CVMC rallies are what it's all about. We've had some exciting rides, viewed beautiful conutrysides, visited historical sites, wineries and always find good places to eat.
Periodically, members have documented these trips and examples are listed below. If any members have records which are not listed here, please contact the CVMC webmaster with your information.
- Fling into Spring – March 20, 2010
- British/European Car Show – May 2, 2010
- Goochland and Hanover Countryside – June 12, 2010
- CVMC Picnic – July 24, 2010
- From Here to Vesuvius – August 21, 2010
- Charles City, Hanover and New Kent Countryside – September 25, 2010
- Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival – October 16, 2010
- From Here to Vesuvius – November 13, 2010
- Holiday party – December 4, 2010
- Glen Allen Day, September 20, 2008
- From Here to Vesuvius, November 17, 2007
- Skyline Caverns, September 22, 2007
- Pine, Pork, and Peanut Festival, July 21, 2007
- Run to the RivahFest, June 16, 2007
- Stratford Hall, Boyhood Home of General Robert E. Lee, May 12, 2007
- Lake Anna Winery Cruise, April 21, 2007
- “Real Roads Don’t Have Lines” Cruise, March 24, 2007
- Tappahannock Run, June 17, 2006
- Christ Church and Merry Point Ferry, May 20, 2006
- Spring Ride and Dominion Car Show, April 29, 2006
- Ride in the Hills, March 25, 2006
- Miatas in Independence Day Parade - Beaverdam, Virginia, 2005
- Memorial Day Weekend Ride with the Maniacs, May 28, 2005
- Rain Delay Ride, May 7, 2005
- Uncovered Bridge Tour, March 19, 2005
- The Fourth Annual Polar Bear Ride, January 1, 2005
- Drive to VIR, August 7, 2004
- Charlottesville to Amherst Ride, July 24, 2004
- "Gimmick Rally", June 26, 2004
- Hot road trip to Flying Circus Airshow, May 23, 2004
- CVMC Monthly Ride-Lake Anna Loop, March 27, 2004
- PBC and the Dark Castle, February 21, 2004
- Flagging at the Turkey Bowl, November 8 / 9, 2003
- Deals Gap, North Carolina, July 24 / 27th, 2003
- Miata Club's Trip Back into Time.... In Search Of Fall Foliage, October 19, 2002
- Saturday's Trip to Elkton, April 20, 2002
- Virginia International Raceway, March 30, 2002.
- The "Fredericksburg Regional Miata Club" MADS Alternative Drive on Saturday, March 30, 2002.
- Miatas In The Blueridge, October 19 / 20, 2001, Chris Kearns
- Time Travel... June 6, 1944 -- D-DAY, June 16, 2001
- Sherwood Forest Plantation, May 19, 2001
- Daytona 2000 - Miatas In Paradise, October 24/27, 2000
- Our September Winery Trip, September 23, 2000
- Strip Poker In The Country, August 19, 2000
- OpSail 2000, June 17, 2000
- Show Up and Drive, November 13, 1999
- The Miata Picture Rally, October 23,1999
- Clueless Rally, September 25, 1999
- Lee's Retreat, August 21, 1999
- Natural Bridge And Beyond, June 19, 1999
- North and South Meet West, Miata '99, May 6-9, 1999
- In Search Of The Govenor's Cup, October 24, 1998
- Miata Mountain Madness, June 30-July 3, 1998
- Scavenger Hunt, April 15, 1998
- Our "Almost Annual "Monterey Maple Festival Trip, March 14, 1998
- Ronald McDonald Day, November 22, 1997
- The Picture Rally, July 19, 1997
- Frederick MD, April 19-20, 1997
- FUN in the SUN, Fun Rally, March 22, 1997
- MIATA Games '96, October 3-6, 1996
- Just Add Lime....., April 6, 1996
- 2nd Annual Miata's On The Mountain, October 14-15, 1995
- Hot, Hotter And Hottest!, July 15, 1995
- Impromptu's Can Be Fun, February 1995
- Fine Miata Roads And Fine Wine - You Can't Beat It!, October 15, 1994
- A Loaf Of Bread, A Little Nutmeg, And Some Margaritas, September 17, 1994
- Kilmarnock Bound, June 25, 1994
- Miata's At Indy II, June 9-12, 1994
- Lime Drop Rally / Mexican Fiesta, April 30, 1994
- What Do Doughnuts And Hairpin Turns Have In Common?, March 12, 1994
- Apple Festival At Graves Mountain Lodge, October 9, 1993
- First CVMC Overnight Train A Success!!!, August 28-29, 1993
- Battlefield Tour Rally and Picnic, May 22, 1993
- The Miata Train To Jamestown and Williamsburg To Meet The Tarheel Chapter, April 24, 1993
- The Miata Train Heads To Charlottesville, March 21, 1993
- The Miata Train To The 8th Annual Richmond British Car Day, September 1992
- CVMC 1st Dinner Cruise to Williamsburg, April 12, 1992
- Ride The Miata Train To Fredericksburg
Glen Allen Day, September 20, 2008
A crisp fall morning with chilly temperatures and partly cloudy skies greeted sixteen club members who participated in the September monthly event led by Lynnette and Jim Godwin. Despite cool weather all tops were down as we left the Market Café at Innsbrook in Glen Allen and headed west. Susan and David Angel driving a familiar first generation Miata they purchased from Jackie and Jim Colonna; and Norman and Karen in their “new” 1991 British Racing Green MX5 meant that we had three NAs on the trip along with two NBs and 3 NCs. The third NA was one from Fred and Margaret’s extensive NA collection. We drove ninety miles or so through the countryside over about three hours covering parts of Henrico, Hanover, Louisa, and Goochland counties. Ten challenging trivia questions with promises of lavish prizes kept our minds thinking as we passed horses, bicyclists, an ambulance, cows, and a number of skunks (although we never saw them, we only smelled them). A friendly hound dog greeted us in Hanover county but Corey quickly dismissed a suggestion over the radio that he and Cindy “need” a dog. A freshly graveled road near our destination left us all covered with a little dust but no one’s spirits were dampened.
At Noon we arrived at Crump Park for Glen Allen Day and were greeted by several thousand attendees resulting in us late arrivals having to use the remote parking lot and working up an appetite with a fairly long hike to the event. Glen Allen Day featured live music, games and activities, food vendors, a small classic car show, displays, a museum, and craft vendors including our own Marilyn Beckwith who was on hand with her stunning jewelry collection and husband Michael. Most participants hung around for a couple of hours to eat and check out the sights at this annual festival.
From Here to Vesuvius, November 17, 2007
Thanks to everyone for making the November events so successful; both the meeting at the Olive Garden on November 13 (27 people present) and the rally on Saturday, November 17, which had 24 people and 14 cars. Wow! What a day.
We left Flat Rock just after our stated 8:30 a.m. departure time, with 13 cars that strung out for about a half-mile. We met an oncoming Miata on highway 13 with lights flashing, and our very own Christi Connell whipped around to join us in flight. Good thing Chip had his cell phone with him! The weather and particularly the trees were beautiful all the way. It was a cold start, but the brave Chip Lamb arrived with top down and spirits up. He reports that he was the only driver to go from driveway to driveway with the top down. We can personally verify an after dark sighting of him as he headed east on highway 64.
The most exciting part of our route took us on highway 56 and there were curves that provided a quick view of your own tail-lights. At Vesuvius, we re-ran a section of 56 back to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We turned off the Parkway at Reeds Gap Road and went to highway 151 and our lunch destination at the Stony Creek Bar and Grill on the Wintergreen golf course. Our new club radios really worked well and they enabled us to keep the lead, the tail and the middle cars informed at all times.
Thanks to Steve and Karen Kline for suggesting a “Poker Run” and to George Ferrell for passing on so many nice gifts from Mazda. The poker game unfolded as each person received a card during our hourly rest stops and a final card at the restaurant. During lunch, we compared cards and the best hand got first pick of the toys. Prizes included Mazda branded items such as a very nice picnic set, a portable coffee set, pockets which mount in the Miata trunk lid, shirts, hats, pens, key-chains, etc. Everyone was a winner! We even gave gifts to our waitresses and the ladies at the adjoining table.
Thanks again for making the rally a success! — Zoom, zoom, zoom!
Bud and Susan Deihl
Skyline Caverns, September 22, 2007
Seven Miatas participated in our September event. The meeting place turned out to be full not only of Miatas; but also dozens of college football fans linking up to head for Charlottesville for a Saturday battle on the gridiron. The MX-5s headed out from Goochland County with white NAs leading and running sweep with one NB and five NCs in the middle. First time ride leaders Tim and Buddy led us on a beautiful and well-conceived route northwest of Central Virginia with a destination of Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill, Virginia. Despite a very fine mist as we got started, the weather stayed dry and even got sunny as the morning progressed. Traveling through horse country made for spectacular scenery and enjoyable driving. We arrived in picturesque Flint Hill around Noon and settled into the historic tavern for an authentic British lunch. Around two o’clock we headed west for Front Royal, Virginia and Skyline Caverns. The caverns were fascinating (and a very cool 54 degrees) and a willing tour guide did his best to make the experience educational and entertaining. Tim and Buddy did a commendable job organizing the day and all participants thoroughly enjoy the club’s September event as a result of their efforts.
Pine, Pork, and Peanut Festival, July 21, 2007
Eight Miatas participated in our July event. Unseasonably cool temperatures and sunny skies greeted us as we gathered in Mechanicsville with a destination of Surry, Virginia; home of the Pine, Pork, and Peanut Festival. Just before leaving we received a call that Iris and Bruce had a flat tire and would not make the trip.
Lynnette and Jim led us on a tour of the backgrounds of eastern Hanover County before we turned south and then west to Jamestown. In quick succession we were challenged first with a huge piece of farm machinery taking up three quarters of the road immediately followed by a pair of deer crossing in front of the lead car. Once we got our hearts restarted we settled in to try to answer a challenging list of trivia questions concocted by our ride leader. There were vague promises of fabulous prizes for the trivia contest winners. It was a beautiful day for a ride on some of Virginia’s best scenic byways. After a quick pit stop in Jamestown, we drove on to the James River ferry for a river crossing to Scotland. We pulled in to Chippokes State Park only to see directly in front of us in line, Bruce and Iris with a complete set of new tires! We arrived at the festival in the park to discover that a few thousand other Virginians had made the trip also! After awarding the not-so-fabulous-after-all prizes to the trivia contest winners, we split up in to smaller groups to fan out and enjoy the event. There were scores of arts and crafts booths, dozens of food vendors, an antique and classic car and tractor display and parade, farm animals, mule wagon rides, and the world’s largest peanut on display which was about 3 or 4 stories tall. The setting was the Chippokes Plantation State Park; a plantation that has been operating continuously since 1611. All participants seemed to enjoy the club’s July event.
Run to the RivahFest-June 16, 2007
With beautiful weather on a late spring day, a small group left Ashland after a hearty breakfast at The Cracker Barrel, destination Tappahannock. First-time event leaders Mike and Marilyn Beckwith led us on a well-conceived route through the country arriving in a very crowded town of Tappahannock, Virginia in time for lunch on the riverfront. We stopped for a moment near the strawberry farm in Hanover County to admire an old MG roadster for sale along the road (an early 1950s T-series model). Radio chatter encouraged MG enthusiast Jim Godwin to go ahead and make a deposit for pick up later in the day, but navigator/wife/boss Lynnette quickly quashed the notion and we were on our way again. Despite a goose and hound dog in the road, having to follow a hay truck for a few miles, and a brief encounter with a monster truck on a trailer in front of Kings Dominion, we managed to stay on schedule. At the RivahFest, we took a school bus shuttle from the satellite parking lot over to the heart of Tappahannock. There were hundreds of vendors and organizations represented plus a collection of classic and antique cars on display that included another classic MG roadster (early 1960s MGA) and four 1964 Chevrolets, among others. Club members shopped and purchased a few treasures to take home, enjoyed lunch and refreshing cold lime aide, listened to a variety of live music, and marveled at the crowds. CVMC welcomes Cory and Cindy Brown and their stunning silver NC who joined us on a monthly ride for the first time. The club thanks Mike and Marilyn for planning and hosting the June event.
Stratford Hall, Boyhood Home of General Robert E. Lee
May 12, 2007
Nine Miatas left Glen Allen, Virginia on a spring day under a threat of rain led by Lucinda and Dick McRoberts. One NA, three NBs, and six NCs headed west out Pouncey Tract Road. The rain held off until late afternoon allowing a beautifully planned, scenic, and interesting ride through the countryside northwest and northeast of the Richmond metropolitan area; all of it with the tops down. Dick’s directions were excellent with only two missed turns along the way, one unfortunately by Dick! Many beautiful horses and one ostrich greeted us as we buzzed by the farms. Dick even arranged for us to briefly join the King and Queen County parade complete with beauty queens, classic cars, and fire engines. At the first pit stop a local red Miata owner and his son stopped to trade stories and compliments with us. By lunchtime we arrived at Stratford Hall, a beautiful and enormous plantation on the shores of the Potomac River. This is the ancestral home of General Robert E. Lee, originally encompassing nearly 1500 acres. Construction was started in the late 1730s and the house was occupied in 1742. Five generations of Lees occupied the great house including the only two brothers who signed the Declaration of Independence. Lunch in the dining room held for us a wonderful buffet with traditional Virginia fare. After lunch, we toured the mansion and grounds, shopped in the gift shop, walked on the shore of the river by the old mill, and enjoyed the peaceful and historic setting. The club thanks Lucinda and Dick for organizing and leading the May event.
Lake Anna Winery Cruise, April 21, 2007
Eight Miatas left Glen Allen, Virginia on a beautiful spring day led by Chip Lamb and Karen Pearson. Before departing Chip distributed a quiz and explained a rolling scavenger hunt for the navigators to participate in while riding. There was a “vague” promise of extravagant prizes to be won for those getting the most answers correct. Then the two NAs, four NBs, two NCs, and a guest RX-7 with a V-8 conversion headed west out US-33. Chip led us on a well-conceived route through the woods and farms of central Virginia. Bicycles dominated the roads as we were slowed several times by groups of athletes out enjoying the warm weather, and then we shared the road with a bike race heading in the opposite direction. The Lake Anna Winery proved to be an idyllic setting as we rested outside in the sunshine. Chip scored the scavenger hunt and prizes supplied by MazdaUSA were available for all participants; most displaying the Mazda or “zoom-zoom” logos. After tasting some Virginia wines and purchasing a few bottles, we headed out for a restaurant on the lakeside. Lunch was peaceful and tasty as we sat beside the lake and watched the boats, enjoying one another’s company. After lunch, most joined Chip for a spirited ride home while others headed out for individual adventures. The club thanks Chip and Karen for organizing and leading the April event.
“Real Roads Don’t Have Lines” Cruise, March 24, 2007
Seven Miatas headed southwest on a cool March morning with a destination of Bedford, Virginia to tour the National D-Day Memorial. Only one NA and two NBs were present as the new third generation MX-5s have joined the club in droves! First time event leader Joel Handwerk, aka “the Five-Speed Squirrel”, and his saucy navigator Christy Walker led us on a well-designed and interesting tour of the countryside. Curvy roads and more cows than this reporter has ever seen (or smelled) greeted us as we toured some of the most beautiful parts of the Commonwealth. A few raindrops greeted us in the mid-morning, but not enough to slow us down or cause us to abandon our pledge to go topless. Our Treasurer, Christy, demonstrated some exceptional driving skills and won the SPCA award for narrowly missing a black and white cat darting across the road and a teenager in an out-of-control Honda Civic; our only wildlife encounters of the day. Joel also demonstrated some craftiness when he drove through a large patch of dirt effectively enveloping Mike’s formerly white Miata in a dust cloud. Negotiations began immediately on the radio as to who was going to pay for a now much needed car wash. By the time we reached Bedford the rain was gone. An entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide led us on a walk through history as we toured the National D-Day Memorial. This is the second time the club has toured the park; last attending nearly six years ago. Many new features have been added since that time. Following the tour we headed to the Liberty Station Diner and enjoyed a tasty lunch and good company as the newcomers and longer-term members got to know one another better. After lunch, most headed back to Central Virginia while some headed out for other adventures. We left home at 7:15 AM and it was nearly 11:00 PM and 450 miles later when we arrived home in Glen Allen; top down for every mile of course; although Lynnette did enjoy her new electric blanket that plugs in the cigar lighter after the sun went down.
Tappahannock Run, June 17, 2006
Seven Miatas left Short Pump led by Dick and Lucinda Roberts on a warm summer day-destination Tappahannock. A new face, Christi, arrived in her red '93 asking if she could ride along and was warmly welcomed. Chip found us just before we pulled out after a quick search of downtown Short Pump. Dick and Lucinda repeated a popular and curve-filled course we ran a couple or years ago through the Hanover County countryside, then up past Fort AP Hill, before turning East to head towards the bay. Animal incidents included a near miss with a turtle and a bumblebee attack on Lynnette Godwin (Score: Lynnette 1, Bumblebee 0). Tom drove his red '93 Special Edition with the red leather seats (with 4 Miatas to choose from, Tom has more decision making to do than most of us). Lunch at Lowry's (circa 1938) was full of good food and friendly banter enjoyed by all. Some members headed back to Central Virginia after lunch, but others stayed and enjoyed the Tappahannock-Essex County "RivahFest". The riverfront festival was large with big crowds and included antique and classic cars and a few hot rods. The Tappahannock "Idol" contest was in full swing; arts and crafts were for sale everywhere; food vendors filled the air with enticing aromas, and horse drawn carriages passed by from time to time. All of those on the ride wish to thank Dick and Lucinda for hosting this fun-filled event.
Christ Church and Merry Point Ferry, May 20, 2006
Ten Miatas and nineteen people took advantage of a perfect Spring day to head Northeast from Mechanicsville led by Jim and Jackie Colonna for an encore to a popular ride they led several years back. All three generations of Miatas were represented as we headed out US 360. Following several miles of country roads we came to a dead end on the river where a couple of fishermen were found trying to catch their lunch. Across in the distance came the Merry Point Ferry, a somewhat rusty and simple looking cable ferry big enough for one school bus, two regular cars, or three Miatas. It took four leisurely trips back and forth across the river to get all of us across, perhaps an hour in all. The ferry "captain" seemed to enjoy the diversion from his normal duties and was friendly and accommodating. While waiting on either side we all got to know each other a little better and snapped lots of photos.
After a successful crossing we headed out through the back roads and ended up at Christ Church, a beautiful brick Anglican church built in 1738. Following a short movie in a rather stuffy and hot little theatre, we toured the small museum. Then, a tour guide in period costume took us through the history-filled church telling fascinating stories of its construction, graves, and rich past. The tour guide was heard to ask several times if we could "leave one of the red ones" for him in the parking lot when we departed. Before leaving the Miatas lined up in front of the building for a group photo.
We sped away on a short trip to the nearby Tides Inn for a five-star meal overlooking the water. After lunch we walked along the docks looking at the boats and enjoying the completely perfect weather. After lunch we split up and headed out for individual adventures or back to Central Virginia. Jim and Jackie were wonderful hosts and all of us on the ride thank them for arranging this unique experience for us.
Spring Ride and Dominion Car Show, April 29, 2006
A total of seventeen Miatas participated on the April 29th event. Eleven cars left Glen Allen on a cool but sunny Saturday morning led by Jim and Lynnette Godwin. All but one car had their tops down. It was brisk, but wonderful! After a one hour romp through the countryside to the northwest of Richmond, a pit stop at a marina along Lake Anna resulted in picking up six additional Miatas from Fredericksburg and Charlottesville. That made for an impressive line of the little roadsters as we headed west along the lake and then stopped in Orange for another break. Following a loop out to Stanardsville through farm country and within site of the mountains, we headed back towards Louisa County. Despite having "lost" a couple of cars along the way, we attracted quite a bit of attention pulling in to the Dominion Car Show in Mineral at the high school. Members had a quick lunch at the concession stand and then meandered around the show looking at everything from a Ford GT and a brand new Corvette, to cars, trucks, and motorcycles from every decade back through the 1920s.
Ride in the Hills, March 25, 2006
Saturday morning nine cars, 5 CVMC members and 4 Fredericksburg members, departed from the Cheesecake Factory at Short Pump. Led by Jeff and Lauren our leisurely ride thru most of the counties north of Richmond led us to the Café on Main Street in Bowling Green for lunch. After lunch the ladies, led by Pat migrated across the street for a little shopping. Lucinda returned first, empty handed, stating Dick told her not to buy anything and she listened can you believe that. We reassembled in the parking lot and our Fredericksburg companions and Dick and Lucinda departed for home. We continued on our final leg to St. Stephens Church where we thanked Jeff and Lauren for their efforts and said goodbye to Bud, Susan, Bill and Kris. As we departed I glanced in the rear view mirror and found the group was still admiring 2K6MX5.
Saturday was also a milestone in the life of TOP1ESS, pulling into our driveway she tripped 100000 on the odometer.
The first Central Virginia Miata Club drive of the 2006 season has come and gone, but the clouds broke a bit and some sun, good roads and friendly conversation was had by all.
Starting in Short Pump, our group of nine cars wound our way through Beaverdam, Ladysmith and Milford before rolling into Bowling Green for lunch at the Main Street Café. We pretty much had the run of the place and the employees were very accommodating with our requests. The conversation completely died out at times, so the food must have been pretty good. I know my bacon cheeseburger sure hit the spot. After lunch we toured one of Virginia's Scenic Byways, route 721 through Sparta. All in all the days drive was a relaxing drive in the country.
Joining CVMC were members of the Fredericksburg club, Jay Stringer, Al Spindle Greg and Lisa Stocksdale, and Dave and Debbie Kimmel. CVMC members included Bud and Susan Deihl, Lou and Pat Guthrie, Lauren and myself, Dick and Lucinda McRoberts and William and Kristine Osborne.
To those who made the drive, thank you! And for those of you who did not, we'll see you at the next drive.
10 Miatas in Independence Day Parade—Beaverdam, Virginia, 2005
Five Miatas from CVMC and five more from the club in Fredericksburg participated in the July 4th parade in Beaverdam. CVMC member participants included new members Julia Mills and her son Geoff Mills, along with Stef Spindle, Jim and Lynnette Godwin, and David Jones who led the parade. Samantha Schaeffer drove her new Mini in the Mini Club contingent, 4 cars strong. While it was a little hot and traveling in 1st gear at 5 mph or less wasn't something you'd like to do often; it was fun and the suprisingly large crowds in Hanover County enjoyed the Miata spectacle. One parade watcher was overheard guessing that the little roadsters "must be Pontiacs"!!! The cars, drivers, and passengers were adorned with countless American Flags, along with the CVMC logo, Deals Gap magnets, and the Fredericksburg Miata Club banner. Following the equestrian units did create some roadway obstacles, but fortunately due to the Miatas' superior road handling characteristics, there were no unpleasant mishaps. Many thanks to the Beaverdam Ruritans for inviting the Miatas to participate in their parade.
Note: Just learned that the combined Miata Clubs of Fredericksburg and Central Virginia collectively won the Judges' Award at the parade! None of us stayed for the awards ceremony so we have no idea what that means or what the prize is!!!
Memorial Day Weekend Ride with the Maniacs, May 28, 2005
Lynnette and Jim Godwin responded to a Miata Forum invitation from the Rappahannock Miata Maniacs up in Fredericksburg and joined in on their club ride on Saturday, May 28th. Stef Spindle, who holds "dual citizenship" in both clubs, held down the last place in line. Our leader was PiperDave in his red '04 Mazdaspeed with the bold black stripes. What a great time! Thirteen cars participated. They came from Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, Richmond, Glen Allen, and the rest from the Fredericksburg area. We drove west through the countryside and over the mountains into West Virginia crossing back and forth through the mountains on step curvy roads, including some white knuckle sections. We had a big buffet lunch just west of Harrisonburg. This was an all day ride under beautiful skies and warm weather. We already knew several of the other people from prior CVMC events and also made many new friends. Many thanks to our friends to the North. Miata people are great people aren't they?!?!?
Rain Delay Ride, May 7, 2005
A rain delay forced the April monthly ride to May 7, 2005. By then the skies were clear, the temperatures warm and the tops were down as a small group left Montpelier and headed for points west and north through the countryside. David and Samantha planned and led a wonderful route of winding roads and beautiful scenery. Animal sightings included a couple of llamas in addition to the usual buzzards. David's modifications and enhancements to his green NB attracted much attention during the pit stop. Participants joined Samantha in mourning for her now wrecked and sold red NA. Although, her grief seemed to be fading in light of the new yellow Mini Cooper in her driveway. Perhaps Lauren will invite her to join the secret Mini club in Charlottesville! Many thanks to Davis and Samantha for being willing to move the event to the next weekend and for planning an enjoyable route.
Uncovered Bridge Tour, March 19, 2005
Five cars and nine club members left Glen Allen on a sunny Saturday headed west. We zigzagged back and forth across the James River testing each and every bridge for a total of six river crossings. Sticking to the back roads we passed by farms and woods, small towns and country crossroads, not to mention a fair number of horses and buzzards! Some of the hardier souls had their tops down the entire way, and as it got warmer most of the rest of us joined in. Breaks in Goochland Courthouse and Buckingham County were brief and traffic was light so we actually were ahead of schedule by half an hour or so. We dined and shopped with the tourists at Michie Tavern in Charlottesville enjoying the country fare including fried chicken, barbeque, and cobbler. Lauren met us there for lunch. She told Jeff that she didn't feel well, but we all suspected that she was secretly on a ride with CVMC (Central Virginia Mini Club). After lunch, some stayed to look around the Charlottesville, others took scenic routes back to the Richmond area, and the Charlottesville residents headed home to finalize the wedding preparations! All seemed to enjoy the route and the fellowship.
The Fourth Annual Polar Bear Ride, January 1, 2005
The poles flipped again for the CVMC's fourth annual polar bear ride. We may have to rename the run to the Koala Bear Ride. I lost count on the number of cars and may in fact have inadvertently lost some cars, but one count was 15. Many members and new members came from as far away as Charlottesville. It certainly was a stellar turn out for a drive around Lake Chesdin. There were no wrong turns or dirt roads but I was able to find some dusty roads non-the less. Several animals were spotted along with hunters brandishing firearms! Yes, we were in the country. After a good hour of twisty fun, we ended the ride at the Dove's country home for the traditional black-eyed peas and stewed tomatoes along with ham sandwiches and miscellaneous leftover Christmas goodies. Several of the men braved the trek to the back woods to view the Spitfire restore and tour the "barn". Jim Godwin especially enjoyed the "yard art". Yes, Jim we do live in the country. The club coffers were enhanced as several new and existing members paid dues for the New Year. Finally, directions for how to get back to civilization, were given and the participants returned home or to do some shopping. Thanks to all for making the New Year another warm, friendly, CVMC Miata year.
Drive to VIR, August 7, 2004
Dan and Diane provided a beautiful; almost fall like day for their drive to VIR. Eight cars showed up with tops down. The participants all bad jackets on for a brisk drive from Chesterfield to the raceway. Diane even arranged free entrance to the park. If you have visited The Virginia International Raceway, then you are missing a great opportunity to see some great racing at a park like setting. This is truly one of the best race sites in the country. We all picked a site under the trees and enjoyed a picnic lunch while watching the cars wiz by through two turns. In-between the races, we took the opportunity to check out the gift shop. I was unable to get Iris interested in a pair of earrings in the shape of miniature brake rotors (I thought they would make a good 25th anniversary present). We then had a chance to tour the pit area and look at the racecars and talk to some of the drivers. One of the more interesting cars was a spec Miata painted "John Deere" green. During the lunch break, the track was opened for visitors to take a drive. Several member cars were spotted going around the track, at not quite break neck speeds. The day whizzed by while we watched several races. We split up at the track, some had to head home, some stayed for the final race. The Judkins, Jim Colonna and his friend and Iris and I naturally headed to Ernie's for dinner. Good food. Good weather. Good friends, and a cool drive home, another Miata Day.
Charlottesville to Amherst Ride, July 24, 2004
Six Miatas left the rains in Richmond to enjoy the sun and cool temperatures of the mountains. Jeff and Lauren prepared a ride that included wine tasting and several mini dragons' tails to drive on. Eight of us met at the Short Pump Wal-Mart to caravan to Jeff and Lauren's new home in Charlottesville. Yours truly led the pack, and in keeping with the slogan on my new shirt, we made a wrong turn in the parking lot but eventually found our way to 64 for an uneventful drive to Charlottesville. We made good time so we took a pit stop for gas at the station a block form Jeff and Lauren's new home where we met Jeff also filling up. As we lined up at the condo, Pat and Lou arrived making a total of 12 intrepid Miataphiles to enjoy the day. Lauren and Jeff showed us their lovely new home with views of Monticello. Lauren took the ladies upstairs to see her craft room while the men went down stairs to see the garage. The perfect home.
We proceeded to line up and off we headed down backcountry roads for a pleasant drive to the Wintergreen Winery for some wine tasting. Then it was off to the Blue Ridge Parkway via a mini dragon's tail drive up route 56. With no traffic to slow our progress, and Jeff's expert leadership, we had an exhilarating ride to the Parkway, waking up those of us that tasted too much wine. We quickly pulled into an overlook, as it was so cool that we had to pull jackets and blankets out for the passengers. Then, it was off down the Parkway to RT 60 and the town of Amherst. Although very quaint, there were no restaurants in Amherst, so we proceeded south on RT 29 till we got near Lynchburg and stopped at the Country Cooking for a hearty lunch.
