Monday, August 31, 2009

License and Registration, Please

Last Friday evening, thejeepjunkie, TheGoodAttorney and this olelongrooffan were enjoying Happy Hour on the front porch of the Taj Mahal.

thejeepjunkie turns to me and asks if I have renewed the tags on my "Blue Plate Specials". I replied I had gotten the notice for renewal but had not yet gotten off my lazy *ss to get them yet.

Down here in the Sunshine State, your vehicle license plates expire on your birthday. Mine is September 29, 1959, yeah, the big Five-O this year. I usually receive my renewal notice in mid August and have until October 9 to get those tags renewed.

He mentioned that fees for them are doubling on September 1. Thanks, again, Tallahassee.

I commented that first thing Monday morning, August 31, I would be heading down to that building on Beach Street in Daytona Beach and getting those yellow tags and renewed registration for the next time Johnny Law wanted to speak with with this olelongrooffan.

TheGoodAttorney mentions he heads out to Bunnell, Florida, about 20 miles up US1, northwest of the Birthplace of Speed, to get his renewals as the have this huge, new building and the wait is minimal.

I communicated my appreciation to both thejeepjunkie and TheGoodAttorney by going inside that ice cold Taj Mahal and getting each of them a 'cold pop' from my massive refrigerator.

So, Monday morning, I arrived over at the DMV office and this is the sight I see.

The parking lot was packed and there was at least a hundred people in line.

Not So Good.

I promptly picked up my cheap, trusty cell phone and called TheGoodAttorney to get directions to that big white building over in the Flagler County seat.

So, I head up US1 and pass the rain saturated salvage yard that has my replacement window for the rear door of the olestationbus.

A little later, I arrived in that sprawling metropolis and sight this flatbed carrying a bunch of crunched automobiles. I am fairly certain these are not Cash for Clunkers victims as they were all at least 15 or so years old.

I cut a right on SR 100 and headed over to this big, new building Flagler County built during the building boom of the past 15 years. Had to cost 10's of millions for a county with a population of 91,247.

But, I don't really care what it costs as I am not paying for it but I do know this fact.

TheGoodAttorney is my hero. I was in and out of that place in 17 minutes flat, armed with my renewed registration good until September 29, 2011. Unfortunately, the decals I got are imprinted with this, 9-11. But I saved $137 this year and $274 in 2010.

And since I got that mission accomplished, I headed out in on a new, to me, roadway to see what I could find.

I stopped in at a used furniture store to try and find a 36" diameter wooden table for a certain friend of mine. Unsuccessful but I did find this

old Chevy Pickup out back that looked like it Ran When Parked, American Edition.

And when you own "Palm Coast Import Auto" you might want to have at least one imported auto.

And why does dang near every car on this lot have its hood opened?

I previously mentioned somewhere in this blog I am looking around for a cheap 4 wheel drive. I spotted this one and stopped in to that lot to get an image of it. The dude working in the shop it was in front of

mentioned to me the owner was looking to get 15 large out of it. Good Luck Pal.

And only McDonald's has a "Welcome" sign and a "Do Not Enter" sign on the same roadway.

And this bluury image below of a Kia minivan

Well the sticker on top says "Cowgirls Kickass" and the sticker below? "Jesus". Yeah, I am quickly heading back to the coast.

But not before stopping at a new car dealership to get a few images of their "Cash for Clunkers" lot.

Ironically, I used to own a Cadillac of a similar vintage as the red one below.

And a Cherokee such as this one. If thejeepjunkie would let me, I would get another.

These two Fords seem to be of a recent vintage and I would think would be worth more than the maximum allowable $4,500.

And I cannot believe these two are Clunkers but they both are sporting the tell-tale yellow Clunker stickers.

Oh well.

I was cruising down SR100 and spotted this shop across the street and knew I had to whip a Ueeee to get some images to share with you Counters out there.

I spotted this beautiful maroon BMW 2002. The spiritual inspiration for my generations younger 325.

And this 74 Rolls Royce could be used to deliver mail as it is right hand drive.

