 9!"

We all stood around and thought about it, debated the distance, the ambience, amenities, the guy next door who wanted to snuggle and thought yup, this met all the criteria. Steve, being the analytical mind that he is, did his final check and said, "Yup, this is the spot." There were seven other yups.

 The resulting celebration of our beautiful Lot 9. We danced and stuff.

The resulting celebration of our beautiful Lot 9. We danced and stuff.

We had to get out for a few group shots to make it an official documented declaration. Vic was still back at the cabin sleeping off a good hangover after streaking through Seabrook the night before. It was a hell of a show. Vic was surprisingly fast, with nothing but a giant bush to keep him warm...the other kind of bush.

 After we are all tired of dancing and celebrating the discovery of our beautiful Lot 9, we held still for a picture.

After we are all tired of dancing and celebrating the discovery of our beautiful Lot 9, we held still for a picture.

 "All right, now, who wants to snuggle? It's cold out this way...Son, you look like you could handle it..."

"All right, now, who wants to snuggle? It's cold out this way...Son, you look like you could handle it..."

It was time to go home. Nobody wanted to snuggle.

Another E@RTC problem solved.

A Few Stats To Ponder

HellllOOOOoooo.... I'm feeling like I'm talking in a giant empty room now that the season's over... HeeeeelllllllooOOOOOOOOooooo..... ECHO...echo...echo...echo... Your mom's a HO-BAG..ho-bag..ho-bag..ho-bag..."yup..." What?

We don't know who's going to read this or when. I thought I'd share some fun stats with all of you to ponder about our season. Our nifty new website this year ended up with 40,049 unique visitors for the season, with 61,678 visits, and 124,939 page views and ZERO web optimization or ad words. Traffic is somewhat evenly divided between the website itself, the photographers and the blog. We don't believe the steamy pile of bullshit stats on Facebook, so we're not including that here. Think of any number in your head and we're fine with it. Facebook counts anyone on your friend list when you post something so the "reach" can be all the way to your dead grandmother in Winneconne. Bless her soul. It's a number that's completely meaningless to our audience. Besides, fewer and fewer people use Facebook. 

We had a total of 29 possible Saturdays this season of which we were rained-out nine times, and four of those rain-outs were at the very beginning of our season. Ultimately we had nineteen actual events for the season. We did take one Saturday off in August. Some of us needed beauty sleep that morning. (IT DIDN'T WORK!)

It took a while for our website to catch on because most people were following the event on Facebook but that site got to be such a busy mess, thank's to Facebook's "improvements" that were never "improvements", sort of like collagen lips. Or that facelift that makes you look like you're breaking the sound barrier in your sleep. We got tired of Facebook so when we rebuilt our site, most of you came with it, which was nice. Facebook sucks. No seriously, Facebook completely and utterly sucks so we don't do much with it anymore other than post now and then.

Speaking of Facebook, we get a few trolls there and you'd think they would figure out that everyone sees them as trolls. When they do realize what they said as something a bit moronic, it's like waking up naked on a freeway with no way to explain what just happened.

We received over 760 event-specific emails this season. A huge chunk were clarification questions about what does and doesn't qualify. Most of the time the response is the cars are qualified to get in and we deeply appreciate the ask. We answered every email and people have been nice. (And to that dude in Nigeria, where's my money? I sent you my bank account number months ago!)

We get a lot of inquiries from local businesses who want to "partner" with us and I don't think they realize we have a lot to do already. The mall also has strict guidelines about our use of the space so we point in that direction. Our goal is to keep things fun and not bombard everyone with commercial stuff. We would love to see a food stand somewhere or something like that from the mall somehow...a good chocolate chip cookie sounds good right about NOW.

The other emails were mostly FAQs that were already on the site. We're always nice, even when they write to ask if we're a weekly event. We love that people take the interest in us and we're here to help so we don't mind the questions.

Our peak days were 550+ cars, and our low days were around 200 cars. When we get above 500 we start to turn qualified cars away, and we hope to fix that in 2018. The average turnout was in the 300+ range. No, we don't count spectator cars and we're not a "Cars and Coffee" so we don't have the usual S2000 with a fart can to count in that total. All this time we were hearing about such impressive numbers coming from other Saturday events and it was all BS because they were counting every car anywhere near the event. They did that because they couldn't tell the difference. If we DID play that game, it would put us at around 1,500 cars on an average day. See why that doesn't work?

That totals roughly 6,000 exotic, rare and unique, cars for the season of which I'd guess that 2/3s are cars that make it more than once. Just a wild guess, I'd say we're pulling from a batch of about 1,500 exotic, rare, and unique cars that make it out at least once each season. It's just our best guess. For those of you in Fresno, we get a lot of cars.

Here is the big surprise, and a lot of people don't know this. We have some cars show up that are so expensive that we exceed $100 million in total car values on those days! There is no other weekly car event that can come even close to those numbers. This is because of a few generous collectors who take the time to bring out the very high-value stuff and they bring these beauties on their own wheels! There is nothing like E@RTC. 

