Triple XXX car show schedule now includes campers

March 8, 2011

The Vintage Travel Trailer & Motor Home Camp Out show April 3 is sure to feature such classic campers as this one. Contributed

Jose Enciso Sr. really loves his job. As owner of the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, he gets to host more classic car shows than anywhere else in the state — 42 this year alone.

As owner of a sizable collection of his own classic hot rods, Enciso still gets a childlike sparkle in his eye when asked about his latest acquisition that isn’t even a car — a 1947 Aeroflite Travel Trailer.

Enciso gets to share his find, one of only 25 ever made, with other collectors from the travel trailer community at one of the XXX’s four newest shows for 2011 — the Vintage Travel Trailer & Motor Home Camp Out on April 3.

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Uncover the dark side of Issaquah

February 15, 2011

Vehicles streak through the darkness in downtown Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

The tree-lined suburb of today evolved from a frontier town of sinister secrets

Welcome to Issaquah!

On your left, you’ll see the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In!

On your right, you’ll find the Village Theatre!

Oh look, over there is the beloved Issaquah Salmon Hatchery!

A typical tour of town might go something like that, detailing the proud past of a historic city.

What about the strange, seedy and sinister history of this former frontier town? What about the ominous undertones? Not many tours take you down the alleys of the city or expose what had been its underbelly.

But this one does, and it will tell you about some of the most notable incidents that occurred here in the decades after white settlers arrived in the 1850s. Murders. Bombings. Fires. Explosions. Abductions. Plus, plenty of other mayhem.

Get in your DeLorean and prepare to tickle your morbid curiosity, because we’re headed straight to the past and into the dark side of Issaquah.

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Former Councilwoman Maureen McCarry reflects on years of service

February 1, 2011

Maureen McCarry once used a clear voice to advocate for Issaquah residents.

But amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, muted the voice and prompted the former city councilwoman to resign in late December.

Maureen McCarry celebrates early City Council returns at an election night party at the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in in 2005. By Greg Farrar

The decision did not come easily to McCarry, a former Harborview Medical Center executive and Squak Mountain resident. Less than a year into a four-year term, she had planned to continue as a voice for environmental preservation, economic development and human services issues.

Instead, McCarry received the ALS diagnosis in October, and the rapid progression of the neurodegenerative disease has left McCarry unable to drive and speak.

After a Dec. 20 meeting, council members offered a poignant and tear-slicked send-off to McCarry.

“I regretted, of course, having to leave so early in my term and so would have loved to have served through exciting upcoming projects,” she wrote last week in response to e-mailed questions. “Without my voice, it was hard to ‘voice’ my great appreciation to the citizens of Issaquah and the council for their support during this time — and for the kindness and appreciation, and humanity, that were demonstrated to me as I left the council.”

Though McCarry is no longer a public official — and in spite of her illness — she said she plans to remain involved in municipal issues.

“I have worked hard for the betterment of our community. I will remain an active citizen and adviser when called upon,” she wrote. “At this time, I feel fulfillment as I see this council move forward and extol the competence of those who have stepped forward to take my place to continue to grow and improve Issaquah.”

Some residents also reached out to McCarry for input as they consider applying for her former position. The council is expected to appoint a successor to the Position 5 seat in March.

McCarry urged the next council member to delve deep into issues brought to the council for decisions.

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Hot rodders steer Christmas cheer to food bank

December 14, 2010

Kim Ortego, assistant to the director at the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, holds up Saucer Scramble and shows the donated toys that filled an entire truck. Contributed

If the holidays are all about community spirit, then the Sunset Highway Cruisers have earned an A-plus in spreading holiday cheer. For the 10th consecutive year, the cruisers have pulled off a successful toy drive, collecting at least $6,000 worth of toys, cash and checks for the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

Sunset Highway Cruisers President Marv Nielsen spearheaded the event, and thanked the approximate 250 drivers who had driven near and far, checks and toys in tow, for the Jingle Bell Cruz car show Dec. 5.

An Issaquah resident since 1977, Nielsen’s aqua 1937 Ford Coupe may be a familiar site to many, especially if they frequent car shows at the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in. He has coordinated shows at the Triple XXX for 15 years, and might as well have engine oil running through his veins.

“I’ve always grown up interested in cars,” Nielsen said. “I had a model A at age 15, and I had a lifelong fascination of cars and how to improve them.”

Usually, the cruisers donate the proceeds from their shows to Issaquah’s Life Enrichment Options, better known as LEO, which helps Nielsen’s developmentally disabled daughter in her day-to-day life. When the cruisers agreed to host a toy drive, they decided to stay local and donate to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank.

“Every year it’s gotten bigger and better and better,” Nielsen said. “This year was astronomical. We had 160 cars and hot rods at the Triple XXX.”

