Time Marches On
By Steve Merryman
October 19, 2017

I received an email the other day asking me why the website hasn't been updated in a while.  I gave a lame answer about little time and other commitments but I didn't really discuss the whole story.

When you volunteer to do something it needs to be an enjoyable  endeavor to keep you interested over a prolonged period.  Working for and with my fellow Sunset Cruisers has been a most enjoyable endeavor in my mind.  Taking on the task of putting the website together 25-30 Mondays a year has been enjoyable at times too.

Oh, sure, we've had issues with the software numerous times.  We've had a few negative comments but they were usually of the "you show too many of those and not enough of these" variety.  The comment usually coming from an owner of the "not enough of these" camp.

My response has always been that I grew up with "those" and "these" are merely used cars in my mind.  Hey, it's the truth.  I can't help it that some shows leave me personally cold and uninterested.  Show me something pre 1965 and I'll get pretty excited.  My level of enthusiasm drops off through the early 70's and flat goes away beyond that point. But that isn't the point I'm trying to make here.

If you've followed these editorials over the last few years you'll notice that my tone has become darker on occasion.  If you had the ability to compare specific pages at the moment they were published and how they appear now (if they are even here anymore) you'd find that they have been modified, "sanitized" if you will.  There's a word for it.  Censorship.  And it hasn't come from inside the club either. 

On at least three separate occasions this year alone, someone has seen fit to inform the club that they did not approve of my style and/or wording.  The last time was because I called the All Ford show the last hotrod show of the year.  I had the audacity, in this person's opinion, to snub the other five remaining shows and therefore undoubtedly cut attendance at his future show(s).

Now don't get me wrong, I used the term hotrod with consideration.  Would all of you who consider the All Electric, the VW (well there were some cool cars at that one), the Magnum and  the PT Cruiser events to be hotrod shows please raise your hands.  My intent was to start pushing the Jingle Bell Cruise hard.
It took two days to smooth feathers over that one.  If you want editorial control pay the bills and provide the commentary.

I've chosen to stop photographing,  writing and editing this website.  If I can't speak my mind and have fun doing it then it is time to head on down the website highway.  Marv and Joe and I have agreed to close it down as soon as the Jingle Bell Cruise is over.   It's been fun...most of the time.

The SHC is losing some of our soul right now with Joe and Michelle and Phil and Renee moving out of state.  Time marches on. 

Thanks to all of you who have made this site a worthwhile endeavor.  We'll see you on the grassy knoll.

September 17, 2017
A Passing
By Steve Merryman

We found out yesterday that our good friend, Bruce Leven, passed on Saturday.  It wasn't a shock because he'd been in decline for quite a while but it still is profoundly saddening.  Many of you knew Bruce.  He was loud and profane, smoked like a steam engine. had an ego as big as all outdoors and built some of the best hot rods you'd ever want to see.  But there was something more to Bruce.  Once you got past the bravado you found a sensitive man, a man that loved his family, his friends, his community and his country.

I met him at a Spring Opener years ago.  He was showing that big White COE (the black one with the flames on the front) and I was asking him about some aspect and realized he had just talked about it for 20 minutes straight.  I eventually got to know him at the Saturday cruise ins, over Sunday morning coffees and an occasional email.   Bruce and I would usually talk about cars, design, racing, engines, business and the usual guy stuff.  Once in awhile he'd go a little deeper like when he was battling prostate cancer.  The big brash guy on the outside was just a softie on the inside.

There will undoubtedly be stories told about the Porsche factory racing days in the 80's, how Bruce's teams won the 12 Hours of Sebring 3 times and podiumed at the Daytona 24 Hour race.  Businessmen will shake their heads at how he built and sold Bayside Disposal to Waste Management then bought it back and sold it to Waste Management again always at a profit and formed a company to sell WM the equipment they needed to keep the trucks on the road.  Somebody will tell tales of hunting big game with Bruce.  His battles with Mercer Island were legendary.

But we'll most remember him for the cars.  He was always saying he was through building them but there was always two or three needing to be completed.  He told me once that he had 49 stored at the house and the shop in Kent.  They always had big, powerful and/or unusual engines, quite a few racing cues and a liberal dose of European styling.  He hired the best builders and gave them the design elements he wanted and then turned them loose.  The results were always top notch.

The hot rod world lost a good one Saturday and Sunday morning coffee won't quite be the same.

August 14, 2017
It Rained!
By Steve Merryman

55 days without rain, at least at SeaTac.  But of course Ma Nature decided to snap that one off Saturday night and yesterday morning, so attendance at the Muscle Car Show was down.  Just as well.  If any more dingbats had shown up the SHC staff might have popped a gasket.

First, the construction tape is there for a reason.  VM is trying to prevent the parking lot from collapsing.  They planted plants in the "trails" to prevent you guys from eroding the bank with your clod hoppers.  The worst offenders yesterday were the ones we asked to keep everybody else off.

Second, doing burnouts in the VM parking lot and Gilman are a sure fire way to get us thrown out...permanently.  And to the clown in the orange Judge of course Jose doesn't care.  He doesn't own that lot.  VM does and their janitor was there to take note of your and your two buddies' shenanigans.  Thanks a lot.

And to the old geezer in the red pickup... well, you have a very fine day.

August 7, 2017
End of an Era and a New Record!
By Steve Merryman

Yesterday was The hydroplane finals at Seafair.  It was also the apparent end of an era.  There was no live TV coverage.  Apparently those that study such things say the millenials couldn't care less about hydroplanes and therefore the viewing audience doesn't justify the cost of advertising.  If you lived here in the 1950's you'll remember all 3 major channels (4, 5 and 7.  We also had 9, 11 and 13) carried the races and the qualifying too.  Boys like me towed homebuilt "hydros" behind their bikes (a bicycle is a two wheeled device once used by kids in the summertime for entertainment) for hours every day.  I don't know if it was changing from piston engines to turbines that started the decline but brands took over instead of personalities.  Russ Schlei, Mira Slovak, Bill Muncey (he was the 'bad guy" for a long time), Jack Regas, the Hawaii Kai, Miss Bardahl, the Slo-Mos, the Gales, Detroit (BOOOO!), Quillshaft Lagoon, stuff we grew up with.  It's down from 12-14 races annually to 5 this year.  And without TV revenue can Seafair survive?

