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!

It's Our Final Saturday For 2017

Well, this sucks! It's our last Saturday, which is looking good so please come out! We hate to end, but our start and end dates come from experience and a lot of crying. Don't come running to us with tears in your eyes if you miss this one.

Our photographers did a stupendous job this season and it's worth checking out their stuff. They were about a third of our traffic on this site all season. So was the blog! So thank you for that. We will remain active on the blog straight through spring. I promise we have more stuff to share. Recipes, tweezing tips, manscaping without a lot of blood, AND some car stuff.

As we said before, we will be doing some meet-and-greet events on Saturday mornings down at America's Car Museum so stay tuned for that bit of tomfoolery. We've yet to decide how to make a gathering down there, and what it should look like, but we're working on it; pondering the possibilities so everyone goes home happy. Basically, we want to make sure it will work.

Earlier in the season, we wrote about the challenges of meeting up at a restaurant on a Saturday morning. The places all end up hating us because of our size and it's never a great experience and few have fun. The chefs spit at the very sound of our cars as if we we're locusts, there to eat the leaves off the trees. Okay, some are, I admit it, but not all of us. We then quietly stroll in and eventually end up looking like a high mountain plane crash reunion where everyone stares at their plate in silence remembering who they once ate, too nervous to ask for jam.

We want to start something more festive, engaging, worthy of dragging your likely hairy ass from here to Tacoma on a rainy Saturday morning... on purpose and actually stop there. It's safe to assume NOBODY who reads this lives in Tacoma already. Trivia; everyone who ever moved to Fresno likely came from Tacoma, and you know what we think of Fresno. We shouldn't disrespect Tacoma. There are some nice homes there. The ones without the bullet holes. Okay, I'll shut up now.

We want that first gathering at the museum to be fun or nobody will come back. We don't want you to curse the event and spit, so we're giving it a lot of thought so it exceeds your expectations. Our goal is to have a great time, talk cars, tell stories, show battle scars, bite marks, and missing teeth. Okay, maybe not. That's more Granite-Falls-on-a-Friday-night kind of gathering... ours will be more along the lines of a fun Saturday party worthy of that sore jaw to gain your yard pass.

Yes, we've already ruled out a glittered Nick on a stripper pole. That got a unanimous no vote. Including a no from the pole itself. Vic surprisingly got a few votes. Wha'd I miss?

Hope to see you Saturday if the weather is decent.

 

Threading The Needle...To The Point Where We're Rained Out!

We've been curfubulated about Saturday's weather. (There is no such word, but you mysteriously know what it means, right?) I'll make an attempt at our definition below.*

We've been watching the weather and we decided that we're OFF. (Didn't mean to yell, but that was for the back row that will show up anyway.) The rains end too late that morning and won't dry out in time, then start again too soon and the streets will all be wet. This assumes the weather folks are right and they never have it pinned down that closely so it's a needle we can't thread. 

This is one of the tough ones to call and we get a few of those each season. If we are on next Saturday, I hate to break the news to you in this way, but it will be our last for the season. Because it it will be our last, and we've had two weeks off, we will call it our E@RTC encore. How's that?

We don't plan to run into late October. It gets too cold in the morning, too dark and mysterious, and it doesn't have the same festive feel of a small town block party. Besides, we don't want anyone standing around grumpy and hypothermic at at same time. It's a dangerous combination. Like Jarts at a family reunion. It's also too close to hibernation for some, while others will simply stop tweezing for the year. We know a few of you will get back to crafts; scrap booking, turning gum wrappers into tiny little chains or glittering the shit out of everything not nailed down. (Nick)

Before the season officially ends, we want to thank our sponsors this season one more time. Please do us a favor and thank Ferrari, Maseratti Alfa Romeo of Seattle, as well as Lamborghini, RR, Bentley of Bellevue and especially Redmond Town Center. Especially Redmond Town Center! If you can't go there in person, please stand up and clap in their general direction.

