NCRS Winter Meet
Florida Chapter, NCRS

Hyatt Hotel, Orlando, FL
January 23-26, 2002

This was a very successful fund-raiser by Corvettes Conquer Cancer for the American Cancer Society.

Between the 50/50 pot of $1660 (split between ACS and the lucky winner, Michael Leeds) and the NCRS Florida Chapter adding $1000 to the ACS portion, this made for a total of $1830 for the American Cancer Society. 

Even better, the $100 prize for Best Club Participation at the Sunday Wonderful World of Corvettes show was donated by the winners to Corvettes Conquer Cancer! 

This brought the grand total we sent to the American Cancer Society, FL Division, to $2030.00!

Thank you Ed Augustine and the NCRS Florida Chapter for hosting us again this year!

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This was my 3rd time at this great event. '99 was the first, and Sandy's only visit. That year it was held at Disney World's Wide World of Sports. We didn't make it in 2000, although we were invited - Sandy was too sick at that point. She wanted me to go alone, but I wasn't about to do that!

I went back in 2001, alone obviously. The Hyatt near the Disney gate proved to be an excellent site, and it was a very successful event for Corvettes Conquer Cancer. We were delighted to be invited back in 2002! Who could refuse a trip to Florida from Maine in January!

This year, largely because of the MLK holiday falling on the Monday of that week, I decided that I could actually take a mini-vacation without it costing me any more unpaid leave from work. If I left Saturday, I could get to my parents' house in Philadelphia. Sunday would get me near the GA/FL border. Monday I could be in Key West! Paradise! I could spend a full day there on Tuesday and get back to Orlando for the show to start on Wednesday!

The Key West part almost didn't happen!

Saturday, 1/19, 2002

Leaving home.

These bright blue skies -

became this west of Hartford!

Then this!

Those great wide tires make terrific snowboards! At 3:30 the Super 8 in Danbury, CT was looking irresistible.

So much for making Philadelphia tonight. Key West is definitely in jeopardy!
The good news is, the motel had SpeedVision, so I got to watch the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction,

live from Scottsdale, AZ, while I recalculated alternate routes south.

Sunday, 1/20

Isn't it pretty? Not!

After taking my time shoveling out (yes, I was carrying a snow shovel - figured
if I had it, I wouldn't need it!), to allow the roads to clear a bit, I set out
again for warmer climes. Note time and mileage: 10:22 and 105037.

Figuring that if I skipped Philadelphia completely, and went straight down I-81
from Scranton, PA, I could possibly get back on schedule and still make
Key West on Monday. It all depends on how good or bad the roads are.

The roads are good! This is Roanoke, VA as the sun goes down.
Still fresh snow on the ground.

Richmond Hill, GA (south of Savannah), already checked into Ramada Inn
($30 w/coupon from www.roomsavers.com). Note time and mileage: 12:43 and
106038: that is 1001 miles in a little over 14 hours, an average of over 70 mph!
Key West, here we come!!!

Monday, 1/21

I hit the road again at 5:30 am.
As the sun comes up: Palm Trees!
By 9:30 I turn on the A/C.

FL Turnpike runs out. Back on US Route 1 near tip of mainland.

(I live just off US1 in Maine)

Delorme map & GPS on laptop show us about to leave mainland.

"7 Mile Bridge"

That's Key West. We made it!

The view from my room at the Radisson

Monday evening

My dinner companion at Turtle Kraal's.

Tuesday, 1/22

View from front of hotel.
Room was comped for me courtesy of Dollar Rent-a-Car! Thanks, Richard Fleming!

I live 100 yards from Route 1 in Maine - 2000 miles to the north!

(Now I had to see the OTHER end of Route 1 - on the Canadian border in
Ft. Kent, ME See link: http://www.corvettesconquercancer.com/ft__kent.htm )

Navy base; Base housing. Tough duty!

Misc. sights walking around town.

And of course, the beach!

Hemmingway's house & museum. And his favorite hangout.

For any Parrotheads out there:

"Margaritaville"


The original "Cheeseburger In Paradise" came from here!

Tuesday night dinner

Wednesday, 1/23

Breakfast at the best kept secret in Key West! Oldest eatery in FL Keys.
Since 1909, fine open air dining behind the white fence, under DENSE greenery.

Obligatory departure photo!

Sadly, leaving southernmost spot in continental US.

Wednesday afternoon:
Orlando!

(Actually, Kissimmee)

Arrival at Orlando Hyatt.

Still sporting sand & salt from CT, NY & PA!
As soon as I checked in, I spent 2 hours washing the poor thing!

Thursday, 1/24

In April of 2001 I received an e-mail from Richard Fleming in Florida. He had sent  a story to Vette Magazine. Bob Wallace liked it so much he ultimately made a 4 page article out of it, which appeared in the August, 2001 issue. Since the heart of Richard's story was losing his wife of 30+ years to breast cancer the year before, Bob referred Richard to this web site. Because we were both traveling the same road, so to speak, raising money within the Corvette community for the fight against cancer, we agreed to coordinate our efforts, and to work together if we were at the same event.

We finally met at this event. The team effort there was wonderful, and we were able to send the American Cancer Society in Florida $1860 as a result.

Below is Richard's story, as found in the beautiful booklet he produced.

The Story of the "Lady L"

By Richard Fleming

Richard Fleming and the "Lady L" connect with Corvettes Conquer Cancer

Friday, 1/25

Friday's setup, typical of anywhere we go, with all our Tour literature
and American Cancer Society information.

Judging at the NCRS Show Field.

Saturday, 1/26

Richard hustling 50/50 tickets to benefit the American Cancer Society!
In the chair is Bob Clift, retired Corvette test driver and engineer.

Richard & I pose by my car.

And again by his car, the Lady L.

Richard with his son Tony & family.

Saturday night Awards Banquet. 

50/50 winner of $830, Michael Leeds.

Ed Augustine announces that NCRS FL Chapter would match
the American Cancer Society half of the 50/50 - another $830!
(Actually, they sent a check for $1000 in honor of
Ed's brother, George, who is a brain cancer patient)

Thank you NCRS,
and best wishes to George!

 

Sunday, 1/27

Setup with Richard at local Show & Shine on Hyatt grounds.

Other sights at the show.

Small world story: At breakfast on Sunday I struck up a conversation with the guy at the

next table. Turns out he was in my brother's class in high school in Philadelphia, two years

behind me. Roland Roth had been invited to this weekend for the "Field of Dreams" special

collection of original owner cars with this white '66. I hadn't seen him since 1960!

See you next year!

Monday, 1/28

Somewhere in SC: an unscheduled 90 minute break! Some major accident close enough ahead that we could see the smoke. Lots of emergency vehicles using the shoulder. We eventually had to backtrack in the shoulder to a crossover, then go south to an exit and back roads to the next on-ramp north of the blockage.

Tuesday, 1/29

I had spent the night with old friends in Williamsburg. She actually

introduced me to Sandy, and her husband is another car nut.

Then it was back on the road, with Philadelphia the next stop.

DC, but you knew that!

Wednesday, 1/30

Goodbye to Mom & Dad in Philadelphia.
Yes, I made it going this direction!

Home again!

Final stats:

But most important:

$2030.00
raised for the American Cancer Society!