So we are tying a record today 51 days without measureable rain.  Looks like the new record coud be up into the 60 day range. 

So what do these have in common?  Where are the young people on a nice warm Sunday?  We've had lower attendance this year than any since I started going to car shows 20 years ago.  Fewer cars, fewer spectators.  I noticed the fewer spectators at GoodGuys again this year.  So there are a few more shows down in Issaquah this year.  Come on down if you can.  If we don't get the support car shows may go the way of hydroplanes.

August 7, 2017
From Lee

Several things have happened since my last report. First of all the change over to Zytiga has been nothing short of a miracle. There seem to be no side effects and it really seems to be working. In less than a month on the Zytiga pills my PSA has moved from 117 down to 18. Yes, down almost 100 points. Wow! Is all I could say when the Doctor told me that.
The Cellulitis is also gone with just a little bit of Edema left to deal with. So I am feeling very good. In fact, so good that I have been able to think about other things. 

July 3, 2017
Great Day Yesterday
By Steve Merryman

Without a doubt the HRHOF show yesterday was the best show we've had so far this year.  The weather was perfect, there were over 100 really fantastic cars and lots of spectators. 

As some of you know, I also serve as the moderator for the NW HAMBers social group on the Jalopy Journal.  There is a discussion there this morning about what makes a show "work".  I know what makes it for is what I put into it.  The photo to the left was taken by me in central Oregon nearly 20 years ago.  Yesterday a girl in her late teens was really studying my truck so I invited her to sit in it.  She's a farm girl and could just see herself driving the '38 to town.  I asked where that might be and she replied "Shaniko".  It turns out she is very familiar with that old farm's location, her parents own the next ranch down that road.

I got to talk with quite a few folks yesterday.  I got to play a prank on the Prez.  We successfully added to the HRHOF scholarship fund and LEO and we knocked 'em dead when the awards rolled around.  I was flattered to get a Top 25 for the old girl.  It was great to see Phil and Renee get Best Unrestored with their '50 Chev.  I'm not sure what Best of Dick got with the '36 Ford (best stock?) and if I'd only had the camera handy to catch the look on Ron's face when the Corvette won Best of Show!

We did have one jerk attend but he exemplified what I'm saying... you get out of it what you put into it. 

There's a bike show next weekend.  We won't be shooting that one.  Look for pix of the Camaro Show in 2 weeks

June 21, 2017
Sure was HOT!
By Steve Merryman

Quiet place. Wifey and I've been down in the oven called SoCal. Highest we saw was 113 but supposed to be over 120 today. We did the NHRA Museum and the LA Roadster Show. We were going to take the '38 but sure as hell glad we didn't. It would have never handled the 21 mile 2+ hour backup outside of Sacramento Monday afternoon (113 degrees and they were repaving "the 5") or any of the other 4 or 5 one hour plus stoppages we endured. Saw a nasty fatal going down and one coming back.  Those people drive like idiots!

The NHRA was not great. Sometimes a new director isn't the best thing to boost attendance. They are concentrating more and more on dragsters and less on the history of hotrodding.

The LA Roadster show also was a bust. The LA Roadsters say it was the forecast. The participants say it was the $50 admission fee instead of free, 500 pewter mugs rather than one for every participant and a bunch of Mickey Mouse rules and regulations. We were there in '12 and there were 7-8000 cars attending. I'm guessing less than 2,000 this year.

I'll be posting a couple of photo galleries on later in the week.

May 15, 2017
The Spring Opener
By Steve Merryman

There were blessings for the 2017 Spring Opener even though the weather gods and the scheduler did us no favors by putting us up against a 6 AM radar that was decidedly wet and lots of not so understanding Moms on their Day.  Dear is the 3rd Sunday in May!

So what were the blessings?  They were the 35 families that chose to spend their day with us, the folks that we have come to think of as the SHC family.  If you follow this website you know their names and have seen their cars on these pages every time there is a hot rod show to report.  Clem, Rick, Cliff and Jeff, Stan and Pam, Gary, Nathan, Mario and the family, Steve, Loren and Brin, the gang from Graham, Tom, Debi, Bill, and you others that I have temporarily forgot that I'll mention in the pictures.  You're all the very best!

And speaking of the very best,  Thanks to the Ace Hardware in North Bend for their continued support and thanks to the Bellevue Harbor Freight for their continued support as well.  And finally thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Anonymous for their great contribution to LEO.

And while I'm at it I just got this email.  Sounds like a worthwhile event if you can make it down that way.  Weather is supposed to be pretty good.  You might want to email them for specifics.

Pierce County Skills Center Automotive Technology
Dear Sunset Hiway Cruisers, In the upcoming date of May 20th, we at the Pierce County Skills Center are having a car show and we would really love to have some of your members of your car club to attend and hopefully even enter your vehicles. There will be trophies, food, and many fun activities to do. In regards to an entry fee, it is 15$ per vehicle. The gates open at 7AM and the show starts at 9AM and goes until 3PM. We would be very glad if you would please attend! Sincerely, Pierce County Skills Center Automotive Technology Canyon Crossing Puyallup, Washington

April 2, 2017
By Lee Woods

Update on my Cancer treatment 
The Prostate cancer protocol we were following ended yesterday with the last Lupron shot. If you recall it was a Lupron shot every 3 months designed to reduce the testosterone level in my system. Prostate cancer feeds on testosterone. Yesterday’s shot is good until the end of June. However ...
My PSA was 75.8 on Nov 7, 2016 and we  started treatment on December 1, 2016. By January 5, 2017 my PSA had dropped to 3.5, right into the normal range. Yesterday my PSA was at 117.2. Whoops, we are heading in the wrong direction. Apparently the cancer has metastasized to the bone or to the lymphatic system.
The Oncology doctor theorizes that small cells in my body have started producing testosterone themselves to feed the cancer. But, of course, that’s just a theory. So we are starting a series of tests (first one April 10th) to find out what’s going on. In the near future I will have a CT scan, a bone scan, and then a biopsy of the bone. With all that information we’ll decide whether to do Chemo or pills (I guess that’s Immunotherapy) to fight the disease. Meantime we will continue with the same treatment we have been on.
This is not good news. 
I very much appreciate any and all the folks who have inquired about me and my condition. It helps. So if you want to publish this note, it’s OK with me. 

