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10 Years Ago – September 2005

Master’s at the Gap 4

Date: Friday thru Sunday, Sept. 16, 17 & 18th
Time: 24 hours a day
Place: Western NC and Eastern TN
Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus and Denny Smith

When Donna and I got to the GA Welcome Center at 7:30AM, Denny Smith (taking a page from the Rudy book of timing) was there ahead of us. Even though I was sure this was the total Club participation, I felt obligated to wait until the advertised 8 o’clock before leaving.

Ditto waiting at Bobbi’s Coffee House on Fury’s Ferry Road.

Our two car caravan made good time on the trip up to Highlands for lunch at our usual spot, The Sportsman Café. In an attempt to find the Wayah Bald Road route up to Robbinsville, without John Haff to lead him, Brian turned off the 4 lane a mile or so too soon, but it worked out well because he did recognize the correct turn later on and Denny was none the wiser that he was nearly lost (until now that is.)

After a brief afternoon respite in our respective hotel rooms it was time to joust with the Dragon. Donna didn’t really want to go back out, so she sent Brian down to join Denny. Instead of both cars heading out, Brian offered Denny the choice of riding with him or driving with Brian as a passenger. He said he’d rather drive, that way Brian could give him pointers because he had never driven the gap before. Brian wasn’t too sure about giving pointers, but he did get to regale Denny with the history of the non-official gathering called the Miatas at the Gap. Denny took to the turns like a duck to water and the guys had a nice and mostly unimpeded run back and forth through the gap.

When they returned to Robbinsville, Donna joined them for dinner at a new BBQ place that took over the building where Popeye’s used to be. This is the second time the Bogarduses have eaten there, the food and service are pretty good, but for whatever reason it is not been crowded. The day’s clouds never really cleared so the group postponed the night drive/star gazing on the Cherhola until Saturday.

Saturday dawned damp and foggy, but undaunted our crew headed into the gap. We stopped first at the Crossroads of Time for a little shopping. With purchases stowed in the trunk, we were off. The run was at a slightly reduced speed due to the wet roads and we managed to get about 8 miles, out of eleven, before we were slowed to a crawl by a Honda Accord. I signaled Denny to pull in at the dam overlook so we could wait and give the car a head start. Wouldn’t you know it, the Accord pulled in as well. When they stopped it became apparent why they were going so slow, a mom ran to the back door to comfort her young son who was busy getting car sick into his own lap. Ewwww.

After spending the rest of the morning driving the back roads of rural Tennessee, lunch was at the usual spot, now named The Bistro, in Tellico Plains just before the Cherhola Skyway. After eating, for at least the 3rd time at the same place, Brian vowed to find a different lunch spot as the service and food there didn’t warrant the high cost.
We returned to Robbinsville via a leisurely drive on the Skyway, even stopping a couple of times to admire the view and take in the cool air. Towards North Carolina the omnipresent low clouds started to break up giving us glimpses of blue sky.

After some needed down time during the afternoon, we regrouped early evening for Saturday’s dinner. We drove down to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and dined at the River’s End restaurant. Now this was more like it. Even though we tried to order something small off the menu it came out in big portions for less money than lunch.

The nighttime drive for Saturday, like Friday’s, was called off. Even though the sky was clear in the afternoon, that was not the case after sundown. The full moon was gorgeous as it rose in the night sky, but it completely disappeared behind the clouds when it got 30 degrees above the horizon. Sigh.

Sunday’s trip home was the reverse of the drive up. Hwy 28 through NC, GA & SC is about as much fun as Deal’s Gap, but it goes on longer.

Dead Bugs

Date: Saturday, August 22, 2015
Time: 8:00 PM
Place: Greg’s Gas Plus
Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Larry & Rita Garner, Jill & Alan Johnson, Trudy & Hal Scott, Karol & Dennis Mason and guest Jamie S___________i.

Less than half of last year’s total of 13 cars showed up for this years edition of the Bug Splat run. And it would have been even less if not for the fact we had a Miata owner up this way on a business trip who happened to check the web site. Was the number of participants low because of the past few years lack of actual bugs or the slightly later start time. I’m betting it was really the fact that there wasn’t a meal preceding the drive. The larger turn outs previously were because some people have come just for the eating part and only joined me on the drive so as to not appear impolite all the while hoping against hope not to win the so ugly it’s beautiful ginormous trophy….