After lunch we split up, Dick and Lucinda headed to Peaks of Otter for the night, the Deihls headed to Lynchburg and home via 460, Jeff and Lauren headed home up RT 29, while George and Chris and the Guthries were fool enough to follow me. One would think the tee shirt would give one pause to think, but perhap s they were looking for some adventure. Several miles of head scratching and numerous flips of the coin at the intersections, we found our way to a great road that followed the James River east to RT 60. Proof again that there are "no wrong turns, only new adventures". We followed RT 60 home to Chesterfield without incident. A long but fulfilling Miata day.
"Gimmick Rally", June 26, 2004
The June ride was a gimmick rally put together by Phil Innis and Bruce Dove. Six cars participated in what turned out to be a fun rally in which the questions were too easy and the directions were too hard. Unfortunately when I typed up my half of the directions, I left out the change from 644 straight into 616. In our later test drive Iris apparently pointed out this error, but we all know that any time a TV or a steering wheel is in front of us, we are not paying attention.
Anyway the ride was fun ("there are no wrong turns only new adventures") and the restaurant at the end was well received.
The winners, by the way, were Bud and Susan Delhi, who not only answered all the questions correctly but also guessed which way to go at the 644 intersection and finished with the correct mileage. In spite of the confusion, a divorce attorney was not required and we only lost one car.
Dick, I owe you a beer.
Hot road trip to Flying Circus Airshow, May 23, 2004
Kendall Tarkington hosted a great trip to the Flying Circus Air Show in Bealeton off RT 17. Six cars braved the hot weather for an incredible drive from Short Pump to Bealeton on two lane twistys the entire way. The route was so enjoyable that Iris and Bruce followed much of it back home. As many of us know this area is short of pit stops, but we were able to pull off at a small store for cold drinks and the use of a one holer.
We arrived at the airpark early enough to get some good parking spots under the trees in the picnic area where we spread out lawn chairs, opened our picnic baskets and enjoyed watching the planes take up enthusiastic riders before the show. The Deihls took a turn around the field for a "flight of the lifetime."
The Ferrari club was stationed next to us, so we had ample opportunity to peruse the red beasties and talk to the drivers. Many of them came over to look at our cars and expressed envy of owning a sports car you can actually enjoy driving without the fear of expensive breakdowns. The circus itself was corny but well worth the $5 admission price. All in all it was a very laid-back, sultry kind of day to relax and enjoy some entertainment and car comradery.
CVMC Monthly Ride-Lake Anna Loop, March 27, 2004
The March Ride got off to a good star with dry, warm weather, 9 cars including a guest M-Edition, and an excited first-time ride leader. About 3 miles out we were delayed by not one, but two trains. Two cars got through in-between before the second train came. Once reunited, we resumed the route. Things went well for the first hour, but then the rains came. After a somewhat hectic stop to get boots off, tops up, finding a lost car, and finding our way back on to the course, we continued on to Lake Anna. Despite the rain, we had a covered shelter to look out on Lake Anna, including a Great Blue Heron, some Jet Skiers, and a few fishermen. It was beautiful.
As we headed back east we enjoyed the country roads and scenery. The tour of Beaverdam, Virginia took about 26 seconds. A close encounter with a tractor pulling a very wide plowing apparatus gave us a chance to demonstrate our emergency wet road braking skills! After a few final tight curves we arrived in historic Ashland. Lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s yielded good food, old and new friends, and we heard the good news of Lauren and Jeff's engagement; Congratulations and best wishes from CVMC. We can’t wait for the wedding shower. The happy couple will be registered at Jackson Racing, MMMiata, Moss Motors, and Flyin’ Miata. Contact Jeff for his VIN number before ordering!
March Ride: Around Lake Anna
Jim and Lynnette Godwin planned the perfect spring ride for CVMC, a spirited ride around Lake Anna. It started out a beautiful Saturday morning at the Market Cafe in Innsbrook. Nine cars showed up all with tops down ready to enjoy a day of Miata fun. After some coffee and pastries we were ready to start the drive. The Godwins provided exceptional directions, maps and leadership keeping the group together through Glen Allen and two train stops. The ride gained speed and excitement as we headed through the fields of Hanover County ending at our first pit stop in Montpellier. Jim warned us that the ride traversed through a rural part of Virginia that had few pits and we would “stop at both of them”. From Montpellier we continued west. The weather decided to change and in light showers no one wanted to be the first to suggest pulling off the raise our tops. Finally when full wiper speed was required we stopped in the middle of Rt 33 to quickly cover up. We had to reorganize at a small store that was one block past our scheduled turn and we lost the Guthrie’s. Thanks to missing our turn in the confusion we found the Guthrie’s and circled back to continue the drive. Our second pit was on Lake Anna where we wondered who had less sense, sports car drivers with tops down in the rain or boaters fishing in the rain? At the second pit we lost the Guthrie’s, hope you feel better Lou, though I still think you really wanted to fish. The Passuts also took a detour to check on their future home site (still no road?). From the last stop the roads really got twisty. We had a good long stretch of exhilarating Miata driving all the way to Ashland were we stopped for lunch at Ruby Tuesdays. Charlie and Genie rejoined us at the restaurant and we enjoyed a meal and conversation. In the parking lot, preparing to go our separate ways, we all expressed to the Godwin’s how well they had set up their first ride. We look forward to many more!
PBC and the Dark Castle, February 21, 2004
Five cars showed up on an unusually warm February Saturday morning for a trip to Performance Buyers Club in Chantilly Virginia. A quick run up RT I95 and RT 17 where we finally got on to some back road twisters. With only one U-turn when the pavement ended on the planed route (those USGS maps just don’t show the detail very well), more back roads and then RT 15 and RT 50; we were getting close. There were some disparaging remarks as to the knowledge of the ride leader, but as luck would have it he found PBS after all.
The Performance Buyers Club showroom was not quite the size expected, but they were very gracious giving us free excess to the shop to view the cars. The ladies quickly disappeared to a stained glass studio around the corner (I knew that was there) leaving the men to look over a Spec Miata and a 92 getting its fourth engine after an ill-advised powder coating of the intake manifold. We had an opportunity to price exhaust systems, pick up some new brake pads and some very nice fitting seat covers. The seat covers were so tight Dan had to buy them or leave his drivers seat at the shop. The ladies returned and we drove a few blocks looking for a place to eat, settling on Ruby Tuesdays. Thankfully Dan and Diane knew their way around, as the ride leader clearly did not have a clue. We decided to stop off at an interesting antique shop on the way back. The shop was in a stone castle just off RT 15. The owner/builder met us at the entrance and it was immediately obvious that this was not your normal quaint and inviting antique shop. After being doggedly followed by the proprietor frequently commenting that he was not running a museum and if you wanted to see the castle come to a scheduled tour, we decided to make a hasty retreat. There was not much of interest to bother with.
We continued on south making a quick pit stop at Opal and then safely home. I hope all those that came had a good time. The March ride is in the newsletter and looks to be quite nice. I hope all of the members can detail their cars, drop their tops and come out. Bring a friend. See you at the next event.
Polar Bear Ride, January 1, 2004
Caught on film. If you missed the 3rd annual Polar Bear ride, you may have seen us on channels 6 and 12. Both news crews came out and filmed as we took off on a beautiful, not very polar, January 1st afternoon. Five cars showed up to start the New Year off with a top down drive around Lake Chesden and a bowl of black-eyed peas and stewed tomatoes. The sun was out, the air was warm and the roads were clear and curvy. Most of the cars were cleaned and shined; some had new ornamentation that Santa Clause had brought. Back at the starting lot, after a refreshing 1 1/2 hour ride we discussed the hope that all our 2004 Miata rides will enjoy the same good weather. Thanks to the Godwins for not:fying the news and promoting the club. Perhaps next year we will have some real polar bear weather to drive though. See you at the next ride.
Flagging at the Turkey Bowl, November 8-9, 2003
Through my membership in the Richmond Triumph Register I received a flyer soliciting flaggers for the "Turkey Bowl" sports car and races at the Summit Point Raceway. I circulated the flyer at the October CVMC meeting. As a result, I contacted Howard Weiss, the Safety Director, and signed on for the weekend. Kendall signed on for Saturday only. This was the first experience as a corner worker for each of us.
The Turkey Bowl is a varied annual event (this was the 7th one) presented by the Vintage Sports Car Club and the Mid-Atlantic Legends Club. There were two classes of vintage cars including the usual makes such as MG, Jaguar, Porsche, Morgan, Austin Healey, Alfa, Lotus, Elva, Daimler, Aston Martin, Saab, Abarth, Mini, etc. and some other less common ones such as a Dupont Indy Racer, a Maserati, a Crosley, and a Miller-Ford. Oddly, I did not see one Triumph. There were also two classes of modern cars including Miata, Lotus, VW, Honda, Sunbeam Tiger, Porsche, Corvette, Camaro, Firebird, and Mustang.
The Legend cars are fiberglass bodied downsized replicas of 1930's era American cars powered by 1200 cc motorcycle engines. This group is serious about their racing and very competitive.
There were 12 lap feature races and 25 to 45 minute enduro races for each class. There was also a 944 Porsche Cup and a zany Australian pursuit race (they eventually asked the corner workers to vote to pick the winners as Timing and Scoring gave up). It was a very busy schedule.
Our group of corner workers gathered each morning at 7:15 AM and we left the course both days after 5:00 PM (basically dawn to dusk at this time of the year). We had two very busy days. I learned that a corner worker is not a glorified spectator. You are responsible for the safety of the drivers on your section of the track and the condition of the track in your area. You are equipped with a headset radio and are in direct contact with the race controller. You're also equipped with a set of flags, a push broom, a fire extinguisher, and heavy gloves. During a race you must constantly watch your area and react to any occurrence with the proper flag while informing race control of the situation and aiding the driver. You also get to clear debris from the track including sprayed oil, dirt and grass, etc. It is a great responsibility and at times it can be real work. I also learned that it can get very cool (maybe even cold) in West Virginia in November.
The job also has some great benefits. You have the best seat in the house, your own Armco and tire barrier, and your own private porta-jon. You are in contact with race control and constantly up to date with what is happening. We were fed very well. How often are you served from a track side grill by the race director and owner of the pace car (a BMW Z8)? The major perk was the worker ride in a racecar after lunch on Saturday. My ride was about 15 minutes in a Healey 100. Kendall wrangled his laps in a 289 Cobra. We were also given a delicious barbecue dinner funded by the drivers on Saturday night and given a token gift.
In summary it was a great experience and I came away with a new appreciation of what is involved in running a race event. I also have a new respect for the race officials and corner workers at the track.
Deals Gap, North Carolina, July 24/27, 2003
Members in attendance: Stephanie and Al Spindle, Dave and Deb Kimmel, Diane and Dan Judkins, Kendall Tarkington, Bruce and Iris Dove, Lauren and Jeff Harrison.
People found along the way: Spec Racer Bill, RX8 Dan
Club phrase to remember: Eat to drive, drive to eat
Key phrases to remembcr: Fontana Village aka Fontana Village, Tapoco Lodge aka Tapioca Lodge, Microtel aka Microwave, Tellico Plains Beach aka Taco Beach, Cherohala highway aka Cherry-Cola highway or Chulupa highway (Depends on what you had for lunch) and Robbinsville aka Baskin-Robbinsville
Thursday July 24
Stephanie and Al, met with Dave and Deb in Fredericksburg early the morning of July 24th and after breakfast headed to Ashland's Ukrops where Diane and Dan where having breakfast, then headed for Hardees and picked up Kendall, also having breakfast. Already this is stop #3. Road trip officially starts with 4 cars heading West on RT 360 towards South Boston. Fed the cars Exxon while picking up more coffee and donuts. A spec racer, Bill notices us at Exxon, u-turns, grabs sonic coffee and donuts and asks where we're heading. He also is going to the Gap so joins in. Stephanie and Kendall know Bill from Auto-Cross.
Next stop NC for the ABC store for Happy hour supplies, and then lunch. (Note: NC makes flnding an ABC store very difficult. The sign for the store was only about 30 feet tall). Continued driving on Rt. 40 West until Asheville, where our guide Diane, third car back, took us around and around and around Asheville, with no food in site. Dave spoke up, he had a local map and took over as guide and headed us back on to Rt. 40. While making these corrections both Spec racer Bill and Kendall got separated. Kendall re-navigated after 2 wrong turns due to his cell phone ringing...( thanks Dan ) but Bill was long gone.
Finally arrived at Fontana Village and checked in. Met with Bruce and Iris. Found out that Spec racer Bill had beat us there, according to Bruce he arrived before we lost him in Asheville? Time warp? With everyone there we headed out for dinner. We passed the Crossroads of time and Tapioca Lodge heading for the restaurant "The Dungeon" which seems to have closed late last year but was now re-opened as a Mexican restaurant. Food was good. Now time for Happy hour!! We all met in the lobby of Fontana Village and re-modeled the furniture to suit our needs by moving the couch and chairs outside onto the balcony overlooking the pool where we met a lawyer?? and then met RX8 Dan. Rx8 Dan, who, yes, just bought his new car had been on the internet with Stephanie and joined in with us for part of the weekend. We looked and looked and drooled over his new car, pictures available for inspection. But the true test will come tomorrow when he runs the Dragon. Happy hour ends at 12 Midnight. What a long day.
Friday July 25
7AM Dan runs the Gap early.
8AM Some of us dare to eat the breakfast buffet. Some of us just wait.
9AM All gather in the lobby and plan the day. We start by heading to the Crossroads of time to run the Gap or proceed to Tapioca Lodge. Most of us run the Gap. On top of the run is a pull over where we met some New Yorkers with brand new Mini's. Rx8 Dan took a ride in the turbo mini while we listened to his girlfriendtell us her life history of how her 1st husband turned gay !! After the story we understood why. RX8 Dan returned and said he wished he looked at the Mini's prior to his RX8 purchase. At this point we headed back down the Gap and to the Tapioca Lodge for lunch. Beware of the waitresses who are very hostile, ask Kendall. Don't ask for soup of the day! After lunch we visited with the Knobmeister who gave Dan a free beer for only $50 worth of merchandise. The beer was defective, the bottle had a hole in it and and it all spilled down Dan's throat. The Knobmeister, upon hearing this quickly replaced the beer, in hopes of another purchase. Next stop down the Cherry-Cola highway to Taco Beach for ice cream, only 100 miles or so round trip. The highway has beautiful scenery, bears and motorcycles. Not to mention the occasional RV. After ice cream, found the first waterfall and then back to Tapioca Lodge and then to dinner in Baskin Robbinsville, We found a new restaurant, Sweet Magnolia, along with several other Miata's. The 10 niinute wait was only 35 minutes long. Well worth the wait, the food was great. Now back to Fontana Lodge for Happy Hour, and yes once again we moved the furniture.
Saturday July 26
7AM Dan and Kendall run the Gap.
8AM Some of dare to eat the breakfast buffet again.
9AM Gather in lobby for the days events. Plan of action: to find more waterfalls. With our fearless President in the lead we headed ??? somewhere! After seeing signs for Jackson Hole (Wyoming?) and Atlanta With only 1 small U-turn and many map stops: Bruce: just checking the map, (very confused look on face), we found the Dry Falls. These falls were extremely wet! The path led down behind them, very cool. Next stop Bridal Falls where we proceeded to drive behind the waterfall. Note: Dry Falls was far wetter than Bridal Falls, go figure!! Still heading somewhere, we decided to look for lunch. After a short while we found Highlands and Don Leon's restaurant. Very nice, very small, and to our amazement the waitress knew the soup of the day !! we even ordered before the biker gang arrived. Now for our return trip to Fontana Lodge and/or Tapioca Lodge. The evening ends with everyone meeting at Papa's Pizza. Some of us declined the cuisine and it was probably a good decision. Although the pizza looked good. happy hour tonight hosted by Jeff and Lauren in their cabin which according to Bruce was just a short walk from the lodge. Well.... After finding Dave we strolled down the hill, up the hill and further up the hill and up the hill even more, we came to Jeff and Lauren's place. We did ask them to send a car but no luck considering all the cars were only 2 seaters. Imagine that!! happy hour ends with plans for a 9AM check out.
Sunday July 27
12:30 AM Looking for the naked midnight run, Kendall runs the Gap. With no one else in sight, Kendall runs the gap being the first car to run on Sunday. He admits to being fully clothed.
8AM Stephanie and Al, Dave and Deb are able to sleep in and stay an extra day.
9AM Check out time for Kendall, Diane and Dan, Jeff and Lauren, and Bruce and Iris. Bruce heads West and the rest of us head home. First stop gas station 10 miles away for the cars and then another 20 miles for people food. Still trying to live up to our motto of "drive to eat, eat to drive". After several pit stops (we avoided Asheville) we had lunch in Winston-Salem and proceeded North East to Danville. At this time we said our goodbyes to Jeff and Lauren and made yet another recycle stop, no food. Next stop, Richmond, where Kendall, Diane and Dan had dinner at Silverado's. This was just a ploy to delay going home. Kisses and hugs in the parking lot and we each headed home.
Final (Drive time --- ???
Final miles driven --- over 1,000
Gallons of Gas --- Unknown and scared to tally.
Meals eaten --- Also scared to tally ( but most likely over 60)
Friendship and Fun --- Priceless
Miata Club’s Trip Back into Time... October 19, 2002
Lou and Pat were our hosts for the Saturday drive. Although a bit chilly, there was a great turnout -- starting with 9 cars and then later meeting up with Jeff to make it an even 10!
All hats are off to Bruce and Iris for being the only hardy souls to start out with the top down. Of course, we lost track of the number of layers Iris piled on in the process, but that seems to be her standard operating procedure anyway when riding with Bruce! The rest of the group waited until the sun had been out a little longer and the temperature rose above freezing before venturing into a top-down mode.
We were glad to see that Lucinda McRoberts’ arm is on the mend and her cast is gone. Hooray! Life is good!
Lou’s trip took us through some really nice back roads to Rockfish Gap Country Store where we met up with Jeff and Lauren. Now Lou, always the consummate planner, knew that this would be the perfect spot for our prerequisite pit stop. Not a problem, right? Well, we have to say that the accommodations were unlike any we have seen on ANY of our other trips. (That Lou is always looking for ways to stand out!) You see, the pit stop was literally that -- a PIT stop! The facilities were only a tad bit rickety and you could see through only about 90% of the wooden walls (must have been a new form of AC). From what I understand, at least the Ladies had a seat over the pit; the Gents had a pit and no more.
Yes, leave it to Lou to include something intellectually stimulating on his trips. He knew we would appreciate being a part of living history which allowed some of us to reminisce over the good old days — going “out” in the middle of the night; Sears catalog pages; fear of snakes, etc. Ah, yes, those were the days. Needless to say, Lou will go down in history himself for giving “pit stop” a whole new meaning.
Having survived our history lesson, we went on to Humpback Rocks Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway (which, by the way, had a regulation Ladies room). We spent most of the time in the parking area drooling over a 10AE turbo that belonged to a nice couple from Dinwiddie who ended up joining us for the day. It was still quite breezy and cool, but a few sturdy, and possibly crazy, individuals went to look at the farmstead there at the Center.
Lunch followed at the Eidelweiss. This was also interesting because Lou set it up so that we got to see ourselves coming and going. We knew that he made the wrong turn on purpose (yeah, right) just to see if we could all do a U-ie! Kendall (why is it always Kendall?) had to do some fancy driving to avoid a very large box that fell off of a truck right in front of him. I guess autocross really does pay off. At the restaurant, we had an upstairs room and our own personal waiter. Never mind that he was 200 years old; he assured us that he had to take the upstairs because the other waiters were REALLY TOO OLD to handle it! Talk about your living history!! Aside from the waiter, the highlight of the restaurant was the video of the “LIVE MUSIC” they have every weekend. Accordion music. Bad accordion music. VERY BAD accordion music. (We think we saw Lou on the video as one of the accordion players! Figures, huh!)
After lunch we took the scenic route to Wade’s Mill for an apple butter festivaL There was also a great herb farm next to it. Quite a few of us started our Christmas shopping on this trip. Pat G bought a huge jar of freshly made, still warm, apple butter to snuggle up to for the ride home. And Sue T found a rocking cow to add to her collection. And, no, it did not resemble Kendall — it was much cuter!
As always, it was a great ride and Lou and Pat did an outstanding job. Well, Pat did; Lou has a few glitches he’ll need to work on before his next outing. Other than that though -- it was a WONDERFUL MIATA DAY!
(Thanks goes to senior field reporter, Chris Kearns, for providing all of the factual content for this article. Only slight exaggeration and embellishment was provided by Bertha Stevens. Believe me, this story stands on its own and didn’t need any help!)
Saturday's Trip to Elkton, April 20, 2002
[Pictures]The Fredericksburg contingent - three of us - met at the Wawa on Route 3 and headed out to meet with the rest of the CVMC folks at Barboursville. Jay led Dave and I over some really nice twisty roads on the way and not one road was gravel! He's really making good use of his mapping software program! We pulled into Mary Lou's where the rest of CVMC was waiting for us. We all gathered 'round and talked and visited for several minutes, catching up on news, etc. Then off we went, tops all down despite the cloudy looking skies. As we drove along, however, sunlight burst through the clouds and made driving along the twisties even more enjoyable. The trip up and over the mountain was the best drive I've taken so far in my baby. It was quite a sight to see our line of Miatas zipping along in the left lane, passing the slower SUV's.
Lunch in Elkton was in a combination restaurant/antiques store so we had lots of stuff to look at while we ate. Our crowd must have been the largest the restaurant has ever seen because we ended up eating lunch in shifts - the cook couldn't keep up. But that was okay - that gave us lots of time to peruse the antiques that were everywhere. Several folks bought something and there was some real interest in a stainless steel "beer cooler" that looked an awful lot like an old washtub! That's when we found out there were two prices for everything - the non-negotiable price (lower) and the negotiable price (noticeably higher!).
Prior to going into lunch we all reluctantly put up our tops. It's good that we did - the threatening skies finally let loose while we were in eating. When we came outside again the sun was out but nasty-looking storm clouds were piling up over the mountains and starting to head our way. We defiantly put our tops down again anyway and started back towards Montpelier. By the time we got there the rains came in earnest and the tops went back up again for good this time. At this point the Fredericksburg Miatas headed back towards home, having had a good time with good friends and great cars!
Stef "Ragtop Girl" Spindle
Virginia International Raceway, March 30, 2002
The weather channel predicted rain as we met at 8:30am on Hull Street.
Total attendance was 4 cars. Departure time 9:07am. All tops down as we headed West on Rt. 360 to South Boston. Making only one “pit stop” along the way we reached our destination at 11:30am in time to catch the last race before lunch. Peeking though the clouds the sunshine finally broke loose to give us great temperatures and high spirits. Dan and I had heard at our last visit to VLR that if you meet all the requirements (long sleeves, pants and a helmet) sometimes one could catch a ride with a race driver. Well, smooth taking and about 1 hour later we were watching Bruce, Dan, Mike and Charlie each take turns around the race track with our new friend Tommy Wilson, President of the Porsche Club of Tennessee. Now we realize that his car was no Miata but it did reach speeds of 85MPH in the curves and topped 120MPH on the straight. Tommy was an instructor whose students did not show up. He was very willing to share his track time with us. Each rider had at least 6 laps around the track and a great big smile and memories as we left at 4PM. Next stop was Ernie’s Restaurant in South Boston for a very late lunch?, OK early dinner. We departed Ernie’s still with all tops down and headed back to Richmond. We made our last contact by radio about 8PM as we reached the Brandermill area. Still no rain.
Many thanks to our new friend Tommy Wilson, and his Porsche 911, to Charlie whose helmet we borrowed, and to the other members who joined us for our first planned event. It was fun and we hope to plan another event next year.
Diane and Dan Judkins
Well, most of you missed a really fine day! We had 4 Miatas travel “top-down” both ways, good food, good conversation and a special treat at the track ...but we’ll let Dan and Diane tell you about that. Thanks for another nice “Miata” time and special thanks to D and D for setting it up.
Genie and Charlie Passut
About the VLR ride, What can I say, FANTASTIC!!! We braved the poor weather forecast and dropped our tops anyway. The clouds quickly broke and the sun came out with gusto. We had a very spirited ride with one stop to VLR. After walking the paddock and drooling over the many RX7s and Miatas with turbos. We watched some of the action on the track. All of us wishing we could get on the track ourselves. Dan, who I believe could talk his way into anything, quickly worked his magic and talked an instructor, Tommy Wilson, into taking two no three no four of us for some laps in his Porsche 911. What a blast. I still have a grin on my face. We finally had to head home with a stop at a nice restaurant on the way. Great food. Then home. The Judkins get the checkered flag for this ride.
The "Fredericksburg Regional Miata Club" MADS Alternative Drive
May 30, 2002
The day was cloudy when we all met at Earl's in Fredericksburg but we "dropped top" anyway! Off we went to Stratford Hall, in the Northern Neck. Thanks to Jay Stringer, our official drive-mapper, we had some great twisty roads to run and all managed to keep up with one another, with Dave "Lead-foot" Kimmel in the lead. Jay also managed to find us some dirt/gravel roads to drive on so eventually all our cars ended up the same color - "Dust"! We walked around Stratford Hall marveling at how people lived back in the 18th century with no lights, no running water, no indoor plumbing! Grateful for our Miatas, (and the now sunny skies) we headed back out on the road for more spirited driving. Our favorite road by far was "Wild Sally Road". The name says it all! We saw another white M1 and waved and "meeped" - we got an answering meep and wave back! As we drove through the town of Montross (speed limit 25 mph - horrors!) a pedestrian was heard to count down our line of cars, "There goes another Mazda Miata, and ANOTHER Mazda Miata and ANOTHER Mazda Miata...." We ended our drive in Tappahannock, where we all had lunch at the famous Lowery's restaurant. Actually, some of us had breakfast - the lunch special was eggs, sausage, and toast! A grand time was had by all and we look forward to our next adventure.
Stef "Ragtop Girl" Spindle
Miatas In The Blueridge, October 19-20, 2001
It was a perfect weekend for a trip to the mountains. Bright, sunny days, albeit chilly mornings, fall foliage, and plenty of Miatae to play with. Since those that planned to go were all following different schedules, George and I decided to get an early start on the festivities and hit the road around 11am on Friday. We decided to take one of our favorites , the Blueridge Parkway, down to Roanoke. We were pleased to find that we had little company headed west, or on the parkway, and could enjoy the ride minus traffic. The colors were less than perfect, but just driving through the countryside this time of year is a pleasure in itself.
We found the Holiday Inn with little difficulty. The view of the mountains from the hotel was spectacular...at least from the front of the building. Wouldn't have wanted one of the rooms in back, that's for sure. Mike Phillips was already at the hotel, and we were expecting Jim and Jackie Colonna to show up at any time. ( None of us had gotten Jim's message that they weren't going to make it before we had left.) Pat and Lou Guthrie were staying at a different hotel, and would meet up with us Sat. morning. The plan was to meet with the Blue Ridge Miata Club at the local Thunder Valley Go-Cart emporium, so after a quick supper the three of us set out in search of the place with Mike in the lead. Sounded simple, go to Main Street, turn right at Fast Freddie's, a couple of minutes and you're there. That's assuming you can FIND Fast Freddie's! Well, Mike missed it. We missed it. Somehow, we swapped lead, and then we LOST MIKE. George figured he had gotten hung up at a light, so we pulled over and waited. And waited. We decided to move on, and after another wong turn we finally found the Go-Cart place, exactly at the apponted time. There was not one other Miata there. Finally, one of the Blue Ridge Miata Club members showed up, and as we were getting acquainted, along came Mike. And there went Mike, right past the place. And there he went again, and again! I think it took him about 4 drive-bys to finally find the entrance! Can't really blame him, it wasn't marked well at all. But he sure was fun to watch! Some other BRMC members finally arrived, and the fellas decided to drive the track a couple of times. There was some serious competition going on out there, by the look of it.
Saturday dawned clear and cold. We all were glad to have packed some heavier jackets. We headed downtown to Fast Freddie's, the starting point for the day's activities. (It's much easier to find in daylight, especially when you located it on the ride home the night before.) Pat and Lou arrived, as did Marvin and Iris Coan, who had been CVMC guests on the trip to Lake Anna. One of the BRMC members had stocked up on fresh, still warm from the oven, Krispy Kreme donuts, which was a delicious way to start the day. Car by car, the Miatae arrived. We ended up with somewhere between 26 and 29 cars. Never did get a good count, as cars kept coming and going for a while there. It sure was pretty in that lot though! The local Miata dealer brought an 2002 for us to drool over...I mean look at. George's trailer came in handy as mobile office/donut bar. With so many cars, we were split into 2 groups. Pat and Lou's group were taking many of the same roads George and I had traveled the previous day, so we opted for the second, "more spirited", tour.
We did a pretty good job of keeping together getting through town. Even most of the traffic lights cooperated, and we were quickly into the hills. I have no idea what routes we took, but there were lots of twisties and elevation changes. We even crossed over for a bit into "West-by-God-Virginia", to quote George. We stopped at a Trout Hatchery to take a break from the curves and regroup. Roger, our leader, said we would be deviating slightly from the printed route sheets we had been given, in order to make a detour to Humpback Bridge. Then we were off again towards lunch. Traffic lights cooperated more than slow moving trucks, and we managed to get separated from the rest of the group. Then we came to the proverbial fork in the road, with not a Miata in sight, and no idea what the detour was to be. We took a guess and traveled on, only to see one from our group headed back the way we had come. Confusion. We figured we might not find the group on the road, but we'd be able to find lunch, so we kept going. A few more turns, and as luck would have it, there was Humpback Bridge and a slew of Miatas waiting in the parking lot. The bridge is one of the few covered bridges in Virginia. It gets its name from the bowed road bed. It is not open to traffic, but you can walk across it. There's a nice stream to walk by, and picnic tables available. After posing for pictures, it was off to Cucci's for lunch. An Italian restaurant, it lived up to its promise on the menu.....Cucci's does not serve FAST food. The breads were fabulous, portions were huge and delicious. The club was invited to come back, and to let them know in advance so they could have a photographer available.
