Road Trip: Let’s Take A Scenic Spin In My Mazda RX-7



It’s a beautiful clear day, about as nice as it gets up here in the Great Northwest corner of the land, so how about we take a little spin in my old RX-7? After all these years it’s still looking decent, and is as much fun to drive as ever, especially on the route I have in mind today.


Heading south on Banner Road from Sedgwick, you go up and down some remarkable hills. After a few miles, you come to a sharp left; just after that, you get the first view south, down Colvos Passage, toward Commencement Bay and Tacoma. You’re still in high country here.

Continuing down the ridge, you get more glances at Puget Sound. A half-mile later you reach this spot, where you can look north up the passage. Here, Vashon Island is on the right; to your left is the mainland of the Kitsap Peninsula. If the weather cooperates, Mount Baker can be seen from here in the distance.

Continuing downhill, you get some nice views across the passage toward Vashon Island. Mount Rainier can be seen behind the island, atmospheric conditions permitting.

Soon you reach a sharp jog toward the water.

Just around the next corner is the wide view of the passage, seen from a narrow section of the road that snakes down the edge of the bluff. You can see the pilings for one of the old “mosquito fleet” docks, relics of a time when small boats were how you got around Puget Sound country before the building of roads over the hills. Also visible is an inviting-looking road leading south toward Gig Harbor. At the bottom of the hill is the estuary of Olalla Creek.

Here I’m parked at the boat-launching ramp.

Here’s the view looking back toward the last hill of Banner Road, down which I just drove.

Olalla Valley Road beckons west, toward Highway 16. I’m standing on a bridge that is the scene of a large Polar Bear Jump event every New Year’s Day.


This wouldn’t be a proper Curbside Classic piece without this photo of this circa-1980 Ford Bronco, which hasn’t stirred from this spot along today’s route for least six months. It’s not a bad-looking old pot, with no rust-out or dents visible from this side. It probably just needs a transmission or some other mechanical work. In any case, it’s considerably less mossy than the garage roof.

The really nice thing about this extraordinarily scenic drive?  It’s just a couple of miles from my house, so I can pass this way often. If you’re in the neighborhood, let’s do it for real next time.