Monday, December 9, 2013

Lake Mirror Monday - Classic Corvette collection

Classic Corvettes. What else needs to be said? Nothing.

So, let's just check out the cars.

This 1959 Corvette has a beautiful Crown Sapphire and white two-tone paint scheme. 
Only 888 were made in this color. This car has a 283ci engine, with 270hp and a 
4-speed transmission.

This 1961 Vette originally had a 3-speed transmission, but the current owner put 
in a Tremec to make the car nicer to drive around town.

1963 Corvette (Second Generation, aka Stingray)

By 1963, the Corvettes were becoming more powerful. They were available with 327 engines. This particular Stingray Vette is now sporting a 350ci V8, though. The owner also made a few other sporty mods, such as putting in a Magna Flow exhaust and adding some nice custom wheels.

1966 Corvette

And the trend toward power continued, as the 1966 Vette shown here was among the first to sport a 427 engine. The 425 horsepower in this model ushered in the start of the muscle car error.

To see all the published posts in the Lake Mirror Classic series, click here. The first post appeared Oct 21, 2013, and there will be a new post every Monday through March 2014. Check back next week to see the next group of featured cars.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lake Mirror Monday - Future Classics Collection

This week, I'm featuring one of the oddest categories at the Lake Mirror Classic. The Future Classics group was an eclectic collection of wood paneled cars from the '80s, VWs (beetles and vans), and a few other throwbacks, plus one late model Lexus.

The category seemed so broad that my wife, April, joked she might enter her '08 Sienna (aka, the swagger wagon) in next year's Classic.

This is a '75 Volve 164E. This model, which was Volvo's first luxury car, 
was introduced in 1969 and produced through 1975.

This 1984 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country included a 2.6 liter 4-cylinder. 
The luxury trim level in the Town & Country added leather interior, power 
windows and seats, and a cassette player.

 Inside the Town & Country. The leather has held up quite well for almost 30 years.

This 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE had an original cost of $12,500 (about $23,400 in 2013 dollars). 
The model has a 2.8 liter engine and seating for seven.

To see all the published posts in the Lake Mirror Classic series, click here. The first post appeared Oct 21, 2013, and there will be a new post every Monday through March 2014. Check back next week to see the next group of featured cars.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Harley-Davidson of Lakeland

For the fourth part of my series on visiting every Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership in Florida, I visited H-D of Lakeland.

Lakeland is located right between Orlando and Tampa and the Lakeland dealership is located right off I-4 at the SR-33 exit.

 This was just a great looking bike parked out front. 

 The flags of each military branch were hanging near the entrance.

 It's not uncommon to see Don, the owner, around the dealership. 
When I arrived, he was just starting to back out.

 Here's my Fat Bob parked out front.

 The parts department is always helpful.

There's always a good selection of used bikes parked out front.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car

One of the gifts Doc Jr received for his first birthday was a Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn™ Crawl Around™ Car. This $55 toy has been a big hit.

Assembly was much easier than I expected, and Doc Jr loved it right away. I put it together one night, and it only took about 30 minutes, while I was also watching a TV show. It could probably be done in 10 minutes with a little more focus. As soon as Jr saw it in the morning, he went straight to it and started playing.

The only downside has been the older girls also like. We've actually had to ban them from playing with it because they weren't letting Jr get in on the action. Now, it's all his.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How a beard changed the way I dress

I used to keep my beard pretty trimmed. I'd cut it to about a 1/4" length every weekend. Then, late last Oct, I decided to let it grow for a couple months. After that, I decided to just keep going. And here I am, a year later, with the beard approaching 6" in length. Aside from two trims, taking just a bit off and giving it some shape, I've just been letting it grow out.

I didn't have any big plan for this. It just happened, and I've stuck with it. But, one thing that has surprised me is how my beard has changed on aspect of how I dress.

I used to prefer, quite strongly, that any collared shirts have the button-down collars.

Now, with the beard, I strongly prefer collars without buttons. The buttons make the collar stand up, and with the beard, I can feel the beard brushing up against the collar.

So, my choice in shirts has changed.

This picture shows me with a button-down collar (top) and a flat collar (bottom).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Lake Mirror Monday - Trucks Collection

Trucks are as American as Levi's, Blues music, and BBQ. And what was once simply a work vehicle has become a staple of many American families.

It was after WWII, with the housing boom, that trucks became commonplace in American driveways. As the American Dream moved to the suburbs, and people began filling their homes with furniture and their yards with lawn tractors and gas grills, people found it was convenient to have a truck for hauling all these newly purchased goods.

Trucks were also the sport utility vehicles back before people discovered Jeeps and before Ford and Chevy were making Broncos and Blazers, which came out in '66 and '69, respectively.

And don't forget that while Marty McFly got to travel through time in a DeLorean, what he really wanted was an '85 Toyota Hilux 4x4.

So, to get to the point of this post, here's a sample of the trucks shown at this year's Lake Mirror Classic.

 1972 Chevy Cheyenne. It sports a 350 motor with the turbo 350 transmission.

 Well, this is obviously from a '41 Chevy with a 502 snuggled in the bed.

 1935 Chevy fire engine with a straight 6 Stovebolt motor. It was first owned 
by the Millville Fire Department in NJ, but changed hands a 
couple times as it made its way to Florida.

 This is a 1944 GMC DUKW. The 31' long amphibious assault vehicle was an important part 
of America's war effort. The "Ducks" saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

 This is a 1957 Chevy 3100 with a 235ci motor and 3-speed transmission. A '55 Chevy 3100 was featured in the movie Dazed and Confused, which is a great flick for classic car lovers.

