Those Steamy-Rainy-Busy Days of Summer

Breakfast at the Paris Bistro, Main Street at Lakewood Ranch, FL.

That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the lyrics of the great Nat King Cole’s “Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” but it probably better describes the operational environment of the club this summer. In prior years, the SBCC reduced activities during these months because of the heat and the fact that a significant portion of the membership (snowbirds) retreated to their alternative homes up north. In contrast, this season has featured several of Ex-President for Life, Jim Wilson’s trademark “drive-to’s, bolstered by a booming schedule of Cars & Coffee functions almost every weekend. Thus, members still here who have been anxious to get their LBC out of the garage and put the pandemic in the rearview mirror have had lots of opportunities to do so. Due to the summer weather pattern for late afternoon rain, all of these activities are scheduled in the morning. Here are a few of the highlights:

June 12. Ford’s Garage, a restaurant chain featuring a car theme (duh) opened a franchise near the huge University Town Center (UTC) Mall in Sarasota. They sponsored their first Cars & Coffee on Saturday and over 400 cars showed up!

June 15. Our Club often partners with the Suncoast Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) for events since many of our members also belong to the AACA. This Saturday we paired up again for a goodwill visit to the Brookdale Palmer Ranch Nursing Home in Sarasota. About 20 cars of different makes and models were present for the residents to look at and reminisce about. It’s not unusual to see residents wistfully talk about the cars of their past. We do this type of event often and it is always rewarding for us car owners.

June 19. And, in fact, the following Saturday, we joined the AACA for visits to two more assisted living facilities. The first was Brookdale Bradenton Gardens and we entertained the residents with a “moving display” by slowly caravanning around the circular driveway. From there, we motored on to Truewood by Merrill in south Bradenton. Here, the management asked that we park our cars so that the residents could come out and actually inspect them. Afterwards, we proceeded to the Oyster Bar on Anna Maria Island for lunch and cold beverages. Thirteen cars from both clubs participated in this event on a very hot day.

June 26. One of the now regular monthly Cars & Coffees is hosted by the BMW dealership in Sarasota. Our Club brought 7 cars, mostly Triumphs and MGs. 

June 30. We closed out the busy month with a drive for lunch at the Silver Star Restaurant in Myakka City. Formerly located for years in downtown Sarasota, the Silver Star is a member of that declining species – the family diner. Convoy Commander, Jim Wilson, suffered a dislocated throttle cable about mid-way to our destination. But, with plenty of tools, helping hands and much advice, we were back on our way in a short time. Seven cars started, and finished, the trip. 

July 10. The second Cars & Coffee at Ford’s Garage was another resounding success. We had nine cars in attendance.  

August 8. Although the weather offered yet another steamy day, Jim organized a drive into the interior on country roads around Myakka City. Thankfully, the route ended at Pinchers Crab Shack at Lakewood Ranch for lunch. We had eight cars and 13 members present.

August 21. The club was well-represented at the popular Gentlemen’s Drivers Club Breakfast at the Paris Bistro in Lakewood Ranch. Held monthly, the organizers arrange to have Main Street blocked off for collector cars to park with breakfast served on the sidewalk. This event is primarily for owners of exotic cars, but our classic LBC’s generally garner the most attention. 

August 22. Not satisfied with croissants and other French pastry the day before, on Sunday, Jim organized a great breakfast drive east to Terra Fried Chicken in Arcadia. Despite its questionable branding, this is a very popular breakfast destination.

August 29. On the last Sunday of the month, we did one of our “drives to nowhere” starting and finishing, as usual, at Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse. However, on this occasion we extended the event by having an early BBQ lunch in the large outdoor seating area.

Many thanks to Anita Wood and Bruce Skaggs who helped make this report possible.

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