Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tremblant, Eastman and some warm weather

I have managed to get out of the city a couple of times in the past couple of weeks, just it time to enjoy some very nice weather. Two weeks ago, Alex was teaching a leadership seminar at the "Grand Lodge" at Mont Tremblant. I joined her with Oscar as Jules stayed at home with my sister, her boyfriend and then my mother. 

Going to Tremblant is bittersweet now that I no longer have a race car, but I still really like the place. Our hotel was not modern, but it was really nice. Our room had a full kitchen and two sleeping areas, which is nice when you have a not-quite-5-month-old with you. Oscar did not sleep especially well in our travel crib, but he was generally in a good mood. Between feedings, I had plenty of time to explore the area in the BMW. Although I already knew the area a bit, I discovered two fantastic new driving roads. The first is the road that leads from the ski resort to Lac Supérieur. To get to it, you just drive to the resort, then instead of turning left into one of the parking areas, you continue straight on. 

The road is about 15 km long and features smooth asphalt and many turns of varying degrees, as well as elevation changes. I was really happy to be driving a car like the M3. Although by modern standards, the M3 is not terribly fast, it is an extremely pleasant car to drive on mountain roads with the windows down and sunroof open (Oscar did not object to any of this). 

The second road I discovered was the back road to the little town of Labelle, north of Tremblant. It takes a while to get to Labelle from Tremblant if you take the main highway, the 117, but I noticed that just before one arrives at the village of Tremblant, there is a turn-off that leads to Labelle. The road was far from smooth, but still very pleasant. The M3 did well soaking up the bumps with its relatively soft suspension.

We were in the area from Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon. I could not help but drop by the track on Friday, but there was nothing going on. I tried again on Saturday, and came across a private testing day. I saw a few cars I knew and bumped into Pierre, a former race school student of mine who has a bunch of cool sports cars in his stable. He was getting to know his new Radical on the track. There was also a Subaru race team, a few GT3's, a new McLaren 650S, a new Volvo S60 Polestar and, to my surprise, a Maserati 4200GT track car. I was never much of a fan of these care visually, but it was nice to see one with proper track wheels, a roll bar and race seats. I timed a couple of the driver's laps at 2:06, but I bet the car can go quite a bit faster than that in the right circumstances.

Oscar and I also walked around quite a bit, in the village, the tourist village and the downtown areas, but the drives were more memorable than the walks. I had forgotten how engaging and pleasant it can be to drive a fun car on the streets. It is nothing like driving in the city, constantly avoiding obstacles and terrible drivers, as well as sitting in traffic and waiting at lights. 
Alex and a lovely barn beside our hotel
You don't see a lot of these on the road anymore...
I have seen a lot of these lately though
There are many Camaro/Firebird's in the Tremblant area for some reason
The most subtle M3 in the most subtle colour
I was surprised to see this Suzuki Carry in service at the ski hill
This rare 911 Turbo 3.6 was parked across from the garage in Tremblant Village
The co-driver beside the M3
The co-driver getting ready to check out of the hotel
Oscar and I visit the Tremblant race track
You don't see Maserati's on the track that often
Modern Porsche for the street, affordable (and super-clean) Porsche for the track
Lachute CTCC Subaru's were testing
There was also a street version of their LP400 on hand
Someone brought this beautiful McLaren 650S and took it out on the track, too

I quite like the look (and the sound) of the new Volvo Polestar
Twin 997 GT3's
A former race-school student was testing in this Radical
A GT3 with a more feminine look
The following weekend, the four of us headed to Eastman to Alex's mom's boyfriend's chalet. The weather was pleasant, bordering on hot, and we did not spend that much time out walking as a result, but it was still a nice getaway.

Jules plays ball on the lawn
Alex and Jules on the unpaved street
Alex and the boys in the chalet with matching outfits
I love this rail bridge in Eastman
Lac d'Argent on an early morning stroll with Oscar
Lac d'argent
I noticed that there was a plastic film peeling off one of the front corner lenses, so I removed it. It turns out it was tinted, as were the headlight covers, so I removed the tint. I quite like the result, as the plastic underneath the tint was in very nice condition. Of course, the car could use a good wash.
Other car-spotting in and around Montreal:

Lovely R32 GT-R at the Longueuil courthouse

Surprisingly well-restored Honda Dio scooter on Mont-Royal street
Two Tesla's... "I'm never buying gas again"
Second gen Viper still looks good to me
Bombardier Iltis on the Plateau
I've seen several I8's, but this was the first one I had a chance to photograph. I prefer it in black.
Strange colour for this 997 turbo, I'm guessing it's a wrap
As I continue to think about what my next car will be, I realize that the last Civic model that I really liked was this one:

Given that you can get a nice clean one for about 4000$, it might be the right car for me. It's 37 hp down on a 2006 Civic Si, and does not have a limited-slip differential, but that can all be taken care of, given the 2500$ price difference...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Jules haircut number 3... a success!

Jules had his third ever haircut last weekend, and unlike the other two times, he did not cry at all. He was actually in a pretty good mood the whole time.

Jules calmly gets a haircut while Oscar grabs a nap
We opted for the gel in the end
As spring continues, more and more people are rolling out interesting cars.

I am a sucker for flashy graphics... I actually like the XKR sticker
One of the rarest cars I've seen all year, an AMG SLS Black Edition, in orange no less!
I've seen this car before and I don't know if it's a real Shelby, but it looks and sounds nice.
M4 in one of the flashiest colours available
I don't know if this Fiat is a custom job or not, but it has an interesting look
I've always thought the new WRX was more of a good car than a stylish one, but with these wheels, it looks quite appealing.

This Porsche 930 with the mismatched rear bumper looked badass!
A very shiny Lexus ISF
I saw this F12 all winter, so it's no surprise to come across it in the spring.
I'm not a huge fan of old Mercedes sedans, but this one looked right in this setting.
This is how my soup was served a few days ago at L'Arrivage. That night, the Habs lost the first of two in a row to the Senators (they then went on to win the series 4-2).