Updating "The Local", Group Drives, and Changing the Culture

Last weekend I snuck in a last minute drive of “The Local”. I wasn’t feeling that great so I was going to skip it, but I was fortunate enough to have a capable co-pilot who’s driving would be on point with mine with more seat time in the Z06. Luckily she actually knows Highbridge and the Snohomish River Valley better than I do. Highbridge Road was a little busy, so after a few tame runs we continued on to make the most of the drive to Ben Howard Road toward Sultan, WA.

Ben Howard Road was almost empty, which made the short run a lot of fun especially for the drivers with us who hadn’t done the route before. We felt a little bad taking the lead and making the most of the road, but rumor has it some of them went back on their own. I love hearing that kind of news - where I get to take someone somewhere new to them and they go back!

After we made another run Highbridge we took it north to Snohomish to Trails End Taphouse for lunch. This places rarely misses a beat when it comes to food and service and it’s easily my favorite restaurant in the area. They literally have the best artichoke dip I have ever tasted. I had been there a few times before finding out my old friend from High School, Chris, was the owner! Such a small world. He and I used to offroad until late hours back in my high school days.

For the record, I typically don’t do group drives. I don’t even do group meets unless they're controlled by a staff. There’s always some asshat who thinks they have something to prove and drives like an idiot and crashes, or worse, causes someone else to crash. I’m lucky enough to have a good enough group of friends who I trust who doesn’t drive above their limits and still has fun. One of the things I want to do with Dan’s Drives and Rain City Supercars is work on changing that culture. It has to stop.

I am a big proponent of shame in the car community where it’s due. The risk needs to outweigh the reward and a bigger risk than anything to someone with a giant ego is the danger of stripping their social status down to rejected when they do something blatantly stupid that could endanger an innocent bystander. I don’t mean an accident caused by a distraction or simple mistake, accidents happen, but burnouts in extremely busy streets, donuts at public car meets, constant revving in neighborhoods with lots of houses around, etc, needs to end. If you endanger yourself, hey, stuff happens and that’s unfortunate, but I get it. Being a bit of a daredevil is fun and when no one is around I fully admit to opening it up and having a good time with my Z06. I’m not some angel. I’m not “holier than thou” as my mom used to say. Still, there’s a time and a place for it, and that’s all I’m trying to drive home here.  

On the only downside of the drive, I’m already starting to see the heavier traffic changes in the area as the Seattle area has become too expensive for most people and therefore traffic and housing is moving to the outlying areas. While these routes are still always fun, I remember driving and riding this road 10 years ago and traffic being a rarity, a surprise even, to see out here. That said, get out and enjoy these roads while you still can!