March 17, 2017
Import Thoughts
By Steve Merryman

Well, through absolutely no fault of ours, the Sunset Hiway Cruisers seemed to have got a multi colored eye after the Import Show back on March 5th.   We apparently are seen as the bad guys in Issaquah in some citizens' minds even though we had no responsibility for anything beyond the Virginia Mason property lines that day.  We didn't make the crazies take over the Post Office parking lot requiring police to come in.  We didn't authoriize drifting and drag racing on side streets again requiring police presence.  And there are, to the best of my knowledge only two cars shows that have enough traffic to have cars parked on the Dogwood bridge, the import show put on by and the DIA's very own Fenders on Front Street.

The Import Show threatens the future of all the 33 shows held at the Virginia Mason each year and I, for one, wonder why it is allowed to happen.  The animosity it raises with the surrounding businesses from one end of Gilman to the other and all the side street residences could poison our relationship with the City and perhaps cause VM to reassess our privileged use of their facility.

Since this isn't our show we have no say in the matter but I certainly hope those who set the schedule will realize that they are playing the car show version of Russian Roulette with 5 rounds in the cylinder and cancel further shows with this promoter.

February 16, 2017
Health Issues
By Lee Woods

In trying to figure a way to let people know about my condition I realized that it isn't a one time thing. People will probably be asking now and in the future. So I came up with the idea of an Editorial on SHC website. If people ask you, or ask anyone, they can refer them to the website. The second idea is to forward them this email if they ask. 
Here's the synopsis.
Diagnosed Dec 1 with Prostate cancer. As the Dr. said it’s not bad. That’s his opinion. Mine is not the same.  Anyway My PSA was at 75.8 which is extremely high. So he put me on this program of a shot every three months and a pill once a day. The idea is to reduce the testosterone in my body because Prostate cancer feeds on Testosterone cells. A study that he had shows the results of this protocol over a seven month period. When the Testosterone is down to around 3 or less at the end of this period, the  survival rate is about ten years. So that’s what I’m on.
I have tumors on the front and back of my pelvis and a couple on my spine. And a fracture in the pelvis, a non-weight bearing bone. This protocol makes me tired so I nap almost every day which is not a bad thing. And I have not been able to walk every day which I miss.
After a month my PSA dropped from 75.8 to 3.5 and I still have 6 months to go on the program. Obviously I am pleased with the progress, as is the Dr.
The pain in my back is either the tumors on the spine or on the pelvis. The cane (thanks Steve) helps me stay balanced and takes some of the weight off the back.
So, except for being pissed that I have cancer, I am doing just fine. My life has changed because of it but I expect to be back to normal at the end of the program.


Feruary 6th, 2017
Can Spring be Far Away?
By Steve Merryman

We're 6 days away from the Swedish Show and as I sit here looking out the window, I'm staring about 6-7 inches of snow, the first real accumulation we've had in a couple of years.  At least it isn't as bad as that 30 car pile up down in Portland last weekend.  If you haven't seen that one it is worth searching youtube for.  So be careful tomorrow morning, supposed to be icy.

Since the show season is around the corner, you are starting Spring maintenance on your car(s), right?  I pulled the '38 apart last weekend and adjusted the rockers anywhere from a quarter to a half turn tighter on each and replaced the GM power steering flow control valve with one matched to the Mustang II front end.  Bought 6 quarts of Lucas Hot Rod Zinc Rich motor oil and a new filter.  I was going to take it over to the service station to do the change this morning ($15 to let them drain and refill and deal with the old oil) but that didn't happen.  The engine sounds smoother and the steering doesn't seem so twitchy.  Now to start doing some detailing for the upcoming season.

We put a new steering column in Gil's '41 Chev a couple of weeks ago.  I like the look of his new one.  May consider that for the '38.  Sure cleans up the underside of the dash.

We'll be scaling back some of the weekly coverage this year.  This site is a hot rod oriented site and our focus will be more on our kind of cars and less on the ones that don't interest our group.  It takes just as long (maybe longer since I have more writer's block) to do a show I have no interest in than something like the Spring Opener.  Wifey and I have scheduled a trip to Pomona in June so hopefully we'll have coverage of the LA Roadster Show and the NHRA Museum again.  If the weather holds up we'll do the Portland Swap Meet and take a few pix for that too.

Which brings up this request:  If you go to a different venue, take some pix and send them in for inclusion on the website.  If you see a car you really like, take a few pix and do a quick interview.  I get tired of hearing/seeing myself talk on this thing.

And speaking of send stuff in, it is reported that the Prez will be updating all things SHC related in the immediate near future!  How's that for pressure, Marv?

October 28, 2016
The End of Another Season
By Steve Merryman

Well, that is a wrap.  The PT Cruisers did their Halloween treats last weekend and that finishes up another show season for the Sunset Hiway Cruisers.  It seems like just yesterday that it was February and the Swedish cars were out there.  Thanks to everybody who helped make this season a success.

I'll be cleaning out the website and getting it set up for next season in the next few weeks, maybe right after we finish getting Marv's '57 back on the road.  It has been kind of a welcome break to not run in the office every Monday morning and post pictures for a few weeks.

Everybody have a good Thanksgiving and get out there and vote on Nov. 8 or before.  Lord knows there will be enough grousing about whoever gets elected but you don't have a right to gripe if you don't vote.

See'ya at the Jingle Bell Cruise.

September 21, 2016
Back to Work
By Steve Merryman

The updates, such as they are,  are running a little late this week for a couple of reasons. 

1) The old PC got hit with a virus that held the stored data hostage for ransom which I decided not to pay.  I lost all the .doc and .docx files on the computer and the backup which I had stupidly plugged in.  Fortunately I also was mostly backed up on the lap top so I only lost about a year's worth of stuff.  The guys at the Geek Squad say that it may have come from one of those "sponsored" sites that show you something like 49 pictures of really weird people at Wal-Mart or the 10 worst cars of all time.  (#1 is always the Pontiac Aztek and #2 is always the Corvair).  Might come from an attachment in an email too.  So I'm not opening attachments any more and not going to some of the "news" sites on Yahoo anymore either.   And these clowns may have browsed my computer and found all sorts of personal data as well.  So all the passwords are getting changed now that the computer is back (less the $220 Geek Squad charged to perform a frontal lobotomy).