Thank you Jessica for putting up with us, and all your time and energy from everyone at RTC. We couldn't do this without your help.

Please shop there this Christmas!!! Everything you need is right there! If it's not there you probably don't really need it. They ask so little of us so it's the least we could do for hosting us all summer long. They have been with us from the beginning and we're super loyal to them for all they have done. Go dine there. Have some cookies! Buy some soap! Just go there and buy something! (Mama needs a new motorcycle.)

We also want to thank America's Car Museum who supported us all summer along with giving all our volunteers annual passes to the museum for the next year. That was extremely cool and will keep them from spending the entire winter on the couch wishing for our next season to begin...or worse...far worse... making chutney.

As I keep saying, our volunteers are amazing. While we know some can scare the siding off a tech building, they are still great people who do this because they want to give back. We're hopeful we're all walking upright by next spring.

Two other big groups we want to thank. First are all those who bring cars out week after week. You bring a lot of smiles to the faces of others who are seeing cars like yours for the first time. It means the world to so many who come out to see your cars. We see them wet themselves with delight as you show up.

We especially want to thank Greg and a few others such as Bruce, and Fred for bringing Jon's cars out, including Roy, who come out week after week with their cool stuff. I don't think some people have any idea how much work it is for our collectors to get cars out of their garages and over to E@RTC and we appreciate all the hard work. You inspire a lot of people!

We also want to thank all of you for participating in this event. This is where it feeds on itself. We do it for all of you and your response helps give us the motivation to keep it going. Without all of you all our volunteers would simply go home and hide.

Thank you everyone! Let's hope next Saturday is decent.

*Ker-fub-u-late: (verb) to discuss weather while manscaping without reason or intent. 

We Had A Good Meeting

All of us Thugs got together on Saturday to discuss what went well, give out the latest news, and to talk about what we can improve. We're always looking for ways to make a better event. We will have fewer special event days because it's a lot of work. Also, "Thugs in Thongs" day was unanimously ruled out except for that one guy who voted for it. We question his choice of beverage.

We don't know about where you live, but mom nature eventually decided to water a little later than first planned on Saturday, but it did finally rain. By Friday's weather report, they were predicting thunderstorms for Saturday so we were glad we were off as a safety measure. We didn't want to risk Vic's curly hair going off like a flash build in a lightning strike.

Jason had the taco truck show up to keep us all fed and the food was outstanding as usual. Sean won a trophy for being the guy who has to deal with all the folks who want to argue with him at the gate. His car knowledge runs rather deep, so you're messing with the wrong guy if you decide to argue with him about how special your ride is if it's not obvious. He can also out-nice you. He's US six-time champion of nice. He's known for his signature move of hugs without warnings. I just warned you.

Vic also got a trophy because he takes a lot of crap from the other guys in fun all season. Ask him about Ferrari runway requirements sometime, but stand back when you do. It's like lighting one of those things that spins on the ground, then pops. And Billy won a trophy; the keeper of the radios and other items because of his tenacity. He's another one of those volunteers who shows up week after week, always determined to help us put on the best show possible.

I was just happy to be a part of the group. Nobody got a wedgie this time, but maybe I wasn't looking.

We do laugh a lot when the Thugs get together. It's sort of our goal, to just make fun of each other and tell stories about this season and highlights from incidents during earlier seasons. Some stories will never ever get old. Like the time... never mind. 

You know, you don't have to own an exotic or rare car to volunteer as one of the beloved Thugs. For those working in the foreground, you do have to be personable, able to carry on a conversation, and be in firm possession of an engaging personality because it's not just about parking cars. You're also the Saturday morning party hosts. It's not a good job if you like to hide in the basement and play with your marbles, but it is fun if you like to connect people, help get cars sorted out, and just be a great ambassador to the event. 

For those who volunteer in the background, well, the bar's a little, shall we say, lower. It's just a few steps up from fogging a mirror, but not by a lot. We love it when people pitch in consistently. There is always something to do. We're now going through the 501c3 approval process and getting better organized on the back end for more growth. Yeah, we're getting bigger all the time.

