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<p><font size="-2"><a href="http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elise/pictures/edatabase/images/pickup/index.html">Trip pictures</a></font></p>
<h3><b>September 2, 2004</b></h3>
<p>My Elise was ready for pick up at Desert European in Palm Springs, California.  I live in Northern California and so I arranged to fly down and was greeted by 110 F weather.  Hot!  A quick shuttle ride to the dealer and I saw my car sitting in front of the dealership with Austin and another fellow looking it over.</p>
<p>I had asked that no work be done on the car.  I did not want it washed or any stickers removed.  I wanted copies of all the papers associated with the car.  Austin was very careful and did what I asked.  As a result of my request, the car had a bit of dirt here and there.</p>
<p>We completed all the paperwork, I handed over the funds, and the car was mine!  I kept thinking about a seven-year wait and was amazed that it was finally over.   I asked Austin if I could take a picture of him in the car and he graciously agreed.  He was wonderful to deal with and tried very hard to make the experience a good one.  I thanked him yet one more time.  I got in, backed it into a parking spot that was shaded, and proceeded to familiarize myself with the car. </p>
<p>I still could not figure out how to get in and out.  I tried a couple of different strategies.  None of them worked.  No matter how hard I tried, my shoes brushed up against something or I looked totally uncoordinated.</p>
<p>I tried to start it again and could not.  I put it in neutral, no go.  I pushed in the clutch, no go.  I tried the key in multiple positions and kept hitting the starter and it would not start.  I kept noticing the blinking red light in front and wondered how to turn that off.  Finally I looked at the key fob and realized the immobilizer was still on.  A quick push of the button and it started. </p>
<p><img src="http://www.cpdserver.com/elisetalk/pic/Sandsmuseum/frontoflake.jpg" alt="Elise in front of Ojai reservoir" width="576" height="432" border="1"></p>
<p>I planned on staying with a friend but I do not remember much about the trip to his house, as it was uneventful.  Good company, a nice meal, and I retired late to study the operator’s manual.</p>
<p>The next morning I took some pictures in front of his home as the sun came up.  Soon I was on my way, headed for Santa Barbara, about 120 miles and the Pacific Coast.  I started noticing things about the car.  The tachometer is not linear, with 1, 2, and 3 being tightly spaced.   Brake travel was not as bad as I had heard.  (I have not heeled and toed yet.)  There is significant power between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm.  (Break in limits RPM to below 6,000 rpm.)  Vision out the back is not bad once you learn where to look.  The radio faceplate keeps coming off.  (I cannot find the off button and am hitting the removal button.  The faceplate spends the rest of the trip in the boot and I enjoy listening to the exhaust.)  Not much room for the passenger. </p>
<p><img src="http://www.cpdserver.com/elisetalk/pic/Sandsmuseum/adobepool.jpg" alt="Elise in front of pool" width="576" height="432" border="1"></p>
<p>Very soon I experienced one of the worst portions of the trip as I traveled Highway10W.  I remember hearing the Federal Elise was modified to handle the terrible roads in California, especially the concrete roads with the joints.  The ride was among the worst I have ever experienced, even worse than the Seven I used to own.  It was so bad I tried going at different speeds and in different portions of the roadway.  My car has the LSS Sport Pack option and the resulting ride is extremely bumpy.  Do not order this option if you plan on driving these kinds of roads, even occasionally.  I cannot emphasize this enough. </p>
<p>I stopped to get water at a store and parked far away from all the other cars.  As I walked towards the store, a mother and her young son were finishing loading their groceries.  The son, about 12, stopped, pointed, and said, “Look Mom, a Lotus!”  I smiled, and the Mom noticed.  She asked if it was my car and I said yes and that it was great that her son recognized it.</p>
<p>I managed to sneak by Los Angeles and was soon headed up the coast on Highway 101N.  Just before Santa Barbara, I hit another stretch of concrete roadway.  Rather than continue, I took off on 33, towards Ojai and then back to the coast road on 150.  This is the first time I was able to experience the Elise on a twisty road with little traffic.  Heaven!  Amazing how you can go from something so terrible to something so wonderful.</p>
<p>I entered Santa Barbara and experienced my first road incident.  I was getting used to people hiding in my blind spot as I was driving, as they examined the car.  I was careful making lane changes.  On this occasion, traffic was medium to heavy, with all three lanes filled to capacity and all the cars spaced a safe distance from each other.  I saw a Honda Prelude weaving up through traffic behind me and paced me to my right, as I was in the center lane.  He revved his engine and kept accelerating and slowing, keeping pace with me.  Suddenly he took off very quickly, cut in front of me and accelerated up my lane.  I was terrified he was going to rear end the car in front of me but at the last minute he veered into the left lane.  He missed the car in my lane by inches.  The car he veered in front of slammed on their brakes and almost got rear-ended.  The speeder kept going!  Weaving in and out at over 100 mph on a crowded freeway.  I have never seen anything like it and I was shaken.  Being challenged to a race on the racetrack is one thing, but a challenge on a crowded freeway is something else.</p>
<p>I finally got to Santa Maria and decided to spend the night in the area.  I wanted to get an early start.  I wanted to drive Highway 1 before the tourists got up in the morning.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.cpdserver.com/elisetalk/pic/Sandsmuseum/lighthouse.jpg" alt="Elise in front of light house" width="576" height="307" border="1"></p>
<p>I started Highway 1 North at 5:00 am.  Suddenly the perfect car was on the perfect road at the perfect time of day.  (I was frustrated about not being able to rev above 6,000 rpm because of break in considerations, but the run was fun anyway.  Besides, now I have to do it again soon, after the car is broken in.)  There were no other cars and I was having fun.  The sun was coming up and I looked for photo opportunities.  I would stop, take a picture, and sprint on.  Still no cars!  I was having so much fun!  After 70 miles I was starting to encounter other people on the road and slowed to a safe pace, and I soon arrived in Carmel.</p>
<p>I continued north and stopped in Castroville, the artichoke capital of the world.  I purchased some giant artichokes for my wife and the sales person wondered where I was going to put them.  I continued on to Santa Cruz and then up over Highway17 to Silicon Valley. </p>
<p>I drove 690 miles in a day and a half and wanted more.  I almost did not go home and thought about continuing up the coast but I knew the wife and kids were excited about seeing the car.  I also still needed to see if the car would fit in the garage!</p>
<p>My wife heard the roar of the exhaust as I arrived and the family tumbled out of the house.  I finally got the car in the garage but I kept going down to see if it was really there.  Hard to believe.</p>
<p>Later that day, my wife asked if she could take it for a spin.  I explained the break in procedures and she was off.  She was gone a long time.  Upon her return I asked how she liked it.  (She autocrosses her BMW M3, so she knows a bit about driving.)  She related the experience and at one point she mentions she had it up to 100 mph once and 110 mph another.  I stared!  She got the car over 100 mph!  I have not driven it that fast yet!  I was waiting for a drive with her before hitting the cams and going above 6,000 rpm.  She laughed.  Men and their toys!</p>


