Upcoming Events

all-day No July Meeting @ Nowhere
No July Meeting @ Nowhere
Jul 4 all-day
It is the 4th of July, so NO meeting.
8:00 am Edgefield Cruise-In on the Square @ Sprint (formerly Greg's Gas +)
Edgefield Cruise-In on the Square @ Sprint (formerly Greg's Gas +)
Jul 20 @ 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Where: Sprint/Greg’s Gas Plus at 1295 W Martintown Rd, North Augusta, SC (just north of I-20 off Exit 1) – map We could plan to leave from exit 1 in North Augusta around 8:30 and[...]

Recent Posts

25 Years Ago – Winter 1990

“A Greater Awareness”

By George P. Burdell

Mention driving up Interstate 5. Through California’s San Joaquin Valley. In the middle of June. Given that scenario, most enthusiasts will have the same reaction: B-O-R-I-N-G. Visions of an arrow-straight ribbon of asphalt stretching to a parched barren horizon, certainly not much fun in any car, let alone one as seemingly ill-suited to that type of road as the Mazda Miata.

And yet that is what I drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back earlier this year. Know what? It wasn’t at all bad. I had made the drive before in a number of other cars, all closed coup’s and sedans, and so I felt I knew I-5 well, a mind-numbing drone of 350-400 miles where the real trick is to try to stay awake while watching out for the CHPs and their airplanes.

Having driven I-5 in a Miata, it turns out I really didn’t know it at all, or at least the Miata gave me a greater awareness of the beauty and richness of the countryside I was traveling through.

I left L.A. after work, crawling through the usual bumper-to-bumper madness that we call (ironically) rush hour. I had decided that I would try to drive

the entire trip with the top down, but I really didn’t hold out much hope for that goal once I reached the heat of the San Joaquin Valley. As I began the climb out of the L.A. basin over the Grapevine, the traffic thinned out dramatically and I was able to bring the Miata up to a more suitable cruising speed.

Once I got into the mountains the air cleared, and I began to realize that with the top down the first of your senses to reawaken is the sense of smell. No more of that artificial, climate-controlled air, this was the real thing, unfiltered, unspoiled and unbelievably refreshing.

As I dropped into the valley the sensations kept coming. The oil fields around Bakersfield. The cotton fields near Buttonwillow. The freshly-tilled earth around Kettleman City. The cattle feedlots near Harris Ranch (maybe there is something to be said for filtered, sanitized air!). The grassy hills around Tracy. Always a new smell that had gone unnoticed on previous trips. The view from the car was exceptional, as expected (very helpful when looking for black and white airplanes). Somehow there is a different look to a sunset when seen from behind the windshield of a convertible singing along at 80 mph. Certainly other drivers view you in a different light. The people I passed, and was passed by, all seemed to look at me with a mixture of envy and enjoyment, especially the children in the back of the family wagon or minivan. I have never before

driven a car that elicited such wonderful smiles from children and adults as a Miata.

In a convertible you are so acutely aware of the temperature. During the course of the trip the temperature inside the car varied as I drove from cool in the mountains to warmer in the valley, cooling as the sun set. I didn’t really need to use the heater until I hit the Bay Area’s famed Altamont Pass, where the air, cooled by Bay Area fog (the world’s largest air conditioner), rushes through a gap and into the warmer San Joaquin Valley.

I finally reached my destination at about 12:30am, but so far from being tired I felt amazingly awake and refreshed, every detail of the trip a vivid memory.

The next day, I was able to share some of the same sensations with my very pregnant sister as we drove the Miata into San Francisco. It should be noted that she experienced no discomfort from what the Miata’s critics have called its choppy ride.

I retraced my path a couple of days later, and the experience was just as invigorating and life-giving as it had been on the trip north. I was left with a new appreciation for the Miata’s abilities as a long-distance tourer. If the Miata can make a previously boring drive seem like a new adventure, think what it can do on a true driver’s road!

Copyright 1990, Miata Magazine. Reprinted without permission.

