Dan’s Birthday Bash & Cobra Gathering
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One of my local Cobra owners, Eric Goldsmith asked if I could schedule other Cobra owners for a cruise weekend into Mount Dora, Florida.  He said any weekend in March, 2014 would work for him.  I picked the weekend of March 14-16, 2014, Eric said fine.  This weekend was actually something special to me as on March 16, I would turn 75, a little more special than the normal birthday.  Eric said it would be nice to visit the car museum located in Mount Dora.  The Car Museum of Speed was owned by Kerry Bogard, and this was his personal collection and was changing all the time.  When I first called Kerry I found out that he tries to attend the yearly car show held at Amelia Island and many other shows and when this happens the museum would be closed.   I immediately got off the phone and went on line to check the date for the 2014 Amelia Island show, a sigh of relief the show was the weekend before my planned trip into Mt. Dora.  Kerry penciled us in for a Friday March 14, 2014 date.  They are open from 10AM-5PM M-F and the cost was $10 per person.  A tour price was $12 + tax cash only and 20 people minimum, I way surpassed that figure on our weekend visit.  Check out their web site: www.classicdreamcars.com 

I did not want to schedule too many things as I wanted the attendees to be able to enjoy this weekend by doing their own thing.  The cruise was actually the trip to Mount Dora as there were multiple area departures from all over Florida.  Our trip from the Cape Coral area should have taken about 3 ½ hours, and would have if our small group had not missed a turn and gotten lost.  I took the same trip back and starting on the Tavares end did not miss any of the route turns and it did take only 3 ½ hours  instead of the 4 hour trip up.  Friday would be our busiest day as we had the trip, lunch, and the car museum before checking in at the Lakeside Inn, located in Mt. Dora.   Eric suggested Angelo’s restaurant in Tavares as Angelo was a friend.  Angelo’s is located at 2270 Vindale Road Tavares, Fl. And I suggested a 1-1:30pm arrival time for everyone no matter where their departure was.    My group left at 9AM and even getting lost we arrived at Angelo’s at 1PM.  http://www.angelositalianrestaurant.net/index.asp 

Our next stop was at the car museum around 3:30PM for our 1-1/2 hour tour of Kerry’s collection.  The last stop was to check in at the Lakeside Inn located at 100 N. Alexander Street Mt. Dora, Fl.  http://lakeside-inn.com/.   After check in everyone was on their own for dinner and this was easy as the Inn has a restaurant and down town Mt. Dora has many restaurants to choose from and all were mostly located in walking distance from the Inn’s front door.  We arrived at Florida’s most Historic Hotel, built in 1883; the Lakeside Inn is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the State of Florida. The last of the Grand Victorian Era Hotels still remaining in Central Florida, as this place was ready for the wrecking ball. I met and talked with the current owner Jim Gunderson who is in the process of total restoration of this landmark hotel.  The five brightly-newly painted yellow and white buildings feature 87 guest rooms and suites which have about 60 rooms done at this time.  

The guest list started to get longer than I thought because I began inviting my children and siblings and of course all my cobra owner friends, and they wanted to help me celebrate my 75th birthday.  My children flew in from Ohio and my brother drove down from Ohio as he recently moved back from his Florida location.  After a busy Friday the only thing I had on Saturday’s agenda was a train ride on the Orange Blossom Cannonball train located at 305 E. Ruby St. in Tavares, Fl.  http://www.orangeblossomcannonball.com/ . 

This started out as a night mare as the state decided to re-store the train tracks as an $18 million dollar track restoration project and like all the projects done in Florida they picked season to do this.  The people who lease the track from the state naturally where against the timing of this project, during snowbird season as it would mean a lot of lost revenue for the Orange Blossom Cannonball train.  I guess this is the same as all the beach re-nourishment sand projects across the state, you know when you are a snowbird sunning on the beach and a huge truck pulls up to you and drops a load of sand next to you. This really was putting a hold on my Saturday adventure, especially since I had promised everyone a train ride.  I contacted the train people trying to find out when the train would be back- up and running.  They finally had a ½ hour ride 15 minutes out and then 15 minutes back to the depot for a $9.50 per person price train ride.  They had a person on the train giving the history and story of this particular train which by the way has been in a lot of different movies, this history lesson alone was actually worth the price of the train ride.  Just to let you know the regular train ride was back up and running on March 29,2014 a little late for my weekend.  

The rest of Saturday was back to just enjoying yourself in this quaint older city.  There was only one other thing planned a birthday bash located back at the Lakeside Inn’s Veranda starting at 7PM all on me for cake and coffee.  My brother’s youngest daughter Maureen came for the train ride and cake as she and her husband Chris was in town visiting Mouse World with their son Luke.  Luke is my Grand Nephew who I had never met before, when it was time to leave Maureen told Luke to give everyone a hug good-bye and he walked down that veranda giving everyone a great big hug.  The pictures of the sunset in front of the Inn and out across the water gave us that last picture of my best Cobra gathering weekend yet.  Additional pictures: http://cruzinslideshows.com/CruzinSlideShows.html 

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