I commented on the HAMB that maybe dumb phones, cash and snail mail are the way to go after all.  A buddy in Portland said he was pretty certain he'd heard Hillary say the same thing.

2) I started back to work Monday as a hired gun at the City of Kent a couple of days a week.  My first job is to clean up the backlog of development submittals.  I have more work than I can do in a five day work week but I'm not managing anyone for the first time in almost 35 years and I don't have to do meetings or fancy computer software.  Most of my tasks can be completed with red ink and MS Word!

We've wrapped up the early morning shows for the year.  If the weather holds the VW Fall Fling can be fun.  They get some cool older bugs for this one, not the VW car dealership variety that shows up for the Spring show.

Must have been about 35 electrics last weekend.  Nice weather, quiet day for the SHC.  Not many spectators and few Triple X patrons.  It would have been awfully nice to host a truck show or a Mega Cruise last weekend.

That kind of does it for the season.  We'll keep dropping stuff on the website as it becomes appropriate.  Have a good one.

September 13, 2016
The End!
By Steve Merryman

Last Sunday was the last hot rod show of the season at the Triple X.  There are a few more non hot rod events scheduled that the SHC staff will monitor but from here on out things are going to be pretty low key.  Thanks to all our friends who have supported the shows this year.

And speaking of support we've noticed more cars dropping in for the day and not registering.  It doesn't take a math degree to figure out that clubs can only afford to continue putting on shows if they break even or can put a litte extra in the accounts to cover the show that gets completely washed out.  It takes about 70 cars to cover expenses and put a few bucks in reserve for the next show's expenses and maybe give a little to the charity of choice.

Trophies, door prizes, dash plaques, Sani-Kans, music and insurance bring the cost of hosting a show to around $1000.  Bad weather, like we've had for the Spring Opener several times in the last few years places a serious strain on a club's resources.  It takes about 70 cars to cover expenses and put a few bucks in reserve for the next show's expenses and maybe give a little to the charity of choice.  So, if you can afford it, please drop by the registration table next time and sign up that ride of yours.  We truly appreciate your support.

Finally, you'll note that we have a link to an external photo hosting site this week for the All Ford Show.  Thanks to Joe and Ron for covering for me Sunday.  This is a true time saver for me especially when I'm working on a short week like this one.  PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT POSTING PICTURES THIS WAY MORE OFTEN.

Thanks for a great season and we'll see you at the Jingle Bell Cruise in December.

September 5, 2016
Friends and Hot Rods
By Steve Merryman

I have pictures of the Oldsmobile, Buick and Pontiac show but I'm too tired to post 'em.  The show was a success with about 60 cars attending.  I might get 'em posted someday.

So why am I so tired?  Because I spent the whole weekend doing "car stuff"!  As some of you know, the Prez has had an ongoing love hate relationship with his '57 this year.  We were thinking it was a timing issue but he couldn't seem to find a timing sweet spot.  It finally turned out Saturday morning to be a flat lobe and 4 or 5 more damaged lobes on his cam shaft.  Ron and Marv and I worked most of the weekend pulling the engine and tearing it down, then diagnosing the problems and establishing a course of action to get the old girl back on the road with a new stronger heartbeat  (and a healthy dose of Zinc to break in the new cam).

Sunday of course was spent at the car show and today was pulling the engine and diagnosing it.

The part of the story that is fun is the part where 3 guys spent a weekend helping each other out, working on a classic engine, razzing each other over silly things, not worrying about politics, wives, or what time it is, no cell phone calls, no radio; 3 guys just working on an old car and enjoying each other's company. I had a great weekend.

August 16, 2016
Crashes and Burns
By Steve Merryman

We had this site crash last weekend.  We owe one of our Triple X regulars for hauling our butts out of the fire before we got burned.  He is an IT specialist and, when he found out our dilemma yesterday afternoon, volunteered his time to help get this old rag back up and functioning again in less than two hours!  Joe and I try to maintain this thing but our skills are limited.  We truly appreciate that he helped us out simply because, as he told us, "Car people need to help car people".  That's class.  Thanks.

On a similar note, I've started addressing the mobile app version of the website.  There are text overlap issues and button location problems that I'm working on right now.  We'll get it sorted out one of these days.  Rest assured I've not forgotten the things you've pointed out over the last few months.

August?  Already?
August 1, 2016
By Steve Merryman

Hard to believe it is already August.  We're two thirds of the way through the car show season.  Where has the year gone?

We went to the GoodGuys show down in Puyallup last Saturday.  I saw a car with #2611 on its entry sticker.  Considering it was a pleasant afternoon we were surprised at how few spectators were in attendance.  A souvenir hat was $20, entry fees were $20 a head, a quarter pound of beef and two tablespoons of greasy onions slapped inside a cold bun was $8.75, a bottle of water was $3.50 and scones were $1.50 apiece it was easy to see how you could dump a hundred bucks pretty quickly to take your sweetie to see a few hot rods.

Keith Simmonds told me he was in line to get in at 3:45 AM Saturday morning and there were maybe 200 cars lined up ahead of him.  Understandable I guess since there wasn't much room left anywhere on the fairgrounds with 2600+ cars in attendance.

Watching the folks walk by it strikes me that our hobby isn't getting any younger and I wonder where it will get the next generation of hotrodders from?  I guess GoodGuys thinks charging a child to build a pine wood racer fulfills their obligation to pass the torch. 

Most of you know I encourage youngsters to get in my '38 and get their picture taken.  I wonder how many grandparents have seen that damn old pink truck in their emails?  That isn't for everybody, I know.  But maybe someday that youngster will think back fondly and decided to buy an old car or truck and be a hotrodder.  Who knows, it might even be your old car or truck!

The SHC crew scored BIG at the Classic Swagger car show.  Dick showed the '32 and Ron showed his '62.  Both scored Top 10 finishes.  Phil and Renee got Favorite GM with the '50.  A good time was had by all except for the loud PA system.  Sometimes less is more.

July 18, 2016
By Steve Merryman

As you well know this may be another of theose years where summer passed the Pacific Northwest by.  Not a total washout, just not that warm July and Auguat we usually expect.

Locally, the GTO National Conventon was held in Bellevue last week.  A few dozen of the cars showed up at the Triple X Saturday afternoon.  Some nice looking cars from out of state but nothing any better done than the ones our local owners bring to the show every year.