After lunch we headed back towards Salem to meet up with the other tour group for the Saturday Night Cruise In at Fast Freddie's. I understand that during the summer there is not a parking spot to be had on Saturdays. I know there was plenty to look at the night we were there, from muscle cars, to Model T's, to Miatas. It was quite a sight, and a lot of fun checking > out all the cars. We had dinner at Fast Freddie's. The menu is a far cry from a hamburger joint, the prices were quite reasonable and the food was great.
Sunday we started home with a stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Lou led the way, which is a good thing because I ALWAYS get lost going to a Cracker Barrel, and I needed my COFFEE! Amazingly, we beat the church crowd and were seated right a way. They sure serve big breakfasts, that's all I can say. We decided to travel to Walton's Mountain and stop at the museum there. There was a huge line around the building, people waiting to get autographs from some of the cast members that were there for the weekend. The museum was interesting, but very small. If you were a fan of the show you might consider it if you're in the area. We headed back Route 6, and took Mike for a tour of the prison and across the little bridge on the way back. He thought it was cool, but Pat said it always gives her the creeps. Generation gap or gender gap?
For those of you that couldn't make the trip, we missed you. But YOU missed a good one. BRMC plans to do it again next year. See you there...
Here is a summary of the weekend's activities. A lot of work went into this event, and special thanks go to Larry Martin, Sarah Liddle, Roger Huffman, and others for helping us have a great time. If anyone sees any inaccuracies in this post, please let me know.
Held on October 19 and 20, 2001 the "2nd Annual Miatas in the Blue Ridge" was a success. The weather fully cooperated with a gorgeous blue sky and 70+ degree temperatures. (There won't be many more top-down days like that this year.) As a special bonus, this year's event attracted even more people and cars than last year.
Sarah Liddle and Larry Martin arranged discounted lodging for out-of-town visitors at the Salem, Virginia, Holiday Inn, situated on a hill with a great view of the autumn foliage.
On Friday night, several Miata enthusiasts met at the Thunder Valley go-cart track. Roger Huffman, Larry Martin, and others joined in the driving competition, taking turns racing each other and chasing the track regulars. Martin Maples and Sarah Liddle dropped by for some social activity later in the evening.
On Saturday, 26 Miatas converged on Fast Freddy's. Many regulars from Roanoke attended the event: Roger Huffman (who borrowed a brand new Zoom-Zoom from Berglund Mazda), Larry and Barbara Martin, Jonathan and Tammy Shewbridge, Nancy Behrens, Eunice Hale, Martin Maples, Sarah Liddle, Sheldon and Dao Ybanez, Robert and Jean Guthrie, and Joel Barnette. Other attendees included John Kuykendall from New River Valley, Richard and Donna Givens from Lynchburg, and Edward Von Saher also from Lynchburg.
The Danville Chapter had a good representation (bringing 8 of the 26 cars) including: Jeff and Debra Dodson, Bryan and Janet Gregory, Jack Walters, Ed and Cindy Wilbourne, Dan Goren, Bill and Ann McCaw, Ron and Sharon Estock, and Hannah Fuller (a brand new member at her first event).
The event also drew several people from out of town, including the Central Virginia Miata Club's George Ferrell and Chris Kearns and Lou and Pat Guthrie. Others from the Central Virginia area included Michael Phillips and Marvin and Iris Coan.
Yorktown, Virginia, Mike Keefe, Tennessee, Nancy's sister and brother-in-law and others (sorry, I don't have all the names).
Over coffee and Krispy Kremes, the drivers selected their choice of two routes and eventually split into groups. One group, lead by Roger Huffman, had 14 cars and followed SR-311 from Hanging Rock to Crows, VA, then SR-159 and US-60 to Covington, VA. The group ate at Cucci's, a favorite Italian restaurant in the area, and returned by taking US-60 to SR-696, to SR-616, to SR-621, to SR-615, to US-220, to SR-43 to Buchanan, VA, to US-11, to Cloverdale, VA, and back to Fast Freddy's.
The other group, led by Larry Martin, sported 12 cars and took US-460 to Shawsville, to Alleghany Springs Road, to SR-653
On Saturday evening, many of the participants formed a "Miata Corral" back at the Star City Cruise-in at Fast Freddy's, and our little cars drew their share of attention amongst all the classics, muscle cars, customs, street rods, race cars, Cobras, et al. Several partook of the "gourmet drive-in" food and reflected on a day well spent.
Time Travel... June 6, 1944—D-DAY, June 16, 2001
The day dawned clear but the knot in my stomach warned me of what was to come. We were supposed to have gone ashore yesterday but the tide was high hiding those deadly hedgehogs placed by the Germans to take a ship down. So we're going in this morning at low tide. No one got any sleep last night. I look around at my buddies, all of us between eighteen and twenty years old, and all of us seasick and scared, but we're determined to take this enemy out. We've heard that this is the largest invasion ever undertaken and we know that many of us won't make it through. But by God, we're going to oust Hitler's troops or die trying! The gunfire started earlier as the first troops hit the beach. As we move into place to make our run, I see to my horror that every inch of the beach is being riddled with bullets and the troops are being mowed down like blades of grass. My God, how will any of us cross that beach alive much less scale that fortress! At the command, I jump overboard. The water is deep and I have a hard time keeping my equipment above my head. Bullets are raining down on me, but I keep going. Out of breath, I somehow make it to the beach which is by now shrouded in smoke and strewn with bodies. I have to make my way across them -- oh I want to stop and help them, but I can't. Got to keep moving. Suddenly I feel a sharp pain in my arm as a bullet grazes me. Dazed for a minute, I manage to stumble on. The sound of gunfire is deafening but still I hear the cries of those who have been hit. The smoke clears slightly and I can see the fortress just ahead. Others are already scaling the wall; I'm right behind them, gun in hand...
June 16, 2001 ... Eleven Miatas met at the K-Mart on Route 60 to head to Bedford to see The National D-Day Memorial which had just been dedicated on June 6th. Ron and Sally were our illustrious leaders and had arranged for us to meet up with the Blue Ridge Miata Club at the Memorial for a tour. As always, they go the extra mile (pun intended) and so had come up with a contest: (1) how many miles to the Memorial, and (2) what time would we arrive. I've never seen so many map miles being added up (where's the calculator when you need it) and the creative ways people calculated an arrival time. Of course, no one realized that our leader was into time travel and would soon have us traveling at warp speed killing any chances of us even coming close to an arrival time.
Aside from our Captain and First Mate (Ron and Sally Marchand), our travel companions for our trip back into time were: Prez Kendall Tarkington, Rodger "stand in for Susan" Connelly, Jackie and Bob Shaw, Jim and Jackie Colonna, Roy and Geneva Whitley, Richard and Jo Owens, Dick and Lucinda McRoberts, Dwight and Sue Johnson (the tire experts), Mike Phillips, Chris Kearns, George "wildlife sighter" Ferrell, and me and Greg.
Although it was really overcast in Richmond, we were optimistic that we would find the sun as we headed west (and we did). We took great back roads designed just for Miatas. But like I said, once we hit the road, Ron got us up to warp speed pretty quickly. We did see some of the countryside (I think) but I can tell you, it was a bit of a blur. At a pit stop 1-1/2 hours into the trip, George asked if we had seen the wild turkeys and deer on the side of the road. Well, I didn't see the deer (no one else did either except Chris who was riding with George!), but I did see the wild turkeys. They were in the car in front of us and looked a lot like Kendall and Rodger. (Susan, you have nothing to worry about. Rodger will never replace you as navigator extraordinaire. He never once hung off the back of the "moving" car to try to take pictures of the rest of the Miata train. Of course, he had never ridden with Kendall before, which is a little unnerving, so perhaps I should cut him some slack this time.) Later in the trip, we saw quite a few deer but they were of the concrete garden variety. Makes you wonder about George's and Chris' sightings, doesn't it. The whole time we're breaking the sound barrier on these back country roads, Sue was trying to knit a sweater. Never mind that it now has 3 arms and 2 necks and is a little lopsided - it will still make a great present for Dwight. Watch for it at our next Christmas Bash.
We made it to the Memorial a little before noon. It is on a hill with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. What a gorgeous sight. We drove the loop around the Memorial and found the Blue Ridge Club cars (hard to miss, there were 18 of them)! Luckily there were still plenty of parking spaces for us right beside them, so you can imagine how nice that parking lot looked with all those multicolored Miatas gleaming in the sun. (Where's the media when you need them!!) We had arrived just in time - our guided tour was just starting. Our guide was wonderful and very informative. EVERYTHING at the Memorial is symbolic, even down to the style and type of railings used. And I think we were all moved by the sculptures of the men going ashore on the beach - they were powerful. There is still some work to be done, but the Memorial is very impressive and very well done. It's a trip worth making!
After exploring the Memorial, we gathered back in the parking lot before heading out to the Golden Corral for lunch. As we got to the main road, some of us had no clue which way to turn (several other "non-Miata" cars having blocked our view of the Miatas leading the group). So we turned right and came upon a small shopping center with a restaurant -- just not the right one. Oh what to do..... stay here and eat; try to find the Golden Corral; sit in the cars and melt! I would have loved to have had a video camera. Picture 10+ cars all coming into the Shopping Center and all taking different routes to converge in a heap in the center. No one was quite sure what to do, so some were parking, others were just driving around aimlessly, while others were starting to look panicky. It was hysterical -- looked like a miniature demolition derby!! Finally someone took charge (not sure who this brave soul was) and led us back down the street to the left to the Golden Corral where the others were patiently waiting knowing that we would eventually find our way. The AC inside the restaurant felt wonderful and the food was fine - especially the desserts! You can never say that Miata owners do not like to eat. Driving is their first passion, but eating must be at least a close second!
After our meal, Ron announced the winners of the contests. Greg won the mileage (obviously the only one with a calculator that day) and Jim came in second. Jackie S. won the time (apparently having had experience traveling at the speed of light) and I came in second, just one minute behind her. This was the first event Greg and I have been able to participate in this year, so it was especially nice to be contest winners (our bribes obviously paying off)!!
After this heady experience of triumph, we all met back in the parking lot where some would go on to Eagle Rock before returning home, and others would head home to feed livestock, etc. before dark. Greg and I were among the latter. Unfortunately, as the others were returning from Eagle Rock, Richard and Jo were involved in an accident and Jo had to be rushed to the hospital for x-rays. Roger Huffman and the Guthries of the Blue Ridge Club led our group to the hospital, and all stayed to make sure Richard and Jo were OK. Other than being bruised, cut, and badly shaken, there appeared to be no serious injuries. They were going to stay in a hospitality house that night and their son was going to drive them home on Sunday. The rest of the group headed back to Richmond late that night thankful that everyone was going to be OK.
Our sincere thanks to Ron and Sally for planning such a wonderful trip, and to the Blue Ridge Club for their hospitality (with special thanks to Roger Huffman and the Guthries for their help in our time of crisis). And thanks to all of you who stayed to make sure Richard and Jo were going to be OK. Your caring and selflessness may not be attached to a national monument, BUT it is still a powerful statement and means as much to those in need.
... I feel the tears burning my eyes as I look at this new Memorial. Who would have thought that I would be standing here today in the shadow of this great monument. I remember all too vividly that day in '44 when we stormed the beach, my fallen buddies, the bullet grazing my arm, and the pain and effort scaling the fortress. I remember the fighting ... how long did we fight ... and I remember the sheer relief when it was finally over and I was still alive. And just a few minutes ago, when the veterans present were asked to raise our hands, what a thrill to hear that applause ... and humbling! Words can never describe the overwhelming emotion I feel standing here today remembering all of those who lost their lives and those, like me, who were lucky enough to make it.
(Article written by Bertha Stevens and dedicated to all veterans of wars and conflicts. Never having experienced the horrors of war, I am in awe of their courage and sacrifice. And it makes me realize how very thankful I am to be living at this time and in this location ... knowing that I've got miles of beautiful Miata roads awaiting!)
from Bertha Stevens
Sherwood Forest Plantation, May 19, 2001
Eight cars gathered under threatening skies on May 19th for a trip down Route 5 to Sherwood Forest Plantation that was led by Bob and Jackie Shaw. Jeff Harrison drove all the way down from the mountains to ride with us. That's dedication. Joining us for the first time were new members Dan and Diane Judkins and soon-to-be members Dick and Lucinda McRoberts. Jim and Jackie Colonna were the only brave souls to arrive top-down. Ron and Sally Marchand, Kevin ???? and myself rounded out the roster. Substituting for the M.I.A. Johnsons, the Colonnas managed to pick up a nail and were going to have to bow out of the trip since the wait time for tire repair was 1-2 hours. To the rescue came new member Dan Judkins, who volunteered to plug the tire. Emergency repairs completed, we hit the road less than 10 minutes behind the scheduled 10AM departure.
Sherwood Forest Plantation is the home of President John Tyler, the first vice president to ascend to the presidency after the death of the President. The home has remained in the Tyler family since 1842, and a decendent of Tyler's is still in residence. The staff was gracious enough to allow CVMC to pull up in front of the plantation house and 'pose' our Miatae for a group picture. (Of course, Bob Shaw's mentioning the possibility of posting the pictures on our web site might have had a little something to do with getting their permission!) Our guide was fun, and very knowledgeable, and answered all of our questions. She even told us the story of the "Gray Lady", the ghost of a governess said to haunt the premises. I asked her if she had ever had encountered the ghost, and she said on several occasions she had, "well, felt...SOMETHING".
After our very enjoyable tour, more of us decided to brave the elements and dropped the tops for a trip to Surrey House for lunch, via the Jamestown Ferry. I'm sure it was good planning on Bob's part, because we only had to wait about 5 minutes for the ferry and the temperature was about 35 degrees cooler than the last time we tried that! I don't know about everyone else, but I certainly had more than enough to eat, and it was very good.
The trip back home was over some TERRIFIC miata roads...lots of scenery, lots of curves, no traffic. What more can one ask for? More of the same, of course!
Daytona 2000 - Miatas In Paradise, October 24/27, 2000
Four of us (Chris, George, Sue and Dwight) in two Miatas made the trip to Daytona together. Due to work schedules we left Richmond at different times on Friday and met in Roanoke. Saturday morning we headed out on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The fall colors were beautiful and it was well worth the extra miles, but we have miles to go as well. Darkness ended our Blue Ridge trek at Asheville, so we hopped onto more direct and less scenic roads for the remainder of Saturday's jaunt and landed in Cherokee, NC for the night.
The next morning we drove thru Great Smokies National Park for more beautiful scenery and (believe it or not) Christmas shopping at the gift shop. Not to worry, George was pulling a trailer on this trip. That meant Chris and Sue could do some shopping! We drove around the far side of the park and entered the area known as the Dragon at Deal's Gap. I can't speak for our lead car, but the non-existent brake pedal on the passenger side of our car was worn out on this 11 mile stretch of road with 318 turns all in mountain terrain. We had to stop at the motorcycle shop here and get stickers for our Miatas to prove that we had "done the Gap". Eat your heart out, Kendall. Now, the compass inside my head has gone kerflooey, so I don't done what direction we headed next. I do know we left Virginia, entered the Carolinas, touched Tennessee and now we're back in the Carolinas. What direction are we supposed to be going and what's our final destination?
Does the navigator in the lead car really have a map or is she a hostage of the Miata fanatic behind the wheel? We found some more curvy road, even though it looked straight on the map. We stopped at Bridal Falls for pictures. You drive behind the falls just off the main road for the Kodak moment. Now into Georgia for another overnight. At some point in Georgia (due to some strange highway leapfrogging) the lead changed. Why is it that the first lead driver spent two days and we were still in the Carolinas? Our second lead driver took about four hours to get us the rest of the way thru Georgia and across the Florida State line! We arrived at the Adam's Mark on Monday afternoon.
The registration desk would not open until 1PM on Tuesday, so that morning one car from the Virgina group drove north to the World Golf Village for a tour of the Golf Hall of Fame. I wonder who?
That afternoon we met up with the other two cars from CVMC (Pat, Lou, Jo and Richard). Wednesday all the Miatas went to the Daytona Speedway for an impressive group picture. We then did a parade lap around the track and were impressed by the site of those walls on the curves. Our tour of the track facilities included the plush suites where the VIP's and money people get to watch the races and also a trip up the circular stairs to the roof where the cameras record the race for the TV audiences. Now for the Miata events. No one in our group did the autocross this year. We did have some entries in the rally, but no winners. The scenery was beautiful thru some State Parks with live oaks draped in Spanish moss and just a multitude of back roads. Back at the racetrack others from our group were checking out the race museum where you can actually try your time in the Pit Stop area and also see the history of this racing town. We also had some entrants in the Funcana, again no winners, but they enjoyed the event and I'll let them tell you about it. On Thursday we joined a caravan with about 75 Miatas driving south to the Kennedy Space Center for a full day tour. Remember that Virginia played a very big part in the Space race. Many of those rocket scientists graduated from a very fine university in Virginia. Virginia has many fine schools, so I won't bandy about any names here, but we all know who I'm talking about.
Friday we said our goodbyes. We had talked with friends from other clubs who we had met at previous nationals, and we had made some new friends. We hope that Kathie and Bill Truxall of Reedville, VA will be able to join us on some of our drives in the future.
The trip home for this group of two cars plus one (Jo and Richard joined us for part of the trip) was a two day drive on Interstate 95. We did make a stop at JR Cigar (wonder who planned that) where we were joined by two cars from Quebec making their way home. Thankfully we didn't have that far to drive. We had lots of fun. The Florida clubs put a lot of hard work into this event and they deserve a big thank-you. My regret is that there was so much to do that there was just no way to take part in all the events, tours and games. But, there's always next year. Think about it.
Dwight and Sue Johnson
Miatas in Paradise 2000
A brief account of "MIATAS in Paradise 2000" for those who not able to attend.
Our club was represented by four couples, Dwight and Susan Johnson, George Ferrell and Chris Kerns, Marcus and Josephine Owens, Lou and Pat Guthrie.
Due to our inability to make travel arrangements to caravan together we each journeyed to Daytona on our own. The Adams Mark Hotel was an ideal place for the event. The hotel accommodations were very nice. Check in was easy enough at the hotel but trying to check in to the event was a little time consuming due to the large number of people who all seemed to arrive at the same time. We were greeted by a member of one of the Florida MIATA Clubs,and signed forms to release from liability the Daytona Speedway. We were issued tags to be worn at all times which with proper stickers attached admited us to the race track and all the events held there. Each car was given a yellow tote bag which contained an assortment of "goodies". We also were given a sticker to place on our windshield, which depending on the color code signified An event staff member, a garage parking pass, a vendor, or speedway pass. There was a two page schedule of events which gave you many ways to enjoy the millennium gathering.
The opening ceremonies were held in a large hall which show cased the vendors wares. Club banners were hung on the walls. The hotel has a strong union which controled the number of hours members could work. Our banner was not hung until Friday.
The first event was a Buffet of fruit,cheeses,potato chips,egg rolls,and mixed salad. This was followed by a welcome speech given by the event chairman. Attendees were briefed on how cars should line up for the caravan to the speedway the following morning. Door prizes were given and so ended the first day.
Breakfast on Wednesday was served from 5.30 to 6.30. At 6.30 the caravan began to form for the ride to the Daytona Speedway. The caravan was headed up by a Florida State Police MIATA,who had 299 variously colored fun machines following closely behind. The police blocked off all side streets and turned all traffic lights to green for the caravan. If it had been daylight at that time the local inhabitants would have been in for quite a treat,but it was a little to early for most people.
The cars paraded to the speedway and were lined up in rows of 15 cars wide by 20 cars long. A photogragher high in the stands took several photographs to mark the occasaion. When the photo session was over a track pace car led the caravan around the race track. Most of the cars got up to 25 or 30 mph. I cheated and slowed down so that the car ahead of me got far enough away so that I was able to get my speed up to 60 mph on the straight stretch by the stands. When the parade lap was over everyone was on their own to choose what they wanted to do. Josephine and I decided to try the MEGAFUNCANA. I for one had no idea what a megafuncana was. It turned out to be a lot of fun.The first phase of the event was to drive through a maze of cones blindfolded with the passenger giving the driver directions on which way to turn and how far. It was necessary to put your faith in your partners directions. Several times I had to reverse and alter our course to get to the end. The next part of the course the driver had to get the car near enough to a cone for the passenger to place a furbee on the top of the cone. there were 6 stations and when you placed the last furbee on its cone you drove to a cone with a horn on top and blew it. That is when the fun began, you then put the car in reverse and backed through the maze so that the passenger could pick up the furbees. I forgot to mention that points were taken off if you hit a cone or dropped a furbee, we managed to do both. Our time through the first two stages made it improbable we could even place in the event. The next stage was to line up your car and drive a straight line through four rows of dixie cups filled with water. We were able to spill only 2 cups out of 60. Stage number four was to drive a course through cones and blow a horh at the end,then back through the course and blow another horn. The final stage was to run a autocross course as quickly as possible.
Other options for the choosing were,a Kennedy space center tour,a St Augustine tour,and a World golf tour. Evening meals were sponsored by Miata Club of America,and by Mazda. Both of which were excellent. Door prizes were awarded each night,they ranged from baseball hats to sets of four tires.
Most of the clubs have pins which bear the club logo. these they sell and trade with other clubs. We do not have a pin and were looked on as a backward club.I suggest we try to remedy this if the club membership if willing.
The vendors were there to sell aftermarket parts and were ready and willing to install same. I had a set of air horns installed. Cathy(that's my cars name) now has a new voice.
To sum it all up the convention was fun. Both Jo and I had a great time,we strongly suggest you try one next year.
Our September Winery Trip, September 23, 2000
The MacDonald's off Exit 82 from Interstate 95 North will never be the same, after ten Miatas departed their parking lot at 9:30 AM on Saturday, September 23. It was a gray, overcast day, but no rain on the near horizon. While we were all congregating, we sipped coffee and admired George's new trailer rig setup. (Some of us had seen the trailer at Tuesday night's meeting.)
Our colorful assembly included George Ferrell, Chris Kearns, Geneva and friend, Roger Connelly, Richard and Jo Owens, Sally and Ron Marchand, Pat and Lou Guthrie, Jeff (drove in to join us from Charlottesville), Margaret and Rick Carter, Jim and Jackie Colonna, Frank Orem and our fearless (?) leader for the day, Anne and her friend Jim Bandelean.
The last to arrive there were the Owens, and we all expected Roger to pull up any moment. Not to be started too late, we headed north up Route 301, and shortly after takeoff, Roger pulled in to the lineup in his 92 yellow Miata- his recent upgrade from the 91 Blue.
Next stop was Horne's, a truck stop, gift shop, restaurant and entertainment center about an hour north of our starting place. The entertainment was provided by the huge eighteen-wheeler drivers, who maneuvered their multi-ton vehicles at high speeds in uncomfortably close proximity to several Miatas- including George's trailer.
When we got close to Bowling Green, our leader was ready to turn right onto the bypass, then had a last-minute change of heart and decided we all needed to take a tour through the center of town. A little jog to the right, then back on the road... every Miata in line made the same jog... until we got to George, who was nearly run off the road by an unsympathetic motorist, who apparently didn't appreciate a line of Miatas in formation.
Arrived finally at Ingleside Plantation Winery. All those Miatas looked great lined up in the parking lot. We were all encouraged to remember that, for the sake of the Winery folks, we were merely a group of unrelated individuals, all of whom drove the same type of vehicle. (We really didn't want the VIP tour especially set aside for groups.)
It was harvest time for the grapes, and we watched many yellow plastic bins full of grapes disgorge their contents into a de-stemmer, which separated the grapes from the stems and leaves. Apparently this is the first part of the process, before the grapes get crushed, the juice transformed into wine and bottled.
We enjoyed a wine tasting, narrated by an Elvis impersonator who suggested exotic foods to enhance our wine selections- fried chicken, tuna salad sandwiches...
The wine was tasty and diverse, and those of us who sampled the offerings were relaxing more and more as we moved from white wine to red. As we got close to the end of the tasting selections, the Reedville Boat arrived at a nearby dock, for its daily discharge of 90-some persons ready to feast and imbibe. Elvis wound up our sampling opportunity, we made our purchases, and adjourned to the parking lot.
A consensus was reached to head further east along Route 3 to Route 360, with a stop for a late lunch at Lowery's in Tappahannock. (Frank Owen and Pat and Lou returned to Richmond.) Since the weather had lightened up considerably, several of us decided to go topless. We were a few miles down the road when the inevitable raindrops danced on the windshields, so we pulled over to the road shoulder en masse, to cover up. All of us, that is, except George and Chris, who had attended to the ragtop business earlier. They sashayed right by. Hungry.
Lowery's was wonderfully accommodating. They weren't fazed in the least when seventeen Miata folks appeared, without warning, in their entryway. In a few seconds, it seemed, they had a banquet room ready for us, and our servers were the best! Kelly played straight to Robin's comedy act. Robin, also known as Lucille, Estelle and Darlene, kept us all in stitches as she good-naturedly parlayed with Roger and George. The food was superb, and all seemed to enjoy the fare.
As for Anne, our trip leader, she can relax now- no traffic circles in sight!
Strip Poker In The Country, August 19, 2000
Now that I have your attention, I must confess that this is not about strip poker - but it IS about poker AND the country! Yes, I'm talking about our long awaited Poker Rally headed up by Bob and Joanne Meek. And what a job they did!
The event was held Saturday, the 19th, which just happened to be one of the most perfect Miata days of the summer with the temperature in the low 80's, sunny skies, and NO HUMIDITY. Can you remember the last time we had an August day like that! Nine cars peeled into the McDonald's on West Broad in the Brookhollow Shopping Center. (I should note that Dwight was conspicuously absent. Sue was out of town so Dwight decided to get in some golf. Whoops - hope that wasn't a secret. I also wonder how many flat tires his golf cart had before the day was over!)
Bob and Joanne were waiting for us with the "official rules" and our route plan which would take us through some beautiful country roads with plenty of Miata turns. Each person was given a poker hand sheet and at each stop (including the start and end destinations) we were to draw a card. Bob or Joanne would verify the card and then would fill in the sheet (not that they would have any reason not to trust this angelic group).
The route plan consisted of a gazillion turns (give or take one or two) and took us through all sorts of secondary roads in Hanover and Goochland. Bob and Joanne were very specific with their mileage between each stop, the route numbers, and whether it was a right or left turn. However, some of us didn't believe them or just plain didn't follow instructions, and so we ended up making wrong turns in several spots adding lots of extra mileage which would kill our chances of winning if our poker hands tied with someone else's hand. Our first stop was close by at the new Target Golf. We all drew a card (some of us luckier than others) and headed out again. Two cars (Chris and Lynn, and Greg and I) were obviously so excited that we failed to note the route we were on and when we came to a junction to go right or left, both of us went right without the slightest hesitation. We ended up in the Innsbrook complex and knew immediately that we had made a wrong turn. We made u-turns on 2 wheels and headed back in the opposite direction, having the dubious honor of being the first to put extra mileage on our cars.
The trip would take us by antique shops, beautiful farm country, gorgeous mansions, the Ashland Berry Farm, King's Dominion, Hanover Farm and would finally get us back to Innsbrook - roughly a 3-hour drive.
As great as all of the roads were, none of us will ever forget the infamous Route 614! It was a tad bit tricky (no, it was A LOT tricky) and it was unnerving to be traveling down what you thought was the correct route, only to see other members heading back toward you in the opposite direction. When Greg and I saw Pat and Lou coming back, we thought for sure they knew what they were doing, so we made a quick u-turn and followed them. WRONG! They didn't know any more than we knew but they had seen George and Chris come back and so had figured THEY couldn't be wrong. WRONG AGAIN! We stopped and consulted the heavens (a/k/a flipped a coin) and headed back in the direction we were all going at first. And, amazingly enough, this turned out to be correct - we finally came to the next route clue which confirmed we were on the right track again. Unfortunately, we had added a lot more mileage to our trip, but, we found out later, not half as much mileage as some of the others!
Our second stop was at the Burger King at King's Dominion. It was so crowded that we suspected that EVERYONE at King's Dominion, having heard of our event, decided to come on over to greet us (and why not, right)! Everyone drew a poker card - I've got a straight going.
Our last stop "on the road" was at the Hanover Farm where they have wonderful home grown vegetables and plants of all kinds. Everyone had either gone through already or were arriving at the same time as us. Bob was there waiting for us and recording our poker cards (blew my straight and any hopes of winning). And then we all headed out to our final destination - the Texaco Café at Innsbrook. When I first heard we were having lunch at the Texaco Café, I was not impressed - I mean, who can get excited about eating at a gas station! I soon learned though that this is a very popular trendy café with a great food court and with both indoor and outdoor seating. We all chose a group of outdoor tables under a huge canopy - perfect for our rowdy group. Joanne was there recording our last poker draw (I didn't even get a pair), and once everyone was in, she would announce the winners.
