I realized a long time ago, when I need a car, it will come to me at the right time. My Civic has over 450,000 miles on it (the actual mileage is indeterminate, as the speedometer only works about 5% of the time these days), it uses oil now, and the gas mileage has been dropping off. So when we went to Florida in January, and my brother Solar said he was planning to sell his Miata come spring, I told him I wanted first dibs.
When he got ready to sell, and realized I was serious about buying it, he waxed enthusiastic. “Yeah, you can fly down, we can go to the autocross. We’ll have a bro-weekend, and you can drive it home!” Works for me… but then the wife realized she didn’t have a lot going on, that week after the 4th, Daughter Dearest hunted down a resort near the beach (like across the road), and it was vacation time!
I still flew down in advance, to spend the weekend with Solar. I packed enough stuff to get me through the weekend, in a bag that tucked easily under the aircraft seat, and the wife agreed to drive me to the airport so we wouldn’t have to pick up a car later on. So we bolted out the door Saturday morning, got two miles, and Daughter Dearest called. “Does Dad want to take a copy of the resort reservation?”
“I don’t think he’ll need it,” saith the wife.
“Well, he left his phone, too.”
Sigh. Turn around, grab the paper and phone, and now we’re on the way. Since my phone was making a bunch of chirps and bings, I stuck it between my legs for easy access. Of course, that meant I left it in the car when I got to the airport. Fortunately, the wife found it and called Solar, to let him know what had happened. I bummed a phone call off the guy sitting next to me on the plane, when we arrived in Tampa, to find that things had been arranged for the pickup. Whew.
So Solar and I had a pretty good time, eating, drinking, being merry, and flinging his 240SX around at the autocross. That took us to late Sunday afternoon, and he handed me the Miata keys so I could meet the rest of the family at the resort. We got there almost simultaneously!
We mostly spent mornings at the beach, the pool in the afternoons. Solar came over for dinner a couple times, and we ate out some, but his job is finally picking back up so he wasn’t around all the time. Our one touristy thing was a trip to the Suncoast Bird Sanctuary, just a few miles down the road. They rescue and (where possible) rehabilitate injured seabirds, but those with permanent injuries have a safe place to live out their lives. There were plenty of free-ranging birds there as well; I think they figured out that handouts were a regular part of life there.
For the rest of this post, I give you a slideshow (with captions). Sorry about the Flash trash, I figured Google would have embraced the HTML5 future by now…
The trip home was interesting. I expected to have to be careful to not leave the wife behind… but she was driving that minivan like Shirley Muldowney up I-75, and I was wailing pretty hard to keep up. I think someone wanted to get home. :-)