What matters most is finding the volunteers who care about putting on the best car show possible week after week. That's the spirit in which we all work. We want to draw those exceptional cars, and the people who love them. That's what sustains the event, along with the friendships that are made each week. We want to build the best community event anywhere in the world. The Thugs have always been a unique bunch who put their entire focus on you having a great time and we plan to sustain that.

Listen, you can't expect to make a decent living selling pictures of your feet on the internet. While I know it's tempting to try other parts, don't. Just don't. Besides, it's not what your parents had in mind when you were shot out of the baby cannon in the back of a Greyhound. I'm talking from experience here.

Let's hope for a decent Saturday.

 

 

We Think Mom Nature Got Into The Hooch, So We're Off For Saturday.

Wow, have the weather folks been wrong a lot lately and they keep fooling around with Saturday, but we decided to call it RAINED OUT. We think the weather folks dug their cave a little deep. They were way wrong about the weather Monday night and we had to cancel our middle-of-the-night skeet shooting competition after the bars closed. I'm fine with it, because trust me, there is nothing worse than having pellets picked out of your butt by a laughing medical staff at 4 AM. It's "pull" BEFORE shoot."

We have probably three possible Saturdays left before our season ends for the year. Season nine is about to be in the record books. It was our best season ever! We may be over and not know it yet.

We were looking at our web traffic history and got a good laugh when we saw the giant spike in traffic around our April Fools prank. That was a lot of fun.

For those of you who are new, freshly out of prison, spent your summer on a rock in Nepal, or were locked in the basement by your ex, or your grandmother, in a coma, heavily sedated, or stuck in Fresno, we canceled our season opener on April 1 due to rain. Our opening day just happened to land on April Fools' Day this year. It was a gift to us from the Calendarians from thousands of years ago.

As a bunch of us Thugs were having breakfast that rainy morning anyway, we came up with the idea to still thank everyone for coming out. It was sort of a spontaneous April Fools' prank that gave us a good breakfast laugh. I raced back to my keyboard after breakfast and waited until about the time we'd normally be over then thanked everyone for coming out to our Best Opening Day Ever. We were further delighted that our loyal participants who got the joke quickly piled on and thanked us for the best opening day EVER, along with all the incredible stuff that happened on that opening day that never happened.

Those who didn't get our collective sense of humor, because they were new, freshly out of prison, spent their summer on a rock in Nepal, or were locked in a basement by their ex or their grandmother, in a coma, heavily sedated, or were stuck in Fresno, thought we were serious and it's the most hate mail we got all season; all for failing to tell them that we were still "on" that opening day. That blew up like adding nitrous to your mom's Civic without telling her. She sure got to work that busy street corner in a hurry that night. We were laughing ourselves to a point of sudden involuntary lost bladder control. As I write this, I'm having trouble typing because I'm still giggling like a kid who made X-Lax frosting for his friends before a hike.

We're having our annual season-almost-over Thug meeting this Saturday regardless of weather. This is where we sit around a giant bonfire (likely just a candle) and reminisce about the season, what worked, what didn't, before we forget. Planning for 2018 begins in about a month as we start to think about the calendar and all the coordination that entails.

We also will be looking for more volunteers to work behind the scenes on various details, such as car procurement, some marketing stuff, administration, etc. More on that coming up. Our volunteers are an amazing group of people who and the very reason we can make this all happen. Without them our lot would be a lot less magic. Please take a moment to thank them before the season ends. It would go a very long way.

I'm taking a moment here to thank my fellow thugs for all the laughs and good times this season. I'm proud to be one of you. Except for that one guy who's just a little nuts. You know who you are. You're typing this. I'm looking forward to hanging out with you all at our meeting.

Hopefully we see you all next week!

