Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Road Trip

This is my college roommate Dave absorbing knowledge from the "All Knowing Orb" in Dorm 68 at the University of West Florida ... circa 1979. It was SciFi night in the campus theatre and an assortment of science fiction movies were showing back to back. We bought some toy (or were they?) rayguns and these cool space helmets to wear to the show.
As I recall, after we sat down, a group of mentally disabled adults from the local Pensacola assisted living center came in and sat all around us. The guy next to Dave was pretty taken by his get up and kept telling him he had a nice hat. They were lots of fun and we all had a great time being nerdy SciFi fanatics.
So why am I blogging about a college roommate from long ago?
Be patient.

Left to right, Dave, Tina, FC ... 1979

When Thanksgiving came that year, Dave was too broke and too far from Kansas City to go home. Likewise, our wacky dorm buddy Tina (an Air Force) brat, was too far from Washington State where her parents had moved. So, I invited the two of them home to St. Augustine to have Thanksgiving with my family.

For 400 miles, trapped in my green Gremlin, they endured my Florida monologue.This was pre-internet so I had to expound about the wonders of Florida in person and to whoever I could corner. The two of them got an earful of why Florida is magical. Oh, every once in awhile, Dave would counter with some wonder of Kansas, like the Flint Hills or a river, but mostly I heard, " flat, dusty, blah, blah, no ocean, ..."

We went out in the boat, went to the beach, ate turkey, and toured my hometown. I took them to a place called Fish Island and they both immediately found flint spearpoints on the shore, so I ushered them back into the boat before they found all the cool stuff. Rascals!

I've lost touch with Tina, she was in Alaska the last time I had an email from her. Dave is married to a wonderful wife, Lightnin, and is a senior scientist for a really big company. He and I have remained fast friends through the years, so when he called me months ago and asked me to go on a road rally with him, I had to say yes. It just sounded like too much fun to pass up.

Below: Not Dave's car ...

HIS Solstice is silver.

I did not say yes immediately when he called me last spring and said, "Hey man, you wanna go to a Solstice rally called "Tail Of The Dragon?"

I thought, " Dang, ol Dave has gotten into Druidism or some new age crystal rubbing aromatherapy yogastretching HP Lovecrafty thang."

That was not the case, however.

It turns out, his sporty little car is a Solstice and Tail of the Dragon is an insanely curvy road rally of fellow Solstice owners.

Whew! I can handle 318 tight curves in eleven miles of skinny mountain road, but that new age stuff just boggles me.

So tomorrow morning, I'm heading down to Tampa International for a flight to the fabled midwest, where Dave and Lightnin will pick me up for a brief tour of the golden city of Cincinnati and then he and I will head out for the Tail of the Dragon in the ultra cool Solstice.

After the rally, we're driving back to Pure Florida HQ so Dave can board with us for a few days while he shops for a piece of land nearby.

If I get up early enough, there will be a Thursday post, but Pure Florida will probably be quiet until Sunday evening at the earliest. I don't think I'll be able to post from the road, but who knows?


Sharon said...

First of all...GREMLIN!!! BWAHAHA!!! And second, sounds great, hope you enjoy it. I love a road trip. :)

robin andrea said...

Hope you have a grand road trip with your old friend. It sounds like it's going to be a wild journey.

Deb said...

Are you sure you can handle being that far north in latitude?

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Somewhere (in a box) I have a picture of the small nerd-ling, SPC. Dude, in that same space hat on a toy motorcycle and a diaper! Boy the apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree, huh? Really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow afternoon!

ImagineMel said...

MIDWEST!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH. I thought it was morally irresponsible and perhaps even a little illegal for you to cross the FL/GA line. Be safe out there...we'll say a prayer to the palm tree goddess whilst dipping our feet in the Gulf and annointing our foreheads with Dat'l Do and munching shrimp tails. :)

Thunder Dave said...

I'm glad you admitted to the Gremlin before I brought it up! Although I thought we had an agreement to never, ever, share tales or pictures of the Scifi event! ;-)

Look for a posting later tonight of me prepping the vehicle for the trip!

Linda said...

Hey FC. Who says Lightning is pretty. I work with the bitch and she ain't that great!


Cathy S. said...

Oh, my gosh. Having done the Tail of the Dragon four times (twice in a truck, twice on the back of a motorcycle), all I can say is take your dramamine before you go. Lots and lots of curves. And definately, do not do it on a weekend or you will get a sportbike laid out on your hood. But, you ought to also do the Cherahola Skyway while there. Tail of the Dragon ends at Robbinsville, NC and the skyway goes west out of Robbinsville. It is much more scenic and a beautiful drive. Still some curves, but more sweeping, not so tight. Hardly anyone uses the road because it goes no where but there are a lot of pulloffs for photo ops and ends at a really pretty waterfall. Don't miss it while you are there.