Our own Ron Daniels scored a Best in Class Saturday with his '62 Corvette at the Lee Johnson All Corvette show and Dick and Molly Baker scored a Best in Class Sunday at the Legends show in North Bend.  I assume the Legends show was an unqualified success since the venue was loaded to capacity. They don't get quite the foot traffic the Triple X does but it was an enthusiastic crowd nevertheless.

June 13, 2016
By Steve Merryman

I've decided to reduce my involvement with the Triple X car shows for the rest of the year.  This does not mean that I've disassociated with the Sunset Hiway Cruisers.  I will continue to volunteer, but just not every Sunday.  I used to participate in 12-15 shows at various venues around the area every summer and I'm finding that I really miss that aspect of the hobby.

I love the hot rod shows at the Triple X but I found the show schedule this year to be loaded with shows that I have very little or no personal interest in.  They aren't fun for me.  They are just a job.  I know that bias has come foreward in my comments on this website in the past and that isn't fair to those show promoters. 

As a consequence this website will not be updated by me on a weekly basis for a while.  If you'd like to volunteer taking over the picture taking duties and/or the website updates feel free to contact Marv or me.  Thanks.


The Hot Rod Hall of Fame
By Steve Merryman
May 30, 2016

We have to blow our own horn this week.  The Sunset Hiway Cruisers Car Club was selected the Hot Rod Club of the Year in Washington for 2016 Saturday evening by the Washington State Hot Rod Hall of Fame!  We are truly flattered.

The awards banquet was marked by the charitable generosity of nearly 500 attendees who raised nearly $20,000 for this year's charity of choice the Children's Country Home in Woodinville.  Additionally, several scholarships were awarded to deserving students majoring in automotive studies at the Lake Washington Technical Institute.

The 2016 inductees into the Hall of Fame were remarkable for their dedication to the community and their charities of choice.  I'm always struck by the fact that the hot rods are merely vehicles that bring people together.  Never moreso than at the HRHOF.

A Valid Complaint
A Car Show Participant (name withheld)
May 16,2016

Editor's Note:  We received the following letter after posting the Spring Opener photos.  I've deleted some references but the point of the letter remains.  I think if you put fliers in cars this is worth considering.

Just a bit of a commentary on yesterdays show. Something happened that got under my skin but its nothing that the Sunset Hiway Cruisers did. As it happens at many shows, there are people walking around passing out flyers for upcoming shows. The gentleman from the (a specific car club ed.) was doing this. However, he seemed to be very selective in which cars he left flyers in. Both (another attendee ed.) and myself were repeatedly passed by while other "mainstream" cars were targeted. I have been at shows with my (other cars ed.) and he has left flyers but apparently an (type of car ed.) isnt what he wants at a show. What he fails to understand is people may have OTHER cars at home that they could potentially bring. I understand bypassing certain vehicles if you are promoting a specific make show (ie Porsche, Pontiac, Cadillac etc) but to blatantly ignore cars for an
everything goes" show is wrong. I had planned on bringing one of my cars to (that) Show but now Ive decided to stay home.

Thank You's
By Steve Merryman
May 16, 2016

Well.  Four years in a row now that the Spring Opener has been soggy but it didn't stop 52 of you from bringing your cars and trucks, spouses, tents and dogs out to spend the day.  Joey spun the tunes.  Jose flipped the burgers and the Sunset Hiway Cruisers enjoyed the day surrounded by folks we've come to think of as family.  For that we are grateful.

I'll not mention a name here but thanks to one of you and your wife for the generous donation to LEO and the opportunity for the matching (and then some!) donation.  That is very special.

It is always tough to judge these shows.  We had the Great 8 and 8 additional classes.   I can think of 20 cars or more that were deserving of a Great 8 designation and we could have handed out a trophy to every car there for engines, paint, interior, survivor, cuz it's cool and so on.  Some of the cars had some personal connection like Russ' '38 Chev that I may have got greasy on nearly 55 years ago.

Finally, I didn't get photos of everybody this year.  A 5 foot tall 85 pound physical therapist has made walking a little more iffy and the weather went south on my camera.  I'm sorry about that.

On My Soap Box
By Steve Merryman
May 2, 2016

The Vintage Trailer Show was a blast last weekend.  With one moderately annoying issue.  The trailers set up on Saturday evening starting around 3:30.  There is a lot of maneuvering and trucks and trailers arrive through about 7 PM.  The parking lot is CLOSED!  I manned the front gate Saturday and I was one of those telling folks to park in the lower lot.  I didn't appreciate the scowls or unkind words about how I was personally ruining those individuals' Saturday night cruising experience.  Some the trailer folk said were aware of or told directly these kinds of comments.  Frankly, I'm appalled that those individuals could be so rude, even if it was made "in jest".

If you can't forego parking in the upper lot one evening a year,,,nah, I've said enough about the subject.

On another note, I've reports that the website doesn't work all that well on smart phones and tablets.  I've seen that on my own phone and I'm aware of the problem.  There are some adjustments that the webhost has available but I haven't had time to look into them yet.  Bear with me on that one for a bit.

By Steve Merryman
April 4, 2016

The surgery went fine.  Thanks for all the thoughts.  Got rid of the crutches and stitches last Friday.  Now to heal up.

It's amazing how well the Jeep Show is run.  I wish they'd put on a class on how to organize.  Heck they even had crossing guards.  Class people all the way. 

And isn't sunny warm weather a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  If we can only be so blessed for the Spring Opener next month.

Spring Cleaning
By Steve Merryman
March 14, 2016

We had the Import Show last Sunday and, you know, it went OK.  There were some tense moments first thing Sunday morning but the issues that we all were afraid might happen, never did.  I'm also always impressed with the 99% of the kids that show up, have a good time and go home.  If we could have that kind of show every year then we might actually start enjoying ourselves.  Big thanks to Joe and Ron for helping all day.  And thanks to Marv for not rupturing an artery during the day.

Another soggy and windy Sunday for the VW gang yesterday.  Too bad, they always have a great show when the weather cooperates.