 

Bruce Leven

We got word a while back that long-time local car hero Bruce Leven passed away at 79. Bruce was a fan of E@RTC and we saw him here as late as July. He was open about his condition and was aware that this would be his last season at E@RTC. Think about this for a moment. Knowing you don't have a lot of time left, yet wishing to hang out with all of you. That's a car guy. He did what he wanted to do.

Bruce was a hero of thousands because he got to live the life that so many of us wished we could have. He was so willing to share his passion, including going through a lot of trouble to get his cars to E@RTC where he'd stand around chatting it up with the rest of us on a Saturday morning.

We have these folks at E@RTC, people who have singlehandedly changed the world, yet they never seek out attention. You probably wouldn't know much about their background other than the cars they drive. This is what makes E@RTC so special. We have these people who come out whenever they can who would otherwise be impossible to access, even if for no other reason but to say thanks. They come out to just be one of us and make friends, have fun and talk about cars. We've never name-dropped, or done anything to capitalize on their notoriety because what we all want most is to just come out and be a part of something. E@RTC makes us all more human. Bruce was always one of us and he will be missed. Thank you Bruce for being a part of E@RTC and always enthusiastically sharing your passion.

Ohoooo...The 23rd Is Looking Nice!

This may be one of the last times we say "...is looking nice" unless we're talking about some hottie that just fell out of the gym, so come out and help us end the season on a rumble.

It's looking like rain for Saturday the 30th... but that's a long ways off just yet. Give it a 50/50. Assuming it does rain, that takes us into October and we'll end our season sometime around mid-October. We don't want to see anyone crying when it happens. We will always have Fresno together.

We're working on our winter plan; daily drivers to the museum for some laughs, talk about the Moose we just bagged, Halloween, Turkey Day, Christmas. Fruitcake. Raise your hand if you like fruitcake. See, nobody raised their hand. Thought so.

 

Why We're Not Cars & Coffee...And Hate Mail From Mimes

Because of my last post, I got a nasty letter from "Mime Your Own Business" a mime school in Weyauwega, Wisconsin. You know you have a bright future ahead when you plunk your hard earned dollars down on that tuition. Anyhow, I think it's a nasty letter, but I'm not completely sure. Inside was a badly-folded blank sheet of paper which in Mime means, really bad things. I crumpled it and mailed it back. I guess the mime war is on but you probably won't hear a thing about it.

By the way Weyauwega loosely translated means, "Horse go no further."

We get email fairly often where we're someone will refer to us as "Cars and Coffee" and we've never been Cars and Coffee. The term makes that little vein in our foreheads quiver a little. That's an entirely different event. We made a choice to distance ourselves from the beginning because of a wide range of issues, including behavior associated with the brand, and our desire to build our own unique identity and set of expectations for all of you every Saturday morning. We don't just represent you, we also represent the reputation of RTC and we care about how they are perceived. Besides, if they are nice enough to give us the space for E@RTC, we sure as hell were going to do everything we could to live up to the gift.

The very term "Cars and Coffee" doesn't define anything. It doesn't tell you what to expect other than, cars and coffee. Every Starbucks parking lot meets that definition, so does every Safeway, Target, and Walmart parking lot, so does every McDonald's so does every gas station, so does every funeral home, feed store and bait shop and appliance store, not to mention just about every parking lot in the country where there are cars in the parking lot and a pot of joe nearby. The term sets no standards, just cars...and, well, someplace within walking distance, coffee... That's it. The bar is usually so low that the biggest event in the country counted both spectator and participant cars for their total participation. Why pray tell? Because they couldn't tell the difference!

When I think of Cars and Coffee, the immediate image that comes to mind is a faded Honda Civic with a fart can that nobody wants to drive fifty miles to see. We know you love your car, we all loved our first cars, well most of us. Mine could out-rust the Titanic, but I loved it anyway.

From our first day, we wanted E@RTC to be something different. We set an expectation for multiple reasons, including to cultivate higher standards of behavior, including the willingness to ban those who behave badly. So what if our volunteers got beat with the ugly stick here and there, they can still run a mean event.

