I’m sitting in the observation suite on board the Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas.
A 15-deck Freedom-class cruise ship, it is 1,112 feet long (almost four football fields) and displaces 155,889 tons.
I thought a Caribbean cruise would be a total escape from cars for me and my son, Bradley, but there was a modern Morgan on display in the three-story central promenade. We didn’t try to buy it.
Bradley and I enjoy cruises. They are trips where I don’t have to worry about up-or-down shifting, checking the oil pressure or making sure the tires are properly inflated. I don’t have to make room and dinner reservations every night.
I’m reflecting on mankind’s insatiable desire for mobility. It ranges from this island-sized behemoth to the ubiquitous electric scooters that are proliferating like swamp mosquitoes in our cities.
John Blenkinsop built the first commercial steam locomotive during 1812 in the UK. The first steam locomotive to haul passengers, Locomotion No.1, went into service in 1825.
Prior to the steam locomotive, the fastest any human had gone on earth was on horseback. Equine ability determined speed.
There was also no need to measure time accurately, as there is no way to predict how long a trip by horse-drawn buggy might take.
The railroads changed all that. For the first time, travel times were predictable. That’s the reason every train station had a prominent clock – so that passengers could know when trains were coming and going.
From the train, humankind has doubled, doubled and redoubled their approach to speed and modes of mobility.
Today we are not surprised to measure time in the hundredths or thousandths of a second. And travelling at over 2,000 mph is not the stuff of science fiction.
As we cruise through the calm waters of the Caribbean, I reflect on World War II, when thousands of Liberty ships crowded with young men set off across the North Atlantic in winter, braving storms and enemy submarines.
My experience with Bradley is different. We treated ourselves to a sushi-making class the first day and he just got back from riding the world’s longest over-water zipline in Labadee, Haiti.
We watched a credible performance of “Grease” last night, and we are looking forward to a magic show tonight — after a meal in one of the boutique restaurants.
As we cruise, I feel my worries and stresses shed like the peels of an onion. I reflect on my good fortune. While this has been a complicated year, I continue to return to full mobility and an active car-event calendar. I am closer than ever to my children Alex and Bradley.
SCM, in its 32nd year, continues to flourish, even as other magazines that failed to stay connected to their readers drop like flies. Two months ago, we had our best newsstand sales ever.
The SCM and ACC leadership team of Associate Publisher Erin Olson, Executive editor Chester Allen, Managing Editor Jim Pickering and Office Manager Cheryl Cox kept the company running all year without a hiccup.
They are supported by an able and talented office, editorial and artistic staff.
I expect to return from this vacation rested, refreshed and renewed for the year ahead. We have several new initiatives coming soon for ACC and SCM. We believe these innovations will make the magazines even more valuable to you in your collecting.
What all SCM and ACC subscribers have in common is our love of mobility, from a vintage Schwinn Stingray bicycle to a McLaren F1. We can’t help ourselves — we love to be moving and creating new adventures.
My wishes to you are that you have a nurturing and rewarding holiday season with your family. That under your tree you find the mobility device of your dreams, whether it’s a 1,200-foot-long cruise ship (that would require a very large tree indeed) or a vintage Lotus Super 7, with its 1,500-cc engine, weighing 1,100 pounds and twelve feet in length.
To paraphrase my good friend Mark Green on his “Cars Yeah” podcasts, “Get in, buckle up and hang on!”