Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lotus Elise Deals Gap adventure!

For those not in the know, Deals Gap is a section of south western North Carolina that is the home of "The tail of the dragon", an 11 mile stretch of road that contains 318 curves. Yeah, this is a VERY fun road! Up until today I had only felt the Elise' handling abilites in the passenger seat on a few backroads & SCCA courses. Driving my Elise through the Gap chasing my friends in their cars was a whole new experience. This car redefines what cars are capable of. I didn't keep an eye on the speedometer but my estimate is that 10mph corners were taken in the 30mph range without finding the car's limits. As someone who is somewhat nervous on foreign roads I quickly adjusted to the stretch and was able to take advantage of the car's abilities. I made 4 runs total (two of which were filmed from the orange Elise, I'll post those later) and managed to pull away from a BMW Z4 through the corners (although slow traffic & some straights allowed it to catch back up) in one of the runs. The views from the overlook (one end of the dragon) were awesome and gave us some cool photo ops.
Chrome Orange, Saffron Yellow, Krypton Green Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise cars at Deals Gap

Lotus cars at Tail of the Dragon

Tail of the Dragon Lotus Elise

Niki smiling after the first run up through the dragons tail...

Lotus Elise at Deals Gap

The car really does look greener once its next to the yellow & orange cars...
3 Lotus Elises

You can see the red BMW that ran with us in this photo
Lotus Elise and BMW Z3

Deals Gap, population 6
Deals Gap sign and Lotus Elise

Lotus next to Deals Gap sign

Lotus next to Tree of Shame

The infamous tree with bike parts attached to it, really kinda neat in person.
Tail of the Dragon Tree of Shame

Lotus Cars

Deals Gap Sign

You should be able to see the pearl/gold in the paint in this photo

Row of Lotus Cars

My two favorite lifestyle colors (Lotus options) together, Chrome Orange & Krypton Green.
Orange and Green Lotus Elise

After playing at the gap & surround attractions we came back into Robbinsville to grab some pizza, which was AWESOME. With full stomaches we parted ways as our friends headed back to Louisville and we headed over to Chattanooga to stay the weekend with my sister. I'll be heading out tomorrow to get some photos on Lookout Mountain. Thankfully we have wifi here at the hotel so I can make these posts come a bit quicker. We'll be back in Louisville Monday evening!

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Fun dealer experience

Today before heading to the dealer we decided to go check out IKEA to see what small things we could pick up and to see what the legendary store looks like in person :)

IKEA in Atlanta

Atlanta IKEA

So last night we dropped our cars (Jenn & George's cars & our car) off at Lotus of Atlanta to have service done on them. All of our appointments were scheduled 2+ weeks ago and were very clear (aside from two minor issues I found while driving our car back from Clearwater). Well, my car was completed fairly early today (Thursday) which was a plus but I had called to add a request to check & adjust the aiming of the headlights (very low, needed to be raised slightly) and that was met with a price quote of $200~. Please keep in mind that this is, if nothing else, a safety issue on a brand new (1300 mile) car. Well, after some calling around from someone in the biz who has some VERY good contacts we are able to give the service advisor the warranty code for the issue and get the charge dropped. BIG thanks to George on that! So my car is now done but we're still hanging around waiting for them to finish most of the issues that the orange & yellow Lotus' were brought in for. During this time (4~ hours at the dealer) I stayed entertained by wandering around the dealer snapping photos of cars...

First up is the Laser Blue Lotus Exige that was brought in this morning. For those not familiar with these, this car is basically just a sport pack equipped Elise with some aerodynamic features added for high speed downforce. Some truly believe that these cars are just flat out faster/quicker/better than the Elise but the only place where it may walk an Elise is on a race track or expressway where upper speeds & cornering are encountered. Aside from that the extra body work is just extra weight to haul around.
Laser Blue Lotus Exige

Lazer Blue Lotus Exige

My car after it was brought out for the first time (sent back in to adjust the passenger window).
Krypton Green Lotus Elise

My car next to a "nightfall blue" Elise
Krypton Green next to Nightfall Blue

Black Lotus Elise

I LOVE these cars. Lamborghini Murcielago, msrp somewhere in the $290-310,000 range. Kinda out of my league but still VERY fun to dream about... This one was kind of blinged out with the orange wheels & orange leather interior.
Lambo Murcielago

