Deep South Cobra Club  Spring Cruise 

April 9-11, 2015 

By Santiago Fonseca

Every year around April, members of the DSCC gather somewhere in FL for our annual “Tour of Florida” This event honors Randy Dender, a past member and president, who was fatally injured in a car accident. The tour was renamed Tour de Dender two years ago and it is one of the two or three major events the club holds on a yearly basis. We hold several local events as well throughout the year and in different locations but the “Tour de Dender” is the premier event, honoring our friend.

We thank Ricky and Lee for organizing this year's event and making all the arrangements, pit stops, and for developing the turn-by-turn instructions. Thanks guys!

This year’s gathering, held 16-19 April, started out in Tallahassee with approx. 25 members attending – couples as well as single drivers. Base of operations was the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites on I-10/I-75 and we started our trips daily from there. Friday consisted of approx. 300 miles of beautiful countryside driving, broken up into a morning and an afternoon jaunt, with a stop for lunch at Mr. Chicks.

What was interesting about this stop is we met up (by sheer coincidence) with a group of drivers of unbelievably well kept and road worthy automobiles of the past. We parked side by side and chatted with the owners until they left - then, we visited Mr. Chick's Museum, and later continued to our dinner stop at Coosh’s Bayou Rouge, followed by adjournment at the hotel’s watering hole…

Saturday took us along the southern coast of the Panhandle toward Apalachicola, where we joined their Antique and Classic Boat Celebration. This turned into an Antique, Classic Boat AND Car Celebration. We provided the cars... There were a few others, but these were being used mostly to tow a beautiful antique boat or trailer. We had lunch while there – several choices were available, and people scattered to whatever they were in the mood for. Departure was unusual as we got a “standing ovation” by the public (first time I’ve ever seen this!). Everyone was on both sides of the road and were clapping as we drove off the park where the show was held. Nice folks! They hooked us up with a dash plaque for our cars.

Things got squirrely from here – we’d been dodging rain and hoping we would not get hit and though we had a few sprinkles, we were fortunate to not get dumped on before we got back to the hotel. We were, however, blasted by one of those “out of the blue” bolts of lightning! We’d planned a fuel stop, but missed the gas station. So, we pulled around at a school parking lot to head back the 200 or so yards to the place, and the flash and the explosion were instantaneous! Thank God, no one got hit, but that bolt was right over us. We were shaken AND stirred! At this point we decided not to press on to the next leg of the drive which would have taken us to the lighthouse, so we beat feet back to the hotel and dinner.

Some people went back to Ted’s Montana Grill for more Buffalo Burgers and stuff, while others ate at places of their choice. Sunday was the farewell breakfast and departure. Thank God, everyone got back to their starting places without any problems – mechanical or otherwise. We did have a mechanical failure, but it was repaired on the spot and the member was able to continue touring.

One last thing – the day after we left – Tallahassee was hit by severe weather and a tornado touched down on a road we had cruised two days prior. See picture.

Great trip, good friends, awesome machines, great food. That’s what it’s all about!

Click on the Gallery to see all Santago's photos.

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