Continuing the adventures, almost done...
Southern Comfort ends for me when I take the polish off of my nails. Getting a manicure and pedicure is one of the first things I do when I get to Atlanta. I can look down at my hands and see pretty nails and it reminds me that I'm Here, not There...
Taking a shower, doing just a minimal shave (I haven't done any kind of hair killing so I shave. A lot. And after a week...). Putting on drab for the first time in days always feels odd for a few minutes. No bra, just a wife beater under my shirt. No panties, briefs. Jeans that don't fit as closely, boy socks, Chucks...I'm now in my other drag-the one that lets me pass all the time. A part of me sighs...
Packing up took far less time than usual. Partly because a good part of my stuff was going back in a box, and that was just repacking it (and tossing a few things in to make sure my luggage weight was down). I know how backed up the bellmen will be-everyone wants to check out at the same time, and we bring a lot of stuff with us. I take my suitcase and hanging bag down to the car, since that's easy. When I am going back to the room I see a bellman on his way up and ask how long it'll take to get someone to pick up a box from my room; he says he'll be right there.
A half hour later, I give up and carry a forty-five pound box to the elevators and then to the bell stand, sign a form so it will be picked up on Monday (I've already put a prepaid shipping label on the box, and the hotel has a regular pickup) and drop it off. Turn in my room keys, see a few people I know in the lobby and say goodbye.
One of the more interesting things to do on the Sunday after SCC is to play "Spot the T-Girl;" see if you can recognize someone when they aren't looking their best, that is. I usually do pretty well with the game. Today, there's not a lot of people checking out yet so I leave without getting to play.
Since my flight was out of Birmingham later that afternoon, and I had plenty of time, I went to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. It's located on the grounds of Barber Motorsports Park, just outside Birmingham in Leeds. I've always wanted to visit the collection. I like vintage motorcycles, and old racing cars, and the Barber has both in numbers. I'm an admitted gearhead, which surprises people for some reason.
The museum is big, but you can hit the highlights in two hours (which is what I had) with enough left to want to come back to spend a far more leisurely afternoon. There were two motorcycles I really wanted to see. First was the Britten. The first time I saw a picture of one, I couldn't imagine anyone ever building a more perfect motorcycle. It was the vision of one man, New Zealander John Britten, who wanted to create a V-twin racing motorcycle that was more advanced than anything built to that point. And he did it. Seeing it in person, all the incredible details, how it had just enough, no more...You know how you dream of something and fear that in person it'll be so much less? This was better.
The other motorcycle was more classic: the Vincent Black Lightning. Besides being the subject of one of my favorite songs, Vincent built the first superbikes. If you love sport bikes, you have to love Vincent. Seeing one, in all black and chrome and perfect, was worth the trip. Seeing a whole range of them was fantastic.
The Barber has a wide range of bikes-everything from the earliest to some of the newest, from utilitarian to art works. And cars-a tribute to John Surtees, the only man to ever win world championships on two and four wheels. It also has the largest collection of Lotus racing cars anywhere. By the time I left, I'd taken a ton of photos and memories to get me through my post-SCC downfall, I'd hoped.
I know, geeky car stuff in the middle of my SCC post, get over it...
Birmingham Airport has become a favorite-it's small enough to have everything close by. Dropping the car off and then walking across the road to the check-in counter-and no lines. I was there early enough to get something to eat (overpriced of course), and I'd already pre-checked in so it was wait for the plane and go home. We landed on time, baggage was off the plane quickly and I got to my car and back to the house sooner than I'd expected.
Oh, and I had managed to leave my iPod in the car. Nissan Versas have a little compartment over the vents that is perfect for putting your iPod in when it's connected to the stereo. And to be ignored when you're cleaning the car out. I call Hertz, leave a message, and totally expect not to see the thing again. Which is disappointing because it had been a Christmas present from the family. It's not new (4th generation), but it works fine for my needs and it's how I listen to music when I'm not at home. I haven't gotten used to using my Droid for that yet. I do hear from someone Monday, give them my info, and pretty much expect that's that.
Until Wednesday, when I get a call. They have my iPod, and need my credit card number to send it back. I eagerly give it, along with my mailing address. It's there in a couple of days, and I'll forgive them for the crappy packing (a sheet of bubble wrap that it slipped out of but the case protected it). So, Hertz in Birmingham Airport are good people.
Whew. I was going to sum things up in this post, but I think I'll do one more.