Lamborgini Murcielago

Orange Lamborghini

Check out the brakes on this Lamborghini Gallardo ($200,000~), these cars are the total opposite of the Elise, VERY overweight and VERY powerful.
Lamborghini Murcielago Pimped Out

Orange Lamborghini Murcielago

Its hard to think that this car costs over $100,000 more than our house...
Orange Lambo Murcielago

So anyway, after wasting several hours at the dealer waiting for them to finish the cars that they should have been prepared for (yes, we were all quite miffed) we are finally ready to go. Jenn & George's cars didnt even get everything they came down for, they were simply forced to pick up and leave though. We figured we might as well get a couple of photos off before we head out into the night for the drive to Robbinsville North Carolina (Deals Gap).

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Few days behind....

I've been without internet access (more or less) for a few days so I've gotten kinda backed up with experiences and photos. I'll start with three days ago in Orange Beach.

So Sunday night we decided that we'd leave a day early to head up to Montgomery and then over to Atlanta to meet up with Jennifer & George at Lotus of Atlanta to have our three cars serviced. Since we were cutting a day out of the beach we decided to go ahead and cram a few things into our last day there. This included Niki feeding the seagulls on the beach, walking around & shopping at Fairhope and getting some photos. I've posted a few of these photos first. They apparently just had a mardi gras parade in Fairhope a day or two before and there were still beads hanging from trees & signs and moonpies littering the streets.

Lotus Elise in Gulf Shores

Lotus Elise in Fairhope Alabama

Lotus Elise in Fairhope

So after we walked around Fairhope's art & shopping district we headed over to the pier where we had taken some very pretty sunset photos a few years ago. What we found was a pier that was closed from Ivan's damage a couple years ago (see photo below) and a gated driveway with a cool gate & fitting sign.

Lotus Elise driveway

Lotus Driveway

Lotus Elise in Garage

Lotus Elise in Garage

Lotus Elise packing in trunk

Lotus Elise Trunk

Lotus Elise full trunk

Victorian Houses Lotus Car

Lotus Elise on Expressway

Lotus at hotel

Black Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Murcielago Spyder

Orange Murcielago Spyder

The last few are from Lotus of Atlanta which is also a Lamborghini & BMW dealer. The service guy was surprised to see our green car, he hadn't seen one in person yet. After we left the dealer we headed to hell (the Georgia Aquarium) to see a zoo of people inside a somewhat cool aquarium. The last photo is of Niki touching a sea ray. This is kind of a crappy post but I'm typing it damn quickly while 3 others are waiting for me at the breakfast table ;)

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Finally got to wash my new Elise...

Well, I'm finally getting the hang of shooting Krypton Green. Today I got up and washed the Elise bright and early and headed out to some spots around Gulf Shores. The photos below are what I managed to capture today. This car really does grab attention, today alone I had two people take photos of themselves with the car and several camera phone shots. I've been up too long processing these (Photoshop CS RAW processing and extremely minor adjustment afterwards, about 45 seconds per image) so I'm just going to get to the photos. Enjoy!

This was one of my favorites today, I think it shows some of the cars nicest lines...

The queens mark, showing her approval for sale. Neat huh ;)

My queen :)

Yeah, not much space in the boot at all.

It was windy out :(

Good god, I wanted to shoot the car at this spot sooooo badly, it was blocked off though. Dammit.

Another area I wanted to shoot at, this one I just flat out couldn't find the road to get to though so I had to settle for the opposite side of the barriers.

The street sign reads "Paradise ln"

And the obligatory shark photo. I'm heading back in the morning to try and get some better shots with this guy.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

The day after delivery (and the day after that!)

Alright, so we ended up staying at a little mom and pop hotel in Perry Florida after picking the car up in Clearwater Florida and driving for a couple hours. These photos are from the next morning.

gimme a break, you try holding a digital SLR and taking a photo with the wrong hand! ;)

Niki demonstrating how to pimp a Lotus ;)

My initial impressions of the car are that its very similar (power wise) to my old G60 powered VW Rabbit. This will change once the break-in period is over though because I'll be able to make use of the second (power) cam and will feel the real power the motor has to offer. While driving the past couple of days I've tried to have a few bursts of going through the available rpm range and even some backroad overtaking with slow RV's and woodchip dropping logging trucks. Even just staying in gear and laying into the throttle a little bit impresses me. This could be a result of one of two things, either the car is more powerful than often given credit for or I've just been out of a fast car for waaaay too long! I'm going to go ahead and assume the latter since I'm already starting to lust after the 2nd cam power.