A newer Rolls and a highly desirable Mercedes longroof lingered nearby.

So I decided I would head on back to the Taj Mahal and get a few things accomplished.

But know, I passed up this roadway for

this one.

As I was cruising down Old Kings Road, enjoying a cold bottle of water from that cooler I always have with me when travelling, I spot this behind a berm in front of a campground.

I am pretty sure I knew what it was but whipped a Ueeee to go back and make sure.

Yep. A mid 70's vintage GMC Motorhome. I. Would. Love. One.

A little later, I got on Old Dixie Highway and headed

down this tree lined roadway to

Highbridge Road heading out to

A1A for the beachside ride home.

As I was driving south on that scenic highway, I was thinking about my day and it seemed some of the roads I traversed that day I remember having traveled on them before.

So later Monday evening, I checked my journal, it is called By The Numbers. Sure enough I had saved a blogpost about a drive I took last January and had never gotten around to publishing it.

The following images are from that road trip.

I was driving up John Anderson Drive, which is parallel to the Intercoastal Waterway, Beachside, here in Ormond Beach and came across the inspiration to this and this.

Yeah, a tugboat tethered to its dock amongst all those yachts behind all those waterfront homes, some equipped with Shetland ponies.

And there is no McMansion adjoining this tugboat dock, but it did sport a huge Lincoln Limosine. Go figure?

Just up the road a piece on HighBridge Road, it passes along a body of water and is a pretty cool, yet slow three mile trek along this shoreline. And not one guardrail was to be found!

I turned onto another road, unfortunately I have forgotten the name, my atlas is out in my now rainsoaked oleragtop and I am to lazy to google map it but know it has rural feel with many large lots and is lined with McMansions.

I found this Dodge Power Wagon under a carport at one of them.

Just up the road a piece, I saw a sign for the Bulow Plantation ruins and cut down

this trail to get some non car related culture into this olelongrooffan.

It was very serene and if you go to that 'Bulow Plantation' link, it has some fairly interesting information about the growing of sugar here in Coastal, North Central, Florida two centuries ago.

Alright, enough of culture, let's get back to cars and such.

As I was driving up another road, I spotted this cool mailbox stand.

It is an old towtruck crane!! My kind of sh*t. I jotted down the particulars; Weaver Auto Crane, Springfield, Illinois. Based on this, in this condition I would venture it is worth over $1,000 to the right buyer.

Just a little further down the road, I spotted something I thought no longer existed here in the United States.

No, I don't mean the Carmelite Monastery but on that sign were the schedules of the Masses and this was the listing.

Daily Mass Schedule
English 9am
Polish 10am
Latin 11am
Confession before each Mass

I didn't realize Masses were still celebrated in Latin!!!

Somehow or another, I meandered over to A1A and headed back for a

drive on the beach to visit with those seagulls prior to heading back to the Taj Mahal.

And know this Counters: it is finding this old draft blog and combining it with a new blog, you know, Two, Two, Two Blogs In One, to share with all of you that lets me

Celebrate Life.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Evening With A Good Friend

This blog reflects the good fortune I have in my life experiences.

The glass is more than half full you know, you Counters out there just have to be ready to Celebrate Life.

You might want to freshen up that cold drink. I'm certainly not going anywhere.

I moved to Sl-Ocala in May, 2003. In late summer of that year, my 'little sister', Carri, who was the Director of Special Events for the Collier Building Industry Association, asked me to come down to FantasyLand and be a Judge for the Sand Dollar Awards. 'Sand Dollar' was, then, a huge annual event in the industry. Builders and Communities would enter their projects and the awards ceremony was usually held at the Ritz Carlton there in Naples. Definitely a must attend, black tie, over 700 attendee ceremony, and that party thrown by Carri was always sold out.

Incidentally, in Sl-Ocala, they hold the Cattle Baron's Ball. I attended one year with my, at the time, girlfriend. Tuxedo jacket, tuxedo shirt, French cuffs, bowtie, blue jeans and cowboy boots. The only time I wore those, now under my bed, cowboy boots.

Anyway, of course, I was honored to be asked to judge and drove on down to help determine the winner of those spectacular participants.

