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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.

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.

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.

10 Years Ago – July 2005

Pool Party

Date: Saturday, July 23rd
Time: Noon
Place: 10 Woodspring Court
Attending: Brian & Donna Bogardus, Karen & Kurt Breitinger, Gail & Miller Butler, John & Carol Haff, John & Jackie Nicholls and Rudy Wilmoth.

If you stayed away because you remember how hot it used to be around the pool at the Creer’s, you made a mistake. The Butler’s live on a small lake and their backyard has lots of trees, so it was 10-15 degrees cooler than if you were out and about anywhere else.

If you stayed away because you would have had to pay your dues, you made a mistake. Because most of the officers were there, we voted to allow the pool party attendees a free year’s membership. OK, I’m kidding about that part, some of us paid and others didn’t, but we all swam in the same pool without fisticuffs breaking out.

Donna & Carol won the one lap around the lake paddleboat race, but that was mostly due to a giant head start and the fact that Gail & Jackie didn’t know there was a race. Brian won the big splash dive contest, but that was due to the fact that there were no other competitors and the contest was all in his head. Jackie won the driest hair contest because she didn’t bring a bathing suit, so she never got in the pool. Miller won the hot dog cooking contest and unless I’m mistaken Brian won the hot dog eating contest. John & Jackie Nicholls won the blue ribbon for their homemade peach ice cream, narrowly edging out their vanilla flavored batch. And Karen won the special Swan Award for her graceful climbing aboard of the pool float.

Many thanks go to the Butlers for hosting the shindig and hopefully next year we can break into double digits in participants.

10 Years Ago – June 2005

Beaufort Drive-In Trip

Date: Saturday, June 11, 2005
Time: 8:00 AM
Place: SC Welcome Center
Attending: Bill & Bonnie Baugh, Brian & Donna Bogardus, John & Jackie Nicholls, and Rudy Wilmoth & Patti Letizia.

After a quick gas stop, our merry band of four cars headed south through North Augusta and then using SC125, to cut through the bomb plant.

In Allendale, we made a pit stop at Hardee’s to stretch our legs, use the facilities or get some breakfast. When we almost done eating Rudy noticed that it had started to rain. This generated a mad dash to the parking lot to raise tops.

We ended up keeping the tops up for the rest of the way down to Beaufort, because it rained on and off for the remainder of the morning. We were supposed to rendezvous at Ollie’s on Lady Island at 11:00AM. The Low Country gang was a few minutes early to get to the restaurant and our group was a few minutes late. Worked out well for us, as we just had to walk in and sit in the empty spots at the tables in the back they had saved for us. It took quite a while to get everyone their food, but this is typical of any place that tries to get 24 meals served at once. The food was nothing spectacular, but the view was nice and the conversation enjoyable. After lunch, John & Jackie went back home (they were along just for the drive and lunch,) Rudy, Patti, Bill & Bonnie headed into the historic downtown area to wander the shops and Brian & Donna joined most of the Low Country Club on a trip to Paris Island Recruit Depot to visit the Marine Corp museum there. From there the big group stopped in downtown too, mainly to visit a chocolate shop and get a free edible sand dollar, but to do a little wandering as well.

The whole group gathered in the motel’s breakfast nook to partake in a fabulous spread of vittles provided by the Low Country Club (quite a bit of it came from the trunk of Bunny McElwee.) The party started at 6pm with a scheduled end time at 7 o’clock for the departure to the movies. Seven came and went, but with all the good food and good conversation no one wanted to go. A little also had to do with the two decidedly non-adult movies that awaited at the drive-in. Finally about quarter to 8 we herded up the gang for the drive to the movies.

We parked in the nearly empty drive-in and donned our 3D glasses so we could get a stranger to take a picture of our strange group. Out came the folding chairs and more chitchat ensued. It also started to sprinkle so the tops went up and the umbrellas went up. The rain stopped and the movie started. The first movie didn’t even come up to my low expectations, but it did serve to make the lame second movie seem Oscar-worthy in comparison. Still, when the rain started again with about 15 minutes left to go in Madagascar, we didn’t hesitate to pack up and leave with nary a look back.