Everyone was there now except George and Chris which surprised everyone because they're always one of the first cars to finish. I mean, even Ron and Sally had finished - what is wrong with this picture! We were beginning to get worried, especially when Bob called Joanne from Hanover Farm to ask if we had seen them because he hadn't. We agreed to give them a few more minutes, so while Bob waited, we all sat around enjoying everyone's mishaps on the trip. We learned that Kendall not only works on his car, but can even install a water faucet (with Susan's supervision, of course). It works, but like his car, has a klunk! (Will someone help this guy out please!)
Quite some time passed when Bob FINALLY called to say that George and Chris had just arrived and they would be at the Café shortly. He relayed that they had gotten caught in a funeral. Yeah, right.
Sure enough, before long, we saw George's red Miata coming into the Café at something just a little under warp speed. He and Chris said that they had gotten caught up in a funeral procession going 5 miles per hour and it took them over 15 minutes to cover a couple of miles. (We wonder how long it took them to come up with this story.) I ask you, what do you think the odds are for running into a funeral procession on a little country back road at precisely the moment George and Chris are trying to get through! We all have a better chance of winning the lottery WITHOUT a ticket! But, nevertheless, after a bit of heckling, we humored them and let them believe that we bought their story. I can tell you though, they will have to live with this one as long as Anne has had to endure the traffic circle mishap, Dwight with his flat tires, and, yes, Kendall with his klunk - which is a very loooooooong time!
As if the day, and drive, and lunch, and company were not enough, there were prizes too. Chris "story teller extraordinaire" Kearns won first place (4 games at Target Golf) with a poker hand of 3 of a kind. (Did anyone check the cards to make sure they were part of the official deck? I thought I saw Donald Duck on the back of one of her cards!) Lou came in second with a pair of aces and got $10 toward lunch at the Texaco Café. Chris came in third with another pair and got a gift certificate from Hanover Farm. Bob and Joanne even had a Lazer Car Wash gift certificate for the car that came in first (a great couple, the Prides, who read about our trip on the Internet and decided to join in on the fun - hope they'll come back again) and the car that came in last (hmmmmm.... let me see, who could that have been)!
Everyone agreed that the day was absolutely wonderful and it was a fun event that should be added to our list of "keepers". And we want to thank Bob and Joanne for doing such an outstanding job (my guess is that they will be relegated to doing this EVERY year from now on)!
Who knows, maybe next year we'll try strip poker for a change in scenery! Bet George won't be the last car (funeral procession or not) in that event!!
OpSail 2000, June 17, 2000
Eight Miatas And Two Support Vehicles In Search Of The Talls Ships
We left our house at 7:50 AM en-route to meet with others at Garden Ridge off of I64, along with Terry Chandler and her sister from Miami riding with her and our daughter Carrie driving her Jeep headed out for the short trip of 20 minutes. But we decided to take panoramic tour of I95 with the delay near the Richmond Water Treatment Plant, while they were working on the bridge on I95. Arriving around 9:10 and glad to see everyone waited for us, since we had the plan in hand for the day. As we left Garden Ridge with 6 Miata's and two support vehicles the Jeep and a Van. Pam Bowen was in her Miata and Dean driving the van with his son, Billy (11) who fell in love with our daughter, or was it her Jeep he really loved, also riding in the van was the Miata mascot for the day, "Buster" their dog.
Our next stop was a Stuckey's at the Toano/Williamsburg exit, where we picked up two more Miatas and a snack of Banana Bread and Lemon Bread furnished by the Whitley's. Welcome back Roy, you look great!
Eight Miatas and the two support vehicles, were off to see the Tall Ships. Miataing along Route 249, (old Route 33), enjoying our ride when Lou breaking quickly and others following in suit, notice a deer about to jump into our path, but instead he decided to just graze and watch these little cars go by. Continuing along Williamsburg Route 60 and the lope to Jamestown stopping for Miata's pictures along the way arriving at Barrettes in Williamsburg Market Square for a cool and enjoyable lunch. Joanne and Bob Meek had to leave after lunch, it seams they had more important things to do, like packing for London. Our next stop was in Hampton to see the first of the Tall Ships, with Jim and Jackie Colonna leading the way, we lost two more vehicles, Terry Chandler and the Jeep cut out, they were getting a little hot and sunburn. Jim found a parking deck, which was free for the day and within a block of the ships. We boarded three of the ships taking pictures, seeing the Pirate Black Beard, and the Sea Witch. Our favorite in Hampton being "Schooner America" from here we headed on to Norfolk, again losing three more vehicles Pam and the rest of her family in the Van decided enough for one day, along with the Whitley's. We now have the die-hards of this Miata trip left, driving along I64 to Norfolk, with Rick and Margaret Carter leading the way, following were the Shaws, Guthries, and Bowens. Heading into Norfolk, finding another parking deck, and just a few blocks from Waterside and more Tall Ships. By this time the crowd was down, and Jim and Rick were busy looking for refills for "BIG DADDY" drinks as we were touring the Ships. We found it easy to walk through Waterside and see lots of the Tall Ships; needless to say we could not see all of them. We boarded a few more, and enjoyed touring the Eagle U.S. Coast Guard training ship the most. As it started to get late and the crowd was picking up we decided to get something to eat, checking a couple of places finding the wait anywhere from 1 and 1/2 hour to 3 hours. We again started to walk; Jim, Rick and Lou just had to take the tour through Hooters, not to eat of course, just for the view, at this time the Bob and Jackie Shaw decided they were out of there and parted this fun group of die-hards. We finally found something to eat at MacArthur Mall, a few blocks away; we really like to walk. We all enjoyed the cool and quite atmosphere along with a very good and quick supper. Knowing the Fireworks started at 9:00-9:30 PM we wanted to get back to see them. Not wanting to miss a thing, we headed back to Waterside, saw a few ships that had lit up for the night, then walking on to the parking deck, thinking we could make it to the top of the deck and see the fire works from there. Well Lou and I had about all we could take, after we found our little Blue Miata, and sat down, we were homeward bound. I hope Rick and Margaret Ann; along with Jim and Jackie made it to the top and saw the firework. I am sure they were magnificent.
Show Up and Drive, November 13, 1999
Somebody upstairs must really like this club, because we were fortunate to have another great weather day for our last rally of this year. We gathered at Ukrops, one by one, with 8 cars lined up to start the days drive. We were sorry that Robert Meek could not join us for on his way over, he picked up a nail in his right rear tire. Needless to say, he headed to the nearest tire store.
Just before nine, we started to plan the days drive. The first question asked, is "where do we want to eat"? That was easy. The group agreeded "lets go to Fredericksburg". Since our rally leaders had a last minute opportunity to go to The Homestead, yours truly was elected to plan the trip. Out comes the map, the highlighter and away we go.
There must have been some divorces from our Picture Rally, because Terry Chandler, Susan Tarkington and I were without our trusted navigators for this trip. I guess that George Ferrell and Chris Kearns, Pat and Lou Guthrie, Charlie and Genie Passut and Roy and Geneva Whitley were still talking to each other.
Off we went to such notable Virginia locations as Manakin-Sabot, Rockville, Montpellier and Beaverdam. Our first pit stop was in a little country store on Rt 715. Stores such as this one are a delight to visit. You find things that other stores would not have. The folks running the store were great.
Out of Beaverdam , we picked up Rt 738 North. Since I have never traveled this route, I did not know what interesting places we might find. Just up the road was a sign 'Windy River Wines'. We all know that this club loves to visit wineries. We drove into the parking Iot and no one was there. Just as we were ready too leave, a car pulled up and a lady jumped out and said, we open at noon, but since you are here now we will open in 5 minutes. Judith Rocchiccioli, one of the owners, had just returned from New Orleans, but she was happy to set up our own wine tasting party. We tasted 7 wines, from a Chardonnay to a Ruby Blush. Most of us bought at least two bottles. The Wolf Blanc and the Ruby Blush were the best of the offering. This was a great surprise to find this place. One never knows what one will find when traveling the roads of Virginia. This was the highlight of the day.
Even though yours truly made a couple of wrong turns, I was happy to have George tell me that "there are no wrong turns. They are all planned". Thanks George for bailing me out on this one.
We headed North on Rt 738 to some more famous Virginia cities, Chilesburg, Partlow, Snell, Spotsylvania and our final destination "The Cracker Barrel" in Fredericksburg. We were fortunate that with eleven in our party, it did not take us long to be seated. After lunch we headed our separate ways. All in all, another great "Topless Day."
PS: Since I was without my trusted navigator, I can't tell you how much fun it is to drive, look at the map to be sure we are going in the right direction and use the radio, not to mention trying to drink some water and eat some snacks. "Sally, where were you?"
The Miata Picture Rally, October 23,1999
The morning broke with some very cool winds blowing from the West. The sun finally came out from the gray clouds and held promise for another great Miata day. As we approached the starting place we saw a few Miata's but no members. Well they were all in McDonalds, having their pre rally coffee.
Charlie passed out the Route Instructions and the famous "Sealed Envelope" for those lost souls who may need help. In order to keep peace with each other, Ron passed out our Pre-Rally Agreement and had both the driver and navigator sign. Before we left, we found out that Roy Whitley had just finished serving breakfast to about 35 truck drivers. So he was ready to go. Ron and Sally vowed that come hell or high water, they would not open the envelope. Regarding the Pre-Rally Agreement, we learned that Charlie and Genie could have used it last week when they were putting the rally together. Joanne Meek wished she had the agreement because Bob insisted that the shopping center was else where.
Dwight and Sue Johnson started the rally with 9 more cars to follow. A couple of brave souls started off with their tops down, but soon succumbed to the elements and put their tops up.
The route took us through some wonderful scenery, especially the Lake Anna area. The maples were at the height of their color.
The first to arrive at the municipal parking lot in Orange, VA were Ron and Sally Marchand who completed the rally without opening their envelope, along with Robert and Jackie Shaw; Robert and Joanne Meek and Roy and Geneva Whitley.
As the rest came rambling into the Firehouse Cafe and Market, we heard their tale of woe before they opened their envelope. It seems that George and Chris wanted to see Skyline Drive; Dwight and Sue Johnson and Herb and Susan Lamberton enjoyed driving lost around Louisa county, Chris, our newest member, and his friend wandered into Richmond before joining us for lunch. We understand that Kendall and Susan Tarkington called two hours after the rally started to say they were still on page one of rally instructions. Richard and Josephine Owens are still learning on how to get around Richmond, let alone the back roads to Orange County.
For once, the Marchand's came in first after 5 years of doing these rallies. The prizes were most apropos because they were jack-o-lanterns filled with candy.
As we were ready to leave the parking lot, we were told that most of the drivers drove miles out of their way, got lost and had to open their envelopes JUST TO LET US WIN.
Our sincere thanks to Charlie and Genie for all the work in planning and putting this rally together. As we have said before, you folks wrote the book on how to run a Picture Rally. A great rally, and a great Miata day.
A late news bulletin has just come in which indicates that no one has filed for divorce.
Ron and Sally Marchand
Gimmick Rally, September 25, 1999
CLUELESS... a word that will NEVER be used to describe our Club, especially after our recent event! On Saturday, September 25, Bob and Sue Dail and Greg and I hosted a "gimmick rally" taking us through the Middle Peninsula and ending up at the Dails' home in Gloucester. Bob and I developed clues (some pretty good, others requiring expertise in mind reading) for sights along the route. The member with the most correct answers would win, with prizes going to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. As you can imagine, this placed an enormous amount of pressure on the navigators who, as usual, came through with flying colors AND no threats of divorce.
Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous top-down day as the cars started to gather at Garden Ridge. Unfortunately some of our members were missing in action - some were in Florida and Genie and Charlie were in Paris (FRANCE) having chosen that over Bena. (I know, we couldn't believe their choice either!) Greg and I were responsible for the first leg of the trip and would distribute the "clues" and see everyone off. The route would lead them down Route 60, over to West Point, on to Saluda, Mathews and finally ending up at Bob and Sue's in Gloucester where we would have a light lunch, relax and enjoy their waterfront home. George and Chris, Richard and Jo, and Wanda and Dale were first on the scene and ready to roll (obviously not a competitive bone in this group). Greg and I pulled in and were quickly followed by Ron and Sally, Mary and Gary, and Carlton and his son, Carly, our newest members. Wisely we had planned our rendezvous at Garden Ridge BEFORE they opened for business so the trip would not be delayed while some of us shopped. We had also gotten word that members from the new Tidewater Club would be joining us around 9:00 or 9:15.
At 9:00 we're just about ready to start sending cars off when we got a call that the Tidewater group was about 20 minutes away. We had no problem with this EXCEPT trying to answer the phone. You see, Greg and I have a cell phone but had NEVER received a call on it. And since it didn't have a "talk" button, we couldn't figure out how to answer the stupid thing. Luckily a club member came to our rescue and we were able to take the call. (Now mind you, we are the same ones who helped develop clues for this trip. Any wonder why the club members were starting to look a little fearful and concerned?)
We began launching cars every 2-3 minutes. George and Chris (the last of our group) had just left the parking lot when we got another call from the Tidewater group. Quite competent now in answering our phone, we took the call and found out that they were at the Mazda Distribution Center (how appropriate) right in front of Garden Ridge. About this time, they saw George and knew they were in the right place. I'm not sure who was happier to see whom - we were thrilled that they had made it and they were simply glad to have finally reached their destination. They had four cars, Phil Bazanni who had joined us for our James River event, Jane and Herb, Sandy and Tom, and Fred Donour. As we explained the event, it became evident that you really needed a navigator on this trip. So since Phil and Fred did not have navigators, they decided to stay together as a group with Phil and Fred sandwiched in between the others. This was fine and we sent them off en masse.
Greg and I then headed down Route 60 and caught up with the Tidewater group at MacDonald's in Bottoms Bridge (which was the first good place for a pit stop and one more breakfast). The Tidewater group was hanging in there (of course, they were only 15 minutes into a 2-1/2 hour trip, but we liked their spirit and determination). They headed out on the more scenic Route 249, while we hit I64 to West Point on a fast track to beat the first car to Bob and Sue's. We cut through to 17 and arrived at Bob and Sue's about one-half hour before the first car arrived (appropriately driven by our President and First Lady).
A gorgeous day, beautiful countryside -- EXCEPT everyone was too busy answering the 93 clues to notice! (smile) As members started arriving, they were noticeably happy to have actually ended up at the right spot and were delighted to be able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful York River view and the wonderful food Sue had prepared. Who needs to go to Bena for lunch when you have Sue's "light" refreshments. YUM!
While everyone relaxed and ate, I was busily grading papers. (Bob, known for missing starting points, somehow never found his way to the table to help me grade!) We had not made it easy for anyone, but it was amazing to see how many correct answers everyone got. Even those who were totally unfamiliar with the area did well! And either we have members who are extraordinary mind readers, or they've proven that they're just as weird as Bob and I in their thinking (now that's scary). Despite Carly's "help", I was soon able to announce the winners. Amazingly, third place really did go to Carlton and Carly, our newest members; second place went to Wanda and Dale, our next newest members, and first place went to (who else) George and Chris, our oldest (er....as in long term) members. Thanks to all who participated -- you were great sports and really worked hard on this trip.
While everyone else relaxed, Roy and I were busy plotting to build houses on Bob's pier. Neither one of us needs much -- huge windows, one or two rooms, comfortable chairs, NO PHONES OR COMPUTERS, and we're there. I'm starting construction next week; Roy had better get busy.
Later in the afternoon, we decided to ride into Bena to check out their seafood festival called the Guinea Jubilee. Lots of local crafts and vendors. I was particularly interested in the oyster tonging contest. Without the aid of water, contestants climbed onto a 20-foot high platform (didn't check the height, but trust me, it was really high) with oyster tongs and had to see how many oyster shells they could haul up within a certain time frame. Now this sounds pretty easy, but these tongs are 20 feet long and oyster shells are not lightweight. Even in the water, this has got to be a hard job and my hat goes off to the watermen. They work long and hard to bring us the seafood we enjoy so much.
Carly, obviously still on a high from winning, decided to get his hair painted. He went from a wonderful brown to a lovely (only if you're a frog) fluorescent green with orange dots. Now if that didn't turn the heads of the young ladies, what else would! I took a picture, but I realized I should have gotten a "before" picture since we're not sure the paint will ever wash out. Oh well, the green won't clash too much with the car!
We had whiled away so much time at the Dails' that most of us had to head back home or we really were going to have to sleep on Bob's pier.
We were delighted that the Tidewater members could join us for this event and we hope our two clubs will be able to participate in future events together. You did great, guys, especially since you did not know the area and it was your very first gimmick event. We were impressed!
And on behalf of the Club, a very special thank you to Bob and Sue for having us all down and for being such gracious hosts. The food was absolutely delicious and the view - well, it doesn't get much better than that!
Q: What's topless, beautiful, fun, reliable, turns people's eyes, and floats over the water?
A: A Miata (preferably mine) firmly planted on the Dails' pier!
Why couldn't all the clues have been this easy!!!!
Article by Bertha Stevens, known locally as Club scribe, ace navigator, Amazonian, and exaggerator of all things!
Lee's Retreat, August 21, 1999
Lee'S Rear Guard, (The Mighty "MIATA RIDERS"
You know, the Civil War may have ended a little differently if the current troop of Miata Riders had arrived just a teeny bit earlier to augment Lee's floundering troops. Saturday, August 14, 1999, 9:00 a.m., saw the Riders assembling at Sutherland Station in Petersburg with recruits coming from nearby Richmond and outlying counties. There were a total of 14 combat vehicles to lead the siege with the infamous General George Ferrell in command. He had done an outstanding job putting together the rules of war, detailed maps of the area, written descriptions and instructions, and an audio tape of "mission" instructions (should we choose to accept them) which would lead us every step of the way. My guess is that Lee's other generals were not half as prepared and were therefore suffering the consequences.
The Miata Riders were comprised of the following highly trained combat personnel: Chris Kearns, sharpshooter out of Connecticut and navigator for General Ferrell during this seige; scouts Herb and Susan Lamberton who pretended to be interested in furniture sales as a cover for their surveillance forays; expert range rover Rodger Connelly who had been trained in the wilds of North Carolina; highly skilled directional guides Bob and Joanne Meek, war veterans and combat vehicle tire experts Dwight and Sue Johnson; assault transportation experts Genie and Charlie Passut; front line infiltrators Susan and Kendall Tarkington; the Chinese fire drill team of Pat and Lou "keep 'em confused" Guthrie; strategists Josephine and Richard Owens who had recently received training from the rough and ready troops of Pennsylvania; wartime negotiators Roy and Geneva Whitley; raw recruits Dale and Wanda Durant; and finally world famous trailblazer Greg Stevens accompanied by veteran war chronicler Bertha Stevens. The Riders were not without officials of international fame either -- President Marchand and First Lady Sally, and Vice President Faltin and Mrs. VP Mary, all decidedly adding a bit of class to this otherwise roughshod group of wilderness warriors. The enemy was surely shaking in their boots!
Before beginning the siege, we decided to spend one last gentile moment touring Sutherland Station which is owned by the Osger's family. James Osger, our guide, was absolutely wonderful, extremely entertaining, knowledgeable AND could talk the socks off the enemy within two minutes or less. Without knowing it, he immediately became one of our secret weapons - woe to the enemy who came too near! Sutherland Station had been taken over earlier by some of Lee's troops as a hospital and we could see the horrors of war on the hardwood floors and from the tools left behind. This only fired us up more and we were chomping at the bit to head into battle. Following the house tour [which we highly recommend], we headed out to our combat vehicles, plugged in our "mission" tapes and drove off in the direction of Lee's other regimens. To confuse the enemy, we broke up into several groups each having its own unique strategy (i.e., "furniture hunting", "how fast can we get to the next stop", and "let's play it by the book and hit every stop but in somewhat random order").
The weather was on our side - a slightly overcast day in the 80's. General Ferrell had planned well in launching the siege on a perfect top down day. The various groups headed out through southside Virginia following Lee's Retreat, stopping briefly at such places as Namozine Church, Amelia Court House, Jetersville, Amelia Springs, Hillsman House, Lockett House, Double Bridges, Rice's Depot, Farmville, Cumberland Church, High Bridge, and Clifton -- and we never did see the first rebel soldier (they had obviously gotten more of a head start than we thought).
Knowing that this was going to be a long trek, General Ferrell had wisely planned several stops for us to replenish our rations. We were luckier than Lee's advance troops - we found food and drink, they did not (having no doubt marched through in the wee hours of the morning before McDonald's opened).
First Lieutenant Guthrie was leading our small group through the countryside at a fast clip determined to reach Lee's other troops before lunch. However, believing they could get us there faster, speedsters Dwight and Sue Johnson mutinied and took over command of our group. We were flying when all of a sudden we came upon an enemy roadblock (disguised as police, but we knew they were really Yankees). Silently thankful that we were not in uniform, we quickly pulled out our fake Union ID's which fooled them completely and we were allowed to move on. Close call, but after all, we are an ingenious group and highly skilled in the art of confusion and deception.
We were the first group to pull into Appomattox Court House (was there any doubt) and found General Ferrell and Chief Navigator Kearns waiting for us with civil war music blaring away in their tape deck. They rushed to let us know that Lee had surrendered just a tad earlier. This was a relief since we were now very hungry and wanted to eat instead of fight. We waited for the rest of the Miata Riders but, when they didn't show, we assumed they had been captured. So, knowing we could go after them later, we headed into town in search of a recommended local restaurant only to find it closed. We ended up at Subway's and chowed down on some great subs. When we had almost finished eating, to our amazement and delight, in pulls the rest of our troops. They had stopped off in Farmville to eat (not having the stamina to keep going that we had had) and then had leisurely ambled their way to the Court House knowing that they would catch up with us eventually. A fine help they would have been had Lee not surrendered!!
General Ferrell earned another star for this expedition. He did an excellent job planning the siege and providing historical commentary throughout. It was a grand day of history, espionage, a chase through beautiful countryside, and camaraderie among the troops. And it was truly a great feeling to stand on the ground at Appomattox Court House where the Nation was reunited - both on the battle field and at a nearby sub shop!
Natural Bridge And Beyond, June 19, 1999
What's multicolored, long and slithers through the woods?...
That's easy... it's the CVMC Miata train heading for Natural Bridge. It's Saturday, June 19, and Miatas from all over the city are converging on the K-Mart in Midlothian before heading out over some of the loveliest and best Miata roads in the State of Virginia. It was a perfect top-down morning confirming once again that Ron and Sally, our trip leaders, had important connections in high places. They had also worked out every detail down to perfectly spaced pitstops (now that's talent). In other words, the day was a ten in every sense of the word. As a matter of fact, we even had ten Miatas comprising the train -- the largest number at an event in some time. And what made this so nice was that we had almost as many new members represented as old members. The mighty ten included:
Ron and Sally Marchand, our fearless and able leaders; Dwight and Sue Johnson, filling in for George by bringing up the rear of the train and doing a fine job (the Club will be delighted to know that they did not experience a single tire problem the whole trip - another record); Charlie and Genie Passut, with Charlie anxious to demonstrate his autocross skills on the mountain roads and Genie with her prayer beads; Rodger Connelly, not a member yet but who automatically qualifies because he ended up driving twice as many miles as anyone else; Bob and Joanne Meeks in their beautiful Monteago Blue (just the name conjures up tropical images); Kendall and Susan Tarkenton, new members on their very first trip; Roy and Geneva Whitley, more new members on their very first trip; Bob and Jackie Shaw, with Bob showing a lot of excitement about driving the mountain roads too, and Jackie who was sorry to discover she had forgotten her prayer beads; Anne Evers, one of our newer members, whom, we soon discovered, had a fetish for traffic circles; and Greg and Bertha Stevens, sans parrots, and thrilled to finally be able to participate in a Club event this year.
The train headed out Route 60 through the beautiful rolling countryside of Powhatan and beyond. At our first pitstop, Rodger began his whirlwind excursions into the bush. Having been up since 3:00 a.m. and having not had very much to eat, he headed out ahead of us to find a fast food place for breakfast and CafFeeeeine. He must have driven 20 miles before finding a place to satisfy his hunger and actually came back to meet the train before we had gone too far. This happened several more times throughout the trip which is how he managed to clock more miles than anyone else. He was amazing.
Greg and I were in the middle of the pack since we had a radio (not that it worked, but it was a radio). Anyway, we ended up following Kendall and Susan for awhile and got to witness Susans amazing display of skill and agility, hanging up and over the car to take pictures of the train behind them. This is when we realized she was really a stunt cameraman for John Lucas! And Kendall was a stunt driver managing to hug the turns in such a way so as not to launch her into orbit. Cant wait to see those pictures.
Next we came upon the quiet little country town of Amherst. As a matter of fact, this was one of Rodgers stops on an earlier side trip. Anyway, one would never guess that this little country town with one fast food store, a post office and a gas station would have a traffic circle. And this was the downfall of Anne.... not able to control herself, she swung into the traffic circle with such vigor that she couldn't pull out of it. She went around six or seven times before one of the locals, taking pity on this city slicker, let her out. Still dazed by the excitement of cruising the circle at mach 2, she reluctantly joined the more sedate train as we made our way into the Shenandoah Valley. Routes 11 and 130 have to be some of the most beautiful roads in Virginia, and they're absolutely perfect for Miatas. If the other drivers looked like Greg navigating these roads, they were all sporting smiles wider than their cars. It was a thrill just being the ace navigator.
Although I am a native Virginian and have lived here my entire life, I had somehow managed to miss Natural Bridge. It has grown into quite an attraction with a wax museum, caverns and a huge gift shop. But I was not prepared for the beauty of the actual bridge. The pictures I had seen did ot begin to do it justice -- its enormous. A trail runs under the bridge where you can watch beautiful rainbow trout swimming languidly in the pools (of course no one thought to bring a rod and reel). The trail then takes you by a Saltpeter Cave which was mined during the War of 1812 for the production of gunpowder and other explosives. Beyond the cave you come to the Lost River; a stream coming out of rock from some unknown source. During 1812 workmen blasted tons of rock from the opening trying to discover the origin of the river, but never did. The trail ends at pretty Lace Falls. Dwight and Sue and Greg and I were hiking this path at a pretty good pace, but we were only halfway through when Bob and Joanne and Kendall and Susan met us coming back down, having already made their way to the falls and back. Man, they hike like they drive -- FAST!
Legend has it that the Monocan Indians believe the Natural Bridge is a gift from God. The Monocans were being pursued by Shawnee and Powhatans. Hoping to make their escape, the peaceable Monocans discovered a huge canyon blocking their way. On their knees, they called upon the Great Spirit, and when they raised their heads they beheld the great stone bridge and were able to escape. From that time on they worshipped Natural Bridge as the Bridge of God.
We left Natural Bridge and headed to Lexington and lunch. Although Ron and Sally tried to make reservations they could not, but luck was with us once again. When we arrived, their meeting room had been cleared and it didn't take them any time to get it ready for us. The waitress was excellent, the service was fast, and the food was good. Ron, never one to sit idly by when he has everyones attention, decided to have an impromptu meeting. After describing an optional leg of the trip, everyone decided to go for it. So what if this turned into an overnighter!
After eating, we stopped just outside Lexington to visit the largest indoor equestrian arena around. It was beautiful and they were having a show that day. We watched for awhile and then went outside for one of our Geographic moments. Backing all of the cars up so that the mountains were in the background, we hailed a gentleman who was kind enough to take pictures for us. Back in the cars, we headed up to Goshens Pass. The scenery is gorgeous with the road following a rock strewn stream (say that fast three times) through beautiful mountains and more Miata roads. Everyone said that this would be a great trip in the fall.
By now we have driven as far north as we can go and still get back to Richmond before sunrise, so reluctantly we head back. It wasn't too long after this that Greg called for a pitstop; however, our radio, which had been working intermittently up until now, picked this time to die altogether. Knowing the route home and very anxious to get to a town, we were surprised to see the Miata train go right past the exit. Greg and I had no clue where they were going but we knew we weren't following. So we took off on our own and headed for home and a pitstop. We were cruising pretty fast as you can imagine and were a considerable distance down the road when in our rear view mirror we see a long line of Miatas. Could it be? At about that same time, they were all back there looking at this lone red Miata wondering if could be Greg and I and then passing it off as impossible. What a surprise when they caught up with us and found Greg and I waving them on (so we could take our rightful place back in the middle of the pack). We made it to a pitstop much to everyones delight -- I mean, Rodger needed more food and CafFeeeeine by now. We lost Roy and Geneva who opted to take a quicker route home having been with these crazies long enough for one day. However, the rest of us headed back on Route 60 and made it to Midlothian just in time for dinner. Pigging out on ribs and barbecue at great little local restaurant (pun intended), we recounted the days adventures. It was unanimous -- Ron and Sally had done an outstanding job planning this trip, the countryside and roads were magnificent, the weather was perfect, and the camaraderie shared by all was wonderful. This will go down as an event to remember.
Perhaps Thomas Jeffersons words describing Natural Bridge can be used to describe this event, It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime to be felt beyond what they are here..., the rapture of the spectator is really indescribable!
Another View From A New Member—Natural Bridge Road Trip
Saturday, June 19, 1999 marked my very first road trip with the Central Virginia Miata Club. And what a trip it was! Ron and Sally Marchand planned a perfect day. The day was very long (about twelve hours), but was well worth it.
Ten cars ventured out that day, meeting at the K-Mart in Midlothian. Our numbers included Ron and Sally of course, with Dwight and Sue Johnson, Charlie and Genie Passut, Greg and Bertha Stevens, Rodger Connelly, Bob and Joanne Meeks, Kendall and Susan Tarkenton, Roy and Geneva Whitley, Bob and Jackie Shaw, and Anne Evers.
We started our trek west on Route 60, stopped for a short break, then headed for the mountains. In Buena Vista we were treated to the "beautiful view" at an overlook. It was the first of many lovely spots.
