As published in the November 1999 edition of the "British Marque" newspaper.
PRESIDENT: Jeff Olive, (850) 944-5509 EDITORS: Pete & Norma Peterson, (850) 435-6859
Your illustrious editor and roommate decided to take the back roads going to Lake City, Florida. The plan was to take Highway 90 to Lake City, totally avoiding the interstate system. The return trip was to use Highway 90, then part of US27 North, then US 19/98 eventually ending up on the beach route home.
On October 28, we woke up at 7:30 Am., and ready at 8:00 a.m. First there was the matter of Shellie, our beloved dog, whom was to go to the dog sitter. This took at least 45 minutes, including giving assurance to the pet that we are not abandoning her, advising the sitter the dog’s eating and waking habits (are we really talking about a dog here?) Second, the Spitfire must be prepared for the trip (we waited the last minute to do this). The tail pipe was loose and Pete has to fix it. He claimed it would only be a 5-15 minute fix. No big deal. Third, we need to get packing - no hurry, we don’t have to be there until 6:00 p.m. for the pool party/social on Thursday, October 28. We did not know whether to pack sweatshirts or t-shirts - you couldn’t know what kind of weather or temperature you will encounter in October. It took us at least 30 minutes to get everything in 2 small bags. Shall we bring food and drinks or just drinks? We decided on the latter. Fourth, we need to put all these in the car, lest we forget some special car part or tool. Fifth, the matter of cash came up. We haven’t any pocket money. All we have are credit cards. Go to the ATM and get some cash. Sixth, we haven’t eaten breakfast and it is now 9:00 a.m.!! It is getting really late. We had gassed up the Spit and we were on our way (FINALLY!).
We drove through Scenic Highway (Highway 90) from Pensacola, crossed the Escambia Bay bridge to Milton, Florida. Had breakfast at Cisco’s Mexican restaurant where the Spitfire was being eyeballed by some Milton rednecks. We finally got underway by 10:45 a.m. Before reaching Holt, Norma remembered she needed to mail several letters. Need to look for a post office on the way to Tallahassee. The Baker post office was sort of open. We mailed our letters - praying that it will go out that day.
Highway 90 was boring at the beginning of the trip. Before reaching Crestview, a police cruiser escorting a big wide load trailer motioned for us to move over to the side. As he veered toward the Spitfire, he motioned to even go further off the right side of the road - on the grassy part, almost into the trees! A house was being moved and it took the whole wide expanse of both sides of the eastbound and westbound lanes for the movers. We sat back and enjoyed the scenery. After 10 minutes, we proceeded on the eastbound lane. There was traffic backed up prior to the bridge approach a few miles from Crestview caused by a porto-potty that fell off a pick-up truck; nobody tried to offer any assistance to the poor soul, what with sh… sloshing all over the road. Needless to say, the driver of the pick-up truck was livid with rage. We waited a few more minutes until the driver got the porto-potty back on the truck. As we continued our journey, a logging truck on the westbound lane was proceeding at a high speed, wood chips coming from the bark of the trees he was carrying were slamming on the windshield and entering the inside of the Spit, with several pieces of the tree bark hitting Pete on the face and chest. We thought the windshield broke - it wasn’t! After being passed by the logging truck, we ended up following a poultry truck for a long ways up to Jefferson County, feathers flying and stink permeating the air; it finally turned onto a side road, and we cannot determine whether the poultry smell was worse than the piggery we were now near. We stopped at Hardees to get a breath of fresh air in Madison City where four rednecks did the staring routine. Pete and I stared back.
Friday, October 29. In Lake City, the VTR hospitality room was open for business. There was coffee, sodas, Bass Ale, other types of liquid refreshments, and homemade cookies. We’ve decided to take the driving tours. There were 4 tours. We selected tours 1 and 2. Another couple from Tampa joined us and we combined tours 1, 2 and 3 into one. We must have been the only ones to make Ginnie Springs Resort. The management told us that we were the first 2 British cars to arrive there that day. This was past noon. We walked to Ginnie Springs, watched the divers, and decided it was a little chilly for a dip, and went on to the next tour. We went to High Springs, toured a couple of antique stores, stopped for lunch and returned to base. We did not make it to the TSD rallye but heard it was a lot of fun.
A Bar-B-Que was held at the Sports Hall of Fame. If you get a chance to go to Lake City, don’t miss seeing this one. It was well put together.
The auction was held afterwards- lots of good stuff was auctioned off, including a TR7. The bidding wars intensified on the English beanie babies.
Saturday, October 30. The autocross, funkhana, and self-driving tours were all scheduled in the morning. Your editor and Jeff Ware tried their hand as driver and navigator at the funkhana event. They held onto their 2nd place, despite strong competition from a variety of dedicated drivers!!
The concourse and participants choice judging was scheduled in the afternoon. There was an 1800 Roadster, many Stags, and a host of other Triumphs such as the TR3A, TR3B, TR250, TR6, GT6, SPITFIRE 1500, TR7, TR8, TR4, and XKE Jaguar (?) and 2 Royal Enfield motorcycles (I guess everything is a Triumph at heart). The Jaguar owner did not realize that this was a Triumph Convention. He just wanted to place his car in the show, not be judged. It being British, the Triumph folks didn’t mind. The Royal Enfields drew a crowd.
That night at the awards banquet, the meal consisted of a choice of Fillet Mignon, Snapper, Chicken Cordon Blue. Pictures of participants for all three days were flashed on a screen as a backdrop. During the awards ceremony, special awards were given: A special Interest category was given to the Jaguar. A survivor’s class (without a plaque) was given to Jeff Ware, for his TR6 he has owned for 16 years, driven daily, and completely original in all aspects, and was entered in concourse judging. Jeff stated that he will not have to wash that car anymore! There were 2 Best of Shows: Concourse and Participants Choice. A Good Samaritan award was given to Brent Owen for helping a fellow Triumphile in distress during the rally. Pete and Norma Peterson took 2nd place in the GT6/Spitfire category , Participants Choice; Gus Fell took 1st place in the TR8 category. In the funkhana, there were 17 entrants, Pete Peterson and Jeff Ware took the 2nd place trophy, with only a 5 seconds time difference with the 1st placer. There was the longest driven award, 840 miles one way from Stafford, Virginia.
The drive home Sunday morning, October 31 was slow and easy. There was rain in the forecast. We took the beach road home, stopping at St. George Island, then onto Apalachicola, lunching at the Gibson Inn. At one of the gas stops, we met a couple on a Honda Goldwing who’d just come from Pensacola and were taking the long way home to Orange Park, (Jacksonville, FL). We told them we were taking the long way home to Pensacola from Lake City, FL coming from a Triumph car convention. We talked of similar interests (motorcycle riding, tours, etc.), exchanged cards and phone numbers and then we were off again. We made it home without any untoward incidents before nightfall. It only took us 8 hours and 55 minutes for a 5 hour drive from Lake City. We did not do better on the way over - it took us 7 hours from Pensacola to Lake City. We will try to do a little slower next time.
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