We wanted E@RTC to be something special to you. We wanted it to be the motivator to get up on a Saturday morning and see what shows up. To even our own delight, we see new stuff every week and we're there every Saturday!

See you all Saturday! It's looking like it will be a nice day...at least so far.

We're on for Saturday!

The weather is looking good for Saturday so come on out before it's too late. This could be your chance to meet that special someone to get you through the winter! It's expected to rain the following week, so this really could be your last remaining opportunity to see some great cars, have deep meaningful conversations, and a chance to build a beautiful future with all your new friends. Then again you could just stay home and clean the fridge. We're way more fun. Save fridge cleaning day for garbage night. You don't really want your neighbors to see you throw out that 20 year old orchid from the prom.

We never had garbage night when I was growing up. My brother and I ate everything that wasn't nailed down. My mother sat us down one night and tearfully told us it was embarrassing to be the only family on the block with no garbage. We secretly borrowed the neighbors so we looked wealthier than we were.

This is when it starts to tricky when predicting our season-end. We don't have an end of the year party, we just look at the forecast and call it; that we're done for the season without any big tearful farewell like the Titanic leaving port for the first time. We just stay home like it never happened. That's when you clean the fridge. We look at each other and say, WTF just happened?

For those of you who signed up for our email. I'm still sorting it out so this comes to you automatically. We're gathering up the email addresses, and we're checking the right boxes, etc., but we're still dealing with some minor technical issues. Once we have that all sorted out, you will get this the same day we send it. To that nursing home who got all our mail, there are no bedpan races. Damn spell check.

 

Only About Five or Six Weeks Left...But...

We sure had a lot of fun at the America's Car Museum Summer-Ender Fender Bender. They had an extremely good turnout while it rained in Redmond. They didn't see rain until later in the afternoon as the droplets marched south like a tiny invading army.

We also had a great conversation with the folks there about all the fun stuff we're contemplating for not just the end of our season, but also what could happen this winter, such as a few gatherings at the museum just to hang around and see each other so we don't forget names, faces, or the bucks we owe someone. This way you're also reducing the chance of getting hugged warmly by that sweaty guy on opening day; desperately trying to remember names, with no clue who has you in a surprisingly awkward struggle snuggle as you softly call for help before you panic and pass out.

You know, we're not terribly excited about mimes showing up at E@RTC. We don't talk about it much, but we sure make the hand gestures. We just don't like them and wish they would mime their way over to the dumpster. Pull themselves over with an invisible rope and get in. While we all know a mime is a terrible thing to waste, we're glad there isn't a mime school within 2,000 miles. Reminds me of the lyrics to the Willy Nelson song, "...you're always on my mime..." It wouldn't surprise me one bit if there was a mime colony in Fresno. 

We're going to want more feedback from you about what you'd like from E@RTC in the coming season. Cover the white but glossy hairy legs is already on the list. So is better looking Thugs. We hear that one a lot. We're going to change the exit direction of E@RTC so cars aren't causing a problem on Bear Creek.

We will have more breakfast choices at RTC in 2018, so we've covered that one as well. We're working on some theme ideas, but we'd love to hear yours. We should have announcements for 2018 sometime in November so you can schedule a good rake on other days.

Did you notice we called it right on the weather and beat Mom Nature at Mumblety- Peg for once? Meanwhile she's showing those car events in Florida what "rained out" really looks like. We're all pulling for everyone down there. Also, on a serious note, please be careful where you send your money and check out the charity before you send a dime. There are lots of so called "charities" out there that use disasters more as fund-raisers without distributing squat to those in need. Some well known charities are on that list too. So, do your homework. If you spend a buck, make sure that buck actually goes to those in need, or you just paid for someone's new office rug, bedroom rug, head rug, or possibly that slurpee machine, or even someone's dad to play Santa at the annual company Christmas party.