The "Miata Roads" along the Skyline Drive were full of excitement. The challenge was in negotiating the switchbacks - a curve in the road - downshift turn right turn left accelerate another curve in the road... even better than a roller coaster!
Late in the morning we came upon Natural Bridge. The view in the area is spectacular. The Bridge itself is a quarter-mile walk from the Visitor's Center, and is quite a sight. George Washington surveyed the bridge, and it was even possible to see his initials (and the date of 1883) carved into the mountain face - with a pair of binoculars. The mountain streams were pleasant, and filled with fish. It was a cool respite from the heat of the day.
After shopping at the gift shops, we headed for Lexington and lunch at a family restaurant known for its hearty, tasty fare. The manager obligingly cleared a banquet room for us, and we hungrily attacked our repast.
Ron and Sally had prepared a surprise for us - a visit, after lunch, to the Lexington Equestrian Center. There we visited the main ring and enjoyed a small part of a competition. While in the parking area, we were able to take several group photos of the Miatae and their owners.
We made a side trip up to Goshen, chasing up and down more "Miata Roads" in the process. The countryside in the far western part of the Commonwealth is beautiful. We were early enough in the season that visibility was excellent - that blue mountain haze made of moisture from the vast forest had yet to blanket the horizon.
On back to Lexington, a stop for gas and drinks, and we headed for the Capitol City. We undertook a few more turns along the Made-For-Miatas Skyline Drive, then back onto Route 60, we retraced our steps (tire tracks?) Pleasantly tired, folks drifted off toward home.
Big Birthday Bash, Dallas Texas, May 6-9, 1999
North and South Meet West
Underwhelmed by the prospect of 1400 miles of interstate, George and I decided to take a scenic detour on the way to the Miata World '99 Birthday Bash. Outside of Nashville we picked up the Natchez Trace Parkway. This lovely road meanders through Tennessee and Mississipi, closely following the route of the old Natchez Trace which was originally used by native Americans and settlers to travel between Nashville and Natchez. There are numerous stops along the parkway where you can get a sense of what life was like in those primitive times, walk or drive along sections of the original Trace, see Indian Burial Mounds, or just commune with nature. There are even stops euphemistically called "overlooks", but the concept of actually looking OVER something does not apply since the highest point along the Trace was 603 feet. It's an interesting ride, and worth a detour should you be in the area. We also made stops at Shiloh and Vicksburg battlefields, and Poverty Point Indian Mounds. We even met a couple from Virginia at Shiloh who were also on their way to Dallas.
As we crossed into Texas we were greeted by pouring rain and hail. Those stones sure sound like they're going to rip right through the soft top! Fortunately, no dents in the hood. Dallas at rushhour is something to be avoided, traffic on 635 going from 60 to 20 in the blink of an eye. George managed to outmaneuver them all, and we finally found the hotel. I thought I heard a BIG sigh of relief from the driver's side when we pulled into the parking lot, but I was too busy trying to pry my fingernails loose from the dashboard to comment. It seemed we weren't the only earlybirds, the very first miata we spotted just happened to belong to CVMC's southernmost members, Dewaine and Molly Norris!
Festivities were to begin Thursday at noon, when registration opened. We spent some time prowling the parking lot, checking out the cars, greeting friends as they rolled in. There was a special area set aside just for miatae, and it sure was a sight to behold. We registered and got our goody bags, purchased some event pins, and headed out to the non-event event, a picnic held at White Rock Lake Park. We joined several other cars, from Nutmeg and other clubs, and hit the dreaded 635 again. After some confusion, separation and non-regulation navigation we found Schlotsky's Deli and stopped for lunch, then on to the gathering at the lake for some socializing and car-gazing.
The evening's festivities started with a get-together for founders and presidents, past and present, of MCA chapters. After some brief comments from Vince Tidwell and Dianne Vanderhaar, each of us was presented with a certificate of appreciation and lapel pin. George had stepped out of the room to see Barbara Beach about the yearbooks. Vince called out his name just as George opened the door. The look on his face was priceless as he tried to figure out why everyone was calling out "There's George!" and urging him toward the front of the room. We then joined the rest of the party-goers in the main room to hear about the schedule of events and socialize for the rest of the evening.
All of the days' activities, with the exception of the Road Rally and Scavenger Hunt took place at the Texas Motor Speedway, which is where we headed Friday morning. Not being signed up for track events meant we didn't have to be there at (or before!) the crack of dawn every day. We spent quite a bit of time Friday and Saturday strolling the vendor midway. The advantage in having been to several national events is that you're not tempted to buy everything you see, especially since you've probably bought most of it previously anyway. Most of our favorite vendors were there, and the dent and ding guy was doing a booming business both days. I did break down and purchase some horn button bumps from Joe Portas, who did the CVMC nametags. We also spent some time watching the Hot Laps and Autocross, and checking out the Zymol Concourse.
Lunches were served in the Winston Garage, which was so spotless it's hard to attach the word "garage" to it. Cars had been parked outside the track for the "I LOVE MOM" card on Friday, and we enjoyed watching the helicopter flying around taking shots of it and the activities on the track as we ate. It looked like they were having great fun, following cars around the track and swooping down low in the infield. I'd love to have a copy of that tape!
Dinner Friday was at the Austin Dude Ranch. Due to lack of available parking we all boarded buses for the short trip. It was good to leave the driving to someone else for a little while. The Dude Ranch was at a lovely spot, it even had its own lake to stroll by. (Although I did hear that the Texas mosquitos were the size of hummingbirds, and as hungry as the rest of us were.) After food there was a contest for the best Western dress, which was won by a cowgirl wearing authentic chaps and 7 guys from RAGS wearing 50 gallon foam cowboy hats. There were prizes aplenty given out, and a band for dancing afterwards.
We finally managed to make contact with Dewaine and Molly, and got together to take some pictures. With CT, FLA and VA represented, I think CVMC was the largest contingent in Dallas, covering the whole eastern seaboard... even if we only were 4 people!
Saturday night was the one we were all waiting for, of course. The birthday party and BIG CAR GIVEAWAY. After a delicious Tex-Mex buffet and birthday cake, and some very entertaining talks, we got down to business. All entries were handled by an outside accounting firm, whose representative loaded all of the envelopes into a bin and mixed them up. The winning envelope was chosen and we were all told to stand. Then groups of numbers were told to sit back down. We managed to remain standing until the last 30, and I must admit I was starting to get a LITTLE nervous. Probably would have been a basket case if we made it to the last 10! The winning couple just happened to be from Dallas. At least they didn't need to worry about shipping the car home. It was an exciting night, and handled very well.
Sunday morning was the parade laps and group picture, followed by a Farewell Brunch and event wrap up. Awards were given to the winners of the various events, and lots more prizes were given away. I don't know how many sets of tires and replacement tops were given out, but it was impressive.
It's always a little sad when these events come to a close, you've waited so long for them to happen and they go by so fast. It's great seeing so many familiar faces time after time, almost like having a family reunion. I eagerly look forward to the next one, should any chapter be brave enough to tackle it.
I've only been to Texas, but I feel like I've been around the world on this trip. I've seen the Parthenon, a Pyramid, Indian Burial Mounds, battlefields, a flock of ostriches, a bevy of bison, a clump of camels, birds I've never seen before, an Arkansas razorback, and let us not forget the ubiquitous possom-on-the-halfshell. What more could a gal ask for??
Thanks, Lone Star!!
In Search Of The Govenor's Cup, October 24, 1998
The Governor's Cup — FOUND!
Saturday dawned clear and warm, and the sun was brilliant as six Miata's gathered at Ukrops to head for the mountains. Lou and Pat planned the event and apparently had some great connections with the person in charge of weather because it was a PERFECT fall day. The group consisted of Lou and Pat, our leaders; Mary and Gary; Ron and Sally; Charlie and Genie; Greg and I; and George and Chris (Chris having come down from the Nutmeg Chapter in Connecticut just for this trip - yeah, right). Ron, not to be one to shirk his presidential responsibilities, passed out a Pre-Rally Agreement to all participants before the start of the trip. It had some very good points like "No fighting or use of four-letter words", "Disputes will be settled by the event leader", and "The driver will heed the advice of the navigator" - my personal favorite!
We discovered that everyone had brought cameras so, before starting out, we had one of what was to be many National Geographic moments. We even had a Ukrops customer volunteer to take a couple of pictures of the whole group! Cameras finally put away, we headed west on Route 6 toward our first stop at the Afton Mountain Vineyard. The drive through the countryside was peaceful and beautiful. Not sure which was more colorful - the trees or the Miata's - even though the three "red's" were relegated to the back of the pack (where is Donna, the Club's color coordinator, when you need her)! George came in on the radio claiming to have seen a "herd of wild turkeys" on the side of the road. Chris, his navigator, did confirm that she had seen a wild turkey; however, we believe she was referring to the driver of her car!
Ever read the names of the roads and farms as you drive along? If not, you should; it's fun. Each one conjures up its own unique vision, like Ant Hill Farm, Summer Wind, Hardware River (never did find the Software River), Dixie, Secretarys Sand, Fiddle Top, Break Heart Road, The Rockery, Fields of Boaz, ... Jimmy's Bottom!
Afton Mountain Vineyard is very quaint and very nice. It is owned and run by a husband and wife who have been in business for 10 years. We sampled and purchased wine and then went on a short tour of the only cave cellar in Virginia. It was quite a feat getting into the cave since they had parked a full barrel of fermenting wine in front of the door. We had to file in one at a time which sounds easy until you try to coordinate your movements with the door and the people on the other side. Thank goodness we handle our cars better than we did this maneuver! Once in, it really was interesting to hear how each type of wine was made and I was amazed at the cost of the oak barrels alone (those from France cost $600; barrels from the US were $200-300). The owner told us that there had been an Italian wine maker whom he consulted when setting up his business. When he asked the man about the difference in the cost of the oak barrels from France vs. the US, he was told that there are virtually no forests left in France. Therefore, the French barrels had to cross the Atlantic twice! Which barrels would YOU buy?
We were ready for more pictures, so the owner told us to drive down to his house (a beautiful Spanish style home) where we could turn around easily and then come back up the narrow road and park in a curve which would give us a great shot of the vineyard AND the cars. This we did, only this time we put the tops down. What a sight - good enough to be on the cover of the Miata Magazine I'll bet! While we were running all over the fields snapping pictures from every angle imaginable, we were joined by neighbors of Pat and Lou (Diane and Robert Cottrell). Although they don't own a Miata, their car was red which was good enough for us. And was I surprised to see Diane who has worked with me at Hunton and Williams for years. It really is a small world - geez, can't escape these people even in the mountains of Virginia!
Tops still down, we tore ourselves away from the vineyard and headed over the mountain to Waynesboro to Pat's Place, better known as the P. Buckley Moss Museum. Another beautiful place which was enjoyed by everyone. I guess it's a good thing we were in the Miata's which naturally limited the size and number of prints we could purchase (although I suspect our pocketbooks were the real limiting factor here). Oh, and the wooden rocking chairs on the verandah were wonderful. The thought of tying them onto the backs of the cars was entertained by more than one person.
By now, everyone was starving (must have been all that wine), so we headed into town to The Broad Street Inn. This was a great little place to eat and the service was fine. A couple of teens handled our table and, even though they don't handle large groups like ours very often, they never got flustered and thought it was really cool that we all had the same types of cars. That's when we explained what the Miata Club was. Lou is probably breathing a sigh of relief that I didn't mention the side tour we took of a Waynesboro subdivision on our way to the inn! Don't worry, Lou, it was a very nice subdivision. And we particularly liked the time spent waiting for the traffic to lighten up so that we could all pull out onto the road. For a moment there, we thought this had turned into an overnighter!
Tops still down, we headed back over Afton and through Crozet to the White Hall Vineyard. This place was large and a nice contrast to the smaller vineyard we had visited that morning. It was also the recipient of the 1998 Governor's Cup. The road leading in passed the house which was just a little smaller than the Biltmore in Ashville NC. It was magnificent to say the least. Turning onto the road leading to the winery we saw a painter with her oils engrossed in capturing the beauty of the season. Even some of the grapevines, usually green, were bright red with color. We took our time entering the winery wanting to savor all of the beautiful sights around us, and of course, take more pictures. We had fun sampling ALL of their wine; the guy helping us was very good at describing each wine and how it was made. Very interesting. Naturally we purchased more wine; it's amazing how many bottles will fit into the trunk of a Miata. Has this ever been tried for The Guinness Book? If not, we may be on to something here.
Back outside in the glow of the late afternoon sun (or was it the glow from the wine), we took more pictures and plotted our course back to Richmond. I know there were at least 4 people who whipped out their trusty Road Atlas to help select a route home. We decided on the same route back -- Route 6 - and one more look at Jimmy's Bottom!
Our thanks to Pat and Lou for doing such an outstanding job on this event. Thinking back on the day and the painter we saw, I wish I could somehow paint the day for you in words, but there is just no way this simple writer can capture the beauty of this trip or the camaraderie we all shared. You'll just have to trust me on this one and join us for the next great event.
Miata Mountain Madness, June 30-July 3, 1998
The CVMC contingent of Sue and I, George and "Nutmeg chapter" CVMC rep Chris headed off to the Poconos the end of June for the Del-Val Chapter Miata Mountain Madness national event. The was truly an international happening with representatives from as far west as California, as far south as Florida, Louisiana and Texas, and from across the Atlantic from Germany and Holland! There were 250+ cars registered, a great turnout, which provided a lot of variation in cars, modifications, colors, speed and people.
Chris and George left early and enjoyed a scenic and leisurely drive. Sue and I left on Tuesday, June 30th and had a boring run up the interstate to the Poconos. The arrival was well organized with parking set up for "Miatas" and "Non-Miatas", registration was well manned with Del-Val folks to answer questions, and the participants could sign up for hot laps, funcana, the Mission Impossible Rally, scenic drives and white water rafting. The welcome bag was a nice yellow carry bag with the MMM insignia and was filled with neat Miata stuff - T-shirts, pins, stickers, temporary tattoos, area information and event descriptions. The Split Rock Lodge was a great location right on Lake Harmony. That evening we had a BBQ with music at the lake ending with a fireworks display. That evening was quite chilly with a few sprinkles (Sue edit - it was a downpour) and breezes that had us wondering about the weather for the rest of the week, but it turned out to be perfect top down weather for the whole event.
Elsewhere in the newsletter Sue tells you about her encounter with a non-Miata driver a week before our trip to the Poconos. A squirrel was involved in the "melee" and that first evening at MMM Chris presented Sue with "Nuts" - a Beanie Baby squirrel which has become a fixture in our Miata.
The next day we started out on vendor alley and got some new toys for our car and drooled over a 99 on display. It was neat because they had the whole car tilted or racked up on the drivers side with body panels removed so you could see more than just a car on the lot. There were quite a few new 99's at the event. I think the 99's are a great improvement to the line while keeping the original design current. They are a great looking car.
We went on the Mission Impossible rally which was a load of fun and lasted about four hours. The clues were great, easy in some cases, tricky in others and terrific scenery all over. CNN was there for the start of the event -- actually there were so many cars, the "start" was spread over the morning with launches every few minutes. CNN did a nice piece on the event which described how crazy we are about our cars. Chris and George represented CVMC and Nutmeg with great finesse -- they won the Mission Impossible Rally. With probably 150 participants, that's great! They got a very nice trophy, a prize of some Butterfly luggage especially designed for the Miata, and lots of cheers at the awards ceremony.
The second evening was a 265 Miata caravan to a German Restaurant where we had good food, drink, live music and comraderie. It was outside under a large tent, lots of colors and a lot of fun. The individual chapters were able to show off a little club spirit and there was a lot of trading of club pins, club talk and Miata tales.
The last full day most folks did scenic drives and in the afternoon gathered at the Poconos Raceway for a group picture (lots of Miatas!) and parade laps. We were running late to the Raceway because we had gone into the town of Jim Thorpe where Sue found a sale at a very unusual dress shop and filled up what remaining space we had in the trunk! The town is very quaint with lots of shops, small eateries and points of interest that would encourage a casual tour through the town.
We were about the last car to show up for the group picture and through dumb luck we wound up next to George, Chris, Tom and Connie Manson and some other friends so we had fun while the cars were getting set up. After the picture we were sent out in groups for parade laps with lots of hoots, honks and waving. Oh - almost forgot - Reverend Jim performed a car and driver marriage ceremony for all 265 cars at the group picture which was really cute! We "promised" our cars we would give them lots of care, fun, accessories and top down days. What a hoot!
That evening was the red, white and blue banquet, lots of door prizes, speeches by Vince Tidwell (MCA Club), Tom Matano (Miata designer) and Del-Val personnel, and naturally food, music and dance. The next morning was an awards breakfast where all the winners were announced congratulations again to Chris and George) and more door prizes.
The greatest part of the event was being totally "immersed" in the Miata world for a few days. Meeting new people, seeing old friends, talking about the cars and clubs and seeing all the different things people have done with the Miata is what one of these events is all about. It never ceases to amaze me how warm and friendly an atmosphere exists at these national events. As with anything you get out of it what you put into it and more. Next year's event is in Texas and they are already signing up. The Texas folks plan to do it up big and I'm sure it will be fun.
All in all we had a ball! The Miata Mountain Madness event was about cars and drivers and Miata fun and emphasized that what we have is much, much more than just a car. It's friends, enthusiasm, shared interests, and good times with a great roadster.
Have fun with your Miata!
Scavenger Hunt, April 15, 1998
Hello Crown Mazda
Our Third Annual Scavenger Hunt got off to a very warm and friendly start at CROWN MAZDA. We were met by SANDY JOHNSON, Customer Satisfaction Director. Sandy welcomed us and graciously "volunteered" to help out with some of the items on the list. The scavengers had to get a business card from Sandy (and we encouraged her to make them work for it.) It certainly is a pleasure to work with Sandy.
While at CROWN MAZDA I spoke with GREGG HOCKETT, the Service Manager. He is interested in CVMC and CROWN being able to work together and help each other out. Ron Marchand also met with Greg. Greg had recently been at a Mazda Hilton Head Island meeting --- they had 35 Miatas cruising around. Great place for Miatas.
Thank you CROWN MAZDA for starting our scavenger hunt and we look forward to working with you in the future. I'd also like to thank GLEN PIER, Crown's General Manager, for supporting the efforts of our club.
Third Annual Scavenger Hunt
We had a small turnout for the scavenger hunt but we had a fun time. George and Chris, Ron and Sally, and we drafted our neighbors Bill and Cheryl (who drove Floptop) converged on Crown Mazda for our send off at 2:00 o'clock. We met Sandy Johnson there and put the club banner up and started snapping pictures. We drooled over the new Miatas and I guess we may need to get an audit of the books, rumor has it that our treasurer is looking at a brand new 99 Miata. She may be the first to make the big jump to the new model!!
At 2:00 we sent the folks off to harrass the West End and get very valuable stuff like a turnip with a bite out, a light bulb, a sword, a battery, a smile, a Big Mac box and other great stuff without buying anything. They had to be back at our house at 4:00 so they didn't have much time but made the most of it. We stopped of at a store on the way home and ran into George and Chris getting hair ( yep, that's right, it was on the list!). Everybody had to go back to Crown to get Sandy's business card and she was going to give them a hard time but actually she helped them find a few items. What a soft touch!
When the gang showed back up we lost our flag and my cigar band as the folks stormed into the house. These folks were really into it! Cheryl took another look at the list and saw both those things on it and made a last minute grab. George and Chris were the winners getting 38 of the 50 items, Ron and Sally came in a close second with 36 and Bill and Cheryl had 30. Prizes were awarded, bubbles were blown - we stopped off at the Dollar Store and went all out for prizes - and we settled down for a well deserved cookout.
The weather was perfect for top down fun and Crown was a great place to start our event from. It was fun hanging around all the new cars. Bill and Cheryl had so much fun they have already started on the list for next year!
Our "Almost Annual" Monterey Maple Festival Trip
March 14, 1998
Well, now the true eaters in our club can stand up and be counted -- all of you others are merely "wanna be's". Although the day was cold, Pat and John (our fearless leaders), Ron and Sally (both sick with colds), Bob Boyd (flying solo for the day), Greg and Bertha (first trip in a very long time), and our newest members, Pat and Lou Guthrey, turned out for the 3-hour ride to Monterey. Bob and Sue didn't make it, Bob having probably driven to the wrong Wal-Mart! And Dwight and Sue were missing in action, probably due to a flat tire (although he'd never admit it). Anyway, Pat, forever the consummate hostess, greeted everyone with a Frappacino for the trip. After insuring that everyone had HEAVY winter coats and gloves, we packed into the cars with our Frappacino and headed out on 250 West. Although Donna, our Color Coordination General, couldn't be with us, she would have been proud. Pat and John led off in red, followed by black, blue, black, and Greg and I in red brought up the rear. Although we were very uncomfortable as last car, since this is always George's responsibility, we carried out this dubious task as best we could. Unfortunately, George was at home wrestling a washing machine, and as we heard later, the washing machine won!
Going out 250 West is a beautiful, leisurely drive - really pretty country. We had been driving for awhile when Pat came on the radio and asked if I had seen the llama. Well, of course I hadn't and neither had anyone else, but John! I mean, really, Pat is always seeing strange, exotic animals, but it's amazing that ONLY John see's them too. A little later, Pat asked if we had seen the elephant on the porch. Hmmm-- And what was in her coffee that wasn't in ours.
As we got closer to Monterey, we started seeing patches of icy snow on the ground. The streams are absolutely beautiful with the water rushing over the rocks and icicles the size of javelins hanging from the cliffs - just like a postcard. And, of course, there are the REAL hairpin turns!!! What a thrill and what a perfect Miata road. As usual though, we were behind the steady stream of cars heading for the festival which makes it difficult to drive this road the way Miata drivers are meant to drive it. But nevertheless, it was fun and worth the trip.
As you come down off of a mountain, you run right smack into Monterey - Virginia's version of a small New England town. White houses, white church steeples, and the smell of country ham and maple donuts. (Hungry yet?) We parked the cars and headed for Main Street, and wouldn't you know it, it started to snow. Just flurries, but it added to the overall setting of this trip. Greg, of course, headed for the donut line and I headed for the shops to buy a hat - a very warm hat! Found one and was on my way. Greg seemed to be the only one who was willing to stand in line for donuts. Everyone else scattered to tour the shops and pick up food from the vendors along the street. I cruised around on my own for awhile and headed back to the donut line to wait with Greg. I picked up a country ham sandwich on the way, and, boy, was that good.
The wind had steadily picked up so that it was absolutely bitter. Unfortunately, Ron and Sally felt so bad that they decided to head back home. We hated to see them leave but this was no place to be when you're sick with a cold. Greg only had to wait in line for 1 hour and 10 minutes this year to get the world famous Ruritan Club donuts. They estimate that they sell 4500 dozen donuts over the two-weekend festival. I can't remember the amount of ingredients they use, but I do remember that part of the team gets up at 1:00 a.m. to start making the donuts. Unbelievable! Well, we're in line and almost up to the window when Pat, John and Bob come over eating a maple donut!! They said they went to the BACK DOOR where there were only 4 people in line!! Too bad someone didn't get a picture of our faces when we heard that. Anyway, the REAL story is that you can buy maple donuts in several places; however, they are the "cake" type and not the "yeast" type made by the Ruritans. Us donut connoiseurs know the difference and so elect to stand out in the bitter cold for hours to buy the "real thing".
Donuts in hand, maple syrup purchased, every food vendor visited, arts and crafts covered, we headed back - our destination, the Buckhorn Inn 12 miles west of Staunton. Since it was still even a little early for us to eat again, we stopped at McDowell down the road from Monterey which was having their own festival. We found a parking lot that was fairly empty with the mountains as a backdrop, and we knew it was time for a Miata picture moment. After checking everything out here, and having to pull Bob away from the popcorn (as if he could eat anything else), we headed back across the mountains and those wonderful hairpin turns.
We pulled into the Buckhorn Inn "just" ahead of two of five buses they were expecting that evening. This is really a neat place to eat - great buffet. Most of us passed the salad bar and headed straight for the serious food. Shrimp, country style steak, chicken and oysters to die for. How many trips did John and Greg make anyway? At any rate, we could still pack ourselves into the cars (barely) as we headed home. We drove back through Staunton and Greg and I got caught up in the detour. We enjoyed it so much, we went around for a second look. The others, knowing we would show up eventually, had stopped for us on the outskirts and were patiently waiting. This would NEVER have happened to George, but you must keep in mind that we're amateurs. We stopped for gas further on and Greg and I and Pat and Lou, obviously anxious to get home in time to fix a little supper, left the others and headed out on 64. I believe Pat and John were going back 250 to see if they could convince Bob that there really was a llama out there.
It was a great day, great companionship, a lot of fun, incredible roads, and great food (as usual). We appreciate Pat and John doing such an excellent job putting this together! Sorry the rest of you missed this one, but we hope to see you on the next outing! We'll make sure that Bob has directions to the right Wal-Mart, and we're hoping Dwight and Sue will have their tires under control by then! :>) [You will note that it doesn't pay to miss a function. You never know what will show up in print.]
Ronald McDonald Day, November 22, 1997
The gods must have said enough is enough with all this rain because as we met at Willow Lawn Saturday, the sun broke out and the sky was blue as could be.
Bob, Sue; John, Pat; Gene, Jeannie; Bill, Martha; and Ron and Sally met at 10:00 AM. We stood in the parking lot for about 1/2 hour and had time to chat with each other. About 10:30 we motored over to Ronald McDonald's to present our annual gift certificate from Ukrops. Larry was grateful to receive the certificate. He assured us that it would be put to good use for Thanksgiving Day.
As we were ready to leave, Larry took our group pictures as we stood on the front steps. A young boy named Scott wanted to have his picture taken in one of our Miatas...He had a choice of colors to sit in for the picture. Well he chose my black one. So with the top down and with my Miata hat on, Larry snapped two shots.... Hope they turn out.
We had about 2 hours to kill before lunch, so we motored down Rt 5 and stopped at the Richmond National Battlefield Park "Fort Harrison" site. After a short stay, we headed east on Rt 5 to lunch at Indian Fields. Our lunch was wonderful. Everyone enjoyed the food and the conversation. Bill, our waiter, was a true professional. Each couple had their own check...calculators were not needed as was the case at Kelly's.
After lunch Gene, Jeannie, Bill and Martha left to take care of business, like raking some leaves. The rest motored down to Williamsburg. As we entered Williamsburg, Bob and Sue waved goodbye and headed to Mathews for a good old fashioned country music show. We walked around Merchants Square and enjoyed the shops and people. They sure were Christmas shopping.
All in all, a great day. In closing I'd like to say the drive on Rt 5 was beautiful. One of the best in Virginia.
The Picture Rally, July 19, 1997
July 19 was the event of the summer. Charlie and Genie Passut did a great job again. But that's the Passut way, never miss an event done by these two.
Attending were Dwight and Sue; Bob and Sue; Ed and Brenda; Ron and Sally; Darrell and Kathy; Jim and Martha (their first event and outing with us) John and I. George was there to sent us off.
We met at the Golden Arches for breakfast at 8am. At breakfast Charlie and Genie came us instructions for the instructions. After extensive scrunity of this document I knew we were in for a good time. (Y)
The first car was off about 9:15, with the others following at timed intervals. After a few given directions to check out you tripometer, you were on your way with much anticipation. There were pages of four pictures each, only three of these pictures were related to each particular leg. Alas, remember a picture speaks a 1000 words. Also remember, you were given instructions and instructions for the instructions.
When we arrived in downtonn Amelia we saw two other Miata's going round and round downtown Amelia. My brilliant husband suddenly realized that when it said NRC, it meant NRC. Then we were on our way again. The next big clue was missing parts of the sign, but the Passut's had been there to make sure everyone was on route. (They were not there until everyone had passed though!) But being on a major state route we were feeling secure. (Ha) one of our group ended up in Green Bay, yes Virginia there is a Green Bay in Virginia.
Then there was a Picture of a few silos beside several barn type buildings. A left turn was required after this point. Remember the NRC, well we didn't, so a few extra miles where added at this point also. (Note: never listen to Bob Dail, and you think we should have known i.e. Wal-Mart)
Well into the rally, we've passed all bonus questions, we make a right turn noting the route number that we were on (we needed this answer for a bonus question), not the route number we turned onto. (This is another definate no no) Oh! Look a T intersection... which way do we go. I, on a gut feeling suggest a right turn. My Pilot does not question my feeling.
Until we have traveled several miles, then I start to hear noises i.e. "I'm not too sure about this!" and "Are you sure we were supposed to turn right? I'm all turned around, lost my sense of direction." (Like that would be of any help.) We were being followed by another Miata ralleyer, they were probably trusting us. The tension and pressure was on. We were on the last page of pictures, it dawned on me to look very closely...... deep into the pictures for a clue. Oh! Look a high tension power line tower in the picture. Oh! And there is one of those just up ahead. Relief was beginning to come over us. (We never really get lost, only misplaced sometimes) Sure enough we came out at just the right place.
We saw Charlie standing in the parking lot waiting for us. He was really a sight for sore eyes. Cleverly enough we had Lunch at Charley's in Farmville and we lost no one; all entrants showed. A great time was had by all. Several wives were heard saying "and I never even got yelled at!"
A BIG THANK YOU to Charlie and Genie for another super rally.
Frederick MD, April 19-20, 1997
We had a great time on the overnighter to Frederick, MD thanks to Tom, Connie and Amy Manson. Thanks also to CAM members Jeff and Sally Blackmer. They were gracious hosts and showed us terrific roads and interesting Civil War historic sights as well as good shopping areas in Frederick. The roads were great Miata roads and when the afternoon sun got warmer, the tops came off and we were ready to roll!
