The cover story takes you on the eye-opening journeys of officers who commit their lives to our planet and to our country.

We are revved up to tell you that Issue 79, “Boats, Cars and Planes” is on the stands. At many of your favorite Lakeland spots, including restaurants, coffee shops, stores and gyms you will find an issue that is jam-packed with personality and high-octane photos and includes:

  • A fascinating journey with a young officer who puts her skills and life into serving the environment and our country through the Lakeland-based NOAA Corps
  • Lakeland’s own “Original Vintage Ford” (hint: it’s about a person and cars)
  • A full-throttle feature on our very own Lake of Records, which recently was the subject of an award-winning documentary
  • A valuable Q&A with three local car dealers about the benefits of buying local
  • A peek into the return of the Lake Mirror Classic Car Show and more!

Issue 79 Editor’s Note: Rides to Remember in Vehicles You’ll Forget

I thought we had the coolest cars growing up. My dad worked at American Honda for more than two decades, and as you can imagine, that had its perks.

I remember road tripping with vehicles that had drop down screens whenever my friends were excited to have clunky DVD players they could sit on their lap.

I was fascinated by some of the first in-dash navigation systems, but my dad kept it real by telling me that if he had to purchase a vehicle he would hold off on such high-end technology because it was so new and would be costly to fix if and when it had issues.

And I especially recall, in a pre-Bluetooth era before people spoke to their phones and expected them to confer or comply with them, my dad had this ride that had a distinctive feature I had never before seen or even heard about.

It was the early 2000s, so innovations included the iPod Touch, minidisc players and “underground” music streaming that eventually caught the eye and ire of the federal government.

But our car stood out. One night my dad told me, “Say music up or music down.” For the next several minutes I tried to keep the system on its toes by firing off commands, and it executed them with perfection. Then I told the vehicle to change the station and it did!

It was a new level of artificial intelligence — or so I thought.

A few weeks later, riding in the vehicle in broad daylight, I spoke my musical preference into existence and the system obliged, but I noticed a slight movement of my dad’s hands.

I stated another command and the same twitch of his finger. 

I started snickering and my dad couldn’t help but laugh as he unveiled to me the new technology that most of us take for granted nowadays: multimedia controls on the steering wheel.

It’s not so much about what your boat, car or plane (if you have one, give me a call and maybe we can be friends) looks like or how much it’s worth, it’s about who you share them with and the adventures they make possible. 

The adventures might be familial like the ones Ford Heacock recounts as he talks about his collection of vintage cars.

The journeys might be planned, yet full of surprises like the ones NOAA Corps ensign Sarah Cozart takes with her fellow pilots and expert scientists.

Or your passion for powerful toys that make adrenaline-inducing noise might turn into business endeavors like Larry Dobbs and Gene Engle.

Whether you are revving the engine of your new hotrod or playing DJ, chauffeur and game show host like I do in our Ford Transit, just remember that it’s most enjoyable to make memories that artificial intelligence cannot even compute.

Editor, RJ Walters