A GoPro valentine to my Florida road trip
THE AGENDA WAS an epic romp through some of Southern Florida’s finest resorts, featuring a rotating assortment of 5 vehicles and 12 travel media / marketing professionals. Between stops to Twistee Treat and fine art museums, we rode in swamp buggies through the Everglades and traced the Ten Thousand Islands with waverunners.
“Streamin’ through the Sunshine State” was not only an ambitious PR outing, it was a chance to get to experience a part of my country that I’d hitherto been ignorant of — and do it in the fine American tradition of the road trip.
Road trips mean window wind flipping hair into mouth’s corners and long, tangential conversations about memories of dreams and pulling over for gas and pancakes. They mean turns at the wheel and strange Spanish radio stations and a whole bunch of gas station crap you wouldn’t otherwise eat.
I had a blast living this video and occasionally whipping out the GoPro to capture some of the journey. I wanted to show some of the highlights of our time on the road, but I also wanted to convey the feeling of streamin’. That grinning into the wind, face to the highway feeling.
The Jeep‘s big, chunky wheels thumped on the asphalt, and the soft top gently wimpled in the balmy wind. It guzzled gas but it rode high and was white and black just like I always wanted, and besides I wasn’t paying.
The Airstream — the namesake of our little trip — was a twinkling chrome Twinkie waiting for us in random strip mall parking lots and resort-front roundabout. The guts had been retrofitted to be a lounge with leather armchairs and coolers full of beer. While we could not lawfully ride in it when it was in motion (valid concerns indeed), the Airstream and her pilot (and our devoted squire) Jason Reede had the awning waiting and the beers on ice whenever we arrived anywhere of consequence.
The Harley was perfect, except for the hammer of heat that struck at stop lights when the open, blue sky baked Gato and me. Gato guided the big bike like a steely extension of himself, and so I relaxed and let myself enjoy the roar in my ears. The hot wind patted at my face like a lion cub. The sensation of flying is worth whatever risks are inherent in going 75mph in a flimsy H&M shirt.
I didn’t drive the Mustang but I sure as hell had a good time in the passenger seat. There were ruler-straight stretches from Miami to Marco Island and a procession of billboard advertising men who will stick their heads in crocs’ mouths and the possibility of a boat ride in a boat propelled by a giant fan. If you know me you know that is my kinda thing, but I didn’t write the agenda so there were no giant fans nor croc men.
The swamp buggy licensed to Captain Steve’s Swamp Buggy Adventures was a garage-spun contraption devised to trundle through the Everglades. It looks and drives like hill-billy found art, but it was the most endearing vehicle I’d ever seen. Steve and Skip drove the elevated rigs on tours and had once seen a panther. Swamp buggies and GoPros like each other, it turns out. If you’ve ever looked out into the swamp and wondered just what the hell was out there, call up ol’ Skip — he’ll sort you out.
Take a vehicle and add roads — then you got a road trip, right? Nope. Gotta have a one more thing. Gotta have a place to go. A destination is needed in order to elevate mere driving to the status of Road Trip. We had 5.
Marco Island Marriott – Marco Island
The Sandpearl – Clearwater
Jupiter Beach Resort – Jupiter Beach
Harbor Beach Marriott – Fort Lauderdale