We stayed at The Catoctin Inn in Buckeystown and our thanks to Sarah, Terry, Lindsey and Megan for making us feel welcome. Its a friendly BandB and worth staying on our planning list. With the combination of roads, restaurants and fun people the basics are there for some Miatafun.
We had a great dinner at Griff's and enjoyed a good band, the leader of which sang, played the flute, sax,and clarinet and never lost his gum! How did he do that? And I know all the ladies liked Big Mac!
Tom and Connie, thank you for being the ultimate Miatahosts. We really enjoyed the trip. It was great to see Jerry and Lynne Long from PACE, Roy and Margaret Wagner from the Capital chapter and Chris Kearns, Marion and Pat Moll from Nutmeg (hope you all skipped the snow on the trip back).
It is always fun when we can get together with other clubs and share the road with them.
Dwight and Sue Johnson
Now, my idea of a "great ride" is going top down on a warm, sunny day, maneuvering through the twists and turns of some carefree, car free road through the countryside, catching the fragrance of the flowers, the sound of birdsongs. So when the rain changed to snow as I drove to Waterbury April 18th to meet Marion and Pat Moll, I was less than thrilled. We were on our way to Frederick, Maryland, to meet up with the Central Virginia Miata Club and join them on their ride. The snow stayed with us all the way to Brewster, NY. We had rain through New Jersey, but by the time we hit Pennsylvania the sun was out and the roads were dry, although it was too cold to drop the tops.
Marion and Pat had mentioned stopping at a Cracker Barrel, so when I saw one just off the highway I figured it was a shoo-in for dinner. We got off Rt 78, right into a tangle of traffic. So to go left, we turned right, made a turn around in a parking lot, and headed back across the traffic towards the restaurant. It was right there, we could see it, but there was no way we could get to it and somehow we found ourselves right back on 78! I decided to give it up and perhaps find another place not too far away. Sure enough, there was a sign for Cracker Barrel a few exits further. You could see the restaurant from the highway, with a nice, big road leading to it and no traffic. Off the highway again, two right turns, and there we were...at Wendy's. Actually, the restaurant was just up the road, and I had turned too early, but I was beginning to think Cracker Barrel had some sort of grudge against me. We had some good laughs over that one. Cracker Barrel is a neat place, with a super shop to browse through while you wait for your table. The food was good, homestyle cooking, reasonably priced and more than ample. The rest of the trip to Frederick was uneventful, and we pulled into the parking lot of the Hampton Inn at 9PM, not bad time considering the bad weather we started out with.
We left Hampton Inn about 9AM Saturday to meet with CVMC at the Catoctin Inn, a lovely Bed and Breakfast just up the road in Buckeystown. It was still too chilly - downright COLD actually! - for tops down, but the day was bright and sunny, and I had high hopes. CVMC was milling about in the parking lot when Geroge Ferrell, the Molls and I arrived, ready to hit the road. It was good to see everyone again after the long winter. Dwight and Sue Johnson were the organizers (delegators) of the trip, and had brought Bob and Sue Dail, Ron and Sally Marchand, and Pat and John Weitzel with them. I was happily surprised to see that Lynne and Jerry Long from PACE had also decided to join in the day. Tom Manson, from CAM had graciously put together the tour for CVMC, and he and his daughter Amy were to act as our guides for the morning. Jeff and Sally Blackmer from CAM also came along for the ride.
Our morning tour took us for a scenic ride through the Jefferson area to Crampton's Gap and South Mountain. Tom kept us informed over the CB of the Civil War history of the area, and explained what we were seeing. We stopped at a park that had a huge stone monument built in honor of the Civil War News Correspondents, the only one in existence. We also took a side trip to see the original Washington Monument, a stone tower that you can climb for a great view of the valley below. The roads were great, and I was surprised that there were so many hills. Up until that weekend, my Maryland road experience was limited to I-95. We returned to Frederick for lunch on the "Golden Mile" at a Kenny Rogers restaurant. Tom's wife Connie joined us there, and also Roy and Margaret Wagner from the Capital chapter. After lunch Connie was hosting a shopping trip in Frederick for some of the ladies, while the rest of us went back on the tour.
When we returned to our cars after lunch it had finally warmed up enough to drop the tops, and I was able to enjoy my "great ride". We traveled some terrific roads in the afternoon, stopping finally at Monocacy National Park. The 1864 Battle of the Monocacy is often called the Battle that saved Washington. There was an interesting lighted display that really brought home what went on in the area that historic weekend. We took a leisurely walk around the park, then headed back to our rooms for a break before meeting for dinner.
We had dinner at a place called "Griff's". Mostly seafood on the menu, everyone seemed to enjoy their meals a lot. After dinner we stayed and listened to the band for a while. They had quite a range, playing everything from Irish jigs to Jethro Tull. We never did figure out how the leader could play the flute, sax, clarinet, drums and sing and manage to never lose his gum. It was a lot of fun, a great ending to a perfect day.
Thanks go out to CVMC for inviting us to join in their fun, and to Tom Manson for arranging such a great tour and for showing me a side of Maryland I had no idea existed. We had a wonderful time. Week End rendezvous in Frederick, Maryland
More Frederick MD
We departed Richmond area on Friday afternoon about 3 o'clock, Bob and Sue Dail, Dwight and Sue Johnson, George and John and me. From the Wal Mart in Short Pump, out Pouncey Track Road (I love the name of that road), we headed North West on our adventure. Out route 15 thru Gilbert's Corner (did not see Gilbert and we did not almost hit a deer this trip) and crossing the Potomac at Point of Rocks (the nude was not on the trampoline this trip thru either). The drive is really a pretty one, and with Point of Rocks not being too far away it could make a nice day trip. The old railroad station there has been re-done and is quite an eye catcher.
In Buckeystowm we stayed at The Buckeystown Inn B and B, it is a beautiful place. The owners Sara and Terry go out of their way to make sure you are welcomed. The rooms are decorated beautifully and are quite comfortable, most with fireplaces. Ours also had a jacuzzi for two, complete with candle.
After checking in we ventured into Frederick for dinner, we chose a great Itatian one. (Tauraso's but you may want to check the spelling) It is owned by a Doctor, who owns the only Hummer in town. The hour's wait for dinner (which passed really quickly, with time for one of us to pick up a guy at the bar) was worth waiting for. Someone I know spotted a Jag dealership on the way to dinner.
Breakfast Saturday morning was OJ, fruit cup, french toast and sausage, really good. Everyone cleaned their plates. Sally and Ron Marchand arrived from Powhatan. Tom Manson and others showed up about 9:30 and we started on our morning jaunt up and down mountains, and over some great MIATA roads. There were 10 MIATAE (special spelling for Tom, but he's probably up on things enough to know that this is the plural of Miata) in our caravan, a beautiful sight to behold. Tom did a superb job of keeping us all together and planning a great tour. We had Miatae from Conn, Pa., Va, and Md. We stopped for lunch and Connie Manson joined us at this point. Most of the guys went on an afternoon "history run", Connie hosted a shopping trip for our ladies. John and I visited the Jag dealer and dreamed of owning an XK8, then went to Lily Pons to see water gardens. We were a little disappointed, I guess we expected them to have a bigger selection.
Saturday night were had dinner at Griff's. This was an interesting experience, the musical entertainment was good albeit different.
Sunday morning breakfast at the Inn, OJ, fruit cup, blueberry pancakes and bacon. Everyone cleaned their plates. We made a quick trip into Frederick so those of us who had not seen the Mural Bridge on Saturday could see it today. This is a must, you would not believe the workmanship in this painting on the bridge. Much too lengthy to describe herein, but worth the trip to Frederick from here just to see this work of art.
George caught up with us before we were out of Buckeystown, so we had 2 red and 2 black Matae for the trip back to Va. We stopped for lunch in Warrenton and introduced the gang to the Frost Diner (pretty authentic) it's been there for 55 years. Real "diner" food, Sue J. really enjoyed the brown gravey on her french fries and several of us enjoyed a real chocolate milkshake. Sally and Ron felt right at home also.
Another great Miata week end with good friends, good times and good food. We were especially happy to have Sue Dail with us. I'm sorry our entire membership could not have experienced this great trip.
Thanks to everyone that made a great week end for us, and especially Sue Johnson for all of her hard work in putting this one together. (sic)
FUN in the SUN, Fun Rally, March 22, 1997Wasn't the rally that Pat and John WHITESELL put together a lot of fun? It was the first time we had the hardtop off and we were able to put the top down. The weather made me think of Jimmy Buffett and "The weather is here, wish you were beautiful". (We did have his RAGTOP DAY song playing as we drove into the starting point.) With a great turnout from the CVMC crowd and the friendly folks from CAM, lead by Tom and Connie Manson, we had fourteen cars at the start. Great turnout for the first topdown event! The day was great and the clues were a hoot, made even more fun by "Route 54 where are you" cries heard all over Hanover County. We finished up after a full afternoon and guess what? We ate! WOW, imagine that. Had the big group at the Spaghetti Warehouse and more fun swapping tales about our excursions. Thank you Pat and John for all the nice prizes and for putting together a perfect Miataday. May we have many more. Thanks for joining us CAM folks, and hope we can do it again real soon! How about April?
MIATA Games '96, October 3-6, 1996
The Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta was to serve as our "Olympic Village" for the Miata Games. This was quite a lovely place that the Peachtree Chapter had chosen. The lobby was open and airy, with stone stairs leading down through an indoor orchid garden complete with waterfalls and parrots. Outside, there were pathways to stroll along, for enjoying some moments of peace and quiet. Those were to be few and far between in the next few days.
Thursday dawned bright and beautiful. George Ferrell (CVMC) and I took advantage of the sunshine, and headed down early to wash our cars. We lucked out, and were first in line. That area was going to be very busy, and very wet, for the entire weekend. As we were working, another Miata pulled up. They just HAPPENED to be from CT! We talked for a while, and with a little luck we will be seeing them at a Nutmeg event in the near future. Once the cars were cleaned and tucked away back in the garage we decided to hang around in the lobby and watch the cars start to arrive. We were expecting two cars from Central Virginia Miata Club, and one more from Nutmeg, as well as numerous friends we had made at other National events. It was quite a sight as the cars started rolling in. The three concept cars were parked out in front, as well as a Miata that is fixed up to be a State Police patrol car, complete with paint job and bubble lights on top. I understand this car was donated, and is used in community relations situations. We eventually found TD Burns from Nutmeg, and Dwight and Sue Johnson from CVMC. We still had to find Tucker Watkins from CVMC, but since none of us had ever met him it was going to prove a challenge. We registered for the Games, collected our goody bags, and made plans for dinner before the evening reception.
The tone for the dessert reception was, appropriately, Olympic. It started out with one of the actual Olympic torches being brought in and passed to Norm Garrett, Vince Tidwell and others. It was used to "light" a symbolic flame, a signal to open the games. There was an interesting speech given by the owner of the torch, who told about what participating in the Olympic Torch relay was like, and how it had affected him. Mary Riley, from Peachtree, explained about the "passports" (schedule books) we had been given, and some of the things to look forward to over the next few days. Typical of all of the national events I have been to, it meant looking forward to getting up VERY early, as some people had to be at Road Atlanta as early as 7AM, and the track was about an hour away from the hotel. Needless to say, the party broke up a little early.
As we were waiting for the festivities to begin, a Peachtree member came over to talk to George. He had spotted his CVMC hat, and wanted to meet some fellow Virginians, having transferred to Georgia from the Richmond area. In the course of conversation I asked him if he knew Dan and Linda Sandberg, Peachtree members I had become friends with several years ago. He said he did, and as a matter of fact they were standing not far away. This was a delightful surprise, as they had not expected to be attending the Games last I had heard. I quickly went over to renew old friendships, and managed to spend a lot of time with them in the course of the weekend.
Friday morning was cold and windy. We arrived at the track around 8AM, and meandered around checking out the vendor midway as things began to take shape. Got some (REALLY bad) coffee to warm up with, and wandered down to the track tower where the 9AM Driver's Meeting was to be. As we were standing there, listening to Mike Opalak give us instructions, I noticed the nametag on the man next to me said "Tucker", from a Florida club. Unusual name for there to be more than one, I thought, and turned my attention back to the speaker. Two minutes later Tucker was talking to George, yes he was the missing CVMC member, he was just sharing a registration with someone from Florida. I had been standing next to him all the time.
I had signed up for the Decisive Driving School, but my classes were not until the next day. So we had all day Friday to explore the midway, and take our touring laps of the track. We watched the other drivers doing their hot laps, checked out some of the performance driving school laps. Lunch was served in the "Chalet" tent; southern BBQ, beans and biscuits, great big chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Think we would have enjoyed it more if the day had warmed up, but those things just can't be helped. Spent more time at the vendor midway after lunch. I made it a point to meet Bonnie Lutz from CA, who just happens to be sister to our own Bob Almand. We all showed great restraint at the midway, but then, I think I've bought it all already anyway!
We spent some time driving around the inside of the track, looking for a good spot to get some shots of the concept cars as they went by. Saw some of our friends from PACE on the track, big grins on their faces, as they flashed by us. Finally it was time for our touring laps. I rode as passenger with George, right behind the pace car. Dwight and Sue were right behind us. That was a lot of fun, even the part where we got a little sideways once. I understand it was a hair-raising experience for Sue, though. I think there are some dents in the floorboards from her trying to put on the passenger brakes. It was very interesting watching how the pace car sets up to take the corners, I learned a lot. But I'm glad I wasn't driving!
We had dinner that night at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. The meal was quite good; salad, roast beef with twice baked potatos and green beans almondine, cheese cake for dessert. There were some speeches after dinner, and then the part everyone likes...PRIZES. Dwight and Sue won a set of Butterfly luggage. TD won a Yokohama hat, but never collected his prize (because he had slept through dinner). There was dancing afterwards, but most of us called it a night early.
Saturday was cold and windy. Sound familiar? Dwight and I were in the same Decisive Driving class, so our day was going to be pretty full. I don't know about Dwight, but I was a bit nervous as I had no idea what to expect. We took our cars to tech inspection, having loaded the loose stuff from both cars into George's. While we were keeping warm in our classroom, George and Sue checked out the autocrossing that was going on. Classroom was interesting. We learned about weight distribution, and what changing that distribution by braking or accelerating will do to the car's performance. If you really think about how little contact there is between car and road it can be a bit daunting. After class it was on to the skid pad. This was where I really started getting nervous. We were to drive around in circles on a wet surface, keeping our cars in control. You only get about 3 minutes of this, but it sure seems like an hour. My instructor kept telling me to go faster, check my rpm's. I said, "WHO the HECK is watching RPMs?!?!?" He laughed, and did it for me. His encouragement helped a lot, and I had picked up 7 mph, and more confidence, by the time it ended.
After lunch (chicken, macaroni salad, green beans) it was back for more classroom work, while George and Sue checked out the "Track and Field" events (funkhanna). In this session we learned about braking and shuffle steering. If you have ABS brakes, as I do, basically you just stand on the brake and let the computer do the work. If you don't have ABS, they taught a technique of modulating the brake pedal to keep the wheels from locking up while giving you maximum braking power. Then it was back for more pad exercises. They had set up some lights, and a small course with cones. The first exercise was panic stopping. You power toward the lights, and when they turn red you stop. Sounds easy. They don't tell you the lights won't turn red until you're almost under them, and you have to really stand on the brakes to stop where you should. Dwight took this very seriously, and when the lights went green he floored it. So when they went red he had a lot of momentum behind him and no ABS. So he fishtailed a little, and caught a few cones on the way back. The "Yee-HAA" he let out was a sure sign he was having a ball. There were various exercises that we did that required last minute decisions for lane changing, emergency braking and so on. We also got the chance to drive the skid car. I don't know how this works, but the instructor is able to control the actions of the car to make it go into a spin, or skid. Our job was to regain control of the vehicle. Totally cool! Brought back memories of winter in New England. The classes were run by Car Guys, Inc., and they teach this all across the US. If you get a chance to go to one of their schools, I would highly recommend it. I know we barely scratched the surface that day, but I really learned a lot.
The final track event for the day was trying to line up 200+ cars on the track for the group photo. This took a while, as you can imagine. I managed to wind up right next to Dwight and Sue, who were right behind George. So we all compared notes on the day's events while we waited. Then it was one last tour around the track, and a speed trip back to Atlanta to get ready for the banquet that night.
The plan was to caravan 200+ cars from Atlanta to Stone Mountain Park. Even though we had a police escort, and it was not a workday, this was probably NOT a good idea. There was quite a bit of traffic at that hour. It was quite nervewracking, coming to a complete stop on a highway where the speed limit is 70. It was impressive though, to look ahead and see all those cars with their flashers on. I understand we were spread out for a couple of miles, and that the truckers going by had more than a few choice comments to make on their CBs. By the time we reached the park it was already dark, but the carving was lit up as we drove by. I was glad we had decided to check it out earlier in the week.
We were joined at dinner by Dave Allen, and Lynne and Jerry Long from PACE. Lynne's car had barely made it to the dinner, as she started having engine problems along the way. Turns out she had over 70K miles on a set of original plug wires! Fortunately for her they were able find someone at dinner that just HAPPENED to have a spare set of wires in the trunk. Talk about lucky! The dinner that evening started with fried shrimp, followed by salad, potato crusted red snapper, rice, and green beans. The dessert was called "Chocolate Democracy", and was sort of a mousse cake. Very good. Our server was having a great time, she owns a Miata but didn't know about the club. Peachtree might have picked up a new member. After dinner speeches were given, and medals awarded to the events winners. Congratulations to MASS Miata, for successfully defending their top-drop record once again, and taking home both first and second place.
The route to Sunday Brunch was a self-guided tour of some of the Olympic venues. A lot of it followed the route of the marathon. It took us past the Governor's Mansion, Margaret Mitchell's home, the Olympic Village, and many other points of interest. The Olympic Torch is still there, quite a sight to see. A lot of the area is under reconstruction, and will reopen to the public soon. Thanks to Roy and Margaret Wagner for leading our little group, and to George for reading me the descriptions from the tour sheet over the CB so I knew what I was seeing. Brunch was at The Depot, right next to the famous Atlanta Underground. No, that's not the subway, it's old Atlanta, now converted to a shopping mall. Brunch consisted of scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, bicuits and gravy....you know, all that healthy stuff. It was a great meal, topped off by more speeches from the likes of Tom Matano, Norm Garrett, Barbara Beach and Mrs. Vince Tidwell. There was a lot of laughter, and more than a few tears from those so deeply involved in the planning and running of the games. Peachtree did an admirable job, it's a daunting task to say the least. I thoroughly enjoyed the events and the southern hospitality. Thank you Peachtree! Well Done! Atlanta Miatagames.
More Miata Games
Sue and I went to the 1996 Miatagames hosted by the Peachtree Miata Club in early October. This was the first "national" type event we had been to and I assure you that it won't be our last. To say we had fun is a bit of an understatement- we had a BLAST! My hat is off to the Peachtree Club and all their members that worked so hard to pull the event off. Many of them gave up their personal time to help run the event while the rest of us were having fun. Well done Peachtree.
Arriving at the Crown Plaza Ravinia we knew we were in the right spot with so many Miatas parked all over the place. We checked in and quickly joined up with George Ferrell and Chris Kearns and we all proceeded to meet and greet the fellow Miataers from all over... and you know what? They were all having a good time. Just seeing all the Miatas and how they were set up differently was really neat.
The venue for the event was Road Atlanta which was about a twenty minute drive from the hotel. One of the highlights for me was the pace laps we did around the course. We went out onto the course in groups of about 15 cars for about 10 or 15 minutes worth of laps. We were all behind a pace car which kept the speed down so no one would get in over their heads. Going through the turns was an absolute thrill. I knew I was having a good time from all the screaming coming from my trusty navigator Sue. George and I were the number one and two cars after the pace car and I was determined to keep up with them and not slow down the cars behind me. The track was long enough and twisty enough with elevation changes that really gave you a thrill and gave you a "taste" of what fun it is to handle a nimble sports car the way it was designed to be handled.
We spent all day out at the track. There were numerous aftermarket vendors there so one could shop and buy just about anything you see in the magazine. I noticed several cars getting new horns, exhaust modifications, interior wood and much more. There were large turnouts from the clubs in Texas and Florida and naturally Georgia. The folks that were there "in mass" had a blast. Thursday everyone was arriving and that evening we had a desert thing and a "let the games begin" ceremony. There was also a lot of drooling over the three concept cars parked in front of ther hotel. The Speedster, the Coupe and a yellow Roadster with a flared body and other mods were on display throughout the event. Also up from Florida was a Florida State Trooper Miata... complete with lights, siren, communications, paint job...the works. The three concept cars did laps on the track for us to watch. We watched from the "S's" and they looked sharp! Friday evening we had a buffett dinner, plenty of food and thanks to the vendors plenty of door prizes. We got new luggage to fit the back shelf! Saturday evening we had a two hundred Miata caravan out to Stone Mountain for a "formal" dinner and speeches from the Miata Club folks Vince Tidwell and Norman Garrett and from Mr. Miata, Tom Matano, who gave a great talk on his concept for the car and the culture around the car.
Chris and I took a decisive driving class which we enjoyed a lot. We took the cars out on the skid pad to get a feel for understeer and oversteer, drove the Michelin skid car (it skids a lot) and got to play how fast can you stop and turn and whatever on a short course. In a fast lane changing exercise I was wiped out by a real genuine simulated tractor trailer!
The hotel accomodations were great, the food was good, the events were a hoot but most of all it was fun being surrounded by all the Miata people. We got to see every conceivable modification to the car and some I'm sure you haven't thought of and we got to meet new clubs and see old friends again - Hi There PACE! Got any sparkplug wires?. Sue and I had a great time and my thanks to George for helping us enjoy the spirit of the Miata. It helped me realize just how much enthusiasm is out there for the car and camradarie around the Miata. So think about getting in on the action the next time an event comes along, you'll have Miatafun.
Just Add Lime..., April 6, 1996
Saturday, April 6, dawned gray and cold, but not enough to dampen the spirits of those determined to participate in our third annual lime drop rally. Bob and Greg, who had plotted out a 60-mile course through the back roads of Chesterfield County, headed out to drop the lime -- Bob in the cab of his truck with the heater on and radio blaring, and Greg relegated to the back of the pickup with a coffee can, 150 pounds of lime and looking a lot like a member of an Artic exploration team in his dark blue air force jacket with hood and fur. About 10 miles into their run, it started to rain, but Bob drove on barely aware of the inclement weather. As a matter of fact, the only clue he had that he was part of the lime drop was the puff of white stuff that kept floating past his window at every intersection.
Back at the starting point, Sue (Bob's better half) and I arrived in the "Mother Ship" (my Dodge caravan) to send everyone on their way. We had General Pat[ton] with husband, Road-Kill John, as the first ones out. We knew the General was serious when she showed up wearing her vest loaded with medals (all received while taking her life in her hands riding with John). Next came Dead-End Donna and End-of-the-Road Ernie (origin of these names revealed later in the story). Following this dynamic duo came Delaware Darrell and Kan't-We-Stop-Now Kathy. Next we had our very own Go-Get-Em George, who had to be torn away from selling an innocent bystander on the merits of a Miata and our club (ok, ok, this was worthwhile). (As a matter of fact, George probably sells more Miatas than the best salesman at the local Mazda dealer.) Go-Get-Em George was accompanied by Chris, who had come all the way from Connecticut representing the Nutmeg Chapter. Talk about your serious lime drop rally'er -- I mean, this girl's serious. She was also taking pity on George, realizing he needed her superior navigational skills.
Next came Bill and Anna, friends of Dwight and Sue. Anna by the way is from Columbia -- as in South America (word of our lime drop rallies having apparently spread internationally). This was their first rally, so Sue and I spent considerable time (upwards of 30 to 40 seconds) reviewing the elaborate rules, then sent them off all the while wondering if we would ever see them again. Last, but not least, came Damn- I-Don't-Believe-These-Tires Dwight and Cool-Sneakers Sue. They agreed to bring up the rear in case their friends got into trouble (yeah, right).
Sue and I now headed back to her house where everyone would hopefully end up for a cook-in (remember, it had started raining). Sue was busy getting all of the food ready while I had the tough job of testing the batches of margueritas (smile.....). It wasn't long before Bob and what appeared to be an apparition showed up (we found out later that this was really Greg who had cleverly disguised himself as the Abominable Snowman). They quickly cleaned up and headed for the liquid lime.
Well, before we knew it, General Pat[ton] and Road-Kill John pulled into the driveway, having toured Chesterfield County and several adjacent counties while driving through just about all of the weather patterns (sunny and warm being the only exceptions). From the sounds of it, General Pat[ton] earned a couple more medals during this trip.
It wasn't long before Go-Get-Em George and Connecticut Chris with really good mileage (thanks to Chris' incredible talents and superb skills without which George would have no doubt fallen way short of the mark). They were going to be hard to beat!
Next came Delaware Darrell and Kan't-We-Stop-Now Kathy appeared, having opened their sealed map, immediately disqualifying them. How they ended up in another city not even close to the route is a mystery; however, he and Kathy had made a whirlwind trip to Delaware the day before and maybe he just couldn't settle for a paltry 60-mile run.
Then Damn-I-Don't-Believe-These-Tires Dwight and Cool- Sneakers Sue appeared, having had a flat tire, immediately dashing any hopes they may have had of winning. What's interesting is that during the last rally, they spent the entire time putting air in their tires which kept them out of that race too. Following that trip, they purchased new tires, yet here they were once again with more tire trouble. Now I ask you, doesnþt this sound just a bit suspicious!
Next to appear were Dead-End Donna and End-of-the-Road Ernie with an incredible mileage nudging out Go-Get-Em George and Connecticut Chris by only 2 miles! Weþve got to hand it to these two, they were shrewd. After falling for some of Bob's and Greg's clever tricks leading to dead end roads, they didn't turn around and drive out like everyone else. Oh, no.... they BACKED OUT, thus saving valuable mileage and winning the rally!!!! We will never know how many miles Donna drove backwards, but it took several margueritas before she could look straight ahead again!
Everyone was getting hungry by this time but we were trying to wait for Bill and Anna (remember, they had never been on a lime drop rally before). They had been gone a long time and we were a bit worried. Last year a couple in a black Miata started the race and were never seen or heard from again (really)! Bob started cooking hoping that the smell of food would lead them in. It must have worked because they pulled into the driveway as the hamburgers and hotdogs were starting to sizzle. Well, they were still smiling and talking to one another, so the immediate threat of a divorce was avoided. We soon realized that they had simply misunderstood the rules. They thought that driving the "entire" course meant driving not only the 60-mile main course but every other possible side road leading off of the main course. After checking their mileage, had they driven in a straight line, they would have ended up somewhere in Oklahoma! Here, have a marguerita.
Bob, the good planner that he was, having typed up all of the rules providing hints and whereabouts of potholes, blind curves, etc., made sure that there were prizes for everyone -- yes, even those who opened their sealed maps under threats of great penalty and those claiming to have had tire trouble. The food Sue and Bob prepared (with only a little help from me) was wonderful and we all settled in to eat, drink, and elaborate on the trials and tribulations of following lime drops that no longer resemble lime because of the rain. More than one person said that they actually had to stop and get out for a closer look (most of the time what appeared to be lime was really a clump of mud). Well, never let it be said that we're a club that takes the easy road -- we want challenges, and so this rally proved to be.
We all ended the day still friends and having had a great time, even in the cold and rain, and without losing a single car! We want to thank Bob and Sue for being such wonderful hosts. And thanks to Greg who risked frost bite and "limes" disease for the sake of the club.
We're all looking forward to our next event and hope everyone who missed this one will be able to join us then. We're certainly hoping Bill and Anna join us again (this time we'll spend more time reviewing the instructions), and we're counting on Connecticut Chris to come down again. Go-Get-Em George needs all the help he can get! (And, George, don't even think about editing this article; remember, I know where you live!)
2nd Annual Miata's On The Mountain, October 14-15, 1995
Even with the weather looking very threatening one red and two black Miata's headed for the mountains, Sally and Ron Marchand, Joyce and Bob Boyd, and John and I. (Saturday Oct.19). We departed Wal-Mart short Pump around nine, went out rt. 250 to rt. 522. Arriving in Sperryville to go thru a few shops.(found more blue and white plates) We had a marvelous lunch at a little country store in Sperryville. Someone was heard saying that there were things on their sandwich that they did not recognize, but all agreed that the food was delicious. Although Ron did eat Bob's soup.
Leaving Sperryville we decided to go up on the Skyline Drive from rt.211 and North to Front Royal. The leaves were not at all disappointing, the beautiful fall colors were in abundance. We arrived at the Blue Ridge Inn around 3:30 to find that the Octoberfest had been canceled due to the weather. So after a short rest period, we met at five o'clock for dinner. We had dinner at Dean's and can certainly recommend it. However not when RMA is having their homecoming or a 40th RMA Class Reunion. But as always we manage to have a good time and the company was great.
We decided it was too early to turn in, so in search a lounge we ventured. The fun spot at the Quality Inn (where we stayed last year) is now Dad's with no lounge. So we went to the Feed Mill for a nightcap and live entertainment. (The guitar player is still there)
John was up and at the 7-11, before Ron (5:45), for my coffee. Can not function without it. We departed for breakfast at 8 to the Royal Dairy. The waitress had no problem with serving Ron Fudge Sundae's, but we opted for the usual breakfast type foods.