I finally started giving some love to the '38, first time in two years, what with all the moving and offsite storage issues.  I got in an interesting discussion with folks on the Hokey Ass Message Board NW social group about hand waxing using paste versus liquid a while back.  Try going to your local O'reilly's, NAPA or whatever and find a good old can of Simonize or Turtlewax paste.  Gettin' harder than finding hen's teeth.  I've always felt that the best way to preserve a paint job is to give it a good thorough paste wax after doing the clay bar routine first thing in the Spring.  I can then generally get away with using Quick Detailer the rest of the show season.  I truly don't remember the last time I actually gave the truck a bucket of soapy water and garden hose rinse.  A lot of guys argue that the liquid waxes provide just as good or better protection.  Call me old fashioned but I enjoy the tactile stimulation of removing bug guts with a can of Mother's.  Not to mention it makes everything smell sort of like cotton candy.  I detailed the engine compartment, put in a new battery (the old one was only 9 years old) and started touching up stone chips and some scrapes and dings in the fenders.  Still gotta clean and wax the bed and do the interior up and get an oil change.  Why an oil change, it only has 500 miles on it since the last one.  Moisture and age, pure and simple.  Good maintenance and cheap insurance, try it.

Finally, I'll be laid up for a bit recovering from a rebuild.  Going to bore and stroke the old hip and take it up to about 600 HP at the wheel on the 21st.  They tell me it is easier surgery than a full engine transplant but the break in period is a bit longer.  Like no burn outs for at least 8-10 weeks so not sure how that will affect this site for a period.  Bear with us.