Michael

(If you see a picture you really like, please let me know. I want to add nice ones to my photo section of my website. Also please forgive the heavy handed Photoshop work, as I am still learning...)
<p><font size="-2"><a href="http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elise/pictures/edatabase/images/pickup/index.html">Trip pictures</a></font></p>
 

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Great write up Michael.

Your experience on concrete equals mine. Not many sections of road, but when you hit it, it is annoying.

I also relate to your mention of the idiot speeder. Funny how this car makes other people do dumb things.

p.s. You need to change the address of the pics.
 

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Congrat on the new car.


Randy,

for some of us that live in CA., do you think we should just stick with the regular pack and skip the sport pack, because of the road condition?
 

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Thanks for the story Micheal. The color looks great too! Maybe when more cars start to arrive, people will stop trying to start races.

How about :
bridge.jpg
bridge3.jpg
coast2.jpg
driversview2.jpg

Actually, I like them all, but I tried to restrain myself.

Edit: I just noticed pages 2 and 3. :eek:
 

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I like the lighthouse2 pic. Toured that lighthouse (and most others on the west coast). That one off Big Sur is really interesting.
 

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Congratulations on your new car! Nice writeup and pics. I can't wait to do my own drive along the coast.

Thanks.
 

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agent.5 said:
Congrat on the new car.


Randy,

for some of us that live in CA., do you think we should just stick with the regular pack and skip the sport pack, because of the road condition?
It was something I mentioned in my write up after the roadtrip. About 5% of the roads really suck. And if you travelled on those routinely, I would suggest thinking about it.

Most roads in California are not like that. It's really just concrete and the car creates a resonance that is really bad. A bucking over the concrete joints. Occasional bumps and joints are one thing, but a constant thing like this will make you consider alternate routes.

I have so far maybe 3 streets within 5 miles of my house, I just avoid if possible.
 

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Dan said:
Congratulations on your new car! Nice writeup and pics. I can't wait to do my own drive along the coast.

Thanks.
I can't wait for a group trip to lunch at Nepenthe. Big Sur, Carmel, and Monterey with a group of Elises would be very cool.
 

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Thanks for the all the pix Michael. Great looking car. I saw the pictures of the kid cleaning it. That was funny, remended me of my dad making me wash the car all the time. :)

Glad to see you got it. Hope you're out enjoying it.
 

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those pictures are awesome. Thanks. After seeing Steve's car in person and your pics, I'm starting to like ST more. Glad to hear that you didn't get into an accident because of that idiot. Yet another person who has "issues with the Elise."
 

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>>>Glad to hear that you didn't get into an accident because of that idiot. Yet another person who has "issues with the Elise."<<<

Man the Elise attracts attention of all kinds: good, bad and also weird. In about 1500 miles I have been: followed, tailgated very closely, revved at endlessly, stopped by a State Trooper who wanted to see my car, "banned" from a Porsche dealer, had "marry me" written onto cards that babes hold up at their windows (with email addies), had folks climb halfway out of their car (passenger) as they drive so that they can scream stuff and take pictures or videos, Rec'd lots of thumbs ups, horn honks, PA system speeches, rec'd calls from friends who saw me somewhere, been voted people's choice at a car show I was not even entered in, been told "nice bug" by someone who thought it was a kit car, looked in the rear view mirror and see folks weaving their way through traffic until they get up to my area, rec'd peace signs from bikers, been asked "who makes Lotus?" many times, and lots more I likely forgot about or maybe mind mind blanked out to protect my psyche!
 

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Fantastic writeup and pics - thank you! I'm jealous - can't wait..
 

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Thank you for the tale Michael! Hope we get to meet one of these days.
Has anyone else noticed that the thumbnails all show the car as different colours! Truly a chameleon colour.
My favourite angle is top.jpg. I think the Elise looks very purposeful from that angle.
 

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I'm breathless. I was thinking about doing the same thing, but opposite. I live in Southern CA and I'm picking up my car in San Francisco. I was trying to decide whether I wanted to just ship it or make the drive. I think you just helped me make the decision. Thank you so much for that write up and beautiful photos. Congratulations!
 
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