With the weather being what it was, (we did not see it, but heard it snowed in Front Royal Saturday during the night) and having been on the Drive Saturday, we drove rt 340 South from Front Royal. I think this was a better choice because of the clouds up on the Drive. The drive down 34O was exceptionally beautiful, with mountain ranges on both sides of us showing their fall colors in all their glory.
At rt 33 and 29 in Ruckersville there is an antique place with 48 vendors, (found yet more blue and white Plates). Down rt 33 we stopped at the Blue Ridge Pottery, the ice cream was very good, and the pottery really nice. Two Christmas presents down, dozens to go. On to Gordonsville for lunch and comradery over hamburgers. We continued on rt 33, with Sally and Ron dropping off on rt 522 to return to Powhatan. Thanks for being with us. This was a first Miata Club trip for the Boyds and we want to thank them for joining us, and making it a fun week-end.
Hot, Hotter And Hottest!, July 15, 1995
What a day for a picnic - 100 degrees in the shade - but that doesn't stop Miata lovers from driving and eating! Pat and John, Sue and Dwight, Kathy and Darrell, Sally joined Max and me at the Walmart Saturday, July 15 and we headed out. (Of course I had to color coordinate our cars!) We met Sally and Ron along the way and sped on toward the mountains. Several of us had to put the tops up at Fork Union, but Darrell and Kathy were real troopers and "sweated" it out all the way to Sherando Lake.
We weren't the only ones who were seeking coolness and the picnic area was full of folks just like us. The warriors went off and found us two shady tables for our feast. In spite of the heat, there was lots of great food eaten including a wonderful surprise birthday cake for me that Pat baked. The hero of the picnic was Sue with her bug spray!
We didn't linger after lunch because of the heat - we ALL drove back with the tops up! As usual, John led us on an interesting side trip close to Walton's Mountain and we visited the former Ike Godsey's store. We had a great time and all agreed that the trip needs to be done again - just on a cooler day!
How Hot Was It ????
On the hottest day of the year so far six hardy little Miatas ventured to Sherando Lake. Traveling out Patterson Avenue to take in the scenery of the beautiful Virginia country-side. (remembering last time we almost got a fox -- the hard way) Sally Smythe almost got a record size doe. But with no mishaps we arrived in Fork Union to make a pit stop. At this time all but one top and the AC went on. Onward to the mountains the drive is an absolute must. We arrived at the Lake (a first for all in attendance) it is a beautiful area. Lots of picnic spots and swimming available in the Lake. (camping is also available, but don't know if I'm ready to do that) Being a National Park it was clean and well kept. We walked a very short distance to a picnic area, with the heat it felt like a nine mile hike. After cooling down with ice packs and whatever we had, we proceded to eat lunch. As always with any event envolving bringing foods the choices ran a full range. There were little Salami roll- ups ala Sally Marchand (delicious), Shrimp Salad, fruit salad, fresh tomatoes, tomato salad, baget of French bread and White wine, baked beans and two lemon cakes (one going to the freezer for later consumption) and many more goodies, too numberous to remember.
We returned via Walton's Mountain, the road winding beside the Rockfish River is a great drive. The weather being what it was there were people sitting in the water at every possible spot. (That's one we'll have to try on another trip.) It was 108 degrees and almost that hot at Ike Godseys's store, inside with the AC on. We parted company with the Marchand's and Sally Smythe in Goochland, Donna and Ernie had enough of the heat and went on their way from here also. The oh so adventurous Johnson's, Hole's and Weitzel's went to the North Pole, not something I'd reccomend and it was not any cooler there.
Just a reminder that missing a CVMC outing is something you do not want to do, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MAY BE AROUND THE NEXT BEND.
Impromptu's Can Be Fun, February 1995
Do you know how many people are at home on a Friday evening? Not too many. Our club members lead a busy life. So an impromptu run to Walton's Mountain was enjoyed by the Marchands and Weitzels, and enjoy we did. (There really is a Mrs. Marchand her name is Sally and a real delight, I really enjoyed meeting and spending some time with her.) The weather was exceptional. We drove out route six, Patterson Avenue thru Columbia, Scottsville and into Schuyler Virginia. (looks like shoeler pronounced skyler) Many things happened throughout the day to remind us of some of our favorite friends. When the quick brown fox jumped over route six, right in front of our car, I thought of Bertha (and if John was not as alert as he is, the start of a new fur coat). When we saw the Llama farm with the goats, Ostrich's and their cousin's the Emu's, etc. I thought of Bertha. She thinks Miata people hallucinate.
Walton's Mountain area really isn't a mountain, just a cozy typical little Virginia town. We saw the School House turned Museum, only from the outside, it isn't open until first weekend of March. (We considered setting up a hot dog stand though, many others came to see as well). There is also the General Store, actually more like a country type fast mart. It was however the "site" of Ike Godsey's original place of business. Inside we saw the 1994 pictures of the local hunters and their catch, one 220-pound bear, one bobcat and many deer. Also, pictures of the Cast from the TV show. Outside we were approached by the nicest little man. He was born in 1919, raised in Salem, Va., lived in Colonial Heights (y'all know where that is?) Retired to Walton's Mountain birthplace of his wife also. He is first cousin to Earl Hamner, told us where Earl's house was and several little local tidbits of very useful information. i.e. the Museum curator and Earl's been feudin', but Earl has Hollywood and Warner Brothers behind him, he'll be alright. He also has several notable family members buried out on his farm, hmmmm. We were expecting to be invited home for Sunday supper, but not, only he did give us a personal escort out of town the back way. (Another Miata road for sure) The back road runs along a beautiful river, the Rockfish River, out to route 29, a picnic area for sure.
It was now approaching after lunch time (must feed the bears or they get grouchy). We headed into Charlottesville. Making a pit stop we let Ron and Sally pick the spot for lunch. A super job they did too. If you have not tryed a Boston Chicken place we highly recommend it. Fast food never tasted so good. After feeding the bears we strolled over to a very conveniently located Baskins Robbins (my thoughts turn to Kathy for this one). While enjoying our dessert, we strolled thru the shopping center. They had several very interesting shops there. Now with full tummy's and shopping in, it was time to hit the trail again back to home territory.
Fine Miata Roads And Fine Wine—You Can't Beat It!
October 15, 1994
October 15 and we're back at the WalMart in Short Pump ready to head up to the Prince Michel Vineyard near Charlottesville for their Fete des Vendanges Festival. Leading the way are John and Pat; following (in color order) are Kathy and Darryl, Donna and Ernie (the odd ones--color of car, that is), me and Greg, and last but not least, George. George was traveling incognito today -- for the first time in "recorded history" he was traveling with his hard top on! We almost didn't recognize him.
Anyway, we headed out onto some great Miata back roads. Now I don't know how John makes a living, but he sure knows a lot about back roads in Virginia. (Pat, you should probably check into this.) Well, regardless of the means by which he acquired this vast warehouse of knowledge, he sure knows how to plot out a great course. We took winding country roads that appeared never to have been traveled by another human. The only way we could tell someone (or something) had passed this way was the road kill. Now this was a sight. Why there was enough to supply the Road Kill Cafe for a year and a half. (By the way, you probably shouldn't be reading this during dinner.) By now the sun was out and it was threatening to be a gorgeous day. The trees were ablaze with color and we couldn't be happier.
We stopped in Gordonsville to pick up Barbara, our club member from Charlottesville. She whirled into the parking lot SMILING as usual and ready to go. Piling back into the cars, we headed on to the vineyards. We arrived before the crowds had descended so we were able to hit the wine tasting tables and food immediately. They were being a bit stingy with the wine this year so we had to go back for samples MANY times. This didn't bother us one bit for we're a persistent lot especially where drink and food are concerned. We toured the craft booths and winery picking up tasty treats all along the way. Barbara, who specifically stated that she was not going to buy much, ended up purchasing some really neat things. It all fit into the car but let's just say it's probably a good thing that she didn't come to "spend", she would have had to rent a trailer. (By the way, do they have trailers that you can pull behind a Miata?)
After depleting Prince Michel's wine supply, we headed out to Sperryville (1) for the ride, and (2) for the shops. Besides, we had some time to squander before our reservations at the Bavarian Chef outside Ruckersville. The ride to Sperryville was beautiful and we parked at the Emporium before heading out on foot. This is peak time in the mountains and crafters are out by the dozens. We enjoyed looking at their wares and roaming through the shops. Pat came upon a most interesting shop. It's sign read "Antiques -- Made Daily"!! Is that an oxymoron or what! Pat did see the perfect "antique" table and tried to coerce John into buying it. He was saved by the fact that it would never fit into the Miata. Well, maybe if he left Pat behind, he could get it to fit. But, being the wise person he is, he decided against this plan. Pat will just have to go back with a bigger car next time. Barbara left us during our trip back to the Bavarian Chef because of a birthday party she had to attend. She was ready though because she had been able to purchase the gift at the winery.
We pulled into the Bavarian Chef right on time. We had eaten here last year on one of our trips and decided to make this one of our stops whenever possible. They have THE BEST German food around and you get plenty of it. Each meal could actually be shared by two; however, we prefer to suffer through the full meal by ourselves. And it's amazing, not too many of us left enough to feed a church mouse. Now there was the issue with Pat -- she could not finish her meal so asked for a container to carry it home. She not only got to fill the container with the leftovers on the table, but the waiter actually brought her some more food so that she would have plenty for another meal. I believe she walked out of there with two containers FULL of food. If you have never been, you've got to try it out. Make sure you have reservations though because it's a popular place.
We're getting pretty good at cramming ourselves back into these little Miata's that seem to get smaller following meals (a strange phenomenon defying all scientific explanation). We headed for home having had a great day -- beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, GREAT Miata roads, great company, and as usual, great food.
A Loaf Of Bread, A Little Nutmeg, And Some Margaritas, September 17, 1994
Although not your typical combination, I can guarantee that this is all you need for a GREAT Miata weekend! Let me explain...
It was Saturday, September 17, and we were all meeting at the WalMart in Short Pump to begin our trek to Sperryville, Luray, and finally Big Meadows Lodge on the Skyline Drive where we would spend the night. Attending were our President and First Lady (both sporting new hairdos), Pat and John, and Darrell and Kathy (Kathy and Pat had on the neatest Miata shirts that they had made), Donna (our 3-star general) and Ernie, Genie and Charlie (who were spending just the day with us but added class to this otherwise motley crew), and bringing up the rear in George's absence, Greg and I. The plan was to meet at 8:00 and leave at 8:30. Well, everyone was able to follow these apparently complex instructions except for the Dails, who were waiting all alone at the Mechanicsville WalMart. (Now I don't want to mislead you -- it was all Bob's fault; Sue was completely innocent.) Anyway, when they realized that they must be at the wrong location (no Miata's in sight must have been a pretty good clue), Blinding Speed Bob tore across town breaking every law in the book. We had just decided to give them 5 more minutes when this red blur screeched into the parking lot and came to a halt. Of course there was wild cheering, not necessarily for Bob and Sue, but for the margaritas they were bringing for the night's festivities.
Our caravan got underway with Pat and John leading us on a great drive up Routes 33 and 522. It's always fun watching the people's reactions to our little caravan, and of course, we wave back as if we're the grand marshals of a local parade (who knows, they probably think we are!).
We arrived at the Sperryville Emporium where we met up with several others who would be joining us for the weekend: our normal caboose, George, and his friends from the Connecticut Nutmeg ("nutmeg", aha!) Chapter, Brian and Chris Kearns. Brian is the President and Chris is the Secretary of their chapter and they had driven all the way down from Connecticut the day before to meet George in Luray so that they could join our overnighter. Also joining the train at this time was one of our newest members who we were meeting for the first time, Barbara Brooks, who lives in Charlottesville. One thing we noticed about Barb is that she never stopped smiling while she was behind the wheel of her Miata. Betty and Larry Taylor and our new acquaintances, Bob and Sarah Soderlund, also joined the group. These guys left really early to make the trip up from Kilmarnock. What a group! We now had 12 cars ready to head out. Donna, our 3-star general (and reinstated photographic director), and her able assistant Pat (who was recently promoted to 2-star general), proceeded to direct the color-coded lineup that is becoming our trademark. The right effect is very difficult to achieve, especially with no one paying attention. But, we achieved some sort of order (although not color-coded to the strict specifications of the generals) and headed out to Luray. We even stopped at one point to get the cars in order -- can you believe it! Who said perfection was dead!
At Luray we quickly devoured some lunch before heading down to the caverns or antique auto museum (everyone to his own liking). I chose the caverns and got to tour with the President and First Lady, the Soderlunds, the Dails and Barbara. What an interesting tour -- especially the Turkish Towel Room. I'll never look at the formations the same way again. (Barb and Sarah: What was that, the Valley of the ________?!) Well, after the tour, we practically trampled each other getting to the Ice cream. I can tell you one thing, this group knows how to eat!
Those of us spending the night, headed on to Big Meadows Lodge on the Skyline Drive. What a beautiful place. Of course, it would have been even prettier if it had not started raining. Oh well, we knew we had margaritas and TONS of other goodies awaiting us, so we didn't mind a little rain at all. We all congregated in our President's suite for the festivities. We had so much food and drink, we could probably have stayed a week. Believe me, it was wonderful! And the deer.... they would walk right up to you on the trails outside the lodge. And to think they came up even with Pat NOT feeding them. Amazing! We all broke up into groups for dinner. I don't know what anyone else had, but the baked trout was outstanding!
The next morning we decided to walk (we had to do something to burn off some of the calories from the night before -- remember, we had to get back in our cars to drive home later). Anyway, some of the smarter ones walked around the lodge and took some of the shorter, scenic hikes. But some of us who obviously were being affected by the thin air, decided to hike to Dark Hollow Falls (a "medium" hike). Thank goodness it wasn't classified as a strenuous hike, we'd still be at the bottom of the trail. Anyway, Bob and Sue, Sue and Dwight, and Greg and I headed down to the falls. We met George and the "Nutmegs", Brian and Chris, coming back up. They were still alive and breathing fairly well, so we decided to keep going (and this was after they told us they had seen a bear)! We made it down and it was worth it. The falls were beautiful -- a 70 foot drop almost straight down. We took pictures from every possible angle, with Greg (who is not the most graceful person) almost falling in several times. Dwight and Sue shared some leftover bread from the party the night before. As I've said, we never go anywhere or do anything without food. Feeling completely nourished, we headed back up Mt. Everest. We had seen benches all along the path coming down but didn't really understand the purpose for so many. Well, we now understood why they were there and we tried out every single bench going back up. By the way, we saw several deer but, alas, no bear. We were two-thirds of the way up when we passed Betty and Larry on their way down. We huffed and puffed that it was worth the trip and so they continued on. We finally reached the top and found George, Brian and Chris waiting for us. They were sitting down taking oxygen, so we quickly joined them. We were a bit disappointed that we had not seen a bear but we relayed that we had seen a mountain lion (we just couldn't be outdone). They seemed pretty impressed until they told us about the GIRAFFES they had seen. We had just begun to recover from the climb, when who should appear, but Larry and Betty. That's right -- it had only been a short while since we passed them going DOWN; now they're back and (get this) not even breathing hard. How embarrassing. We have now elected them as the club's official physical trainers.
Upon returning to the lodge, we checked out and got ready for our picture taking activity. The two generals were busy at work lining up cars (and people) for the perfect picture. There was so much cooperation we almost had to pay for an extra day! Anyway, the generals finally whipped us into shape long enough for George Lucas' backups to get some good shots. Following the filming, we headed to the snack shop for coffee and then down the drive and off the mountain for the ride home. It was a great weekend and we were thrilled that so many joined us for the fun. And I know we all really enjoyed and appreciated having Brian and Chris join us from Connecticut.
By the way, you're probably wondering about the loaf of bread in the title. Well, as it turns out, the Connecticut Club had just toured this area in May. Now here was Brian and Chris making the long trip back down just to join us. George, who talks with Brian regularly over America OnLine asked him why he was coming to Virginia again, and Brian's reply was they loved Virginia so much they would come here just to get a loaf of bread so they would certainly come here for a Miata event. So, when George met them in Front Royal, he handed them a huge loaf of French bread fresh from Ukrops. I wonder where they go when they run out of milk!
Miata's At Indy II, June 9-12, 1994
Two years ago the Indy chapter held an event that turned out to be THE Miata event of all times. Afterwards they said "Never Again". Well it happened and now that Miata's At Indy II has past into history, will there be another? Who knows, at least this time they are not saying "Never Again", or at least not as loudly anyway.
Two years ago I had a conflicting schedule and by the time I cleared it to make the Indy date available it was too late, the event was booked solid with a big waiting list. I then started my self abuse of kicking myself in the rear every time the subject came up. Although I really enjoyed all the great articles in the other chapters newsletters about how great the trip was it only made me kick myself that much harder. It also made me promise myself that if the Indy chapter ever decided to hold another event like this that no schedule would keep me away.
Then came the rumors, from other newsletters, from National, from the Miata list server on Internet, the Indy chapter was going to do it again. Then more bad news, the people that went in '92 will get first choice. Oh no, will it fill up before I get a chance to register? Time for some more self abuse for missing the first one. Finally the paper work from Indy arrived and it never had a chance to settle on my desk before it was filled out, check written and mailed back within an hour. Then the long wait, checking the mail box everyday, waiting for that letter saying I had made the show this time. When it arrived I found that I was number 150 of 250, safely in by a good margin.
I decide to go a day early and drive straight through. Since I'm driving into new areas for me I decide to travel the Interstate roads all the way. Jump onto I-64 here in Richmond, turn right onto I-65 at Louisville Kentucky then straight to Indy. Even though the trip was all on Interstate roads it was a nice ride since I had never traveled this route through West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. I really didn't start to realize it was happening until I hit the top of the mountain and crossed under the sign that said Welcome to West Virginia. From that point on everything was going to be a new adventure.
As I'm riding along somewhere out there on that big and long slab of concrete the CB broke the now routine noise of travel with a "Break, Break, how about that little red car pulling that trailer full of tires". I gave the old go ahead and was then ask, "You mean to tell me that you have that many flat tires that you have to carry all those spares?" I quickly replied that they were race tires which brought a response of, "You mean you race that little thing?" I then mislead him a little by replying, yes, I'm on the way to Indy to drive on the Brickyard! I then rode off into the sunset leaving him to his own imagination.
Thirteen hours and 695 miles later, Miata's At Indy II is a reality, I'm here! Although I'm a day early I'm not the first Miata to arrive. There in the lot is Chet Young's BRG from Florida and a Blue one from Canada. I guess I'm not the only one that could not wait for this to happen.
After I checked into the room I noticed the bedside clock was one hour earlier than my clock said. This had puzzled me during the Indy time trials since they always ran until six o'clock but it was always seven o'clock in Virginia and all my maps said both Indiana and Virginia were in the Eastern time zone. I decided that on one of my trips to unload the car I would stop at the registration desk and ask what the time was and why? I was informed that Indiana did not use daylight savings time, they just switched time zones. I'm still not sure of why this is done but reset my time to match as the last thing I wanted to happen is to be late and miss something.
Thursday morning I planned to wash the car and then head out to Putnam Park to check out the route and see if anyone might be there. On the way out of the hotel I ran into the first Purple Shirt. Connie Fetsch introduced herself and welcomed me to Indy. Connie was in charge of Hotels/Catering and I understand that she has practically lived at the hotel in order to insure that everything goes without a hitch. Her time and efforts were worth it as I never saw the first hitch as everything appeared to be pure perfection.
Out to the parking lot and around the motel and there was no hose to be found. I was just about ready to head up the street to find a car wash when, Indy chapter Past President, Jim Nutt showed up and invited me to ride out to Putnam Park with him. I enjoyed the ride and conversation with Jim and he even showed me a short cut to the track. At the track I met several Indy members and got a real close look at Cindy Albaugh's red Miata with wire wheels and a custom built red trailer. Nice looking package Cindy. I also ran into, Indy founder, Rich Hickle. I had first met Rich and Wayne Reynolds at the Miata Driving School in Savannah two years ago. It appeared there would be a delay getting into the track that morning so my visit would be only of the front gate and parts of the track off in the distance. Jim needed to stay at the track so he and his wife Martha changed vehicles and I rode back to the motel with her.
Back at the hotel the Miatas had started to arrive. There never seemed a time that cars were not driving into the area roped off for us. This area reserved forus soon filled up and overflowed into the rest of the hotel lot. At the entrance to this area was our official greeter Earl Salisburg. Earl had on his purple shirt along with his tuxedo. Earl was also the event spokesperson and announcer. Thanks again to Earl, another one of those purple shirts, for an outstanding job. Much time was spent meeting new people, putting faces with some of those names I've come to know thru the years and looking at all the cars with all their goodies and special treatments that make the owners cars truly theirs. I just happen to be standing in the right spot among this ever building sea of Miatas when a familiar Miata with Brian and Chris Kearns pulled in behind me. Just eleven days earlier myself and other Central Virginia chapter members had joined up with Connecticut's Nutmeg chapter President Brian, Secretary Chris and other members on the Skyline Drive in Virginia. We Miata owners seem to collect together in places far from home.
In another part of the parking lot were street rods from the car club called "The Good Guys" I heard that there could be up to 2000 of these street rods here this weekend, and many were staying here at this motel. This helped make this a real car lovers weekend. Of course there were those friendly barbs back and forth. One of those low riders came by me when I was washing the Miata and the driver said "That's what's wrong with those cars, when you wash them they shrink". There was also the line about "Good Guys drive real cars". It was all in fun and we enjoyed looking at their great looking street rods and I saw some of them checking out ours also.
Well it is finally here, the first official item on the Miata's At Indy II event calendar, registration at 4pm. While waiting for the registration table to open I purchased a Miata's At Indy II hat and placed an order for this years Miata's At Indy II video tape. Two years ago they had tapes left over and I was lucky enough to get one however this year they said order now as there will be none later. At registration you received a goody bag, signed two large banners and received your pocket ID which contained all the tickets necessary for the events and the event program. They had said, no ID - no entrance, no ticket - no meal. I must say that they stuck to that as I saw people sent back to their rooms to get the necessary ID's and tickets. When you are forty miles from the motel at Putnam Park you don't want to make an eighty mile round trip to get your name tag. My ID had an Orange dot which was my color group and the number nine which was my car number. I also had a Black dot which meant I would be running hot laps. I never did figure why Orange was listed first in the event program but was always last to do everything?? There were five color groups with fifty cars in each group. The schedule had each color group divided by cars one thru twenty-five and twenty-six thru fifty. The scheduling was unbelievable as these ten groups were doing different things at the same time all day every day. For the most part it appeared everyone was where they were suppose to be at the time they were suppose to be. As they said in Indy many times "You Snooze, You Loose". Again another great job done by the purple shirts.
As registration was finishing up the reception started. Videos and slides were running of the first Miata's At Indy event. Liquid refreshments and snacks were available and it was the time for everyone to roam around meeting fellow Miata owners and making new friends. Dinner this night was left up to the individual.
Friday morning and as the Indy chapter says "The Fun Starts Here". Putnam Park is about an hours drive from the motel and the gates open at 7am. At 5:15am I'm on the way, and a big part of the cars are ahead of me. A stop for gas and I'm at the turn off to Putnam Park at 6:30am. I for one know from my Thursday visit to the track that when they say the gates will open at seven, they mean seven. So I head up to the nearest service station to wait. There are several other cars there as they have found out that on the two lane road leading to the track there is no where to park and the local police like to write tickets to those blocking their roads. At around seven we all head to the track only a few miles away only to find that we still can not get in. I think the track manager could not get to the track because of all the cars. After a scenic trip down another road and a short break in a church parking lot with other Miatas I returned to find the gate open and the road clear so in I went. There were the purple shirts checking for ID's.
Putnam Park is a 1.8 mile, ten turn road course with 15 to 20 foot elevation changes. The paddock, pit road, vendor parking and all Miata parking is located outside the track so at no time did anyone have to cross the track. On the two drives behind the track the Miatas were parked two deep on the far drive and the vendors were parked on the inside drive. Lunches were served in a large tent at the end of the vendor midway. And what meals they were, Jugs Catering provided Fried Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Corn on the Cob, Fried Biscuits and Apple Butter. I assure you this was not the food you normally find at a race track.
The schedule for my Orange # 1-25 group started with a drivers meeting at 7:30, track tour at 9:36, bridge tour at 10:30, lunch from noon till 2 and hot laps at 3. I went to the drivers meeting and then back to the car to unhooked the trailer and changed the car and me from tour mode to drive fast mode. Tour laps were for everyone but those like myself that would be running hot laps really used the tour laps to learn the track and plan for the fun to come. After the tour laps those signed up for hot laps lined up to have our cars teched. A little SNAFU here caused my group to wait in line for almost three hours. During this time most of us visited the vendor area and spent money on some of those Miata goodies and then enjoyed a great lunch. After getting the car teched it was time to hit the track for some fast driving. We were given three laps at speed, first to warm up, second for time and third to cool down with only three cars spaced out on the track at a time. I was placed second in line behind Carolina's chapter President, John Desmarais and his supercharged Miata and I thought this was great since it would give me something to chase. About the time John hit turn one they turned me lose and the chase was on. I caught a few glimpses of John as I made my way around the track but when I hit the straight away to see how far John was ahead of me he was no where to be found. I thought to myself there is no way he is that much faster than me but I never saw him again. It was only after I had finished that I found out that John had exited the track after his first lap and I was chasing a shadow. When I viewed my video there was John on the pit road as I hit the straight away. Even though John was not on the track he still made me drive hard trying to catch him. I'm sure that everyone use all three laps to run fast but a time was kept only on the second lap. It didn't take me many turns to find out that I was all over the place with oversteer and this would not be a good run. Autocross tires normally are run for a short time period and are made to pick up heat real quick. What I didn't realize was that at speed they would pick up as much increase in tire pressure as they did, over eight pounds. This was a problem that I would take care of before the next day. After everyone had their three laps the whole group went back out for about eight laps at speed.
After hot laps it was time to pack up and head back to the hotel. After a short rest and regrouping it was time to head down to banquet and dance. Here again our Court Jester and Announcer Earl Salisbury had everything under control, or out of control, and Reverend Jim Massie, who has a White Miata to match his collar, offered the blessings. This is this first time I've ever heard laughter during an invocation and applause afterwards. Reverend Jim has a Miata way with words. The Indy chapter had also ask Reverend Jim to be in charge of the weather but he informed them that in his organization he was in sales and marketing and weather was a function of management. He must have had some connection with management because when I arrived on Wednesday the weather channel was calling for showers everyday thru out the weekend, however I am not aware of one single drop of rain falling on a single event. As soon as it was over the rains came. A fine time was had by all at the banquet, especially after almost half of the over ten thousand dollars worth of door prizes were given away. Now we have even more reasons to be glad that all those venders came!
Saturday morning would be another early one. Brook Yates "One Lap of America" would be at Putnam Park from 6:00am to 8:30am. This would mean up at 4am and hit the road at 5am. Well this was a good idea on Friday night but it didn't quite work out that way the next morning. Up at 5:30am and after a slow start heading out at 6:30. I noticed there were a lot of other Miatas sitting in the parking lot when I pulled out so I didn't feel so bad. I arrived at Putnam around 7:30am to see the last of the cars running on the track. I had also meet a few of them on the way in. We had been warned to watch out for these cars since they would be traveling fast on the two lane roads leaving Putnam Park at they indeed were.
Today my orange group was scheduled for track tour laps at 10:36 and hot laps at noon. I had reset my tire pressures and used my tour laps to drive aggressively enough to be able to verify that my corrections were correct. Indeed they were as my handling improved and my timed lap improved by over five seconds. Although I have been on a road course before in Savannah at the Miata driving school, speeds there were held down to 70mph. Here we had no restrictions so it was indeed something different. When you hit the end of the straight away at over a 100mph and the braking points are flashing by 5-4-3-2-1 you know real quick that this ain't no autocross! I sure wish we had all day for hot laps, maybe I could have found five more seconds with some more practice. After hot laps it was off to lunch which was again provided by Jugs Catering. Todays meal was Whole Hog Roast and Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Breast, Au Gratin Potatoes, Cucumber and Onion Salad, Green Beans, Fried Biscuits and Apple Butter. Another great meal enjoyed by all, except the Hog! After lunch it was back to the hotel to change back from race mode to tour mode. A change of tires, unhook the trailer and clean the car up for tomorrows caravan and get ready for tonights banquet.
Another fine banquet and lots more door prises from the vendors. The biggest door prize was a $5000 performance package from PBC. All the vendors at this event advertise in the Miata magazine and helped to make this event a great one. I hope all you Miata owners out there will consider them first when looking for goodies for your toy. At the banquet it was announced that a change of schedule had taken place for the Speedway laps due to Firestone renting the track for tire test. We would only have the track from 6am to 8am. Another early start for Sunday. We would have our laps then do the Guiness Book of Records caravan back to the hotel.
Sunday morning and it's up at 4am and off to a shopping center across the street from the speedway. All cars were to be there by 5:45am and ready to enter the speedway at 6am. I arrived a little after 5am and cars were already there. We filled the lot up, five rows of two deep Miatas lining up by color group. The sun isn't even up yet and all these crazy Miata owners are here in this parking lot under the lights having a party. I never saw anyone yawning or sleeping, I think the air was filled with too much excitement. At 6am we filed out of the parking lot, through the speedway tunnel, by the museum, by the garage area and onto the front straight away. This place is BIG. We went down the straight away and turned onto the pit road to line up five wide and fifty cars deep. Then over the load speaker came the Star Spangled Banner followed by Indiana, the state song, and then the command to start your engines. The first fifty cars file out for their laps after which they stopped at the, "Yard of Brick", start/finish line to have their individual pictures taken. When you watch the Indy 500 those cars are going so fast that they seem to be in a turn all the time. When I came off turn two I could not even see turn three. Grandstands tower above you, scoreboards big enough to swallow a dozen Miatas, a 5/8's mile back stretch that's bigger than the whole stockcar track near my home, this place is BIG. After our laps we filed back out to the museum parking lot where we lined up the cars for the caravan and everyone had a group picture taken in front of the museum. I understand that the last picture was taken at 7:55am. Another job well done by those purple shirts with a lot of help from 250 car owners.
