Our new home is just a short walk or bike ride to the West Orange Trail; heading east takes us into Winter Garden downtown, while west takes us to the next town Oakland (and further eventually out of Orange County, into Lake County and Clermont).
In Oakland close to the Oakland Nature Preserve is Briley Farm, and sometimes it’s possible to spot unusual animals there – here’s some pictures and video from this morning, with Zebra and Wildebeest!
This was our first chance to walk into town for the quarterly Winter Garden Cruz N Car show; always enjoyable especially when the weather is nice!
(previous posts: April 2017, September 2016)
Margaret drove us over to Celebration today to see cars much more expensive than our own new ones – and there were A LOT of them!
There were a lot of Ferraris as well – mostly red!
And even beyond the level of Ferraris, a couple of rare beasts including a Bugatti and Pagani!
There’s 24 hour security at Celebration while this event occurs – no surprise!
We diverted to Bok Tower Gardens on our way home today, touring the gardens, the Pinewood Estate home, and visiting the tower too. The gardens are quite spectacular, on par with some of the great English country home gardens – though rather warmer weather! It’s a shame you can’t get close to or up the tower, but with my high zoom camera I captured much of the detail in it …
Yesterday we drove into St Petersburg and visited this spectacular glass sculpture collection adjacent to the Morean Arts Center – so pleased to see “photography encouraged” at an art gallery, too! Here’s lots of pictures, but really you should go see for yourselves …
This weekend is our second visit to the Don Cesar “pink” hotel in St Pete Beach; the beach sand there is so very soft and powdery, and the hotel is pretty good too. On this visit we also discovered that their Martina Grille dining is very special – especially the “reveal” dessert which we had twice!
Here’s some pictures of the hotel and beach:
When we left this morning we took the “long way” home, over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge which we’d gone under a few years ago; stopped to take photos, of course:
I’ve been considering replacing my last MINI for a while; while Margaret was looking for her new car I was also taking notice of the Corvette Stingray, Audi TT, Porsche Boxster, and Teslas that we tested – the Corvette was so fast but horribly noisy, the Porsche was both uncomfortable and noisy, the Tesla was a surprising let down considering all the technology it’s equipped with … I’d shortlisted returning to Audi to see what other choices they had.
When Margaret picked up her new car, I realized that BMWs technology (especially wireless Apple CarPlay) had improved dramatically from the last BMW I owned, or even from my two year old MINI which is full of BMW tech. So I set a challenge to Margaret’s BMW salesperson, to find a fun to drive car with technology to beat Audi … She suggested I test drive an X3 which I initially turned down (I’d owned one of them before) but she insisted and so I did – and WOW was it a different and fun vehicle!
So, welcome to my new car, a BMW X3 M40i with insane performance (0-60 in 4.6s!), and loads of technology. Oh, and it’s really hard to photograph the Dark Graphite metallic paint …
Technology includes a touch screen media/map/menu display that supports Apple CarPlay, a “virtual” cockpit dial display that changes for different driving modes and situations, and 360 degree surround camera views for easy parking …
All those cameras can also be used remotely with an iPhone App that displays the cars location – pretty clever! This is the view, a virtual car with the exterior camera images wrapped around to simulate a “drone view” anywhere around the car:
A few other highlights – lots of blue on this car from the M badging, repeated on the seat and door stitching, brake calipers – and the interior lighting is configurable so of course I have it set to blue as well.