We guess that spectator traffic runs at around 4 spectators and participants per participant car. It's hard to count because people are cruising between the lots and the mall, but we do our best to make a general count and get it right. That would put us averaging around 1,200 people per event, or about 24,000+ people for the season, except we'd have to double spectators on special event days, so it's safe to say close to 30,000 come out each season and of that total, the unique visitors are about a third if we had to guess, so about 10,000 unique visitors a season. We tend to be conservative with our numbers. We do very little outside promotion and we don't do any web optimization. Our goal is to match our audience with the cars so we build a strong community .

We get very few complaints each season. Less than a dozen and most of those are about entrance criteria. Hey, we do our best and we have no plans to change who we are. Sean has to deal with the bulk of it at our entrance, where he gets a lot more grief. He has about one or two who want to argue every Saturday. It's a tough job and we hate turning anyone away.

We wanted to share this info with you because we are a community event. 


We're Done For The Season and I've Run Out Of Tissue Crying About It

Thank you, everyone, for making our 9th season so outstanding. Expect even more improvements for 2018. We don't know what the exact percentage of improvement will be for our new season, as we're just now making our priority list.

In closing out this season, I'd like to share some thoughts about why our website and blog are written the way they are. We will continue writing all through our offseason just to keep you up to date. We had a couple of critics this week, which is fine, we love feedback in the spirit of improvement. Still, we're not for everyone and we don't try to be. Let me explain why.

It begins with a basic rule when marketing any product, and that is that you never try and make anything for everyone. It's an instant recipe for failure. That, and chocolate chips on a nice pepperoni pizza with onions and anchovies. No great company ever tries to make their device for all people. It doesn't matter if it's Apple, Chick-fil-A or Honda. 

You have to know your audience and our audience is never going to be everyone in the car world who happens to like cars. Some are going to hate everything we do no matter what we do. Those in Frezno sitting on the porch steps, with an ankle monitor, while reading this blog come to mind. So do some who don't like the fact that we have a focus on what types of cars make it into the event. E@RTC has always had its share of those who curse our name, raise their fists and spit, along with the usual critics who'd never ever lift a finger to do anything for a car community of any kind anyway. The recent posts we took down on Facebook are similar. We get it, you don't like this. Well, don't read it. Problem solved.

They aren't comments in the form of anything helpful. These aren't individuals who'd ever pitch in to help anyway, so we generally ignore them unless they come up with a great idea. Besides, most of the critics we get on Facebook and other social media are kids either living in their parent's basement, or soon to be living in their parent's basement...either way, there is a basement in the deal somewhere. Trust me.

We are there to have a great time and make each other laugh and keep things light-hearted. We don't much care if we offend someone. Being offended is not a fatal disease. I can be offended every day if I want to look for it. I chose to never be offended. I'm offend-proof and I'm happy! Try it! It's super-easy. Take out a little pad and paper and make a note to yourself, write down, "I will no longer be offended by anything." (Don't forget to sign it) and watch how much your day improves. I promise you it will. 

There is too much serious stuff out there in the world already, so we don't want to forget what we're for and that's to have a great time, see cool cars, etc. and make some friends. We don't need to write car reviews because they are everywhere. Writing, in general, has become too sterile and lacks any personality because too many writers worry about offending someone somewhere. I can assure you I don't because our core audience is also offended-proof. If you listened to our two-way radio chatter on a Saturday morning, we constantly make fun of each other but it's damn funny. That's our foundation- having a great time around cars.

The job of our blog is to keep our community together and if we make you giggle at our stupid humor, then bonus. Yes, now and then we have to deal with some drama, but that's to protect our brand, as we have done since we began. We still try and have fun with that too. So no, no plans to change the blog as we watch our traffic and people seem to read it and it's growing in popularity. Thanks to all of you who do laugh. 

You see, much of E@RTC's core foundation of E@RTC is based the cross-relationships and friendships people have made at our event. We make a few people laugh and have a good time and they help us connect with others and suddenly we have a car community where genuine friendships are born, cultivate, and thrive. We love this. It's why we do all of this. We love seeing all of you have had a great time, but damn-it, we can't make everyone have fun. Some people are just unhappy no matter what and we feel bad about that. May I suggest a cool refreshing mint.

Mom Nature Gave Us A Solid For Our Last Day Of The Season

Saturday will be a beautiful nice day and the last day of our 2017 season! What a season it's been!

There will be a huge turnout this Saturday and one of our biggest of the season, based on all the web traffic we've seen.

We also had Nick's birthday this week. So please wish him a happy birthday when you come out. Next year his birthday cake requires a burn permit like the rest of us.

We can't thank you enough for being a part of E@RTC this year. It's meant a lot to us! (hugs) We look forward to seeing all of you one last time this Saturday.

Our 10th season will begin on March 31, assuming we're all still here. We can't predict the weather that far out, but it's safe to assume there is a 50/50 chance of rain with a 50% chance that will be correct. There is also a 50% chance I'm just guessing.

See you Saturday!