A Friend's Passing
By Steve Merryman
February 4, 2016
I had the misfortune this morning to find an email from long time SHC and LEO supporter Rick Franklin in my in box announcing the passing of Shadow the Wonder Dog yesterday.  Shadow was one of my favorite subjects and snuck into many of the show photos we posted here.  Our condolences to Rick.
 A New Year
By Steve Merryman
January 27, 2016
I still write down 2015 on my checks but it definitely is 2016.  Time to turn a new page, eat better, exercise more, rework this website, have more fun, spend some up close and personal time with my hot rod, you know, all those promises you make on January 1st every year.  So far, I'm still on track with all of those!  That is truly remarkable. 
Hard to believe we are less than 3 weeks away from the All Swedish show. 
This website has undergone some major revisions since last October.  Without Joe Forkner's perseverance getting us switched over the site would still be languishing, unloved and unchanged.  We still have changes coming.  Technically the domain still resides with the old host but Joe's working that one.  This host has a lot more options availale and most of the operations take seconds rather than minutes like the old one did.  I'm still at the crawling stage but we'll be up and walking in no time.
Time to start planning for the upcoming show season.  One thing a lot of people forget is to change the oil in the old hot rod.  It may not have 500 miles on the last change but I'll bet it has just sat in the bottom of the pan picking up contaminants for the last few months.  It is cheap insurance.
The '77 has gone back to its owner.  He was pretty pleased except the part where I told him it needs a new rack and pinion and all new joints.  How many folks do you know that want it to look pretty but don't spend the money on the mechanicals?
Odds and Ends
By Steve Merryman
October 15, 2015
My but pain killers and muscle relaxers are fun. So if this rambles from time to time you'll know why.
I helped a longtime friend move Monday and managed to do something to the muscles in my neck which immediately turned into a knot around the nerves there. Wifey got tired of my pissing and moaning yesterday and took me in for a quick pit stop at the urgent care. They said it was from too much twisting and loaded me up with the good stuff. It still hurts but now I simply don't care.
So I've been dismantling this '77 'vette for the last two months. I get excited every time the big brown truck stops in front of the house. Too bad so many things are on back order. It kind of limits what I can accomplish until the next batch arrives.
Had a disheartening battle with new seat cushions. I spent about 15 hours on one seat trying to fit the new foam. I realize foam compresses but no matter what I did, I didn't have enough cover material to install hog rings. It ranged from 2 to 3 inches short all the way around. I dug out the electric carving knife and attacked the foam trying to groom it to look more like the old cushions. No success there either. So I caved in and went back to the old cushions. The second seat took about 4 hours!
The carpeting is going in much better. I'll soon be ready to install the seats except the carpet kit didn't include pieces to do the sides of the console and, of course, roll stock in that color is on back order.
Went to the Monroe swap meet Saturday and nearly drowned in the monsoonal rains. The vendors were down and what was there was the same crap that has been at Monroe and Puyallup for years. One man's one man's junk.
I guess the Charger Challenger show had about 20-24 cars attend. The Prez let me off the hook so we have no pictures this week. Go to the MOPAR store on auto row to see a recreation.
Finally the Prez and his lovely wife are actually taking a vacation!!! Finally! Good for them.
September 28, 2015
End of Another Season
By Steve Merryman
Yesterday marked the last major show of the 2015 season.  Yes, we still have the MOPARs and the PT Cruisers but 
there won't be 100 plus cars for either.  The Jingle Bell is big but it sits out there in December so it really isn't part of the show season and it has a whole different vibe anyhow.  We've fought the computer most of August and September so it is time for a revamp of the website and a new host.  Hopefully we can keep the same URL although something like would sure be nice.  So things are going to be in flux around the old website for awhile.
Monday was wifey's birthday and after 41 years it is tough to do something "special" so she'll remember what you did for her beyond Monday evening.
As some of you know, she's a SoCal girl and grew up on In N Out hamburgers. So, (as if you haven't figured this out already) I took her out for In N Out Wednesday evening. Four cheeseburgers, two fries and two vanilla shakes.
Now wait just a second. Don't you live in Washington? There aren't any In N Outs in Washington. Absolutely correct. I drove her down to Medford to the new restaurant that just opened there. 957 miles round trip for absolutely no other reason than to buy her her favorite meal. Including the motel room and the gas I'm guessing those burgers cost about $65 apiece but the expression on her face was, as they say, priceless. 
Do something frivolous and impulsive.  We found that the Rogue Valley is starting to show some Fall color, the same for Stevens and Blewett passes.  Take a drive for no other reason than to take a drive.  It doesn't have to be in your hot rod but that helps.  We'll be stuck in the gray rainy days of winter plenty soon enough.
September 16, 2015
Dad's Cars
By Steve Merryman
I found this buried on an old CD this morning.  Written in 2003
I wrote an article several months ago that just recently appeared in a local magazine. It told, in part, how we would stop at the Triple X Drive Inn in Issaquah when we traveled back and forth across the State. In reading it again, I realize what an integral role Dad has played in my life and how an awful lot of the memories I have of Dad concern him and cars.
Dad never owned a “new” car that I know of. Hell, some of the cars he brought home were beyond “used” in the broad sense of the term.  
My first recollection was of a logging truck with field mice running across the floorboards. I think Mom was with us and it might have been somewhere around Index. I kind of remember Mom being a pretty unhappy camper.
Dad was a Chevrolet man. He had a string of pre World War II derelicts that would test his patience on an almost daily basis. We rarely had enough extra money for him to buy new parts so he was constantly buying rebuild kits or remanufactured parts from a cut rate auto parts store on Empire Way. The rebuilds were nothing more than swapping bad parts out of one faulty part into another, I swear, because it seemed like Dad would go back 3 or 4 times before he finally got one that either worked or fit properly or both. We never had a garage for him to work in for a long time and he would lay on the ground in a pair of soaking wet overalls trying to get the car to run well enough to get him to work the next day. He taught me about wrenches, screwdrivers, widgets, gizmos and how things worked if I asked. He always had a simple explanation that a 6 year old could understand.
Dad seemed to perpetually have a flat tire. I don’t remember flats happening while we were in the car with him. But they must have come in bunches. I’m not sure why he didn’t use the tire changer at the old Metropolitan Garage where he worked but he was always busting tires down in the backyard with crow bars and huge screwdrivers and hammers. One time he was beating on a tire with a hammer and it bounced back, hitting him on the shin. He did a drop kick at it but only succeeded in putting a large dent in the door of the car. Boy, did I learn some new words that day! He later was out there with the plumber’s friend pulling the dent out with only limited success.
He built a garage at the old house but we wound up selling the place not too long after that so it was back to working in the great outdoors at the new place.
We kind of inherited cars from my grandmother or bought cars from people who parked at the Metropolitan. Dad owned a 1950 Studebaker Starlite Coupe with a flat head six and overdriven 3 on the tree. He bought a neat ’49 Chev coupe for Mom that had a red leather interior and white exterior. I learned to drive on these cars. Mom would let me drive her Chev up and down our long driveway. There was a long row of roses along the driveway. Of course, I managed to back down the whole row. I guess I was a pretty quick learner though because that was the only thing I got in trouble over…well while I was learning anyhow.
It was about this time that Dad built a beautiful 2 car garage at the new house. He probably never got to use it more than 6 months total after he built it until they sold the house 20 some years later. There was a long succession of clunkers through the years that took up one or both bays. Every time my brother or I painted a car we’d use the inside of the garage door as a “test” canvas to adjust the spray gun or to clean the guns. I believe there were at least a dozen different colors; ’66 Chrysler Blue; Mustang Poppy Orange; various pearlescents; a few candy apples; ’55 Dodge turquoise and so on. The parade of vehicles coming in the garage was endless, including my ’55 Dodge hemi, the ’54 jeep pickup, a 1939 Ford pickup, a ’64 Corvair, a ’46 Plymouth, little brother’s ’67 Chevelle gasser, a ’60 Plymouth done in bright orange with tail fins as big as a Caddy, the “great pumpkin” orange Ford, and probably another dozen that I don’t remember.
Dad would generally come to the rescue if we had car problems. Little brother and I buried the ’55 Dodge up to the door sills one time where Southcenter is now. We thought we saw a UFO or plane crash and didn’t bother to stop at the “Road Closed” sign. My car got towed from the Pier 70 garage one night for illegal parking (I still believe I was in a stall) and there was Dad to cover the cost of the tow and provide a ride to pick up my car.
About the only time he didn’t cover for me was the night I sprayed gravel all over the front end of my buddy’s recently repainted ‘57 Chev BelAir hardtop. Seems that one cost me some hide and quite a few bucks. I always blamed it on the fact that Dad had snow treads on his ’56 Ford station wagon and the fresh gravel “got stuck between the treads and just accidentally flew out” but he never quite bought into that argument.
