Mario Parker chronicles eight days (May 14-22) of spirited driving with nary an incident or traffic ticket. Welcome to the First Annual Buona Fortuna 3400.
Day 1: Buona Fortuna means good luck and we started our adventure to Troy, AL at our clubhouse at Joe Brielmann’s Collection. TripTik: I-75 north to Florida State Road 27 to Georgia 84 to Alabama 231.
Day 2: Troy, AL to Little Rock, AR. TripTik: Alabama 10 to Alabama 19 to Alabama 16 to Natchez Trace to Alabama 36 to Alabama 82 to Alabama 65. Arkansas 65 to Little Rock. My Ferrari 348’s alternator failed and our MacGyvers went to work, managing to get the car the last 35 miles to Little Rock. We found a mechanic to rebuild the alternator and rented a sporty Range Rover for the week. Who could believe what that SUV is capable of? Our Road Trip could have been the subject of great ads for Range Rover! We overnight-ed at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock. This is a beautiful and historic hotel that has been fabulously restored.
Day 3: May 16 Little Rock to Springdale, AR.
TripTik: AM Falcon Jet Assembly Plant tour (thanks to the Rosenblums). The Plant, above, is an amazing place with over $280 million worth of jets in just one hangar! Then we followed Hwy 40 to 64 and got on Motor Adventure Destinations (MAD) circuit 17. We stopped at an historic general store for great pie and lots of laughs. On to the switchbacks of the Pig Trail (State Road 23) and then route 103 to arrive in Springdale. We overnight-ed at the Inn at the Mill, a beautiful little place with quite surprising architecture and a wonderful dinner among the trees and waterfalls.
Day 4: Springdale, AR to Branson, MO.
TripTik: From Springdale to Eureka Springs via the MAD loop 15. In Eureka Springs we visited the 1886 Crescent Haunted Hotel and our guys did a gangster photo shoot. Leaving Eureka Springs we headed up 23 to 86 on MAD Loop 13 (Tablerock Lake) stopping for lunch in State College of Missouri at the Keeter Center for a delightful farm-to-table lunch. We ended our day in Big Cedar Lodge, Branson, MO, above, and enjoyed a wonderful meal at The Top of the Rock where we watched the bagpipers and canon firing at sunset. For security, the Group brought along Joe “Joey Mad Dog” Brielmann, left.
Day 5: Branson, MO.
TripTik: The women spent the day exploring the area and visiting the archeological museum, an amazing 35,000 square feet of history of the area. Then our guys sped off on MAD loop 14 (Ferry Ride) travelling west on 160 to Thayer. From Thayer we travelled to 142 and on to 62 and 14 through Mountain Home, MO through the Mark Twain North Forest.
We all gathered for a quiet dinner (ha ha!) at the lodge and bedded down in our cabins at Big Cedar Lodge. We all decided there was much more to be done and seen here. Guess we will have to come back.
Day 6: Branson, MO to Springdale, AR.
TripTik: We headed out on 65 south to 7s. Then we began the MAD loop 18 (Boston Mountains) on Scenic 7 byway and did the twisty Jasper Loop. There was lots of spirited driving here. From that loop we headed out on beautiful drive on 21 to Huntsville, stopping for lunch at Lori’s Main Street Café. The cars created quite a stir in this small town and lunch was really good. Then we drove to Springdale and back to The Inn at the Mill. Everyone was quite tired and we brought in pizza and beer and gathered around the fireplace.
Day 7: Springdale to Little Rock, AR (to drop off the women for their flight home with Ed and Charis Rosenblum) and then on to Clinton, MS.
Trip-Tik: From Springdale we hopped on Hwy 540 to State Road 40. At Russelville we took 7 south to MAD Loop 25 (scenic 7 byway across the tops of the mountains). This is a beautiful and scenic drive full of great hills and turns. We met up at Hot Springs at the end of the loop and took Hwy 9 back to Little Rock. The women boarded the Rosenblums’ Citation Jet, above, and flew home to Sarasota. Ed and Charis had their Z06 Corvette convertible trucked back home. It turned out to be quite an interesting flight home. Ed flew at 41,000 feet to avoid massive storms with potentially serious turbulence. The guys then headed down 30 to Arkadelphia and got on Scenic Hwy 7 to El Dorado to start the MAD Loop 30. From there it was on to 63 and 20 to reach Clinton, MS for the night.
Day 8: Clinton, MS to Chiefland, FL
TripTik: After a much needed good night’s sleep, we headed East on I-10 on a rainy day (bummer). Then the sky cleared up and we decided to go looking for more adventurous roads. That turned out to be a great decision. From there it was south on 267 to 375 to 98 to Perry and then 361 to Chiefland.
Day 9: Chiefland to Sarasota, FL.
TripTik: We headed out on 345 to Cedar Key, above. Then we proceeded east on 24 to 326 to Ocala. Upon reaching Ocala we jumped on 75 and headed back to our clubhouse at Joe Brielmann’s Collection, below, to celebrate our road trip.
The Ferrari Drivers Group is an affiliate of the Sarasota Café Racers, an International carguy lunch club in Sarasota, FL, with satellites in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Middle East,http://www.sarasotacaferacers.com/