It's a little difficult to see in this photo, but this '57 Chevy truck came with a 
factory-installed radio. The cloth seats were a nice luxury at the time.

1966 GMC 1500 with a 6-cylinder 351 engine.

To see all the published posts in the Lake Mirror Classic series, click here. The first post appeared Oct 21, 2013, and there will be a new post every Monday through March 2014. Check back next week to see the next group of featured cars.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lunch at Crispers

Today, I had the pleasure of taking my kids to lunch at Crispers in downtown Lakeland. And I was able to feed myself and three kids for $13.02.

That's a deal. It would cost about that much for us to go to McDonalds.

So, how does one get such a great deal at Crispers? Simply sign up for their Loyalty Card. One of the benefits of joining is that kids' meals are just $1.49 each.

Crispers has really good food, and it's a nice atmosphere. If you haven't been to a Crispers, it's a lot like Panera Bread, but a little more relaxed. It's owned by Publix, which just happens to be the best grocery store chain in the country.

So, if you're not already a Crispers fan and a proud Loyalty Card holder, you should drop by some time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Update on my review of the Arkon Mega Grip Bike Mount for cell phones

Roughly 11 months ago, I posted a review of my Arkon Mega Grip Bike Mount for holding a cell phone on motorcycle handlebars. I purchased my current unit in Oct 2012, and I was quite happy with it.

But, that all changed this morning.

While riding down at I-4, the plastic on my mount broke and the cell phone and part of the mount literally flew into my lap. Amazingly, the way it fell into my lap, it got caught. I was then able to grab it and make it a little more secure (by tucking it partly under a leg) while I pulled onto the shoulder.

On one hand, a $20 mount that lasted a year doesn't seem too horrible. But, the fact that it broke on the Interstate, with my smartphone attached to it, is just too much. Had I not been lucky enough to catch the phone in my lap, I would have lost my phone.

So, I absolutely do not recommend the Arkon Mega Grip Bike Mount for a motorcycle.

Stay away from the Arkon unit.

And here are a few pictures of the mount's base still on my bike when I got to work this morning and of my cell phone still perched in the portion of the mount that ended up in my lap.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lake Mirror Monday - Post-War collection

Now, for the fourth post in my Lake Mirror Classic series. Welcome to the Post-War collection.

This collection is being posted on Veterans Day in honor of all our veterans who made the post-war period possible.

The first cars of the post-war period were not all that much different than the cars of the 1930s and early '40s. America was just coming out of both the Depression and WWII, and nearly two decades of pent-up demand was about to be released. America was about to begin its love affair with the automobile.

One of the early trendsetters was the 1949 Ford. Unlike previous cars, which had fenders that stuck out from the body like balloons, the '49 Ford introduced "slab" sides, blending the fenders in with the rest of the body. 

The 1940s post-war American auto industry also introduced the Jeep--predecessor to the SUVs of today--and it was in the late '40s and early '50s that Americans became enamored with trucks. Those trends that began back then have now become part of American culture.

Of course, as the post-war period progressed, Americans fell in love with the classic Chevys of the mid-to-late '50s and the Corvette, which hit the market in 1953.

The 1953 Corvette was a significant project for Harley Earl, the VP of design at GM. Earl changed American auto-culture in many significant ways, including the use of tailfins and, most significantly, the concept of changing car designs at least slightly every year. Model year specific designs made it possible for people to tell easily which year a car was made, and that increased pressure on the middle and upper classes to have the latest designs. Soon, it became common for millions of Americans to frequently trade cars for newer models, and that trend led straight to the modern concept of leasing.

The post-war period ended as American car companies began developing smaller, simpler designs that could compete with the European imports, such as VWs. The 1960 Ford Falcon is a perfect example of that trend--a trend that would only grow in importance when the Japanese cars became a powerful market force in the coming decades.

 Doc Jr and the 1952 Hudson Hornet.
The Hudson Hornet is famous as a popular and successful race car, thanks to a low center of gravity from its unibody construction and an impressive 170hp 6-cylinder "Twin H-Power" engine. The Hornet was made from 1951-1954, and its sales dropped quickly over those years, even though the car was so successful in NASCAR. Ironically, the high-tech unibody construction made the Hornet difficult to change year to year, so the car didn't fit with the modern look brought about by Harley Earl and other cutting-edge car designers.

 Hudson Hornet interior

Under the hood of the Hudson Hornet showing off its "Twin H-Power" motor.

 A gorgeous Packard cormorant hood ornament. Packard used this design from 1942-1950 as a replacement for the earlier Goddess of Speed ornament I featured in last week's post.

 1955 Chevy 210 2-door wagon

1955 Chevy 2-door

To see all the published posts in the Lake Mirror Classic series, click here. The first post appeared Oct 21, 2013, and there will be a new post every Monday through March 2014. Next week will feature the Trucks collection. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Adamec Harley-Davidson of Jacksonville

Part 3 in my series on visiting every Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership in Florida brought me to the main location of Adamec Harley of Jacksonville.

This dealership, located at 8909 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, right off I-95 in south Jax. And this place is pretty impressive. It's right up there with Seminole Harley, and not too far from Bruce Rossmeyer's H-D in Ormond Beach.

After getting myself a pretty decent burger earlier in the day at the Regency location, I was even more impressed at this location. Not only did I have a choice between burger, sausage, or jerk chicken, they also had small bags of chips and desserts, plus the regular canned sodas and water bottles. Visitors got a good lunch for free. But, I don't know what a typical Saturday might be like since I got lucky and happened to visit during a customer appreciation weekend.