A weekend trip to Miami

Miami Beach boardwalk

I went to Miami this past weekend, and it was actually more about the flights than it was about a trip to Florida. Long story short, I had just received my bonus check at work, and it was time to celebrate. So naturally, the wanderlust in me instantly flared up and I decided to take a trip. Price wasn’t really an object, but I did want to keep a little bit of a cap on it. Anyway, I ultimately decided on Miami for two reasons: 1). the beach, and 2). the MD-11’s that AA flies there from DFW. The tickets were $400, but the aviation geek in me felt that it was totally worth it.

SAN-DFW-MIA route map
Map showing the route I took from San Diego to Miami

My flight out of SAN was an 11:30am to DFW, so I had plenty of time that morning to sleep in and relax a little before I left for the airport. It was a nice morning, especially considering how jazzed I was for what I was about to do that day. And it was a LONG day. A trans-con (and back) in two days is never easy, and my body felt it!

Anyway, I made all my connections and was in Miami by 9:45pm on Saturday night. It sure was a great feeling to get off that plane I wasted no time in the airport and went straight to catch the Budget bus outside the terminal. I Couldn’t find the bus stop so I just flagged down the next one I saw. Within 10 minutes I had my car (a loaded 1999 dark red Sebring convertible) and was off in search of a hotel. What a frustrating experience that was. Turns out the city was basically sold out due to some Asian convention, so nothing was available. I did get rather lucky though..the woman at the desk at the airport Marriott was very helpful. Turns out she knew someone who worked at a Hotel just outside the city limits (Don Shula’s hotel/resort) who had a few rooms available for the night. I immediately made a reservation, got detailed directions from her, and I was on my way. It was a bit of a drive (20 minutes), but I eventually found the hotel. Quite nice actually. By this time it was just about midnight, so I watched a few minutes of MTV and then went straight to bed. I was SO happy to have a hotel room! I made a mental note to make reservations for my hotel and car for my upcoming Christmas trip.

The alarm buzzed at 8am, and room service arrived about 10 minutes later. Pancakes, sausage, and OJ…not a bad way to start the day, though it kinda sucked…especially since it cost nearly $15 with the tip. Sheesh. After a quick shower, and I was off to the beach. It was a little frustrating trying to find my way out of the area, but I eventually found my way. The drive was really nice, and I must say that in the little bit that I saw of Miami I was quite impressed. Especially when I started getting closer to the beach. I found a place to park and then strolled the boardwalk until I found some shade.

Miami Beach boardwalk
Miami Beach boardwalk
miami beach october 1999
Another view of the same boardwalk

All together, I probably spent about 3 hours just sitting around watching the people go by. I was a bit surprised at the amount of people walking around – hardly any at all. Yeah, there were some but it wasn’t what I expected. Hopefully that will be different when I go back down there for Christmas.

palm trees on miami beach
Ahh, palm trees!

Anyway, the beach was nice…bright white sand, teal water, and palm trees everywhere. It kind of reminded me of Hawaii just a bit.

MIA is a fantastic place for aviation photography especially since MIA is the American port to Latin America. I spent a few hours wandering the terminals before my flight back to SAN via DFW, and I managed to get a few decent pics. Better than I expected!

American Airlines planes at MIA
american airlines ms-11 wing view
Flying to DFW from MIA on an American Airlines MD-11
MD-11 winglet
MD-11 winglet

Flights home were bland (long and uncomfortable), though I really did like the MD-11. Very nice airplane. I was Home by 10pm, and in bed by 11. I Can’t wait to go back for Christmas to explore the city in depth!

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