You may have noticed the GIANT email subscription invite at the end of each blog. We have about as much control of changing the size as we do growing our own limbs. Sorry! We're using it to keep you in the loop. It will automatically send you this blog which should then show up in your email around 6 PM. We're just working out the bugs. It's not really bugs, it's more like me not knowing what the hell I'm doing just yet. But we appreciate you subscribing. We're humbled! I promise I'll get it all figured out. If a little old lady calls you from Dubuque, screaming at you to knock it off, I may have screwed something up. Scream back!

The Weather Gods are Playing Mumblety-peg With Us!

Remember the game? How many of YOU have a scar on your leg to prove it? My brother does! Okay, I'm not a good aim. Ooops! I mean, sorry! There was no X-box for us growing up. We actually bled. We lost teeth, broke bones, counted our stitches. There were no helmets, except the cheap $1.99 football helmet we'd find at the toy store, but that was only used when going off a cliff in a wagon. There was none of that sissy stuff while sitting in the comforts of a basement. Our moms were all emergency room mechanics who could shove a bone back in our leg while doing the laundry. Pussies! Oh and most of you women could Martha Stewart the crap out of a crypt before you were ten. If you weren't the one in the wagon, you were certainly pushing it. The girls were so tough in my neighborhood that they put creepy dudes on milk cartons.

While Mom Nature is busy messing things up with hurricanes and stuff, she's was thinking about tossing a little water our way on Saturday but things are improving the hour so we're on. (I'm adding this little caveat on Thursday afternoon, that the weather is still changing so we may not call it until Friday morning.)  This looks like one we should get right, but this is Washington, and at least we're not having to guess if a hurricane is going to hit us or not. That's mumblety-peg with a flaming chainsaw. We're all thinking about them.

We're now into that end of the season where we never know from one day to the next if we're going to make it to the weekend. We actually get on the phone like an old-fashioned gossip tree and debate the hell out of the weather like old men rocking on a porch swing and coordinate outfits when we're unsure what to do that day. I can assure you there is a 50/50 chance we'll get it right.

No matter what, even if we were rained out, which I don't think will happen, we'd still drive the daily drivers down to The Summer-Ender Fender-Bender that will be on rain or widespread sun. There is a 50/50 chance they will get it right too. Please come join us. This is our last chance to see Nick and Vic dance together like hippies on shrooms.

The other night we were talking about what we'd like to see happen as we grow E@RTC. Our thinking is that we'd like to draw cars from other parts of the country that you'd all want to see. We need more arms and legs as volunteers, along with a few decent heads, and so we will be looking for more people to help us on the administrative side in key areas this winter. We always want to see the event get bigger, but we don't want to lower your expectations either. We love it when we hear from you and your words matters more to us than a bus full of screaming nuns heading home from a hockey match.  We love it when we hear that you value our criteria to get in and all the help refining our standards so we're always putting on a great show, worthy of your time on a Saturday morning.

As for some other stuff, we are debating changing the exits of E@RTC to reduce problems along Bear Creek with some that just don't have the genetic capability to think of others. When gene therapy is something you can get at a 7-11, then maybe these individuals can comprehend how to best behave. We're also going to now river-dance over to the sidewalk and talk to those who encourage bad behavior. They too are a problem and ruin it for all of us so if you see it happening, please tell them to knock it off in the nicest of ways. You don't have to be super nice, but don't throw anything. RTC is already low on rocks. I read it in a memo.

We begin our calendar planning sometime in early November for 2018 so that we can get all the date conflicts worked out before everyone shows up in the same outfit. Some want more center circle events while some want less. There are drawbacks and benefits to both so if you have ideas, we'd love to smell what you're cook'n.

We're also contemplating a better organized and bigger drive down to Monterey next year that would leave immediately after E@RTC and arrive in Monterey on Wednesday, then blast home on Monday after the Pebble Beach event. We will need volunteers to work on that project too. Just because our season ends, don't think the Thugs just get put in the shed for the winter like those patio chairs. No, we have lots of poop to get done so we have a decent season opener. Hard to believe that next year will be our 10th season.