And am I glad I did.

One of my fellow judges was Angela Amadore from Orlando. She and I hit it off famously. She is married to a, then, mortgage broker and works for an Orlando ad agency.

So, as I mentioned, she is Orlando based, and when it came up that I lived in Sl-Ocala, just an 80 minute drive away, she placed me on her "must invite" list as well as her "must fix up" list. The wonderful woman I attended that Cattle Baron's Ball with was one of Angela's "fix up" with this olelongrooffan.

So, I have attended many, many memorable parties, and spent many nights, at Casa Amadore down there in Baldwin Park, built on an old Air Force base smack in the middle of MickeyMouseLand, quite near Winter Park. The "No Alcohol" sign I got in this post was at an outdoor jazz concert I attended with that bunch.

Well Counters, in case you hadn't noticed, the housing industry tanked over the past couple years and lots of us have lost our primary means of income. Angela, thankfully, is still employed in the advertising industry but most of her builder clients have cut back on their ad budgets, thusly, constricting Angela's income. Tony, like this olelongrooffan, lost his job but in his case it was when his firm was acquired by a large banking firm which, promptly, decided to get out of the home mortgage business.

So where does this leave Tony? Working on his not so rusty musical skills and publishing a CD of his excellent works.

At one of the parties I attended at Casa Amadore, Tony and two of his Atlanta based buddies performed for us all evening long in that three car, couch bearing, it's okay to smoke in, garage they have down that way. An excellent evening of, literally, wine, women and song.

So, a few weeks ago I received an email requesting my, along with many others, presence at a folk music recital in which Tony would be performing. I immediately RSVP'ed in the affirmative and then a week or so later, this happened.

So, after meeting with Johnny Law several times on that event filled trip home, I forwarded Angela's email to Kris to see if she might be interested in meeting up with this olelongrooffan to attend that recital and meet a bunch of cool folks. Kris agreed and on the designated evening, I booked on down I-4 to Kris's pad, got to meet one of her cool sisters-in-law and enjoyed a fine glass of wine with those beautiful women.

Debbie then headed off to enjoy dinner with her newly college bound daughter and Kris and I headed over to the recital.

I was going to do a blog about it at the time but, being the idiot that I am, I didn't record a video of Tony and only was able to record this grainy image of him on the stage.

But know, Counters, it was a blast. Three dudes on stage, each performing solo, singing songs demonstrating their own song writing abilities and the background of each song. My favorite was Tony's Facebook song. The lyrics had the entire audience of about 40 smirking and chuckling the whole time. And Kris and I noted, that at about age 50, we were the youngest in attendance at that old folk music recital. But, dang, it was fun.

During their first break, Tony saw me, came over and gave me a big hug. I introduced he and Kris and Tony mentioned another get together at Casa Amadore. We agreed to head on over after grabbing a bite to eat there in Baldwin Park.

Well, Kris and I headed over to check out restaurant row and were disappointed to find out that great little seafood place had gone out of business. Unfortunately, not an uncommon sight down in these parts.

The only places left were Chinese, hamburgers and Loos, an upscale Italian joint. Kris mentioned she had been in there for drinks and the menu was quite expensive. I commented that in places like that, I usually just get a couple appetizers. She stopped walking and mentions to me that sounded like a great idea. And into that upscale restaurant we went, just to see how cheap we could be.

When I opened the door for Kris and me to enter, the sound of delightful jazz music drifted out into the balmy night air, to welcome this jazz hungry duo. We bellied up to the bar and ordered a couple apps and took in the fine sound of that trio.

One of them was even vertically challenged!! Hot Dog!!

We never did make it over to Casa Amadore that evening but I am sure the occasion will arise again.

When that trio finished up at 11:00, we headed back to Kris's place and this olelongrooffan climbed in my oleragtop and had a Johnny Law free trip back to the Birthplace of Speed, because, if You Have Been Counting Along With Me, you will remember, she is just not that into me.

But, that is not the evening, although wonderful, this blogpost is about.

On Friday, I got a call from Kris.