10 Years Ago – November 2005

Scavenger Hunt

Date: Saturday, November 12th
Time: 11:00 AM
Place: GA Welcome Center
Attending: John & Carol Haff, Kurt Breitinger, John & Jackie Nicholls and Dave Winkler.

This year it was a non-photographic hunt launching from the Georgia welcome center and terminated three hours later at the Snow Cap Drive-in. The teams were required to return with stuff to score points. The teams had three categories for points, individual items, quests to locations, and competition for size of an item.

Of the 20 individual items all teams were able to find a pack of matches from a local business, a travel sewing kit, an acorn with cap, and a wooden spoon. Three items were harder to find only the Nicholls found a pair of oyster shells that matched and a lump of coal, and Kurt found an inter tube. Item 16 asked for a bar of octagon soap. The Haffs found a bar of Octagon Soap but not to be out done Kurt carved a bar of soap into an octagon; both receive five points for their effort. The last item was written in Chinese and was partially solved by Kurt. All three teams were unable, unwilling, or just reluctant to fetch a “lump of processed hay”.

All teams went on a quest to the Augusta Commons and River Walk area to get answers to questions. Some found the right answers. They found out the Godfather of soul is 5’ 9” tall, there is a soapbox for speeches, and on a sunny day you can stand on a clock and read the time of day. Only the Haffs were able to find and count the mailboxes in Morgana SC., and the Nicholls went to Augusta State University to correctly read the time from the sundial in front of Fanning Hall. If you think that’s easy to do, go do it yourself. Kurt located the cheapest gas price of $1.89 and brought in the tallest pinecone. The Nicholls displayed a huge leaf that over shadowed the other entries.

The three team’s scores were very close Kurt 107.5, Nichols 107, and Haff’s 96 of a possible 192 points.

Meeting Minutes for November 5th 2015

When: November 5th 2015

Where: Gerald Jones Mazda (Martinez) – Thanks to Don Kittilson for hosting and Jill Johnson for organizing this dinner meeting! Dinner was from Moe’s and was pretty darn good! So was the cake for dessert. They showed us a video that explained SkyActive technology: it has a high compression ratio of 13:1, more torque than previous years, and better fuel mileage. It also has a SkyActive transmission with a high performance gear box. It only comes with a soft top for 2016 but will come with a polycarbonate hard top in 2017.

Who: Kurt Breitinger, John and Pat Clark, Mike and Shirley Dyer, Dave and Devona Eastman, Larry and Rita Garner, John and Carol Haff, Alan and Jill Johnson, Joey Lane and his daughter Bayley, Dennis and Karol Mason, Robert McCorkell, John and Kathy Ormerod, Karl Painter, Hal and Trudy Scott, Stacey and Cindy Timmerman, Tom Varallo, Rudy and Patty Wilmoth, Dave and Sue Woomer, and a new member joined tonight (Stu), he brought his new 2016 Red and Black Miata to show us since the Mazda dealership recently sold the last one they had to him. This brings our membership to 35 members.

Treasurer’s Report: Started at $1745.47 plus $33.00 in income from dues and pin sales, minus $271 for the purchase of pins, for a total of $1507.47.

Old Business:
• New members please see Dennis Mason for name tags, or replacement name tags.
• Larry Garner has contact cards for the Miata club (hand these to people who have Miata’s but are not club members).
• Tom Varallo has new pins available for $3.00 ea (look very nice) and ‘Support Vehicle’ magnets for $25.00 per pair.

