‘Mustang Colin’

After dropping the VFR off at the hotel in Redondo Beach, I jumped on a shuttle bus to LAX. There I met my good friend Ed Bryant and we picked up a very cool ride for our drive up Route 1, the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to Monterey for the Biologging III conference. I kept the car for two weeks all up.

Hertz GT-H Shelby Mustang.

When the Mustang was first released in the mid-1960’s, Hertz had Carroll Shelby produce the original GT 350-H Mustang. This was such a good car that people would hire and race them and get good results. Not what Hertz had in mind, but hard for them to find out. It became known as the ‘Rent-a-Racer’. With the good looking 2006 model Ford Mustang, someone at Hertz harked back to the sixties and had Carroll Shelby Motors produce a modern day GT-H. The one I hired was based on the Ford Mustang GT convertible, V8 of course – there is a coupe too. Shelby add their own performance exhaust which sounds awesome and adds 25HP, up to 325HP. They also add the Ford performance suspension and brake package as well as a custom bodywork and paint package. Sadly, they only have auto’s and you cannot override the traction control. The button is still there but is just a dummy with TCS written on it. I intended popping this cover off to see if the wiring was still there to disable TCS, but the car was enough fun to drive with TCS that I didn’t bother.

Hood up on Monterey pier.

From Monterey I traveled 900 miles in a little over a day to get to a ‘luau’ or traditional Hawaiian bar-b-que at my good friends place in Redmond, near Seattle. A few powernaps were needed on the first day after the usual work-hard, play-hard of a conference, but I still managed almost 600miles from 1100 until 2230 on I5 (Interstate 5). The remainder was completed by 2.00pm the next day. The beermeisters at the party were penning names on the beer cups, and mine was christened ‘Mustang Colin’.

The traditional part of the luau is the bar-b-qued pig. This is a particularly ‘Heath-Robinson’ contraption for rotating the pig at the appropriate speed. The treadmill has power and variable speed and the bicycle gears it down.

Traditional Hawaiian spit-roast pig – not a traditional spit.

Next the pig is carved.

Not sure how traditional this is…

After a not particularly early rise after the luau, I drove my host Roger, his dog Sam and another guest Todd inland to the Cascades where we walked a path up and around an impressive rock buttress to ‘Rattlesnake Ledge’. Didn’t sound like an advisable combination to me, but there were plenty of people returning, so up we went.

Roger, Sam and Todd on Rattlesnake Ledge with Rattlesnake Lake below and the Cascades beyond.

On the Monday I did a bit of work, visiting a fellow companies premises and a couple of meetings. We went sailing on Lake Union that evening. We had oysters and a couple of beers drifting around the lake in light airs. Then we stopped at the South end of the lake and went to a restaurant.

Sunset on Lake Union, Seattle.

The next day I had a good day in Seattle looking around the city with my good friend Kim on his 60th birthday. We had an excellent lunch at Elliotts Oyster House, the best selection of oysters I have encountered. That evening we went to a great Spanish restauarant with tapas, paella and fine wine.

Sadly I had to move on early the next morning. I took a ferry across to the Olympic Peninsula. Stunning scenery, but it was hazy, so no good photo’s unfortunately. I stopped at the Hoh Rain Forest at the insistence of my hosts. Well worth it, stunningly green, mossy and huge trees. I think this place competes with the West coast of South Island, New Zealand for the highest annual rainfall title – around 15 metres per year! That night I stayed at the Lake Quinault Lodge as recommended. This is a lakeside lodge hotel dating back to the 1920s. Peaceful, quaint and great vistas. I had a couple of beers and a great dinner with fine wine.

Lake Quinault Lodge, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

I left early the next morning as I had some serious miles to do in a couple of days. I went South to the mouth of the Columbia River, across it, inland to Portland and then South at high speed down Interstate 5. 450 miles saw me in Grants Pass, Oregon for the night. The next day saw another 400 miles to San Francisco to drop the car off by 2.30pm. I stayed the night and most of the next day in this fine city. This was the end of the trip for me, but I’ll go back to San Francisco and I only scratched the surface of what there is to see in California, Oregon and Washington, never mind all the other states.

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