"Hey Kris, whatca doing?"

"I'm BORED," was her response.

"Let's meet for dinner in Sanford at 6 for dinner. I know of a great place that I had eaten lunch with Jessica last year."

"Sounds wonderful to me."

Well, Kris had to, once again, be SuperMom and help one of her boys with an auto related issue and we postponed that dinner until Saturday afternoon.

And boy, am I glad we did.

I was running late and Kris called to check on my status and while we were talking, she mentioned having spotted a cool baby blue Mustang convertible and she commented it was probably a '65 or so. Just then she says there are two more old cars dating from the '30's.

Hot d*mn, I commented. I'll bet there is a car show in that old downtown area.

When I arrived near downtown Sanford, after having seen this relaxing sight,

I was stopped at a red light behind a sweet '57 Chevy Belair convertible. I put the oleragtop in park and walked up to the driver and inquired as to whether there is a show around. Yeah, he said, over in Riverside Park. Excellent!!

When I pulled down 1st street, I spotted a curbside parking space and there was Kris standing right there. Perfect timing.

As she had been there awhile, she had seen most of the sights but had saved the Gallery on First to enjoy with me. I visited it with Jessica last year but Kris had not been there previously.

We both enjoyed that visit and then set out for a cold beverage at the local brewhouse and cooled off for a bit.

Then Kris suggested we head over to that car show and, of course, even with free-flowing booze and an air conditioned environment, I was ready to hit it.

As we were walking down the sidewalk to get to that show, Kris commented on how large this half-masted flag was. I said it was so big I could use it as a car cover for the olestationbus.

Kris cracked up laughing and said she loved my creative mind. To bad that's all.

Anyways, we got to the show and I didn't realize that this was the first car show Kris had ever attended. Hot D*mn, a carshowvirgin.

I knew most every vehicle in attendance such as this 69 Lincoln Continental that Kris fell in love with.

And this represents the perfect storm of goodness. Beautiful woman, beautiful cars and beautiful yachts in the background.

I spotted this '72 Longroof on the rear of this,

to me at least, highly desirable Chevelle Concours longroof.

I got a shot of this "cafe racer" for thejeepjunkie and the Kid.

And this highly modified Ford 8N for thehorsefarmer and TheGentlemanFarmer.

This Imperial was huge and gorgeous, complete with push button transmission and rectangular steering wheel. Kris was amazed.

And some mid '50's GM trucks for the Bus.

There was a huge turnout for this event representing a wide spectrum of old cars I love.

I especially like this 75 Chevy Monza.

And, of course, the obligatory new Corvette.

We had seen the sights and as Kris and I were getting hungry we decided to head out and get a bite to eat but not at the mobile hot dog stand in the rear of this image.

We sat at the bar at that restaurant, had a cocktail, an app and shared a sea bass.

When I later stepped out to see a man about a smoke, I noticed in the antique shop across the breezeway where Jessica and I had eaten last year, there was a dude with a guitar singing and folks were inside that shop having cocktails, dinner and an all around good time. I asked one of the servers if it was a private party. No was his answer and I knew where Kris and I were going to have that after dinner drink.

I returned to that bar stool beside my beautiful friend and relayed this information. A bit later, someone sitting at the bar with us asked thebartenderdude if there was music next door. " Yes," a man standing at the bar getting a beer replied, "it is me." I asked him if he got free beers and he said yes but this was his last one. I told the bartender to put it on our tab. The music dude said thanks and I commented that we weren't going to tip him later.

Of course, that drew a hearty chuckle from all who heard it.

So, we retreated to that antique shop and sat at one of those $695 tables and enjoyed the rest of the evening. Kris even got thisoleman to dance and later got a shot of me on her new iPhone.

A good time was had by all and I can't wait to do it again.

I had another Johnny Law free trip back to the Birthplace of Speed and got to sleep around 1. Definitely worth the trip, that is for sure.

Thanks for a great time, Kris.

Oh, and in that band playing classic bluegrass in the breezeway? Yeah, one of the band members was vertically challenged.

And just noticing that helps me

Celebrate Life.