The Sunday of Difficult Living

This car blogging is a rough gig. There are just so many things you have to DO and GO to and PUT UP with. And there is NO rest for the weary.

For instance, this past Saturday I drove two-and-a-half hours to Houston to tame some wild cats. I intended to spend the weekend down there, and come back to Austin Sunday afternoon. While waiting my turn to flog the Jaguar F-Type, I received an invitation over the phone to participate in a drive on Sunday. In Austin. Involving Aston Martins. And BBQ.

This invitation completely topsy-turvyed my weekend. What an egregious effrontery.


Needless to say, after some quality time with my sister and nephews in Houston, the Red MINI and I hit the road again and hightailed it back to Austin. Here’s why:

Yesterday, a group of customers and friends of John Eagle European (the Aston/Lotus/Bentley/Rolls dealer in Austin) met up at Cars and Coffee at the Oasis (the “Sunset Capital of Texas”), then took a nice, windy drive around the area, stopping off at Opie’s for some barbecue and culminating with wine and dessert at a $6 million home overlooking Lake Travis. Sonny Morgan, the dealer principal at John Eagle European, invited me to tag along as his co-pilot. He drives an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

It sounded like a drag, but I reluctantly agreed.

There wasn’t anything about that entire day that wasn’t wonderful. Cars and Coffee was so cool – it’s basically an informal meet up/car show that takes place at the Oasis on the second Sunday of every month. Why have I never been before?? Here was the scene:

Cars and Coffee 11-10-13

(That’s an Aston Martin DB9, a McLaren MP4-12C and a Lotus Evora.)

Cars and Coffee 2 11-10-13

THESE were my chariots for the day – an Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the brand-new Rolls Royce Wraith. Yes.

Our little caravan loaded up at Cars and Coffee and headed off to find some twisties. I rode shotgun in the lead car, Sonny’s Vantage, with the McLaren, the Rolls Royce, the DB9, at least two Vantages (one V8, one V12) and a classic Jaguar E-type following behind us. It would have made my day just SEEING a fleet like that, let alone being IN it. I’m pretty sure I was able to carry on a conversation, although I felt mildly incoherent from the sheer awesomeness of it all.

What’s just about the only thing that could make that scenario even better? Yes, barbecue. Opie’s Barbecue in Spicewood, Texas, to be exact. I had never been before, but I will surely be back. They plop down a hunk of meat (I chose brisket) straight on your tray. No plate, no paper towel, just THUNK on your cafeteria tray. There I was, standing in a barbecue joint, holding a tray on which sat a hunk o’ brisket. Divine. I was almost disappointed when they cut it up for me and wrapped it in wax paper. I kind of wanted to eat it straight off the tray, as God intended.

The food was delicious, and I availed myself of it, so much so that I had to take my blackberry cobbler to go. Which presented an awkward situation. How does one carry to-go cobbler in someone else’s Aston Martin? I had visions of blackberry leakage, the black juiciness soaking into the stitched leather seats, the sweet, tart aroma overwhelming the rich leather smell that permeates the cabin. I knew that, if that happened, I would have to go home and never leave my house again. I briefly considered just throwing the damn thing away. But it was BLACKBERRY COBBLER. I decided to risk it. And, to play it safe, I threw the container in my purse. I’m fairly particular about my belongings; an exploded pen in my bag will ruin my day, so a blackberry cobbler disaster would surely have set me atwitch. But it was the lesser of two evils.

All of this turned out to be completely unnecessary, too, because our next stop was a beautiful home overlooking Lake Travis, where we were served wine and DESSERT. Having so very delicately placed my cobbler container in the passenger footwell of the Vantage and tiptoed gingerly into this amazing home (which is for sale for a cool $6 million, if you’re interested), I was handed a glass of wine and a slice of cherry cheesecake. Rendering my cobbler and the attendant drama moot. Oh well.

I took this opportunity to take a few photos of what remained of our fleet (we lost a few after Opie’s) parked oh so regally in the courtyard. What do you think? Not bad, eh?

Money Shot




Vantage McLaren




Wraith 2


Wraith 3


Wraith McLaren

As you might imagine, I have quite a few more photos – these are just my favorites. I’ll post the rest soon, though!

So, yes, Sunday was a slog, but I managed to survive and even thrive a little. No blackberry cobbler was spilled AND I am probably the one person in existence who has ever carried such a thing in a Rolls Royce. For, you see, I got a ride back to my car in the Rolls Royce Wraith. It was pretty bearable. The carpets are so thick, I was restrained from ripping off my shoes and burying my toes within their depths only by the thought that I was already pushing it with the cobbler.  Going barefoot might have gotten me evicted.

Wraith Vantage

Looking at a V8 Vantage from the passenger seat of the Wraith. Notice how the doors open out, suicide-style. Also notice the exquisite wooden inlays. I don’t know how to reduce a whistle to typing, so pretend I’m letting out a whistle right now.

How do you even begin to thank the person who invites you to participate in a day like this? All I know is, I am increasingly humbled and amazed by the generosity and friendliness of the car enthusiast crowd in Austin. These folks really enjoy their cars and sharing them with others. Boy, does that make me a lucky so-and-so.

Many, many thanks to Sonny at John Eagle European, and to the new friends I met yesterday, for not only including me, but making me feel welcome. What a great day.