This car is MUCH easier to drive than I had imagined. Getting in and out is a pain (just ask Niki!), but once you are in you find that its very comfortable and everything is setup perfectly. The deadpedal is a little hard for me to grab without scraping the clutch pedal but aside from that I have no gripes whatsoever. The steering wheel is a perfect size and, in typical MOMO fashion, has the perfect indentions and grips built into it. The shiftknob is much smaller than I expected (everything inside the Elise is to a point) but fits my hand perfectly. I think I was probably just imagining that it would be similar in size to the old sumo ball I had in my drag car. Direct rear visibility is awesome and the side visibility is by all means livable all though I suspect it will improve once I figure out how to adjust the mirrors (yes, I'm dense).

Its rainy and in the 40's here in Orange Beach so I haven't had a chance to wash the car off yet but I will be doing so at the first opportune moment. For now though I have some drizzly 40 degree weather "at the beach" photos for the family back home. Hope you enjoy!

This is at Perdido Dunes, my mom's second condo that is actual beachfront. The open space behind the pool is where two very large condos used to sit, they actually blocked the view for the rest of the community. This is what is left of that area ever since Dennis tore through the area.

Niki at the ocean collecting shells. There were lots of jellyfish along the coast, something I don't remember from previous trips.

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Friday, February 17, 2006


Well, the color is nothing but amazing! The car looks like its got electricity flowing through it. My salesman kinda drove us around the lot to build us up a little bit but it was all I could do not to run to the car the second I saw it. I absolutely cannot believe how beautiful the color is in person. It changes at every angle and looks amazing with each change.

So anyway, I'm now the proud owner of a 2005 Lotus Elise in Krypton Green. The car has the touring package (power windows, leather, extra sound insulation) and a removable hardtop. I was amazed that we were able to squeeze all of our crap into the trunk. The dealer helped a bit by shipping our soft top and hardtop's bag home for us, which cleared up a bunch of space. This car drives like a dream and finally gives me a new "favorite car", beating out the long favorite VW Rabbit. We picked it up yesterday morning and just now made it to Orange Beach AL where we are staying until Wedneday. I'll post more tomorrow, I'm off to get some dinner now though. Check out the photos for an idea of what our week has involved :)

Lotus Elise at Dimmitt Motors

Krypton Green Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise at Florida Dealer

Lotus alongside Ferrari Cars

Lotus in front of Dimmitt Motors

White Red and Black Lotus Cars

Lotus and Rolls Royce

Bentley Cars

Ferrari 360s and Lotus at Dimmitt

Chili Red Lotus Elise

Lotus Elise in Chilli Red

I'm such a dork!

Niki and myself in our new pride & joy :)

Lotus Elise on Clearwater Florida Beach

Lotus Elise on Beach

Lotus Elise on Florida Beach

Rear of Lotus Elise

At the hotel last night. This color changes in every light and at every angle. I love it. I've got my dream car :)

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sunny Florida

Alright, so we arrived at about 10:35 last night at Tampa Intl airport. I thought I hated flying, but last night made me look at it in a whole new light. I could fly again with no trouble at all. Not sure if that is thanks to the iPod video I was watching or if I was just able to reassure myself but whatever it was it worked.

It's 9am now and we're getting ready to head over to the dealer (Dimmitt Exotics) to check out our new baby, but first we have to check out the ihop a block up the road. My wife Nicole has never had the opportunity to eat at one and its become a small dream of hers so we absolutely cannot pass up this opportunity! I'll post again tonight (hopefully) and debut some photos of our new ride and fill you in on the trip details.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

So I'm getting a Lotus....

Well, I'm getting ready to leave the house and ride up to Cincinnati where I'll be boarding a plane destined for Tampa. Tomorrow morning I'll be making my way to the Rolls Royce/Bentley/Lotus dealer to finally see Krypton Green in person and to finally drive off in my new car! This blog will help friends & family (and anyone else interested) informed on our trip and my experiences with the new Lotus Elise! Below is a photo of Jennifer's yellow car in downtown Louisville.

And this is the car I'm taking delivery of in less than 24 hours...

I HATE flying but I think the prize at the end of this is worth it ;)