I’m in a question asking mood, and the biggest question after another amazing trip to South Florida is where have all the Miami Miata’s gone?
I always thought the MX-5 Miata was made for Florida. With it’s perfect weather year round and great roads with plenty of top-down cruising opportunities, Miata would be king. But it isn’t.
The majority of the rental cars I saw on the road were either Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro on the affordable front, and Ferrari 458 or Lamborghini Huracan on the exotic front. The rest were SUV’s and Minivans with seemingly no MX-5’s offered whatsoever.
Why is that?
When I was searching for a Miata of my own to buy, I actually won a bid on eBay for a 2008 True Red Miata with a black rag top, miles pushing 100k and a hidden gem on the vehicle history report – no I’m not talking about the “fleet use” notice, but three “moderate” accidents that the car apparently had in it’s life as a rental car. So historically the Miatas were used as rental cars in South Florida as late as 2008 apparently, what happened since?
I would imagine having a tiny trunk makes the Miata the least practical rental car in the industry. Many of the Mustangs and Camaros I saw, rented by young couples or young group of friends, had luggage stored in the back seat, not to mention whatever was hidden in the sizable trunks. But the Miata doesn’t have much storage room besides a small carry-on trunk, which wouldn’t really work for an airport rental. Of course Ferrari and Lamborghini have small fronks too, but they are not exactly the type of car to be rented at the airport, and instead sit idly outside the Ritz Carlton’s and the like to be rented by the hour for a joy ride along Ocean Drive. I’d imagine that would be a perfect rental opportunity for the Miata too.
Sadly the only Miata I saw was on my bus ride back to Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport along the A1A, parked (ironically) outside a hair salon. It was an early NC model in White with a beige top, and the sun had not been kind to it’s headlights because they were completely fogged over. Boo!
I can’t wait to take my Miata down to South Florida and enjoy some fun in the sun driving! I think it’s a perfect vehicle to go to the beach.
The crazy day trip to San Francisco turned out to be a great success and a much needed distraction in my life right now.
Was it worth the cheap price and all the effort? Absolutely! Let me tell you how it all went, and why I’d highly recommend doing something like this every once in a while in anyone’s own busy lives.
I could not sleep at all the night before the early morning flight. But thankfully the flight was long enough (6 hours) that I managed to take a bunch of naps in the process. The weather in San Francisco was perfect. Sunny, warm and much better than the freezing cold in the Northeast. I met up with a fellow CouchSurfer visiting from Japan, and we embarked on a foodie experience of the city. The first day though we kind of failed at public transport waiting ridiculously long for an F-car along Market Street to take us to Fisherman’s Wharf so we resorted to walking. And the one trip up hill on the way back towards Chinatown kicked my ass. Later we discovered it was possible to walk around the hill by following the main street diagonally away from the Pier 39 area, but the workout was great even though it was tiring. Especially since the views from the steep steps leading uphill were stunning and we saw a beautiful hummingbird along the way, pretty close.
The next morning we decided to take full advantage of the $17 day pass for the Cable Cars, by far my favorite activity in SF. To our surprise though Obama was in town so they were only running the until 2pm which made us hustle a little. In reality though the California Street Cable Car stopped running closer to 11am, and the Hyde Street line stopped running even sooner because the cable went down. So instead we used other public transport to first visit the Cable Car museum, Chinatown, then head over to Ghirrardeli’s, then to Japantown and finally to Mission for some amazing Mexican food. While in Chinatown we tried my favorite Hong Kong Hot Pot, then bubble tea and I also took advantage of the opportunity to buy my nephew a cool traditional Chinese costume just in time for Chinese New Year. For the price I paid it was well worth it, cheaper than a onesie or a t-shirt I’ve bought in other parts of this country (Savannah for example). After Mission and a little walk around there that found us at a farmer’s market with a live performance by a young musician that sounded really good, we headed back to Ghirrardeli’s via the Hyde Street Cable Car that was surprisingly running, for some hot chocolate. Then back to Fisherman’s Wharf for delicious crabmeat and at that point I started worrying about making my flight. So another F-car ride down the Embarcadero we headed back towards the BART system.
The flight back to the East Coast was also uneventful. Sleeping was easier on the red-eye but instead of heading home to NYC I actually went via Fort Lauderdale. Though that visit was far less exciting than California even though I genuinely like South Florida much more. Ft. Lauderdale in the morning was freezing cold. I took public transport to Las Olas Blvd for some breakfast, but few places were open. The Floridian which seemed to be buzzing didn’t really have good customer service, or at least I could not find a table near an outlet to charge my phone and the staff was a bit rude about helping me with my request, so I walked out. A few blocks later I found an awesome cafeteria that made an exception to the rule (while serving breakfast) and made me a Cubano sandwich to go. Another short bus back to the airport and a quick trip through security saw me eating my sandwich at the gate just before take off.
Back in New York I once again hopped on the Subway to Long Island City to pick up my Jeep at the transmission shop. They called to tell me it was ready while in San Francisco and in typical New York style tried to explain it was going to cost more because of a bunch of parts they had to replace. $1650 bux lighter on the pocket I decided to hit Chinatown in New York as it was close to 5pm rush hour and I figured I’d be sitting in traffic heading back to New Jersey anyway. Before going to Pell Street to my favorite soup dumpling place I made a quick visit to a canolli shop on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, another one of my favorites. And at that moment I realized that I take NYC for granted living in NJ. The only time I get to visit is when I fly to places like San Francisco on a day trip. So my Chinese New Year resolution is to visit NYC more often! Waiting out traffic in the city didn’t really work, I was still stuck for over an hour trying to get to the tunnel, changed my mind and went for the bridge, and was stuck in gridlock again. When I got home I discovered my credit card was being used at a bunch of locations in Houston while I was in SF. So my journey ended by me cancelling my credit card. It’s amazing to see how nonchalant the credit card companies are towards fraud in this day and age, I should be considered lucky I guess, as my charges at Popeyes and Wendy’s in downtown Houston were minimal compared to what they could have been.
Anyway, the trip was great! As I said before, a much needed distraction to the problems of everyday life. Cold winter weather, hospital visits, broken cars, and other everyday bullshit. I wish I could travel more in the future… it’s one of my favorite hobbies.
Motorsport Marshal, Miata Driver, Hot Wheels Collector