Laura said...

Dude, this is one post I can't wait to hear all about!!!
BRING your camera!
And that sexy car.. ohhhhh, I just put it on my wish list!

threecollie said...

Can't wait to see the pictures this will generate.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what fun! Road trips always are, and so are opportunities to relive one's misspent youth. Have a grand time, take a lot of pics, and don't drink the water in Ohio.

vicki said...

Bout time you had some down time, some guy time, some buddy bonding. You've been busy taking care of business lately. This trip sounds like a blast and I can just hear you pitching the pros and cons of nearby plots of land.

Is it clear enough today to see the launch? Looked good on TV a few minutes ago.

Have a great few days and try not to worry about what the dogs are doing under the porch in your absence.

Dr. Bill ;-) said...

It has been very interesting to have a Google Alert for Blogs on "Kansas Flint Hills!"
Yours came up today!
We have a 22 county Flint Hills Tourism Coalition promoting visits to the Kansas Flint Hills – this is the website:
Our web site is to promote the Kansas Flint Hills; and we were so happy to be in the 22 page color photo spread in National Geographic's April Issue on the Kansas Flint Hills, as a distinctive landscape.

We would appreciate a link from your site, to ours, if you are willing to do so. THANKS!
Best wishes!

Bill ;-)

Personal Blog:

Thunder Dave said...

Hey man, honestly I didn't contact the Kansas Bureau of Tourism, but now you can check out the awesome scenery that the Flint Hills provide! (That'll teach you to share that scifi photo!) ;-)

swamp4me said...

I feel it is necessary to say this: I loved Gremlins and wanted one very badly. I ended up with a VW bug instead...sigh.

pissed off patricia said...

Road Rally? Oh man, count me in. We used to do rallies all the time and I loved it. I'm a good navigator, can I go too?

Floridacracker said...

Yowza! I wish I had time to do one on one replies as is my way, but it's time to hit the road.
Thanks for the hilarious comments and insight!

Here's something to think about, I have an DL with a picture circa 2000 in which I have a bushy biker beard and look like I want to throttle the camera guy. It looks nothing like my current fresh haircut clean shaven self, but it does look pretty Talibany.

Dave says I'm a shoo in for a complete search at the airport with a one way ticket and a suspicious ID.

Wish me luck.

I haven't flown since 1998.

Enjoy your break :)

Doug Taron said...

Have a great trip- sounds like tons of fun. And I enjoyed your memories. In 1979 I was in college driving a Gremlin, too. I believe that we still had to dodge dinosaurs in the streets back then.

SophieMae said...

Wouldn't it be funny if you were driving the green Gremlin I traded in on my favourite car (that I've actualy owned) of all time? That '72 gun-metal Javelin just beat out an old Corvair I drove mostly around the chicken farm.

You didn't happen to buy it in Volusia County or thereabouts, didja?! 8-}

Have a blast! And try to come back in the same condition in which you left - or better! 8-]

Ava said...

Wow! What a post!!! I hope that you have a great weekend! See you on Tuesday!

kathy a. said...

OMG! you haven't flown since 1998? and there is a beard in your ID photo!?

well, that would have raised eyebrows along about 2001-2, when fresh young national guardspeople toted large weapons around the airports and even my young children were subjected to a full backpack search on accounta the rolls of coins grandpa gave them, but now all they care about is:

[1] put your laptop in a separate bin;
[2] take off your sweater and shoes, and put them in a bin;
[3] put your miniature toiletries in a plastic baggie, and put it separetely in a bin;
[4] dont' carry lighters or water bottles;
[5] look bored as you walk barefoot through the metal detector, holding your boarding pass as a shield.

i once knew a person who owned 2 different pintos. so your gremlin story is not causing a batted eyelash over here. LOL

thegatorgal said...

I hope you enjoyed the Tail of the Dragon! I've driven it quite a few times, though not in something quite so sporty. Do be sure to get good pictures of the funny motorcycle memorial at the end of it.

"Meddle ye not in the affairs of dragons, for ye art crunchy and taste good with ketchup."

Aunty Belle said...

Dern..I cain't 'member how I got hehre, but I'se glad I did--youse a fun soundin' Cracker!

On yore previous post--wif' them deer and the dogs?...I have a funny comment to share: recently I had ter go into yankee territory, up to pennsylvania whar' them deer is big fellas.

So we's hearin' how much the deer eat folks' flowers and veggies and is a nuisance. The taxi driver what took me from the Philly airport out into the country that night had ter brake a few times fer BIG deer jes' a standin' in the road....this taxi driver man was from Kenya. He say:

"There are not enough lions in America."

Hope ya'll made it safe back to HQ. (I'se w bit south of ya in Central Floridy)