MMR Princesses

I really should learn how to play poker. Or at the very least buy a few lottery tickets. The universe seems to be on my side when it comes to timing.  Call it karma or God’s will; I will take all of the above.  My good bud, Peter Bourassa, told me a couple of months ago that I must experience the Amelia Island Concours someday. Why not now? Any of these new events are always made more appealing when I am going with friends who are veterans to that event and can show me the ropes. Peter said he always drives down and why don’t I just follow him down to Florida in my car? It sure seemed like a good idea at the time! Once there I was informed by a number of people that we do have something called airplanes now. But how could it be an adventure if there isn’t some pain - in my case lower back pain.  That vaporized once I saw the Florida sunshine - not that we haven’t had more than our share this winter in Boston.  The regular guys were all staying at the Days Inn which they kept stressing was clean - kind of like when you list a house on MLS which is a teardown and you call it charming.  I was meeting my friend Sandy Cotterman down there and she had attended last year, Days Inn and all. She also told me it was clean, but she wanted to bring her sleeping bag, extra sheets and probably just leave her luggage in her trunk, going out occasionally to grab a change of clothes.  I didn’t want to be a snob so I signed up for the Days Inn program.  Enroute in my car following Peter round about South Carolina Sandy called me and said she had a change of heart with hotels. Did I mind if we moved over to the five star Plantation Resort where they hold Goodings Auction? We had to decide in 3 minutes since they had ONE cancellation and a waiting list. Price was what is posted on the door that nobody ever has to pay, but we both didn’t need any more than 10 seconds to decide. We’ll take it!  Worth it to be able to bring my luggage into the room. Plus my camping days ended in third grade when I stitched my camping badge onto my girl scout sash.  The stars sure lined up for us when Sandy phoned the Plantation at that precise moment! What are the odds of that? And with that hotel reservation the MMR princesses were born.

Amelia Island Concours isn’t merely a venue for getting up close and personal with 30 million dollar Ferraris. With all the options for activities happening simultaneously, Sandy and I had a difficult time deciding how best to use our time.  When we registered we signed up for the now sold out panel discussions - one with retired racers ranging from Brian Redman to Vic Elford to Sam Posey and another where they discussed the battle between Cobra and Ferrari.  Waiting for the first one to start Sandy said hey do you want to test drive some cars?  All the best marques were in evidence and had lined up every top model, allowing anyone with a valid driver’s license to drive - they let us!  I had a secret agenda of getting Sandy behind the wheel of the new Porsche 991.  Just as I predicted she preferred it to the AMG and the Lamborghini.

After the seminars (held at the Ritz ballrooms due to the massive interest), we roamed around outside again. Sandy was on a mission to find where all the concours cars were hiding. Where were they keeping them? Golf carts were the common form of transportation (as well as our shuttle from Plantation to Ritz) and one of the volunteer golf cart drivers honed in on our confused wanderings. He pulled over to ask what we were looking for.  Sandy told him we wanted to see behind the scenes and he said hop in I will show you!  He must have recognized we were princesses without a coach. His name was Paul Beck and he is a Porsche man!  He is a member of North Country Porsche Region, summers in NH and winters in Florida - and we have mutual friends. Of all the golf carts zipping by and he was the one who stopped. Serendipitous!  He zoomed us back behind the Ritz through a locked gate and voila there were rows and rows of transports. Then he said do you want to get into the garage too? Of course!  So we drove down under the Ritz to look at millions and millions of dollars worth of cars parked inches from each other to make use of the limited space. We got out of the cart and just dazedly walked around in a sensory overload fog.

The next day, Sunday, was the showcase of the weekend - the concours on the Ritz golf course. Weather was stupendous, 75 and sunny with an occasional light wafting breeze off the ocean.  Again the sensory overload struck again. I was snapping pics and posting to face book as fast as I could because I wanted all my friends to witness this awesome experience. I personally am a track junkie so the driving events take precedence in my book, but I must say this is a whole other aspect of the car world piqued my interest.  Everyone should add it to their bucket list.  Walking around for a few hours did take its toll on our feet so we figured hey let’s call Paul and have him escort us around again. We planned to meet up at the Prince of Sweden’s Ferrari (where else would a princess rendezvous?) and Paul asked if we had met the fastest man alive yet.  I thought we had seen and met everyone! He whisked us to the other side of the field and introduced us to Charlie Nearburg who, according to the embroidery on his shirt, had driven 414 mph. If that isn’t ending the day on a high note I don’t know what else could top that.

True to the regular attendees’ predictions, the place cleared out moments after the last award was given out Sunday afternoon about 3pm. Sandy and I had decided to stay that night and since everyone had checked out of the Ritz we were able to book a room there. Thought we might just have a nice quiet evening there before returning to reality and work the following morning. We took a stroll on the beach and then relaxed in the Jacuzzi, thinking to check out the spa. Rounding the corner to the spa in the hotel hallway we almost ran into a small crowd of people who had a serious air about them. We allowed them to pass us and then Sandy and I looked at each other and burst out laughing at the exact same moment. You see, in the midst of that group was Oprah. We just didn’t expect to see her so we were taken off guard. She was there and then she was whisked off and was gone. I looked around at all the other guests in the hallway and nobody else had noticed a thing; it was one of those strange surreal moments. What were the odds we would walk by at that precise second? I am quite sure Oprah had no clue she had, for a fleeting moment, been in the presence of MMR princesses.

Who knows what will happen next year when we descend upon Amelia Island?  One thing for sure is that our timing couldn’t have been any better from hotel reservation…to our personal golf cart chaffeur…to meeting the fastest man alive…. all the way to an Oprah sighting. Hey does anyone know what mega millions is up to right now?

Warm regards,