12th Day Gifts: Ben & Becky

For our 12th-Day-of-Christmas gifts, Becky and I received an eat-your-way-through-Seattle getaway and a half-day rally-racing lesson, respectively. Since the rally school was near Seattle, it was an easy decision to combine the two, along with our destination road trip.

The Food

The weekend started in Seattle. Here’s a non-comprehensive list of the amazing places where we stuffed ourselves silly:

Since we’re not the kind of people to take Instamagrams of our meals, there’s not much more to say than “if you’re ever in Seattle, you’re committing a crime against yourself if you don’t eat at one of these restaurants.”

The Cars

Becky and I were still pretty full when we made the drive to Issaquah, and the lumber mill that has been converted into DirtFish Rally School. Some of the biggest names in rally have trained and raced here, and now it was my turn. We started in the classroom, where we learned the basics of weight transfer, and how pushing gently on the brakes makes it so you can turn at high speed on gravel. Then it was out to the cars.

I’m fond of bragging that I learned to drive in Denver, and I can totally control my car in the snow and ice. This was a whole new level: fast, on gravel, and skidding on purpose.

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We did a few loops around the skid pad, and some practice on a slalom course, then the main event: a few turns around the track known as the Boneyard.

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There’s surprisingly little adrenaline. The cars are so perfectly tuned for this that it almost feels natural, and the instructor sitting next to you is telling you exactly what to do to make the best experience possible.

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I had a ton of fun. I’m not going to take this up as a hobby, but it was certainly an experience I’ll never forget.

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