After the group pictures were taken everyone headed back to their cars and we were treated to some trick riding by the Marion County Sheriff Department's Motorcycle Drill Team. Two of the dozen riders made a couple trips past us standing on the back of the cycles behind the seats. Since the Canadian cars always have their parking lights on we all turned our parking lights on and proceeded out of the speedway to break the Guiness record of the longest caravan of a single marque car. Just a few blocks from the speedway we passed under a banner that proclaimed "Mazda Miata" Guiness book of World Records". Somewhere I heard that this was being uplinked live by CNN, I saw a camera but I'm not sure what was happening. It was said that we had 251 Miatas which indeed set a new record. I looked up the old record and it was held by 114 Rolls Royce's. I recently read an article where a group of MG owners claimed to have broken this record on June 26, 1994 with 235 MG's. Sorry guys, too little, too late. (OK Northcoast, we need 252 for next year.)
Thanks to the great work by the Marion County Sheriff Department we had a nice ride from the speedway to the hotel never having to stop at lights or stop signs. When we arrived back at the hotel we went directly to breakfast which was being sponsored by the Miata Club of America. It seems like we have already had a full day of fun this morning and here we are having breakfast and it is just 9am.
After breakfast it was time to start preparing the car for the trip home and say good byes to all those leaving on Sunday. Since I had canceled the California part of my trip I decided to stay over in Indy Sunday night and head back to Virginia Monday morning. Later in the day I headed back to the speedway with Brian and Chris Kearns to use our passes to the museum. We returned to the hotel to rest for awhile and met for dinner that evening. This was really the first time the whole weekend we were able to relax and just enjoy some good conversation. We did a little chapter talk, Miata talk and reflected a little on what had just taken place this weekend. We said our good byes and retired for the night. When I headed out the next morning around 5:45 Brian's car was still in the lot. Since they had a two day trip back I'm sure Brian was spending a little extra time this morning checking his eye lids.
I traveled a different route returning to Virginia and after twelve hours arrived safely back home. Like all our Miata events it is not a good one until we are safely back home. I hope everyone had a safe trip home.
To the Indy chapter and all those purple shirts, a simple thank you sounds like so little but THANK YOU. It was a great event and all your time and work is greatly appreciated.
Kilmarnock Bound, June 25, 1994
It was Saturday, June 25, when Donna and Ernie, our President and First Lady, Bob, George, and Greg and I met to begin our trek to Kilmarnock to meet up with our fellow members, friends, and tour guides, Larry and Betty Taylor. We had our very own fan club (Pat and her two grandchildren) who came by to see us off. We tried to get them to join us but that meant that one of the children would have to ride in the trunk -- the kids (being totally unreasonable) didn't buy this, so we had to leave them behind. Oh yes, we left Pat behind too!
Anyway, off we went with the tops down and everyone covered in lots of suntan lotion because it was HOT. Larry had been kind enough to not only send us maps that rivaled anything AAA or Rand McNally publishes but also arranged for us to tour Ditchley, home of Jesse Ball DuPont.
A bit of history: Ditchley was built in 1762 by Kendall Lee, the great grandson of the immigrant Richard Lee. The house was sold in 1789 to James Ball, a great-nephew of Kendall Lee. The Lee/Ball descendants owned the house until it was sold in 1935 to Jesse Ball DuPont. The house is still used as a vacation home by members of the DuPont family.
Larry's directions and time schedule were absolutely perfect because we had no trouble finding Ditchley and actually arrived on time. Larry and Betty met us and introduced us to another Miata couple, Sarah and Bob Soderlund, who joined us for the tour. We had a great time. Ditchley is a stately brick Georgian style home with huge trees and boxwoods and a beautiful curved brick driveway (remember this, we'll come back to it). The rooms were furnished with really lovely and interesting pieces. Because the ceilings were high, you didn't think too much about the door frames, but if you're as tall as George, you quickly took notice!
After the tour, we gathered around the cars to head out for Nick's Seafood Pavilion in Yorktown. (You didn't think we were going to plan a trip without food, did you!) Anyway, Donna, our resident photographic director, thought it would be nice to have the cars angled on the curved driveway. Great idea, but we not only had to line them up in exactly .333 degree angles, we had to have the cars in "color order" -- all of this without driving on the grass! After precision driving that would make race drivers drool, we took the pictures with Donna and our First Lady held up our new Central Virginia Miata Club flag (beautifully handcrafted by Julia Gaulding). This done, we were ready to eat. But not yet -- Donna thought there was just a bit too much shade where we were parked and thought we should move back into the sun for a couple more pictures. OK -- more precision driving and we were ready for more pictures. This time we made Donna and the First Lady hold the flag in the HOT sun while we pretended to take tons of pictures. Justice was served.
Before heading out to Nick's, Larry and Betty, who live right down the road from Ditchley, invited us to stop by their home for a "break". Well, I think we all would agree, Ditchley has nothing over on their place (except maybe age). Talk about interesting memorabilia EVERYWHERE! We could have stayed for hours, but food and reservations were calling.
At Nick's we were joined by Sue, Bob's better half, and we all proceeded to gorge ourselves on absolutely wonderful seafood and beef. Since I'm on a diet, I was the only one to order dessert - baklava. It was a huge piece, and so being the gracious person I am, and because I couldn't stand to see grown people drool, I shared it with all of those other people who were also on diets.
Completely satisfied, yet worried we would no longer fit into our cars, we filed outside for a few more pictures before hitting the road. Remember I told you Sue met us at Nick's? Well, she claimed to have spent the day with her grandchildren. However, Bob led us home and, believe me, Mario Andretti could not have matched his pace. We have determined that Sue met us there so that she could drive back herself and not have to ride with "Blinding Speed Bob". I am exaggerating -- slightly. We all made it back safe and sound, and without getting a speeding ticket. We had a wonderful time (even though it was HOT -- had I mentioned that). We are glad that Sarah and Bob could join us and we are grateful to Larry and Betty for doing such a Wonderful job planning this trip. They can be our tour guides any time they want. However, Donna is being replaced as our photographic director!!
Lime Drop Rally/Mexican Fiesta, April 30, 1994
If you missed the LIME DROP RALLY / MEXICAN FIESTA on Saturday April 30th, you missed another great "MIATA" day.
With tops down 8 Miata's followed Sue Johnson and me through a measured course to check odometers. Then at 5 minute intervals each was sent out in quest to find lime drops. The first was easy to spot, the second one was not entirely visable. So after a shakey start all were off to go far and wide over Hanover County. When asked later if you spotted my favorite white house or other landmarks the answer always seemed to be "no way, too busy looking for lime drops".
Sue and I had not even gotten into the cooking chores when the doorbell rang. Amy and "Speedy Gonazles" returned in record time. They found all of the lime drops, didn't get lost and had more time to party then the rest. When all had returned (the R series black one never returned) we enjoyed many Mexican treats made by our own Miata ladies. We have to have the recipe for Donna's roll ups. We also gorged on 7 layer dip, taco chips, taco lasagna, nacho chips, torilla bake, chips, taco pie, chips, taco salad and more chips. Amy made a cake complete with red Miata and we had lemon squares. (another event surrounded by food) A very special thanks to all who participated and the brewsky's and margarita's were great too.
What Do Doughnuts And Hairpin Turns Have In Common?, March 12, 1994
It was March 12, and we were meeting at WalMart in downtown Short Pump to head to Monterey for the Maple Festival. Ed Ernouf did a wonderful job planning the trip, but due to sickness in the family, was unable to go. He met us there and turned the maps and brochures over to our President and Mrs. Johnson who agreed to lead the way. We were a small group -- just Greg and I, and bringing up the rear was none other than Bob Dail. We were sorry that more couldn't come but we were determined to go and have a good time; and besides, this meant that all of us got a radio.
As we neared Charlottesville, we picked up what appeared to be a tour bus on the radio. Now this is not remarkable in and of itself except for the fact that the tour was of SANTE FE (that's right, I said SANTE FE, as in New Mexico)! Well, we couldn't believe it so we tried to reach the others. Bob had his car radio on so loud he couldn't hear, and Dwight and Sue weren't answering either. Greg and I were so interested, we continued to listen to the tour all the way through Charlottesville and almost to Skyline Drive.
We finally lost the tour but by then we were in the mountains and were too busy enjoying the scenery here to worry about Sante Fe. I don't know if any of you have ever been to Highland county but it's gorgeous -- snow was still on the ground, the mountains were rugged and sheep were everywhere. And the roads are perfect for Miata's. They have the best hairpin turns in the state!
Monterey is a small town but it was packed this weekend for the Festival. Food, crafts, food, music, and food concessions lined the streets. We had heard that their homemade doughnuts covered with maple syrup were delicious, so of course, that was our first item of business. We were told to go to the Ruritan trailer if we wanted the best doughnuts. We knew we had reached the right place when we saw a long line of hungry people inching their way to a trailer. We got in line, too, and during our 45 minute wait devoured hotdogs and Italian sausages. IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT! The doughnuts are continuously made throughout the day, so they are never out of the fryer very long before you get them. As a matter of fact, ours were still warm and probably the best doughnuts we had ever eaten. Everyone made sure that they bought enough (not just a few but a few dozen) so we would have some for the trip home.
We toured the town and then headed out for a couple of maple tours. We toured both a modern and old fashioned facility. Both had plastic tubing collecting sap from the trees; the tubing would feed into larger tubes which would carry the sap into vats. Did you know that it takes 50 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of maple syrup? That's why it's so expensive, but oh so good.
After leaving Monterey, we headed back toward Staunton. We had passed the Buckhorn Inn that morning and decided we would stop there for dinner. As if we had not had enough good food that day, this place had a buffet to kill for. Well, of course we did it justice and had to pry ourselves back into the cars for the trip home. Well, as we neared Charlottesville I began to think of Sante Fe. Remember, earlier in the story when I said we tried to reach the others to tell them about the Sante Fe tour and we could only reach Bob and his loud music? Well, the reason we didn't get a response from our fearless leaders was because their radio had slipped in between the seat and the "talk" button was pushed on -- and all the while Sue had been reading a travel book on Sante Fe getting ready for their upcoming vacation! And we thought we were so cool listening to the folks from New Mexico!
Apple Festival At Graves Mountain Lodge, October 9, 1993
A Miata Sonata—(To be sung to the tune of, what else, "Over the River and Through the Woods")
Over the river and through the woods to Graves Mountain Lodge we go. Ed led the way on this bright, sunny day to the fall apple festival show.
Into the mountains the train moved along with thoughts of all that food. Stew, cornbread apple(sauce and butter), too; all agreed it was really GOOD!
A walk to the lodge and along the creek; what's Pat doing on the rocks? Cookies and hayrides and a big craft fair, a "cow hat" to cover those locks?
Into the cars for an antique tour to Crigglersville we rolled. Pictures and goblets and an old wash tub and crafts that the locals sold.
Over the river on a swinging bridge, Oh how that bridge did quake. If you cross with George, Beware! Hold on! It will scare you, for goodness sake!
At dinner time, the Bavarian Chef to sample the German fare. Boy, am I stuffed. Don't worry, Tricia is here, so pass all the food down there!
Over the river and through the woods to Richmond we returned. "Let's do it agaln", rang out loud and clear.
More Patterings from President Pat:
On October 9th we traveled to Graves Mountain Lodge for the Apple Festival. We enjoyed Brunswick stew, hot dogs, hamburgers along with applesauce, applebutter and lots of other goodies. They had local Arts and Crafts and apple butter cooking, not to mention the local music (check 1,2 check).
The weather could not have been more perfect for this fall event. A special thanks to Ed and Rebecca Ernough for their masterful planning of the route to Graves Mountain. He even had a copy of the route for each car. The roads they chose were made for the Miata. (Even if I wasn't driving) Route 231 out of Gordonsville is a Miata must.
While there we visited the Main Lodge to inquire about an over-night trip for the club next year. (reservations have to be made at least a year in advance) I will call and guarantee a block of rooms for the second or third week-end in October 1994. Hopefully those that did not make it this time will join us then.
After enjoying the Lodge and area we started back stopping at The Swinging Bridge Pottery (lesson learned: never walk on a swinging foot bridge with someone weighing more than you do)
We stopped at several Arts, Crafts and Antique shops on the way to dinner. (without too much grumbling from other halfs)
Dinner was at the Bavarian Chef in Madison. It had been more years than I care to remember since I had been there. I can only say that I'm sorry so much time had gone by. The food was simply marvelous, the service great. Every entree ordered was better looking than the other, the side dishes served family style were super. I suggest reservations, if we had not arrived as early as we did we would never have gotten in.
I can't say enough good things about the Barvarian Chef, I really enjoyed the dinner and time spent there. (What I don't understand though is how our smallest member can put away food, someone suggested a hollow leg maybe!!!)
After a beautiful sunny and warm day we left Madison for home. It was dark and rainy but it didn't seem to matter after such a fantastic day. This trip is just another reminder not to miss a single event. Each trip or event seems to be better than the last. The friendships evolving and the comradeship is to be compared to none other I've experienced. Miata owners in general are special people, but Central Virginia Miata people are the most special people I've ever had the privilege of meeting and getting to know.
First CVMC Overnight Train A Success!!!, August 28-29, 1993
Yes, I just have to say this. Our first overnight trip was a great success. Of course, those of you at the program committee meeting remember the questioning looks I got when I first suggested an overnight trip. But --- we discussed it and the plans were laid. President Pat and First Husband John even went on a scouting mission. Harper's Ferry was ideal. The distance was right and the roads were perfect for the Miata. We all loved the "over hill, over dale" road where you could watch in your rear view mirror to see the next Miata pop over the hill. And, how about the little girls in the station wagon that made the sign -- "We like your cars". Let's make some plans for next year -- I heard Mountain Lake suggested -----?
What's mostly red, white, black and silver with a Pepsi can at the rear? It's a Miata Train, of course! Ten Miatas, starting with Madam President and First Husband (Pat and John Weitzel) and ending with George Ferrell and his ever-present Pepsi can, motored to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia on Saturday, August 28th. They were joined by Greg and Bertha Stevens, Sue and Bob Dail, Ed and Rebecca Ernough, Richard Lampman and Kathy Von Dohlen, Donna Stroup and Ernie Preissner, Sue and Dwight Johnson, Darrell and Kathy Hole. We stopped for a great lunch in Winchester at Fritters, then proceeded to the quaint, historic Hilltop Inn in Harpers Ferry. Larry and Betty Taylor from Kilmarnock met us at the Inn.
Highlights of the trip included a "memorable" dinner at The Anvil, outdoor rocking chair aerobics, the local blues band entertainment, futile W. Va. lottery ticket purchases, a picture taking session in front of the Inn, a sight-seeing and shopping tour in Harpers Ferry, and the wonderful, perfect-for-Miatas road by Summit Point racetrack. All the participants agreed that the first overnight Miata train trip was a success and are looking forward to the next one.
Battlefield Tour Rally and Picnic, May 22, 1993
May 22, 1993, 1pm Chimborszo Park, George Ferrell, Sue and Dwight Johnson, Kathy Von Dohlen and Richard Lampman, Julia and Mike Gaulding and Sue and Bob Dail gathered to run the Battlefield Tour Rally.
After about a 30 minute kibitzing session (and teasing Pat) they were sent off at two minute intervals to run the rally. (two minute timing by the "Official" stopwatch)
Of course the sun was out and it was a beautiful day, with the exception of a little breeze. Everyone left topless. (or top down) As John and I left to retreat to the finish line a few drops of rain fell (John hardly ever swears) But, he did suggest that I plan no more activities. I explained that I ordered only a few drops to maintain my standing with the club. (besides, no tops went up)
Once at the finish line, our touring Miata's returned. 1st to return was a silver one, then a black one. Reds came in 3rd, 4th and 5th. Many interesting comments were heard like D.I.V.O.R.C.E. I'm sure they were just kidding. Rallies only strengthen relationships and marriages. (HA HA) Next rally we could think about drawing for navigators, maybe. But I think not.
One of the blanks to fill in was the name of a historical house. It actually became hysterical. The Watt House became the What House. It's a long story. (ask Sue or Dwight)
There were cows, ponies, horses, goats, deer and bears to see along the way. (no one received bonus points for bringing me back a turtle.) There was a missing mileage marker (it was there the week before) and the Historical markers became Hysterical markers, and only a little tar and gravel. (that was not there the week before either)
John and I really enjoyed setting the course and having everyone at our home for the picnic, but I would have much rather been a fly on the door of each Miata to listen to the teams as they ran it. We had a super pot luck picnic. Many thanks to all for the vittles, especially to Julia for the "Slush". (this President did not get "Sloshed" but could have they were great) There were no trophies (only bragging rights) and all returned. I hope a good time was had by all. It was a good practice for fun rallies to come, with hardware next time maybe.
The Miata Train To Jamestown and Williamsburg To Meet The Tarheel Chapter
April 24, 1993
April 24th another trip not planned by Pat, because the weather was beautiful. George, Sue and Bob, Julia and Mike, Sue Johnson and John and I met to drive down the scenic Route 5 over the Harrison bridge to Route 10 to take the Ferry to Jamestown. Rick Rust was there to see us off in a strange looking Miata. (Just kidding Rick)
The Ferry ride was pleasant as usual, but next time we'll know to get commuter tickets. (.50 versus $4) There was a Miata parked on the side as you board the Ferry that was painted a blue-gray color, obviously a re-paint. George took pictures, but that's another story.
On to the parking lot at Jamestown Center, where we found nine Miata's waiting for us to arrive. Eight from the Tarheel chapter and our newest member Lee Scruggs and his wife Pam who live in Williamsburg. What a sight 14 Miata's and their happy owners in one parking lot. It was a first for most of us. The Tarheel chapter was spending the weekend in Williamsburg and we are glad they had some time to spend with us.
As most everyone toured the Jamestown site a few of us stayed behind to relax and chat. Sue, Sue and I decided to scope out the gift shop. When we entered the shop we noticed all of the employees peering out the window, they informed us that the President was arriving. Yes, Bill and daughter Chelsia and the whole entourage were right outside, including some real mean Secret Service agents. Bill was very pleasant and was shaking as many hands as possible. He then toured the Jamestown site, which held up some of our Miata friends. (Unless your moving with the President... you don't move) When the President finished touring and was ready to leave he found time to shake just a few more hands. One being Sue Johnson's as she presented him with a CVMC decal for his Limo and he seemed pleased with that.
With the excitement dying down and the President having left, we formed a 13 car Miata train to Family and Friends for lunch. A special thanks to Lee Scruggs and his wife Pam for suggesting a good place for lunch and for leading the train.
After lunch Lee lead us down to the Colonial Parkway to take pictures of all 13 Miata's together. Shortly after getting on the parkway we were asked to stop on the side of the road to let yet another "entourage" pass. (Al Gore this time) Back on the Parkway we continued and found a great spot to park and take pictures.
It was then decided to proceed to Colonial Williamsburg and Merchants Walk. We drove through old town and one passing comment that was heard "Oh, they must be the Senators and Representatives in all of those cute little cars". We parted company with the Tarheel group, but not before discussing another get together with them soon. The Tarheel chapter are a lovely group of people and I hope we can join on our next joint trip with a lot more CVMC cars and members. If there is a moral to every story then this one must be "don't miss a single event, you never know what you'll miss.
Thanks to Tarheel chapter members, Vivien and Ferd Carson, Richard and Pat Linko, Peggy and Gerry Taylor, Regis and Pat Magyar, Merrill and Laurie Stafford, Tim and Marta Willson, Chris Bunting and Sheila Bennett, for allowing us to join in on their fun.
The Miata Train Heads To Charlottesville, March 21, 1993
On this first full day of Spring the Miata train got together for the first outing of the year. Although we had a record number of Miatas meet in the parking lot it was soon learned that all were not going. Mike and Julia Gaulding just came by to see us off and we had an unexpected guest show up. The evening before Sandy Compton had left a note on a Miata downtown telling of our planned trip. Jim Wilson, who was in town for a meeting and from Charlottesville, found the note and decided to travel home with us. We all hope he enjoyed the trip home with this crazy bunch. It surely had to be better than traveling alone on Interstate 64.
Sandy Compton ordered some good sunny weather with temperatures around 60. Since we were heading West in the afternoon hours we new it would only be getting cooler as we went so most went top up from the start. After what happened when I stopped to put my top up I was sorry that I was the only one crazy enough to start with the top down. One disadvantage of having a roll bar and a video camera mounted between the seats is I can not just reach back and pull up the top. In my haste to quickly put the top up and rejoin the group I ran around the car to undo the latches however this proved to be my undoing. As I rounded the car a piece of old barbed wire fence reached up and grabbed me, quickly and swiftly throwing me down the hill next to the road. After I stopped rolling I found myself with both legs cut, one pants leg ripped almost off and muddy all over. I completed my task with the top and wiped the mud off and headed down the road again thinking about what it was going to be like entering the restaurant with one bare leg. Oh well it is a college town and I'm sure crazier things happen there. I shortly meet Jim Wilson coming back to check on me and I thank him for that. We shortly found the rest of the group waiting for us along the way.
The trip was about 100 miles with about 80% of that on some nice hilly and curvy roads through some great looking country. This would be a great route to take in the fall to see the leaves changing. We arrived at the Blue Ridge Brewery and I think all enjoyed the hand made food and home made beer. As for me I tied a flannel shirt around my waist making a nice skirt and no one in the group or restaurant was the wiser.
Except for my slight diversion off the road it was a great trip. Nice job Sandy and remember to tell Pat where to order that weather.
The Miata Train To The 8th Annual Richmond British Car Day, September 1992
As I headed out Sunday morning to the starting point for the Miata train to the British Car Day I was hoping we would have the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, Betty and Larry Taylor from Kilmarnock. The Taylors have been members of the Central Virginia Miata Club since last February and when they joined they listed other clubs such as the Chesapeake MG Car Club and the "T" register. I had no way of knowing if they still belonged to these clubs or if they still had a MG.
When I arrived at the starting point, much to my surprise the Taylors were there, not only with their (her) Miata but also with their (his) 1952 MG of which he is the original owner. His original invoice showed that he paid just over $2200.00 for it, now those were the days.
Most people buy the car of their dreams and after awhile part with it for any number of reasons only to spend many years wishing we had it back. It's hard to imagine hanging onto the dream for forty years. I wonder how many of us will have our Miatas after the year 2030!!!! Will they still be around, will they be the classics in the twenty first century, will we be having Japanese car days? Almost too much to comprehend.
We headed out toward Berkeley Plantation and thanks to the Taylors our Miata train even had a British touch to it. We enjoyed a nice drive down Route 5 through the hills and curves with the leaves already starting to change colors. Before we arrived we had picked up a British car in front and a line behind us as far as I could see. Our Miatas may have been a little out of place but we'll just say we are the next generation. If it wasn't for these classic two seaters all around us the Miata may never have been.
All the cars were in a field next to the James River, Triumph, Austin-Healey, MG's, Aston Martin, Metropolitan, Jaguar, Land Rover, Panther, Jensen-Healey, Lotus, Range Rover, Norton, BSA, Daimler, Sunbeam, Morgan, RR and I'm sure others that I don't remember. Over 300 cars, think of the man hours of restoration represented in that field not to mention the dollars.
Not only was the Central Virginia Miata Club there with its cars, Rick and Sandy Rust didn't drive their Miata because they had their 1960 Metropolitan entered in the event. And Tyler Hancock of the Virginia Motor Sport Club had his 1972 Triumph TR-6 entered in the event, just last week he was racing it in an autocross. I'm sure there were many people there representing other clubs or having an interest in cars other than British. We are all drawn together by that common interest, the make, model or country of origin may be displayed on our shirts, jackets or hats but "The Car" is our common ground.
CVMC 1st Dinner Cruise to Williamsburg, April 12, 1992
Our first dinner cruise seemed to be enjoyed by all in attendance. We meet on a beautiful sunny "April" afternoon. Six red, shiny and sparkling clean topless beauties gathered to cruise the scenic route to Williamsburg. Note that I mentioned April, (or it just rains every time I plan an event) of course there was a scramble to put tops up. After about twenty minutes the rain stopped and six dutiful drivers were out wiping away the rain drops and we were off.
We drove down Laburnum to Route 5, across the Ben Harris bridge at Hopewell, down Route 10 to the Jamestown Ferry. Route 10 always brings some interesting sights, including people pointing at the six little red cars all in a row and YES I do wave at horses. The Ferry ride was fun and it did not sink so we were off to Captain George's to enjoy the all you can eat SEAFOOD... what a way to go.
After a nice meal with really nice people we made our way back to the Richmond area with full tummies and a fun afternoon. Miata people are just real fun people. Be sure to join us for our next event, we promise a good time to be had by all.
CVMC Dinner Caravans, AKA The Miata Trains
On April 12, 1992 members of the Central Virginia Miata Club gathered in the K-Mart parking lot at Laburnum and Nine Mile road to take its first dinner caravan. Those in attendance were James Caruthers, Robert and Sue Dail, Richard and Sandy Rust, John and Pat Weitzel, Shannon Wynn and Charlotte Thompson, a friend of the Weitzels riding in my empty seat.
Having run in a VMSC autocross that morning I had to rush across town to get to the starting point on time, or so I thought as I was the first one to arrive. The weather was threating all morning and we had a good but brief shower as we hopefully waited for late arrivals.
After the shower we again dropped the tops and dried off our cars and headed out of Richmond. We traveled down Laburnum Avenue to route 5 then headed East to the Ben Harrison bridge where we crossed over to route 10. This is were I found out that my passenger wasn't to crazy about high bridges nor the upcoming ferry ride but she said she would survive. I'm sure that the open top car wasn't any help! The drive down route 10 to Surry was very nice and scenic.
We were very lucky to arrive at the ferry just as it was getting ready to leave and there was enough room for all six cars plus about two more. We were getting alot of comments about those little red cars as we pulled on the ferry. Off we went on a nice, but short, ride across the James River. During the trip we heard from the Captain that a heavy thunder storm was in the area so we were wondering if our luck was about to run out.
After we left the ferry we took a nice slow trip through Williamsburg and around the William and Mary college campus and then headed out of town to have dinner at Captain George's. As soon as we entered the restaurant the rains came. After a nice dinner and some good conversation we headed back to Richmond, luckily the heaviest rains had passed.
This indeed was a very nice day with some great top down weather and a nice ride in the country.
Ride The Miata Train To Fredericksburg
Drizzle - Drizzle, nice day for shopping at a mall. Early arrivals were found inside shopping at the Virginia Center Commons. (Jim in Leggett's, Rick and Sandy in the record store with Mike and Julia) three red's then a fourth with George in the parking lot. A shiny "NEW" black limited edition (are you happy Sandy?) and another red (John and Pat). Remember folks, Pat promised we would have good weather.
Rain, gray skies and wet roads, great weather for a train ride. The train would be six cars long this time. The trainmaster, John and Pat, took the lead and we were off. (George was the caboose)
Past strawberry pickers in the rain, a rescue squad practicing on a wet roof and many, many puddles the train ventured North. Windshield wipers on intermittent and parking lights on at least, we want to be seen. Passers by in cars smiled and pointed. Kids of all ages seemed excited. North, further North we went.
Fredericksburg is in sight, a quick stop at Britt Motors, the local Miata dealer, to deliver club flyers to Mike Danaher. (autocross in the parking lot or was it just a Chinese fire drill?) The sales staff were impressed. Business concluded and greetings exchanged, we were off again to the Chesapeake Bay Seafood house for dinner. All you can eat or a ala carte, all were satisfied.
Dinner over we exit to the parking lot. The return trip South was in a downpour, Great forecasting Pat!, with headlights, wipers and defrosters on we motored South to Richmond. We had a great time touring in our Miatas.
On May 30, 1992 members of the Central Virginia Miata Club again gathered to headed out for dinner. This time we meet at the Virginia Center Commons Mall North of Richmond. The only problem this time was there was no doubt about the rain. It had been raining all morning and would continue all day so there would be no top down riding this day. Those in attendance were James Caruthers, Michael and Julia Gaulding, Richard and Sandy Rust, John and Pat Weitzel, Sandra Compton with guest Tom Kelly and myself bringing up the rear.
We headed North up route 1 and although it was raining it was light enough to allow good driving and viewing of the scenery. When we arrived in Fredericksburg we stopped at Britt Motors to deliver some club flyers and a chance to meet Mike Danaher who had contacted me after receiving one of the club newsletters. During this trip we had also hoped to meet, for the first time, one of our members from the Fredericksburg area. Sorry we missed you Peggy. After several laps around the Britt Motors parking lot and paying our respects we headed of to dinner at the Chesapeake Bay Seafood house. Seafood and Miatas must go together, or is it Pat and seafood go together.
Well after another nice dinner we all headed back to Richmond. This time on the interstate with the rains really coming down. As we approached Richmond and the first turn off for some of our cars we had a three wide caravan of red Miatas. Although this trip could not compare with the nice day we had going to Williamsburg, it certainly was another nice event.