2019 ZR1, exotic cars in Naples, and SpaceX Rocket Launch Sightings in Florida!
Dateline 1-9-18, Image, GM Archives, Space.com & SpaceFlight Now – Sometimes you just have a Lucky Day. Sunday, January 7, 2018 turned out to one of my lucky days – times three!
We were driving south on Florida I-75 (along the west, Gulf side of the state) around 1pm on a bright, sunny, warm day to visit my daughter and son-in-law. Somewhere around the Bonita Springs area, I saw heading north a BRIGHT YELLOW 2019 ZR1 Coupe! If you were a Corvette fan or someone that’s into high performance sports cars, the car was screaming, “LOOK AT ME!!!” Of course for those that aren’t into cars, it was “just” a little yellow car. (silly people!)
I said to my 90-year old Mom, “Look! There’s a 2019 ZR1!” To which she replied, “Oh, that’s nice. Where?” (She’s NOT into cars.) A short time later, I saw something low and exotic with squinty headlight eyes in my rear-view mirror. It was a McLarren P2. I said to Mom, “Look at the little car coming up on the right.” She said, “What’s THAT?” I answered, “A McLarren P2.” And she said, “Oh, I like the color!” “Moms” can be so much fun!
When we got to Nikki and Dave’s, I told Dave (a car guy) that we’d seen a 2019 ZR1. Dave was all smiles and said, “Oh Man! 755-horsepower!” I told Dave, “It was bright yellow, so be on the lookout.”
Nikki and Dave are a lovely couple and we had a delightful lunch at the Ridgeway Bar & Grille, in beautiful downtown Naples’ “5th Avenue” area. Naples, Florida is right next to Marco Island and a VERY affluent area. It is totally common to see Rolls Royce cars, Bentleys, Maseratis, Aston Martins, etc. Porsches and Corvettes are almost as wallpaper common. If you like exotic car sight-seeing, Naples is quite a show.
On the way home from Naples, around 8pm we were heading north of Rt 27, just north of the Florida Everglades in some seriously rural, dark country near Venus, Florida. There are even “BEAR CROSSING” signs on the road, it’s that rural!
Just after 8pm, looking northeast, at about 2-o’clock in the sky, I saw a bright orange-red light with an orange plume behind it. If you held your hand out with your thumb and index finger about 1/4-inch apart, that how big the light and plume was. You COULD NOT miss it!
It was the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Top Secret Military Spy Satelite “Zuma.” I did not know what I was looking at until we got home and I called Nikki to let her know we were home. I told her what we saw and she said, “Oh WOW, Daddy, that was the SpaceX rocket launch! COOL!”
I didn’t know that the rocket was going off that night. We were at least 100 miles in a straight line from the Cape Canaveral Launch Center.
According to today’s news, the launch was a total failure, as according to the below report, the rocket performed perfectly, but the satellite did not deploy. The $300,000,000 fell back into the atmosphere and was lost. (ah, don’t worry, it’ll show up somewhere! ← JUST JOKING!)
So, it was an interesting day. I was in the right place at the right time TWO times!
Too bad I didn’t spot Elvis! – Scott
PS – Naples, Florida is in Collier County, which has an interesting Corvette connection.
The county is named after the Collier family, owners of Colliers Advertising in New York City and also a real estate developer. GM and Corvette designer William “Bill” Mitchell got his first job at Colliers Advertising and befriended the Collier Brothers who helped Bill get an interview with Harley Earl, that lead to a job at GM and eventually designing the C3 Sting Ray and the Mako Shark-II which forever set the “Corvette look”!