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Who’s News

September 14, 2010

Thundering Angels delivers for the food bank

Kim Ortega and Bill Werner

Bill Werner, of the Thundering Angels Motorcycle Club, presented a check for $500 to Kim Ortega, of the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank on Aug. 30.

The check was from profits made by the club in July during its fourth annual Burgers, Bikes and Babes Motorcycle Rally at the Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in and also from the Poker Run the day before the rally. Thundering Angels is a local motorcycle club. About 1,800 motorcyclists attended the family friendly event this year, about 10 percent more than last year. Read more

Dick’s Drive-In asks residents to pick restaurant location

September 7, 2010

Sure, Issaquah has a Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, but someday soon the city could host another iconic burger joint: Dick’s Drive-In.

The longtime Seattle chain announced plans last week to open a sixth location in the Greater Seattle metropolitan area. The location hinges on votes cast at www.dicksdrivein.com. The poll closes Sept. 30.

Votes could be a deciding factor as the 57-year-old chain picks a location.

The contest divvies up Greater Seattle into three regions. The east region includes Issaquah, Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond and Sammamish.

Dick’s has not opened a restaurant since the Queen Anne location 36 years ago. The chain includes the original restaurant in Wallingford, plus outposts in Capitol Hill, Crown Hill and Lake City.

“We are very excited to make this historic expansion after 36 years,” Jim Spady — vice president of Dick’s Drive-Ins and son of co-founder and namesake, Dick Spady — said in a news release. “And we want to involve our customers and the community, asking everyone to help us find the best location for our next restaurant.”

German students follow English textbook here

August 31, 2010

German youth (from left) Celina Mueller, Isabelle Joswig and Annabell Schoeberl pose at their host home overlooking Lake Sammamish on July 26. Their English book features Issaquah and the surrounding area. By Christopher Huber

This summer, three German teens are getting a more vivid lesson in English and American culture than their eighth-grade textbook, which features Issaquah, could give them.

For three weeks, Isabelle Joswig, 15, Annabell Schoeberl, 13, and Celina Mueller, 14, all from Bad Salzig, Germany, are living with Sammamish residents Susan Gregory and David Stevens, thanks to a connection they found in their English textbook.

Published in Germany in 1998, the level-four book teaches students the difference between British and American English, Celina said. It teaches theme-based grammar and vocabulary lessons in a cultural context. Read more

Dick’s Drive-In plans new restaurant, asks residents to pick location

August 31, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 31, 2010

Sure, Issaquah has a Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in, but someday soon the city could host another iconic burger joint: Dick’s Drive-In.

The longtime Seattle chain announced plans Monday to open a sixth location in the Greater Seattle metropolitan area. The location hinges on votes cast at the chain’s website.

The contest divvies up Greater Seattle into three regions. East includes Issaquah, Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond and Sammamish. North includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and South Everett. South includes Burien, Renton, SeaTac, South Seattle, Tukwila and West Seattle.

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Thundering Angels rumble back in town with charity ride

July 13, 2010

Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in has been known for its root beer, burgers and car shows, but four years ago, Eastside Harley Davidson of Bellevue started a motorcycle rally there. Since then, the Thundering Angels Motorcycle Club has taken on the responsibly of hosting the event.

Last year, the event expanded, making it a two-day event with a charity ride the first day and the rally the second day.

“We wanted to get together and do something for the community,” organizer Larry Rudé said. “Something that is fun for a group of motorcycle riders, and worthwhile.”

This year’s charity ride will be July 17; registration begins at 11 a.m. at Downtown Harley in Renton. The ride costs $25 per bike. Downtown Harley will supply soda, coffee and snacks before the ride beings at noon.

“All motorcycles are welcome,” he said. “Not just one style motorcycle group. Everybody is welcome.”

The money raised during the ride will benefit two local charities, the Issaquah Food Bank and a second charity that has not yet been picked, according to Rudé . Read more

Treat yourself right

June 29, 2010

On hot days, reach for the coolest treats Issaquah has to offer

Judy Sanchez, Gina Fernandez and Mari McCann (from left) serve up a famous Triple XXX super-sized root beer float. By Greg Farrar

Summer, glorious summer, means fat ice cream bars at Boehm’s Candies, enough Triple XXX Root Beer to float a battleship and ample pints at the Issaquah Brewhouse.

Summertime makes for a great excuse to sample quintessential delights from the classic Issaquah joints. Bonus: On blistering days, the treats offer respite from the heat.

Forget the drizzle and damp. Forget calorie counts. Indulge in something cool — and a little nostalgic. Hey, it’s summer.

Float on

Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in stands as a monument to the era before interstates and drive-thrus. Behind the barrel-shaped façade, the Enciso family serves big burgers portioned for Fred Flintstone, canoe-sized sundaes and enough flavors of shakes to put Baskin-Robbins to shame.

The titular attraction reigns supreme: root beer served in a frosted mug as big as a medieval tankard. Upgrade to a root-beer float and the potion comes crowned with whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream as big as a baseball.

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