What a great concept and fun time we had as participants in Miami’s AACA South Florida Region’s event number 2. No, not a repeat of the successful “Tour Back Through Time” in March, but a “Cars and Coffee Drive.” Spearheaded by President Ira Shapiro, our 14.5-mile drive started at Sunset Elementary School and ended at the home of Cheryl and Jay Mullininx on Sunday morning, April 18, 2021. It just so happens that Sunset Elementary, Ira and Rick Ash’s alma mater, opened its doors as a one-room schoolhouse with 18 students. After the preliminary handing out of driving instructions with historical tidbits and requisite statement: “Following CDC Guidelines, face-masks must be worn unless you are in your vehicle or eating. Please drive carefully, obey all traffic laws and be safe,” the 30-minute drive began with twenty AACA South Florida Region members in twelve vehicles.
With seven antique vehicles leading the pack, we traveled east to Cocoplum Circle, also known as Cartagena Plaza, circling it twice and exiting onto Old Cutler Road. Its precursor, Cutler Road was a coastal route, literally, a path cut in 1883, widened to a wagon trail named Cutler Road, and declared a public road in 1895. In 1974 it was declared a State Historic Highway. Driving south, the group passed the entrances of Matheson Hammock and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, drove over the Snapper Creek Bridge (built in 1916) which is adjacent to the Snapper Creek Marina, passed the entrance to the Montgomery Botanical Center, and turned left at the T-intersection at Red Road. Shortly after, the road became Old Cutler Road again and we drove past the entrance of the USDA Subtropical Horticultural Research Center. As we continued south, two antique Corvettes joined us. After passing the Deering Estate and Thalatta Estate, the group drove a few miles to the 87th Avenue traffic circle in Cutler Bay, where everyone entered keeping left all the way around until they got to where they entered, and then exited the circle turning north onto Old Cutler Road. Shortly after heading north on Old Cutler Road, everyone turned off onto the street toward Jay and Cheryl Mullininx’s home where we were treated to hot coffee and the very tasty, much desired cinnamon sticky buns from the Knaus Berry Farm Bakery.
We all thanked Ira and Cheryl and Jay Mullininx for their efforts enabling us to enjoy the drive and much appreciated refreshments. On a side-note, the drive also included the added adventure of several packs of bicyclists monopolizing the road, the cluster of at least eight trailered motor boats which were denied access to Matheson Hammock Marina, and a squad of motorcycles. Besides having pleasant weather and no vehicle break-downs we had the opportunity to share the camaraderie of our members in a comfortable, safe setting and catch up on what’s happening with everyone.
By Jean Hawa
Photos by Bob Squier