We would go on a 2 week vacation most summers. One year we decided to take my three girl cousins with us. Poor Dad would drive all day in one car, Mom driving the other since there were 7 of us and we needed enough room for tents, suitcases, cooking gear and about 90% of the other stuff in the house. Dad drove and then had to set up camp each evening, take it down and pack the next morning then drive again to our next destination. Some vacation! Weather being what it is in Western Washington we were drenched the first several days, especially out at Copalis Beach on the coast. So we headed east. The first night we stopped at Mineral Springs on Highway 97. My cousins decided they would sleep in Dad’s Studebaker. Some time during the night, the call of nature woke my oldest cousin up. Since it was dark and a ways to the outhouse she decided to answer the call from the car window. Of course the paint on the old beast reacted adversely and a broad streak mysteriously appeared. No matter what Dad did, it was always there right up until he took it to the junkyard. Of course it wound up on the top of a pile easily seen from the freeway so I think it kind of haunted him for years but Dad being Dad, he never said a word to his niece, it might have hurt her feelings and Dad loved them too much to do that.
Dad wasn’t much for getting in and really doing the work for us. He’d tell us or show us but he rarely got in and did the physical repairs unless there was something that required 2 sets of hands or some extra brawn. He did help me rebuild my first engine after I spun a bearing in the old Plymouth and he was almost always available to help horse the transmission and transfer case out of the Jeep.
He still was thrashing with old cars well into his late 70’s when we finally convinced him to get a little newer model. My brother and I rarely let him drive if we were around. The guy who had parked cars for Governors, Princes and celebrities most of his working days was getting seriously scary to ride with. He didn’t seem to mind though, said it let him check out the country. I think he probably meant check out the girls!
It’s Father’s Day this Sunday and I’d love to take him out for a drive but we lost Dad in February. After 86 years 11 months and 1 day he finally doesn’t have to work on those fricking cars anymore. Whatta ya want to bet he bought a 1938 Chevrolet 4 door that Saint Peter had sitting out behind the pearly gates and is still trying to get it to fire?
September 8, 2015
That Time of Year Again
By Steve Merryman
We've been getting rained on.  The days are getting cooler and there is way less light at 6 AM.  The last true hot rod show of our season is next weekend.  Yes, there are some marque specific events still out there on the calendar but for the most part, the season is rapidly winding down.  It's been a fun year.
We'll probably be changing web hosts over the winter.  Homestead has served us well but they've changed formats and the process to adapt their new software to our older version of the website and Windows 8/10 (what happened to 9?) is far beyond my limited abilities.  If you have a recommendation let me know.
August 27, 2015
A Website Crisis
By Steve Merryman
It was bound to happen sometime.  The website greeted me this morning with an ominous note that all the files were deleted.  It wanted to know if I'd like to restore them.  Well, duh!
It appears that some of the pictures are gone anyhow on the Internet version and the work I've done this week is hit or miss so bear with us and maybe this crisis too will pass..  We'll see what happens.
August 17, 2015
A Quick Note
By Steve Merryman
Personal commitments will take me out of town this coming weekend for the Corvette Show and, most likely September 13 for the truck show.  If anyone is interested in shooting photos of one or both shows it would be greatly appreciated.  
It's simple.  Pick a car or truck you like, take a picture of the window card so we know who and what and a picture or two of the vehicle.  If you feel like doing something different, like catching just general interest shots, that works too.  Of course, finding shots of the Prez up to some mischief is always entertaining.  We'll figure out how to get the data on the website when I get back.
Oh, and one additional piece of business.  Back in March I had reason to request a certain purple Chev never return.  I'm pleased to say the chap did come by again a couple of weeks ago.  He and I had a cordial meeting and he promised he'd not be an issue at our events again.  Welcome back and thanks for manning up.
July 14, 2015
Sorry About That
By Steve Merryman
Due to a move to our fourth residence in less than a year (we moved the first time on July 26th last year) the website will not be updated much until probably the end of the month.
We did not photograph the bike show.  It is unlikely that I'll shoot the Camaro show (the movers are scheduled next Monday) and I probably won't be up and running computerwise for a few days after the move.  Bear with us.  This is, hopefully, the last move for a while.
June 22nd, 2015
By Steve Merryman
Wow!  Front Street was huge!  Great weather, fantastic cars, super spectators.  I'd almost look forward to it again next year.  I've never been a great fan of street shows like that but Front Street is still small enough to have some appeal.  It is surprising to pull in at 5:30 AM and find folks already parking.  I wonder when some of them get up?  
I am glad that the SHC is not involved on the club level.  Yes, we have some members involved on an individual basis.  But the odds and ends incidents like Staples not being happy about parking should be directed to the City rather than the SHC. 
As some of you know, we bought a new residence and will be moving between now and the end of July so things may get a little hectic for what hopefully is one final time.  This has been a thoroughly crappy year on a number of home fronts.  The SHC has been my refuge from the chaos.  Thanks!
May 18, 2015
Thank You!
By Steve Merryman
Thanks to all our friends who came out for the Spring Opener yesterday.  Because of you, we had the most successful opener in several years.  I know some of you were apprehensive about the weather but you came anyhow.  LEO and the SHC appreciate your support.
There are two things I hate about the Spring Opener.  First we don't give out nearly as many trophies as we would like to give out and second, that it is all over for another year.  
If you follow these editorials you know a little about how we pick the winners.  It isn't always about the most perfect car getting the biggest prize.  I can think of at least 20-30 more cars that should have gone home with hardware and didn't.  Hopefully you scored a door prize for your efforts.
Which brings up another thing.  A huge thanks to Gordy and the North Bend Ace Hardware for their generous donation.  If you live in the area, stop in and give them your business and a hearty thank you.  If you got tools yesterday they came from the Ace in North Bend.
As you may know, I shoot almost every show for inclusion on this website.  I miss a car here and there and can't read placards sometimes.  But I'd say we get most things covered.  The trouble with the Spring Opener is getting from one end to the other before the show is over because I'm trying to judge at the same time.  Every car has a back story and the story is part of the judging process, for me anyhow.  So you guys that arrived after about 11 AM and parked nearest VM, forgive me for not getting your car this week.  I was too busy BS'ing at the other end of the lot.
May 11, 2015
By Steve Merryman
We dodged a bullet Saturday.  434 imports wound up at 60 Acres Park north of Redmond Saturday afternoon rather than the VM parking lot because of the Prez's quick work with the Issaquah PD.  Why is that a big deal?  Because 434 cars unexpected on a Saturday afternoon would likely cause a huge PR problem with our neighbors, the city and mostly Virginia Mason.
Let me say losing the VM lot is not an option and bombarding it with 4 or 434 cars before the 3:30 VM closing on Saturday is a good way to put it in jeopardy.
I went to Covington Friday night.  The traffic was horrible.  The Walmart lot doesn't have a single tree.  You can't see the cars come and go easily.  I couldn't hear the music.  You have to walk blocks to find a public restroom.
And then there was the VM lot Saturday evening.  The grassy knoll gives a great view of the cars, the trees give adequate shade (and a little pollen too), Joey spins great tunes,  The public has access to see the rides.  The Portapotty is feet away.  And there are all our great friends and family.  Good stuff, Newt!
These groups don't do a thing for LEO, they don't contribute to the portapotty fund, they crap up the grounds, they jeopardize everything that is important to us and they turn away the folks that mean the most to us.  Why would anyone ever encourage this?
May 5, 2015
Every Week
By Steve Merryman
Every week lately we've had a great show that has been interrupted by some bozo being a complete jerk.  
I know the odds of this idiot reading this is pretty remote but next time you come to the Triple X take a chill pill first.  Threatening people with broken bones isn't going to get you many popularity points when you run for President of the VFW group you so proudly display on your hat.  I truly wonder how many f*** bombs a guy can say in a row before he realizes how stupid he sounds.  And it must be really rough going through life with such a crappy attitude.  Man, I'm sorry for you.
The trailer show was so crowded we just can't have folks driving around the site.  I wonder if he'd threatened to break a dad's jaw and flipped him the bird if he'd hit one of the little kids playing in the drive.
Rant over.  Back to your regular scheduled programming.
April 27, 2015
A Near Crash
By Steve Merryman
You'll see some pix of a black 356 in this week's Porsche coverage.  The car came within inches of becoming so much trash and one or more of its occupants being injured or worse.  Only quick action by the driver prevented it from being T-boned in front of the restaurant by a driver exiting the restaurant at a high rate of speed and not yielding to the 356 headed west on Gilman.  For God's sake people, use some common sense and restraint in your driving in this highly congested area.  Please!  And if you see someone acting like an idiot, call them on it.
Next week is the Vintage Trailer Show.  This one is one of the truly fun shows of the year.  Don't miss it.
On a personal note, the place sold up in Trilogy last week.  Now it is full speed ahead searching for a replacement.