Another day, another race

April 14, 2010 by Ian Twombly

We set out of St. Augustine on Tuesday with the knowledge that we had to make it in time for the big arrival at Sun ‘n Fun. Otherwise it would have been obvious the airplane won. But before we got there, we couldn’t let the opportunities of Florida go by, so we strapped in Smartie at 6 a.m. and headed south.

The first stop was Daytona Beach. Two days earlier Steve and I had enjoyed the water in Wilmington, N.C., but this time it was Smartie’s turn. We headed east off I-95 straight to the water. After getting her tires wet, we briefly got stuck in the sand, and then gave her a few minutes alone to watch the sunrise over the beach.  Rain speckled the windshield as we stood next to her snapping photos.

Next was a place of inspiration for Smartie, the Daytona International Speedway. Having been on Roebling Road the day before, we wanted to make sure she knew what the major leagues looked like. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to make the journey to our next stop any faster.

Kennedy Space Center was next, and that was mostly for Steve and I. We spent maybe half an hour there, but it was well worth the drive. It brought the trip full circle, from First Flight in an airplane two days before to first on the moon in a car a couple days later. I also thought it ironic that Team Orville visited First Flight in a car, but at Kennedy, where there’s a massive runway for shuttle landings, they wouldn’t have been able to visit in the airplane.

We headed east out of KSC, this time for a final journey to Lakeland. But we couldn’t go to the airport just yet. First we stopped at Lakeland Motorsports Park to do some proper time trials. There’s a low-key little drag strip there, and we were able to get some video for Steve’s Motorweek story, as well as some 0 to 60 times for both of us. And I couldn’t let this trip end without racing my partner, so we both dragged down the eighth mile. I won’t say who won.

Alyssa blogged about the big arrival, which was so much fun we couldn’t stand it. If you’ve never driven down a runway at 80 miles per hour while an airplane chases you, I highly recommend it.

As the participants have come to say, what a long strange trip it’s been. Today it’s greeting members in front of the airplane at the big yellow tent at Sun ‘n Fun. I’ll also try and blog later about my thoughts on the airplane and car, and some performance numbers. Until then, come and see us at the tent.

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