New Business: Tom made a few remarks:
• The initiative to allow for e-mail voting to change By-Laws passed 27 to 1.
• The initiative to change the beginning of the new year for dues payment to January passed 24 votes to 4. Tom says the survey monkey days are over. ?
• The Christmas Party date has changed. The restaurant called today to say they had already booked another party on the day we wanted. So the date has changed to Saturday the 12th of December.
• The run to the ‘Tale of the Dragon’ for tomorrow (6 Nov) has been cancelled due to bad weather.
The following events have been planned or are anticipated:
• Cars & Coffee event held every first Saturday in the Carolina Pottery shopping center on Washington Rd. It’s from 8-11 am. Bring your car to show it off! Or come out to see the unusual cars. Next one is this Saturday, November 7th.
• November breakfast will be at Betsy’s in Aiken on November 21st.
• December 3rd there is another Iron Chef competition at Red Oak Manor. Let Tom know if you are interested in attending by 16 November.
• December 12th (Same day as the Christmas Party) there is a Christmas Parade in Harlem and we are invited to participate. Tom needs to know by 16 November if you plan to participate.
• Dec 18th – Imperial Theater is doing a concert and ‘Asleep at the Wheel’ may be playing. There are still good tickets available if you are interested.
• January 7th is the planning meeting for next year’s events. Location to be announced. Think about what you would events you would like to do. If you have some ideas for future events, please share them! We would love to hear your ideas.

Mastering the Gap 2015 – Cancelled

Unfortunately we are going to call this event off due to the predicted nasty weather here and there this weekend. The whole reason for the trip is to enjoy some spirited driving on fantastic mountain roads with the wind in your hair (or how ever much you may have left of it.) Wet roads with the top up and windshield wipers slapping back and forth is just no fun. We promise that next year we will schedule the trip again and vow to make the right sacrifices to the sky gods to guarantee a rain free weekend.

10 Years Ago – October 2005

Jockey Lot

Date: Saturday, October 8th
Time: 7:30 AM
Place: Sportsman BBQ
Attending: Bill & Bonnie Baugh, Brian & Donna Bogardus, John & Jackie Nicholls and Rudy Wilmoth & Patti Letizia.

Breakfast at the BBQ was an idea a little out of the ordinary, but it was a lot better than expected. They have only been open for breakfast for a little while, so they didn’t even have orange juice. They did have coffee, and if you wanted, sweet tea or soft drinks… We are not talking Shoney’s breakfast bar, but all the usual suspects were there; sausage patties, bacon, scrambled eggs, grits, sausage gravy & biscuits, so we got our fill.

After breakfast Bill & Bonnie went on home and then there were six. The 3 cars headed north (well a little west first) to Anderson.

The trip up was shorter than we thought and after just a little over 2 hours we were at the renowned Jockey Lot. You know you are there because as you crest the hill there is a yellow warning sign that says, “Congested Area.” And they mean it too. The folks in front of us came to a virtual crawl as they tried to figure out just which one of the some 10 possible entrances to the parking area they should use.

The place is huge. On our way to the several very large, long covered areas/buildings we passed an awful lot of outside tables that were empty. According to Rudy & Patti on Sundays it is even more crowded here because those acres of emptiness are filled with small vendors.

It didn’t take that long to peruse almost the entire place, probably because we were a group of three couples as opposed to one couple or by yourself. A group dynamic surfaced that if you stopped and looked at something, the others would hover, for a while,

and then continued wandering without you. So although there wasn’t any direct pressure to keep it moving, it just worked out that way. All told I bet we only spent an hour and a half there and if you were really into that type of shopping it could easily turn into an all day affair.

And if you spent all day there you wouldn’t starve, as they had several places where you could get snacks and even a couple of places to hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.

Our group decided to forgo eating at the Jockey and instead headed back down the road a piece and finding a restaurant in Abbeville. While the food wasn’t bad at the place we ended up at the end of the last J & J Real Road Rally in May, we thought we would try someplace different. Someone in the group said they had heard good things about a place called Windows on the Square. With a name like that, we figured we would just walk around the downtown square and we would find the restaurant. Find it we did on the square, but the name was really Windows on Main.

The restaurant was housed on the first floor of a building I bet used to be a hotel in the 1920’s, judging by the structure, and it was a nice enough place to get lunch. Definitely a cut above the usual Master’s Miata Club dining standards, this place had fabric tablecloths and napkins.

After lunch John & Jackie went home to feed the dogs. Then there were four and a small ice cream shop on a side street off the square beckoned for desert. And then there were two as Rudy & Patti went wine shopping and Brian & Donna went home.