Florida Road Trip – Part Four

Motor racing is a sensory experience and it’s always refreshing when an event carries its own scent. The forests of Finland smell divine, with wild blueberries growing on the ground; a wholesome adjunct to the lunacy of rally cars flying over lethal crests. In central Florida, one is never far from the smell of the orange groves.

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Florida Road Trip – Part Three

The first week of our trip has seen us lay quite a few miles under the wheels of the Rogue Sport and it’s time for a slight change of pace. Leaving St Petersburg behind, we head north along the Gulf coast. As delightful as the historic district is, it perhaps doesn’t shout ‘Florida’ with quite the same unmistakeable glee as Miami or the Keys.

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Florida Road Trip 2019 – Part Two

From Fort Lauderdale, we head back south once again, this time skirting Miami and continuing onto the famous Florida Keys. The archipelago arcs south and west over 120 miles, ending at Key West. Our conservative schedule sees us in an AirBnB towards the upper end of the Keys in Key Largo – and not an especially glamorous corner. That said, we are a short walk from a bustling local restaurant which vends great beer and serves a cracking blackened mahi mahi. It also offers a first chance to try key lime pie which is a contrast to the type of gravy-laden pastry creations we are accustomed to in Yorkshire.

It would appear that anywhere in this area selling key lime pie will attempt to pass it off as ‘the world’s best’ so it’s hard to make an empirical judgement without trying every one (which is tempting). It is fair to say, though, that this is among the best desserts I’ve ever tasted and virtually warrants the trip by itself.

It is easy to forget in America that there is often purpose beyond merely eating and drinking. Key West beckons and it’s a relaxed three-hour drive. Much of the drive along US Route 1 is through lightly populated areas, though the many islands are linked by scores of bridges, offering tantalising glimpses of blue seas and coral reefs. The usual proliferation of bars and restaurants lines the highway though they are distinctive and characterful with many decorated with fibreglass sharks or manatees.

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BLOG: Why does motor racing make me cry?

Over a couple of beers in the local pub last night, Mrs Motorcardiaries and I were discussing what pushes our emotional buttons. In spite of our many years together, Mrs S still can’t understand how or why motor racing manages to elicit in me such strong emotions. From the ecstasy of witnessing a truly great drive to the horror of a serious crash, the depth of my feelings for the sport brings out extreme emotions.

The catalyst for this conversation was the appearance of Billy Monger as Lewis Hamilton’s guest at the British GP. Like so many in the racing community, I found the violence of Billy’s Formula 4 accident hugely distressing but the knowledge that this charming young man had lost his legs – and at just 17 – shook me. My adoration for the racing is such that its dark side hits twice as hard. How dare this wonderful sport so cruelly kill and maim its protagonists? It’s the ultimate paradox and one with which I regularly wrestle.

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