This years later start time and more rural, easier to run loop did produce more bugs, but only slightly more. There were still thousands of little white puff marks of really small insects covering the fronts of the cars, but this time there were a few interesting splats and a few actual recognizable bug remains.

Taking home the BBT (Biggest Bug Trophy) were the Masons with what appeared to be a 1/2 long bug of some kind neatly caught in the seam between of the bottom of the nose of the their car and the Garage Vary Front Lip Spoiler.1 I awarded myself and Donna the most bugs (probably helped I was in front of the caravan), Hal & Trudy snagged the cleanest car award, while closest to the dot went to our guest from the Tampa area, Jamie S___________i.2

As to not lower the self esteem of anyone who didn’t win a “real” prize, I handed out a 2″ to 3″ plastic replica of an insect of no known actual species, lovingly hand decorated in a far eastern country using lead based paint to everyone who came out, so no one went home without something. I even gave one out to each of the two folks who showed up at the end, just to eat ice cream. John & Jackie Nichols got one and so too did ex-member Ernie Bloom, who of all the Sonics in all the towns in the CSRA, stopped at this one.

1. There was some grumbling by the un-lip spoilered that that might have given the Masons an advantage. Judges disallowed the protest under Rule #34b: Any permanently attached body modification, that has been specifically designed for a Miata, is deemed acceptable in the counting of bugs and the spats of their demise.

2. I asked Jamie his last name at both the beginning and end of the event. At the Sonic, not sure if I heard right, I asked for a spelling and he just shrugged and said don’t worry about. His vague story of work in the area seemed suspicious too. A couple people asked him about it and got the same answer: “The company I work for sent me up here to help a company in Edgefield do some testing. Whatever your story, thanks for coming and I hope you enjoyed the little plastic, safe for ages 8 and up, dart board. I also hope you remember to remove the green Avery dot from the front of your car.

“4 Generations of the Miata” Wallpaper

4 Generations of Miata

Click on the picture, right click on the slightly bigger version that pops up, choose “Save as (Desktop) Background”

2016 Miata Review & Road Test

Here’s a comprehensive review and road test of the 2016 Miata performed by the Grassroots Motorsports and Tire Rack.com folks – very impressive!

2016 Miata-12016 Miata-2 2016 Miata-3 2016 Miata-4 2016 Miata-5 2016 Miata-6 2016 Miata-7

10 Years Ago – August 2005

Bug Splat

Date: Saturday, August 20th
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Evergreen Buffet
Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, John Bowles & Mary, Kurt Breitinger, Ron & Chris Kaufman, Rudy Wilmoth & Patti Letizia and Dave Winkler and Jim Truitt

After a leisurely meal at the Chinese buffet it was time for the real fun to begin.

The very hot day had turned into a very warm evening as drivers and passengers gathered in the parking lot outside the restaurant. Brian cleaned off the noses of all the cars so everyone started out on a level playing field. A green dot was placed on the nose of each car in the driver’s choice of location. Maps were handed out, but seeing as it was a new route Brian and Donna agreed to lead the group, so no one would get lost in the wilds of Aiken County.

There were thousands of tiny white ghost bugs out, but not too many BIG bugs, so everybody seemed to be in the running for the Most Bugs prize. After counting each and every spot on all the cars the judges determined that the Kaufman’s had the most insect impacts winning the Most Bugs category. Or maybe it was because they have a black car and it made the white dots show up better. Rudy and Patti wound up with the Cleanest Car Award and some will tell you it was because they were the last car in line, but I think they were dodging bugs back there. John and Mary managed to get a bug remnant with in 5cm of the green dot capturing the Closest to the Spot prize. Kurt won the coveted Biggest Bug trophy by virtue of a half dollar sized splat of yellowish goo near the mouth of his car. Instead of the usual cheap plastic insects from the Dollar Tree, this year we actually had good prizes to give out thanks to Mazda. Each winner got their choice of a poster, hat, t-shirt, travel mug or insulated lunch bag with zoom-zoom on them.

The evening was rounded out by some arm chair bug smashing inside the Sweet Cow Creamery and eating some ice cream.