“Hey, are any of you free the weekend of May 6-8 and want to go to Villains? No? Okay I’m just gonna go by myself, because I really need to see some drifting”, and thus began my solo trip to Walla Walla, Washington for VSL XIV.
Alex was nice enough to lend me his Fujifilm XA3 for the weekend so that I could take photos with something better than my phone. Even though I was driving down alone, my friend Nikky had just moved across the country for a job in Washington State and was willing to go to the event with me. She lives on the opposite side of the state, so we made arrangements to meet up on Friday evening and stay in an Airbnb close to the track together. It’s the norm for people to camp on the track at Villains, but we were very happy that we had decided not to… I’ll come back to this later.
It’s almost a 7-hour drive from Vancouver, BC to Walla Walla, WA, which I was making in my daily driver/best friend – my 2003 Honda Civic. I went to work extra early so I could make most of the trip with some daylight. It was actually quite a beautiful and scenic drive, full of mountain and forest views that made up for the fact that I had such a long way to go. I had never travelled around Washington state except for the occasional trip to Seattle so I was very happy to see the Cascade mountain range for the first time. The weather was constantly changing between sunny and raining for the entire drive, there was even a section where I drove through a snowy mountain pass. It felt like I had travelled through about 6 different climate regions, but it was a nice drive nonetheless.
In the morning Nikky and I took it easy and “marinated” in our beds for a while since we knew we’d be spending the entire day outside. We arrived at the track around noon and were welcomed to Villains by some very cold weather and very strong winds. I immediately went into ‘egg-mode’, which means tying the hood of my sweater around my face as tight as I could without just fully covering it, and we began exploring. It was not my first time at Villains, but my last trip was probably 4 years ago and I didn’t really remember what to expect. It looked pretty lacklustre from my first glance and I began to wonder if I had really come all this way just for a big skidpad. Once I got to see the full course layout and people started driving, I realized it’s actually quite a neat little set-up!
Typically when I go to events alone I will just walk around by myself awkwardly and be too shy to talk to anyone. Lucky for me, Nikky is super nice and personable so she was able to make conversation and ask people about their cars while I took photos. Not being shy and actually talking to people is definitely something I need to get better at because it was really nice to meet new people and have conversations with them to learn more about their builds. Most cars there had what I’ll call an “Ebisu-style vibe” going on, aka looked like they had been thoroughly drifted and repaired many times. There were a few cars that had really caught my eye, like this green 240sx S13 coupe and BEAMS powered, blue Levin-front end swapped, AE86, among some other chassis that I don’t see at drift events often.
While walking around we had run into some familiar faces like Sedrik Skabar (@sid_558) and Paul Thompson (@skookum.jzs) who had come down from Vancouver as well to drift for the weekend. There were also a few people, or rather cars, that I had recognized from Instagram which was very cool. Most notably was the Chick Flicks drift team which is a group of girl friends who drive at lots of local events, including FinalBout SSNW. I was very happy to see them there since they are some of my personal heroes (women supporting women, we love to see it).
Nikky and I had both forgotten our helmets and decided it was worth it to drive out to her house and grab hers so that we could ask (beg) for some ride-alongs. I was beyond excited to finally get to see her iconic cars in person, especially the Rocket Bunny S13 which I used to fangirl so hard over when I first saw her photos around 7 years ago. The cars had just been transported across the country as she just moved into her new house and were in trailer mode, but I could not stop smiling because I was so happy anyway. I’m hoping that once she’s settled into her new home, and her cars are show-ready again, we’ll be able to meet up again so that I can fully experience them in all their glory.
We got back to the track later than expected due to some traffic delays but arrived just in time to see some night drifting – which happens to be my favourite kind of drifting. Since I exist on my own plane of reality where we all live in Need for Speed Underground 2, I truly love underglow on cars with all my heart. That said, I was happy to see lots of cars that had some form of LED lighting on them which looks so cool when you’re night drifting. We had only mustered up the courage to ask (bully) Sedrik into giving us a ride-along in his Soarer, which was perfectly fine with me since he’s a great driver AND was playing Neon Genesis Evangelion on his DVD player in the car. I let Nikky sit in the front seat, because I’m a gentleman, and hopped into the backseat. I don’t think I’ve ever sat in the backseat of a drift car, considering they usually don’t exist, so that was a new and fun experience for me. Once the track was closed for the night, we made our way back to the house where I fell asleep sitting upright because I was so tired.
On Sunday morning, we woke up a little bit earlier to stop for breakfast on the way to the track. It was sunny outside but still really cold so, once again, I went into egg mode. The last day of multi-day events is pretty hit-or-miss as lots of people start to pack up and load their cars onto trailers to get ready to head home. I’ve found that after a full weekend of drifting the drivers are comfortable with the track and start to feel more confident, which means fuller sends and, usually, more accidents. VSL has a bit of a reputation for being tricky and quite a few people had crashed. We were standing next to the track to watch and take photos; More specifically, we were standing in the Splash Zone where a drifting Tacoma had dropped into a giant puddle of dirty water and completely blasted me before I could even react. I was covered in mud but my Checkpoint windbreaker had saved me from getting wet, making it my second time testing out how waterproof these jackets are.
The event was scheduled to end at 5 PM but I left a few hours early so that I could make most of the drive home before the sunset again and not get home too late. I was making great time in my Civic since it’s extremely fast and nimble (hehe), but ended up getting stuck in some car accident-related traffic and got home closer to midnight anyway. Despite being freezing almost the whole time, it was a good trip and I actually enjoyed my little road trip. I had a ton of fun spending the weekend with Nikky and I’m looking forward to making more trips out to see her. Back to why we were happy we didn’t end up camping… I need to reiterate how cold and windy it was. Many of the tents were on the verge of blowing away. We actually had to help Sedrick fix his tent when we got back to the track on Saturday night because it had blown away and some of the tent poles had broken. Nikky messaged me a few days after the event to let me know that there were actually not 1, but 2 tornadoes in the area that weekend. This just further reinforced the notion in my mind that finding accommodations and splitting it with your friends is always better than camping at a drift event.
I really hope that the next time I go to Villians I will be with the rest of the Checkpoint crew, and maybe even sign up to drive. For now, I’m happy to just watch from the pits and be glad I didn’t bin my car into a wall – yet.
Before we go; we want to express our appreciation for everyone who has been supporting us. Everyone who has been watching our YouTube channel, buying good goods or merchandise, reading the blog like you are now, or sharing our content on social media, we seriously appreciate all of the love and encouragement that we’ve received and can’t thank you enough, it keeps us moving. It blows our minds to see that our Instagram has surpassed 10k followers and our YouTube hit 2k subscribers in this past week.
Our new drop of Japanese Good Goods has gone live and lots of items have already sold out!
All of the remaining inventory can be seen here:
See you soon.